Thursday, April 28, 2011

Progression in Columbia/Montour Counties

What I like to call, Back Home, there has been a rather explosion of beer in the past couple of years.  The weakening of the craft beer selection at Russels/ClancysKristies might have been a kick start to the strengthening at Harry's and the Capital.  The taps and bottles look much better.  No longer do you have to travel to Williamsport or Selinsgrove to get to a brewpub, you can find a few around Columbia and Montour counties.

Then came One Guy Brewing in Berwick (now Berwick Brewing), followed by Old Forge Brewing in Danville. Up next is Bloomsburg's first brewpub, Marley's.  This is a mini explosion, allowing many people to experience fresh, local brews.

NOW, we have even more news.  Turkey Hill Brewing (facebook page here) has opened up.  I have enjoyed their brews at the past couple of Taming of the Brews, and the construction of the brewpub has spurred interest.  I cannot wait to get to both Turkey Hill and Marleys (look for the reviews soon), and also for Purple Healer to become fully approved and sell their beer. 

The other big news in the area is that Old Forge will be installing a canning/kegging line.  They have rented warehouse space and bought equipment to brew/can/keg.  More info here.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Help Name a Beer!

Purple Healer is looking for help naming a couple of beers.  So get to their post, and think of something creative!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Beer Truffles

Brought to my attention by Taste of Baltimore, Parfections in Cockeysville has truffles infused with beer.  Made with Heavy Seas beer, they truffles cost 12 for $21.  You can order online or stop in their store.  It looks like I have found a new unique gift idea.  Now if only I remember.

From their website:

"Heavy Seas”
Unique Beer Infused Truffles
Parfections has joined with Heavy Seas Brewery to bring you unforgettable beer infused truffles.
Contact us for beer-infused truffle availability!

  • "Peg Leg" Truffle Imperial Stout combined with Dark Chocolate.
  • “Loose Cannon Ale” Truffle Citrusy hop character ale infused in white & dark chocolate with fresh orange zest.
  • Below Decks Truffle Malty Barley wine ale infused in dark chocolate.
  • Smoke on the Water Imperial smoked Porter blended in Dark Chocolate & Topped with a smoked sea salt.
  • Siren Noire Chocolate Stout blended in Dark Chocolate with roasted cacao nibs.
Other Beer Enthusiasts' Favorites
Parfections also blends unique truffles from other high quality beers available in the area. A must-try for the beer enthusiast!

  • Young’s Double Chocolate Stout Infused in Dark Chocolate and topped with roasted cacao nibs. 

  • Fuller’s London Porter Blended with Milk Chocolate. 

  • Stone Brewing Co. “Smoked Porter” Infused in Dark Chocolate and topped with a hickory smoked sea salt. 

  • Guinness Dark Chocolate infused with Guinness Stout and enrobed in Dark Chocolate

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Taming of the Brew Recap

Here is my late recap of The Taming of the Brew- a fundraiser for the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble. This is the eighth year for the TotB, of which I have gone to four of them. Crowd wise, this was the best feet yet, although that may be due to the raise in ticket price- I heard dumped of tickets left over, which hadn't happened in previous years.

On to the beer. Nice new entries, thanks to Breaker Brewing and Purple Healer coming to the TotB for the first time. Breaker is out of Wilkes Barre, and has caused a bit of a ruckus lately with their expansion plans- they are converting an old catholic church into their brewing facility/brewpub. I tried all of their offerings, my favorite being the IPA that they brought along. Purple Healer is a nano brewery that is just starting up in Bloomsburg. Brewer Larry DeGreen has hopes to complete his paperwork in the next month. He provided a very good dopplebock, and I chatted with him about his Czech Pislner. Yes, Fuggled, he does a triple decoction. Hopefully, his paperwork goes through soon and we can sample some of that.

The award for best beer went to Otto's Apricot Wheat, a fruity sweet, light, refreshing beer. It wasn't too over the top, but right in line with a good wheat base, complimented by the sweetness from the apricot. The Best Food award went to The Eagles Mere Inn, although I am not sure what. They had, they typically provide very good food at TotB and at the restaurant (my wife and I have stayed there, and it is awesome). The Best in Show award went to Purple Healer. Although there may be some hometown bias, the beer was delicious, so you cannot argue with that.

Other things to note are that Marley's Brewpub and Turkey Hill (whose beer, like Breaker, is not quite available to the public) were both represented well. I thoroughly enjoyed the offerings from Turkey Hill, I thought the Golden Ale was simple yet exactly what I would want, while Marley's had a Hefeweizen and (I believe) scottish ale. I tried the Hefeweizen, thought it was good, but I do not trust myself on quality in Hefes. I'll get to the brewpub and try what I was hoping they would have- the Kolsch.

The person pouring from Weyerbacher might have had the best line up. Merry Monks, Double Simcoe and Verbotten were being poured out of bottles. I could have take. That table home with me. As an added treat, he opened a bottle of Tiny (apparently from his personal stash) and shared it. I truly believe it might be one of the best Belgian Imperial Stouts out there.

Overall, it was a good time, a bit pricey, but the beer and food were worth it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Night Review

I grabbed the last of my Christmas presents, and placed it in the fridge. The Lagunitas Imperial Stout is an Unlimited Release, listed on Beer Advocate as 8.2%, but states on the bottle as 10+%. As the Lagunitas website says:
Having downed his forth Imperial Stout of theay, the wild eyed charlatan from Voldvostogniaky belched and hollered for the Czarina to enter his chamber and bend herself to his will. The economy was a wreck and revolt was just around the corner. Nicky the Czar dude was off playing soldier like any pale nobleman wioth a hemorrphagic skin condition would. Such were the final days of the old empire. Reactionary, decadent, sputnik, stroganoff, wierd, and drunk. But even as the proletariat countryside labored under inhuman conditions and a threat of being sent to futile war in the east, they wisely took the time to slam back an Imperial Stout or two. After all, life can be a real "suka", as they say in the old country. Big, black, bourgeois, bolshoy, belligerent, buxom, and scary - this is our version of the chaotic end of an era in a bottle.

Thanks for your trust, and as always:Think Globally, Drink Locally!!
Now on to the review:
Appearance: Dark dark brown.  Tan head.  Nice looking Imperial Stout.
Aroma: Initially hits the nose with a huge dose of coffee and roasted malts.  Searching can find a bit of vanilla and maybe some "dark fruits"- if you can find it.
Taste: Initial taste follows the nose, with the coffee and roasted malts being extremely prevelant.  The bitterness comes through at the end, to make sure that you don't forget about it.
Mouthfeel: Not too light, not to heavy.  Thought it would be a bit thinker, being a Imperial Stout. An observation, not a complaint.
Overall: This beer is nice and drinkable.  Carbonation is right inline with the malt/hops, and the alcohol (even thought a bit high) does not overshadow the rest of the beer.
Second thought (after it warmed): The beer tended to thicken up a bit, the mouthfeel improved, and the roasted malts overcame the coffee tastes to forefront.  After warming, a few esters came thought adding another dimension to the beer.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Table is Set- Beer Bracket Championship

Edit: Sorry, I screwed up my beer/team matchup on the original post.  It has been corrected.

The match up for tomorrow night is set. Great Divide Yeti vs. Yuengling Traditional Lager. As fun of a match up as this is, the beers going head to head are a session-able lager vs. a big Imperial Stout.

The Imperial Stout Yeti is full of flavor, dark as night and American as it gets (after being blasted with hops). The Traditional Lager is a clean tasting, easy drinking lager from America's oldest brewery.

In this one, I am going with the youth and exuberance of a 9.5% Stout.  Great Divide Yeti for the win!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Chimay vs Yuengling

Can a match up be more different than the second semi final game.  There is one, slight comparison.  Chimay and Yuengling are both breweries that started production in the 1800's.  Chimay (1862) is a trappist ale (brewed by monks), that uses the profits to sustain the monestary- the rest goes to charity.  Yuengling is a family run brewery, the oldest in the United States- born in 1829.

Chimay is know for it clean tasting belgian ales. They have their Red (Premiere, Rouge 7% avb), Blue (Grande Reserve, Bleue 9% abv), White (Cinq Cents, Blanche, 8% ) and Golden (Duree, 4.8%).  The red is my favorite, as the alcohol does not factor into the taste.  It is a well balanced, easy drinking ale.

Yuengling is know for its affordable, easy drinking and tasty Traditional Lager.  The brewery also produces different ales, but they have not spread like the lager.  The adjunct based lager has become popular due to its clean taste and affordability.  I love the lager; it has been a staple in my refridgerator since I became of age.  You would be hard pressed to find someone who would turn it down.  It isn't the top lager, but it is good non the less.

Overall in the matchup, I cannot see where people would turn down a Chimay.  The taste overwhelms the lager.  But watch out, Yuengling has been full of surprises this year.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Session #50- Factors of a Beer Purchase

Alan at A Good Beer Blog, asks such a simple question for the 50th rendition of The Session:
what makes you buy someone's beer?

There are many different factors that can go into a beer purchase.  Price, intrigue, label, style and reputation are a few.  I do not use price as a major factor in my decision making.  Many times, I have no idea what the price is.  Sometime that is a bad thing ($6 for a Yuengling once), sometimes it is a good thing (just paid $2.80 a pint for Oskar Blues Old Chub and Stone Arrogant Bastard). I just don't want to judge a beer with a price in mind.

The intrigue of a new beer or ingredient can lead me to placing a bottle in the basket, or ordering it off tap. The first time I saw a beer (saison) brewed with hibiscus, I was intrigued, and it was delicious. Ingredients can catch the eye, or be a turn off.  I have had more than a few friends turn their nose at Magic Hat's Wacko, simply because of the beets.  I had been hesitant to try The Bruery's Autumn Maple. But what I found out was, both were good; so now I try to keep an open mind. Many, many people will say that the label plays a big part in the beer purchase.  I would have to agree.  I shop for wines by the label (I am not, and neither is my wife, a big wine person).  It the label look traditional, I start expecting a traditional beer.  If it is an active, busy label, I expect something different.  This goes for the name as well.  You know what you are getting when you order a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.  But if you never heard of Flying Dog's Raging Bitch, who knows what to expect. 

Finally, the two aspects that matter the most to me are the style and the reputation.  I typically "feel" like some type of beer.  Not always the same as the day/hour/minute before.  Then I consider the reputation of the brewery. Have I liked the beers I have previously drank from the brewery, what beers do they typically brew, (if I have not had anything from them) what have I heard others say about their brews and finally, sometimes I bow to the almighty review sites- stay away from the letter or numerical overall rating, but look to see how people comment on the taste. If I wanted to drink a Belgian (or Belgian style), I would choose something that matches (maybe a trappist, Ommegang or Allagash).  If I wanted a bitter beer, I would look to go Stone, Troegs or Victory.  If I wanted something "Off-Centered" I might look Dogfish Head.

All of these factors can make a difference for me in my beer quest. For each their own, for mine, right now I would like a sour.