Sour Beer Day And Weekend Reading

Today is sour beer day! I do not know who is creating all these ridiculous holidays like national pie day or anything on this list http://www.rickroot.com/blog/1/2005/02/Bizarre-American-Holidays.cfm (seriously, look at that list…it blows my mind). Either way, as I am a huge fan of sour beers, I can at least get behind this day. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of sour beer options here in Fort Myers, Florida. So, far Total Wine is the only place I have seen any and even their selection is pretty weak. They do carry Petrus Aged Pale, Rodenbach Grand Cru, Boon and a few others. Of course they also carry some of the sweeter lambics such as Timmermans. For those of you reading in Springfield, Missouri, the Brown Derby International Wine Center in Springfield and The Wine and Cheese Place in Saint Louis both have a great selection of Lambics, Oud Bruins, Brett Beers, whatever your classify Jolly Pumpkin beers as and other sours. I plan on celibrating this completely pointless day by drinking a Lambickx from Vanberg & DeWulf.

While you are drinking some sour beers, here are some interesting articles I have recently stumbled onto.

Warmer than usual temperatures in Germany have led to a shortage of beer containers, which may lead to a shortage in beer for Oktoberfest! http://bottomline.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/07/13729723-germanys-real-crisis-oktoberfest-beer-shortage-looms?lite

Here are some gluten free beer suggestions, although I have never seen any of these brands in Florida or Missouri. http://draftmag.com/features/sixer-gluten-free-beers/

The majority in U.S. Drink Alcohol. http://www.gallup.com/poll/156770/Majority-Drink-Alcohol-Averaging-Four-Drinks-Week.aspx?utm_source=add_this&utm_medium=addthis.com&utm_campaign=sharing

I am not sure where I stand on this debate…I simply eat tasty things… Organic Food vs. Conventional Food

The Geography of Craft Beer

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

 

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.

Thanksgiving Beer Recap Calzeau Saison, Jolly Pumpkin Lupulo de Hielo, Redbud Brewing Company Cuvee Four, St. Arnold Pumpkinator, Mikkeller Chipotle Porter (Review)

As, I mentioned yesterday, I was fortunate enough to eat and drink some pretty amazing stuff on Thanksgiving with, of course, some pretty great people too. We did not try and pair foods to beer as much as we simply drank whatever we felt like. That said, we did enjoy some thanksgiving appropriate beers such as the St. Arnold Pumpkinator and the Jolly Pumpkin Lupulo de Hielo (which was brewed with some pumpkin). We ate the traditional fare, chicken, turkey and ham and so on. We also added a few twists such as a Williams Sonoma tiramisu (amazing and worth every penny, but could have used some rum). All in all it was a great meal. Now on to the part you really care about, the beers.

We started with a Brasserie Cazeau Saison, I acquired from Michael Jackson’s Rare Beer Club. This true Belgian saison came in at 5% abv and poured a hazy golden color with a thin white head. On the nose, I did not detect a lot other than a very small amount of sulfur. The Cazeau was brewed with some Elderberry flowers. It was a dry and subtle yet complex. There was a good deal of the unique saison yeastiness as well. It had a little bit of funk and was overall very drinkable. The Cazeau Saison is not world class beer but is very close.

Next in line was the Redbud Brewing Company Cuvee Four Saison (Which was given to a friend by the brewer). This may be the best beer to come out of Oklahoma (a state that is not exactly famous for great beer). I enjoyed it a great deal though. I think it could have used a little more carbonation and stand to dry out a little bit, perhaps a year or two of aging will solve these slight deficiencies. Overall I found the beer to be fairly fruity on the nose, but tasty and easy drinking. If you are lucky enough to find it, I suggest you pick one up.

During the heart of the feast we consumed the Mikkeller Chipotle Porter. This went very well with the meal. There was not a lot of pepper on the nose but a little vegital action as well as other common porter aromas, such as a little bit of chocolate and so on. The chipotles were hard to decipher at this point. As to the taste, the solid roasty porter, meshed well with the slightly smokey chipotle peppers that made their presence known on the finish. The peppers built up and gently warmed the pallet with each subsequent sip. Like everything the gypsy brewer Mikkeller makes, the Chipotle Porter was a marvelously constructed beer and even better with a rich savory feast!

Somewhere in the mix (which particular order we ate and drank these beers was not of a real concern to us last night) we drank a St. Arnold Pumpkinator. The Pumpkinator is an Imperial Pumpkin Stout from Houston Texas. This unique twist on a pumpkin beer poured cola brown and packed a lot of pumpkin pie spices with a slightly bitter finish. It is an excellent beer that deserves its A on Beer Advocate. At 10% abv is packs a pretty solid punch as well. Look for it next year, it is definitely one of my favorite pumpkin beers.

Before the night began slipping away from us we opened up the Jolly Pumpkin Lupulo de Hielo. This Michael Jackson Rare Beer Club exclusive was the highlight of the beer drinking night. The Lupulo de Hielo poured an opaque orange and my bottle gushed just a little. There is a good amount of hops and acidity on the nose. Unlike the La Parcella, I did not detect much of the pumpkin on the nose. The Lupulo de Hielo was slightly sour with a good amount of funk. The hops and the oak played around on the tongue, adding yet more layers to this extremely complex and tasty brew. Words can not really describe just what the Lupulo de Hielo is, but the most important descriptor is this beer was awesome and I wish I had another bottle. The offerings from Jolly Pumpkin, The Bruery and Brasserie Fantome are worth joining the rare beer club alone.

The night concluded with many other beers such as a Drie Fonteinen Kriek, some Oscar Blues and Frambozen and a lot of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I had a great thanksgiving and I hope you did too!

Happy Halloween

—Originally Posted on http://beerandboardgames.blogspot.com 10/31/2011—

Have a great holiday, whether you are drinking La Parcella or Steel Reserve! I think I will go with the New Belgium Kick when I get off of work….But J. K. Scrumpy keeps calling…. As far as costumes go, my work schedule is responsible for me “phoning it in” this year, so I purchased a goofy Santa Beard/Glasses combo and covered the beard in grenadine to make it look like Santa has been eating some pretty disturbing things, or earning his “red wings”…. Another inappropriate Halloween costume idea that some individual may be interested is a pregnant woman, with a sack filled with red jello or something and a baby doll that can be opened up to splatter all over the floor. I think it would be a very classy costume. Anyway, I hope your Halloween was good and just wanted to leave you with that mental image in your head….

Michael Jackson’s Rare Beer Club

—Originally Posted on http://beerandboardgames.blogspot.com 10/27/2011—

Michael Jackson’s Rare Beer Club
I am a pretty big beer nerd. (hence the title of this blog) For my first official post, I want to talk about Michael Jackson’s (the deceased beer/scotch aficionado and writer, not the singer) Rare Beer Club. I joined this club about a month ago, with the hopes, of acquiring some rare beers that are not available in Missouri. So far, I can not say enough good things about this company. I received my first shipment a few days ago. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed. Instead of this month’s featured beers, the RBC sent me a Stateside Saison from Stillwater Artisanal Ales and a Saison de Cazeau from Brasserie De Cazeau. Do not get me wrong, both of these saisons are hard to find and delicious (B+ on Beer Advocate). However, I can purchase them both here in Missouri. I was expecting to receive a Four Calling Birds from The Bruery and Lupulo de Hielo from Jolly Pumpkin. I then expressed my discontent with the shipment to the company. Within hours, a customer service representative replied and explained that on the very first shipment, they send the customer selections from previous months that they may have extras of. He then informed me that, since I expected different beers and was not satisfied, the club would send me the correct selections free of charge! Aside from the excellent customer service, this beer club is the real deal. The beers they offer are very rare and always come from highly rated producers such as Cigar City, De Ranke and so on. At just over 40 dollars a month, including shipping for 750ml bottles of world class beer this club is a pretty good deal. For example, October’s selections would both cost $16 to $20 a piece retail. They also have opt out options and craft/import six pack programs. So, far I am very excited about this club! http://www.beermonthclub.com/the-rare-beer-club.htm

—Update— 10/28/2011
I received the Lupulo de Hielo and Four Calling Birds today, which reaffirms my previous statement about the company’s excellent customer service.