Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Brewer- Susquehanna Brewing Company
Beer- Pumpkin Ale
Style- Pumpkin Ale
Description – Susquehanna Brewing Company’s Pumpkin Ale pours orange amber color with frothy off white head that dissipates quickly and leaves behind a very faint lacing on the glass. The aroma is full of pumpkin spice goodness with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger backed by hints of sweet crystal malts. The taste follows the nose with pumpkin spice notes up front that give way to a smooth sweet malt taste and feel leaving behind hints of caramel and candied sugar. This truly is a beer that can tout itself as pumpkin pie in a glass, but it is more on the light side of the mouthfeel which keeps it from being too overly sweet as some pumpkin ales can become. The moderate carbonation and light to medium mouthfeel give this beer a smooth easy drinking characteristic which makes for a pumpkin ale that can be enjoyed in large quantities. SBC has certainly brewed a beer that has earned its place in your fridge this fall season.
Food Pairing – Pumpkin Ales are specifically a fall seasonal beer, especially those which include fresh pumpkins in the recipe. The fall season is the time when things start to cool off as we get ready for winter and as we do we celebrate both Halloween and Thanksgiving in between. It is also a time when warm and hearty foods begin to make appearances on our plates and push aside the lighter summer fare. This makes pumpkin ales a great pairing for these foods. Try pairing this beer with a rich hearty beef stew, but not one that is overly spiced as the lighter qualities of this beer will get lost in the mix. This pumpkin ale is also great to stock up on and save for Thanksgiving as a perfect match for turkey and cranberries can be found with this beer, you can of course have this pairing any time you want! The sessionable qualities of this beer also make it ideal with popular fall desserts such as cider donuts, pumpkin pies, apple crisps, campfire s’mores, or even a decadent piece of carrot cake. Whatever you choose this is a beer that will impart an extra layer of flavor to your dish and help make this fall even more special.
The Final Word – Susquehanna Brewing Company has quickly gained a loyal following since opening their doors in 2012 and with delicious and sessionable beers such as this it is easy to see why. While some pumpkin beers can become veritable spice bombs, SBC’s Pumpkin Ale is delicately spiced with just the right balance to impart great aroma and taste without any residual cloying flavors. The 4.8 percent ABV is also a welcome sight when many pumpkin ales tend to lean towards 9 percent ABV, thus making most of them a one and done type beer. Instead this pumpkin ale can be enjoyed long into the evening around a warm campfire to really help celebrate the impending fall season. If you are a fan of pumpkin ales this is a must try and with it being brewed right here in NEPA, it is not a beer that will require too much hunting to find.
Where can I get it? – Currently available in 12 oz. bottles at: Backyard Ale House- Scranton, PA; Wegman’s- Dickson City, PA and Wilkes Barre, PA; Cooper’s Seafood- Scranton, PA Krugel’s Georgetown Deli- Wilkes Barre, PA; and What’s Brewin’ 6-Pack Ale Shoppe- Old Forge, PA
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Welcome to B-Movie Corner where each week a cult film is examined and suggested beer pairings to enjoy while watching the film are given, what do you think the B stands for anyhow? This week in honor of the impending Halloween season, Dario Argento’s classic horror film Suspiria is examined.
The words fairy-tale and beautiful are rarely used when describing a horror film, but with Suspiria, it is hard not to first notice the artistic direction that the film undertook from Italian director Dario Argento. The film engulfs the viewer into a world not unlike Alice in Wonderland and is full of beautiful images full of color and imagination but quickly the screen is filled with blood and extreme carnage, leaving viewers in a surreal state of wonder and horror.
The film follows Suzy Bannan, an American ballet dancer, as she arrives at a very prestigious ballet school in Freiberg, Germany. Almost immediately upon her arrival unexplainable events begin to occur around her, namely people being a murdered.
A former student is the first to be murdered with many more to come. However, Suspiria is far from a slasher film and is much more intellectual in its approach to the on screen murders, regardless of how bizarre they are at times, a room full of razor edged wire?
The film has a dream like quality around it causing the viewer to feel the unease and beauty within the atmosphere of the film. Grisly images of a student being disemboweled are shot against grand hallways with heavy splashes of color throughout, giving the impression that the director is using the film as a canvas upon which to paint twisted nightmares.
While some have complained about the films choppy quality with regards to the plot or character development, the overarching theme of the film is intact. The film builds in suspense throughout and culminates in a final scene that will truly leave you on the edge of your seat, making truth out of the films infamous tagline: The only thing more terrifying than the last 12 minutes of this film are the first 92.
The film has developed a loyal cult following since its original release in 1977 and is highly regarded as one of the best horror films ever made in the history of cinema with many film critics. The films popularity has grown so much since its release that a remake was planned in 2013, but the plans for this have been put on hold indefinitely.
Final Verdict: Suspiria is an absolute classic horror film and is must see film for fans of horror! Very few films effect viewers on such a surreal level, but if you give Suspiria a chance it will quickly become an unforgettable film.
Where can I get it? : Luckily this film is fairly easy to find on DVD at many retailers such as Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, and Walmart. Suspiria has also received the Blu-ray treatment from Blue Underground, it is certainly worth picking up if you have a player as the colors are extremely vibrant in this format. If you are having issues finding the DVD in a physical storefront it is also available at Amazon.com.
Suggested Beer Pairing: Any horror film will bring about the thoughts of Halloween and thus fall, which means one thing, pumpkin beers and with a film like this it’s best to go with Imperial Pumpkin Ales. Some of the best to try are:
Weyerbacher Brewing Company: Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Longtrail Brewing Co.- Imperial Pumpkin
Harpoon Brewery- Imperial Pumpkin
Saucony Creek Brewing Company- Maple Mistress
Avery Brewing Company- Rumpkin
Southern Tier Brewing Co.- Pumkingor Warlock
Flying Dog- The Fear
However, if you are not a pumpkin beer fan another great style to choose is the Amber Ale, the red color from the malt and subtle hoppy characteristics are a perfect match for the onscreen blood, some highlights in this style are:
AleSmith- Evil Dead Red
Ninkasi Brewing Co. - Dawn of the Red
Great Lakes Brewing- Nosferatu
Tröegs Brewing Company- Hopback Amber Ale
Monday, September 8, 2014
Description – Brooklyn Blast! pours a slightly hazy golden amber color with frothy white head that sticks around for a while leaving behind a thick web of lacing on the glass. The aroma is full of delicious biscuit and caramel notes up front with a wonderful hop aroma dancing in background bringing a bouquet of earthy and citrus hops forward, the hops are slightly restrained in the aroma. The taste follows the nose, but in reverse. Instead the hops hit the palate up front with strong citrus notes of oranges, grapefruit, and even a hint of lemon leaving no doubt that the aroma was a bit deceiving, but soon sweet biscuit and caramel malt follow and leave behind a refreshingly dry finish. The medium body and moderate carbonation create the perfect canvas on which to paint with these beautiful hops. This is a decidedly east coast styled IPA, meaning it is not aggressively hoppy and instead is more subtle in its hop usage which makes Brooklyn Blast! an extremely easy drinking beer and a must try for all IPA fans.
Food pairing – As with all IPA’s Brooklyn Blast! is best served with very spicy foods. If you are a fan of Thai dishes such as Tom Yam Goong, Gaeng Garee Gai (Yellow Curry with Chicken), or Mussaman Curry this is the perfect beer to have on hand for a pairing. This is also a great beer with spicy Mexican food, the spicier the better! The hops in Brooklyn Blast! will grab onto the spices and never let go and the sweet malt bill will follow quickly and put out the raging fire occurring on your palate, so do not be afraid to put a habanero in your burrito, this is a beer that can handle it! If you aren’t much of a spice fanatic this is also a great beer to pair with everyday foods like hamburgers, pizza, BBQ, whatever you prefer, this is a beer with a strong backbone which makes it great to use for experimenting, so try pairing Brooklyn Blast! with your favorite dish!
The Final Word – Brooklyn Brewery is a brewery that needs no introduction to craft beer lovers. They have long been in the forefront of the craft beer scene and are still one of the reigning champs in the craft beer industry. Many of their beers continually win awards throughout the world. Brooklyn Blast! is yet another fantastic beer from a fantastic brewery, not only is it a highly drinkable Double IPA, but it is incredibly smooth and gives no hint whatsoever to the 8.4% ABV locked inside. This second fact also makes it a dangerous beer though, so take it easy when drinking it. Brooklyn Blast! has all the great qualities of a DIPA but without the overly bitter hop bite that some tend to have, instead it is very inviting and welcoming to beer drinkers of all backgrounds. So whether you are new to IPA’s or a hop devotee Brooklyn Blast! is a must try beer!
Where can I get it? – Currently available in 12 oz. bottles at: Backyard Ale House- Scranton, PA; Exit 190 Beer Deli- Dickson City, PA; Wegman’s- Dickson City, PA; Sabatini’s Pizza- Exeter, PA; What’s Brewin’ 6 Pack Ale Shoppe- Old Forge, PA. Currently available on draft: Backyard Ale House- Scranton, PA.
To find Brooklyn Blast! in your neighborhood try searching here
Saturday, September 6, 2014
As the unofficial end to summer, Labor Day has come and gone, and it is time to give one last toast to the summer of 2014. While it was far from the hottest summer on record, it was a great one and hopefully you had your fill of great summer beers, but if not you have one last chance. So grab any of these great summer beers and raise a glass!
1. Anderson Valley Brewing Company- Summer Solstice: This beer is lovingly described as cream soda for adults and it is a very accurate description. The rich creamy body and smooth mouthfeel make this a dream beer to have on hand whether relaxing poolside or outside doing your final lawn maintenance for the season.
2. Bell’s Brewery- Oberon Ale: Bell’s has made Oberon a summer classic for many craft beer lovers. The sweet wheat malt is balanced perfectly against the subtle spicy bite from the hops. Oberon Ale is a truly thirst quenching beer on warm summer days.
3. 21st Amendment Brewery- Hell or High Watermelon: This is yet another summer classic for many craft beer lovers. The watermelon character finds a perfect home in this wheat beer and the 4.9% ABV also helps this beer become a true go to for beer drinkers as it is far from a one and done beer.
4. Dogfish Head Brewey- Festina Pêche: The tart qualities of the Berliner Weiss style have always been a favorite for many drinkers, but the addition of the peach imparts a new twist on a class style, something Dogfish Head loves to do! While this beer may be called unusual by some, it is certainly enjoyable and highly drinkable on summer days!
5. Bear Republic Brewing Company- Café Racer 15: This 9.75% ABV Double IPA is one many hopheads look forward to each summer. A very strong aroma featuring many craft beer lovers’ favorite hops is backed with a strong malt backbone giving this beer a fantastic dry finish. It is very easy drinking despite the high ABV, not the typical light summer beer, but an absolute must try for IPA fans!
6. Deschutes Brewery- Twilight Ale: While the IPA has become the darling of craft beer drinkers, a crisp Pale Ale will do the trick just fine in the summer. Twilight Ale uses the wonderful Amarillo hop which imparts an invigorating quality to this beer; it is a must to have in your fridge during the summer!
While many of your favorite beer sellers are fully stocked with fall beers, summer does still have some impact left on us. So enjoy what is left of the warm summer weather by opening a cold one and give one final cheers to summer before the bitter cold closes in around us!
Monday, August 25, 2014
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!
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.
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Brewer- TerrapinBeer Company
Style- American Pale Ale
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!
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
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Brewer- Elysian Brewing Company
Style- American Pale Ale
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.
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.