Virginia Names August Craft Beer Month


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If you are planning on being in Virginia in the month of August (like I plan on) then you are in luck. Virginia has dedicated the whole month of August to craft beers. There are a tonne of events happening at brew pubs and breweries located across Virginia.

There is a website at virginia.org/CraftBeer/ that shows all of these events, all of the breweries and brewpubs available.

The month long festivities will culminate in Virginia’s first ever craft beer festival, all day on the 25th of August. It is being held at Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company (200 Mosbys Run Roseland, VA 22967)

I may not be able to attend many of these events the week that I am in Virginia, but there is a Dogfish Head brewpub literally MINUTES away from where I’ll be staying. So I may just enjoy my own craft brew week there.


5 Tips For Aging Beer

Aging beer is a bit of beer geek activity that most people don’t bother with. You’re not going to age a lager from the local dépanneur but some of the bigger craft beers on the market start to receive nice nuanced changes in flavour over time. I enjoy experimenting on my homebrews to see how aging adds character and mellows out flaws in my beer. Aging normally mellows off flavours and hop flavours while enhancing malt flavours. Hard and fast, you want to age big alcoholic malty beers and not your IPA. Dogfish Head has a good article with a few tips for aging beer.

Beer won’t spoil.
Beer isn’t milk and it won’t go bad. The flavour just changes. You might not like the change in flavours (and it might change for the worst depending on style and aging conditions) but you don’t have to worry about getting sick off it. I wouldn’t open an old bottle of Molson Ex that has been in and out of the fridge though.

Storage matters.
Oxidation is to beer as the Joker is to Batman, archenemies. Oxidation will turn your beer tasting like last weeks edition of the newspaper. Light and heat speed up oxidation, so store beer in a cool, dark place. Keep the bottles upright in your basement or in a refrigerator set between 10°C and 13°C.

High-alcohol beers tend to age better.
Lie mentioned above, typically larger beers age better. Dogfish Head recommends beers that are 10% ABV and higher and have big dark malt profiles. Higher ABV beers will begin to mellow out and produce a velvety finish after aging.

Don’t underestimate fresh.
Some beers just don’t work with aging. IPA’s and fruit beers notably. Those flavours begin to fade into the background and lose their main characteristic. That being said, there are no rules so experimenting helps. Dogfish Head recommends their 120 Minute IPA which begins to develop sweet sherry and marmalade notes.

A little experimentation goes a long way.
Like mentioned above, you will need to experiment. Taste is subjective and your mileage will vary depending on a factor of conditions. Best thing to do is buy a few bottles and drink one fresh. Store the rest and pull them out at six month intervals. If you don’t like the direction aging takes your beer you can stop or if if you do you can age another six months. Part of the fun of drinking craft beer is that there isn’t no stringent rules to be followed. Go crazy with it and find out what you like.


Beer Will Keep You Skinny and Strong.

Researchers at Ecole Polytechnique Federal in Switzerland discovered that the molecule Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) that is found in Milk is also present in beer. In Milk, this molecule has been shown to help improve muscle strength, fight obesity and lengthen lifespan. Conducting experiments on mice, they discovered that the mice fed high-fat diets gained 60% less weight when also given NR supplements. The mice without the supplements also developed diabetes while very few of them on the supplements did.

So I guess that refutes the whole beer belly thing! Probably not. The researchers are unsure how much of this molecule is present in milk or beer. Chances are, if you drink enough beer, you will get nice and plump. But this is just another example of the healthy properties of drinking beer in moderation.


Crosby Tears, The Taste of Defeat.


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This sounds great. A Philadelphia bar and brewery called Nodding Head has created a beer in “honour” of Sidney Crosby. I hope it’s nice and bitter like the playoff series was.

CROSBY TEARS – $6.50 tulip

STRONG ALE (8.7%ABV)… WHINE-LIKE IN “HONOR” OF ITS NAMESAKE… ORANGE HUED LIKE THE TEAM THAT SENT HIM HOME FOR THE SUMMER… THE PERFECT COMPLEMENT TO A PLAYOFF RUN


Depressing Map of Dry States.

The above image shows all the places in America where alcohol is still banned. It’s been 79 years since prohibition ended in the USA yet a good portion (particularly the Bible Belt) of America have since voted to alcohol bans in place.

It makes me incredibly sad. It’s just another example of draconian laws in our society. The only bright spot is that prohibition most likely helped homebrewing explode into what it is today.

In many ways, prohibition was the catalyst for the first (and arguably biggest) large-scale Do-It-Yourself science movement in the nation’s history; home-brewing became extremely popular during prohibition, with magazines like Popular Science publishing how-to guides for assembling DIY distilleries, and measuring your alcohol to keep it within the ABV standards outlined by the eighteenth amendment.


Dark Chocolate Bacon Porter? Yes please.


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Although I find the idea of brewing with actual bacon weird, Blue Moon is going to make an attempt at it. Blue Moon Brewing had a promotion running on Facebook to choose the next seasonal they would make upon the next lunar blue moon. They just released the 3 finalists that will be competing against each other during a month of tasting. While the Dark Chocolate Bacon Porter sounds delicious, I think the Blackberry Tart Ale is more inline with the Blue Moon brand and it sounds really refreshing.

Blue Moon Caramel Apple Spiced Ale: A blend of cinnamon and nutmeg combine with roasted caramel malts and fresh apple juice for a warming, spiced taste.

Blue Moon Blackberry Tart Ale: The aroma of rich blackberries sets up the slightly sweet yet tart taste that’s balanced by the subtle malt character.

Blue Moon Dark Chocolate Bacon Porter: This deep mahogany colored ale is brewed with hickory-smoked bacon and dark chocolate for a slightly sweet yet savory taste.


Ask Men – Fancy Beer


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Recently, AskMen.com posted an article on what he calls “Fancy Beer” and how its time for everyone to admit that they taste like crap and that we should just go back to only having very limited selection of beers.

 

If I’m going to get a carbon dioxide headache, let me get it drinking something that doesn’t require an advanced degree to appreciate.

You can deny it all you want, but I’ll never believe you wouldn’t rather shoot pool with a couple of Pabst Blue Ribbons than with a cedar-spiced holiday ale.

I don’t know where he is going off on this, I have no advanced degree in anything taste related nor am I a connoisseur by any means, however, PBR is by far the worst thing I think I have ever ingested. My fridge right now is filled with Molson M and Moosehead, I like “regular” beer as much as the next guy, but I can appreciate when something is “fancy” and different, breaks out and tries something different.

I am not saying he is wrong here, there are a lot of beers out there that just aren’t good, and people may be lying to themselves that it has hints of this or that, but there are so many excellent beers that you can’t lump all “fancy beers” into one category.

If people like him ran the world pizza would only come in pepperoni, and if you wanted mushrooms, you’d be crazy and lying to yourself that you might like it. There would only be 3 choices of cars, small, medium and pick-up truck, all American too, can’t have any European or Japanese “infiltrating”. Some people like variety and some don’t.

This article really bothers me as to just being ignorant and close minded. There are so many different and excellent beers out there that you can’t just say, go back to the old way, I am uncomfortable with this many options.

When I finish work and on a hot day, I do prefer a beer like Moosehead or M, maybe even something crazy like a Corona, but when I’m sitting and reading or chatting with like minded friends, it’s really nice to have something different and new. New flavours, new experiences, buddies bringing in something new and saying “Hey, I found this and really enjoy it, hope you do too!”

However, drinking while reading is probably too “fancy”.

Article can be found Here

 

This article was written while drinking a Moosehead or two.

 


Romance Your Valentine With These Chocolate Beers

Do away with the cheap box of chocolates and get your loved one something you can both enjoy. Just remember, while beer can help relax the mood and increase inhibitions, too much will do the opposite. So pay attention to the ABVs and the number of bottles you knock back if you want to spark the romance tonight.

Let us begin with two of my favourite Montreal brews:

Oatmeal Stout | St-Ambroise | Montreal, QC | 5% ABV
Brewed from 40 percent dark malts and roasted barley, this intensely black ale carries strong hints of espresso and chocolate. Oatmeal contributes body and a long-lasting mocha-colored head to this well-hopped beer. Oatmeal Stout is one of my favourite easily available beers. It’s easy to find and low in ABV with a lovely chocolate and coffee taste. You can also whip up a batch of the Oatmeal Stout Chocolate Cake.

Aphrodisiaque | Dieu du Ciel | Montreal, QC | 6.5% ABV
Black ale with aromas and flavours of vanilla, dark chocolate, bourbon and roasted malt. The vanilla and cocoa marry nicely, without out-competing each other, to produce a surprisingly well balanced beer. This beer is mildly hoppy, but the cocoa introduces a touch of bitterness. Its colour may be intimidating, but it is a very smooth beer within reach of most beer drinkers. This highly appreciated dessert beer is brewed with organic fair-trade cocoa and first rate vanilla beans.

Sexual Chocolate | Foothills Brewing Co. | Winston-Salem, N.C. | 9.25% ABV
This rich cocoa-infused Imperial Stout has been released annually just before Valentine’s Day since 2006. It sells out quickly, because it’s an awesome brew, and don’t we all want to say “Baby, I brought the Sexual Chocolate?” This liquid chocolate brew is practically guaranteed to induce friskiness.

Seduction | Brewery Ommegang | Cooperstown, N.Y. | 6.8% ABV
Because that’s what Valentine’s Day is all about! This Belgian-style ale combines chocolate from Callebut Chocolate with tart cherries. Seduction will leave you with a warm, lingering glow.

Chocolate Ale | Boulevard Brewing Co. | Kansas City, Mo. | 9% ABV
Brewed with a rare variety of chocolate sourced from the Dominican Republic and provided by Christopher Elbow Chocolates, this seasonal is both delicious and classy, bottled beautifully in a cork and cage 750 mL bottle.

Reunion Ale | Terrapin Beer Co. & Schmaltz Brewing Co. | Athens, Ga. | 7.6% ABV
Just like love, craft beer can be a collaboration. A portion of the profits from this brown ale brewed with cocoa nibs, vanilla and chili peppers benefits the Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research. The chilies give this beer a fiery finish. Terrapin also releases their Moo-Hoo Milk Chocolate Stout this time of year. It’s exactly what it sounds like—an alcoholic nod to the Yoo-Hoo chocolate beverage.

Imperial Choklat Stout | Southern Tier Brewing Co. | Lakewood, N.Y. | 11% ABV
This lovely Stout is made with bittersweet Belgian chocolate and packs an intense chocolate kick. Even non-beer lovers like this brew. Be sure to quaff this one slowly, and notice how the flavors develop as the beer warms.

Chocolate Stout | Pisgah Brewing Co. | Black Mountain, N.C. | 6% ABV
This brew is aged on cocoa nibs for a number of weeks. The beans hail from the La Red Guaconejo cooperative in the Dominican Republic and are hand-sorted, roasted, and cracked by the head chocolate maker at the nearby French Broad Chocolate Lounge in Asheville, N.C.

Theobroma | Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales | Milton, De. | 9% ABV
The name of this beer translates to “food of the gods,” and is based on a recipe found on pottery fragments in Honduras, Mexico. If you want a love that lasts forever, this is a good gift choice. Although lighter in color than you’d expect from a chocolate brew, it can pack a punch.

Slumbrew Porter Square Porter | Somerville Brewing Co. | Somerville, Mass. | 6.5% ABV
This rich porter is brewed with cocoa powder and conditioned on nibs from Taza Chocolate. Yum!


Beer Soap? Nothing Better Than The Smell Of Scotch Ale In The Morning.


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Apparently you can make soap from beer. McAuslan has been known for making various food stuffs with their beer, like their hot mustard which is amazing. I have no idea how beer soap is made or what it smells like. These can be picked up at the McAuslan Brewery at the reception desk between 9:30-11:30 and 13:30-16:30.

If anyone gives it a try let me know. “Hey Chris, why do you smell like beer at work at 9 o’clock?”

“Oh, it’s just my soap… and the three pints I drank for breakfast.”


Chick Beer?

Apparently it’s time to tap into a new market, a beer being made by ‘chicks’ for ‘chicks’. I won’t sit here and tell you I’m offended but I am a cynic and there is definitely something marginalizing about this. Chick Beer is a “craft light beer that doesn’t taste like a light beer”, but at 97 calories I find it hard for it to taste anything but light beer.

Chick Beer is a craft-brewed light beer that doesn’t taste like a light beer. The flavor is soft, smooth and full-bodied. Yet Chick Beer magically has just 97 calories and 3.5 carbs.

Maybe I am a bit offended by the marketing. So women only like light beer? Maybe they just haven’t been introduced to a real smooth and full-bodied beer? There are many complex and interesting beers out there that I know first hand that ‘chicks’ like.

Chick Beer celebrates women: independent, smart, fun-loving and self-assured women who love life and embrace all of the possibilities that it has to offer.

… Especially bland light beers that won’t make them fat because they’re ‘chicks’ right?