Random Beer Stuff For This Wonderful Saturday!

There are always things happening in the beer world, here are a few things you might have missed!

Perhaps the biggest recent event is the merger between Duvel Moortgat and Firestone Walker. Two of the world’s most respected brewers are now one, that is a pretty significant development. So far, I have been pretty happy with my beloved Boulevard’s transition into the Duvel Moortgat family less than two years ago. Hopefully, we can expect more of the same from this deal.

Not Your Fathers Root Beer is taking the nation by storm. While, it is not backed by a major conglomerate, I think Root Sellers‘ Hard Root Beer is the best on the market.

As a huge Simpsons fan (hence the very name of this blog), I will buy a lot of Duff Beer, whether it is good or not! I hope it comes to America soon.

For all the beer traders out there, our days of trading in the “shadows” may be over soon! Bill aims to liff ban on USPS booze shipments!

Man Up and Drink a Fruit Beer I could not agree more, love my fruit beers!

Public tickets to the Great American Beer Fest will go on-sale July 29th, they will most likely sell out quickly. If anyone reading this cares, I will be there!

Just in case anyone was wondering, my project Ben’s Bottle Shop is coming right along. In two weeks I will be moving to the Pacific Northwest. We are putting in the finishing touches on our floor plans and we received our temporary license this week! Still hoping for an opening in the late fall.





Major League Baseball Craft Beer Guide (A Look At All 30 Stadiums!)

As you all know the 2012 Major League Baseball season is well underway. One of my favorite things to do during the summer is enjoy a game and a beer. Beer and baseball have been a formidable team for a long time, now the options are becoming even more sophisticated. The craft brewing revolution has not ignored professional sports. Here is a team by team rundown of some of the craft beers available at each stadium. Furthermore, since I am a broke jabroni both time wise and financially, I obviously have not been able to go to every stadium and check out their selections first hand, therefore, I have included my sources. If I forgot anything, please let me know and I will update this article. (On a side note, I have noticed that, places that carry Smithwicks usually carry Guinness and Harp as well. Also, brands such as Stella Artois and Corona are also so common that I have chosen to omit them from these lists.) If I have missed anything, misrepresented any stadium or you have a link or comment to add to this post, please feel free to email me or comment, I will gladly update this “living post”.

Here is the rundown, in no particular order:

New York Yankees: According to http://beertography.blogspot.com/2012/04/yankee-stadium-live-sports-craft-beer.html one can enjoy some offerings from Goose Island, Widmer Brothers, Leffe and Samuel Adams at Yankee Stadium.

New York Mets: Citi Field has a decent sized craft beer list, including Goose Island, Sierra Nevada, Leffe, Magic Hat and Victory. Source: http://www.ceetar.com/optimisticmetsfan/citi-field-beer-list/

Philadelphia Phillies: I want to visit Citizens Bank Park! From what I have been able to discern there are a lot of great beers available here including Dogfish Head, Sly Fox, Troegs, Victory, Anchor, Sierra Nevada, Red Hook, Yards, Samuel Adams, Smithwick’s, Yuengling, Otter Creek and many others! Source: http://chuckbonfig.blogspot.com/2009/07/citizens-bank-park.html (note that source was from 2009)

Boston Red Sox: Fenway Park is apparently really expensive. As far as craft beer goes Samuel Adams, Smithwick’s, Narragansett Brewing Company are Harpoon available inside the park. However, nearby is a Yard House which contains 100 or so taps! Source: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/706347

Los Angeles Angels: Bootleggers, Hanger 24 and other seasonal craft beers are available at Angel Stadium. Source: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/brew-346275-stadium-club.html

Los Angeles Dodgers: According to http://www.beeroftomorrow.com/craft-beer-at-dodger-stadium-in-2012/ Samuel Adams, Firestone Walker and Gordon Biersch are available at Dodger Stadium. Other craft options may exist as well.

Chicago White Sox: Once I read you can purchase Bell’s Oberon at a White Sox game here, I figured my research for U.S. Cellular Field was done! I mean, what other beer could one want! But for those wanting other options, a large portion of the Leinenkugel portfolio is available here as well as Pilsner Urquell.

Chicago Cubs: Old Style (yes, not a craft beer, but there is history here) will be available through at least 2013. Unless there is some kind of exclusivity agreement with Pabst, it stands to reason that Goose Island is available as they have a Wrigleyville Brewpub located just around the corner from Wrigley Field.

Kansas City Royals: As mentioned here, Kauffman Stadium offers Boulevard and New Belgium beers. You can also find Leinenkugel products, better than nothing, but Kauffman does need to step it up a little bit in this regard….

Tampa Bay Rays: If the Brewhouse in Tropicana Field still sells Cigar City beer (I did not have a lot of luck finding information for 2012) then the Rays are the big winners! I can not wait to visit this bar…err Stadium! Source: http://beerinflorida.com/523/beer-bites-baseball-growlers-tappings/

Pittsburgh Pirates: PNC Park is easily one of the most craft beer friendly ball parks in the nation with Dogfish Head, Erie Brewing Company, Samuel Adams, Yuengling, 21st Amendment, Troegs, Victory, Brooklyn, Flying Dog, Magic Hat, Church Brew Works and others on hand! Source: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sectionfront/life/at-pnc-park-on-the-scent-of-a-crafty-cold-beer-246715/ and http://www.examiner.com/article/pnc-park-has-your-craft-beer-bases-covered

San Diego Padres: Petco Park is a solid craft beer ballpark simply because San Diego is an amazing craft beer city. One can not go wrong with Ballast Point or Stone on draft at the stadium. I do wonder why Green Flash and Alesmith are not featured at Petco Park as well? Source: http://www.sdbeergeeks.com/2011/04/san-diego-beers-at-petco-park.html

Cleveland Indians: Progressive Field sells Hoppin Frog, that is all I needed to hear! Sign me up for one….or seven! There are many other excellent craft beers available at Progressive Field as well such as Great Lakes Brewing Company.  Source: http://aol.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2011-04-12/sbj-indians-selling-30-beer-at-progressive-field and http://www.cleveland.com/taste/index.ssf/2011/03/cleveland_indians_boost_brew_o.html

Arizona Diamondbacks: Chase Field sells the new microbrewery Fretzy’s Beer. It also made this list for best stadiums to party at. Source: http://downtowndevil.com/2011/09/30/14014/phoenix-ale-brewery/

Florida Marlins: Apparently, Sun Life Stadium has a very weak beer selection as showcased by this article http://www.dailybeerreview.com/2011/07/sun-life-stadium-urinal-study.html.

Toronto Blue Jays: It looks like the Rogers Centre does not have anything too unique going on in the beer world. Considering all I have drank, read and heard about the Canadian beer scene, I am surprised to discover a lack of craft beer at the Rogers Centre. Perhaps my source was mistaken? Source: http://www.bluejayhunter.com/2011/03/ballpark-beer-overpriced-liquid-that.html

Texas Rangers: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington sells some good craft brews such as St. Arnold Brewing Company, Rarh & Sons Brewing Company, Shiner, Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn and New Belgium. Source: http://beyondthebrew.tumblr.com/post/8178776913/beer-guide-to-the-ballpark-in-arlington-for

Seattle Mariners: Safeco Field is filled with a selection of rotating local brews such as Lazy Boy Brewing, Dick’s Brewing Company and Skagit River Brewery. There are also some larger operations like Lagunitas and Red Hook. Certainly a stadium worth checking out! Source: http://seattlebeernews.com/2011/05/a-dog-and-a-beer-craft-brews-at-safeco/

Atlanta Braves: Atlanta is an exciting and dynamic city, Turner Field’s beer selection reflects that, with craft beers like Abita, Samuel Adams, Sierra Nevada and local favorite Sweetwater Brewery. Source:http://bottlesofbarley.blogspot.com/2010/06/beer-at-ballpark-turner-field-atlanta.html

Houston Astros: Minute Maid Park looks like it has a few gems to offer such as St. Arnold, Samuel Adams and Leinenkugel beers. Source: http://blog.chron.com/beertx/2009/04/a-beer-drinkers-guide-to-minute-maid-park/

Cincinnati Reds:I must say the name of the Red’s stadium, The Great American Ballpark, is just plain awesome. Luckily for the fine people in Cincinnati the available beer selection lives up to the name as well, with offerings from the Christian Moerlein Brewing Company, Bell’s, Goose Island, Stone Brewing, Great Lakes Brewing Company, Avery, 21st Amendment and even a bottle offering from Founders! Source: http://www.redreporter.com/2011/4/20/2100755/a-guide-to-craft-beer-at-gabp

Minnesota Twins: The brand new and beautiful Target Field sells some beers to match its venue! Surley Brewing Company launched Bandwagon which is exclusive to Target Field, this year. Other offerings from Surley as well Grain Belt and Summit Brewing Company beers are sold at Target Field. Source: http://blogs.citypages.com/food/2012/04/surly_launches_bandwagon_exclusive_target_field_beer.php and http://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/stories/2010/03/29/daily37.html

Detroit Tigers: Comerica Park may have high prices (exactly which stadium has cheap beer?) but being in Michigan great beer too. I know they carry Bell’s, Atwater and Magic Hat. Source: http://www.freep.com/article/20120426/SPORTS02/120426012/beer-at-Comerica-park-Tigers and http://www.bsimichigan.com/Home/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/1380/Cheers-to-the-Tigers-and-Michigan-Beer

St. Louis Cardinals: One of America’s great beer cities with 20 breweries right now. Busch Stadium, despite its macro-brew name has some great crafts on hand such as Schlafly, Samuel Adams, New Belgium, Boulevard, Urban Chestnut and O’Fallon. Source: https://foursquare.com/gostl/list/where-to-find-craft-beer-at-busch-stadium

San Francisco Giants: With beers like Lost Abbey, Highwater Brewing, Victory, Sierra Nevada, Lagunitas, Russian River, North Coast, Allagash, Avery, Blind Pig, Alesmith, Green Flash and Jolly Pumpkin at AT&T Park, I will skip the game and hang out in the bar! Seriously, all I can say is wow. Source: http://www.fangraphs.com/not/index.php/ballpark-beer-review-att-park/

Washington Nationals: Sierra Nevada, Flying Dog, Heavy Seas and others are available at Nationals Park. Source: http://thebeercircle.com/beer-at-the-ballpark/beer-at-the-ballpark-nationals-park

Baltimore Orioles: Oriole Park at Camden Yards has some great beers available including Heavy Seas, Evolution Craft Brewing Company, Flying Dog, Fordham Brewing Company and Old Dominion Brewing. Source: http://beerinbaltimore.com/?p=5593

The great blogger at Beer in Baltimore brought this exert from a press release by Flying Dog to my attention.

Camden Yards is offering Flying Dog at over 20 locations in the ballpark this season, including at the new Roof Deck center field bar and at our own storefront (which will feature locally-inspired food and beer pairings).

Also, starting April 27, our “Firkin Friday” will feature a special cask-conditioned beer at each of the Orioles’ Friday night home games.

And if that’s not enough, a special shipment of our very first cans produced will be available at Sliders and Pickles Pub tomorrow [Friday the 6th] only. Starting at 5:30 am[!?!?!?!], cans of UnderDog Atlantic Lager are just $4 each.  Cans won’t hit the Baltimore area for at least another month, so we are stoked to share this exclusive preview.

If that does not put Oriole Park at Camden Yards high on the list for best beer in Major League Baseball, I do not know what does! I wish I lived near Baltimore!

Oakland Athletics: I know they sell beer and being in a beer rich region it stands to reason at least some of it is good. Unfortunately, all I could find concerning beer at the Coliseum is that one should be able to find Sierra Nevada and Lagunitas on tap there. Source: http://fredsbeerpage.blogspot.com/2012/05/picture-may-be-worth-1000-words-but.html

Milwaukee Brewers: If one expects good beers at a stadium named after a brewery that is home to a team called the Brewers, one would be correct! Miller Park sells Horny Goat Beer, Hacker Pschor, Lakefront and New Glarus! New Glarus alone is worth the trip to Wisconsin, why not watch some baseball while your at it? Source: http://www.millerparkdrunk.com/beer/miller-park-beer/

Colorado Rockies: Another stadium with a macro brewery’s namesake located in a craft beer paradise, Coors Field has some excellent craft beer options. Some of Coors Field’s offerings include Oscar Blues, Boulder Beer Company, Odell Brewing Company, Samuel Adams, New Belgium and Sandlot Brewery. Source: http://www.purplerow.com/2011/7/11/2269472/coors-field-insider-adult-beverages-at-the-ballpark

Here are several similar articles worth checking out http://thefullpint.com/beer-news/craft-beer-pairs-well-with-baseball/ and http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/entertainment-general/index.ssf/2012/06/craft_beers_are_proving_a_hit.html


Musings On Aging Beer

I am just going to touch on this subject today but do plan on coming back to it in the future. I have recently started opening up my beer cellar, which consists mostly of barley wines and imperial stouts. So far, in the past year or so, I have tried about 40 vintage beers. The only one I have found a noticeable flaw in was an 09 Stone Old Guardian in February 2012. This was in no way Stone’s fault and likely due to poor storage (which could be a variety of things, the beer may have had a rough trip back from Florida, the closet was certainly not at the ideal temperature and from what I have heard, sometimes this stuff just happens). Either way, the beer tasted a lot like cardboard which would make sense as the beer was fairly light in color and probably developed a significant amount of aldehyde. Fortunately, everything other vintage beer I have tried turned out much as I suspected. I noticed a particularly large difference between years in Lagunitas products such as Old Gnarlywine. These aged barley wines were good but in every case including a side by side of Firestone Walker’s Abacus and Sucaba, I preferred the fresh version. Perhaps, I am just not a huge fan of the sherry like flavors that tend to develop with them. With that said, I have had some phenomenal aged imperial stouts such as Bell’s Expedition Stout that blew me away after sitting a few years. I have also had some extremely pleasant experiences with aged sour browns such a four year old New Belgium La Folie. Ultimately, I am leaning towards drinking beers fresh, but vintage beers can be a nice treat. I have also heard that Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg’s Samichlaus has legendary aging capabilities. Here is a slightly more in depth look at some of the basic chemical processes that tend to go with aging of beer http://www.professorbeer.com/articles/oxidative_staling_beer.html

Now that you know what to expect, experiment and enjoy! Please add any thoughts and I do plan on returning to this subject as I learn more!

Springfield, Missouri 2011 State of Beer Review

2011 has been an excellent year for beer in Springfield. I could make this article very long and still fail to mention many important Ozark beer developments. Do not worry, I have no interest in boring anyone with such things. I am merely gonna mention some of the largest beer related events of 2011 in the region.

By far the largest and most exciting development in the area was the introduction of Mother’s Brewing Company. Mother’s started out last spring and has, so far impressed me tremendously. They have a beautiful facility in downtown Springfield. On top of the aesthetics, they are making some great beer and charging very reasonable prices. I expect a lot of great things from them in 2012. Another brewery that deserves mention is Horseshoe Bend Brewing Company near the Lake of the Ozarks. Horseshoe bend has just completed a “croudsourcing” fundraising campaign in order to facilitate more production. I have not had their beer and do not suspect it will make it to Springfield in the near future, but am very glad to see their enthusiasm and desire to create good beer for the Ozarks. I wish them the best of luck in the future. I can not fail to mention that the Springfield Brewing Company recently changed ownership. Their brew master is now the owner and I see great things coming out of this. I was recently given a bottle of the Full Nelson, which is a Nelson Sauvin wheat wine and I was very impressed.

This year has also been a good year for both on and off premise beer consumption in Springfield. In 2011, Missouri saw the introduction of Green Flash Brewing Company and Stone Brewing Company which are both excellent breweries from San Diego. Firestone Walker Brewing Company and Nectar Ales, (which is one of my favorite breweries) from Paso Robles California, entered the Missouri market last spring as well. Very recently an excellent new brewery out of St. Louis, Perennial Artisan Ales, arrived on Springfield shelves. While those are certainly not all of the beers new to Missouri, in 2011, they some of the most acclaimed. With the introduction of those five breweries, Missouri’s already strong portfolio of available beers improved dramatically. Deschutes Brewery is supposed to come to Missouri early in 2012 and can not wait to see what else!

The selection on store shelves has greatly improved in 2011. I have also noticed a drastically improved tap selection at many bars. The Brown Derby Craft Beer Fest and Oktoberfest both went on and expanded in 2011. The Springfield Food and Wine Celebration added beer in 2011. Beer dinners and sit down tastings have been on the rise. The beer community in general is growing. Overall 2011 has been an excellent year for beer in Springfield and 2012 looks to be even better. Keep up the great work Springfield!

My Favorite Beers of 2011

I know this list is entirely subjective. Sadly, there were many new beers that deserve to make this list that I was not fortunate enough to try and many that I simply forgot (it has been a very eventful year). Still 2011 was an excellent year for beer in my world and these are some of my favorites. Hopefully, 2012 has some tricks to compete! The list is in no particular order and I am trying to focus on beers that were new to 2011 (or at least new to bottles, if I am mistaken on some, I apologize), so classics such as Bell’s Hopslam and Chimay Grand Reserve are excluded.

1) Anchorage Brewing Company: Bitter Monk with a description like this “Belgian style double IPA with Brettanomyces. this ale is aged in french oak chardonnay barrels. Brewed with Apollo, Citra, and Simcoe hops. Dry hopped in the barrel with Citra hops. Triple fermented- First in the tank with a Belgian yeast, second in french oak chardonnay barrels with brett, and finally in the bottle with a third yeast for natural carbonation.” how can it be bad? The complex, funky taste lived up to the hype.

2) Mikkeller: Mikkeller Nelson Sauvin Brut This is the perfect beer to drink on New Years or anytime for that matter. It is truly fantastic, lots of funk, a little white wine and citrous, just fantastic. It is expensive for a beer, but $20 is still cheap compared to a good champagne.

3) Jolly Pumpkin: Lupulo De Hielo This Michael Jackson’s Rare Beer Club exclusive is one of many reason I will continue to utilize that excellent service. This beer is crisp, funky and complex. Like many of Jolly Pumpkin’s offerings, world class all the way.

4) Boulevard: Collaboration No. 2 – White IPA This beer was the result of a collaboration with Deschutes Brewery. This beer retains some of the lightness and spice of a wit yet boasts some strong citrousy hops. In three words, it is beautiful.

5) New Belgium: Le Terroir Released for the first time in bottles this spring. This beer is astonishingly refreshing, tart and fruity.

6) Firestone Walker: Firestone 15-Aniversary Ale I am not sure where to begin on this one, this is an extremely complex blend of amazing beers. There are layers upon layers of delicious flavors, including toffee, bourbon, coffee, dark fruits and the list goes on.

7) Lagunitas: Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale Do not let the clever, self depreciating name fool you. This American double IPA is astounding. It contains about everything I could ever hope for from an IPA and I have all but forgotten about Brown Shugga. I can not wait for “Leftovers”.

8 ) Founders: Canadian Breakfast Stout Bottled for the first time in 2011. This maple barrel aged version of the already stellar Kentucky Breakfast Stout is a real treat, if you can find it.

9) Avery: Rumpkin This beer is huge clocking in at 15.9%. It is also very sweet and boozy, but unique, complex and delicious.

10) Firestone Walker: 2011 Abacus I have not had previous incarnations of the Abacus, but this English Style barley wine is one of my favorite beers of all time. The 2011 Abacus is decadent, smooth and so complex it is perfect for long contemplation.

A few very unique honorable mentions include, Rogue Bacon Maple Ale, Sierra Nevada/Dogfish Head Life and Limb, Odell Friek and New Belgium Kick.

Black IPA’s, Fad or Future Staple?

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that Black IPA is the fad beer style of the year. I am also going to predict that Black IPAs are here to stay. This year they seem to be coming out of every direction as some kind of special release or anniversary ale. Just the other day, I tried a Clown Shoes Hoppy Feet, which was a pretty bold beer for the time of night that I drank it, but still very good. Odell has recently re-released their Mountain Standard Double Black IPA in four pack bottles. Stone’s Anniversary Ale was an imperial black IPA. Grand Teton made a black IPA this year. Firestone Walker is soon to release the Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA. That is just a few of the more prominent ones to reach the great state of Missouri (sadly, Clown Shoes does not distribute in Missouri, I was fortunate enough to enjoy that with help from a friend). This is certainly not a bad thing, I just find it interesting how quickly the style is gaining popularity. I think the fad will turn into a long standing and legitimate style, there are simply too many highly respected breweries making them to discount as a mere fad. While more seem to come up everyday, the style is not particularly new either, Stone has been crafting the Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale for some time and Southern Tier has also produced Iniquity for several years. Regardless of their “vogue status”, they are tasty beers. So, if you like hops with a distinct toast character added on, check out a Black IPA, a decent one should not be difficult to find. My two favorites so far are still the Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale and the Odell Mountain Standard Double Black IPA. Feel free to comment on whether or not you agree as well as favorite Black IPAs.

*** corrected on 11/22/11*** I have edited this post as I originally mentioned a black IPA that apparently does not exist. I did have a black IPA on tap at a local bar in Springfield, Missouri. Unfortunately, whatever I had was not produced by Left Hand as I originally thought, they do not make a black IPA. I am terribly sorry for my mistake and hope that anyone who read this will forgive me. I have no idea what beer I was thinking of, I distinctly remember it having the word toasted in the name, but can find absolutely nothing to prove this. So, for now, I will just sit here in shame and scratch my head. Have a good night.

Update: We are now well into 2012 and the flood of Black IPAs continues with a variety of new products such as Widmer Brothers Pitch Black IPA, Deschutes Hop in the Dark CDA and Blue Point Brewing’s awesomely named Toxic Sludge Black IPA. I must also mention there is some controversy concerning the name of this style. Since the term Black IPA is an oxymoron, others prefer to call this style an India Black Ale or a Cascadian Dark Ale. I prefer the term Black IPA, I think it denotes a bit of the history of the style while aptly describing its flavor profile. Here are a few related links, I have found since I originally posted this. From CraftBeer.com http://www.craftbeer.com/pages/stories/craft-beer-muses/show?title=india-black-ale-a-rose-by-any-other-name and from TheBeerWench http://drinkwiththewench.com/2011/10/that-which-we-call-a-rose-the-black-ipa-name-debate/.