PD’s own dissect beer. Leave the pretentiousness on the curb.
A few weeks ago, on a cloudy Seattle Friday night, dozens of beer fanatics flooded the basement of the Pike Brewing Company in celebration of the establishment’s 29th Canniversary. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the taproom and restaurant, guests mingled amidst the brewery’s fermenters and bottling lines – sipping away on the quintessential Pike brews and slurping down oysters from the Puget Sound.
In a market so saturated with DDH beers, super-fruited and adjunct overloads (which I should note, I love trying as much as the next beer enthusiast), I find it refreshing when a brewery isn’t steadfast to these trends and unafraid to put out more traditional styles of beer. Fox Farm Brewery in Salem, Connecticut is a brewery that’s doing just that. Their Smoked Helles Lager, The Cabin, is a great beer that deserves the spotlight for this reason.
Fall weekends in Austin, Texas can trick you into forgetting all about humid summer nights or surprise flash floods. Weather like that can convince someone that patio weather will never end, that you get an extra hour of sleep every night or that that the next beer might be the best beer — Hold Out Brewing is working to make at lease one of those dreams a reality.
An upcoming brewpub in central Austin, Hold Out is spearheaded by brewers Mark Stowe and Brent Sapstead. Brent is the former head brewer and production manager of Real Ale Brewing Company in Blanco, Texas. On Saturday, November 3, Hold Out Brewing threw a preview event hosted by their soon-to-be neighbors, Better Half Coffee and Cocktail Bar. Guests could sample four beers from Hold Out Brewing or purchase two different collaboration beers from Hold Out Brewing and Austin Beerworks.
Seward, Nebraska is known as “The Fourth of July City.” With just over 7,000 denizens, Seward is not a “small” town by Nebraska standards, where towns with less than 1,000 people are still common around the state. And so it was nice to see this town get its own independent brewery in 2015 when Bottle Rocket Brewing Company opened its doors.
In a way, it is fortunate that President Thomas Jefferson wasn’t able to read his distant successor’s “The Art of the Deal.” If he had, he might have learned that one does not kick the tires after making a $15 million purchase (as providence would have it, Jefferson’s profligacy was vindicated and the French ended up looking like suckers). So it was that in May 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark boldly commanded their corps to paddle furiously upstream from St. Louis, Missouri.
One full year later, Lewis and Clark found themselves in present-day Montana. By August 1805, two events critical to the expedition had happened: Lewis and Clark successfully navigated the Missouri River past Great Falls and what is today known as Helena, Montana; William Clark celebrated his 35th birthday with nary a beer in sight.
Luckily for you, the extended family at Lewis and Clark’s namesake brewery have labored so you do not have to be so deprived. For your next expedition (e.g. trip to the bottle shop) or special occasion (e.g. Tuesday), we suggest Lewis & Clark’s Prickly Pear Pale Ale.
For the past four years, Detroit area breweries have teamed up in October to collaborate on innovative beers in honor of the Michigan Brewers Guild’s Fall Beer Festival. However, this year’s theme took experimentation to the next level. Seven breweries decided to pay homage to the cornerstone of Michigan pop (not soda), Faygo, the beloved pop brand of Michiganders and Juggalos alike. While Faygo has been covered in the national press, usually as a side-story to the oddities of the Insane Clown Posse, the Detroit Beer Experiment, a collective of Detroit-based breweries, decided to give the product it’s culinary due by way of beer. Stephen Rogonson of Batch Brewing Co and Robert Orler of Brew Detroit were nice enough to answer some questions about the Detroit Beer Experiment.
Ryan Blandford, head brewer at Cincinnati’s Taft’s Ale House, won his first gold medal at the World Beer Cup while working for crosstown brewery Fifty West in 2016. When he heard Fifty West’s 10 & 2 Barleywine announced, he couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“I was jumping up and down and swearing,” laughed Blandford when we spoke on the phone last week. “As a young brewer you look up to these guys who are winning all these medals and when you’re fortunate enough to win one, well, you’re kind of freaking out.”
Temperatures are dropping, costumes have been Instagrammed, worn, mangled and stashed away in the closet — out of sight, out of mind — once again. Having moved out of the U.S. seven months ago, it came as quite a shock to me this past week to learn that MOST COUNTRIES DON’T CELEBRATE HALLOWEEN. So forgive me if I want to hold on to it for just a little longer.
But the changing colors and declining thermometers also indicate another seasonal change is upon us: Stout Season. We have a glorious few months where high ABVs and barrel-aging take the spotlight as they encourage long talks by the fireplace and cap off fall festivities. In this humble writer’s opinion, Bottle Logic Brewing provides some of the finest dark brews around, and what beer is more appropriate to fully transition us into the season than the very appropriately named Darkstar November.
This is it, my friends. We are in November. At least for many of you throughout the country, the weather has shifted. The jet stream has begun to re-calibrate. Winds are picking up, the clouds are more uniform, and the precipitation has already started to solidify into the four-letter word most people loath to use. It’s inevitable, though. Unless you are in Yuma or Miami, or you have your sights set on Hawaii for a month, that thermometer isn’t going to budge much over 60 degrees for awhile. Your bright and sunny days are going to be at a minimum. Thankfully, a well-known brewery has just the antidote to shoo away the clouds and bring back the warmth for a little while. Fat Head’s Brewery’s Sunshine Daydream is at your beck and call; this session IPA is available all year long, rain or shine.
Readers of PorchDrinking.com, I’d like to introduce you to Seattle’s pale ale. That’s right – in the city with the most craft breweries in the entire country, known for pioneering brewers and enthusiastic hopheads, I’m daring to single out one brew as Seattle’s illustrative pale. Please raise a glass and introduce yourself to Manny’s Pale Ale from Georgetown Brewing Company.
After a short-lived, but spoiled, beer experience while living in Los Angeles for the past two years, I find myself back in the deep South for one simple thing: educational singularity. With this move came the heartbreak of broken connections and proximity to some of the best breweries the U.S. has to offer. However, every once in a while you find a diamond in the rough. Even with the slow start that Alabama had with developing reputable beer and breweries, I’ve really seen the state taking off in the right direction in the last couple of years.
Everyone has a favorite brewery, or a few of them. If the stars ever align and those breweries get together and brew a collaboration beer, then that’s about as good as it gets for a beer lover. In this case, …
This fall and winter, if you’re looking for a dark beer without the thick texture of a stout or porter, look no further than Keweenaw Brewing Company Widow Maker Black Ale.
Located in Houghton, Michigan at the base of the Keweenaw Peninsula, Keweenaw Brewing Company was an early entry in the craft beer boom of the 2000s. This is unsurprising, given that Houghton is not only a college town (home to Michigan Technological University), but a cold and snowy one, with little to do in the winters but ski, snowmobile and drink. Founders Dick Gray and Paul Boissevain opened up their tap room in the heart of downtown Houghton, and it was an immediate hit with students and staff alike. Widow Maker is one of their “core ales, ” alongside Pick Axe Blonde Ale, Red Jacket Amber Ale and November Gale Pale Ale.
If you’re not familiar with Holy Mountain Brewing out of Seattle, then this beer, The Ox, will motivate you to change that. This barrel-aged saison is brewed with orange zest and Cascade hops, fermented in oak barrels (drooling). I had the pleasure of trying some of their brews for the first time recently and was floored by both the innovation of their brewing and quality of beer, particularly this saison.
“Cider is too sweet. Cider isn’t beer.” If that’s your thought on the matter of ciders, I would implore you first to refrain from comparing cider to beer. Beer is beer. Whiskey is whiskey. Wine is wine. And cider is cider. Yes, the packaging and crafted nature of the business has often allowed the two imbibe industries to converge, but they are not the same. I would then suggest next that you explore ciders as its own entity; you’ll find that the ciders of today are nothing like the jugged-cider sold at family pumpkin fests, and they differ greatly from the hard cider that first emerged fifteen to twenty years ago. Cider today is innovative, nuanced and balanced, demonstrated exquisitely by Stem Ciders‘ Chile Guava Apple Cider.
Epic Brewing has been a mainstay in Salt Lake City, UT since its genesis and as they continued to grow, added a Denver location in 2013. Their burgeoning beer roster is host to innovative beer that steers the entire industry in a new direction, as well as iconic anchors that satisfy the staunchest of purists. However, Big Bad Baptist, their iconic barrel-aged stout, has become the centerpiece that preaches to the ethos of both categories.
Ahh, fall. A time of cooling temperatures, cozy knit sweaters and pumpkin spice as far as the nose can smell. It can be easy to hit gourd overload before the leaves even begin to change, and craft beer is no exception: I counted 14 pumpkin-themed six-packs at the liquor store this week, and that’s not even including bombers.
So, in an effort to help you wade through the most trendy of all beer trends this autumn, let me cut to the chase: just drink Avery Brewing’s Rumpkin.
Ah, CBS. Founder’s highly-praised Imperial Coffee Chocolate Stout returns for a second consecutive year starting November 2nd across their distribution footprint. This year’s version is different than the 2017 variant for several reasons.
First and most obviously, the iconic “mountie” is missing from the bottle and branding. Why? Everyone has ideas and Twitter has seen its fair share of wild speculation. My guess is they just wanted to refresh the brand and focus on this year’s beer. Which, by the way, is very very good. After a six-year hiatus, the CBS that returned in 2017 was good, but its maple syrup sweetness dominated the palate. That said, this year’s version is great, dare I say exceptional, because it brings this insanely complex beer back to equilibrium. It’s much more balanced than year’s past, which lets several flavors shine.
Confession: I never wanted to be a beer snob. In fact, I fought it. But I wouldn’t be writing this if I succeeded.
I started drinking craft beer because I didn’t know better. All I knew was I liked it better than the macros. Before long, I was drinking craft beer because I did know better. Words like “boozy” and “barnyard” and “mouthfeel” entered my vocabulary. At bars, the hunt began with the most expensive. I researched the history of lambic and pilsner and bière de garde. And to complete my snob-ucation, I joined a beer club.
Fall can be a beautiful time of year. But it can also be an unpredictable time of transition. Maybe you live in a perilously bipolar climate, where one day you’re reaching for the sunscreen, and the next day you’re in the middle of an Armageddonian blizzard. Maybe your fantasy football team isn’t living up to its potential, so you go to your local watering hole to drown your misery in a new seasonal brew, only to find seven different pumpkin ales on tap.
I’ve got nothing personally against pumpkin beer, although some people feel differently. And to be fair, in the fall there are plenty of other beer releases (wet-hopped beers, Oktoberfest, stouts, etc.). But in the midst of the cold weather-fueled Halloween frenzy, we overlook one of the most interesting events of the season: Día de Muertos (or commonly in America, Día de los Muertos). Elevation Beer Co. in Poncha Springs, Colorado has been celebrating the event for a few years, which roughly coincides with the annual release of their imperial porter, Señorita.