Craft beer adventures and experiences… one pint at a time

Archive for February, 2012

1st annual Tampa Bay Beer Week Mar 3-10, 2012 – Over 100 Events Planned

With over 100 local events planned from the World of Beer Brewer’s nights to the Florida Brewers Guild kickoff event March 3 in Centro Ybor – there is sure to be something for every taste and beer budget!

Click on the graphic above or HERE to find out what’s happening where and when!

Enjoy and be safe!

An unOfficial Beer Goddess

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It’s not a sin to send beer back… How to finesse the deed.

This is a great post from CraftBeer.com:

When good beer goes bad

Here’s my comment on their post:

I love that you point out the fact that it is “uncomfortable” to send back anything at a restaurant or bar for fear of retribution from a server or restauranteur. No one likes to create conflict whether it is a problem with a beer, a steak, or an added ingredient that doesn’t belong (I love the Erin’s comment about the bandaid in the new keg!)

Kelly has a great point for both servers and patrons of craft beers (and this is NOT usually done with Bud Light or Miller beers) – ask for a sample taste if you aren’t sure. I don’t know of any brewpub that would refuse to give a sample of any draft beer (obviously you can’t do this with bottles) and I’ve saved many a pint by tasting the brew first. As readers know, one IPA is not the same as another!

Great article! I’m going to include a link to it on my own microbrewsusa.wordpress.com blog if you don’t mind.

Now, I’m going to print out the post for situations when I might need the reference notes!

Here’s hoping your next pint is a Good Craft pour!

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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Passions and Strange Brews – The Rise, Fall, and Demise of a Woman-Owned Brewery

Wow – I just spent an hour watching the story of New Century Brewing in a video conference presentation by brewery owner, Rhonda Kallman.  Hers is the story of Sam Adams, New Century Brewing, innovative brewing (caffeinated beer!), coupled with years of trials, tribulations, government regulations, and finally FDA(!) shutdown.

In many ways, the video is an inside peek at the peaks and valleys of taking an idea to fruition, of branding a small business against the “big boy” corporations, of government interventions, of regulations, and of making inroads and creating new products with entrepreneurial spunk and leadership.

The 2008 movie Beer Wars featured New Century Brewing and their landmark craft brew “Moonshot” – a caffeinated light pilsner intended to meet the needs of a Red Bull and Beer generation.  The brewery shut down in mid-2011 after the FDA banned Moonshot and the video below chronicles the life and times of New Century.

Thank you to Beer News for posting this on Facebook and their BeerNews.org page.  It does not deter me from loving craft beers, but it did put a face and heart behind the brews I enjoy.  Let me know what you think:

Rise and Fall of New Century brewing

Happy imbibing!

An unOfficial Beer Goddess…

Southern Tier Brewing – this could be Love…

I will be the first to admit that I have not stepped far outside my comfort zone as far as beer trials, but

O – M – G !  I have literally fallen in love…with Southern Tier Brewing‘s
latest offerings available at St. Petersburg area brewhouses…
this could actually become an obsession!

In the past week, I have had the pleasure of sampling (and drinking!) several of Southern Tier’s latest brews including:

Unearthly

a highly hopped Imperial IPA topping out at a robust 9.5 ABV.  Available at the 4th Street site of World of Beer, St Petersburg  Here is what Southern Tier has to say about it.  A bit of a “weird” (to me at least) aftertaste that lingered longer than I like…

UNEARTHLY
  At the Southern Tier Brewing Company, vigorously hopped beer is our standard and inspiration. We continue a commitment to innovation with our most aggressive offering yet. Unearthly is a manifestation of the brewer’s craft; skillfully balancing art and the forces of nature to produce a divine liquid. Delicately pour a taste into a fluted glass. Smell the enchanting aromas of the hops waft forward as your first sip divulges this beer’s fervent soul. To underestimate Unearthly is to trifle with the mysteries of the universe, so please consume wisely.
9.5% abv • 18.0ºL • Imperial India Pale Ale

Gemini

again a highly hopped Imperial IPA slightly less fruity and more down to earth, but still delivering an ABV of 9.0. Also available at the World of Beer pub.  I preferred the floral bouquet (what a “wine-y” term!) of Gemini, and I have to say with my small frame – it packed a punch!  Here’s what Southern Tier says:

GEMINI
High in the winter sky, two parallel stick figures are visible & known as “the twins,” or the constellation Gemini. The astronauts of the 1960s flew as teams of two in a program named after the celestial pairing. At Southern Tier, we have our own fraternal twins, Hoppe & Unearthly. Blended together & placed in this vessel, the mission of our Gemini is to travel high & take passengers on a journey far into the heavens.
9.0% abv • 13.0ºL

Iniquity American Black Ale

Wow – oh – wow!  My hands-down O M G favorite!  Available at Barley Mow on West Bay Drive in Largo, FL.  Here’s the Southern Tier explanation:

Iniquity Imperial Black Ale
The hexagram talisman has been used around the world for centuries to invoke magic and good luck. The six–point star is also the customary symbol of the brewer, representing the essential aspects of purity: water, hops, grain, malt, yeast, and of course, the brewer. Wishes of good fortune often collaborate with the brewer’s creativity to yield dramatic results. We carefully chose the name for this Imperial India Black Ale, Iniquity – a word opposing goodness. Why? This beer is contrary to what one may expect from an IPA; this is an ale as black as night. It is the antithesis of Unearthly. Some may consider it an immoral act to blacken an ale. We suggest they don’t rely on conventional standards. Allow the darkness to consume you. Cheers!
9.0% abv • 56.2ºL

I can be a Loyal Gal… Perhaps

I don’t know what this means yet for my long term loves of Lagunitas, Cigar City, Stone Brewing and Alaskan brewery offerings, but I’m definitely smitten with Southern Tier…  (And to think this love affair started innocently over a pint of their Pumking brew 18 months ago in Tampa.  You just never know where you will meet your ideal-mate!)

If you have the luxury and good fortune of finding one of these seasonal Southern Tier offerings on tap in your area, let me know if you agree with my choice of my new love.

p.s., The Downtown location of World of Beer (St Petersburg) told me tonight that Southern Tier Brewing is having a special evening at their site in March 2012… can’t wait to find out the date !

Sincerely yours,

an unOfficial Beer Goddess…

Maracuja (Passionfruit) Lambic 14% ABV

“Real men don’t drink girly fruit beers.” – Anonymous (Could be attributed to 99% of male beer drinkers – especially in FL)

While I am not a fan of some of the berry beers (I believe that Leinenkugal’s Berry Weisse needs to be “cut” with a Budweiser or other light beer to be drinkable!) – I do enjoy a well done Lambic (Belgian sour ale).

While traditional Lambic brews are low in alcohol content (around 4-5% ABV) and usually feature red fruit (raspberry/framboise, cherry/kriek, strawberry/fraise) and are brewed in Belgium, it is enjoyable to stumble upon a special Lambic on occasion.

Such was the case with a local Tampa Bay area brewpub called Lagerhaus in Palm Harbor, FL which featured a wonderful in-house Maracuja (Passionfruit) Lambic topping out at a whopping 14% ABV.  I had heard that brewmaster Franz Rothschadl knew his stuff – and after tasting this Lambic, I couldn’t agree more.  It was subtle yet bold in passionfruit flavor (my favorite of all fruits) and packed a complexity not commonly found in the lighter lambic brews.

The Lagerhaus beer menu on the week I was there (the first week in January 2012) featured several other lambics (the brews change with the batches) and a medieval brown sour ale among others.

To give you an idea of the extent of Franz’s featured beers (the ones above the line are brewed onsite), here is an excerpt:

Lagerhaus is a brewery and grill definitely worth a visit if you are in the Tampa Bay area!

Enjoy…

the unOfficial beer goddess

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