Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Coming into Autumn

As the temperature outside starts to dip (in the 50s last night), it makes me start to think about the great beers that are a coming. I have posted before saying that I love a huge hop hit after a summer of light drinking brews. 

One beer that I don’t feel the need to drink is the plethora of “pumpkin” beers that flood the market, and yes, I too will rant on why the hell are pumpkin beers showing up in August. I have pumpkin fields less than a mile from my house, there has not been enough time for a brewery to use the pumpkin in the beer.  Finally, I have seen some labels that describe it with pumpkin spices, instead of claiming to use pumpkins.  One that I will recommend is Oliver Ales pumpkin beer (Freddy's Revenge), as he has documented the roasting of the pumpkins online, and the flavor is pretty good (even though I am not a huge pumpkin person myself).

But I do love Oktoberfest style beers, whether they are ales or lagers, they always seem to be easy drinking, balanced beers that work well for anyone.  You can add a second dose of hops to give it something different if you are making a homebrew. 

As for commercial breweries, everyone should have had Sam Adams Oktoberfest by now, if not, they released it this year in July, so go out and grab one. Spaten, Ayinger and Paulander seem to be the default German beers that people drink, and I fully support those decisions. I like to grab a Flying Dog Dogtoberfest, one of the reasons being the awesome name and artwork. Victory does what Victory does and hops up their Festbier.  Great Lakes also makes one of the easiest drinking Oktoberfests, so that is always a recommendations.

Whether you like the dark warming beers that are on the horizon, the spiced up pumpkin beers that are taking over the shelf or the balanced Oktoberfest beers, enjoy what you like with friends and always be responsible.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Session #66- My Frankenstein Beer

For this version of The Session, Craig over at drinkdrank ponders:
We all have our favorite brews—even if you say you don't; deep,deep down we all do. From IPAs to Pilsners, Steam Beers to Steinbiers, something out there floats your boat. What if we look that to another level? What if you were to design the perfect brew—a Tolkien-esque One Beer to Rule Them All. The perfect beer for you, personally. Would it be hoppy and dark or strong and light? Is it augmented with exotic ingredients or traditionally crafted? Would your One Beer be a historic recreation or something never before dreamt of? The sky is the limit on this one...

I'd suspect that most of you out there probably have a good understanding about the brewing process—but if you don't, no sweat, just wing it. This exercise isn't about making sure you've checked all the right boxes for the BJCP or some homebrew competition. This Session is all about imagining the possibilities—no matter how ridiculous! Feel free to create a recipe, right down to the aplha acid in your hops or conjure up a review just like you'd do for any other beer. However you want to come at this, it's your ultimate beer, your One Beer to Rule Them All!

When I start to think about my favorite beers, what I want from a beer, and what characteristics I love most about beers, my mind just about explodes. Anywhere from Troegs Nugget Nectar, Saison Dupont, Orval, Flying Dog Raging Bitch, Victory Prima Pils, Anchor Steam, Great Divide Yeti... the list goes on and on. There are different characteristics in each beer that I love and respect. So to craft my "prefect brew" would and will be hard, but I can do it.

First off, the number one thing that I love about beer is the aroma. And I am in heaven when it comes to Nugget Nectar. The hops just up from the bottle and smack you in the face. (Sure, some people can put Bell's Hopslam here, but I prefer Nugget Nectar.) Next, when you go to pour the bottle, you need to have a beautiful looking glass, and nothing is more pleasent than the Duvel tulip. While I love the look of crystal clear pilsners (Prima Pils), I would choose the appearance of North Coast Old Rasputin. Jet black means business. No one messes around with that beer.

When it comes to bitterness, I love a enamel erasing hop bomb, but that would not be ideal. I want something that I can enjoy over and over. So the mildly bitter, yet still there, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale would do. It has too much bitterness for BMC drinkers, yet is balanced enough for hopheads.  I would want the malt to give a slightly roasted, yet sweet taste that works well with typical citrus hops. Very similar to a Ithaca Cascazilla mixed with a touch of Yuengling Porter.

When the beer hits your mouth, I want it to be smooth, with a little body to make sure you know it is there. That is how I feel Anchor Steam is. It doesn't make you chew, rather it is a nice smooth brew. I would choose a session strength (lower than 4.5% in my book) to help round out the drinkability. I want to be able to be responsible, while still enjoying multiple in a setting.

Finally, what I want most out of the beer, is for it to be able to create memories, and that is the most important.  I want it to be enjoyed by my friends, family and anyone else who has one.  I want the night to be remembered for the great times and conversation, and for us to remember those times with every sip of the beer.  For that I would call my beer:

Memories Ale.