#beershowcase – PorchDrinking.com
When the chill of winer sets in, in the Midwest, we all pile on the layers. Wool socks, scarves, non-ironic stocking caps. But with the sun still setting before you can make it home from work, there’s one more trick to help warm you up – bourbon. One sip warms you from the inside out and takes away that chill that never seems to subside.
Just north of the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, the Hudson Valley in New York has long inspired artists and writers, like Norman Rockwell, with its Victorian homes, charming villages and amazing cuisine. The valley is full of outdoor activities like boating, kayaking and the opportunity to summit some pretty intense mountains; a section of the Appalachian Trail even runs through the area. So, it should come as no surprise that the Hudson Valley is becoming a hot spot for breweries. In fact, there are more than 50 breweries and counting within the region.
Hudson Valley Brewery is located in Beacon, NY. Situated just off the main street in a 1960s factory building, Hudson Valley Brewery opened their doors in 2017 and have already made quite a name for themselves—Hop Culture Magazine named them Best New Brewery of 2017.
It’s a marshmallow world in the winter and what better way to commemorate this season than a stout brewed with… marshmallows? As an avid maker/consumer of Rice Krispie treats, if you tell me something has marshmallow in it, I’m immediately excited, like “when it was your birthday in school and you got to bring in treats for the class”-excited. Luckily the Swedish, who know a thing or two about endless freezing nights, have crafted a liquidized Stay Puft in the form of Hypnopompa to warm our innards on a chilly winter’s eve.
The latest brew from St. Louis’ 4 Hands Brewing Company comes just in time for a palate switch up. After getting my fill of bourbon barrel stouts the past few weeks, I’m ready for the switch to big coffee stouts. In the case of St. Louis beer lovers, we have two biggies coming out, both with a common link: St. Louis’ own Sump Coffee Company. One of which being 4 Hands’ Single Origin.
It’s the holiday season and everyone is buzzing around trying to find the best beer to share with friends and family. Most of us are also traveling to visit family—which means planes, trains and automobiles (like the movie, but hopefully less crazy). I personally took Amtrak to Grand Junction, Colorado, to visit family and it was great! What I did miss was the gas station coffee during pit stops. Thankfully, I was able to get the flavor without the hectic drive from California to Colorado!
Coffee is a huge part of my life along with beer, and I am all about having a combination of those two in a beer any day. Medusa Brewing Company has a coffee porter that I am thrilled to tell you about. If I lived closer, this would be a staple in my beer collection. I do not live anywhere near Medusa, but luckily a fellow PorchDrinker got this to me to enjoy in Florida.
It’s been a season of surprises in North Carolina. First, we have one of the biggest December snow storms I’ve ever seen. Then, I discover a new brewery — Preyer Brewing — that managed to fly under my radar for the past 3 years.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Autumn is the season of pies. Whether it’s pumpkin, sweet potato or pecan, we all know the colder months bring forth a nostalgic desire for those traditionally warming, sweet sensations. So when the wave of pumpkin-spiced everything (including beer) takes over, how do you stand out? Brothers Craft Brewery cuts to the core of this dilemma by releasing a specially brewed apple ale, Blonde Betty.
There is no beer scene in the Shenandoah Valley without the influence of Brothers Craft Brewery, formerly known as Three Brothers. These guys have been providing wonderful beers in the Appalachian Mountains since the Virginia beer boom in 2012 by catering to both sides of the craft beer spectrum. They recently won Best in Show at the Virginia Craft Beer Cup for their flagship Lil Hellion; their barrel-aged beers like Resolute and Drunken Mornings are loved by rare beer collectors.
Maybe you haven’t noticed, but Chicago’s Burnt City Brewing is making waves. The brewery already boasts of a chic brewpub and bowling alley on the always-hip Lincoln Avenue, a brewhouse located in the locally-famous, former Jay’s plant, eye-catching label artwork and a recent collaboration with Chicago’s illustrious Art Institute. But now it’s also churning out a diverse, impressive collection of beers including its Brett and Yeast friendly “Wildfire Series.”
In a world of hoppy beers, where even a beloved kolsch-style must now be dry hopped, it is nice to go back to one of the standard styles that helped set the stage for the craft beer movement – the Amber Ale. Today this style doesn’t receive all the notoriety of a West Coast IPA or the new hazy IPA styles; however, it was one of the original popular craft beer styles appearing in the 1990s that continues to be a staple among fans.
Anchor Steam®. Those two words serve as a metaphorical window into a world filled with a veritable wealth of American beer history.
To view Anchor Brewing is to observe three distinct stages of American brewing: 19th Century to Prohibition; the resurrection of American craft and the establishment of craft as a business worthy of significant investment. To drink the beer is to enjoy a historical brewing process that afforded West Coast brewers an ability to brew successfully without ice; it also helped remind later-twentieth-century beer drinkers that beer need-not be clearish-yellow and full of adjuncts.
Neither Vinnie nor Natalie Cilurzo are likely to read this piece about Russian River Pliny the Elder.
Not that it is anything personal; it is just that when you are in the nonstop process of brewing world-class beer while expanding from a 17,000 BBL system to a 70,000 BBL system, you tend to lack the time to Google yourself.
Amongst the haze craze that has taken over the beer world this past year, I find myself gravitating towards sour ales more often than not; they are tart, refreshing, packed with flavor and tend to run a little lower in ABV—okay, I also don’t feel like I’m weighed down by tons of sugar! Don’t get me wrong, I love me some hazy IPAs but… when the temperatures are creeping up to 100 degrees I can’t pass up a sour beer!