A Whole New Year Of Great Beer!

Happy New Year everyone! I am once again sorry for my egregious lack of activity. Selling beer around the holidays is often more than a full-time job. Finally it is done, but considering I live in a tourist/heavy snow bird area, after the new year, season apparently kicks in full swing…. To add insult to injury, the new wordpress update messed up my blog. Somehow through trial and error, I was able to delete the offending code and that is why you are able to read this now! I know, are very excited!

Anyway, 2012 is over, the world did not end. So on top of that great news, 2012 witnessed the United State’s brewery count rise above 2,100 breweries (an increase of 442), the successful implementation of many new beer festivals, multiple brewery expansions and the creation of several new beer styles. Needless to say, it was a pretty good year for beer!

I found this video on the excellent beer news site beerpulse.com

Musings On A Banner Year for American Craft Beer

“Critics of today’s brewers miss the point that small brewers in this country are already enjoying
a generous tax advantage over larger brewers and all importers, a policy designed to open
pathways to the marketplace. In fact, the small brewers in this country are experiencing
explosive growth – their dollar sales were up 14 percent in the first half of 2012 – and they
represent the fastest growing segment within the industry, having added 442 new breweries in
2012 alone. This indicates that the craft brewing sector is doing just fine producing high-end
beer for high-income consumers, despite a sluggish economic recovery impacting hard-working,
middle class Americans.
“It’s also worth pointing out the important economic footprint that large brewers provide.
Today, the major brewers are responsible for the lion’s share of the beer industry’s $223 billion
annual contribution to our nation’s economy, helping put more than 1.8 million Americans to
work, from brewery workers to bartenders, from factory hands to farmers. We’re proud of what
major brewers have contributed to American culture, the economy and our history.
“Ultimately, it comes down to consumer choice. And with a record number of brewers in today’s
marketplace, consumers have more choice than ever before.”

http://www.beerinstitute.org/BeerInstitute/files/ccLibraryFiles/Filename/000000001327/12%2013%2012%20Response%20from%20BI.pdf

2011 produced a record low number of drunk driving fatalities, hopefully 2012 continued on with that trend. http://www.beerinstitute.org/BeerInstitute/files/ccLibraryFiles/Filename/000000001331/12%2019%2012%20Record%20Low%20Drunk%20Driving%20Fatalities.pdf

For the oenophiles “The Year In Wine: Best Values Of 2012″

Enough with the past, 2013 looks to be a great year for beer as well!

Seasons 3 of A Game of Thrones can now be accompanied by “A Game of Thrones Beer” brewed by the one and only Brewery Ommegang! I cannot wait! http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2012/12/20/game-of-thrones-beer-on-tap-for-season-3/1781809/

New Belgium is planing a collaboration with the phenomenal Canadian brewery Dieu du Ciel, creator of Peche Mortel and many other stellar beers. They are also bringing back the Transatlantique Kriek a collaboration with Brouwerji Boon and the Springboard, a seasonal brewed with schisandra and goji berries. I am not sure what schisandra berries are, but I will definitely try a beer made out of them! Perhaps the best news to come from New Belgium is one of distribution, they will add two states to their footprint in 2013 a cold one and a warm one! I am crossing my fingers that the warm state is Florida. http://www.newbelgium.com/community/Blog/13-01-03/Well-dang-it-s-the-new-year.aspx

I am not sure if this is particularly good news, but it is interesting… Wynkoop Brewing Company’s Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout will be sold nationwide in two-pack cans later this month. That is all I have to say about that… http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2013/01/03/bull-testicle-beer-to-be-sold-later-this-month/

High end dining is starting to recognize what beer nerds have claimed for some time. Beer is a very “food-friendly” product! http://my.news.yahoo.com/beer-high-brow-2013-trend-report-173851475.html

2013 may not be a great year for Russian beer drinkers. http://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/russia-restricts-sales-beer-report-153517296–sector.html

Dogfish Head Festina Peche (Review)

I have mentioned the Berliner Weisse Style several times on this blog, it is simply one of my favorite types of beers. Now, that I live in Fort Myers Florida, I have access to a whole new world of great beers (conversely, there are some great beers such as Odell, Founders and New Belgium that I no longer have easy access to). The famed brewery Dogfish Head is one of the great producers I know have easy access to! While they make many incredible and innovative beers, I think I have a favorite, the Festina Peche!

The Festina Peche is a modified Berliner Weisse brewed with peach concentrate. If you like light, tart beers with a hint of peach flavor, this is the beer for you. It pours a sandy yellow with a small effervescent head. The aroma is fairly clean with a slight peach accent and noticeable acidity (I am sure sour does not count as a smell, but you can tell it is going to be tart just by smelling it). The taste is much the same, it is light and tart with just enough peach to spark the imagination and provide complexity and a counterweight to the sourness. It is fairly mellow for a sour beer, remarkably refreshing and highly drinkable. The Festina Peche is perfect for summer or Florida weather!

 

Update And Beer News

Greetings! I have officially moved to Cape Cora, Floridal and  move into the Oasis Tower in Fort Myers on Wednesday! The beer saturated trip from Springfield, Missouri was very long but a lot of fun. So far, I love Southwest Florida and look forward to meeting the beer community out here! I am still searching for employment, but my lack thereof should benefit you all as I will have more time to blog, for the time being. Anyway, after our trip to the Brick Store Pub in Decatur, Georgia we spent a few days in Tampa, where I was fortunate enough to visit Cigar City and a great beer bar called Mr. Dunderbak’s. I will try and have a write up about that posted by Monday. I also plan on making a beer oriented trip to Sarasota soon. I have heard Sarasota has a very sophisticated beer culture and is a great place to visit as well. Of course, I will hopefully get to try out some great places such as Mr. Beery’s, Darwin’s on 4th, Sarasota Brewing Company, Jalehouse and others! Until then here are some interesting reads to keep you busy this weekend!

Here is a very interesting discussion about the future of the booming craft beer world. http://www.betterbeerblog.com/index.php/2012/07/12/hopinions-on-the-cusp/#comment-229080 I threw my two cents in in the comments section.

Here is an article on the effective use of social media by some craft brewers such as New Belgium and Great Divide http://www.purethinks.com/purethinking/social-media-and-beer-craft-breweries-win-taste-and-twitter-wars

Pilsner Urquell is making some long overdue and drastic changes to help ensure its legendary product makes it around the world fresh and undamaged! http://beerpulse.com/2012/07/tenth-and-blake-introduces-express-shipped-cold-pilsner-urquell-in-the-u-s/

For Diablo III fans, here is a humorous review from Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/review/R2E1992AEAUA8Z/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00178630A&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=

If you are fortunate enough to find yourself in Singapore in the near future, check these bars out! http://is.asia-city.com/nightlife/article/bars-away-f1-action

I believe this is a serious post on the Fort Myers Craigslist…. http://fortmyers.craigslist.org/col/lab/3133872830.html

This is not new news, but it is confirmation that a new season of Arrested Development is officially underway! http://boomstickcomics.com/2012/07/jason-bateman-ron-howard-and-mitch-hurwitz-confirm-new-arrested-developments-episodes-start-shooting-in-a-few-weeks/

The sample size of this study seems a little small for a nationwide undertaking, but it is still an interesting idea, it looks at the number of tweets about God compared to the number of tweets about beer  in various parts of the country. http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/blogs/99bottles/2012/07/church_or_beer_boston_tweets_w.html

Beer in the Holy Land. I have been to Jordan and would love to return. http://www.bbc.com/travel/travel/feature/20120615-the-holy-land-of-beer

Kimchi beer? I think I will pass….But….different strokes…. http://koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2012/07/390_114283.html

Spider-Man vs Batman in terms of money, both fictional and box office success. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/06/spider-man-vs-batman-peter-parker-bruce-wayne-superhero-economics_n_1654352.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

I just found this excellent website that holds some brilliant food and beer pairings as well as some very enticing recipes that utilize beer! http://pairmybeer.com/

Finally, stronger beer arrives in Mississippi! http://news.yahoo.com/midnight-runs-carry-stronger-beer-miss-192156254–finance.html?_esi=1

Beer on Beale Street

Wailing guitars, note bending harmonicas, Southern comfort food, history and lots of booze all crash together on Beale Street. This neon paradise is perfect for the partier, live music junkie, foodie and people watcher. My only regret is that I only had one night to walk in Memphis. There was a ton going on and we were there on a Sunday Night!

We stayed at the The Westin Memphis Beale Street Hotel was situated nicely across the street from the Fedex Forum. The Westin was luxurious and staffed by very friendly people. The key cards malfunctioned during our stay, but that turned out to be a minor inconvenience only and led to a few free Ghost River Pale Ales.

The Westin Memphis Beale Street Hotel

Beale Street proper was an intense experience. Nearly every bar had a live band playing and a big neon sign flanked by sumptuous smells of Southern food. In fact, one did not need to walk into a bar on Beale Street at all. Music was flowing out of every crevasse. Most establishments had a take out window for alcohol and food. Street entertainers were everywhere as well. (I must warn you, around 12:30, the street took on a different mood. Many of the tourists had left and were replaced by law enforcement officials which produced a much more ominous mood, most of the bars remained open though.)

We chose to eat at B.B. Kings Restaurant & Blues Club, which was literally the first place we encountered (we were very hungry and it smelled delicious). Yes, B.B. Kings is a chain, but I was not disappointed. I do not recall ever eating bad hush puppies, nor can I recall eating a better ones than B.B. King’s either. The entire street smelled of a myriad of delicious foods, so I am positive we missed many culinary delights. I guess I will just have to visit again!

After dinner was taken care of, the search for good beer was on! I am glad to report that there was some good beer options to be found on Beale Street proper. Most of the bars and take out windows offered Ghost River Brewing selections and New Belgium Fat Tire on draft along with Pabst Blue Ribbon and the other major domestics. The Beale Street Tap Room proved to be a glorious dive bar that housed some 20 or so taps including Schlafly and some interesting Southern offerings such as Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company’s Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale. The Beale Street Tap Room also had an impressive collection of vintage beer cans and a live band.

While Beale Street proper was a sensory overload, the true beer lovers paradise was a few blocks away. Yes, I am talking about The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, Memphis. While not all Flying Saucers are created equal, all tend to be excellent beer bars. The Flying Saucer in Memphis was no exception. There was a wall of high quality taps, which, to my delight, included the Stone 11.11.11.. The Saucer also had a large bottle selection. I was not given a very straight answer as to their selection of rare beers that did not make it on the menu (I am sure they had some), but I was offered a Duchesse De Bourgogne-esque Flanders Red Ale (the name escapes me). For those reading this in Missouri, Tennessee is probably the closest place to find Victory Beers at the moment. We also had a Mud Island Torte which is a chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream and a Framboise Lambic sauce, that was absolutely divine (yes, I feel that way about most deserts made with that style of beer…).

All in all, it was a great trip and I think every American interested in partying, travel, music or history should visit Beale Street at least once. It was a truly unique place and I can not wait to go back. That was part one of our journey to Cape Coral, next stop was the Brick Store Pub in Decatur Georgia which I will report on soon!

Ten Great Beers To Drink This Summer!

Yesterday was the first day of summer. Luckily, there are many new beers (and some classics) available to quench your thirsts. Here are ten that I found particularly well made, innovative or just plain thirst quenching.

1) Deschutes Twilight Summer Ale: Twilight is a fruity lightly hopped American Blonde Ale perfect for summer activities.

2) Stone Russian Imperial Stout: This may strike you as an odd choice for making the list, however, even a muggy Missouri summer comes with a few stormy days. This roasty, chocolaty monster is perfect for such days! Sadly, in many parts of the country this highly sought after Russian Imperial Stout is already gone. Luckily, you can still find plenty in Springfield, Missouri at the Brown Derby International Wine Center! The Stone RIS will also hold up nicely for years, so feel free to simply hide it until the chilly weather arrives again!

3) Marshall Arrowhead Pale Ale: This gem from Marshall Brewing Company in Tulsa should arrive in the Missouri market today! I had the pleasure of trying it yesterday and am hooked. The Arrowhead Pale Ale is crisply carbonated, aggressively hopped with citra hops and just enough malt sweetness to hold it all together. As their website states the Arrowhead Pale Ale is a “a ridiculously easy drinking summer seasonal”.

4) Boulevard Saison Brett: Get this world class Saison while you can! The Saison Brett is a sensational combination of Belgian yeast, zesty hops and funky Brettanomyces. It is extremely complex and thirst quenching. This beer will also evolve in the coming years, so do not miss out!

5) Stiegle Grapefruit Radler: This low alcohol, highly drinkable grapefruit beer tastes a lot like Fresca. Do I need to say anything more?

6) Widmer Brothers Citra Summer Blonde Brew: Obviously brewed with Citra hops, the Citra Summer Blonde Brew has a strong citrusy aroma and a lot of lemon, orange and tangerine on the palate, yet it is not terribly bitter.

7) Ska Modus Hoperandi: The Modus Hoperandi is one of my favorite IPAs, bitter with a lot of piney hops. Perhaps the best thing about the Modus Hoperandi, as far as summer drinking is concerned, it comes in cans! This which makes it a perfect choice for lakes, rivers and beaches!

8 ) New Belgium Lips of Faith Tart Lychee: I had to include a sour beer on this list somewhere and the Tart Lychee does not disappoint. The Tart Lychee is slightly tart with a unique fruity sweetness due to the Asian tropical fruit lychee. Trust me, it is very tasty!

9) Three Floyds Gumballhead: Unfortunately, Three Floyds is not available in Missouri. Still, if you have access to the Gumballhead, consider yourself lucky and pick some up! The Gumballhead is one of the best American Wheat beers out there. Filled with citrusy hops, highly drinkable, perfect for summer.

10) Anchor Breckle’s Brown: The summer of 2012 seems to be filled with citra hops, which is a very good thing! The Breckle’s Brown is an American Brown Ale single hopped with Citra hops. The hops are not overwhelming and compliment the sweet malts nicely.

If you are in the mood to experiment, try adding a shot of raspberry vodka to a summer shandy such as Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. This beer cocktail suggestion was brought to you by my coworker Timothy Watson. Have a safe and saturated summer everyone!

 

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!

Beers To Look Forward To This March!

March 2012 is looking to be an excellent month for beer! Here are a few beers you should consider this month.

1) Sierra Nevada Hoptimum: Hotimum was one of the best Double IPAs I have ever had and this years 100 IBU bomb shell is looking even better. The 2012 Hoptimum will be filled with Citra, Simcoe, Chinook hops as well as a new proprietary hop variety developed by Sierra Nevada. Look for it in the next few weeks if it is not already out in your area.

2) Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout: This famous whiskey barrel aged stout needs no introduction. It is great, if you have not tried it, you need to and if you have tried it, you need more! This should arrive in vary limited quantities in stores by the end of the month.

3) Sierra Nevada Bigfoot: The folks at Sierra Nevada have been working very hard lately as it is also time for the annual release of Bigfoot! This big, hoppy barley wine is delicious now and will improve for several years. Its reasonable price, age-ability and yearly release makes it an excellent choice for vertical tastings.

4) Dogfish Head Urkontinent: This extremely unique Dogfish collaboration with Google (yes, I said Google) is being tentatively bottled right now. I was not able to find concrete release date information and it does not matter if you are in Missouri, because this beer wont be…Still, this beer should be worth hunting town or trading for. Here is a video about its construction http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiFewPyLlQA&feature=youtu.be

4) Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot: Their website gives a release date of late February for this beer. I know it has not arrived in Missouri yet. Still, like nearly everything Lagunita’s produces should be deliciously hoppy and big. The Wilco Tango Foxtrot will also have a strong malt component to balance this imperial brown ale.

5) Schlafly Irish Style-Extra Stout: If you are looking for a great domestic beer to drink for St. Patrick’s Day, this is the beer for you. This foreign export stout is well balanced, slightly bitter, dark and tasty.

6) Lagunitas Imperial Red: This red ale is exceptionally complex and contains a lot of green hops balanced by enough malt to keep everything together. If you ignore the fact that Irish beers were traditionally not heavily hopped, it is another good choice for St. Patrick’s Day.

7) New Belgium Dig: A great spring session beer. Dig uses both Sorachi Ace and Nelson Sauvin hops in conjunction with some American varieties such as Cascade to produce a zesty pale ale.

8 ) Odell Red Ale: The Odell Red is another American take on the red ale style. It is piney and citrus-y with a mild, sweet malt to back it up.

9) Firestone Walker Sucaba: Formerly known as Abacus, the Sucaba is a beer beyond description. In fact, the 2011 Abacus is one of my favorite beers of all time. While I have not yet tried the Sucaba, I expect it to hold up to its forebearers. Think toffee, vanilla, caramel and so much more. Extremely complex and delicious.

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.

New Belgium Frambozen (Review)

Since, I included this beer on my “Ten (fairly common) Beers You Should be Drinking This November!” post and it is one of my favorite winter seasonals, I figure it is only fitting that I give it a right and proper review as well. This very sessionable beer pours a deep reddish brown with a slightly pink head. Frambozen has a light raspberry aroma balanced by some hops and alcohol, the raspberries really come out after it warms up a bit. The taste is very much the same, some tart raspberries but by no means overwhelming, if anything the raspberry influence could be increased. I like it a lot, I think the Frambozen is highly drinkable and just all around nice for the time of year, this mellow beer will pair nicely with many seasonal foods. For a rating, I give the Frambozen an 84 on the Tim’s Tasty Scale, it is not extraordinary but over all I think it is very nice. It pairs extremely well with some rich gooey brownies.