Saturday, February 22, 2014
The Beer Geek Festival is happening! The information is listed above, as far as breweries, we are bringing the best of the best as this is a PREMIUM beer festival! Here's a short list of those breweries involved:
Stone Brewing Co.
Vanberg & DeWulf
3 Guys & a Beer'd
and so many more!
If you live anywhere near Northeastern PA this is a MUST attend beer festival.
Follow the Beer Geeks Radio website BeerGeeksRadio.com for continual update or on the FaceBook page under Beer Geeks Radio Hour, or on the Twitter @BeerGeeksRadio
Tickets are available at select locations throughout the area or directly at Montage Mountain!
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Brewer: Southern Tier Brewing Company
Style: American Double/Imperial Stout
Description: Southern Tier’s Choklat pours the blackest of black with a tan head that does not hang around too long, but leaves a nice lacing on the glass. The aroma can be summarized with one word: chocolate. The taste backs up the nose completely and is dominated by chocolate. There is a perfect balance within the chocolate, though, so that it does not become too bittersweet and instead manages to be extremely smooth and easy-drinking. The body is full, extremely smooth, and also manages to hide the 10 percent ABV. A word of warning: this is definitely a sipper! Southern Tier Choklat is certainly as deep, rich, and decadent as any box of chocolate.
Food pairing: Upon your first whiff of this beer, let alone sip, it is quite obvious that this is one heavy-hitting dessert brew! Choklat is a beer that you really should hang onto until the final course and crack open to share with the heaviest and creamiest of sweets, as it certainly has enough heft to hold up to all of them. If you are looking for a simple yet elegant pairing, try having Choklat with fresh cannolis. The fresher and creamier the better, as the mascarpone cheese adds another layer of flavor and body to the beer while the beer seamlessly blends into the cheese and leaves the palate refreshed and ready for more. Also try pairing this with rich and creamy strawberry shortcake – the heavier the cream the better. However, if you are looking for a straightforward pairing, here’s what to do: get a pint of your favorite organic vanilla bean ice cream and put one scoop into a glass of Choklat. That’s it, and you can thank me later!
The final word: Southern Tier’s Choklat truly is a beer that has something for everyone. It is smooth and heavy enough on the chocolate that even the casual beer drinker could sit and sip this one for hours, but it is also very rich and complex and leaves the craft beer enthusiast satisfied. The incredibly smooth characteristic of this beer is what makes it so highly drinkable, not to mention the over-the-top chocolate goodness! Southern Tier has really carved out a niche for themselves by not only creating imperial versions of many beers but, more importantly, creating imperial versions that are phenomenal. Choklat is a fantastic stout to have on hand this Valentine’s Day, but is also just a great stout to have on hand any time of the year.
Where can I get it? Currently available in 22 oz. bottles at: J & H Beer- Wilkes-Barre, PA; Backyard Ale House- Scranton, PA; Wegmans- Wilkes-Barre, PA; Exit 190 Beer Deli- Dickson City, PA; and Arena Bar and Grill- Wilkes-Barre, PA. Available on draft at Backyard Ale House- Scranton, PA.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Style: Black IPA or Cascadian Dark Ale
Brief history: The history is somewhat disputed, but it can be directly tied to legendary and sadly missed brewer Greg Noonan from the Vermont Pub & Brewery. Back in 1994, Greg began brewing a new beer called Blackwatch IPA, though he named the style of the beer Cascadian Dark Ale. The popularity was immense and the beer gained a cult following. In 2006, Stone Brewing Co. head brewer Mitch Steele tried Blackwatch IPA and was blown away, and he openly admits that the beer was the inspiration for Stone’s Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, the beer that is considered a frontrunner and flagship beer for the style. The biggest dispute with this beer style is the name, with purists calling it Cascadian Dark Ale and many others simply calling it a Black IPA. Regardless of the debate, the style has continued to grow in popularity with many breweries now offering a take on the style.
Standard characteristics: The Black IPA has the appearance of a robust porter in both beer color and tan frothy head, along with a medium-to-full body. The aroma is dominated by hops up front, which can run the gamut of any variety of hop bouquets. The background notes are of roasted malts, giving the beer a smooth characteristic in body and mouthfeel, imparting a creamy hop characteristic on the palate. The key to this style is a perfect balance between malt and hop. The ABV for this style has a huge range, going from five percent to 10 percent ABV. This is a relatively new style and is very open to interpretation and experimentation.
Nose: The aroma is dominated by hops, which can lead to a wide spectrum of detectable aromas. With Black IPAs, brewers tend to lean away from aggressively citrusy hops and opt more for pine, floral, resiny hops, although the style is open to interpretation. The notes of roasted malts, which can emanate aromas of bitter chocolate and dark roasted coffee, act as background notes.
Body: The body is similar to porters, leaning more towards the medium-to-full range with a moderate amount of carbonation, but a wide variation is acceptable. This combination gives the beer a smoother character than traditional IPAs mainly due to the malt choices.
Taste: The taste is where this style truly shines and separates itself from other beers. The hop bite is present throughout and generally hits the palate first. The malt profile soothes the hop bite and cleanses the palate with rich roasted malts, giving subtle hints of coffee and bitter chocolate, both enhancing and subduing the hops. The beer should have a dry finish, as with all IPAs.
Food pairing: The combination of aggressive hops and roasted malts make this the perfect beer to have with all red meats. Try pairing with a porterhouse steak, venison, and elk steaks. The malt profile enhances the mineral quality of the meat and highlights the flavor, while the hops will immediately cut through and leave a pleasant aftertaste on the palate. Some in this style can be paired with desserts, but experiment a bit with this pairing.
Recommendations: Black IPAs are an acquired taste for some, but if you are familiar with and love IPAs and darker beers, than this is a style that must be tried. Some of the best currently available are:
• Black Diamond IPA- Breaker Brewing Company
• Black Racer- Bear Republic
• Back in Black- 21st Amendment
• Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale- Stone Brewing Co.
• DevESTATEtion Black IPA- Sierra Nevada
• Black Hatter- New Holland
• Mountain Standard Double Black IPA- Odell Brewing
• Firestone Walker- Wookey Jack
• Durty- Smuttynose
• New World Porter- Avery Brewing Company
Beer: Back in Black
Brewer: 21st Amendment Brewery
Style: Black IPA
Description: 21st Amendment’s Back in Black pours a lovely russet brown/black with a rocky khaki-colored head that sticks around for a long time and leaves a significant amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma is a perfect blend between piney, earthy hops and roasted toffee, caramel, and coffee from the malts, but I do recommend letting it warm up a little bit to truly unleash the aroma. The taste is dominated by roasted malts up front with flavors of toasted caramel, bitter chocolate, and roasted grains quickly followed by piney, earthy, and resiny hops that grab onto to the taste buds with a vengeance before a long, semi-dry finish takes over. The medium body and moderate carbonation give a very smooth impression on the beer and an almost porter-like mouthfeel, but with more carbonation. Back in Black is a great balance between hops and malt with the 6.8 percent ABV being very well hidden.
Food pairing: The semi-aggressive hops and roasted malt profile make this beer a great addition to many dishes to provide an added layer of complexity. However, red meat dishes are perfect with this beer, as the malts will highlight the mineral and iron flavors of the meat, while the hops will cut through and impart an earthy/spicy taste to the dish. Try pairing Back in Black with BBQ ribs; the malts will enhance the caramelization in the meat and sauce while the hops will cleanse the palate nicely in between bites. This is also a great beer to have with your next burger, and any spicy toppings will only enhance the hop bite from it. A great pairing with this beer that will warm you up on these cold winter nights is with a shepherd’s pie; the hops create a wonderful added layer of complexity to this straightforward dish.
The final word: The Black IPA style, or Cascadian Dark Ale as some call it, is relatively new for the general public, as larger craft brewers only started brewing it around 10 years ago, but the style has gained a cult following in that short time frame, and it is starting to creep over into being a more mainstream style. 21st Amendment’s Back in Black is a fantastic Black IPA to try if you are interested in this style of beer. The hops are certainly present, but not overpowering, and the malts are perfectly balanced against the hops for a true showcase of this style. It is also a great style of beer to have in these cold months, and if you are a fan of IPAs, it gives you the best of both worlds: the great dark beer look and taste that many of us crave in the darker months, balanced against a great hop presence for the overall impression of an IPA.
Where can I get it? Available in 12 oz. cans at the following locations: Exit 190 Beer Deli- Dickson City, PA; Krugel’s Georgetown Deli & Beer- Wilkes-Barre, PA; Backyard Ale House- Scranton, PA; Joe’s Six Packs to Go- Dunmore, PA
Saturday, January 25, 2014
This morning live on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour (heard live every Saturday morning on 102.3 FM and streaming on SportsHub102.com at 10 AM EST) the official announcement was made in regards to the Inaugural Beer Geek Festival happening in the Slocum Hollow Lodge at Montage Mountain in Scranton, PA on April 12, 2014!
This festival is going to be HUGE! In the week since the organization first began a lot of great breweries have already signed on such as:
Stone Brewing Co.
3 Guys & a Beer'd
Breaker Brewing Company
Susquehanna Brewing Company
Along with many more not listed and even more that are still ironing out the details!
Many breweries are also brewing special one off batches that will be available only at the festival!
To follow along with the fest as details get released add the Beer Geeks on Facebook:
Or follow on twitter @BeerGeeksRadio
If you live anywhere near the Scranton, PA area this is a MUST attend beer festival, tell all your family an friends that are craft beer fans neat the area about it! More details to come!!
Monday, January 13, 2014
Style: Russian Imperial Stout or American Double/Imperial Stout
Brief history: The Russian Imperial Stout style dates back to Catherine the Great from Russia, during the 1700s when she made a trip to England and fell in love with the flavor of stout. However, when she requested some be sent to her, it had spoiled by the time it reached her due to the lengthy travel. Catherine the Great was one who got what she wanted, so brewers quickly got to work, and the finished stout tipped the scales at a whopping 10.5 percent, strong enough to make the trip. Russians all loved it and a new style was born – Russian Imperial Stout, named so due to the markings placed on the bottles for shipment. The American version is a take on the Russian, but tends to be higher in ABV and a bit sweeter.
Standard characteristics: The style is intensely flavored, with all flavors making their presence known in the beer. Bitterness also plays a part in the flavor, but not hop bitterness; instead, it’s more from the roasted malts and chocolate. The ABV for the style ranges a great deal, with many American versions leaning towards the higher end of between seven and 12 percent. This style can also age for a number of years, and the age of the beer will greatly affect common characteristics.
Nose: The aroma is very rich and complex with detectable aromas typically being roasted malts, coffee, dark fruit, bitter chocolate, hops, and alcohol. Many versions tend to be barrel-aged, which brings out other dimensions in the beer depending on what type of barrel was used for aging.
Body: The body is very full and can feel almost chewy with a velvety, smooth, and luscious texture. Carbonation tends to be low to help create the smooth texture of the beer, but will vary upon age.
Taste: The flavors are very deep, intense, and complex with roasted malts/grains, fruity esters, hop bitterness, chocolate, and coffee being the most detectable. Alcohol heat is also a common taste many experience with this style due to the higher ABV. Imperial Stouts also have a surprisingly dry finish, but do leave behind a warming characteristic.
Food pairing: This is an absolutely perfect dessert beer and goes well with a wide range of treats. Try pairing it with your favorite cakes, pastries, ice cream, or any other rich and decadent desserts. The biggest thing to watch for with this style is to be careful not to pair it with a dessert that is easily overpowered, as this beer loves to throw its hefty weight around.
Recommendations: The Imperial Stout style can be overwhelming for some not used to the stout style, but many of these beers are extremely approachable with a huge flavor profile present, and all of these are absolute must-haves for the style:
• Samuel Smith - Imperial Stout
• AleSmith - Speedway Stout
• Founders - Founders Breakfast Stout
• Flying Dog - Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout
• Goose Island - Bourbon County Brand Stout
• Avery - The Czar
• Dogfish Head - World Wide Stout
• North Coast - Old Rasputin
• Stone Brewing Co. - Imperial Russian Stout
Beer: Black Chocolate Stout
Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Description: Brooklyn’s Black Chocolate Stout pours thick and is oil colored, with a rocky brown head that quickly disappears but leaves behind a wispy ring. The aroma is overpowered by bitter dark chocolate, with background notes of fresh roasted coffee and slight hints of rich red fruit. The taste is surprisingly bitter up front, accentuated by the roasted malt. However, its bitterness is from the chocolate, not hop bitterness, although the hops are certainly present. The bitterness does not last long and is quickly followed up by intense chocolate and coffee, soon joined by rich red fruit and black licorice flavoring before the beer heads to a very dry, almost wine-like finish. The 10 percent ABV is extremely well hidden, which means you should be careful with this one! The full body and mild carbonation create a very smooth and surprisingly easy drinking stout that is absolutely perfect for the winter months. Allow this one to warm up a bit, though, to fully appreciate all the flavors and aromas locked within.
Food pairing: Black Chocolate Stout is an absolutely stellar dessert beer, which should be a no-brainer given the name! It is also hefty enough to be its own dessert, but for a real treat, there are plenty of great partners out there. Try having it with a fresh fruit tart, ice cream, or crème brûlée: the creamier, the better. For a truly amazing experience, try pairing this with a fresh vanilla bean cupcake with buttercream icing. Another great treat with this beer is to use it in a beer float. Grab yourself a pint of your favorite ice cream (I recommend vanilla bean flavor, but you can try whatever you like) and put a nice healthy scoop into a pint.
The final word: Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout has developed quite the cult following over the years. The reason is not only because it’s absolutely textbook for the style and extremely enjoyable, but also because of the ability this beer has to age. Black Chocolate Stout has the capability to age for several years, which makes for a great beer to buy in bulk every year and stash a few away for future usage. Many parties have been set around this beer being involved in vertical tastings, which is a side-by-side tastings of varying years of the beer. This makes for a very interesting and eye-opening experience to show how far beers have come, and to gain respect and understanding of the complexities they possess. It is also great to do in order to test your taste buds, as over the years certain flavors grow more pronounced, while others disappear altogether. For added convenience, the release date is prominently displayed on the label every year. Certainly get yourself some Black Chocolate Stout to enjoy now, but don’t forget to store some away!
Where can I get it? Currently available in 12-ounce bottles at Exit 190 Beer Deli- Dickson City, PA; Backyard Ale House- Scranton, PA; Krugel’s Georgetown Deli & Beer- Wilkes-Barre, PA; and Wegmans- both Dickson City, PA and Wilkes-Barre, PA.