PD’s own dissect beer. Leave the pretentiousness on the curb.
I remember being forced to read Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities in high school. To explain the tome’s epic verbosity, I subscribe to the myth that Charlie was paid by the word and have been permanently scarred by the experience. I mention Dickens because he would likely have been an inspiration to the British poet for whom this beer is named – Thomas Hardy. Hardy was a writer of world-renown but unfortunately, thanks to his compatriot’s writing style, there’s zero chance of me putting down Stephen King to pick up Jude the Obscure anytime soon. His namesake brew however, Thomas Hardy’s Ale, that’s a different story.
Upland Brewing Company in Bloomington, Indiana is well known for their wood-aged sour beers. While those are distinct and worth trying, they brew plenty of other tasty beers. I’m a big fan of sours, so when I got my hands on their latest kettle sour, Petal to the Kettle, I was excited to have an easy drinking version to add to my cooler for the summer. It did not disappoint.
ABV: 5.8% | IBU: 38
Just in time for summer barbecues, weekend camping trips and sunny beach days, Counterbalance Brewing Company has released its first two canned beers: Raconteur Rye Pale Ale and Counterbalance IPA. Both of these beers are available for purchase in 6-packs throughout Washington as of the beginning of July, but today’s showcase will focus on the delightfully refreshing Raconteur Rye Pale Ale.
Lone Tree Brewing Company opened in December of 2011 as the first private craft brewery along C-470 in the Lone Tree/Highlands Ranch area. Since then several more breweries have opened, but Lone Tree has continued to grow strong. They recently introduced their Branching Out Series of seasonals and continue to grow their selection of canned beers. These include their Mexican Lager, Red Ale, Double IPA and Peach Pale. This spring they also started canning their seasonal beers and the first to be canned is the Cucumber Wheat, a delicious refreshing thirst-quenching summer love.
ABV: 9.1% | IBU: 22
We’re well into summer in the southeast United States. That means it’s hot, sticky and, depending on your locale, it can be pretty miserable outside. What better way for a beer fan to fight the oppressive heat and humidity than with a bright new brew? Let me assure you, there is no better way. This one comes all the way from Athens, Georgia, and the famous Terrapin Beer Company.
I have known about Smartmouth Brewing Company for a few years now, loving their Alter Ego Saison and enjoying the brewery’s delightful detailed scientific labels that adorn its year-round brews. The first time I had heard of Safety Dance Pilsner, the beer appeared as the Best in Show Winner for the 2017 Virginia Craft Beer Cup. So when I saw these cans in my local bottle shop, I knew I had to pick some up for these muggy, summer days.
The Chicago metro area certainly has a multitude of beers available for consumption these days, given its now 175+ breweries in operation. But, every once in awhile, a beer comes along that inspires a beer writer such as me to, well, write about it. This time, the beer comes from the mad geniuses of Chicago’s Dovetail Brewery. The Dovetail motto, “We brew like monks (minus the vows),” notes its dedication to traditional, continental European-style brewing methods and that is why the Dovetail Hefeweizen is one of the best you’ll ever have.
In this day and age you can just about find an IPA around every corner. IPAs have evolved over time, but there will always be hop heads willing to try a brewery’s latest, freshest IPA. Unfortunately, making a delicious IPA that stands out from the crowd and doing so on a consistent basis is a challenging task. Borderlands Brewing Company out of Tucson, Arizona has been a fixture of consistency in the state of Arizona and recently received national recognition for one of their IPAs. Draft Magazine was kind enough to blind taste test nearly 400 different IPAs and came out with a top 50 list. Borderlands Brewing made that list at number 48 with their Toole Avenue IPA. Riding their wave of success on their flagship IPA, they are just coming out with their first canned double IPA—Sitting In A Tin Can.
Full disclosure – I have never been much of a cider drinker. My friends can all attest that whenever we head out to a bar, I’m sticking to beer. Whether it’s the cloying sweetness of some or the champagne dryness of others, I haven’t quite had the best luck when it comes to craft ciders. So when I was recently offered a can of Bubbles by Rhinegeist, needless to say my past experiences prompted me to accept with some hesitation. Luckily, any and all hesitation was obliterated as soon as I took that first sip. It was amazing.
In the land where lower alcohol brews rule the draft lines, many excellent strong beverages are continuously being produced by our local breweries. According to a few hundred like-minded local beer geeks, 2 Row Brewing’s Tastes Like Citrus IPA is Utah’s current number one high point ABV beer. Not only does 2 Row’s mastermind Brian Coleman craft great IPA, he seemly introduced our first native born hazy IPA. Coleman is no stranger to the IPA game. He has been brewing some of the state’s best hoppy beers since opening his brewery less than two years ago. His foray into the haze craze naturally seemed only a ‘when’ and definitively not an ‘if’.
ABV: 7% | IBU: 55
For most new to beer, and a sizable number of those well-versed in the various styles beer has to offer, trying an IPA is like sneaking a swig of your dad’s whiskey after everyone has gone to bed. It is an unpleasant rite of passage into the craft beer world that I, simply put, did not agree with. There was too much out there to enjoy without forcing myself to drink something I didn’t enjoy.
Americans feel an immense sense of pride on the Fourth of July as we gather to celebrate our country’s freedom. For the last 241 years, we have been celebrating our independence by proudly showcasing the star spangled banner, our great American flag, with red, white and blue paraphernalia. While the idea of “independence” is a hot topic in the craft beer world, we can’t help but love to see breweries rocking their American pride on their beers. Check out these 23 craft beers that are American as F*CK!
Feature image courtesy of Fremont Brewing
Chuck’s Hop Shop, one of Seattle’s beloved bottle shops, was a frenzy last Wednesday. No less than a hundred of eager Seattle beer fanatics squeezed into the Central District’s cozy space in hopes of getting a taste of the release of the moment in the Emerald City: Unicorn Tears, a Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Oatmeal Milk Stout with Cherries, a collaboration between Fremont Brewing and Perennial Artisan Ales.
Remember the coastal rap rivalry of the 90s? Well, Tupac and Biggie’s beef is being resurrected. Instead of fresh beats and dope lyrics, craft beer lovers are squabbling over fresh hops and hazy juices. If you’ve been on social media recently, you’ve undoubtedly seen that a line has been drawn. Hop heads still prefer the dank resinous West Coast style IPAs well known for their outrageous IBUs; However, the New England IPA is a little more complex, yet subtler, then to be expected. Most of these “juice bombs” sport intense fruit flavors, soft mouth feel and a much sweeter finishing flavor. You could say that West Coast is the rougher, bitter, more “gangsta” of the two, whereas the New England style is the softer, easier drinking, almost hip-hop of the two.
Featured image courtesy of Braxton Brewing Co.
For most, the hot summer months mean moving to lighter beers. It makes sense that a light, crisp, refreshing beer is better when you are in the sun, but that doesn’t mean you have to default to a light lager or blonde ale. Many other styles fit the hot summer months just as well, such as sour craft beers. And I am not talking about the traditional sours like lambics but rather kettle sours (aka quick sours). There’s been a huge influx of this type of beer and I think they are a great fit for a hot summer day because they offer low ABV, are ideally drank cold, and provide a crisp, refreshing taste that fights off the effects of the hot summer sun.
Here in Cincinnati, we have a lot of great options that fit this style. Plus, these beers are easy to bring along when you are enjoying the outdoors. Here are five of my favorite Cincinnati summer sours.
Pueblo Vida Brewing, based out of Tucson, Arizona, is quietly producing some of the highest quality IPAs in the state. Part of the intrigue and mystery surrounding this quick riser could be attributed to the fact that Pueblo Vida doesn’t currently distribute outside of Tucson, nor do they regularly can or bottle any of their beers. However, recently they’ve started releasing two special release cans each month, which have quickly grown a cult following locally and around the beer trading community. After you try one of their beers, it’s easy to see why they’re gaining popularity. One of their releases for May and arguably the best beer they’ve canned so far is Monswoon IPA.
The term “little hellion” can only be used endearingly for this brew, from the Harrisonburg-based Virginia brewery. It’s relaxing to drink, harbors a thoughtful approach to the style and is a flagship selection from Brothers Craft Brewing.
Almost as refreshing as their beer is the attitude that Steve Weber and Chipley McKnight bring to the modern day craft beer industry. They are the two grumpy old men behind Grumpy Old Men Brewing in Blue Ridge, Georgia, and they are not looking to be hip or game changers. Nor are they interested in some of the funkier trends that tend to occupy the minds of today’s craft beer maestros.