2010 was quite a good beer year. With it came some exceptional stuff like the brews from Element Brewing Company in Central MA and White Birch in Southern NH. Of course there were numerous special releases like the Life and Limb and Bitches’ Brew. I am going to really put myself out there right now and remark on an exceptional beer. I may go so far as to say that this is the beer of 2010. Building up to it like this, I am sure that some names are coming to mind right now and that those names likely include some of the more limited releases. Like I said, I am going to put myself out there and I am going to say that Sierra Nevada Celebration ale is indeed the beer of 2010. There are many reasons why I am willing to go so far as to make such a statement. I’ll even concede to some personal bias but, obviously, the main reason has to do with the quality of the brew. Celebration Ale is always good, but it seemed like this year’s batch was unusually good. Perhaps the hops enjoyed a better growing season? I found this year’s batch quite hoppy (as usual) but unusually fresh tasting. I also just happen to have a particular affinity for the style. I know that there are a lot of hop heads out there and this beer is good enough to satisfy those who love hops without being so over bearing that someone other than a hop enthusiast couldn’t enjoy it. The addition of more malt to bring it to an amber color and give it more body than a typical IPA also lends itself to the creation of a bold beer that remains somewhat approachable. In short, it just doesn’t let you down. Read More about Beer of 2010?
It seems to me that the average beer consumer is decidedly more experienced than other consumers of alcoholic beverages. I’d like to think that beer enthusiasts possess a sense of adventure that drives them to try as many new beers as possible. Logic tells me that this level of experience is also supported by the simple fact that beer lends itself, due to accessibility, variety, ease of consumption and price, to easy experimentation. One does not really consider drinking a quick bottle of wine at the bar on the way home from work. The liver stamina required to support the exploration of multiple wines or liquors isn’t available to many of us, not to mention that it is likely to be prohibitively expensive. Certainly there are ways to explore and enjoy wine, such as visiting a beautiful wine region like Sonoma County. I am mainly referring to more of the daily approach to consuming – purchasing from your favorite purveyor of libations. Beer, in its glorious variety, is readily available at stores and bars and there is little to stand in the way of simply having a beer. This means that enthusiasts and casual drinkers alike can quite easily discover the world of beer. From that, I have interesting conversations about beer with people almost every day. Read More about Beers we can’t get.
I think everyone has heard me gripe about the beer industry and its rush to change the seasons so I’ll keep it short this time. If you haven’t seen the new seasonal packages yet you will. Pumpkin beers and Oktoberfest beers are pouring in. When is Oktoberfest? September 18th – October 3rd. When is the first day of fall? September 23rd. When did the first pumpkin beer hit stores in a rush to curtail our already short New England summer (an industry move rivaled only by fashion)? July 28th. Ok – enough. We all know that beer companies are in a never ending rush to get the next season started. I suppose that a well made beer of any style is enjoyable at any time of year so get ready to enjoy some fresh brews. Read More about What season is it?
Nothing quite inspires a good session like a hot day. Whether it’s post lawn mowing or just enjoying the afternoon the thirst provoked by the hot sun needs to be satisfied and beer can really hit the spot. With beer shelves packed, top to bottom, with tasty libations how do you really choose what to treat your taste buds with when thirst and volume are diving the urge? More importantly, how do you choose when the shelves are packed, top to bottom, with today’s best offerings of high abv, intensely flavored brew? Flavor is so important and your sunny afternoon just will not be as satisfying as it could be without a beer that meets your standards. Complicating matters, it is not just your standards that must be met, but the importance of not sipping yourself into a stupor when blue skies and summer temperatures are beckoning you to continue sipping throughout the evening. Read More about Session Time…
Hops are the female flower clusters of a hop species, and are used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent in beer, to which they impart a bitter, tangy flavor. Hops are also used for various purposes in other beverages and herbal medicine. Hops were cultivated on a continuing basis around the 8th or 9th century AD in Bohemian gardens in the Hallertau district of Bavaria and other parts of Europe. However, the first documented use of hops in beer as a bittering agent is from the eleventh century. Read More about What are Hops and why are they so delicious?
Okay, so it is a bit late to still be toasting 2010 and I am well aware that the play on words is lame at best, but the New Year has brought with it some delectable new beers which I will remain excited about for some time. There has been a slight rearrangement in the beer aisle – shifting the countries around a bit. We always need more space for Belgian beers and American brewing is stronger everyday. It is Scandinavia, however, that is flowing onto the scene. For many years the Scandinavian offerings here were quite limited but the potential was clear even with the lone representation being Sinebrychoff Porter. This porter is incredible. At one time there were vintage stamped bottles on the shelf from 1997 – a testament to age-ability and quality (also quite amusing to see a vintage sticker next to a ‘best before’ date). Sinebrychoff remains the only Finish beer on the shelf for the time being, but is now backed up by highly delicious offerings from its Scandinavian neighbors: Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Read More about Happy New Beer!