The craft beer industry ordinarily revels in St. Paddy’s Day celebrations—everyone is Irish on March 17. And on this St. Paddy’s Day, it behooves us all to remember the Irish’s resolve and endurance. Indeed, Irish and Irish Americans have routinely dealt with periods of enormous difficulty due to famine, disease, imperialism and racism. And we can especially look to Irish women for inspiration as they have shined brightly during the most challenging times, both on the Emerald Isle and in America. So, as we find the beer world, and the entire human race, at a crossroads, we can find inspiration in those Irish women. As Mother Jones once proclaimed: “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic has us indoors this St. Paddy’s day, here are four inspiring Irish women to celebrate the holiday. And, at the end, this Irish-American in Chicago will provide a little commentary and also mention a special beer that, while untraditional, captures the essence of Irish women’s tenacity and compassion — we can all use that right about now.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. The day can open up old wounds or make fresh ones sting a bit more when it’s a fresh heartbreak; you might even be cheers-ing to the end of a toxic and draining relationship. Regardless of the situation, having a beer in hand or a stocked fridge might help take the edge off.* Although I am personally in a relationship, I was curious to see what others would want to have on-hand, so I’ve rounded up some beers for anyone who is trying to get over an ex… or simply wants to make their Valentine’s date a frosty beer.
Move over Cupid. Oswego Brewing, Riverlands Brewing, Skeleton Key Brewing and Wolfden Brewing have concocted the perfect method for which to achieve romantic bliss: the Box of Chocolates Beer Collaboration. The multi-brewery Valentine’s Day beer package is more than just a treat, though, because the beers also serve as beautiful demonstrations of the versatility of stouts (or stout-like ales), which is fitting for February (a.k.a. Stout Month).
By far, my favorite holiday beer is Brasserie Dupont’s Avec Les Bons Voeux (translated as “with good wishes”). It’s made year-round, but only brought to the United States during winter. The beer began as a treat to brewery visitors during the holidays and, as it only makes its way to the United States around the holidays, it remains a special treat for us.
While putting out milk and cookies for Santa may have been enough to satisfy old Saint Nick back when we were kids, Santa of 2019 is likely looking for a little more variety. Much like the fact that there are …
It’s a well regarded fact that the best beer to make you recall fond memories of Christmases of yore is a terrifically dark, malty ale. Perhaps it’s spiced, like Great Lake Christmas Ale. Maybe it’s minty with deep chocolate notes. Or it could be barrel-aged, resulting in a boozy, syrupy confection that’s meant to inoculate you from the inevitable holiday hangover. But what if, just this one time, you wanted to enjoy a Christmas beer that embodies the current haze craze? Well, we’ve found the beer for you.
The season ‘tis upon us again—Christmas shopping season, that is. And that means shopping for the craft beer lover in your life—or perhaps just treating yourself. This year, make a resolution to get away from the old standards like customized glassware and tap handles and put something different and more interesting under the tree! We’ve listed our top 10 unique gifts below, along with a few more traditional options just in case. Best part, none of these will bust your Christmas budget.
I’ve done my best this year. Sure, I may have had a few bumps in the road on my way to the Nice List, but what can I say? I’m only human. Besides, a few parking tickets never hurt anyone! Look Santa, I want to reason with you. I don’t need anything too fancy, so you can save the diamond earrings and shiny new cars for the real heroes out there. There is really only one thing I want to find in my stocking this year, and it’s a shiny new bottle of Shiner Holiday Cheer from Spoetzl Brewery. Now, they probably don’t sell this one where you’re from up North, so I’ll give you a few pointers to make sure you know what you’re looking for.
When the temperature drops below 50 degrees, our taste buds seem to sense the change in barometric pressure and start to crave those darker, roasted malts. There is a coziness that is associated with a stout by the fireside or watching rainfall while sipping on a malty winter mistress of a Cascadian dark ale. The winter seasonals start to hit the shelves just in time for the holidays and are invariably associated with happy, festive memories.
‘Tis season to be jolly, but don’t ignore the gluten-free folks! Finding the perfect beer gift for the gluten-free person in your life isn’t as daunting as it seems. Here’s a list of truly gluten-free beers available across the country, brewed with naturally gluten-free malted ingredients such as corn, quinoa, buckwheat, and sorghum.
When it comes to holiday beers, New Belgium Brewing had the market cornered for years with Frambozen: a medium-bodied brown ale awash with fresh raspberries and a delightfully festive pinkish head. The seasonal release was eagerly anticipated every year, and when they discontinued this brew back in 2015, I mourned the loss deeply.
Luckily, though, fans of the tartly fruited brown ale have been treated to new iterations of the classic over the past few years. An imperial version with cocoa was delightfully similar to the original, with subtle hints of chocolate that deepened the overall flavor without adding too much sweetness. I suspect it was the success of that iteration that brings us to the current limited release: New Belgium Brewing Foeder Frambozen.
Being able to support small businesses, especially ones that pertain to beer, is a large part of the craft industry. Adam and Katie of Ale Adventures shared some of their favorite beer brands and products and we’ve shared some products beer lovers would enjoy as holiday gift ideas. So, as we approach the holiday season, it’s only fitting that we highlight Flatirons Soap Works, a Colorado-based small business that is well integrated into the beer community and whose product allows beer lovers to further incorporate beer into their lives.
The first few times I watched the beloved 1966 animated version of “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” as an adult I could have sworn it was a full-length feature film. This distortion in the time/space continuum came largely as the result of my friends Kathy and Wendy insisting that I play “The Grinch” drinking game with them. In actuality, the running time is 26 minutes—30 with commercials.
For starters, this game is best played with beer, preferably something cheap, because there will be lots of fast-paced, mindless drinking. For everyone. The game’s simplicity is the main selling point, as after 20 minutes it becomes difficult to distinguish the finer points of the film.
Let the brutal Grinch game begin . . .
As I was using a plastic snow shovel to chip away at the glacier-sized chunks of hardened ice in my driveway the other day, I was reminded of just how much I loooove the holiday season. And what’s not to love? Dry, cracked hands that look like a relief map of the Mojave Desert? Check. General sense of terror every time I walk in public because no one got the memo about covering their coughs and sneezes? Double check. But at least there’s good beer.
It’s great that St. Nick takes care of the kids. But, for grown-ups, it’s all about St. Bernardus. He doesn’t need to send his elf for your shelf because his smiling face and festive hat adorn every bottle of St. Bernardus Christmas Ale. One sip of the exquisite Belgian beer will surely bring an abundance of holiday joy to any beer fan.
We at PorchDrinking.com thoroughly enjoy the Holidays, and the beer that comes with it. From Winter Warmers to Christmas Ales, there’s something for everyone (even if they’ve been naughty). We have decided to showcase a different holiday beer each day the next couple of weeks. Some beers enjoy rich histories while some are new to the scene, but each one has a warm place in the heart of the writers who’ve chosen to showcase their favorites. Even better, for those writers “up north,” the beer is keeping them warm as Jack Frost nips at their noses.
A Christmas Classic beer showcase will publish each day until we approach Christmas. Hopefully we can add to this list next year and in the years to come. And because the Holidays are all about over-doing it, we’ve also added a few extra goodies to your PorchDrinking stocking.
The time between Thanksgiving and New Years is supposed to be about enjoying family and friends, but it can quickly devolve into a five week stress marathon. With holiday parties, family gatherings, traveling to see loved ones, and presents to buy the stress can pile on each day. One obvious remedy to the holiday madness is beer of course, and why not make those beers special and surprising? The key to a delicious daily dose of holiday calm is a Beervent Calendar!
Thanksgiving is nearly upon us. Or—as your aunt insists on calling it—Turkey Day. Of course, this day involves a lot more to eat than just a large bird and therein lies the challenge when it comes to Thanksgiving beer pairings. Which beers are flexible enough to work well with the cornucopia of flavors and textures we enjoy on this holiday?
Many guides to pairing with Thanksgiving dinner suggest course-by-course pairings with one beer matched with one particular dish. No one actually eats like that though. We pile our plates with as much food as we can fit and then dive in. Rather than match beers with dishes, I’ve outlined a beer pairing list that divides the day into stages and offers suggestions for each phase.
“Hype is a funny thing,” Larry Bell told me on his way from Kalamazoo to Chicago. Bell is a craft beer pioneer and founder of the eponymous Bell’s Brewery. “Hype doesn’t come from us. It comes from what people’s expectations are. I’ve seen how hype affects people, but even with 30 years in the business, I can’t explain it fully.”
In Colorado, which was once (and perhaps still) considered the craft beer capital of the world, there are some legendary flagship brews we haven’t had easy access to until very recently. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, Founders’ All-Day IPA and Brooklyn Lager are just a few. This all changed at the end of 2018 and Midwest and East Coast transplants living in Colorado celebrated the return of their long-lost favorite brews.
Christmas time is a time of year filled with tradition, from holiday parties, to caroling, to big, hearty, meals filled with comfort food. For many families, traditions also include baking all the cookies. All these cookies are given out during cookie exchanges, to the mail carriers, to uncles, aunts and cousins, and certainly, they will also end up in gifts to you from others as well. With all these cookies, it doesn’t take long before you are sick of all that sugar. That’s when it’s time to break open some less-than-obvious beer pairings to make those cookies seem new again.