Friday, February 18, 2011

Quiet Riot: Our Revolution: Viva La Craft Beer

Friday, the beacon of light to beer drinkers across the 
world.  The notion that friday is rolling around, and the 
possibility to explore new and exciting brews that our great 
liquid revolution has to offer lays before us.  These pints 
of perfection possibly rival any great work of art offered
up by the greats, Warhol, Beethoven and Da Vinci.  The 
difference with these works of art is that they are 
temporary installations.   The best part is that you are 
able to enjoy different masterpieces again and again with 
only the time it takes your local sud slinger to provide it.  
The challenge is not to get stuck in old habits and challenge ourselves to break boundaries and push ourselves 
to trying something new.  
The three major beer brands in the US—Budweiser, Miller and 
Coors take a staggering 78 percent market share.  This only 
leaves 22 percent to the rest of the brewers.  Of that left-
over 22 percent, craft beers made up just 4.3 percent of 
U.S. beer sales volume in 2009, according to the Boulder, 
Colo.-based Brewers Association.   These numbers are 
staggering considering that the american beer market is 
approximately $101 billion.  78 percent of this 101 billion >
ends up in the hands of the big three breweries, Budweiser, 
Miller and Coors. And in my opinion what they serve up meets 
the classification of beer, but  to be perfectly honest I 
hesitate to even call them breweries at all.  They should be 
referred to as corporations that literally pump product out 
with no regard to the art of it, dollars and cents are all 
that matter at the end of the day.  It actually makes me 
want to "stand up and shout"  (in the great words of Mark 
Wahlberg in the movie Rock Star).  I feel like all the things that beer stands for has been warped by marketing and 
the push for the mighty dollar.  Beer has deep history with 
humanity.  We have relied on it to make water sources safe, 
forms of currency, and created all sorts of events just so 
we could consume beer.  It is not all about the silver 
bullet, draft horses and being the champaign of beers.  When 
did we lose a sight of quality over quantity.  I think it is 
up to our generation to take a step back and slow things 
down a little.  Bigger is not always better.  Love and care 
should be what we strive for in every batch of beer.  When a 
brewer creates a tasty brew, and he or she watches that 
first pint being consumed by someone, all we should see is a 
huge smile from that brewer in anticipation of the reaction.  
I don't like to push one brewery over another, because this 
is not what this blog is about, but I think a very good 
example of the kind of brewers I am looking for is Sam Calagione, owner of Dogfish Head Brewery.  I use him as 
an example because I was able to watch him in Brewmasters 
and really see his zeal and love for the industry.  I have 
also read countless articles on him and his journey through 
the craft beer world. Sam receives a gold star for his&nbp;
commitment to pushing the boundaries of the beer industry. I 
know there are countless brewery owners and consumers who 
share his enthusiasm, without this community, craft beer 
would not exist.  So, to all of the countless people out 
there I say thank you for not laying down and letting others 
tell you what beer is or should be.
If options are what you are worried about, there are over 
1,500 craft breweries operating in the US.  Every state 
offers at least one, as well as the fact that many craft 
brewery beers are distributed nationally.  This being said, 
even though we are already in the midst of a quiet riot, our 
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liquid revolution, we still need to push ourselves not to 
settle.  Meaning, don't stop when you find the one brand of 
craft beer that you like.  Try others, make the brewers be 
innovative and show them that we are not mindless propaganda 
following zombies.  I promise you will like what you find.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Beer review on: Cold Hop.

Nothing beats sitting down and enjoying a quality craft beer. And that is just what I did last night when I tried Boulder Beer Company's, Cold Hop.  Hailed as a British style Ale, Cold Hop is one of four year round beers that Boulder Beer Company offers.  They also offer seven different seasonal brews and one brewers choice (only offered in their bar).  

I am going to offer the stats on beers now.  I have to admit, I saw the stats on the web site for Boulder Brewing Company and I thought that it was a good idea.  So now, when available  I will post these as well.

Grains:  Maris Otter Pale Malt.  Honey Malt, 10-15 Crystal Malt

Kettle Hops:  Willamette, Czech Saaz, Hallertau and Hercules

Dry Hop:  Nelson Sauvin From New Zealand

ABV (Alcohol By Volume: 6.3%

IBU's (International Bittering Units. This is a measure of the actual bitterness of a beer as contributed by the alpha acid from hops) :  46

Just so everyone knows, I purchased this beer not knowing anything about this particular brew nor the brewery that was responsible for my liquid libation.  So I had little to no expectation.  I was going in blind.

When I first poured Cold Hop it had a clouded hazy appearance, with an orange to copper color.  This ale boasted a nice white thick head.  As time told, the head fizzled out, but left behind some nice lacing. 

When I took a sniff of this brew, I was hit with a little caramel aroma, floral hops, but most of all a fruit overtone.

Upon tasting, I was pleasantly surprised.  I tasted a truly enjoyable blend of fruit, maybe pineapple, floral hops (less than in the aroma), and a slight bitter aftertaste.  Making Cold Hop a smooth ride, and leaving me wanting more.

For some reason this seemed to be a good balance for my palate, and recommend it for sure.

For an overall score I give Cold Hop an A-.  I know what you are thinking,  an A-?  I just said it was well balanced and that I recommend it.  While I enjoyed Cold Hop, it did not let me know that I could lay down and die, since I had just tasted perfection. What it did do was make my mouth a happy place and earned the first grade in the A family!!

Till next time, enjoy life and good beer!!!  Prosit!!!


Monday, February 7, 2011

Beer Styles (Bohemian Pilsner)

Now that we have figured out that beer falls into one of two categories ( Ale or Lager), I am going to tackle the huge task of talking about as many styles of beer as possible.  I will not do this all in one post, it will take several posts and over many months. Since I like to keep each entry short, so I don't lose your interest, I will be talking about one style a post.

Today I am going to talk about the Bohemian Pilsner (which falls into the Lager family).  Originally Bohemian Pilsner came about in 1842 in the Czech town called Plzen.  Since the early days of this beer it has changed somewhat, but if you do come across an original Bohemian Pilsner, it should be a crystal gold in color, with caramel and spicy Saaz-hop aroma.  The taste should be a sweet malt,with light caramel, finished with the Saaz hops (which should leave you with a fresh but bitter finish).

Truly original Pilsner's are crisp and refreshing.  If you order one, make sure it is fresh because this is a beer that is enjoyed only when it is in it's freshest state.

This being said, go out and order a Bohemian Pilsner today.  Get a taste of history without ever having to leave your chair!

Till next time, enjoy life and good beer!!!  Prosit!!


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Geary's Pale Ale

Time to tackle another review.  Today I am taking a look at Geary's Pale Ale.  Geary's Pale Ale is brewed by D.L. Geary Brewing Company out of Portland, Maine.  Geary's offers five beers year round and three seasonal beers.  This Pale Ale is hailed as their flagship beer with British influence and even has imported Hampshire yeast, thus the reason it is considered a Brittish Pale Ale.

Geary's Pale Ale is definitely a beautiful copper amber hue.  This Pale Ale retains a nice off white creamy head and leaves behind some lacing, very visually pleasing.

Upon the pour I caught the aroma of citrus, floral hops, and a nutty, malty smell.  Generally pleasant and nothing to overpowering.

Geary's has high carbonation which makes this pale ale light and crisp.  One of the first flavors that I noticed was a nutty, malty flavor, followed up with a distinct hop aftertaste, that seemed to be slightly bitter.

Overall this is a very drinkable beer.  I would be able to drink these all night long without looking back.  While this a good beer, there is nothing that makes it extra special.  It would be a good beer to bring to a BBQ or watch a football game, not an extra special event.

Over all I give Geary's Pale Ale a solid B.

Till next time, enjoy life and good beer!!  Prosit!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Did you know that all beer is either an Ale or a Lager?


Not many people know that all beer falls into one of two categories, Ale or a Lager.  There are however many different types of beer under those two classifications.  For example some types of Ales are I.P.A., Porter, and Pale Ale.  Some types of lagers are Pilsner, Bock, and American Lager.

So lets get down the the basics.  An Ale is classified as a beer that it's yeast has been cultured to ferment at the top of the batch at warmer temperatures, around 60 degrees to 75 degree F.  This creates a situation where the batch ferments in about a week.  

Yeasts used in a Lager, are cultured to ferment at the bottom of the batch and it is kept at a much lower temperature, around 34 F to 50 F.   Lagers generally take longer to ferment and can take up to a few months, the word Lager comes from the German word "to store", hence the longer storage time.

That is the absolute basics of Ale VS Lager.  It does get a little more complicated once you deal with flavor profiles and deciding what strain of yeast to use, but I will talk more about that in another post.  

Till next time, enjoy life and good beer!

Prosit!!!!   (German for good health! cheers!!)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Keegan Ales, Mother's Milk

Here we are again, time to review another beer!!  Today I am taking a look at Hudson Valley's Brewery, Keegan Ales; Mother's Milk (that was a mouthful), which is considered a milk stout.  Keegan Ales was founded in 2003 by Tommy Keegan  and is located at 20 Saint James Street in Kingston New York. Keegan Ales offers 3 beers year round and one seasonal, for a total of 4 different beers (I hope everyone could keep up with that advanced math).

Mother's Milk is a very dark black, one could say a jet black color, however there is a hint of brownish amber on the boarder.  The head has a thick and brown quality to it, which slightly reduces, but leaves nice lacing behind.

When I first poured Mother's Milk, I caught the scent of toasted malt and chocolate.  The aroma was relatively light but very pleasant.

Upon tasting Mother's Milk, I tasted a slightly sweet, milky, chocolate taste, which had a slight bitterness to the finish which could have been a little bit of an espresso influence.

The mouthfeel is very smooth, medium-bodied and creamy, with a low amount of carbonation which seems to work well in this milk stout.  In the finish this beer is dry and leaves little to no aftertaste.

I definitely recommend Mother's Milk, it is a beer that is very easy to drink and gentle on the senses.

My overall grade for Mother's Milk is a B+.  Although I did struggle, almost giving it an A-.  How ever I would have liked a little more aftertaste to it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fisherman's IPA

Time to check out a micro-brew.  Tonight I tried Fisherman's IPA which is one of five beers that the Cape Ann Brewing Company offers.  The micro-brewery is located in Gloucester on Cape Ann, Massachusetts.

Fisherman's IPA has a golden amber color, with a thick head that eventually dissipates to lacing (Lacing is the beer head  that sticks to the glass).  It has moderate carbonation and is somewhat hazy in appearance.

Fisherman's has a biscuit, malty aroma, but also carries hints of a floral hops (somewhat earthy).  

When tasting Fisherman's I seemed to get a pretty aggressive hop taste, but it was accompanied by a carmel malt flavor and biscuit finish.  I did however find that the aftertaste was a little watery.

Overall Fisherman's IPA is a medium bodied beer and is not a bad pick for someone who wants to try an IPA for the first time.  It is not overpowering and has some friendly qualities. 

I give Fisherman's IPA an overall grade of B-.