Craft beer notes from an unOfficial Beer Goddess

Posts tagged ‘IPA’s’

LOCALTOPIA – A Celebration of Local Business (and Craft Beer!) in St Petersburg

Localtopia

February 1, 2014 – 75 degrees, sunshine, St Petersburg FL, an awesome army of volunteers, local vendors, and the “Drink Like a Local” beer truck, made for an exciting, fun, and memorable day for families, friends, residents, and everyone in between.   It was an amazing event!!!!

So many people came together to make the day such a huge success including main organizer Olga Bof, of Keep Saint Petersburg Local, and Brett Andress, owner of The Ale and the Witch, and an army of others.  Here’s the event website www.keepsaintpetersburglocal.org/calendar/event/localtopia/

It was also a big day for our not-for-profit Tampa Bay Beer Week consortium as St Petersburg, FL city councilman Steve Kornell officially proclaimed Tampa Bay Beer Week March 1-9, 2014 (I wrote the proclamation!)

proclamation

Here’s a recap of the event from a craft beer perspective by Brett Andreas:

Huge Bigger than Big congrats on an absolutely amazing event, when you get a chance to settle back, grab a glass of wine and relax with your family be very PROUD of your vision, drive, passion and enthusiastic support in gathering so many locals into our oldest City park for a day to enjoy together as a community. It was absolutely beautiful!!

From a beer perspective you accomplished many great feats as well. You sold out of an event beer truck with ALL local Florida beers from multiple distributors and breweries which is unheard of. Over 4200 beers were poured yielded from the kegs you started with and the kegs that Cycle and Green Bench brought in addition to. 4200 beers is over 10 beers poured a minute…. 10 beers A MINUTE and this wasn’t even a beer event. Be proud of selling this many LOCAL beers to our community as they gathered together to spend time together in Williams Park. WOW

It is all about Local and this event was a fantastic show of what local can do together.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to my army (over 50!)  volunteer beer pourers whose enthusiasm, energy, patience, and sheer dedication made the day a great experience for those who came out.

Here’s a slide show of the event!  Can’t wait to see you all at the next beer event… we are an amazing community.

– Carol Dekkers

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Big Rock Brewing, Calgary, Canada ROCKS!

Read more by clicking on the image above or here!
Have a great, safe week, and if you are in the path of Hurricane Isaac, stay drive and on high ground and find a Hurricane party to crash!

An unOfficial Beer Goddess

CA Road Trip… Silicon Valley Brew notes

My Creative Loafing Tampa – Daily Loaf blog post April 2, 2012.

Tampa Bay Beer Week – Full Hop Ahead…

Saturday March 3′s Florida Brewers Guild BeerFest event was simply hopping-awesome as brewers from as near as 50 feet away (Tampa Bay Brewing Company) and as far away as Chico, CA (Sierra Nevada) poured and tapped and poured some more beer varietals (is that only a wine word, I hope not anymore!)  I simply have to get out more because even in my world of frequent beer sampling, I had no idea there were so many local brewers in Florida. For a listing of members (brewing companies) of the Florida Brewers Guild, visit their website at www.floridabrewersguild.org.

Here’s a few of the “local” brewers who served up their freshest and finest at the event (a minute sampling of the many brewers!)

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Tampa Bay Beer Week continues until March 10, 2012 with an impressive calendar of free and almost-free events on both sides of Tampa Bay.  Join in the fun and expand your tastes into “real craft beer.”

To safe imbibing,

An unOfficial Beer Goddess

Another Totally Craft Beer night… at Total Wine

I love how Chris Fairchild does the beer education nights at Total Wine in St. Petersburg, FL!

Chris Fairchild, Total Wine St Pete

As a new Certified Cicerone, Chris brings both knowledge and first hand tasting experience to the classes, and it is obvious that you don’t have to do too much arm-twisting to get him to enjoy a good pint.  (While Chris admits to being a wine lover first, with time and maturity he might gravitate over from the “dark side”.  LOL!)

It does make a difference to take a class from someone who actually enjoys the beverage and is committed to craft beer (as opposed to someone who either doesn’t drink or simply slings beer at a local bar no matter what’s on tap.)  That’s why I came back for class #2 last Thursday night:  “Beyond Pilsners and Pales.”  (See prior post from Belgian beer education night.)

Once again it was well worth the meagre $15. (cover) charge for the class.

A group of about 15 local craft beer newbies was treated to a full expanse of 13 (yes a baker’s dozen!) craft brew samples that ranged from the rare “Ola Dubh” by Harviestoun in Scotland (an 8% ABV whiskey cask conditioned ale that retails at $11.99 for a 12 oz bottle!) to the Weybacher “Blithering Idiot” Barley Wine (11.1% ABV) to the Lagunitas “Hop Stoodpid” Double IPA (8% ABV).  A geographic and palate pleasing 2 hour tour, complete with gourmet cheeses and Guiness-marinated pork ribs (yum!)

Here’s the highlights, my tasting notes, and a slide show of what we imbibed:

  • Duvel Belgian Golden Ale, Bottle Conditioned Belgian Stong Pale Ale, by Duvel
    (8.5% ABV)
    Belgium
    750 ml bottle
    Pale Straw color, fizzy (more carbonated than any of the others we tried)
    Perfumy, sparkling, I tasted Chamomile (like the tea)
    Reminded me of a Perfume-like Hoegarden beer
    Chris remarked that this one would be well paired with the Lobster Cream Spread (I agree that worked well!)
  • “Bam Biere” Bottle Conditioned Farmhouse Saison Ale, by Jolly Pumpkin(4.5% ABV)
    Dexter, Michigan
    750 ml bottle
    Copper color, cloudy – SMELLS sour – reminded me of a “wet puppy”!
    Tasted flat and I had a hard time getting over the smell (it was the talk of our side of the class!)
    Chris suggested that this would be good to pair with goat cheese and apples… but I just did not like this beer (second from last in my books!)
  • “Muffin Top” Belgian Style Tripel IPA by Clown Shoes
    (10% ABV)
    Ipswich, MA
    750 ml bottle
    Gold and cloudy, nice hoppy IPA smell
    Tasted perfumy and floral with caramel notes, but not my favorite IPA of the night (it came in 4th favorite and after all it was an IPA)

    Loved the label image!
  • “Maibock” Bottle conditioned Maibock, Smuttynose
    (somewhere around 7% ABV… site doesn’t even show this!)
    Portsmouth, NH
    750 ml bottle
    Gold and clear with bubbles (carbonated)
    Not really memorable (I didn’t even take notes on this one!)
  • “Arrogant Bastard” American Strong Ale, Stone Brewing
    (7.2% ABV)
    San Diego, CA
    750 ml bottle
    Amber colored with a pine-like aroma
    More head than the previous beers, molasses flavoring
    My 3rd favorite of the night (behind Hop Stoopid and Bells Hopslam!) – every Stone beer has a distinctive smell (at least to me) that you “know” is from Stone brewing
    I agreed with Chris that this paired well with the aged white cheddar they provided.
  • “Ola Dubh” Whisky Cask Conditioned Old Ale by Harviestoun
    (8% ABV)
    Scotland
    11.2 oz bottle
    Color of root beer (darker brown) and creamy consistency (legs!)
    Distinctive scotch aroma with a nutty, woodsy, toasted taste
    I’m not a scotch drinker so I wasn’t smitten with this one – but the scotch drinkers in the group LOVED IT!
    Chris suggested it would be a luxury dessert to pour this one over vanilla ice cream (at $11.99 for this small bottle, I would prefer other indulgences!)
  • “Trois Pistoles” Belgian Strong Dark Ale by Unibroue
    (9% ABV)
    Chambly, PQ (Province de Quebec) Canada
    750 ml bottle
    Dark caramel to brown color with “legs”
    Definitely a Belgian influence to this one – and it smells distinctively like a Unibroue (which is a good thing!  Has a similar essence to other Unibroue’s like Blanche de Chambly!)
    Perfumy and floral – I liked this but I was in an IPA mood so it ranked #5 of the night (only because it wasn’t an IPA…) Has a rich taste that lingers – Yum!
    Pair with dark chocolate (high cocoa content – I’d splurge for the 75% or above dark!) or brownies…
  • “Guiness Foreign Extra” Export Stout – not the draft one – Guiness Brewing
    (7.5% ABV)
    Dublin, Ireland
    11.2 oz bottle
    Dark brown to black coloring with a different aroma (more sweet) than regular Guiness – reminded me of a British pub smell
    I am not a great Guiness fan – but I could definitely enjoy a pint of this one!  It reminded me of an expresso-lite (maybe an “Americano”) coffee with an aftertaste that reminded me of London Pride beer.  Definitely “meaty” and would go well with boiled pot roast or boiled steak!
  • Blithering Idiot” Barley Wine, Weyerbacher
    (11.1% ABV)
    Easton, PA
    12 oz bottle
    Honey/Caramel/ hint of pink-orange color
    Fruity with a sour tart aroma
    Aftertaste that reminded me of a ripe banana, and definitely had wine essence
    Hibiscus color with a distinctive, sweet taste (I cannot recall it, but I’ve tasted it before) but not like the lambics or fruit beers
    I would order a 6 oz pour rather than a pint of this because it was “just too sweet” for me!
  • “Hop Stoopid” Imperial Double IPA , Lagunitas
    (8% ABV)
    Petaluma, CA
    750 ml bottle
    Pale straw coloration, clear
    Cleaner smelling than other IPA’s but with a IPA nose and good head to it
    Nice IPA aftertaste!  My favorite of the night!
    Paired nicely with the sharp English cheddar cheese!
  • “Dogzilla” Black IPA, Laughing Dog
    (6.9% ABV)
    Sandpoint, ID
    750 ml bottle
    Black in color with a large “head”
    Thank goodness it tasted better than it smelled – which didn’t take much!  OMG – I could barely get this past my nose and it was definitely a conversation starter – we argued whether it smelled more like baby oil or band aids being ripped off skin or wet dog or a combination. We finally labelled it “girl repellant”!
    I had purchased a bottle last week but it is now a gift for my son.  I wouldn’t buy it again even with the IPA label.
  • Bells “Hopslam”, Bells Brewing
    (10% ABV)
    Kalamazoo, MI
    12 oz bottle
    Golden color, with Fresh citrus notes and definitely hopped!
    My second favorite of the night – I’d definitely buy a 6 pack of this one.  Nice to end on a “high note”

For upcoming education nights – visit Total Wine (www.totalwine.com) and click on their calendar.  Enjoy the slide show below and hope your next pint is a good one!

Respectfully,

An unOfficial Beer Goddess.

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Beer 4 Women…

Today was Spirit Day:

On Spirit Day wear purple in remembrance. On October 20th, 2010,we will wear purple in honor of the several young adults who committed suicide in recent weeks/months/years due to homophobic abuse in their homes and at their schools.

I am staunchly opposed to bullying of any form and so I wore purple when I went out for lunch today… but the only purple t-shirt I had to wear was one from The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium in Houston emblazoned with a tactful: Beer4Women.

Talk about stares of disdain and disgust from patrons of a local Panera Bread! I knew from experience at Brewpubs that a lot of people don’t understand that women can appreciate good craft beer, but I wasn’t ready for the looks of disapproval from passersby – it made me wish that I had a beer in my hands at 2 o’clock this afternoon!!!

Then I read a posting referenced on the Beer Bloggers Unite website today on Rabid about Beer’s Blog:  Girlie Beer Anyone? And in reading the responses to the blog posting about women liking fruit infused beer (some by women) – I realized just how judgmental everyone in the world is today!  And that includes opinions about craft beer and women (as expressed by – women!)  While I have no issue with women defending their pride about drinking stout and porters and other hearty brews, what’s the problem if some of us also imbibe on the sweeter side?

What happened in the last several years? – I simply do not recall such polarization and opinionated comments when I started drinking beer.  And, hey, I’m female and I absolutely love a good IPA (such as Harpoon, Drifter and others) at the best of times.  But, if it makes me a wuss or some sort of stereotyped “candy ass” to admit that I also enjoy fruit and flavored beers, so be it.  I’ve been called worse by better!

There is a variety of flavors and styles of craft beers that involve fruit or other flavors ranging from syrups (yuck!) to other infusions.  My personal “fruit beer” tastes run the gamut from Sam Adams‘ Cherry Wheat and Sam Adams’ Blackberry Witbier to Magic Hat #9 (not quite pale ale), Pyramid Brewery‘s Apricot Ale, Dunedin Brewery’s Apricot Peach Ale, and Hurricane Reef’s Raspberry Wheat Ale.

But there are also fruit beers that I do NOT like:  (does this change the judgment?) — I have to cut a Leinenkugel Berry Weiss at least 1/2 and 1/2 with a lager because otherwise it’s just too syrupy sweet.  I also don’t fancy a few of the offbeat varieties such as Kona Brewing’s Wailua Wheat Ale brewed with passion fruit (it just didn’t taste like beer at all and I thought I pulled out a mislabeled Seagrams Wine Cooler by mistake from the cooler!)   And, I can only stomach one 375 ml of Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic on a hot summer day!

What I do like is a 1/2 pint of Lindeman’s Kriek Lambic topped with a 1/2   pint of Young’s Double Chocolate Stout.  Or a Southern Tier Pumking or a Hoegarden pint anytime!

Quite frankly, as is said on one beer shirt I saw recently, beauty is in the eye of the “beer holder” – and I believe that in whatever direction your personal taste for beer lies, that’s okay as long as you and your beer are both consenting!  Just as in art or music or even cooking – variety is the spice of life!

Even if it means – dare I say it – Budweiser or – gasp – Miller Lite!

Have a great beer weekend!

-The unOfficial Beer Goddess.

3 Brasseurs Brewpub – Montreal, Canada…

3 Brasseurs brewpubI visited the 3 Brasseurs brewpub last week in downtown Montreal (there are five locations in the Montreal area) and asked my waitress if she could tell me when the brew master would be in, and whether I could interview him about his brewing choices (in hopes of publishing his responses on the Know Your Brewer – KYB blog).  Her response totally caught me off guard and illustrated a little known fact about businesses in French Canada.  She told me that the brewer would be in the next morning – early – but that he wouldn’t be able to give me any insights because the choice of what to brew is made by restaurant owners – IN FRANCE!  She added that he might be willing to talk to me about what he brews as a home brewer (they have choices at home) – just not for the brewpub.  (I realized then that the “early morning hours” were likely to accommodate his bosses’ hours in France.)

WOW!  I couldn’t believe that brewing choices came down from – France – for a Canadian set of restaurants – in the 21st Century?  I ignorantly thought that these practices went out with Canadian confederation in 1867, but I realize that many multinational companies headquartered in France (with divisions in the U.S.) function in the same way.

I enjoyed a nice pint of their local IPA with my meal, but I never returned to interview the brewer.  It just didn’t make sense when he simply followed the rules as set by his superiors in France.  Perhaps in a future visit to France I can arrange a visit to 3 Brasseurs headquarters if such one exists.

Meanwhile, it’s a brewpub worth visiting if you are in Montreal – they feature a good choice of local microbrews brewed on site as well as French wines and a good menu featuring a specialty dish like pizza.  Bon appetit!

Have a good (tasting) weekend!

The (un)official beer goddess.

Summer Brewfests…

One of the reasons to love summer is the number of Brewfests that emerge nation-wide.  Last week it was Philadelphia Brewery Week and I discovered just how many craft brewers are in the vicinity!

Then Saturday night, I was part of The Florida Aquarium’s SudsFest 2010 to raise money for programs and events put on by the not-for-profit Florida Aquarium in Tampa, FL.  Can you believe in the once Anheuser Busch stronghold of Tampa Bay, we now have Pepin Distributors bringing in over 35 craft brews from across the nation?

Here’s a sampling of the “new” beers on the Florida menu (from the SudsFest Beer Menu) which I know are available at both Publix (the larger ones) and also at Total Wine: (note: ABV means Alcohol By Volume and is expressed as a %)

Obviously absent was any appearance by Sam Adam’s Brewing Company or Rogue Breweries (also available in Florida grocery stores!)

It’s so great now that the former lobbyists who were so intent on keeping Florida an Anheuser state are now less powerful and we can finally join the nation in raising a craft brewery toast to the microbrewery industry!

This weekend, I venture to NYC for their annual Brewery Festival on Governor’s Island.

Until next week,

Beer Goddess…

Green Budweiser… no thanks

St. Paddie's DayWith the impending arrival of St. Paddie’s Day on Wed. March 17, 2010, I’ve seen a lot of “Green Beer” promotions all around town.  Interestingly enough, it always seems to feature the self-appointed King of Beers, Budweiser, one of my least favorite concoctions

However, I think a new tradition for those who don’t love the taste of Guinness (the most Irish beer going as far as I’m concerned) could be to ease into Guinness half-heartedly (so to speak) by having a Guinness-blended concoction this shamrock day!

Here’s a few unofficial non-”Irish” self-sanctioned mixes that I’ve tasted (and some that I’ve not) with my assessment of what I think:

The Unofficial Beer Goddess’ Half Guinness List (Guinness always insists on being on top!)

  • Dark Side of the Moon – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Blue Moon (subtle)
  • Dirty Shock – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Shocktop (WAY better than Budweiser and Anheuser Busch still gets some cash)
  • Dirty Hoe – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Hoegarden (My personal favorite blend due to the Hoegarden, and perfect for gardening)
  • Dirty Wifebeater – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Stella Artois (Not yet done this one)
  • Cherry Truffle Yum – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Lindeman’s Kriek Lambic (Chocolate-like and decadent!)
  • Guinness Diet – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Diet Coke (A future taste)
  • Trojan Horse – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Coke or Pepsi (ditto)
  • All Irish Black and Tan – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Smithwick’s Ale (maybe this Wed)
  • Black Ice – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Smirnoff Ice (not yet)
  • Black Velvet – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Champagne (I may save this for New Year’s)
  • Dirty canoe – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Budweiser (I just don’t drink “canoe” beer so haven’t had this one)
  • Snake Bite – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Cider (my 25-year-old daughter’s favorite!)
  • Guinness Magic – 1/2 Guinness and 1/2 Magic Hat #9 (I’ve gotta find a place that has both so I can try this one!)
  • Dirty Guinness – 1/2 Guinness on the floor (LOL) – this is usually an end-of-night drink for some!

Let me know what you think – and hey, luck of the Irish to you all this St. Patrick’s Day!

p.s., With no disrespect intended to my Irish friends, here’s a short joke just in time for St.Patrick’s Day:  “An Irishman left a bar. (Hey, it COULD happen!)”

Bottoms up,

The Unofficial Beer Goddess

============Copyright, the Unofficial Beer Goddess, 2010===============================================

Magic Hat #9 now available in FL

One of the most interesting (IMHO) pale ales I’ve ever tasted is Magic Hat #9 from Magic Hat Brewery (South Burlington, VT) – which is now available on tap and in 16 oz bottles at various specialty beer stores in Florida.  I describe this brew as a lightweight IPA with an almond and apricot aftertaste. Yummy!

Magic Hat #9 pale aleHere’s how the Brewery describes this brew:

#9Not Quite Pale Ale — A beer cloaked in secrecy. An ale whose mysterious and unusual palate will swirl across your tongue and ask more questions than it answers. A sort of dry, crisp, refreshing, not-quite pale ale. #9 is really impossible to describe because there’s never been anything else quite like it.

If you are looking to try something new and refreshing on a soon-to-be-hot FL spring break evening, try Magic Hat #9 on tap or in bottles.

Until the next pint…

The (unofficial) Beer Goddess

MicroBrew Tasting notes this week from Vancouver Winter Olympics…Alexander Keith’s IPA, Kitsilano Maple Cream Ale, Indica IPA

Mmmmm… great week to taste MicroBrew beers in Vancouver!

What’s on TAP?  Everything that is different!   On Hornby Street in Vancouver, Canada – Earl’s restaAlexander Keith's India Pale Aleurant features their own Albino Rhino brews, but a patron recommended (after having watched me taste several of the Albino variety without a favorite emerging) “his” Atlantic Canada’s Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale on tap.  It was a better choice (for me) than anyof the Albino brews, but definitely not a typical hoppy IPA.  While it had a fresh clean taste (http://www.keiths.ca/)  I’ve had Keith’s before and it “paled” in comparison to the others I had the opportunity to taste this weekend.  A good fallback beer from Atlantic Canada.

See full size imageEnroute to downtown for Olympic festivities, I had the fortunate opportunity to visit the Granville Island Brewery pub (http://www.gib.ca/) on Granville Island where I sampled (and  brought home) a six-pack of their Kitsilano Maple Cream Ale – what I consider to be a alt-style Cream Ale with a slight maple aftertaste (yummy in cold weather!)

A surprising third new taste that I hadn’t had before was Indica IPA from Lost Coast Brewery (http://www.lostcoast.com/beers.html) which tasted surprisingly like Harpoon IPA.  In fact, when I’m back in Florida later in the week, I’ll opt for Indica if I cannot locate a good IPA – and I’ll bet that even in a bottle it will be better than a lot of the IPA’s I can get on tap.

That’s it for microbrew tasting from Vancouver, Canada.

Until next time,
“Beer Goddess”

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