Where The Beer Meets The Beards

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Jim Koch (Founder of Sam Adams) puts his beer where his mouth is… well I guess we all do.  But Jim is laying it on the line in support of the Boston Red Sox for the World Series.  Jim has made a craft beer wager with Dan Kopman of Shafly in St. Louis for food, beer and pride.  Ladies and Gentlemen, this is where the beer meets the bears!

The wager: Samuel Adams brewer and founder Jim Koch is so confident that his hometown team, the Boston Red Sox, will win the World Series, that he is betting two cases of his flagship Boston Lager and a lobster dinner against Dan Kopman’s Schlafly Pale Ale and a dinner from Pappy’s BBQ ribs.  Additionally, each brewer is inviting the competitor to brew a beer of their choice in their respective breweries in Boston and St. Louis – all expenses paid.

“Here in Boston, we are lucky to be home to some of the best sports teams in the country,” said Jim Koch, Samuel Adams brewer and founder.  “The Boston Red Sox are the epitome of passion and true American tradition.  I look forward to seeing the Red Sox bring home the World Series trophy once again – and then toasting with a Boston Lager.  May the best team win!”

“St Louis is the home of the best fans in baseball and the best beers in the US,” said Dan Kopman, Co-Founder of Schlafly Beer, St. Louis’ oldest and largest locally owned brewery.  I look forward to our 12th World Series victory and then visiting my good friend Jim and toasting with a Schlafly Pale Ale.  May the best team win!”

So let’s do this Red Sox – For the love of the game; for the love of the beer!

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4 Ways To Improve Your Drinking Games… At Work

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Some of us have very demanding careers that take up a lot of our free time, but you can’t show up to the party rusty on Friday.  Try these 4 steps to perfecting your drinking game skills… at work.

  1. CHUG – Sort of.  Every drinking game requires… DRINKING… some need speed as well.  Every time you go for water chug the first cup down as fast as possible then refill to sip.  EXPERT:  Try chugging multiple in a row.
  2. Shoot = Score – EVERY piece of trash is a pong simulator.  Always arch toss your trash into nearest garbage can.  It will improve your hand eye coordination and better yet prepare you for adapting to ‘home field advantages’.  K-Cups work best.  EXPERT:  Creamer cups are insanely challenging
  3. Change? – Buy your morning cup of coffee with cash.  You will most likely get a pocket full of change.  Upon arriving at your desk ‘quarters’ bounce them into nearest mug/water cup.  You’ll be crushing it at Quarters and Miley Ball before you know it.  EXPERT:  Chug remaining venti iced coffee and try sinking quarters into that monolith.
  4. Flip Out – From now on bring a water cup to every meeting.  Make sure to finish the water before the end of the meeting.  While everyone is wrapping up, line the cup on the edge of the table and flip it over.  Looking weird in front of coworkers is added incentive to hit on the first shot.  This is not recommended on client meetings… unless you nail the pitch and can hit the first shot… in which case you will double the sale.  EXPERT:  Volunteer to clean up and walk around flipping all the cups.

Now you are ready to take on the real world… sort of.  Happy Training.

That Punny Got Hops and Other Pun Beers

Love em or hate them puns will be around forever, and we’re all stuck with them.  So if you  cant beat em join em.  Here is my first list of awesome pun beer names.  So have a good yuck and get to work on your own.

Honorable Mentions for Awesomeness, but not fitting criteria:

  • MMMMMMMM Hop – the impending Hanson Beer.  HILARIOUS, but not existing
  • Mortal Wombat submitted by @cristymaldonado – AWESOME but could not be verified
  • Here Gose Nothing created and submitted by the talented @EmilyRagle for her friend’s first brew of a Gose style.

So there you have the list – for now – but with any list of its kind it’s up for debate and update.  Thanks to all who contributed, and those geniuses behind the names!

A Real Lobstah Roll

It’s not often that I take the time to write about food.  But when that food is soaked in beer I think it deserves a few words.  When that beer is Sam Adams Summer Ale it deserves grander words than exist in my vocabulary, but I’ll do my best.

I had the unique honor of joining brewer Jennifer Glanville and the Sam Adams team in DC for a taste of this culinary creation, and it did not disappoint.  Sam Summer is the perfect balance for lobster.  I devoured mine in no time,  but chances are you aren’t going to find one any time soon, so for the adventurous out there here’s the recipe.  If you make one I better get an invite!

Samuel Adams Summer Ale Infused Lobstah Roll

Recipe Created by Samuel Adams Chef Partner David Burke

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz lobster meat cooked
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup diced green apples
  • 4 tsp tarragon
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 8 Shaved scallions
  • 4 Artisanal rolls
  • 1/4 Cup Sam Adams Summer Ale
  • **OPTIONAL 12 Pack of Sam Summer 🙂

Method:

  • Pour a Sam Summer and start drinking
  • Mix mayo, cream cheese and Summer Ale in a bowl
  • Enjoy more Sam Summer
  • Mix lobster meat, celery, carrots, apples tarragon, lemon juice and the previously mixed concoction together in the bowl
  • I think it’s time for some Sam Summer
  • Dole out to each of the 4 buns and top with scallions
  • Salivate, sip your Sam Summer and Dive in!

Super Savor – My Top 13 Revisited

Before hitting the road to Savor Craft Beer and Food Festival in Washington DC last weekend I took time to research and scientifically (kind of arbitrarily) pick my top 13 beers to try at the event.  Now of course these were not the only beers I tried, but these were the must stop shops.  In 2K12 pundits don’t often revisit their predictions so I’m here to celebrate my Nostradamus-ness and maybe slip a few mea culpa’s in.

So here’s the list plain and simple.  A plus before the name is as good or better than expected and a minus is well… I think you can take it from there.

  1. +Graham Cracker Porter by Denver Beer Company (@DenverBeerCo) – I am now embarking on a quest to find cases of this beer to kick back with at the camp fire.  AMAZING!  Yes, the chef took it to a new level with burgundy S’mores, but the beer spoke for itself long before the treat.
  2. +Kaffir Lime Wheat by Denver Beer Company (@DenverBeerCo) – I’ve been tricked!  OK, more like my method did not involve real research to choose my top 13 so I did not know what I was in for.  Kaffir Lime slapped my expectations in the face and had me asking “please sir can I have some more.”  Let me spoil the surprise for you.  Kaffir Lime is a Southeast Asian lime with some pretty potent leaves.  On a recent trip the great brewing couple of Denver Beer huffed a backpack of the stuff back for brewing.  This beer will give you an almost spicy tea hit to the palette, but you can certainly catch the allusion to a traditional lime.  A+ for surprise, quality and just something super cool to try.
  3. +“Soon to be named” IPA by Stone Brewing (@StoneBrewingCo) – Stone does it again.  Just a phenomenal IPA.  Stone had the longest line at the event throughout the night and I can assume this is the reason why.  The line prevented the opportunity for much conversation with the brewers, and this may be a Savor only beer so just try and live vicariously through me.
  4. +Oyster Stout by Sam Adams (@SamuelAdamsBeer) – Straight from Wellfleet, MA – practically the tip of the cape – these oysters and their brewer Jennifer joined together for an incredibly smooth stout.  Adam and Ellie of Sam Adams served this stout up to me with expectant eyes and smiles that made me wonder if I were in for a practical joke, but quite the contrary they were just proud to be serving a great beer.  You would have to be told that Oysters are the secret ingredient to know it, but there is an undeniably crisp, fresh finish to this brew, and it’s a must try if you can get your hands on it!
  5. +Sour Cherry Imperial Stout by Blue Point Brewery (@BluePointBrewer) – It’s all in the name.  This is exactly what you expect when reading the title and delivers a solid quality.  I walked away smiling with this combo and would definitely put another on the tab if given the chance.
  6. -Black Mocha Stout by Highland Brewing (@HighlandBrews) – My first miss of the litter.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a perfectly good stout.  But as you can tell, I’m looking for things that stand out and launch a shock and awe campaign on my mouth.  This just didn’t get there for me.
  7. +Brainless on Peaches by Epic Brewing (@EpicBrewing) – And here is the mea culpa I owe.  Lazy, late night journalism had me confusing Epic Brewing with Epic Beer.  Epic Brewing is in fact out of Utah and not New Zealand (Epic Beer).  So it is not the only international brewery at savor.  Now that that’s cleared up, how about the beer?  Spot on.  Fruit beers are tough to master, but I’m always happy when someone nails it.  A brewery not to be named failed me on a peach beer last week and it needed a comeback.  EPIC to the rescue.  Now get drinking Brainless on Peaches so when the Zombies come you will have nothing for them to feast on.
  8. +Chocolate IPA by Flying Dog (@FlyingDog) – Where have you been all my life Flying Dog?  I sampled my first Flying Dog brew just over a week ago and have had 3 more since then including this one.  Every one has been a hit.  It’s easy to see why when you meet the people behind the pour.  Jim told me this item was only made for Savor and when I asked him if they’d consider producing it his response was that they had to perfect getting the chocolate taste on the front of the tongue first.  WHAT?  This beer was already phenomenal and unique, but their drive for perfection is what makes them hit home runs so you have to respect the expertise!
  9. -Coconut Porter by Maui Brewing (@MauiBrewingCo) – Second miss on the list for me.  When you tell me Coconut Porter I need you to deliver that toasted, sort of sweet nuance.  Instead, I got porter.  It’s a fine porter, but I can’t help but be let down without the noticeable coconut.  With that said, these are fine people making good beer and doing things a little differently.  They packed up life in NorCal, moved to Maui and opened this place.  All beer they have is made on the Island, and I give them a lot of respect for that.  Keep it up!
  10. +Derelicte Pineapple IPA by Odd Sides Ale (N/A) – Who am I?  An awesome brewery that’s who you are!  Both Odd sides brews made my list so I had big expectations for this little brewery and they delivered better than Chinese food at 3am.  In my preview I wondered if they were making a Zoolander reference which would clearly throw this to the top of my list… they were!  And if you have access to Odd Sides, get ready another Zoolander themed beer is coming!  I also mentioned my brain tongue was salivating for this bad boy, and one taste later my real tongue was too.  Pineapple is an awesome pairing for the hoppy IPA style and this is an every day beer that’s really, really ridiculously good tasting.
  11. +Mayan Mocha Stout by Odd Sides (N/A) – Be careful with this one.  It’s a progressive flavor beer which is probably one of the coolest things to experience.  Take a slow sip and you’ll taste a sweet chocolate followed by the smooth creamy stout, then this beer goes everlasting gobstopper on you and hits a spicy finish.  It’s not overpowering by any means, and fans of Mexican chocolate will be pleasantly surprised.
  12. +Rosemary Swamp Fox by Moon River Brewing (@MoonRiverBrew) – Good enough for me to have already sent travelers in Savannah to stop at Moon River for a taste!  Spices and beer go together like beer and everything.  I loved the complex flavors of this one, and had a great time talking to some Moon River people at a side table.  They know their stuff so if you stop in strike up a conversation – you won’t regret it.
  13. -Teddy Bear Kisses by Upland Brewery (@UplandBrewCo) – One of the first I had of the night, and I just couldn’t get anything unique out of it.  Again, it’s a solid beer, but I thrive on unique.  I even asked the sampler what was special about this and he couldn’t pinpoint something for me.  It’s a fine stout, but not terribly distinguished from the myriad of stout options.

So choosing on what was a far from scientific method led me to 10 beers that made the grade and only 3 that left me hoping for more.  I’m not sure you can really go wrong with anything at Savor, so I guess I can’t take too much credit for picking good beers off the list, but I was thrilled with the event and will have to throw out a few more short pieces on other beers/events.

Super Savor – My 13 Must Haves at Savor Craft Beer Fest in DC

In 20 hours Savor Craft Beer and Food Fest Kicks off in DC.  This event is an annual affair of craft beer and delicious delectables… but mostly the beer!  So as a dedicated journalist I must trek all the way to the Nation’s Capital and sip some fancy brews to bring the news to you.  You’re welcome!

Before I go, I spent hours organizing the brews by brewer, state, style and of course priority tasting.  I boiled the 148 beers down to 13 Must Haves tomorrow.  Why 13?  Because I’m tired and couldn’t rattle my brain to cut 3 of these beers out.  For those of you curious with my methods, this list is derived 90% by the name of the beer and it’s interest to me.  The other 10% is trying new breweries or styles.  So it may not be scientific, but it works for me, and it’s worth a look.  Without further ado.

  1. Graham Cracker Porter by Denver Beer Company (@DenverBeerCo) – New flavors in a favorite style? Check.  Brewer I haven’t tried.  Check.  Also, did you see that it said Graham Cracker?  If only someone made a marshmallow stout for this.
  2. Kaffir Lime Wheat by Denver Beer Company (@DenverBeerCo) – Denver is one of two breweries to make two appearances on this list, but well deserved.  The mass market lime beers are so popular and I just have to see what a good version would be like.
  3. “Soon to be named” IPA by Stone Brewing (@StoneBrewingCo) – Stone has long been in my top five of all brewers, IPA is my favorite style and “Soon to be named” is just mysterious enough that I cannot skip it.
  4. Oyster Stout by Sam Adams (@SamuelAdamsBeer) – Sam Adams will always be my number one in craft beer.  Sam broke me into this craft beer obsession long ago and as a Boston Local I get to interact with them on the regular.  They do things right and impress me constantly.  Last year they paired with Dogfish Head and created Savor Flowes possibly the best beer I’ll ever have.  This year they get at it with an Oyster Stout… WHAT? That’s something you have to twirl over the taste buds.
  5. Sour Cherry Imperial Stout by Blue Point Brewery (@BluePointBrewer) – Love the cherry and stout mixture.  The sours are just blowing up in popularity and even though they aren’t far I’ve never had a Blue Point so time to give it a shot.
  6. Black Mocha Stout by Highland Brewing (@HighlandBrews) – North Carolina has a strong beer culture and some great things are coming out of that state.  I love coffee stouts and this one peaked my interest.
  7. Brainless on Peaches by Epic Brewing (@EpicBeer) – Let’s start at the beginning – it’s called brainless on peaches; I’m gonna try it.  Epic Beer hails from the great state of New Zealand.  Wait. Something is wrong with that.  Oh right, Epic is the only international beer at this event.  But don’t let that fool you.  They’ve earned their stripes and have been crashing the craft beer market like no other.  I’m expecting Epic things!
  8. Chocolate IPA by Flying Dog (@FlyingDog) – Flying dog roped me in with the recently tried Raging Bitch.  I’ve yet to have such contrasting flavors in a beer, which makes this the most unique IPA I’ve had.  Let’s see how it pans out.
  9. Coconut Porter by Maui Brewing (@MauiBrewingCo) – I know a lot of the dessert style beers have made my list this year, but I couldn’t help it.  If it weren’t for Epic Beer Maui would get the furthest traveled award and they come baring the gift of fresh coconut… IN BEER!  I’m in.
  10. Derelicte Pineapple IPA by Odd Sides Ale (N/A) – That chocolate IPA might get blown out of the water by this.  I don’t know if they are making a Zoolander reference or not and I don’t care.  My brain tongue is already delighted by the combo of pineapple and IPA.
  11. Mayan Mocha Stout by Odd Sides (N/A) – This is possibly the smallest brewery at Savor and they are rolling in from a great craft beer state, Michigan.  They are also one of only two brewers to get the honor of having their two beers on my must list.  They earned it with this effort though, and if the word’s going to end I’m not going without having some Mayan Mocha!
  12. Rosemary Swamp Fox by Moon River Brewing (@MoonRiverBrew) – This is categorized as an herb and spice beer, and I have no idea what I’m getting into with it.  That’s the best part of events like this, and I’m not going to miss something this unique.
  13. Teddy Bear Kisses by Upland Brewery (@UplandBrewCo) – Who can say no to Teddy Bear Kisses?  OK, I know it’s a little weird, but that’s what we’re here for.  Let’s do this!

So that’s the list.  We’ll see how it holds up at the event, and I’ll do a follow up next week along with some other fun.

Sam Adams Spring Collection

The best part of changing seasons is getting an entire new stock of craft beer to try.  The first collection I always hit up is whatever Sam Adams puts out.  The seasonal packs will always feature Boston Lager, 2-3 brand new beers and a couple of favorites to make 6 different styles in the pack.

Summer seriously impressed me with the Bonfire Rauchbier in the Fall pack and followed up with the Ever popular Chocolate Bock and a new Black and Brew that blew me away.  Spring is no exception and here’s the breakdown.

1.  Whitewater IPA – This my runaway favorite.  I’m hearing it’s been done before, but this is definitely my first blend of a White and an IPA – two styles I love.  Everything is just perfectly balanced between hops and sweetness.  There is a touch of Apricot, but nothing like a Magic Hat #9.  You probably wouldn’t even notice if I didn’t mention it.  This beer is perfect for people looking to grow their taste profiles, but are still a little afraid of getting hopped up!

2.  Alpine Spring – This is the official Spring beer in the pack.  Regrettably I have to admit that I don’t like it.  I’ve only had a pair of them so far and have a bunch more to see if my mind changes, but if I blindfolded myself and drank it I would assume it was a cheap beer. It’s still getting some love across the social media so maybe my tastes have changed too much to enjoy a more ‘mass market’ taste.

 

3.  Mighty Oak Ale – This is the winner of the beer lover’s choice program Sam hosted through the summer at the brewery, online, and at social events.  The event putted an oaked ale vs a maple pecan porter.  The oaked ale won and Mighty Oak was born!  It wasn’t my vote in the head to head, but it’s an incredible beer nonetheless.  The story goes that Sam had been playing with barrels a lot lately in their extreme beers and wanted to see if they could bring that to an approachable beer with less gravity.  The beer picks up soft vanilla tastes from the barrel and the flavor changes like layers as you work through the bottle.  Definitely give it a try.

The rest of the pack is made of Boston Lager, Irish Red and Black Lager.  These are year round options that I’m sure you are familiar with in some way or other so I won’t go into them in detail.  I’m just happy to say that the Sam Spring pack is a hands down good choice yet again.  I look forward to sharing with friends!