Beer, Wine and Spirits. Tastings and Travel. News and Events. Classic Flavors from Breweries, Wineries and Distilleries Across the Drinks World.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 120 Drink: Gomba Boschetti Nebbiolo d' Alba 2005 Albie

Gomba S.S. Agricola produces wine in the Piedmonte region and is well known for its Barolos.

This DOC Italian wine is a light red color with a fresh berry nose. The 13.5 percent alcohol by volume wine has nice dark fruit notes and a decent level of tannins, but still is light and lively. A nice dry red to go with a chicken and pasta dish.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 119 Drink: Natty Greene's Wildflower Wit

Greensboro, N.C., is named for Nathaniel Greene, a hero of the American revolution. Greene entered the war as a private in the militia, but by the end of the war he was a major General in the Continental Army.

Natty Greene's Brewing is located on Elm Street not far from the statue that honors Gen. Greene. The menu has a number of great sandwiches and I'd highly recommend The Cohiba, a classic Cuban sandwich. The brewpub has two levels of seating, a party room on the third floor, plus an outdoor patio.

Natty Greene's Wildflower Witbier pours a nice hazy yellow with a fluffy white crown. The beer has a slightly spicy citrus aroma. The beer has a good level of citrus in the flavor bed, with an attractive crispness. The hops add depth to this witbier.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 118 Drink: Sea Dog Bluepaw Wild Blueberry Wheat Ale

Sea Dog Brewing Co. was founded in Camden, Maine, in 1993. In 1995 the company opened a second brewpub in Bangor. In 2002, Alan Pugsley and Fred Forsley took over the brewery. The company now operates out of Bangor, Topsham and South Portland.

Sea Dog Bluepaw Wild Blueberry Wheat Ale is a clear gold color with white foam that thins out fairly quickly. This 4.6 alcohol by volume ale has a perfumey blueberry nose. The body is crisp and clean with a very attractive blueberry background flavor.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 117 Drink: San Sebastian Vintners Red

San Sebastian Winery was founded in 1996 in St. Augustine, Fla. The winery makes table, sparkling and dessert wines from hybrid and muscadine grapes.

San Sebastian Winery produces wine from hybrids such as Stover, Suwannee and Blanc Du Bois and from varieties of Muscadines including Carlos, Welder and Noble. Because of its limited distribution, to get the wine you need to visit Florida's Atlantic coast around Jacksonville and St. Augustine.

San Sebastian Vintners Red is made with the Noble grape and has a slightly sweet aroma. The color is a purple red. The overall flavor is light, with a black cherry base. It is not overly sweet, but the wine tastes more like it has been made with berries than grapes. An interesting red for the summer.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 116 Drink: Skull Coast Maelstrom IPA

The Skull Coast Ale Company creates big, bold, high-end ales that celebrate the people, culture and history of the Carolinas during the Golden Age of Piracy. That's what the press release from this Fort Mill, S.C., brewery says. The company has just released its first ale and I ran into it at the World Beer Festival in Raleigh on Saturday.

Skull Coast Maelstrom IPA is brewed with seven different hops and comes in at 85 IBUs. The 7 percent alcohol by volume ale is an amber gold color with a thick tan head. Plenty of citrus in the nose and the flavor is full of pine infused hops. This beer will appeal to hop heads and is a good summer brew.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day 115 Drink: Woodchuck Pear Cider

Green Mountain Cidery got its start in 1990 as the Joseph Cerniglia Winery in Vermont, which made wines from apples. The company markets the Woodchuck, Strongbow, Cider Jack and Woodpecker Cider in the U.S.

Woodchuck Pear Cider is nearly as clear as water, with a nice effervescence. The aroma is clearly pear. The flavor opens with a direct pear note, slightly perfumed and sweet. The is a crisp edge to the finish. Pleasantly refreshing.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day 114 Drink: Bell's Batch 9,000 Ale

Bell's Brewery was originally called Kalamazoo Brewing Co. and was founded by Larry Bell as a homebrew supply shop in 1983. The company sold its first beer in 1985 and quickly established itself as one of the best craft breweries in the Midwest.

In the last few years Bell's has greatly expanded its distribution territory, but has maintained high quality around a set of core brands, including Oberon, Two Hearted Ale and Kalamazoo Stout.

Bell's Batch 9,000 Ale is as big and as bold as craft beers come these days. It was brewed to mark the company's 9,000 batch. This brew weighs in at 12.5 percent alcohol by volume and it actually drinks bigger than that number. On draught this brew pours a dark brownish black color with a nice thick tan head. The nose has some candy and dark fruit qualities, with a hint of the alcohol. Your first sip explodes with flavor. Plenty of rich sweet malt, balanced with some baker's chocolate notes, hints of vanilla and a finish of anise.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 113 Drink: Maso Canali 2008 Pinot Grigio

Maso Canali 2008 Pinot Grigio is from Italy's Trentino-Alto Adige region. The 500-year-old Maso Canali Estate, not far from Lake Garda, has been home to vineyards since the Middle Ages. Starting in 1893, growers planted pinot grigio grapes on the land.

Maso Canali 2008 Pinot Grigio is a blend of 92 percent pinot grigio and 8 percent chardonnay. It pour a bright straw color and has hints of citrus and peach in the aroma. The wine has a pleasant dry mineral quality with a nice level of acidity. A great wine for seafood or cocktails.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day 112 Drink: Tequila Ocho 2009 Plata, Las Pomez

Tequila Ocho is made from agave sourced from "single estates," a piece of land from the Camarena family's holdings with its own micro climate. The distillery believes that terroir exists with agave as much as it does with grapes and this new program from Tequila Ocho is designed to showcase the differences.

Tequila Ocho 2009 Plata, Las Pomez has a full agave nose with a hint of sweetness around the edge. Flavor is bright with hints of citrus and spice. The drink ends with just a hint of fresh cut grass.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 111 Drink: Peak Organic Espresso Amber Ale

Peak Organic Brewing is based in Portland, Maine. Brewer Jon Cadoux started out as a homebrewer in the 1990s. The brewery is certified organic and backs that up with links to local farmers. In 2009, Peak Organic helped Maine farmers produce the first commercial hop harvest in the state since 1880.

Peak Organic Espresso Amber is brewed with organic fair trade espresso roasted at the nearby Coffee by Design. Munich Malt forms the backbone of this 7 percent alcohol by volume, 22 IBU brew. The beer pours a golden amber color with a long lasting thick head. The aroma offers up a nice coffee note. The flavor has a sweet biscuity base, but the coffee is clearly in the front seat with this brew. Having it in an amber format, rather that with a stout base, makes the brew drinker a bit lighter and a little more refreshing.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 110 Drink: Merkendorf Raucherator Doppelbock

Brauerei Hummel is located in Memmelsdorf-Merkendorf, Germany, 6 miles outside of the city of Bamberg where they know a thing or two about making smoke beer.

The brewery has been around since 1846 and operates a restaurant where you can taste fresh beer and eat Franconian-style meals. The brewery makes a range of beers, including rauch styles that have made the area famous among beer drinkers.

Merkendorf Raucherator Doppelbock is a mahogany colored 8.1 percent doppelbock. Sweet malty flavor, smooth with hints of peat.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 109 Drink: Deschutes Twilight Summer Ale

Deschutes Brewery started making beer along the Deschutes River in Bend, Ore., in 1988. The company still operates a brewpub in Bend, along with a location in Portland, and offers tours of its production brewery in Bend.

Deschutes Twilight Summer Ale is a seasonal about which the brewery says, "Some beers go perfectly with food, this one pairs with lawnchairs, bare feet and life kicked-back." If that means good craft beer that is not too complicated to be pulled out of a cooler to enjoy along with a campfire, then they got the recipe on this one right.

Deschutes Twilight Summer Ale pours a nice polished brass color with a tall, rocky head. This 5 percent alcohol by volume beer has a slightly grassy hop nose and the flavor leans slightly in that direction, but there is an ample amount of malt in the background. The finish offers a nice citrus and spice combination.

Playboy Announces Top 10 Party Schools

Graduating high school seniors will be interested to know that Playboy magazine has named the University of Texas at Austin as its Top U.S. Party School for 2010.

Most of the schools on the list are large public universities that field big-time football and basketball teams. But there are also little-known schools, such as Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. I'm not sure any of the schools will post the ranking on their official websites, but you can bet they will see a bump in applications just the same.

1. University of Texas at Austin
2. West Virginia University
3. University of Wisconsin-Madison
4. University of Miami
5. East Carolina University
6. Arizona State University
7. Rollins College
8. University of California-Santa Barbara
9. Plymouth State University
10. University of Iowa

Top 50 U.S. Brewers

The Brewers Association has released its list of the 50 largest breweries in the United States based on 2009 sales volume. Very few surprises on the list, especially at the top.

1. Anheuser-Busch InBev, St. Louis, MO
2. MillerCoors Brewing Co., Chicago, IL
3. Pabst Brewing Co., Woodridge, IL
4. D. G. Yuengling and Son Inc., Pottsville, PA
5. Boston Beer Co., Boston, MA
6. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA
7. New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO
8. Craft Brewers Alliance Inc., Portland, OR
9. Spoetzl Brewery (part of Gambrinus), Shiner, TX
10. High Falls Brewing Co., Rochester, NY
11. Minhas Craft Brewery, Monroe, WI
12. Pyramid Breweries (part of IBU), Seattle, WA
13. Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR
14. F.X. Matt Brewing Co., Utica, NY
15. Magic Hat Brewing Co. (part of IBU), Burlington, VT
16. Boulevard Brewing Co., Kansas City, MO
17. Harpoon Brewery, Boston, MA
18. Alaskan Brewing Co., Juneau, AK
19. Bell's Brewery, Inc., Galesburg, MI
20. Goose Island Beer Co., Chicago, IL
21. Kona Brewing Co., Kailua-Kona, HI
22. Full Sail Brewing Co., Hood River, OR
23. Stone Brewing Co., Escondido, CA
24. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE
25. Iron City Brewing Co., Pittsburgh, PA
26. August Schell Brewing Co., New Ulm, MN
27. The Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, NY
28. Abita Brewing Co., Abita Springs, LA
29. Summit Brewing Co., Saint Paul, MN
30. Anchor Brewing Co., San Francisco, CA
31. Shipyard Brewing Co., Portland, ME
32. New Glarus Brewing Co., New Glarus, WI
33. Great Lakes Brewing Co., Cleveland, OH
34. Rogue Ales/Oregon Brewing Co., Newport, OR
35. Long Trail Brewing Co., Burlington, VT
36. The Lagunitas Brewing Co., Petaluma, CA
37. Mendocino Brewing Co., Ukiah, CA
38. Gordon Biersch Brewing Co., San Jose, CA
39. SweetWater Brewing Co., Atlanta, GA
40. Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA
41. Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, PA
42. Flying Dog Brewing Co., Frederick, MD
43. BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery, Huntington Beach, CA
44. Odell Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO
45. Rock Bottom Brewery Restaurants, Louisville, CO
46. Straub Brewery, Saint Marys, PA
47. BridgePort Brewing Co. (part of Gambrinus), Portland, OR
48. Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe, Eureka, CA
49. Big Sky Brewing Co., Missoula, MT
50. Stevens Point Brewery Co., Stevens Point, WI

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day 108 Drink: The Hurricane

Pat O'Brien's is a New Orleans institution. Located on St. Peter Street in the French Quarter, just off Bourbon Street, Pat O'Brien converted his speakeasy at the end of Prohibition into a legitimate bar in 1933.

The story of the Hurricane starts in the 1940s during World War II when there was a shortage of whiskey, Bourbon and Scotch. Rum was available and bar owners were often required to buy 50 cases or more in order to get the chance to buy other liquor. That put pressure on the bars to move large quantities of rum. The answer at Pat O'Brien's was an over sized drink made with fruit punch. The Hurricane gets its name from the shape of the glass, which looks like a hurricane lamp.

If you visit Pat O'Brien's website they will tell you the recipe for the drink is a 26-ounce glass filled with crush ice, 4 ounces of Pat O'Brien's Hurricane Rum or a good dark rum, 4 ounces of Pat O'Brien's Hurricane Mix, and a garnish of an orange slice and a cherry. They will also sell you pouches of the fruit punch drink mix.

If you would rather make your own Hurricane at home, pour four ounces of dark rum in a cocktail shaker filled with crushed ice, add 1 ounce of lemon juice, 1 ounce of pineapple juice, 2 ounces of passion fruit syrup and a quarter ounce grenadine syrup, shake for few seconds and strain into a hurricane glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange slice and maraschino cherry.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day 107 Drink: Bowmore 18 Year Old Islay Single Malt

Bowmore Distillery, located on Loch Indaal, has been making whisky since 1779. The distillery still produces floor malted barley that is hand turned.

Bowmore 18 Year Old Single Malt is a warm mahogany color and has a nice peaty nose. There is a good level of wood and just a hint of the sea to this single malt. The flavor has a bit of dark fruit at the start, cocoa and ample smoke, although a bit less then the aroma would have indicated. The whisky opens with a little time in the glass.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Day 106 Drink: Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Stout

Sierra Nevada Brewing got its start 30 years ago in Chico, Calif., as Ken Grossman's dream to "brew exceptional ales and lagers." When the brewery was opened there were less than 50 breweries operating in the U.S. There are now more than 1,500 and Sierra Nevada is often cited as being the motivating factor for many start up breweries.

Sierra Nevada Brewing is marking 2010 with a series of collaboration beers made with Fritz Maytag of Anchor Brewing; Jack McAuliffe, founder of New Albion Brewery; and authors, homebrewers, and beer advocates Fred Eckhardt, and Charlie Papazian.

“We wanted to pay tribute to the original pioneers who helped me and hundreds of others get started,” said Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman. “Few people in the craft-brewing world have accomplished more than these guys, and we thought it might be fun to get the original crew together and make something special.”

The first beer in the series, "Fritz & Ken's Ale," was released last month. Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Stout pours a thick dark brown color with a firm tan head. The beer has a very nice roasted malt flavor base and a subtle sweetness emerges as the beer opens. It is full and rich, with the 9 percent alcohol by volume content not easily detectable.

If you are lucky enough to find this limited edition beer don't pass up the chance to try this excellent stout.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day 105 Drink: Straffe Hendrik Bruges Triple Ale

The Halve Maan Brewery is in the amazing Belgian city of Bruges. I was lucky enough to visit the brewery with my daughter, Brittany, in 2002 and have a beer fresh off the tap.

Bruges is a bit like a European time capsule. When it comes to development, things pretty much stopped in the West Flanders city about 400 years ago. The city used to be a major commercial trading center, but when the Zwin channel filled with silt, Antwerp became to dominant port.

City records first mention the brewery in 1546. It has been operated by the Maes-Vanneste family since 1856. Straffe Hendrik Bruges Triple Ale is a 9 percent alcohol by volume beer that pours a golden color with a thin white head. The nose has a slight orange citrus touch. The flavor opens up on your tongue and is very lively. Citrus, slight banana and a finishing sweetness all come together very nicely.

Pints for Prostates Racing This Weekend in Las Vegas and Boston

Spectators watching races that take just 6 seconds and one that takes several hours will get exposed to the Pints for Prostates campaign during the next few days.

Bob Yonke is turning heads as a 49-year-old rookie campaigner in the NHRA Pro Stock series this season, having reached the finals at both Phoenix and Charlotte, while currently holding down the ninth place spot in the standings. He is also raising awareness about prostate cancer by carrying the Pints for Prostates logo on his Pontiac GXP.

“Instead of leaving the hood on the car blank while we look for a primary sponsor for our team, we wanted to put that real estate to work for a cause that should concern all men: prostate cancer,” Bob Yonke said. “It’s no secret that in our sport you need money to be competitive and have a chance to win. The team has been working extremely hard and by joining Greg Stanfield’s operation, we’ve had a solid start to the season. I believe we are starting to prove to prospective sponsors our early season performance is no fluke.”

This weekend Yonke Motorsports is again carrying the Pints for Prostates logo on the car at the The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway from April 16-18.

In Boston on Monday Patrick Grubbe and a few of his training partners from Columbus, Ohio, are going to be running in the 114th Boston Marathon in Pints for Prostates singlets.

Grubbe qualified for the Boston Marathon back in October 2009, but his training was sidetracked a bit because of treatment for prostate cancer. He is pushing forward and not allowing his illness to keep him from the 26.2-mile marathon. Please have bib #9158 in your mind on Monday.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day 104 Drink: Auchentoshan Three Wood Single Malt Whisky

Auchentoshan is one of three Scottish Lowland distilleries. The distillery has been in production since 1823 and triple distills its Scotch.

Auchentoshan Three Wood is aged using three different barrel types: ex-Bourbon barrels and Spanish Olorosa and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. The whisky is a dark amber color and has a slight hay and grass aroma. The flavor opens smooth, with the presence of a bit of smoke and hazelnut. It finishes on an up note with just a touch of citrus.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 103 Drink: The Sazerac

The Sazerac is a classic New Orleans cocktail. Since I've been in town for a couple of days I had to give one of these a try.

The Sazerac is said to be the creation of Antoine Amadie Peychaud, a Creole shopkeeper and drugist working in New Orleans in the early 1800s. Originally the drink was made with French brandy and it was popular in the coffee houses around town. Sewell Taylor ran the Merchants Exchange Coffee House and he also was importing a Cognac called Sazerac-du-Forge et fils into the U.S. He clearly understood branding because he changed the name of the establishment to the Sazerac Coffee House and made Paychaud's recipe the signature drink of the place.

Around 1870, rye whiskey became the spirit used in the Sazerac. The change was made to reflect the growing popularity of whiskey in the U.S. and the difficulty and cost of obtaining Cognac. The Sazerac Bar became a fixture at the Roosevelt Hotel in 1949, where it still operates today, but any good bartender around New Orleans can make you a Sazerac.

The bartenders at the Le Gallery Lounge in the Le Pavillon Hotel make a fine version of this drink. They coat a chilled cocktail glass with Herbsaint. They then combine two types of bitters -- Angostura and Peychaud's -- with simple syrup and Sazerac Rye Whiskey in a cocktail shaker with ice. They shake the drink and strain it into the glass and garnish it with a lemon twist. The drink is deceptively smooth. The bitters mellow out the rye and make the drink a complex set of flavors. It will change a bit as it warms in your glass. Perfect for the start or end of an evening.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 102 Drink: Pimm's Cup

Muriel's on Jackson Square in New Orleans is just steps away from St. Louis Cathedral and the food and service is some of the best you will find in the French Quarter. The bar also makes some great cocktails, including a classic New Orlean's style Pimm's Cup.

The recipe for a Pimm's Cup originates in England, but New Orleans bartenders claim they have perfected the drink. It starts with Pimm's No. 1 Gin, fruit juice is added and then it is topped with ginger ale. A cucumber slice is used as the garnish. The drink is light and refreshing. Perfect for a warm spring day looking out the open doors of Muriel's on the passing parade of tourists and New Orleans locals.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Day 101 Drink: Cigar City Humidor Series Gedanken Gruit

I was in Tampa for the last few days and had the chance yesterday to spend the afternoon at Mr. Dunderbak's Biergarten, Marketplatz & Restaurant, which hosted a fundraiser for the Pints for Prostates campaign. Owner J.B. Ellis and his staff were great and, with the help of J.J. Taylor Distributing, beers from Cigar City Brewing and Bell's Brewing were donated to the cause.

Cigar City Brewing was founded by Joey Redner in Tampa, Fla., is 2009. The company has a 15 barrel brewhouse located in the Carver City-Lincoln Gardens neighborhood.

Head brewer Wayne Wambles makes a number of year-round brews, including the tasty Maduro Oatmeal Brown Ale. Cigar City's Humidor Series is a salute to the city's heritage as a U.S. cigar-making center. Ybor City was a center for cigar making starting in the late 1800s where Cuban, Italian and Spanish immigrants clustered.

The Humidor Series ages beer using Spanish cedar to create uniquely flavored beer. Cigar City Gedanken Gruit is the brewery's effort at making a Medieval ale. The beer pours a murky orange color with a thin head. The cedar is clear in the aroma. The flavor has more than a hint of the wood, with an earthiness and some passing spice and citrus notes. Since this beer is not made with hops, there is not a ton of bitterness, but the wood and the spices mellow out the malt.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Day 100 Drink: 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer

Thanks to the Belgians, most of us have had the chance to taste a kriek (cherry) or a framboise (raspberry) ale. But how about a watermellon beer?

21st Amendment Brewery was founded by Nico Freccia and Shaun O'Sullivan in San Francisco in 2000. The brewery's popular taproom and restaurant is located close to where the home of the San Francisco Giants.

“There are fruit beers out there that I enjoy, but you can really only drink one of them,” says Freccia. A watermelon in Freccia’s kitchen a decade ago sparked an idea that resulted in a brew that Freccia calls “a beer first” and “not a gimmick.”

“Hell or High Watermelon is always the top selling summer beer in our pub,” Freccia says. “We put it in cans because it is the perfect beer to take to a barbecue, the beach or on a picnic.” Even though he says “I don’t think of it as a fruit beer,” about 400 pounds of watermelon go into making a 12 barrel batch of the wheat beer. Gone are the days when staff at 21st Amendment would carve up 40 cases of fresh watermelon to add to the beer. Now the brewery uses a slurry made by a juice company. The brewery cans Hell or High Watermelon in Minnesota and has distribution from Seattle to Northern California and from Massachusetts to Northern Virginia.

21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer pours a cloudy gold color with a direct red watermelon nose. Small, but persistent head. Very drinkable. The watermelon flavor is subdued with a slight hint of the rind in this 4.9 percent alcohol by volume beer. Perfect warm weather pool side brew.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Day 99 Drink: Tampa Bay Brewing Iron Rat Stout

Tampa Bay Brewing is located in the Ybor City section of Tampa, Fla. The brewpub has an outdoor patio near the street car line and a large indoor bar with televisions and aple seating for diners.

Tampa Bay Iron Rat Stout is poured using nitrogen that creates a creamy cappuccino colored head. The beer is billed as a dry stout made with seven grains. The flavor is rich and roasty, with a nice full dark chocolate base. Nice slightly bitter finish.

Fun Events This Weekend and Beyond for Pints for Prostates

Pints for Prostates is using the universal language of beer to reach men in Houston and Tampa this weekend.

Yonke Motorsports is partnering with the Pints for Prostates campaign to promote men’s health during the 23rd Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park from April 9-11.

For the second time this season the NHRA Pro Stock entry driven by Bob Yonke will carry the Pints for Prostates logo. Yonke is currently sixth in the NHRA Pro Stock standings after four races. Fans will get to see the Yonke Motorsports Pints for Prostates Pontiac GXP entry when Pro Stock qualifying gets underway on Friday afternoon.

In Tampa, Mr. Dunderbak's Biergarten, Marktplatz & Restaurant at 14929 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. will be hosting a day long event on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. to help raise awareness about prostate cancer and encourage men to get regular prostate health screenings and PSA tests. Mr. Dunderbak's will be making a donation to the Pints for Prostates campaign from a portion of the day's proceeds. Beers from Bell's Brewing and Cigar City Brewing will be featured.

Other Pints for Prostates events coming up will include appearances at:

April 17: Fish Tale Brew Pub in Olympia, Wash.
April 24: World Beer Festival in Raleigh, N.C.
May 15: Racks by the Tracks in Kingsport, Tenn.
May 28-30: Kohler Festival of Beer, Kohler, Wisc.
June 12: World Beer Festival in Richmond, Va.
June 16: Pike Brewing in Seattle, Wash.
June 19: Thomas Hooker Brewing in Bloomfield, Conn.
June 26: Dude Fest 2010 in Charlotte, N.C.
Aug. 6: Boise Brew Fest in Boise, Idaho
Oct. 2: World Beer Festival in Durham, N.C.

More events are in the planning stages. If you are interested in hosting a Pints for prostates event, please send an email to rick.lyke@gmail.com.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Day 98 Drink: Dunedin Redhead Red Ale

Dunedin Brewery has been making beer along Florida's west coast since 1996. The company makes nine beers year round and has five seasonals.

The brewery says its Redhead Red Ale "is dedicated to our favorite redhead who can be seen navigating the streets of Downtown Dunedin of her Nuvo Deco 1966 Rainbow Rider."

The bottled Dunedin Redhead Red Ale I had was made at Thomas Creek Brewing in South Carolina. It had a thick tan head and a nice dark amber color. There was a slightly sweet maltiness to the overall brew. The Willemette and East Kent Goldings hops show themselves towards the end of the flavor profile.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Day 97 Drink: Surly Coffee Bender

Trend spotting at the Great American Beer Festival last fall revealed swelling ranks of brewers using coffee as a key beer flavoring ingredients. The Coffee Flavored Beer category had 45 entries, up 17 from 2008. To put that number in perspective, the Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout category had 19 entries.

“Like any added ingredient, coffee offers a fair bit of challenges. You have to tweak the recipe to get it where you want it,” says Omar Ansari, president of Surly Brewing in Minnesota. “It’s not a subtle coffee note in our beer, it’s prominent. That’s what we wanted.” Surly Coffee Bender adds Guatemalan beans to the recipe of Surly’s Bender, an oatmeal brown ale.

Surly Coffee Bender comes at you with a full bodied coffee experience, packing all of the java you really need. Corse ground coffee is steeped for 24 hours, giving the beer an espresso like roasted and slightly smoky flavor.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Day 96 Drink: Upstream Gueuze-Lambic

Omaha is a Native American word that means “upstream” or “against the current.” At first, the idea of a brewery in Nebraska making barrel aged Belgian-style ales sounds a little like swimming against the flow.

Founded in 1996, Upstream’s draught offerings feature the brewpub standards you would expect, such as pale ale, blonde ale and wheat beer. But it is the special bottlings of Belgian-style and barrel-aged beers that set Upstream apart from the pack.

Upstream first brewed a Gueuze-Lambic in 2005 to launch a barrel aging program after 20 ex-cabernet sauvignon French oak barrels arrived at the brewery. To create the Gueuze-Lambic a Belgian wheat beer is fermented with a variety of wild Belgian microflora, which impart a sour character in this beer. Each year fresh wheat beer is added to the ale to tone down the sourness a touch. Typically 18 months to two years may go by between the brewing and bottling of this ale.

Upstream Gueuze-Lambic pours a cloudy orange amber, producing a thin head that persists throughout. An immediate citrus and woody aroma emerges. A very coating mouth feel that surrounds your taste buds with tart sour flavour notes. Hints of oak, citrus, honey and a slight earthy qualities.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Day 95 Drink: Yarden 2004 Merlot

Yarden Wines was launched in 1984 in Galilee, in the northern part of Israel. The company makes wines under the Yarden Wines, Golan Heights and Galil Mountain Winery labels.

Yarden 2004 Merlot is made from grapes from five vineyards in the central and nothern Golan Heights. It was aged for 14 months in small French oak barrels. The wine is a dark purple color with a fresh fruit aroma. There is a nice blackberry quality to the flavor with some wood in the finish.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Day 94 Drink: Samuel Adams Double Bock

Boston Beer Co. has a small brewing operation in the former Haffenreffer Brewery in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston, but most of its beer is turned out at breweries it has acquired in Cincinnati (the former Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewery) and outside of Allentown, Pa. (originally the F&M Schaefer Brewery). The legendary brewery got its start on Jim Koch's kitchen stove and now with all of the industry consolidation that has taken place, Boston Beer is now the largest American-owned brewer to actually have its own brewhouse.

Samuel Adams Double Bock has won the most Great American Beer Festival medals for the company of any of its brews. Part of the brewery’s Imperial Series, you can taste the half pound per bottle of Harrington Metcalfe and Caramel 60 malt that goes into the recipe. Double Bock is brewed using only first wort -- wort that has not been sparged in the lauter tun – delivering a very high gravity liquid. The beer is aged for more than four weeks which helps to intensify the flavors. The result is a classic German-style doppelbock.

Samuel Adams Double Bock pours a tarnished penny color with a relatively thin, but long-lasting tan head. There is an immediate sweet malty nose that lingers. You can certainly taste the alcohol, but the caramelized malt builds a silky mouth feel and long satisfying finish.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Day 93 Drink: Firefly Sweet Tea Flavored Vodka

Wadmalaw Island, about 30 miles from Charleston, S.C., is home of the Firefly Distillery. The original Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka has been joined by peach, raspberry, lemon and mint tea varieties. Plus the distillery recently unveiled Firefly Sweet Tea Bourbon, made from whiskey distilled at Buffalo Trace in Kentucky.

Firefly Sweet Tea Flavored Vodka is infused with tea grown in the U.S. This 70-proof brown spirit from South Carolina delivers a classic southern sweet tea flavor that is dangerously smooth and sweet. Mix it with some lemon-flavored vodka or limoncello for a grown-up twist on the classic Arnold Palmer.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Day 92 Drink: Bitburger Pils

Bitburger traces its roots back to 1817 in the city of Bitburg. The beer is imported to the U.S., but is not as well know as some of its German competitors, such as Beck's, Spaten, Lowenbrau and Paulaner. But Bitburger is one of the top selling draught beer in Germany and you will find it available in many places as you travel the country.

Bitburger Pils is a light golden color lager with a whispy white head. It has a light floral hop aroma. The hops offer a nice crisp start to the beer. The body of the beer is light and refreshing. A nice warm weather brew.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Day 91 Drink: Flying Fish Belgian Style Dubbel

Flying Fish Brewing was founded in 1995 by Greg Muller as a “virtual brewery” on the Internet. The idea was to attract investors so Muller could build a real brewery. The website gave beer lovers the chance to help “build” the brewery, name the beers, design labels, create t-shirts and even apply for the job of head brewer. By late 1996, Flying Fish Brewing was born in southern New Jersey.

Flying Fish Belgian Style Dubbel is made with two-row pale, Munich, Special B and Chocolate malts, Demerera sugar, Styrian Golding hops and Belgian ale yeast.
Flying Fish makes versions of the ale for special occasions, such as Love Fish, infused with cherries for Valentine’s Day, and Bourbon Dubbel aged in whiskey casks.

Flying Fish Belgian Style Dubbel is a 7.2 percent copper color ale that pours with a decent sized off-white head that coats the glass. It starts off with a fruity nose and the first sip delivers an appealing malty upfront flavor. The brew turns slightly tart and finishes dry.