Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Song of the Day!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

You can win stuff!!!

But not from me.  I don't get paid for this.

Head over to Alexander Mitchell's blog and give your piece on the six beers that you think should be included in the book "1001 Beers to Taste Before You Die."  The prize are free tickets to the City Paper Beer Festival.

Over on Pratt Street Ale House's blog, Brewer Steve Jones posted the Friday Question (every Friday, he posts a question, with the winner announced the next week).  This weeks loot is Westvleteren 12!  Get over there and take a guess!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Catching up with myself...

Just some observations that I have had in the past week or so.

Got back to the Selin's Grove Brewpub on Saturday.  I had an alumni soccer game, and then had about an hour to kill.  I knew where I wanted to go.  Even though they were down to about 5-6 taps, and none on handpump, I was happy to see the Scottish ale on.  It is my favorite beer there, even though it may be one of my least favorite styles.  It is such an easy drinking beer, and a great entry beer into craft brews (it was one of mine).

Also, this past week we were looking for a place to sit outside and grab a midweek dinner, and traveled down to Saute.  We have been there before, and liked it every time, but I was never sold on their tap selection.  The made an about face.  With Dogfish Head 90 Minute, Pyramid Snow Cap, Duvel Green, Sierra Nevada Celebration and the beer I had was Ommegang Three Philosophers.  Good selection of bottles as well.  (The taps also include Miller Lite and Yuengling.)  Good food, good beer.

This week is also Max's expansion to 102 taps, with the kickoff on Thursday, April 22.  I am hoping to get down and check it out.  The tap lists can be found here or here.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Taming of the Brew

This past Saturday, one of the events that I look forward to every year happened. The Taming of the Brew, held annually in Bloomsburg, PA, is a beer and food festival that benefits the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble. This year, there were 26 brewery(22)/distributor(4) tables in the two room festival. Between the beer tables, there were 22 local restaurants showcasing the food that they prepare (huge bonus of free food when given free beer). The festival highlights the local brewpubs. Many of the attendees may not have heard of the breweries, but The Taming of the Brew allows these people to experience their beer.

The food is not to be outdone. Many of the local restaurants bring their A-Game. From the premier sub shop in town (Steph's Subs) to great Italian (Balzano's) to a top rate restaurant bringing scallops (Eagle's Mere Inn- scallops were grilled on site), the food would be reason enough to attend.

Some breweries brought their top beers- Stone brought Sublimely Self-Rightous, Arrogant Bastard, Oaked Arrogant Bastard and their IPA; Bullfrog Brewing brought Edgar IPA (one of my favorite IPAs) as well as a great tasting Roughneck Scottish Ale; Market Cross Pub brought their Pub Porter- ON A HANDPUMP!; The Brewpub at Turkey Hill also brought a cask conditioned pale ale; Troegs had their typical lineup of Dreamweaver, Troegenator, Sunshine Pils, Java Head Stout and Hopback; and a new place to me, River House Brewpub had a very nice Dubbel. My fiancé enjoyed the Lindeman's Frambroise that was provided by one of the distributors.

The highlight of my day included the sight of Orval in the one distributor’s ice bucket. I thought that it was going be to a special release, so I asked when. He stated that they had an open bottle, so I made it my job to stop in for some every time I was nearby. It was ORVAL(!), who would ever bring that to Bloomsburg. Delicious. I turned some of my fellow friends onto it, they too enjoyed it.

I would also like to note that there were Ale Street News and Mid-Atlantic Brewing News newspapers lying around. Great placement. I hope that people were able to take and read them.  Also, Wade Hutchison gave a talk on beer styles.  I was not able to get down to listen to him, but I heard that it was extremely informative (I did see him last year, and it taught me a thing or two).

Orval in the Glass
Orval tag that caught my eye (others in the bucket, Lindeman's Franboise and Ayinger's) 

Ale Street News and Mid-Atlantic Brewing News

The Market Cross BrewPub Handpump on the table (great Porter!)

Some pics of the festival, attendees. 

It wouldn't be complete without the GregFace.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Beautiful Day, Great Beer- Selin's Grove Brewing

What a better way to spend a beautiful spring day, by going to an acclaimed brewpub. The Selin’s Grove Brewing brewpub has been listed in many top-whatever lists- #10 RateBeer Top Brewpubs 2010, #98 RateBeer Top 100 Brewery, #13 Top 50 Places to Have a Beer (2006)- there are others, I just couldn’t find them. It is based in a small town of around 10,000 people and a college in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. During my time at college, this brewery was one of the biggest influences in my beer beginning.

The brewpub is located downtown, right on their main street, Market Street. Being on the street is deceiving, as the brewpub is located down steps- so basically, you are going into their basement. Inside, there is a great looking, yet rather small bar and also seating at tables. The dimly lit room gives a great ambiance to drinking beer. But the patio was where we were going.

The small patio holds about 5 tables, so we felt fortunate to grab the last table (the brewpub is rarely packed during the day, as there is usually always a seat available. Their food is very good. We had already eaten lunch, so it was just a couple of soft pretzels for the two of us to go along with the beer. If you do go, they specialize in gourmet sandwiches and simple appetizers (Spinach Dip, Quesadillas, specialty cheeses, etc.).

First up was Ambition ale (a Belgian style Strong Pale Ale) for me and their Stealth Triple for my brother. (Sorry, I didn’t get pictures of the first beer.) The Ambition was a very good Strong Pale Ale, with a good base of spice; some hop bitterness and a bit of citrusy, dry finish. The triple was to style, but left a bit to be desired. We had it there before, and remembered it being a little more complex, maybe it was just not as fresh?

Next up, we both went with the Priestly Pale Ale. Named after a local scientist (the man discovered oxygen), the beer looked so good on the table next to us, we had to order it. A beautiful amber color with a nice half to three-quarter inch head, gave a good smell of caramel malt and citrusy hops. The taste was just as good. A perfect combination of bitterness and malt made this an extremely drinkable beer (at 5.7%).

Up next was the Organic Shade Mountain Oatmeal Stout for me and the American Pale Ale for my brother. The Oatmeal Stout looked and tasted perfect. It was. (Sorry for gushing over these beers, they were just phenomenal.) The dark, dark brown brew held up a creamy off white head (half inch). The APA had a golden/orange color, and also held up a creamy head (quarter inch). The stout had roasted malts present, but the chocolate malts stand out. The oatmeal is present, and the beer has a nice creamy mouthfeel. There is a bit of a hop bitterness finish, breaking apart the malt. My favorite beer on the day. The APA had a strong spiciness to it, as well as much more hop bitterness than the Priestly Pale Ale. It was a smooth beer, that did not offend any of the other beers on the day, but it was overshadowed by the stout.

Other beers that I can recommend (but were not on when we were there) are the Scottish Ale- one of their most popular beers, and their IPA- just a great IPA.

If you are looking to get to Selin’s Grove Brewing, a great time to try them out is at the Selinsgrove Beer & Wine Festival, held in July. It is a great beer, wine and food gathering, in a small town atmosphere. More information here. SGB is only 40 minutes from Harrisburg, 2 hours from Baltimore and 2.5 hours from Philadelphia. A great place for a day trip, or an overnight in one of the local bed and breakfasts or inns. Think about it.

Pauwel Kwak for the win!

After an exciting championship game, the Pauwel Kwak overcame the upstart Budweiser Budvar. The Kwak is one of my favorite Belgian beers. Some call it overrated, due to the traditional yard glass that many people drink out of, but I just find the brew delightful. (And I haven’t been able to drink it out of the yard glass yet.)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Session 38

This month of The Session is hosted by Beer Search Party, asking us to comment on what beer deserves its own day in the sun, its own release party, etc.

I have not been to many release parties. Not completely upset at it, as there are way too many beers that I need to try. I would love to be at Dark Lord Day, or Kate the Great. But I am fine not being there. As
for beer that deserves its own day, I would have to go with Flying Dod's Raging Bitch.

This beer has been my favorite beer for the past year, and I have found few people that do not like it. That is what a big release should be for. An affordable, awesome beer that most people have loved.  Here is to Raging Bitch Day 2010. (Flying Dog does have monthly Bitch Sessions, which could be considered a monthly release party, and they are awesome.)

There have been some beers that were highly praise and been major disappointment to me. First beer that comes to mind was the He'Brew Jewbilation 13. I was looking forward to this beer, and I just didn't
enjoy it. Maybe after a little time he spices will blend together a little better.

But for now, I will enjoy the Bitch.