Tag Archives: microbreweries

Beer School: The Presentation

5 Aug

There are several things to keep in mind when you’re on the precipice of enjoying your well-deserved beer.  To name the essentials:

TEMPERATURE — don’t treat beer like it has to be as cold as the Rockies:  would you serve a Malbec at a freezing temperature?  No, so please respect your beer enough to let it breathe a little and warm up to cellar temperature (45-55°F) so it can properly display and perform its wonderful components.  You can tell the difference even in a terrible beer: if the mountains on the can turn blue, your beer will smell and taste like cold, like licking the freezer crust off a Stouffer’s mac ‘n’ cheese, but if it warms a little you get the actual aroma and flavor.  Think about it the next time you see those commercials about “drinkability” and “Cold as the Rockies” — what are they hiding behind all that cold?

GLASSWARE — proper glassware is another must.  Accelerated in the wine industry by the Riedel family was the idea of specific glasses for certain wines to enhance the experience of drinking the product and enjoying it to the fullest degree.  This has been a part of the good beer world since the beginning.  Beer steins, goblets, snifters, tulips, kolsch, pints…the list goes on.  I personally dread the presentation of a beer in the common, all-purpose shaker glass at most bars — the whole thing seems off if the beer isn’t showcased in the best light or in this case the best glass for its contents.

THE POUR — I can’t even get started on how many terrible pourers there are working in the bartending industry or just in casual settings.  There is no excuse not to pour a beer correctly, because it’s too ridiculously easy.  If you need video instruction, here’s your man.

One of my favorite parts about beer, besides the taste, are the different types of bottles they come in and their labels.  You can get growlers at most any microbrewery brewpub, where for a fixed charge you can buy a half gallon of beer on tap and then bring it back when you’re done with that beer for a lesser charge for a refill.  This is a great system and provides a solid link between the brewery and their customers.  There are also bombers, which are the 22 oz. bottles you can find now in most any good grocery store.  Some breweries only do bombers, like Buckeye Brewing but others do a mix of both bombers and the regular 12 oz. bottles.  When you venture into lambics, you get to experience the delight of the champagne style bottle with cork and cap.  Or if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on De Molen, you’ll have the treat of holding a sweet bomber with cork, champagne cage and wax top.

Alright I’m done geeking out on beer.  Contribute comments or questions — I’m happy to answer!

Beer School: The Results

4 Aug

When I joined Ratebeer.com over a year ago, one of the first things I learned was that many more styles of beer existed than I had previously reckoned.  There are in fact, 73 different styles of beer lovingly crafted for your enjoyment.  So far I’ve worked through 65 different styles, with sours ranking as my favorite for its unique complexities and delightful inconsistencies across this particular style.  However, belgian strong ales take the cake for the beer I seem to drink the most.  Anyways, here is the rundown of the Mighty 73.  Look them up on RateBeer for the deluge of descriptions.

Abbey Dubbel/Abbey Tripel

Abt/Quadrupel

Altbier

Amber Ale

American Dark Lager

American Pale Ale

American Strong Ale

Baltic Porter

Barley Wine

Belgian Ale

Belgian Strong Ale

Belgian White (Witbier)

Berliner Weisse

Bière de Garde

Bitter

Black IPA

Bohemian Pilsener

Brown Ale

California Common

Classic German Pilsener

Cream Ale

Doppelbock

Dortmunder/Helles

Dry Stout

Dunkel

Dunkelweizen

Dunkler Bock

Eisbock

English Pale Ale

English Strong Ale

Foreign Stout

Fruit Beer

German Hefeweizen

German Kristallweizen

Golden Ale/Blond Ale

Heller Bock

Imperial Pils/Strong Pale Lager

Imperial Stout

Imperial/Double IPA

Imperial/Strong Porter

India Pale Ale (IPA)

Irish Ale

Kölsch

Lambic – Faro

Lambic – Fruit

Lambic – Gueuze

Lambic – Unblended

Low alcohol

Malt Liquor — edward 40 hands is the only reason to drink this, and probably not even then.

Mild Ale

Oktoberfest/Märzen

Old Ale

Pale Lager

Pilsener

Porter

Premium Bitter/ESB

Premium Lager

Saison

Schwarzbier

Scotch Ale — if you value your life, don’t EVER call a Scottish person a Scotch…a person is not something you drink, unless you’re a vampire.

Scottish Ale

Smoked

Sour Ale

Specialty Grain

Spice/Herb/Vegetable

Stout

Sweet Stout

Traditional Ale

Vienna

Weizen Bock

Wheat Ale

Zwickel/Keller/Landbier

So what if all the rum’s gone….you’ve got 73 types of beer to choose from, so drink up me hearties, yo ho!

Pink Boots Society

2 Feb

I was tipped off by a friend that somewhere out there exists an all female run brewery.  I rooted around on the world wide web a bit, searching for this seemingly mythical awesome place and came across the lone female brewer in Montana, Colleen Bitter at Kettlehouse Brewery.  In this article is mention of the Pink Boots Society: this brand new society is dedicated to supporting and advancing women in all areas of the industry, a cause I’ll happily stand by.  Especially as I look for employment in this industry, I find that organizations such as these are rare and vital.  I’m more a red boot girl myself but I’d wear pink for the sake of something this important.  More power to female brewers — sistahs are doin’ it for themselves.

Sour Ales

20 Jan

When you create an account with Ratebeer they ask you your favorite style of beer. In the beginning, I was a barley wine girl then a fruit lambic lady and now I feel like I might be delving into the world of sours. Barley wines were appealing, and still are, because of the high abv and they tend to have interesting sweetnesses going on.  Fruit lambics were of particular interest because they produced flavors reminiscent of those found in our family orchard and the lambic style is so varied and surprising.  Sour ales also fall into this category of surprise and a variety of flavors that can vastly differ from one to the next.  My recent excursion to Lola had the added bonus of Jolly Pumpkin’s sour ale, La Roja.  I hadn’t had one since July and it was such a pleasant reminder of the greatness of sour ales.  Off to expand the horizons once again.

The Line Up

Verhaeghe Duchesse De Bourgogne:

I wrote about this weird yet great sour earlier in “Salty Bitches” but here’s a run-down again of my notes on it.  Straight from the bottle enjoyed on a summit over Lago Lugano, Switzerland. This was recommended to me by the wife/owner of A Tutta Birra in Milano as her favorite. Most interesting beer I’ve had so far in Italy. The aroma reminded me of rotting trash and at first sip so did the flavor. Further sips revealed sour cherries, dark fruits, apricot and vanilla. Incredibly smooth on the palate, absolutely no kick at the end. Much too sweet for me, almost could be considered a dessert beer in the same vein as dessert wines.

De Ranke Kriek:

Pours a muddy purple/red with no head. On the nose: same white grape tartness as lambic gueuzes but the flavor is really watered down. Flat but crisp. Don’t get the cherry taste but more lemon and white grape. Love the crisp cool character and the slightly boozier aroma of this as compared to the guezes. Very drinkable but not very complex.

Jolly Pumpkin Perseguidor (Batch 4):

On draft at Beer Engine Sour Ale tasting. Pours a dark brown/black with ruby tinges on the side. No head. Nose: cognac as is the flavor with that white grape/almost smokey aftertaste. Flat, slightly tart and crisp. Yum. The tartness is really present in the corners of the mouth which inspires you to keep sipping away.

Rodenbach Grand Cru:

Bottle at The Beer Engine: Color: same as Rochefort 8 with no head. Aroma is funky bleu cheese and sour white grapes. Smooth slightly tart but boozier flavor at the beginning of the sip then tart bite at the back of the palate. Very refreshing and completely different than the last Flemish Red I had, Duchesse de Bourgogne. Love the diversity of this style – it felt like a borderline lambic.

Jolly Pumpkin La Roja:

750 at Lola into white wine glass. I love the label as I love all the Jolly Pumpkin label but this one is just great. The color is simply beautiful like a cross between a hoppy IPA and a mead. Fluffy orangey/tan head with a nice fruity aroma almost a kin to red wine sangria. Flavor is similar with some dark wood background notes and again that really nice fermented fruit sweet/sour combination. Such a delight.

The Only Acceptable Use

19 Jan

The only acceptable use of a MGD can is this beautiful airplane I found in Suite Lorain’s, once upon a time.  It is the only macro can allowed in our room and has been dubbed the airplane that rescued Amelia Earhart from the Bermuda Triangle.

Our room is a haven for craft beer and this plane is the closest any macros will get to it.  I don’t even like to get rid of bottles from microbreweries and so, there’s an established beer forest in our room that stands as a united front against any and all macrobrewed beer.  I encourage others, especially in my age group, to start enjoying their beer and stop wasting your $12 on a rack of Natty.

IdiditIdiditIdidit!!!

27 Dec

Every year, the day after Christmas is my immediate family’s opportunity to have our extended family over to our house for Boxing Day.  People get to unload their leftovers and bring horrendous white elephant gifts and I get to make yummy hors d’oeuvres to round out the table.  My creations included crostini with a peppered salami/spiced green olive tapenade I blended up in the Cuisinart and a slice of creamy Danish havarti.  Popped them into the oven for 15 minutes @ 200º to melt the cheese.  If you don’t have a baguette or even an oven, repeat the recipe but with crackers (I prefer Bremner) and a microwave.

Pancakes slathered in my homemade jam and topped with homemade whip cream.  They were so cute and little you could eat ’em like cookies.

I only made a few of these next ones and they disappeared in maybe 15 minutes.  Rolled out some philo pastry dough very thin, then used a snowflake cookie cutter to make some shapes, placed a few bleu cheese crumbles in the middle, a half of grape tomato on top, sprinkled with black pepper and cayenne pepper.  Into the oven @ 350º for 10-12 minutes.  Cayenne pepper doesn’t faze me anymore so I totally forgot that others in my family might still have taste buds, so basically tonight I made my aunt cry and slightly choke.  But they were REALLY yummy.

One of the perks of being the cook is you are allowed to demand drinks.  So while I juggled the pancakes and the snowflakes, my brother poured me a snifter full of La Trappe Quadrupel from De Koningshoeven.  It has a light cognac colored pour with very little head.  The aroma is lovely: a very refined banana scent that isn’t artificial but mellow. The flavor is a lighter version of the aroma and boozier and smooth but not slick over the palate.  As I quenched my thirst and danced around the kitchen to some motown tunes amongst the swirl of culinary activity, I started delighting from the trickle of yummy sounds coming from the dining room.  I already knew the pancakes were good but I hadn’t really known how the crostini or the snowflakes would come off.  My excitement about personal creations increases exponentially when I get feedback from people other than myself.  My dancing got a little funkier after the positive reviews and was accompanied by a little chant of “I did it! I did it! I did it!”.  Honestly, there is nothing in this world that makes me happier than feeding people and giving them yummy things to drink.  I leave the calming effects of speeding in a happy-making category unto themselves.

Tacos and Cerveza

9 Nov

It’s a common mix and for good reason.  The refreshing, not too filling beer refreshes a spicy palate after a faceful of tacos and hot sauce, while the light carbonation brings about those satisfying belches.

Ambar CaesarAugusta (CaesarAvgvsta)

I had the pleasure of visiting my big brother this weekend in Williamsburg, and the little love bug brought me back a 21st birthday presie from Spain in the form of a bottle of Ambar CaesarAugusta (CaesarAvgvsta).  The bottle is awesome — reminds me of the squat Chimay Blanche bottle.  Pours a light yellow with a 2 finger bright-white head. Faintly citric notes in the aroma. Flavor is about the same as the aroma with more lemony taste and a bright mouthfeel.  The other Spanish beer I’ve had is the macro, Estrella Damm Inedit and I hated it, so this was a lovely change.  Spain still could use a bit of work on their micro industry and take a chapter from the Italian craft-beer movement, France too!

ALS Beer Dinner Fundraiser

19 Oct

I’m coming up to the last few days before my ALS Beer Dinner Event goes down and things are getting down to the wire in a fun and slightly overwhelming way!  Luckily over the summer I secured awesomely generous donations from three incredible local Ohio microbreweries:  Thirsty Dog, Buckeye Brewing and Hoppin’ Frog.  These guys really blew me away with their donations, encouragement and enthusiasm not to mention they are my favorite Ohio microbreweries.

From Thirsty Dog: Raspberry Ale, Labrador Lager, Lunar Lager and Old Leghumper Porter

From Buckeye: Zatek Old Ale, 76 IPA, Old Mammoth Stout

From Hoppin’ Frog: Wee Heavy Scotch Red Ale, BORIS Oatmeal Impy

As for the menu, I’ve been striving for all local and all donated which is a little tough as it turns out but I’ve had some great feedback and donations from local businesses in terms of food donations and raffle prizes.  Sometimes I feel like I need a permanent assistant to follow me around while I dictate my insanely long To-Do Lists and navigate the web of email responses.  Luckily I have a great team of volunteers selling raffle tickets, helping prep food and awesome friends keeping my brain from becoming an addled mush.

To the meat of the issue, here’s why I’m doing this fundraiser: this dinner is for the benefit of Lou Gehrig’s Disease (aka Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis) research. This is a cause I’ve supported for 5 years since the disease claimed my father. In memory of the 5th anniversary of his death, I thought he’d especially appreciate an event featuring our two favorite things, beer and food. Funds raised will go directly to Project ALS in the hopes that continued, proactive research will find a cure for this terminal, neuromuscular degenerative disease.

The event features a 5 course meal paired with samples of 9 different beers.  There will be a raffle where you can win prizes like a Pumpkin Beer gift basket donated by Rozi’s Wine and Liquor House, a custom made cake from local baker extraordinaire Liz Keeney, gift certificates to the Village Deli and Middle Ground, beer steins and a Kenyon blanket from the College Bookstore.

The Menu:

Fettunta

Grilled hot italian sausage with lemon and cilantro

Sweet potatoes Anna

Osso Bucco

Local cheese plate with local chocolates, Beckwith apples and cider

Mini BORIS pancakes with honey

*sorbet palate cleanser in between courses of Thirsty Dog’s Raspberry Ale

me and Poppie

the whole reason

New Haul

18 Oct

Got a new haul today from Grapes of Mirth at North Market where I was also picking up veal shanks from Bluescreek Farm Meats.  Very happy with my finds and the service at Grapes of Mirth.  The selection is starting to get slim for me so I’m looking for new spots since I’ve had almost everything there at this point.  Also, after a quick stop at home for fall break I ran up to the Beer Engine and grabbed some Viking’s Blod!!!  Gahhh, can’t wait to crack all these babies but for now it’s nose to the grindstone for school work and beer dinner fundraiser preparations.

yum yum

Pictured above from left to right:  Gouden Carolus Cuvee Van De Keizer Blauw/Blue, New Holland Charkoota Rye, Fantome Pissenlit, Bell’s Java Stout and Bell’s Double Cream Stout.

The hilarious part about the Fantome is that this saison is brewed using diuretic dandelions found in the region: “The yellow flowers are removed and dried in the sun, then soaked in water for a few days. The thick, dark dandelion “tea” that results is the basis for the Pissenlit, which is made also from traditional barley malt and hops. It resembles a classic saison beer – golden spritzy brew, strong and very flavorful, with a good hop bite. You may have to strain to taste the dandelions, but you know they’re in there.

It should be noted that uncooked, the dandelion has a diuretic effect and is known in France as Pissenlit (literally, “wet the bed” – this also happens to be the British folk-name) for precisely this reason” (http://ratebeer.com/beer/fantome-pissenlit/10959/).

The Joys of Lambic

29 Sep

I cracked a Cantillon Iris the other night after holding on to it for several months.  It’s an unblended lambic, meaning this particular style is the original lambic.  The Iris did not disappoint: really lovely lighter medium orange color with lots of carbonation. Fluffy, super fizzy off-white head that starts off aggressive and then fades pretty quickly. The head sparkles so much you can hear it.  Smell is true to lambic funkiness and wonderful sour white grapes with a woody background. This is seriously drinkable, the flavor is much lighter than the color or aroma suggest. Sour white grapes and lemon in the flavor with a lemony acidic aftertaste that is pleasant. The mouthfeel is bright and fizzy. Loverly simply loverly.  The Iris is a great example of the all-encompassing beer: the bottle, the label, the beer, the aroma, flavor and the sound it makes from popping the cork to the sparkling pour — all senses are stimulated.

cantillon iris

This is a beer style that has become a serious personal favorite.  The bottles, the labels and the good stuff inside make it an all around hit.  Unfortunately, when confronted with sharing these behemoth 750s my alter-ego beer geek comes out in full force.  So embarrassing.  I wax rhapsodic about the wild yeast only found in Brussels and in the precious aging barrels of Cantillon, how only this area produces this style.  I end up talking off some poor soul’s ear for a solid 45 minutes then realize I just exposed the dorkiest side of me.  Everyone beware, don’t ask about the lambic you can’t believe is a beer you’re drinking unless you’re down for a big fat dose of geekdom.

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