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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 243 Drink: Konig Ludwig Weissbier


K├Ânig Ludwig Schlossbrauerei Kaltenberg is in Bavaria, just to the west of Munich. The brewery is located at Kaltenberg Castle, residence of His Royal Highness Prince Luitpold of Bavaria, the great grandson of the last King of Bavaria, Ludwig II.

Konig Ludwig Weissbier pours a bright golden color with a slight haze and a thick head of foam. The beer has subtle banana and clove notes in a light refreshing package. This beer is on the light to medium side of most hefeweizens you might find, which means the fruit and bubblegum aspects are not overpowering. There is a bit of citrus in the long finish of this brew that is attractive on a warm summer evening.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 242 Drink: De Koninck Speciale


Joseph Henricus De Koninck bought a coach house near Antwerp in 1827. On the site was a stone boundary marker with a sculptured hand. De Koninck died young and his widow, Elisabeth Cop remarried in 1833. Her second husband, Johannes Vervliet, decided to convert the coach house into a brewery and named it “Brouwerij De Hand."

In 1845, Carolus De Koninck, the eldest son from Elisabeth’s first marriage, took over the business. In 1912 the Brouwerij De Hand was renamed the Brasserie Charles De Koninck.

De Koninck Speciale is a 5 percent alcohol by volume ale that pours a cloudy orange amber color with a thin white head. If you enjoy Belgian abbey beers, but want something a little more sessionable from an alcohol standpoint, this is a good selection. The flavor opens with the malt upfront, offering a sweetbread note that evolves with plenty of crisp apple and fruits. Interesting, but not too heavy and pretty drinkable.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 241 Drink: Jelly Roll 2007 Syrah


Jelly Roll Syrah is a blend of grapes from two California Central Coast vineyards, Larner and Stolpman.

Santa Ynez Valley home of the two vineyards is located in Santa Barbara County. The valley is formed by San Rafael Mountains to the north and Santa Ynez Mountains to the south.

Jelly Roll 2007 Syrah is a dark purple color and has a nose of dark stone fruits upfront. The flavor is full bodied with black berries, plums and a moderate level of tannins. The wine has a silky mouthfeel, with a finish that has some spice.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day 240 Drink: Brewer's Best PSA IPA


Two weeks ago I made my first batch of homebrew. Brewing along side my son-in-law Mike Wirth and my future son-in-law Jake Koneman, we made a batch of Brewer's Best PSA IPA. Today it was time to crack open the first bottle.

LD Carlson Co. created PSA IPA to help to raise awareness about prostate cancer. The company is donating $3 from every kit sold to the Pints for Prostates campaign. Some of the homebrew stores selling the ingredient kits have pledged to match the donation. Links to some the online retailers selling the kits are listed below.

My version of Brewer's Best PSA IPA poured a dark amber color with a slight haze. A healthy off-white head stuck around throughout the beer. There was a mellow floral aroma to the beer. There was a good amount of malt to this beer, which balanced off the hops. Overall PSA IPA is very drinkable and smooth.

http://www.midwestsupplies.com/psa-ipa.html

http://www.homebrewit.com/brewers-best-beer-brewing-kit.php

http://www.homebrewing.org/Brewers-Best-Recipes_c_192.html

http://www.brew-wine.com/2010/08/new-psa-ipa-kit-by-brewers-best/

http://www.finevinewines.com/ProdDetBB.asp?PartNumber=11063

http://brewgadgets.com/brewersbestbeerkits.htm

http://www.homebrewing.org/PSA-IPA_p_1593.html

http://www.mdhb.com/product_info.php?products_id=3985

http://www.purplefootusa.com/BrewersBest.html

http://www.southernhomebrew.com/brbepsaipabe.html

https://www.greatfermentations.com/Brewers-Best-Ingredient-Kits/products/1115/

http://www.schwartzbeer.com/store/category/8/26/Beer-Kits/

http://www.weakkneehomebrew.com/Beer_Special_Promotions.html

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 239 Drink: Abita Save Our Shore A Charitable Pilsner


Anyone who reads this blog knows I believe that beer can be a powerful tool for good. The folks at Abita Brewing Co. in Louisiana agree.

In the face of the BP Oil Disaster, Abita decided to do what they do best: brew.
Working with the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board (LSPMB), Abita established ‘SOS – A Charitable Fund’ that will assist with the rescue and restoration of the environment, industry and individuals fighting to survive the oil spill.

Abita created Save Our Shore A Charitable Pilsner to raise funds. The brewery is donating 75-cents from each 22-ounce bomber bottle sold.

Abita Save Our Shore A Charitable Pilsner is an unfiltered weizen pils. The 7 percent alcohol by volume brew pours a very slightly cloudy golden color with a nice malty aroma. The beer has a crisp flavor. The malt is upfront with a good amount of cleansing hop in the finish.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 238 Drink: Fegley's Brewworks Hop'Solutely Triple India Pale Ale


Sometime you find beers because you are looking for them. Other times they kind of find you. That was the case with Fegley's Brewworks Hop'Solutely Triple India Pale Ale.

Sandy and I were driving from Charlotte to Saratoga Springs. It is a long drive, 11+ hours. We usually break the drive up along the way when we are heading back to New York. We would fly, but we like the freedom of having our own vehicle for hauling things up to friends and back home (somehow we end up at the Christmas Tree Store in Albany or Syracuse during these adventures) and it gives us time to talk. With our busy lives we remember things we had forgot to tell one another and we get to hash things out that are on our minds.

On this trip near the Pennsylvania and New Jersey border I decided to pull off I-78 for gas and while pumping fuel noticed the service station had a ton of craft beer neons. I had to go inside to investigate. They had a couple of taps, yes, taps at a gas station and a cooler with some interesting brews. One brewery caught my eye because I had never had the beer before. I bought a 750ml of Fegley's Brewworks Hop'Solutely Triple India Pale Ale from Allentown. It was just hot enough in Charlotte tonight that I had to crack it open to go along with the grilled chicken; roasted red peppers; and apple, jicama and ginger slaw that Sandy had made.

Fegley's Brewworks Hop'Solutely Triple India Pale Ale is a big 11.5 percent alcohol by volume bottle conditioned ale. It pours a cloudy orange gold color with an amazingly big fluffy white head of foam. The beer has a rolling floral nose that stays throughout. I had expected a huge hop bitterness because of the "Triple" IPA on the label and clearly the hops are on full display. But this brew has a strong malt backbone. Just as the hops start to dominate, a good amount of sweetness from the barley comes in to balance the ale.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 237 Drink: Jefferson Reserve Bourbon


McLain & Kyne is focused on making small batch Bourbons, selecting 200-300 barrels from rackhouses, then mixing 8-12 barrels of various ages to make Bourbons to fit a specific flavor profile.

Jefferson's Reserve is a rich amber color with a sweet nose releasing vanilla and fruit elements. The flavor is firm with roasted grains, toffee and plenty of wood. Overall the Bourbon has a long finish with hints of spice and smoke.

Dan Dopp of Lexington, Kentucky, Wins Pints for Prostates Trip to the Great American Beer Festival


Dan Dopp of Lexington, Kentucky, is one of the happiest beer drinkers in America after having his name selected from hundreds of entries on Saturday as the winner of the Pints for Prostates raffle for a trip for two to the Brewers Association Great American Beer Festival.

Dopp and a guest will travel to Denver from Sept. 16-19 to experience the largest beer festival in America. The trip includes airfare for two, three nights at the Sheraton Downtown Denver, tickets to the GABF, tickets to the Denver Rare Beer Tasting, a pub crawl and admission to several insider beer events.

Pints for Prostates has been accepting donations for raffle tickets for the trip at events held across the country during 2010. The winning ticket was pulled from a barrel of entries during an event at The Berghoff Restaurant in Chicago that was helping to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 236 Drink: Three Lakes Heritage Blend


Three Lakes Winery has made fruit wines in Wisconsin since 1972. The company also makes grape wines, but the fruit wines, often blends using cranberries, are what the company is best known for.

Three Lakes Heritage Blend, a combination of tart cranberries and rhubarb, pours a bright rose color. It has a fruity nose and a light, sweet flavor. The wine is 11 percent alcohol by volume and has a light body, making it perfect for a summer picnic.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 235 Drink: Brown's Whiskey Barrel Aged Porter


Brown’s Brewing Co. is located in Troy, N.Y. The company brews more than 25 different styles during the year. Brown's took over a fire-damaged building in 1993 and opened a brewpub two years later along the Troy waterfront. The company has plans for a production brewery in a converted 19th century mill in Hoosick, N.Y.

Brown's Whiskey Barrel Aged Porter starts as a classic English porter and then spends two months in a Bourbon barrel. The 5.75 alcohol by volume brew uses two row pale, caramel and chocolate hops. The beer pours a warm brown color with a thick tan head. The ale has a sweet edge with some roasted malts upfront and a finish that brings home the whiskey barrel aging. Not overdone and comfortably smooth.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day 234 Drink: Cave Mountain Oatmeal Stout


Cave Mountain Brewing is a small operation in the Catskill Mountain town of Windham. They make a fairly typical selection of brewpub offerings, including the required IPA. But a couple of the beers are anything but typical.

Cave Mountain Oatmeal Stout is a rich brown black color with a thin mocha colored head. The beer is packed with roasted malt flavors. Good tones of coffee, vanilla and a slight milk chocolate sweetness to the finish.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 233 Drink: The Macallan 21 Year Old Fine Oak


At the Saratoga Beer Bourbon Scotch Invitational on Friday night I had the chance to taste an exception range of Scotch from The Macallan, including 12, 15, 18 and 21 year old whiskies. All had something to offer, but my group all agreed that the 21 year old was a special Scotch.

The Macallan 21 Year Old Fine Oak is an 86 proof single malt that is cask matured for a minimum of 21 years, in a combination of three different barrel types: oak casks, Spanish oak casks seasoned with sherry and American oak casks seasoned with Bourbon. The result is a light copper colored whisky that has an inviting aroma with a slightly sweet edge. The flavor has a hint of peat, some spice and a touch of orange peel. The finish is smooth with a lingering hint of smoke.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 232 Drink: Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA


Dogfish Head Craft Brewery was the first brewpub in Delaware when it opened in 1995. Brewing 12–gallon batches, Dogfish Head made beer three times a day, five days a week to keep up with the demand. From those humble beginnings, Sam Calagione has become a rock star of the craft beer movement.

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA is a 6 percent alcohol by volume brew that is the brewery's best selling beer. It is 60 IBU with a a great looking copper color and tan head. The beer has a slightly citrus aroma and the flavor is hop forward. The beer finishes dry with just a hint of fruit.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 231 Drink: Josephbrau Summer Brew


Josephbrau Brewing in San Jose, Calif., is the nom de guerre of the contract brewing arm of Trader Joe's, the supermarket chain. The store sells some decent craft brews and also markets some store brands that don't look like -- or taste like -- generics.

Josephbrau Summer Brew is a Kolsch-style golden colored brew with a a lacing white head. There is a slight citrus note to the aroma. Overall the brew has a nice sweet malt character. Hints of biscuit and a decent hop finish that leaves a crisp edge.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 230 Drink: Bakon Vodka


Black Rock Spirits is the company behind Bakon Vodka. The Seattle-based firm recently announced an expansion of distribution so that consumers in 20 states can now get the meat flavored spirit.

Bakon Vodka is distilled using Idaho potatoes in a column still and the smoky flavor that is infused in the vodka appears tailor made for making a variation on the classic Bloody Mary.

Bakon Vodka announces its presences in a big smoked ham kind of way. The vodka is colorless, but the aroma is huge. The flavor is a mouth coating combination of protien, fat and smoke. Basically, it delivers on the bacon promise. Not great for drinking straight, but it does offer some interesting possibilities in cocktails.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 229 Drink: Canadian Mist Black Diamond


In 2006, I had the chance to visit the Brown-Forman Canadian Mist Distillery in Collingwood, Ontario, on the Georgian Bay. It was a frigid visit to that part of the world, but there was whisky to cut the cold.

The distillery produces the popular Canadian Mist label and under the direction of Steve Hughes, master blender, created the premium Black Diamond expression.

Canadian Mist Black Diamond is 86 proof and higher in sherry and rye content than the standard Canadian Mist. The whisky is a cherry wood color and has a slightly sweet caramel nose. It has an overall smooth flavor with hints of fruit, almond and a passing note of wood in the finish.

Denver Rare Beer Tasting II Releases Beer List


Denver, Colo. – Beer fans lucky enough to score a ticket to the Denver Rare Beer Tasting II on Sept. 17 will be able to brag to friends that they got the chance to taste some of the rarest, most exotic and highly sought after brews in America.

The event, which supports the mission of the Pints for Prostates campaign, has announced a list of 26 beers, including some that are not available commercially and others that consumers have to line up overnight to secure rationed bottles.

“The art of brewing will be on full display at the Denver Rare Beer Tasting. Beer lovers have the opportunity for a singular experience, tasting a collection of beers that few get the chance to enjoy,” said Rick Lyke, a prostate cancer survivor and founder of the Pints for Prostates campaign. “The reputation of the Denver Rare Beer Tasting spread rapidly after last year’s memorable event and the brewers invited this year have raised the bar for what it means to have an exclusive beer tasting experience.”

“The Denver Rare Beer Tasting is a unique celebration of beer,” said Daniel Bradford, publisher of All About Beer Magazine, which presents the event. “It is a chance for people who appreciate fine beers to mix with some of the rock stars of the brewing business, while enjoying beer they might never get the chance to have anywhere else.”

Beers scheduled to be poured at the Denver Rare Beer Tasting II include: Alaskan Whiskey Barrel-Aged Smoked Porter; Avery Quinquepartite; Bell’s Eccentric Ale 2004; Big Sky Barrel-Aged Ivan the Terrible; Samuel Adams Kosmic Mother Funk; Brooklyn Reinschweinsgebot; The Bruery Melange #3; Cascade Noyeaux Sour Ale; Cigar City White Oak-Aged Jai Alai India Pale Ale; Deschutes Black Butte XXII; Dogfish Head Namaste; Foothills 2009 Sexual Chocolate; Founders Nemesis; Goose Island Bourbon Barrel Coffee Stout; Great Divide Flanders Red; Jolly Pumpkin Biere de Goord; New Belgium Tart Lychee; Pike Tripel Kriek; Rogue 21 Ale; Russian River Temptation; Sierra Nevada Brandy Barrel-Aged Belgian Trippel; Stone Imperial Russian Stout GK’s Mad Man Mix; Three Floyds Dark Lord; Upstream Farmhouse Surprise; Weyerbacher Decadence; and Wynkoop Orville.33.

A very limited number of tickets for the Denver Rare Beer Tasting, priced at $80, are still available. Admission includes samples of 26 hard to find brews, hors d’oeuvres, a commemorative tasting glass, event program and the chance to meet the men and women who created these special beers. The event takes place at Wynkoop Brewing on 18th Street in Denver on Sept. 17 from 1-4 p.m., while the Brewers Association Great American Beer Festival is taking place in the city. Only 500 tickets will be sold for the event and can be ordered through a secure link at eTix.

About All About Beer Magazine
All About Beer Magazine has been covering the world of beer for 30 years. Published by Chautauqua Publishing in Durham, N.C., the magazine is recognized by beer enthusiasts as the authoritative source on beer heritage, styles and trends. All About Beer Magazine has chronicled the people and companies involved in the American craft brewing revolution and reported on great breweries around the world. The publication organizes the successful World Beer Festival series that takes place in Durham and Raleigh, N.C.; Columbia, S.C.; and Richmond, Va.

About Pints for Prostates
Pints for Prostates, a 501(c)3 campaign that reaches men through the universal language of beer to encourage them to take charge of their health, was founded by prostate cancer survivor Rick Lyke in 2008. The grassroots effort raises awareness among men of the importance of regular prostate health screenings and PSA testing by making appearances at beer festivals, social networking and pro bono advertising. According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 218,000 new prostate cancer cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year, which is 25,000 more than the number of expected new cases of breast cancer. Sadly, more than 32,000 American men will die from the disease this year. More information is available at www.pintsforprostates.org. Pints for Prostates also has a presence on Facebook and Twitter (@pints4prostates).

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 228 Drink: Lagunitas Hop Stoopid


Lagunitas Brewing was founded in 1993 and the company was consistently among the fastest growing craft breweries in the U.S. during its early years. If you like hops, you will really like most of the beers from Lagunitas.

Lagunitas Hop Stoopid pours a crisp and clear golden color with a big head of long lasting white foam. This is big and hoppy, with 102 IBU screaming from the aroma right to the final flavor. The resins in this one are a bit sticky and thick on the palate. If you need hops, Hop Stoopid is a smart choice.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day 227 Drink: Port Older Viscosity


Vince and Gina Marsaglia started making craft beer at Pizza Port in 1993. Brewer Tomme Arthur was on the scene when Port Brewing opened its doors in 2006. The company's Lost Abbey line of beers has built a huge following and the company has won numerous Great American Beer Festival medals.

Port Older Viscosity is a Bourbon barrel-aged American dark strong ale. It pours a flat black color with a creamy brown head. The aroma is rich malt with plenty of vanilla. This is a big and satisfying drink. Toffee, chocolate and wood combine with lovely roasted grains. There is enough hop bitterness to balance the 12.5 percent alcohol by volume drink. Worth searching for if you are in Southern California.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day 226 Drink: Penderyn Peated Single Malt Welsh Whisky


Penderyn Distillery is the only distillery operating in Wales. The company started production in 2000, marking the first time a Welsh whisky had been produced legally since 1894. The distillery is located in the village of Penderyn inside the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Penderyn Peated Single Malt Welsh Whisky pours a nice light golden color. There is a sweetness to the nose that is backed up with engaging smoke aromas. The 90 proof whisky is lively with bits of pear, citrus and the peated smoke base. Fairly smooth and relaxing for a complex single malt.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day 225 Drink: Kathryn Hall 2005 Sacrashe Cabernet Sauvignon


The Kathryn Hall Winery has been a big favorite of mine since Sandy and I were lucky enough to make a visit back in 2007. The wines are a great value, priced above basic bottles, but well below cultish labels. I've never been disappointed by a bottle from this Napa Valley vineyard.

Kathryn Hall 2005 Sacrashe Cabernet Sauvignon is a big inky red purple pour that has a dense fruit and slight cedar nose. The flavor of this wine is mellow, but ample to match with most dishes. Dark fruits, some background figs and tannins roll across your tongue. A great food wine.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 224 Drink: Hirsch 2007 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay


I am in Los Angeles working on a commercial shoot this week and had the chance to go to XIV by Michael Mina this evening. The bar offerings are top shelf, and the meal and restaurant staff were fantastic. Sommelier Christopher Lavin answered all of my questions and provided thoughtful recommendations.

We had one white and two reds. I'll start with the white wine tonight, which was a hit with the table, and cover the reds during the coming days. The wine list at XIV is breathtaking, including several cult Screaming Eagle vintages that top $5,000 a bottle. But you can drink reasonably priced bottles that have been selected with care.

Hirsch 2007 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay was a nice ripe fruit varietal to start our meal. The winery experimented with various forms of aging for the juice, including glass, oak, and stainless steel fermentation, plus aging on oak some of the wine fermented in stainless. The wine we enjoyed had a crisp apple start and a pretty clean finish. There was a slight hint of butter in the base of the wine. This is a very accessable wine that matches well with grilled fish and other seafood.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 223 Drink: Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer


Innis & Gunn is an independent family run brewery in Edinburgh, Scotland. They started oak aging ales almost by accident.

In 2002, distilling giant William Grant decided to make a beer-finished whisky. They selected Innis & Gunn to supply beer that would by placed in oak casks to season them for 30 days before the beer would be dumped and replaced by Scotch. Someone at the distillery tasted the beer and made a call to the brewery to suggest they might want to consider oak aging their beer.

Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer pours a golden honey color and has a slightly fruity nose. The 6.6 percent alcohol by volume brew has a malty base that is mellowed slightly by the oak, which leaves just a hint of vanilla to the long finish of this brew.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 222 Drink: Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Bock


Sierra Nevada is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year by releasing a series of four different beers that are collaborations between Ken Grossman and a brewing pioneer. The second beer in the series brings the Sierra Nevada CEO together with Charlie Papazian of the Brewers Association and beer writing legend Fred Eckhardt to make an Imperial Helles Bock.

Charlie, Fred & Ken's Bock is an 8.3 percent alcohol by volume beer that pours a bright brass color with a lacing white head. The beer has a nice malty aroma and the first sip carries the sweetness forward. The beer is medium bodied, but coating. The hops are subdued, which is true to the style with just a slight spice note at the finish.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Day 221 Drink: Wild Turkey Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey


Austin Nichols Wild Turkey traces its roots back to 1905 when the Ripy Brothers started a distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. The brand name originated in the 1940s when a distillery executive took some whiskey on a turkey hunt. His friends later asked him for some of the "Wild Turkey" whiskey and the name stuck.

Wild Turkey Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey is a 101 proof spirit that pours a tarnished penny color and offers a slightly sweet and floral aroma. This whiskey is loaded with wood and spicy rye notes. Bold and aggressive, if you enjoy rye whiskeys you will find this one to be packed with familiar and friendly flavors.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Day 220 Drink: Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale


Stone Brewing brewmaster Mitch Steele discovered Black IPA during a visit to the east coast in the 1990s and decided to create a version of the style back in San Diego. The beer was first brewed in 2007 to celebrate Stone Brewing’s 11th anniversary. The reputation was such that people kept asking for a chance to taste the limited release brew long after it was gone, which prompted the brewery to add it to its line up.

Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, at 8.7 percent alcohol by volume, is really an Imperial Dark Pale Ale. The beer pours a dark black with a mocha colored foam. The aroma offers a ton of hops. Chinook, Simcoe and Amarillo hops are packed into this one, generating 90 IBU. The hops obviously dominate this brew, but the malt does show itself with a touch of sweetness and a roasted quality to the finish.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Day 219 Drink: Lucente 2007


Luce della Vite is located Montalcino, Italy. As Italian vineyards go, this is a fairly young estate. Some of the vines were planted in 1977 and the balance in 1997.

Lucente 2007 is a Super Tuscan blend of 50 percent merlot, 35 percent sangiovese and 15 percent cabernet sauvignon. The wine pours a vibrant purple red and has a mellow fruit and oak aroma. The flavor has a substantial level of tannins, dark fruits, spices and berries.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Day 218 Drink: W'10 Pitch Black IPA


Widmer Brothers Brewing was founded in 1984. Kurt Widmer spent two years in Germany in the late 1970s and soaked up a number of brewing styles. He convinced his brother, Rob, to join him in the quest to create a brewery in Portland, Ore.

W'10 Pitch Black IPA is part of the "W" Brewmasters' Release Series from Widmer that takes on new seasonal beers, allowing the brewmasters to try out both classic and experimental styles.

W'10 Pitch Black IPA pours a brown black color with a thick mocha colored head. The aroma is initially floral, but the pine character takes over. The beer is 6.5 percent alcohol by volume and carries 62 IBU to your palate. The beer has plenty of fresh hop flavor from alchemy and cascades hops. The roasted malt smooths things out a bit and there is actually a sweet touch to the late finish of this beer once the hops have worked their magic.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Day 217 Drink: Samuel Smith Yorkshire Stingo


Samuel Smith's Yorkshire Stingo is a vintage dated strong ale that has been imported for two years now. According to the brewery, "Stingo" is a traditional strong ale that was first made in the north of England and dates back to before 1700.

My first encounter with Stingo as a beer style was as a college student in London in 1980. The very name -- Stingo -- caught my attention. When I was told it was a "barley wine," it further peaked my interest. Watney's Dark Stingo was served up in a 7 ounce nip bottle and was a nightcap favorite of mine after a few pints of bitter. Basically, with pubs closing at 11 p.m., my 20-year-old brain found a little extra kick desirable for the long walk back to my flat.

Samuel Smith's Yorkshire Stingo is available to mark "Yorkshire Day," which is August 1st. The beer will vary slightly each year and at 9 percent alcohol by volume it is bottle conditioned after aging for a year in oak barrels that had previously held cask conditioned real ale.

Samuel Smith's Yorkshire Stingo pours a dark amber color with a tan head. The beer has a fruity and sweet nose, with hints of fig and sweet breads. The flavor has a coating mouthfeel that is a complex mix of raisins, tropical fruit and mellow oak notes. I would love to let this beer age for a couple of years to see where it goes.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Day 216 Drink: Great Lakes Engine 20


It was great to make a visit to Great lakes Brewing Co. in Cleveland last week. The brewery was packed with the diner crowd and we could smell the brewery in operation as we walked toward the pub. A walleye dinner went very nicely with the ultra fresh beer.

Great Lakes Engine 20 is a golden colored American pale ale that pours with a moderate white foam head. The beer has a very slight smoke note to the aroma. The 6 percent alcohol by volume beer has a decent level of hops, but it is not overpowering. Notes of citrus in the finish.

Denver Rare Beer Tasting II Announces Participating Breweries


Denver, Colo. – Organizers of the Denver Rare Beer Tasting II, which supports the mission of the Pints for Prostates campaign, have announced the preliminary brewery line up for the Sept. 17th event.

“The Denver Rare Beer Tasting is all about beer passion and the love that both brewers and consumers have for this wonderful beverage,” said Daniel Bradford, publisher of All About Beer Magazine, which presents the event. “The inaugural event last year was a huge hit and created a major buzz among both beer lovers and brewers who were in Denver for the Great American Beer Festival.”

Brewers that have accepted invitations to this year’s Denver Rare Beer Tasting II include: Alaskan Brewing of Juneau, Alaska; Avery Brewing of Boulder, Colo.; Bell’s Brewing of Kalamazoo, Mich.; Big Sky Brewing of Missoula, Mont.; Boston Beer of Boston, Mass.; Brooklyn Brewery of Brooklyn, N.Y.; The Bruery of Placentia, Calif.; Cascade Brewing of Portland, Ore.; Cigar City Brewing of Tampa, Fla.; Deschutes Brewery of Bend, Ore.; Dogfish Head Craft Brewery of Milton, Del.; Foothills Brewing of Winston-Salem, N.C.; Founders Brewing of Grand Rapids, Mich.; Goose Island Beer of Chicago, Ill.; Great Divide Brewing of Denver, Colo.; Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales of Dexter, Mich.; New Belgium Brewing of Fort Collins, Colo.; Pike Pub & Brewery of Seattle, Wash.; Rogue Ales of Newport, Ore.; Russian River Brewing of Santa Rosa, Calif.; Sierra Nevada Brewing of Chico, Calif.; Stone Brewing of Escandido, Calif.; Three Floyds Brewing of Munster, Ind.; Upstream Brewing of Omaha, Neb.; Weyerbacher Brewing of Easton, Pa.; and Wynkoop Brewery of Denver, Colo.

“We have pulled together a heavyweight line up of breweries that will each bring a rare, limited release brew to the Denver Rare Beer Tasting,” said Rick Lyke, a prostate cancer survivor and founder of the Pints for Prostates campaign. “The brewers are generously raiding their private stocks to bring some incredible, exotic brews to the event. The reputation of the Denver Rare Beer Tasting spread rapidly after last year’s success. More than 60 percent of the tickets have been snapped up prior to the announcement of this tentative brewery list – and we’ve still not released the list of beers that will be poured.”

Tickets for the Denver Rare Beer Tasting are $80 and include unlimited samples of 26 hard to find brews, hors d’oeuvres, a commemorative tasting glass, event program and the chance to meet the men and women who created the special beers. The event takes place at Wynkoop Brewing on 18th Street in Denver on Sept. 17 from 1-4 p.m., during a relatively quiet period while the Brewers Association Great American Beer Festival is taking place in the city. Only 500 tickets will be sold for the event and can be ordered through a secure link at eTix.

About All About Beer Magazine
All About Beer Magazine has been covering the world of beer for 30 years. Published by Chautauqua Publishing in Durham, N.C., the magazine is recognized by beer enthusiasts as the authoritative source on beer heritage, styles and trends. All About Beer Magazine has chronicled the people and companies involved in the American craft brewing revolution and reported on great breweries around the world. The publication organizes the successful World Beer Festival series that takes place in Durham and Raleigh, N.C.; Columbia, S.C.; and Richmond, Va.

About Pints for Prostates
Pints for Prostates, a 501(c)3 campaign that uses the universal language of beer to encourage men to take charge of their health, was founded by prostate cancer survivor Rick Lyke in 2008. The grassroots effort raises awareness among men of the importance of regular prostate health screenings and PSA testing by making appearances at beer festivals, social networking and pro bono advertising. According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 218,000 new prostate cancer cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year, which is 25,000 more than the number of expected new cases of breast cancer. Sadly, more than 32,000 American men will die from the disease this year. Pints for Prostates supports the Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network, a 501(c)3 charity that works to support, educate and advocate for men with prostate cancer and their families. More information is available at www.pintsforprostates.org. Pints for Prostates also has a presence on Facebook and Twitter (@pints4prostates).

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Day 215 Drink: Pyramid Discord Dark IPA


Pyramid Breweries was founded as Hart Brewing in 1984. The company was selling a line of Pyramid Ales when it was acquired by five Seattle investors in 1989. In 2008, the company was name mid-size brewery of the year at the Great American Beer Festival.

Pyramid's Ignition Series is designed to augment the brewery's year round line up and go beyond the seasonal offerings. It gives the brewers a little latitude to experiment. Pyramid Discord Dark IPA is part of the series.

Pyramid Discord Dark IPA is a black color that is red around the edges. The beer pours with a thick tan head that sticks. The aroma and flavor of this 6.5 percent alcohol by volume brew is punctuated by the 69 IBU produced by the Nugget, Centennial, Mount Hood, Amarillo and Simcoe hops. The dark malt adds a roasted character to the finish and helps balance out the overall flavor profile.

Saratoga Beer Bourbon Scotch Invitational Brings Pints for Prostates to Spa City on Aug. 20


Saratoga Springs, N.Y. – Pints for Prostates, a campaign that reaches men through the universal language of beer with a critical health message, is one of the charities benefiting from the inaugural Saratoga Beer Bourbon Scotch Invitational taking place in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., from Aug. 20-21.

The event features the chance to sample a wide range of great culinary delights, including beers and whiskeys from around the world along with foods from a number of Saratoga Springs restaurants. It is being held at the Saratoga City Center and Saratoga Hilton. Pints for Prostates is the featured charity during the Friday of the event with sessions from 12:30-4:30 p.m. and 6:30-10:30 p.m.

There will be two sessions each day, affording people the opportunity to choose a time that is most convenient for them. The day session runs from 12:30-4:30 p.m., while the evening session runs from 6:30-10:30 p.m. VIP Pass holders will receive an additional 45 minutes at each session. Educational seminars will take place throughout each session.

Tickets for the Saratoga Beer Bourbon Scotch Invitational start at $65 and are available at www.saratogainvitational.com or by visiting www.pintsforprostates.org. The event is being sponsored by Alta Log Homes and Fauci & Kupferman Law.

A partial list of the beers that will be poured at the event are Innis & Gunn, Brooklyn, Ommegang, Arcadia, Fire Island, Spaten, Guinness, Smithwick’s, Harp, Geary’s, Keegan, Cooperstown, St. Peter’s, Butternuts, Sierra Nevada and Cave Mountain. Whiskeys will include Bulleit, Tuthilltown, Woodford Reserve,Whistlepig, Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek, Buffalo Trace, Mitcher’s, Berkshire Mountain, The Glenlivet, Laphroaig, Jefferson, Johnnie Walker, Chivas Regal, Glenmorangie and more. Other selected spirits, such as Gosling’s Rum and Pristine Vodka, will also be available.

During the event a silent auction will take place at the Saratoga Hilton High Rocks Room. All bids for items on Friday will benefit Pints for Prostates.

Pints for Prostates is a grassroots effort founded in 2008 by a prostate cancer survivor that reaches men through the universal language of beer with an important health message. According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 218,000 new prostate cancer cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year, which is 25,000 more than the number of expected new cases of breast cancer. Sadly, more than 32,000 American men will die from the disease this year.

“Pints for Prostates is excited to bring our campaign to Saratoga Springs,” said Rick Lyke, a 49-year-old former resident of Clifton Park, N.Y., who had successful prostate cancer surgery in April 2008. “Every week 4,000 men in the U.S. hear the words ‘you have prostate cancer.’ The key for these guys is detecting the disease in its early stages when treatment is nearly 100 percent successful. Pints for Prostates mission is to encourage guys to get an annual physical and have a PSA blood test.”

Lyke lived in Saratoga County from 1996 to 2005 and was the senior partner in charge of the Eric Mower and Associates office in Albany. He was a member of the Boards of Directors of the United Way of Northeastern New York, Twin Rivers Council of the Boy Scouts of America and Albany Ad Club. His wife, Sandra, served on the Board of Directors of CAPTAIN Youth and Family Services

The Saratoga Beer Bourbon Scotch Invitational will feature great Music and Food. Live Music will be produced by The Woodstock Blues Festival Road Show and feature World Class Entertainment by Ernie Williams, Murali Coryell, Scott Holt, Eddie Turner, Gil Parris and George Kilby Jr., and more. Food will be served by The Olde Bryan Inn, Beverly’s, Spring Street Deli, D'Andrea's Rory Pizza, The Factory Eatery, The Parting Glass, Saratoga Hilton and Le Canard Enchaine. A Pig roast & Chicken barbecue, Shrimp & Clams by Mick’s Chix’s, Maine Black Bear Seafood will also be part of the festivities. A special cigar area will be available Outdoors. The event is being held during the height of the Saratoga thoroughbred racing season.

“The Saratoga Beer Bourbon Scotch Invitational is something entirely new and different providing attendees with an opportunity to learn about and experience various foods and spirits in a comfortable upscale setting. Draft Magazine, Beer Connoisseur Magazine, Bar Business Magazine, as well as area Chefs will be on hand to assist in educating consumers on the various food pairing options with beer and spirits available. This Event will become a new highlight of the social and entertainment scene in the city,” said Franky Mann, founder of the event. “We are showcasing great beverages, food and entertainment, giving people another reason to enjoy Saratoga Springs during August while helping to support some great charities.”

More information about the event is available at www.saratogainvitational.com.


About Pints for Prostates
Pints for Prostates, a campaign that uses the universal language of beer to encourage men to take charge of their health, was founded by prostate cancer survivor Rick Lyke in 2008. The grassroots effort raises awareness among men of the importance of regular health screenings and PSA testing by making appearances at beer festivals, social networking and pro bono advertising. More information is available at www.pintsforprostates.org. Pints for Prostates also has a presence on Facebook and Twitter (@pints4prostates).
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University of Georgia is the Top Party School for 2011


According to the Princeton Review, the University of Georgia is the national champs when it comes to partying.

The Princeton Review Top Party School ranking gets a ton of publicity each year when it is released. School administrators try to play down the "honor," which is based on surveys completed by more than 122,000 students attending one of the 373 schools covered in the guide.

The list of Top Party Schools is remarkably consistent from year to year. The 2010 Top Party School, Penn State, dropped to number 3 this year; Florida, ranked number 1in 2009 is now 7; and West Virginia, the Top Party School in 2008, comes in at number 4 this year.

Princeton Review Top Party Schools of 2011

1. Georgia
2. Ohio University
3. Penn State
4. West Virginia
5. Mississippi
6. Texas
7. Florida
8. UC Santa Barbara
9. Iowa
10. DePauw
11. Florida State
12. Wisconsin
13. Alabama
14. Sewanee
15. Indiana
16. Colorado
17. Missouri
18. Illinois
19. Maryland
20. Michigan State.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Day 214 Drink: 21st Amendment Back in Black


The name 21st Amendment Brewery refers to the passage of the Constitutional amendment that ended Prohibition in the U.S. The brewery is located in San Francisco, Calif.

Back in Black is a black IPA that 21st Amendment recently began to can and ship to retailers in 15 states. The label features an illustration of Paul Revere, which the brewery says is meant to indicate the rebellion taking placxe among American craft breweries against tradition British IPA.

Back in Black pours a dark black color with a hefty tan head. The 6.8 percent alcohol by volume beer has an immediate pine resin nose. The flavor starts off with a hop forward 65 IBU blitz from the Columbus, Centennial and Simcoe hops. The roasted malts mellow the finish of the beer a bit, making it interesting and enjoyable. A great dark ale for August's heat.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Making My First Batch of Homebrew: Brewer's Best PSA IPA






Today was a big day for me. After writing about beer for 30 years, I finally brewed my first batch of homebrew.

I'm not exactly sure why it took so long. My excuse when people used to ask was that I would start homebrewing once I had tried all of the great beer made by commercial brewers. Back in 1980, when there were under 50 brewing companies in the U.S., I figured that day would happen sooner than later. Then the craft beer revolution happened and there are now more than 1,600 brewers in the U.S.

So why now? Well the good folks at LD Carlson Co. are helping to raise awareness about prostate cancer with the release of the Brewer's Best PSA IPA homebrewing ingredient kit. They are donating $3 from every kit sold to the Pints for Prostates campaign and many of the homebrew shops selling the kit are matching the donation. A number of online homebrew supply companies are selling the kit for around $40.

I got to brew today with my son-in-law Mike Wirth and my future son-in-law Jake Koneman, which made it a fun project. They have both brewed before, so they helped keep me out of trouble. The Brewer's Best kit had easy to follow instructions and the ingredients were all simple to use. The brewing process was fun and the aromas were quite appetizing.

The kit features Palisade, Simcoe and Amarillo hops (PSA) and should produce an ale between 45-55 IBU, which will be pretty tasty. I cannot wait for the bottling process in about two weeks.

Day 213 Drink: Germain-Robin Coast Road Reserve


Germain-Robin has been making fine brandies in California since importing an antique Cognac still in 1982. The distillery uses grapes that are harvested exclusively from Mendocino County.

Germain-Robin Coast Road Reserve is an 80 proof brandy that uses pinot noir, French colombard, grenache and Ehrenfelser (a riesling-sylvaner cross) grapes. It is a blend of older and younger brandies, giving the drink a depth and fresher notes. The brandy is a bright brass color that has a slightly floral aroma. Nice fruit notes with peach and apricots, with a finish that has some lingering herbal qualities.