PD’s own dissect beer. Leave the pretentiousness on the curb.
The Sunshine State is more than 1,000 miles away from me and is experiencing no snow at all (but, is that any surprise?). Meanwhile, the temperature outside my house here in Massachusetts has dropped to the teens. In this totally unfair, location-based insult, what kind of beer will help me endure this unforgiving weather? A porter will do the trick, but it has to be robust, smooth and drinkable. Therefore, Pop’s Porter tops my forecast.
Firestone Walker is known for creating some awesome brews, from the Luponic Distortion IPA series to Velvet Merkin, at their Paso Robles brewery. I feel that their Barrelworks beers can be overlooked at times, like the Champs de Fraises. I will be the first to say it took me a while to get down with wild ales, always thinking they would turn out a funky “gym sock” Belgian nose. Obviously, I had a lot to learn! Nowadays, wild ales are my jam and I seek out the opportunity to try these beauties.
Living in Texas, we never really have a traditional fall season, or a normal winter, with temperatures frequently fluctuating 20-30 degrees in a week. So I always mark the start of fall based on the release of the first Oktoberfest brews, and then I wait patiently for the winter warmers to appear to let me know that “winter” is on it’s way. Regardless of the temperatures, nothing says winter and Christmas like a well-spiced winter warmer.
The nearly four-year-old Denver brewery, Call to Arms Brewing (CTA), won a 2018 World Cup gold in the Fresh or Wet Hop Ale category for a beer inspired by the crew’s love of Billy Madison with its More Like Bore-O-Phyll. In September, during GABF week, the brewery held its third annual [email protected]#*ing Call to Arms Catalina Wine Mixer! Simply, the brewery deftly intertwines the art of sophisticated beer production with relaxed, easy-going fun. And, the recent release of Really, Really, Ridiculously Good Tasting (RRRGT), a farmhouse ale aged in Chardonnay barrels with Brett Claussennii only further cements that concept; one should not feel compelled to stick out one’s pinky—just kick back and enjoy a beer that’s really, really, ridiculously good.
On a recent trip to Pittsburgh, I decided to visit a bottle shop to see if there was anything this Florida gal couldn’t get her hands on back home. I was immediately taken by the can artwork by a specific brewery; I knew this beer must be something special.
Foreign Objects Beer Company is just over a year old but what they’ve got going on belies their young age. Their beer? Amazing. Information about the brewery? Not much. Their intentionally vague descriptions of beers (Ale with hops? Sure.), their brewery and even their location are hard to find and even harder to pin down. Are they in Pottstown, PA, like their can indicated? Are they in New Paltz, NY, like another website said? Are they gypsy brewers? It’s hard to tell, really.
When it comes to defining the character of a brewery, there are a lot of decisions to be made, the most important being the type of beer that will be brewed. And Wooden Cask Brewing knew that providing the same modern styles as other breweries wouldn’t make them stand out; it also didn’t represent who they are.
So to gain recognition and embrace their favorite styles, Wooden Cask brews traditional styles that are often overlooked as other breweries are making hazy IPAs and pastry stouts.
We’re finally feeling the weather changes here in Northern California. It’s beautiful, and my favorite time of the year. Not only because of the crisp air, but because it’s now barleywine season. Don’t get me wrong, I can drink barleywine anytime of the year; however, it’s difficult to find someone to crush the strong stuff with in the middle of summer.
I attended the 25th annual barleywine festival at Toronado in San Francisco a few weeks ago. 50 taps flowing, sweaty bodies crowding the bar, and the smell of future hangovers filled the room; I was in heaven. Soon I was sampling with other malt enthusiasts. A ton of great and not-so-great examples of the sweet stuff were tried, but one was particularly delightful.
On Saturday, December 8, at 11 a.m., Schlafly Beer will release The Variant II at its taproom in St. Louis and, in limited fashion, to the broader market. The Variant II is a sophisticated blend of two different variations of the base 9.4% Imperial Stout, receiving flavor from barrels that once held brandy (usually made by fermenting wine), as well as with sour cherries. The elegant beer suits anyone seeking to indulge during the holidays, especially those who possess a mutual love of craft beer and mixology.
“Tart cherries are soaked inside a generous stout and aged in brandy barrels—it’s enough to make you skip right to dessert,” explains founding Brewer Stephen Hale. “Imperial is the right word. This rich, creamy, luxurious experience brings a taste of extravagance, sip after sip. All is right with the world.”
Along Philadelphia’s Main Line, sits a seven-barrel brewhouse in the suburb of Berwyn, PA. It’s the creation of a once Spanish teacher turned professional brewer. La Cabra Brewing, translated to “the goat” from Spanish, is named appropriately since the brewery shares similar features and traits to the animal. Fun, smart, and persistent are just some of the values both goats and La Cabra embody. And one of the latest releases from the Pennsylvania brewery is an IPA that falls in line with that same philosophy.
As the craft beer industry continues to evolve and become more complex, Sierra Nevada switched gears and brewed an ale for a different beer lover. For the consumer who’s no connoisseur or who may not even care what the hell a hop even is, there’s Beer for Drinking.
It’s not barrel-aged, dry-hopped or infused. It’s beer. Plain and simple. And for many, that’s all they need.
I have a confession to make. I sometimes hide beer from my husband. We’ve all been there before where the fridge becomes a free-for-all for everyone in the household. Being in my mid-thirties, I’m well past the point of leaving post-its to call beer dibs, so I resort to hiding precious beer that I’ve been clamoring to enjoy—in the broom closet (he’ll never find it there). And in my broom closet that is where you’ll find Ska Brewing’s Sour Apple Gose, a beer that is meant to be savored even if it’s in secret.
7 Seas Brewing Cascadian Dark Ale has been one of the premier representations of the Black IPA style within the Pacific Northwest for quite sometime, however it was only recently that this fall gem was packaged for the first time.
Named “Boobytraps” with inspiration coming from the 80’s PNW cult classic film about kids searching for treasure, this Black IPA style beer starts off with nuances of orange marmalade fleeting across the palate. Then a wave of pine and sticky resin comes rushing through with a restrained bitterness and a touch of roasted coffee. From beginning to end this one is velvety smooth.
It was a cold, dark and slightly damp fall evening — but as soon as I walked inside Dos Luces Brewery, the stream of twinkling lights, plentiful plants and colorful, open space melted away the snow from my shoulders and why-is-it-dark-at-4 p.m. attitude. The brewery, which opened this summer, was filled with a smattering of locals sipping beers in unassuming white cups on a quiet Wednesday evening. A few sips of the Chicha Inti beer, an Incan drink brewed from blue corn and radiating with sweet spices, quickly made me forget the omnipresent chill and transported me to the warm, verdant oasis of my grandmother’s garden.
Russian River Brewing Company is an iconic brewery, a brewery that started beer trends, even before we knew what beer trends were. They are also a company that methodically moves at their own speed, with their own vision.
Though there’s no question that Russian River could have expanded earlier, they completed their expansion on their own terms, in my mind further proving their dedication to, and love of, craft beer. The stunning new brewing facility is located in Windsor, CA, just about nine miles from their Santa Rose brewpub. The new location includes a multi-room restaurant and a bar, with both indoor and outdoor bar seating, along with separate tasting and gift shop areas.
The saddest day of my entire beer-loving life arrived last spring when I opened the door of my old college dorm room beer fridge, and out came my only remaining bottle of 4 Hands Brewing Absence Of Light ’17. In slow motion, the bottle teetered out of the fridge, falling to its death just six inches below. I moved as fast as possible, but I could not catch the neck from slamming into the concrete floor, causing the glass to shatter, ejecting the brown, frothy goodness directly into laundry drain. The scent of Peanut Butter Stout wafted into the air as I stared down at the brown liquid disappearing into the abyss. It was a sad day. Needless to say, I replaced that fridge. But, I was afraid I could never replace that beer — until now.
As the first frost approached in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Sidetrack Brewing tapped their cask-conditioned Oatmeal Stout called Dark Engine Stout. This unassuming neighborhood pub in downtown is the only brewery in Albuquerque that serves cask ales from beer engines.
Those of you still clinging on to the spirit of Oktoberfest you are in luck. Narragansett Brewing Company, founded in Cranston, Rhode Island in 1890, has what ails you. Fashionably late to the season, and coming out of a brief retirement, is Narragansett Fest.
The Jersey Shore is home to surf, sun and the beach, loved by many locals and tourists (aka bennies, shoobies, etc.) alike. Jokes aside, the population in the summer skyrockets but is back to normal levels by Labor Day. As the weather turns cold, the number of people dwindles and shore communities turn into ghost towns. Some who stay behind and are not “locals,” per se, stay in relatively affordable “winter rentals,” which is where Beach Haus Brewery’s seasonal release Winter Rental got its name.
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.