Monday, August 25, 2014

Drink Up the Summer





Brewer- Clown Shoes

Beer- Clementine

Style- Witbier

ABV- 5.90%

Description – Clown Shoes Clementine pours a hazy golden orange with a white creamy head that leaves a thin lacing on the glass. The aroma is that of a typical Witbier with notes of coriander, orange peel, candied sugar and that beautiful yeast dancing in the background and mixing with hints of spicy hops and sweet malt.  The taste backs up the nose with subtle spices hitting the palate first bringing forth perceptions of coriander and white pepper before giving way to citrus flavor of oranges combined with sweet sugar and followed by sweet malt and hop notes to finish it all off. The medium body and moderate carbonation give this beer a creamy mouthfeel and creates a beer that is both highly drinkable and highly refreshing.  Clementine is yet another fantastic beer from the oddly named Clown Shoes brewery, but when they are making beers this good, honestly who cares about the name?

Food pairing – The Witbier style is one that traditionally goes well with lighter fare. Any dish too hefty or spicy will overpower the beer. If you are looking to enjoy a relaxing Sunday brunch than be sure to have Clementine on hand, this is a beer that goes well with omelets, hash browns, pancakes, or even a light fruit salad. This is a beer that is also great with a wide variety of sandwiches from turkey to tuna to a delectable BLT, Clementine with add a layer of flavor and spice to the dish while providing more than enough carbonation to scrub the palate clean and leave it feeling exhilarated.  A pairing that truly makes this beer shine though is with fish. It is light enough to compliment the most delicate fish such as turbot, a type of flat fish, or sole but also has enough citrus characteristics and tartness to heighten the natural flavors within as well. Another fantastic pairing with this beer is with a light summer salad piled high with any variety of fruit and drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette.

The Final Word – As the summer begins to wind down and pumpkin beers invade our beer shelves it is a great idea to drink up as much of the summer season as one can before it’s gone. Enjoying some Clementine is one of the best ways to do so. While Clementine is available year round. The refreshing, crisp, and subtle Belgian characteristics make this a great beer to enjoy by the pool.  Clown Shoes is a brewery that has been building a solid reputation since it first opened the doors in 2010 with great beers such as Hoppy Feet, Galactica IPA, and Undead Party Crasher paving the way and making new fans of the brewery all the time.  Clementine quickly became a fast seller for the brewery once it hit shelves, it is a perfectly brewed Witbier and is extremely invigorating and a must try beer. Grab some now before the fall season completely takes over!

Rating



Where can I get it? – Currently available in 12 oz. bottles at: Backyard Ale House- Scranton, PA; Cooper’s Seafood- Scranton, PA. Also available on draft at Backyard Ale House- Scranton, PA.  Try searching in your area on BeerMenus.com
Remember,  I can also be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour on 102.3 FM Saturdays @ 10 a.m.

Enjoy responsibly!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Great for Recreational Use








Beer- RecreationAle

Style- American Pale Ale

ABV- 4.70%

Description – RecreationAle pours a cloudy golden yellow with fluffy off white head that lingers throughout the drink and leaves behind a web of lacing on the glass.  The aroma is hop forward with notes of citrus and pine balanced against a lightly sweetened malt bill, not overly complicated but still very enjoyable.  The taste follows the nose with a taste of citrus fruits up front namely grapefruit, orange, and lemon followed by sweet grains that coat the palate and sooth it to keep everything in balance before ending with a quick dry finish.  The moderate carbonation and medium-light mouthfeel give this beer a highly drinkable quality and makes for a great session beer.  Despite the session beer label, this is a beer that drinks like the best of them and is perfect for days when you want a few drinks to relax and enjoy a night out, but don’t want that heavy feeling in your stomach or head.  RecreationAle is a great beer to have in your fridge at any time of the year, thankfully it is brewed year round, and the sessionable qualities make it even better, not to mention it comes in a can!

Food Pairing – The hop forward nature of this beer make it a great pairing for spicy foods, however due to the lighter body of the beer you may want to keep from going towards overly spicy dishes as the beer may get lost in the pairing.  RecreationAle is great for American foods; especially those enjoyed during the summer outside or in, so keep this one on hand for all cookouts!  Pair this beer with hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, or even steak, the hops will add flavor to any of these dishes and the carbonation will be able to scrub the palate clean every time.  If you are looking for a spicy food pairing, try having this beer on your next pizza and wings night, the malts will match up nicely with the dough from the pizza while the hops will grab onto the Italian seasonings.  While the wings will most certainly benefit from the subtle hop bite of the beer and the malts will help sooth that burn left behind from the sauce and leave the palate refreshed.  Whatever you decide to pair with this beer just keep in mind the session nature of it as some dishes may overpower the beer and while it will not be a “bad pairing” flavor wise it may cause the beer disappear on your taste buds and that most certainly is a not a good pairing.

The Final Word – There has been a slow and steady movement from many American craft brewers towards more sessionable beers, those that are lower in ABV, however the movement has only seen a small amount of successful session beers take off.  The problem is that brewers are trying to make very flavorful beers but with fewer ingredients, typically malt.  The difficultly with this is that when brewing hoppier beers the lessened malt bill creates a beer that can be wildly out of balance and be far too bitter for the casual beer drinker to enjoy.  Thankfully, breweries such as Terrapin have been creating balanced, enjoyable, and very sessionable beers that are available to the masses.  RecreationAle has a tremendous amount of flavor packed into the 4.7% ABV and the availability in cans makes it a great beer to pack with you on any outdoor trips.  Be sure to grab a six-pack of this one and get out and enjoy the warm weather while it is still here!

Rating


Where can I get it?   Currently available in 12 oz. cans at: Backyard Ale House- Scranton, PA; J & H Beer- Plains Township, PA; and Krugel’s Georgetown Deli- Wilkes Barre, PA

Search your area using sites like BeerMenus to find Terrapin or if no luck, try checking here

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

It's Good to Be a Loser





Brewer- Elysian Brewing Company

Beer- Loser

Style- American Pale Ale

ABV- 7.00%

Description – Loser pours a hazy copper color with a rocky, slightly off-white head that leaves behind a thick web of lacing on the glass. The aroma is full a sweet malts up front mostly of the bread and toasted caramel variety, backed by subtle scents of tropical fruit from the hops. The taste follows the nose and is malt forward with bready malts again leading the charge mixed with sweet caramel malts and followed by bitter tropical fruit notes before a semi-dry finish takes over. The medium body and moderate carbonation present a very smooth and easy drinking beer that gives no hint to the 7 percent ABV and the 57 IBU’s give this beer a slightly bitter taste that is perfect for many craft beer newbies. Elysian Brewing has yet another excellent beer on their hands with the great Loser pale ale, a must try for craft beer fans.

Food Pairing – The malt forward taste and aroma backed with fruit hops make this a great summertime beer and goes very well with grilled meats. Try pairing Loser with hamburgers and top them off with cheddar cheese and mushrooms for an even more enjoyable experience that will truly highlight the complex flavor profile within the beer. Loser is also a great match for pork sausages and lamb chops, the malts will highlight the caramelized flavors within the meat while the hops will add an extra layer of complexity. Tex Mex dishes also make for a great pairing some great choices are: tacos, quesadillas, tamales, chimichangas, chilaquiles, enchiladas, fajitas and huevos rancheros. Loser is a workhorse of a beer and makes for great pairings with any number of dishes; this is certainly a beer to experiment with to find your favorite combination of flavors.

The Final Word – Elysian’s Loser is not only a great beer but is also a beer that celebrates great music. Loser is a beer originally brewed to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fantastic Sub Pop records, a label home to some of the most influential artists of the last 2 decades. Sub Pop is a label that has been influential upon the overall music industry since its humble beginnings and has released albums by artists such as Nirvana, Mudhoney, and the Shins; however, Elysian Brewing has had the same influence within the craft beer industry. The brewery has seen many changes in the industry since opening the doors in 1996 and the brewery has been on the cutting edge ever since and continues to be to this day.  Loser is a beer that pairs together companies that exert influence within their respective industries, but even more importantly, it is just a fantastic beer. So do not be ashamed to be a loser.

Rating


Where can I get it? – Currently available in 12 and/or 22 oz. bottles at: J & H Beer- Plains Township, PA; Joe’s Six Packs to Go- Dunmore, PA; Flood’s Bar- Stroudsburg, PA; and Wegmans- Dickson City, PA.

To find it in your area check out Elysian's beer finder here.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Philly Beer Camp- August 2

 


Sierra Nevada has packed the sleeping bag, readied the tent, topped off the gas tank, filled the cooler with great beers and is slowly making its way across the country with this year’s Beer Camp, which stops in Philadelphia on Aug. 2.

The brewery has also invited every craft brewery in the country - more than 2,700 - to participate in the event that will culminate in Mills River, NC, where the business is opening its second facility. The festival has a total of seven stops along the way and began at the current facility in Chico, Calif. on July 19. Proceeds from each stop go to the brewers’ guilds of the host states.

Not only is this a tour celebrating great craft beers, craft beer culture, and brewery relationships, it also has produced 12 brand new brews as collaborations between Sierra Nevada and several participating breweries that have been released in a celebratory Beer Camp 12-Pack. Here is just a small sampling of some of the beers and breweries who have collaborated with Sierra Nevada on this project: Allagash Brewing Company, Myron’s Walk Belgian-Style Pale Ale; Ballast Point Brewing Company, Electric Ray India Pale Lager; Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Torpedo Pilsner; Ninkasi Brewing Company, Double Latte Coffee Milk Stout; Russian River Brewing Company, Yvan the Great Belgian-Style Blonde; 3 Floyds Brewing Co., Chico King Pale Ale; and of course Philly’s very own Victory Brewing Company, Alt Route Altbier.

The excitement around Beer Camp and what comes with is very palpable within the craft beer industry, and with so many breweries participating in it it’s easy to see why. The stop in Philly is also great for some of our local breweries who will join the event.

Local breweries Berwick Brewing Company, Susquehanna Brewing Company, Old Forge Brewing Company, and Barley Creek Brewing Company will make appearances alongside numerous other breweries, proudly representing the growing craft beer culture within our area.

Beer Camp is not only great to attend if you are a craft beer fanatic - after all, many great breweries will be attending this event and some may be quite difficult to find outside of it - but there is much more to Beer Camp than tasting delicious beer. It is really a celebration and has been organized by one of the true pioneers of craft beer, Ken Grossman.

Ken Grossman has seen the craft beer landscape drastically change since opening the doors at Sierra Nevada in 1980. Back then the idea of craft beer was a mere novelty when compared to the sheer dominance of mass-produced beer that flooded store shelves; since that time the dynamic has certainly changed.

Beer Camp is as much a celebration and a tip of the cap to the man who waved the craft beer flag before many of us even knew of craft beer as it is a celebration to all the men and women who have paved the way for us to drink good beer and have it readily available.

Beer Camp is a must-attend event for all of those who love craft beer and want to honor the industry that has truly shown what craftsmanship is all about.

Beer Camp will be at Penn Treaty Park (1341 North Delaware Ave., Philadelphia) on Aug. 2 from noon to 5 p.m. The event is 21 and over and tickets are $65. Designated driver tickets are also available for $30.

For more information about Beer Camp visit beercamp.sierranevada.com

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bouncing with Flavor





Beer: Bouncy House

Brewer: Smuttynose Brewing Company

Style: American IPA

ABV: 4.30%

Description: Bouncy House pours a delightful pale gold color with white rocky head that leaves behind a very thin layer of lacing. The aroma is full of hops with notes of pine, herbs, grass, pears, tangerine, and biscuit malt in the background. The taste follows the nose with hops up front, again bringing notes of pine and herbs with a variety of fruit as well tangerines, pear, and hints of grapefruit followed by sweet biscuit and bread malts before a crisp dry finish takes over. The balance in this beer tips a bit towards the hops, but it still is a very enjoyable session beer. The light body and moderate carbonation aid in giving this beer it’s very crisp mouthfeel and dry finish. The session IPA is not an easy balancing act to pull off, but Smuttynose has created an easy-drinking and highly sessionable IPA with Bouncy House.

Food pairing: This is a great beer to have on hand for summer cookouts and goes well with a variety of meats, but is absolutely perfect with pork. Try pairing with a pulled pork sandwich, roasted pork, and also ribs, and do not be afraid to slather on the BBQ sauce. Bouncy House will pick up on all those wonderful spices sprinkled throughout the sauce and the crisp carbonation will cleanse the palate every time! The other great pairing for this beer is fish, specifically mahi mahi. The best way to prepare it is to give the fish a spicy-sweet combination for the beer to really showcase itself and sink its teeth into. Try preparing Maple Cajun mahi mahi, as the sweet maple syrup is complimented by Cajun spices and the beer brings everything together harmoniously. If you are looking for something a little lighter, try pairing with a Waldorf goat cheese salad. If you want an exquisite dessert experience with your beer, try preparing a peach and goat cheese tartine, as either of these pairings will make you truly feel like its summer any time of the year.

The final word: The session IPA has become something of a goal for many American craft brewers. The explosion of craft beer has made many drinkers realize that after one or two - especially when compared with non-craft beer drinking friends - the night typically comes to an end early. This issue has led craft brewers to try long and hard to find the right balance of malt and hops to deliver a full-flavored IPA, but with less ABV. Smuttynose did several test batches of this beer and asked craft beer lovers for feedback to find the perfect balance, and it has finally dialed it in with this recipe. The hops are present enough for many hopheads to still enjoy their favorite beer style, and actually weighs in at an impressive 86 IBUs, but the ABV is perfect for a beer to enjoy for a long night out with friends. It also makes a perfect summer beer to enjoy by the poolside!

Rating:



Where can I get it? Currently available in 12-ounce bottles at Backyard Ale House- Scranton, PA and Krugel’s Georgetown Deli- Wilkes-Barre, PA. Currently available on tap at Cooper’s Seafood- Scranton, PA; Beer Boys- Wilkes-Barre, PA; and Tiffany’s Tap & Grill- Eynon, PA.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

What is a Belgian Pale Ale?





Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Brief history: The Belgian Pale Ale style has roots dating as far back as the mid-1700s. The style has changed quite a bit over the years, with the biggest change occurring during World War II when more Belgian brewers brewed and experimented with the style to compete with pilsners. They differ from other regional Pale Ale varieties, by traditionally being less bitter, using aged hops for a delicate hop finish, and boasting sweetish to toasty malt overtones. The style as we now know it stems from the influence of English hops and yeast strains.

Standard characteristics: As with American or India Pale Ale, balance is the key to brewing this style of beer with no one characteristic being more dominant than the other. The overall impression of the beer should be fruity, moderately malty, somewhat spicy, easy drinking, and typically copper to amber in color with an ABV range between 4.8 to 5.5 percent, with some exceptions,and  are considered Belgian session beers.

Nose: The aroma should have malt present with subtle fruit and hop character as well. The malt aroma should be toasty and biscuit-like with subtle orange or pear-like notes. The hop aromas should lean more towards being floral or spicy without being too dominant, and have subtle spicy pepper-like notes in the background.

Body: A medium to medium-light body is standard for the style with very little alcohol heat present due to the typical lower levels of alcohol within the beer. The carbonation should also fall well within the medium range for a smooth, easy-drinking mouthfeel.

Taste: The overall flavor profile for the style should be fruity and lightly to moderately spicy with soft, smooth malt and relatively light hop character. The hop bitterness should also be low to keep the beer in complete balance and enhance the drinkability.

Food pairing: Almost any pork dish is perfect for Belgian Pale Ales: sausages, roast suckling pig, pork chops, roast loin of pork, pork tenderloin, or pork shoulder. This beer is also ideal with roasted chicken, lamb, turkey, and a wide array of white fish.

Recommendations: Belgian Pale Ales are beers that can be enjoyed from a vast array of beer drinkers ranging from someone drinking his or her first craft beer to the most jaded of craft beer drinkers. The easy drinkability of these beers is important to the style and many have lower ABV’s and have been brewed to be enjoyed by the pint during a night out. Here are just a few recommendations:

Brewery Ommegang- Rare Vos

Russian River Brewing Company- Redemption

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales- Luciérnaga; The Firefly

Weyerbacher Brewing Co.- Verboten

Brasserie d'Orval S.A.- Orval Trappist Ale
 
Brooklyn Brewery- Local 1

Goose Island- Matilda

Brouwerij Palm NV- Palm

The Lost Abbey- Devotion Ale

Brouwerij De Smedt/Brouwerij Affligem- Affligem Blond

Good Karma




Beer: Karma

Brewer: Avery Brewing Company

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

ABV: 5.20%

Description: Avery’s Karma pours an amber hue with fluffy white head that leaves behind a fine lacing on the glass. The aroma is a mixture of bready and caramel malts, spicy and herbal hops, and Belgian yeast, bringing notes of bubble gum and that wonderful Belgian funk aroma. The taste is very balanced and simple, yet complicated at the same time. The strong flavors of bready and caramel malts linger throughout with the spicy and herbal hops appearing in the middle; the Belgian yeast is more of a background note, imparting a faint taste of pears and oranges. The medium body and medium-light carbonation give the beer a semi-dry finish and does not cause any amount of palate fatigue. Karma is a wonderfully light and refreshing beer that is great to have on hand for hot summer days spent lounging by the pool.

Food pairing: The light body, subtle hop aroma/flavors, and fruity characteristics from the yeast make this beer a prime candidate for a wonderful array of light summer foods. Try pairing Karma with grilled pork chops or seasoned chicken, as the spicing from the hops and yeast will add a layer of flavor and meld with the seasonings, while the malt sinks into the fat and the carbonation easily cleanses the palate. Also try pairing with any traditional Belgian dishes, such as Chicon Au Gratin, a dish made with endives.Each piece is wrapped in a slice of ham, topped with b√©chamel sauce and covered in melted cheese, and is a particularly fantastic pairing. If you are more of a meat fanatic, try pairing this with another Belgian dish called Boudin Blanc, a white sausage that’s made with milk and has particularly delicate flavors and fine texture unlike any other sausage. The traditional Belgian dish of mussels is also wonderful and light making for an enjoyable pairing.

The final word: Avery Brewing Company has grown to be one of the most dependable breweries through consistently brewing well-made beers, and Karma is no exception. The balance between the hops and the Belgian yeast can be a difficult act to pull off, as some flavors may mesh well together and can contribute to a wide array of “off” flavors in the beer, which are certainly undesirable to all. However, when that balance is refined and in check - as it is with Karma - the result is a light and refreshing beer that quenches thirst and has a wide array of flavor combinations that occur at the same time. If you are on the lookout for some good karma in your life, pick up a six-pack of Avery’s Karma and drink up the good vibes.

Rating:

Where can I get it? Currently available in 12-ounce bottles at: Backyard Ale House- Scranton, PA; Cooper’s Seafood- Scranton, PA; Wegmans- Dickson City, PA and Wilkes-Barre; Krugel’s Georgetown Deli- Wilkes-Barre, PA. Currently available on tap at Cooper’s Seafood- Scranton, PA.

Also check availability in your area here