AboutKarl Kalinkewicz, Author at PorchDrinking.com
With Firestone Walker launching their new society to much hullabaloo and memes, many are asking “Why should you spend your hard-earned COVID relief check on an expensive collection of beers from one brewery?” This question becomes especially poignant when you realize that, instead of investing these funds at the local bottle shop where you are choosing what prizes you will go home with, you are at the mercy of the brewer spinning their “wheel of chance” for what you receive. With so many good beers so readily available, and an abundance of trust issues built up from watching too much “Survivor,” how do you decide when it’s worth it to drop a large lump sum for vague promises of future delights? Cellador Ales might have the answer.
If you remember your first sip of a sour beer, the first question that popped into your mind was probably “Who would ever choose to drink this??” As shocking as your first sip of beer as a young drinker, even more so may be the pucker or funk that arrives when you’re expecting bitter and malty. Finding those gateway sours that can gently lead beer-drinking ponies into the farmhouse fields of glory can be difficult, but luckily Modern Times Beer is here with their New Atlantis series.
If there was one thing 2020 gave us plenty of, other than anxiety, it was the chance to focus on our local beer scenes. Without travel, and with many states relaxing shipping laws, we had plenty of time to contemplate the state of the world and social distance with our favorite brews. New York was the early focal point of the pandemic, enacting changes swifter than most other states, forcing breweries to adapt to the new NY normal. Much like how the vine has to struggle to produce the best grapes, NY breweries persevered and produced some incredible products this year, expanding their catalogs, increasing distribution and pushing boundaries. This list will highlight some of the best beers, breweries and stories to come out of NY last year. So, without further ado, we present the 2020 New York Best in Beer Year-End Honors.
The paradox of a dark beer somehow also being light it hard for many to digest. Most commonly, people think of the world’s most famous stout, Guinness, as a heavy beer, despite it’s 4.2% alcohol and calorie count similar to Mass-Produced Swill Lite. A nice light Witbier is great when the summer sun is shining on you, but what about on those blustery winter days where snow and freezing rain make you want to build a blanket fort and watch 10hrs straight of Lord of the Rings? Suarez Family Brewery may have the solution for you in Saunter, an English Mild Ale that is the flavorful light winter warmer you need.
Shmaltz & Moustache Light Up the Holidays with ‘Golden Jelly Doughnut Pastry Ale’ & ‘She’brew #RBG IPA’December 18, 2020 | Karl Kalinkewicz 1
Shmaltz Brewing Company’s favorite beer-drinking season of the year is here: Hanukkah! Shmaltz Brewing officially turns 24 this Hanukkah and celebrates with the national release of a brand new Golden Jelly Doughnut Pastry Ale brewed with 600 pounds per batch of real purees of raspberry and cherry with a generous slathering of pure vanilla. This Hanukkah Beer, a glorious homage to the beloved Sufganiyot dessert, is all new for 2020 and is now available in 12-ounce can 4-Packs, limited draft through their East Coast wholesalers, and through Brew Pipeline nationally.
We all remember the first time we waited in an exceptionally long line for an exceptionally small pour of a notable beer. On a sunny SoCal day in May 2015, at The Bruery’s 7th Anniversary party, a beer from local upstart Bottle Logic Brewing named Fundamental Observation showed up like Lindsay Lohan as the new queen bee of The Plastics. An explosion of vanilla followed by the soft cuddle of high-end bourbon barrels, this beer was a delicious needle in the four hours of unlimited tastings haystack. With the next public release of this beer came a block-spanning line, providing a delicious 8oz reward for an hour of your time, and the first memory of waiting in extended anticipation for a single draught of excellence.
Everyone has their own definition of indulgent. It could be a decadent chocolate cake that pushes the boundaries of your sweet tooth and your waistband. It might be a 5-star spa day or a vending machine that distributes gold bars. There may be no clearer measure of an indulgent purchase, however, than seeing the facial expression of a beer non-connoisseur when you tell them you have spent $50+ on a single bottle of beer. Hill Farmstead Samuel becomes the latest release to stress-test the wallet, especially in the midst of a pandemic that is making us reevaluate our financial priorities.
Who gets overly excited when the bulk candy starts showing up in stores pre-Halloween? Having a Scrooge McDuck-sized supply of two-piece Starburst snack packs to brighten up your day every 10 minutes for a few months is just swell. It seems these days that the number of trick-or-treat candy options at your supermarket mirrors the plentiful supply of candy-inspired sours at your local bottle shop. There’s been a rise in kettle Sours, fruited Pilsner malts, and juice box beers that would make Ecto Cooler’s Slimer aghast with their color and ingredient list. One recent entry into the fruity fray is Interboro Spirits and Ales Parks and Wreck.
“There must be some kind of way out of here, said the joker to The Thief.” Obviously Bob Dylan was forecasting a future conversation between the Steve Miller song and the Barrel-Aged Blonde Ale concocted by Societe Brewing Company. While you might be forgiven for thinking ol’ Robert Zimmerman was out of his gourd when putting pen to paper on this exchange, there’s nothing crazy about enjoying Societe’s The Thief.
One of the hardest decisions for the dedicated craft enthusiast has to be how long to cellar a prized bottle. How do you ensure that you see your beautiful bottles reach their final form? The balance of power between #drinkfresh and amassing a cellar so massive it would make the Sun King blush is a wobbly tight rope, indeed. Too often you find yourself paralyzed to open those most revered bottles, worrying that with a particular Cantillon or Side Project or Hill Farmstead we’ll never cross paths again. Or worse, you fear the chiding from fellow Ahabs for not inviting them along to take down the white whale.
Fresh off a win from the Food Network’s “Tournament of Champions” this spring, Los Angeles chef and restaurateur Brooke Williamson is teaming up yet again with the creative minds at The Bruery for a second round of collaborations. Their previous collaboration included two beers; Girl Grey, which featured the cool character of a Belgian-style Ale with sweet ribbons of almond flavors balanced by the piquant qualities of Earl Grey tea, and Kyuri Dragon, a refreshing, bright, tropical collaboration featuring The Bruery’s oak-aged Sour Blonde Ale with cucumbers, dragon fruit, rambutan, kaffir lime leaf and lychee. Those beers were such a hit that the pair just had to team up again to create another palate-pleasing collaboration designed to pair seamlessly with food.
“But, what do you drink?” This is the question I asked the bartender at one of the many estimable pubs I wandered into the first time I visited Bruges. Taking a pilgrimage to the holy land of beer to guzzle some Westvleteren long before it was shipped to American shores, I spent my days soaking in highly-touted Trappist ales and Belgian standards, but was looking for something a little more “Bad Sandy.” The Belgians, masters of brewing, had to have their version of “craft” local beers that didn’t travel outside of the land of waffles and moules frites.
Year 2020 A.D: Society has found itself desperately in search of new forms of “entertainment.” Stuck in our living spaces with little variety in scenery or human contact, we’ve completed push-up challenges, donned our finest pillow-dresses and allowed ourselves to be entertained by a mulleted tiger murderer, all in desperate attempts to relieve our boredom. While I’ve plundered the depths of Netflix as a good quarantiner should, I’ve also managed to find both mental stimulation and escape through the world of board games.
When one thinks of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), craft beer is likely not the first (or thousandth) thing that generally comes to mind. This is the land of the $14 stale Heineken, a literal and figurative desert for decent beer. All of that changes February 29 – March 1, 2020 as HustleFest lands in Abu Dhabi. The first craft beer festival held in the capital city, the land of sand and skyscrapers will soon be host to some of the U.S.’s finest breweries; more than 30 beers will be making their debut in the UAE.
Want to travel? “Traveling more” is a resolution for 25% of Americans for 2020. It’s not surprising, as travel is generally very fun and occasionally life-changing. Now is the time to look past some of your other, less-worthy resolutions (see you in 2021 eating healthy and saving money!) and commit to being Dora the Beer Explorer in 2020.
Sweden – a country whose northern tip breaches the Arctic Circle, making the summer days long and joyful and outdoor activities bountiful. Unfortunately, I decided to visit the capital of Stockholm in early November, and was greeted with 3pm sunsets and a Seattle-but-colder weather vibe. I didn’t mind, as it gave me ample excuse to visit the city’s numerous beer bars, leading to some enjoyable long, brisk, waterside stumbles. Swedes love their craft beer, and you will not find it hard to indulge yourself while taking in this extremely walk-able city.
Collaboration beer often presents a mixed bag: Excitement races through your beard when you hear that two of your favorite breweries have Voltron-ed, but then the results follow a predictable pattern. Either you get a middling compromise between the two parties, resulting in a solid and forgettable “eh,” or one brewery’s profile dominates the other and the beer is like a Paul Simon album after Garfunkel left town in which the expected quality makes you forget that there’s supposed another element in this equation.
A friend recently Santa Claused me a suitcase full of Jester King and I’ve been doing my best to explore these recent offerings at a responsible pace. Jester King beers always have that incredible lightness and drinkability. A 750ml is never quite enough and a 375ml is just plain disrespectful. Moderne Dansk, included in this bounty, was one of the best beers I’ve had in quite some time. Schopenhauer himself would have impressed at the dour mood that enveloped me, realizing life would be a long struggle with little possibility of another drop. But one that caught my eye in this 20 bottle porch bomb was the collaboration beer with Other Half: Urban Mutation.
It’s a hard-knock life when you have beer-related engagements scheduled in two countries on two consecutive weekends. I recently found myself in Poland for the incredible One More Beer Festival before planning to meet up with friends in Munich for Oktoberfest six days later. Doing the wise thing and taking a full week of vacation, I started to scout out how I could spend the days between periods of copious beer consumption. Lo and behold, the world’s number one beer-drinking country per capita, the Czech Republic, happened to be smack dab in the middle of my two destinations. The gods smile upon me.
Going to the Great American Beer Festival, or GABF, is like going to another giant establishment with four letters: IKEA. If you don’t have a plan, things are going to turn out ugly. You end up with a shopping cart/stomach full of things you didn’t need, and because of your inability to resist the siren’s call you’re going to cover your home with all sorts of terrible colors.
Here at PorchDrinking.com we’re playing the Jedi to your beer Padawan, guiding you through the overwhelming forest of malts to beer nirvana. Our experts have selected a few noteworthy beers from their region that you need to seek out. So make a list, stick to the plan and do not be distracted by the beautiful celebrities. Here are seven great beers to try, all hailing from the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
This post was sponsored and supported by Paulaner USA.
Steins. Pretzels. Dirndls. Lederhosen. Sausages. More Steins. Tents. Singing. Chances are, I just summed up your Oktoberfest experiences. But other than hearing about that time your friend studied abroad in Germany, what do you really know about Oktoberfest and the beers served there?
Märzen, Helles and Festbier aren’t usually what you brandish at your bottle share, but the craft that goes into producing these styles is immense. Munich breweries are very proud of their beer traditions—none more than Paulaner, Oktoberfest’s #1 provider of stein-filled happiness. We asked the masters for a little more background behind the magic that goes into each glass, which in turn fuels all the good times and pretzel consumption.