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

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 212 Drink: Parker's Heritage Wheated Bourbon

Heaven Hill Distilleries is a family owned operation that was founded in 1934 in Bardstown, the center of Kentucky whiskey country.

Heaven Hill Distilleries is releasing the fourth edition of its Parker's Heritage Collection. This one is a cask-strength 10-year-old wheated Bourbon. I was lucky enough to get a tasting sample from the first barrel dump. The whiskey was made at Heaven Hill's Bernheim Distillery, which it acquired in 1999 and began producing a wheated line of Old Fitzgerald. Only about 4,800 bottles will be released of this whiskey, which aged since 2000 on the fourth, sixth and seventh floors of Rackhouse A at Heaven Hill. At $80 it is a bargain addition to the Heritage series.

Parker's Heritage Wheated Bourbon is a rich tarnished copper color. The whiskey has a wonderful caramel and vanilla nose. This non-chill filtered Bourbon has layers of flavor. For 127.8 proof it is remarkably smooth. A nice combination of vanilla, roasted nuts and wood in this one.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 211 Drink: Thirsty Dog Siberian Night Russian Imperial Stout

Thirsty Dog Brewing makes some very drinkable beer in Akron, Ohio. The company started brewing beer in 1996.

Thirsty Dog Siberian Night Russian Imperial Stout has earned three medals during a four year stretch earlier this decade. The 9 percent alcohol by volume beer pours a jet black color with a mocha color head. This beer has a wonderful chocolate malt aroma with hints of roasted grain. The flavor starts off with some sweet notes, milk chocolate and slight hints of vanilla. A good amount of hops come forward in a 58 IBU wave and provide some balancing bitterness.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 210 Drink: Koloa Kauai Gold Hawaiian Rum

Hawaii's first sugar plantation was located on Kauai. Where there is sugar, rum is usually not far behind. The Koloa Rum Co. was set up in 2001 as a way to support the sugar industry and create jobs on Kauai. Sugar mills that had first opened on the island in the 1830s were closing at an alarming rate by the 1980s. The company uses molasses and sugar from Gay & Robinson Plantation

Koloa Kauai Gold Hawaiian Rum is an 80 proof spirit that pours a light golden color. The aroma is a combination of cotton candy and floral notes. The rum's flavor is a caramel, toffee and tropical notes in a mellow overall package.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 209 Drink: Otto's Apricot Wheat

Otto's Pub & Brewery was started brewing in State College, Pa., in 2002. The brewery typically has 9-11 beers on tap, including two poured from beer engines.

Otto's Apricot Wheat pours a golden color with a thin white head. The nose delivers the scent of fresh apricot skins. The 4.7 percent alcohol by volume beer has plenty of apricot notes and is slightly sweet with a light wheat beer finish. Overall it is pretty smooth and drinkable for the summer months.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 208 Drink: Peter Staub's Special Dark

Straub Brewery is located in St. Marys, a small Pennsylvania town that has held on to its brewery that opened in 1872. Founder Peter Straub was born in Germany in 1850 and came to the United States when he was 19 years old. He purchased the former Benzinger Spring Brewery from his fathewr-in-law, Francis Xavier Sorg.

Peter Straub's Special Dark was a bit of a surprise when it hit the glass. It's amber, not a dark lager like the label would have you expect. Certainly darker than Straub's Lager, but not dark by today's beer standards. The aroma is slightly sweet and the head quickly disapates to a thin white top. The flavor is on the sweet side and fairly thin. The hops never really come though in this beer, but it is drinkable and could easily serve as a gateway brew for people wanting to try craftbeers.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 207 Drink: Barnard Griffin 2007 Merlot

Barnard Griffin Winery is a family-owned winery in Richland, Washington. Rob Griffin came to Washington 30 years ago and started making wine at Preston Winery. From 1984 to 1991 he was winemaker and general manager at Hogue Cellars. With wife Deborah Barnard, Barnard Griffin opened its tasting room in 1996.

Barnard Griffin 2007 Merlot pours a dark red color and has sophisticated dark fruit, wood and spice aromas. The wine has a good base of stone fruit flavors, with a smooth finish that goes very well with a variety of foods.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 206 Drink: Mad Anthony APA

Erie Brewing began making beer in 1994. The company produces four year round beers and six seasonals that they ship to 13 states.

Anthony Wayne was a General in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. He earned the nickname Mad Anthony for his stunning tactics and fierce assaults on the British. He was involved in several key battles during the Revolution and later was victorious in the Battle of Fallen Timbers facing the Western Indian Confederacy. Wayne died and was buried in what is now Erie, Pa., in 1796. Some of his bones were later moved to his family plot near Radnor, Pa., so he has gone down in history as the only U.S. General to be buried in two places.

Mad Anthony American Pale Ale is a 5.5 percent brew that pours a slightly hazy golden color with a solid white foam collar. There is a herbal quality to the aroma and the beer has a nice hop bite at 40 IBUs.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 205 Drink: Troegenator Double Bock

Chris and John Trogner started Troegs Independent Craft Brewery in Pennsylvania in 1997. The brewery produces nine different beers on a regular basis and distributes then around the Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes regions. The company has a tasting room in Harrisburg and recently announced plans for a facility in Hershey.

Troegenator is a multiple medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival. The brewery makes this beer throughout the year.

Troegenator is ruby colored with a thick white head. It has a malty aroma with a slightly toffee edge. This 8.2 percent alcohol by volume beer has a big malty flavor bed, hints of dried fruit and just a touch of roasted grain. There are a respectable level of hops that help balance things out, making this a great example of the style.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 204 Drink: Lancaster Milk Stout

In 1995, Lancaster Malt Brewing opened and for the first time in 40 years beer was being brewed commercially in this part of Pennsylvania. At one point before World War I and Prohibition took their toll, there had been 14 breweries in the county.

The original owners of Lancaster Malt Brewing were bought out in 2001 by the current operators of Lancaster Brewing Co. They make a range of more than a dozen brews, including a Kolsch during the summer, Amish Four Grain Pale Ale, Strawberry Wheat and Milk Stout.

Lancaster Milk Stout pours a rich black color with some brown around the edges, and a solid mocha colored foam. The aroma is a combination of roasted grains and latte. The flavor has a base subtle sweetness that is very attractive when combined with the great roasted malt and hints of coffee that make up the full flavor profile of the beer.

Chicago Gourmet Beer Tasting Brings Pints for Prostates to the Windy City on Aug. 21

Pints for Prostates, a campaign that uses the universal language of beer to reach men with a critical health message, will host the Chicago Gourmet Beer Tasting on Aug. 21 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at The Berghoff Restaurant, 17 W. Adams St.

The event, featuring more than 30 imported and domestic craft beers and food, will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network. The Downers Grove-based non-profit organization runs more than 325 support groups across the U.S. and internationally that assist men battling prostate cancer and their families. The group’s website, www.ustoo.org, is recognized as a premier source of information for men diagnosed with the disease.

Tickets for the Chicago Gourmet Beer Tasting are $50 and available by calling Us TOO International at 800-808-7866 or visiting www.pintsforprostates.org.

Among the beers that will be available at the event will be brews from Affligem, Rogue Ales, Sierra Nevada, Blue Moon, Magic Hat, New Belgium, Abita, Oxfordshire, Leinenkugel, Harpoon, Southern Tier, Samuel Adams, Berghoff and Gordon Biersch.

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 Chicago,” said Rick Lyke, a 49-year-old Charlotte, N.C., marketing executive and drinks journalist 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. Us TOO International provides critical information to men that face this disease and we’re proud to support the organization with the Chicago Gourmet Beer Tasting.”

The Berghoff Restaurant will provide a classic atmosphere for the event. All of the net proceeds from the Chicago Gourmet Beer Tasting will support the mission of the Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network, a 501(c)3 charity founded in 1990 that works to support, educate and advocate for men with prostate cancer and their families. Supporters of the event include Reyes Holdings/Chicago Beverage Systems, The Berghoff Restaurant, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant and Rogue Ales.

“The Chicago Gourmet Beer Tasting is part of our patient education symposium and 20th anniversary celebration taking place in the Chicago area from Aug. 20-21,” said Tom Kirk, President of Us TOO International. “We want to bring focus to the advancements that are being made in detecting and treating prostate cancer, as well as challenging men to take charge of their health. Regular prostate health screenings and PSA blood tests save lives. Men need to hear this message and make an appointment to see their doctor.”

More information about the Us TOO International symposium and 20th anniversary events can be found at www.ustoo.org/2010symposium.

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)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 203 Drink: Orval Trappist Ale

The first monks arrived at Orval from the south of Italy in 1070. Count Arnould de Chiny granted them land in what is now Belgium for a monastery.

Throughout the history of Orval there has likely been a brewery to meet the needs of the monks at the monastery. It was not until 1931 that a commercial brewing operation was set up. The monks already made bread and cheese to produce funds to help maintain the monastery and support the work of the monks.

Unlike other trappist breweries and most other brewing concerns in the world, Brasserie d’Orval makes just a single beer. The unique beer comes in a unique bowling pin-style bottle with a fairly simple diamond-shaped label with a purple background.

Orval Trappist Ale is a 6.9 percent alcohol by volume ale that pours with an amazingly tall rocky head and attractive amber color. The Orval consumed for this tasting was made on April 22, 2009 and the label gives the beer up to 5 years to be enjoyed. This one still had a very fresh and lively quality. The beer has a nice citrus and spice aroma and the flavor follows through on the theme. This was likely the first Brettanomyces ales that I had ever tasted when I first had it a number of years ago. It remains one of the best examples of the subtle flavors this yeast brings to the party. Apple, lemon, herbs, hay and other layers of flavor roll out of the glass. Truly a classic.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 202 Drink: Chuckanut Dortmunder

Will Kemper, the man behind Chuckanut Brewery and Kitchen in Bellingham, Wash., has been a brewmaster at Thomas Kemper, Aviator Ales, Norwester Brewing, Orange County Brewery, Mile High Brewing, Dock Street Brewing, Capital City Brewing, Lowell Brewing and Red Bell Brewing, in addition to having helped start small craft breweries in Mexico and Turkey.

Chuckanut Dortmunder is a golden colored beer with a clean crack of hops in the initial flavor. The malt quickly balances things out, leaving a refreshing aftertaste in this 5.5 percent alcohol by volume Washington brew.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day 201 Drink: Chateau Barreyre 2006 Bordeaux Superieur

Bordeaux is my favorite French wine region for reds. The wines offer big palate filling flavors that have demanded huge prices over the years. Much of this image is created by the Grand Cru wines and classified growths that create an entitlement image around some wines. These are wines that have built up a reputation over decades. Most of this image has been earned, but it does not mean that other wines produced in the next village or on the other side of the hill are not worthy of attention.

A push is being put on to promote Bordeaux Superieur wines in the U.S. by growers in the region to generate trial for these more affordable labels.

Chateau Barreyre 2006 Bordeaux Superieur is a $14 wine that drinks like a $40 bottle. Purple inky pour with an aroma of great dark berries. Plenty of body to this wine. Match it with big meals, it will be up to most game, sauces and spices. The flavor has a good base level of tannins, firm fruit and some well rounded oak. It is ready to drink now, but could certainly age for 3-5 years without a problem.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 200 Drink: Pinkus Muller Organic Hefe-Weizen

Pinkus-Muller Brewery started producing beer in Munster, Germany, in 1816. Today, the fifth and sixth generation of the Muller family operate the Pinkus-Muller Pub Brewery. Pinkus-Muller Brewery is certified organic by USDA.

Pinkus Muller Organic Hefe-Weizen is an unfiltered brew that pours a light hazy golden color with a persistent fluffy head. Inviting citrus aroma that leads to a flavor profile that has lemon, spice and a bit of banana in the finish. Light and refreshing.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 199 Drink: Newcastle Summer Ale

Newcastle was for decades sold as "The One and Only." Now there are two Newcastles -- two ales that is. In 2009 Newcastle brand managers tested the product and decided to put the brew in full distribution this summer.

When it comes to classic beers, I am a bit of a traditionalist. I'm not interested in trying a Guinness lager and I'd pass on a Bass Stout. So for me anything but a Newcastle Brown is suspect.

Newcastle Summer Ale is a 4.4 percent alcohol by volume brew that pours a straw yellow color with a bubbly moderate head. The beer's flavor has a slightly citrus edge and is fairly light.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 198 Drink: Olde Hickory Black IPA

Steven Lyerly and Jason Yates have been running Olde Hickory Brewery since 1994. The brewery first used a seven barrel converted dairy system and now has a 25-barrel brewhouse in a downtown Hickory building. The taproom has an interesting collection of tap handles from craft breweries and serves up decent sandwiches at lunch.

Olde Hickory Black IPA pours a jet black color with a nice tan head. The nose of this beer is floral hops, with little of the roasted notes you might expect based on the color. The flavor has a moderate hop bitterness that trails off at the end with just a hint of the darkened grain. A nice lunchtime brew.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Day 197 Drink: BrewDog Punk IPA

BrewDog is a young Scottish brewery that has made a name for itself by poking fun at the beer establishment. BrewDog has been in a running high gravity battle with Germany's Schorschbräu to make the world's strongest beer. Schorschbock at 43 percent alcohol by volume currently holds the position above BrewDog's Sink the Bismark at 41 percent.

Not all of BrewDog's beers fit the extreme category, but even beers like its Punk IPA carry fun label art and a bit more hop experience than you would typically expect.

BrewDog Punk IPA is a 6 percent alcohol by volume ale that carries a firm 68 IBU rating. The beer pours a light gold color and offers up pine and floral notes for an aroma. The bitterness from Chinook, Simcoe, Ahtanum and Nelson Sauvinpushes hops pushes this beer along your palate, with just enough malt to round out the experience.

Jolly Pumpkin Joins Fight Against Prostate Cancer with Biere de Goord

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales has submitted label art for government approval for the limited release fundraising brew they are launching in September to promote the Pints for Prostates campaign.

A cooperative effort between Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales of Michigan, The Rare Beer of the Month Club, which ships unique craft beers nationwide, and Shelton Brothers, one of the leading craft beer distributors and importers, Biere de Goord is a saison brewed with kale, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin, peppercorns and green tea. The beer will help raise awareness about prostate cancer and generate funds for the Pints for Prostates campaign.

The beer will feature the Pints for Prostates logo on its label, which includes the blue ribbon to remind people of the ongoing search for a cure to prostate cancer, a leading cause of death among American men. A donation of $3 from every 750 milliliter bottle of Biere de Goord sold will be made to the Pints for Prostates campaign.

There are only three ways for beer lovers to try the unique farmhouse-style ale:

-- Join The Rare Beer Club online or 800-625-8238 and be sure to start your membership by Sept. 1;

-- Attend the Denver Rare Beer Tasting II in Colorado on Sept. 17, where Jolly Pumpkin will be pouring samples of the brew alongside more than 20 other great craft brewers offering extremely rare and exotic beers;

-- Visit a Jolly Pumpkin location in Ann Arbor or Traverse City, Mich., where a limited amount of Biere de Goord will go on sale Sept. 18.

According to the National Cancer Institute, prostate cancer will kill more than 32,000 men in America in 2010. Few people realize that there will be 218,000 prostate cancer cases diagnosed this year, which is 25,000 more than the number of new breast cancer cases. With early detection and proper treatment, prostate cancer has a survival rate of nearly 100 percent. The Pints for Prostates campaign was launched in 2008 to reach men through the universal language of beer with an important health message.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 196 Drink: Knappogue Castle 12 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Knappogue Castle is named for a 15th Century castle in western Ireland that Mark Edwin Andrews restored in the 1960s. Andrews acquired pot still whiskey made at the B. Daly Distillery and released it under the Knappogue Castle label. His son, Mark Andrews III has reestablished the brand and introduced six different vintage dated whiskeys in recent years.

Knappogue Castle 12 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey is the first age designated release from the company in an updated package. The company plans to occasionally release vintage bottlings as they acquire rare stocks of whiskey.

Knappogue Castle 12 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey is a bright straw color. The delicate nose has a sweet edge. The overall body of the whiskey is clean and straightforward. Hints of fruit are paid off with a long dry finish. As smooth a whiskey as you are going to find.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day 195 Drink: Founders Porter

Founders Brewing has only been on the scene since 1997, but it has built a solid reputation among craft beer fans. The brewery recently announced a $6 million expansion that will allow it to produce 50 percent more beer. The company's products are now available in 16 states and will likely expand its trading area.

Founders Porter is a 6.5 percent alcohol by volume brown black porter with a thick tan head. The malt dominates the aroma with chocolate and caramel notes. The beer comes in at 45 IBU, which helps to balance the malt. The beer is creamy and has a great mouthfeel. Rich and inviting.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day 194 Drink: Brandon Hills 2009 White Merlot

Brandon Hills Vineyard was established in 2005 and the winery had its first harvest in 2007. The Yadkin Valley winery grows Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Pinot Gris.

Brandon Hills 2009 White Merlot is bright rose color and is a semi-sweet wine with 4 percent residual sugar. The wine is made entirely from Merlot grapes, but you would not know it from the fruity flavor that emerges in the first sip. Cherries and sweet berries dominate the flavor. A good wine for a relaxing picnic lunch.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 193 Drink: Hanover Park 2004 Michael's Blend

Michael and Amy Helton had their wine epiphany in 1996 during their honeymoon in the south of France. The former art teachers returned home and started to work on creating Hanover Park Vineyard in North Carolina's Yadkin Valley. An 1897 farmhouse serves as the winery's tasting room and the grounds have a relaxed and laid back feel.

Hanover Park 2004 Michael's Blend is made with 60 percent Cabernet Franc and 40 percent Merlot. Aged for nearly 4 years in oak, the wine has a full and rich flavor profile, with black currants, spice and oak present. A good wine to go with food, Michael's Blend shows the potential for reds in the North Carolina climate.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Day 192 Drink: Raffaldini La Dolce Vita

After exiting Route 421 about 15 miles east of Wilkesboro, and taking several turns passing through rolling farmland with happy cattle, heading to Raffaldini Vineyards, you come face to face with what some would say is the past and future on agriculture in North Carolina.

At the bottom of the slope are several fields of tobacco. A turn through a huge gate and you encounter sprawling vineyards with a European-style villa at the peak.

Raffaldini Vineyards is working to carve out a niche for itself as “Chianti in the Carolinas.” Raffaldini produces both varietal wines and blends use a range of grapes, including Vermentino, Pinot Grigio and Sangiovese.

Raffaldini La Dolce Vita is not the most serious wine the vineyard produces, but it is a perfect wine for a 95 degree day in the Yadkin Valley. The wine is a blend of Traminette, Viognier and Petit Manseng and is lightly carbonated. The wine opens with a nice citrus aroma and the palate has plenty of fruit and a lively sweetness. The wine is easy drinking and perfect as an aperitif.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 191 Drink: Emelisse Espresso Stout

Bierbrouwerij Grand-Café Emelisse in a small brewpub in southwestern Holland. Brewmaster Kees Bubberman got his start like many craft brewers in the U.S., learning the job as a homebrewer. Six of the company's beers are being imported into the U.S., a barleywine, rauchbier, double IPA, winterbier, Imperial Russian Stout and espresso stout.

Emelisse Espresso Stout is an imperial stout brewed with espresso beans and refermented in the bottle. It weighs in at 10 percent alcohol by volume. The beer on draught is a dark black with brown around the edges and a thick tan head that remains until the last sip. The aroma has plenty of roasted grain notes. The flavor is full and silky, delivering tons of big coffee notes. Finishes long and satisfying.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Day 190 Drink: Rogue John John Dead Guy

Rogue Ales started making beer in 1988. In 2003, Rogue Spirits got its start.

Rogue John John Dead Guy is a collaboration between Brewmaster John Maier and Master Distiller John Couchot. Rogue Dead Guy Ale is aged in Rogue Dead Guy Whiskey barrels. It's the first in a series that will include John John Juniper Pale Ale aged in Rogue Spruce Gin barrels and John John Hazelnut Brown Nectar aged in Rogue Hazelnut Spiced Rum barrels

Rogue John John Dead Guy pours a reddish golden color with a thick off white head of foam. The 40 IBU beer has a nice mellow flavor, thanks to notes of oak, vanilla and fruit from the whiskey barrel. If you are looking for big oak or some funky Brettanomyces, you will not get it here. But what you will get is an extremely interesting and drinkable brew.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Day 189 Drink: Shock Top Belgian Wheat

It was 101 degrees in Charlotte today. If that is not wheat beer weather, I'm not sure what is.

Shock Top is an unfiltered Belgian-style wheat ale that is part of the Michelob family produced by Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Shock Top pours a orangish golden color with a respectable head. The nose is slightly fruity. The flavor on this one is a little lighter than most wits you might encounter. You get some orange, hints of spice and some good wheat beer crispness.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Day 188 Drink: Catawba Valley Berliner Weisse

Morganton, N.C., is not the first place that comes to mind when you think of Berliner Weisse, the sour low alcohol German wheat beer that can chase away a summer heat wave. But Catawba Valley Brewing, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains makes one that I had the chance to try on draft this evening.

Catawba Valley Berliner Weisse pours an attractive golden color with a thin white head. The beer has a tart sour edge that covers over most of the malt. It would have been interesting to try this one like they do in Germany with a little raspberry syrup to help cut the sourness. Overall, a decent representation of the style.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Day 187 Drink: Orion Premium Draft

Orion Breweries began brewing in Okinawa in 1959. The brewery has a partnership with Asahi that helps it reach a wider Japanese market. In the U.S., Orion is not a widely distributed beer, but I was lucky enough to find a bomber bottle and be able to cross Okinawa off my beer tasting destination list.

Orion Premium Draft pours a light straw gold color with a fluffy white foam. The nose on this beer has just a slight floral hop presence. The beer is extremely light and delicate, with hints of sweetness at the base of the flavor. A good brew for a heat wave.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Day 186 Drink: Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Pott’s Landbier

Harpoon Brewery was founded in1986 by Rich Doyle and Dan Kenary. In addition to a well respected IPA and Hefeweizen, Harpoon has two limited edition series, the 100 Barrel Series and the Leviathan Series.

Harpoon introduced the 100 Barrel Series in 2003 to showcase the individual brewing talents of their brewers. In the last seven years 32 of the one-off beers have been brewed. The current effort is a collaboration brew made with Pott’s Brauerei in Oelde, Germany. Joerg Pott spent the summer of 2007 working at Harpoon to learn about American craft beer.

Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Pott’s Landbier, or “country beer,” is a 4.8 percent lager that is made with a blend of German and North American malts. The beer pours an amber brown color with a thin tan head. The beer has a caramelized malt flavor profile that is balanced off somewhat by some classic German hop bitterness. A nice session lager than has no rough edges.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Day 185 Drink: Rogue Dead Guy Ale

Rogue Ales original brewpub opened in October 1988 in Ashland, Ore. The company has brewpubs located from Issaquah, Washington, to San Francisco, Calif., with a hop farm, barley farm and a bed and breakfast thrown in along the way.

Rogue Dead Guy Ale is actually modeled after a German-style maibock, but uses Rogue's Pac-Man ale yeast.

Rogue Dead Guy Ale pours a glowing amber color with a thick rocky head. The aroma has a firm malt base with some spice coming through. The flavor is smooth and rich. The malt gives the flavor a nice richness, but the Perle and Saaz hops come through clearly in this 40 IBU beer.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Day 184 Drink: Furthermore Knot Stock

Furthermore Beer got its start in 2006 in Spring Green, Wisc. The brewery makes a number of beers with an odd twist on traditional flavors and ingredients.

Furthermore Knot Stock uses cracked black pepper that is boiled in a sack and then cold-infused in an American pale ale that features Northern Brewer Hops. The brewery owners got the idea for the beer from an Italian cookie that used black pepper to add spice to its flavor.

Furthermore Knot Stock pours an amber gold color with a thick off white head. The black pepper is clear in the aroma. At 65 IBUs there is plenty of hop flavor in a rich and coating ale.

LeBron James Will Stay in Cleveland for the Beer

The LeBron James free agency has generated more media coverage than the NBA finals. He has visited with the owners of six teams, all of them ready to build a private bank vault and fill it with greenbacks for the superstar.

If James stays with the Cleveland Cavaliers his maximum contract will be $125 million over six years. If he moves to another team, the maximum contract is $97 million over 5 years based on NBA rules. But his basketball contract is just part of the picture. The New York Knicks made a presentation to King James this week that included an economic analysis that suggested by coming to New York he would earn $1.94 billion in endorsement deals, at least double the potential of any other city. James appears motivated to find a club where he can win an NBA title or two along the way. The Cavaliers have never won an NBA title. The Knicks last won the championship during the 1969-70 season.

All of this money talk has to be weighing on the 25 year old. That's why the offer from Chardon BrewWorks & Eatery in Chardon, Ohio (about 30 miles from the Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland) should cinch the deal for the Cavaliers. The brewpub has made a public pledge to give James free beer for life if he signs with the Cavs and stays in Cleveland.

Name me one 25 year old who would turn down a deal that includes free beer for life. Admit it, you cannot come up with a single name.

LeBron is staying in Cleveland.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Day 183 Drink: The Glenrothes Alba Reserve

The Glenrothes Distillery was established in 1879 and for more than a century was used primarily as a blending whisky by a number of well known brands. In 1994, The Glenrothes launched its premium single malt whisky and the reception to the brand has been quite strong.

The Glenrothes Alba Reserve Single Malt Scotch Whisky is a Speyside Scotch aged exclusively in American oak ex-Bourbon barrels. It is only Glenrothes exclusively aged in ex-Bourbon barrels and it is also certified Kosher.

Glenrothes Alba Reserve pours a very pale straw color and has a flowery aroma that is on the sweet side. The flavor has toffee and vanilla notes in a soft and round base. Very smooth and inviting.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Day 182 Drink: Riondo Prosecco Spago Nero

The Veneto region of Italy is ground zero for prosecco. These wines are typically not expensive and they are not complicated. Perfect for a light summer dinner or as a cocktail pour, prosecco is not demanding on your palate.

Riondo Prosecco Spago Nero is a non-vintage sparkling wine that has a light floral nose and is fairly lightly carbonated. The 10.5 percent alcohol by volume wine has hints of citrus and pears. The wine is smooth and has a decent level of acidity.