Supporting Your Local Brewery

In my post a few days ago I was having a heavy debate within myself about whether or not I should stick with American craft brews or not. Today, I checked out the blog over at the Beer Mapping project. They brought up the new site started by the Brewers Association, SupportYourLocalBrewery.com The purpose of this site is to have a network of beer-lovers on the lookout for smaller breweries and legislation that could harm them.
This made me realize why I felt so strongly about supporting small American craft breweries. I live in New York, and while New York is one of the biggest cities, I think it has one of the last small-town environments. I mean, I know my laundry lady, I know my neighbors. I go to the same little drug store, and the same small restaurants. They aren’t just stores that I go to. These are the people in my neighborhood (if you will). Please support your local brewery by both drinking their brews, AND by receiving e-mail alerts from the Brewers Association.

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Mmmm… Toasty!

toasted-lager.jpgYou have to love Fresh Direct. They’ve become a surprising source of micro-brews for me. And living on a 5th floor walk up, those delivery guys are heaven sent. I came across Blue Point Brewery’s Toasted Lager on their site and ordered me up a sixer. I wasn’t disappointed. I felt like this beer was incredibly fresh and easy to drink. I believe this will be the first of many samplings of Blue Point’s brews.
Appearance: Pours a nice dark orange with a good 1/2 – 3/4″ off-white head. The body is crystal clear. There’s a nice bit of lacing as well.
Aroma: The aroma on this beer really reflects the style. Lots of toasted malts, a little bit of grain or corn-type smell, and rich and nutty. There’s a bit of sweetness from the hops, but not too much, as well as a good deep breadiness.
Taste: Taste reflects scent in this beer. There’s a bit of hoppy bitterness right up front, but it’s immediately rounded out by the toasted malts and nutty flavor. There’s a yummy bread/yeast flavor that lingers briefly after tasting. I love that really rich yeast flavor – like the middle of a freshly baked loaf of bread. Delish!
Mouthfeel: Medium body with just the right amount of carbonation, this beer is very easy to drink. It’s not overly filling and would be great as a session beer. Pick this one up for your next get together and it’s sure to please the whole crowd.

The Facts:
ABV: 5.3%
IBUs: 28
Original Gravity: 1.054

Some Cheese Rat?

cheese.jpgBesides the fact that I really love beer, I also greatly enjoy a good glass of wine from time to time. Since I’ve been keeping up with the blog, I’ve been opting for beer with my dinner, rather than wine. For the first time in several weeks I had a glass of amazing red wine and olives. It made me realize just how much I missed the pairing of wine, olives and cheese. I’m not a rat, but boy, I love cheese. It made me get to thinking about beer pairings. So later that night, I picked up some cheeses, some olives, and paired them up with the beer I had on hand – Dogfish Head‘s 90-Minute IPA.
While the gruyere & brie that I happened to pick up (not sure of what was in the fridgey atDogfish Ale home) weren’t perfect matches for the powerful flavor of the 90-minute IPA, tehy still tasted great together. My mild, but earthy gruyere went pretty good, but the IPA did really overpower the brie. And the olives? Well, I love a good olive, so maybe I’d be happy no matter what, but I really enjoyed the IPA/olive combo.
So there you go! We have our first pairing! It was definitely experimental, but I think that’s the fun way to do it. You can check out more on beer pairings at the useful Beer Advocate site. Let me know what your favorites are!

Yours, for just $125

Browsing the on-line this morning, I found a section of Ruby Lane (a great source for anything vintage) that was exclusively beer and liquor related. There, I found this gen-yoo-wine bottle of Bruton Beer. Unopened from the 1940’s, you can definitely call this baby “bottle-fermented”. The description reports – “Set on the shelf in the pantry for another day, it was pushed to the back and eventually forgotten.” OK people… this is a reminder: CLEAN OUT YOUR PANTRY ONCE A YEAR. Of course, maybe I can sell that vintage mystery-pasta that’s been in the back of my fridge for a few weeks! Check out Dotty Lee’s Treasures to own your own bottle of 1940’s vintage beer.

Chumley’s Me (not-so) Lucky

So while Chumley’s wasn’t all that lucky several weeks ago after the collapse of their chimney, their beer sure is! As I mentioned in an earlier post, we happened to go to Chumley’s only
the night before said event. I tried out their Me Lucky Ale that night. So, while I don’t have a proper picture, I figured that, in anticipation of a someday re-opening Chumley’s, I’d throw this baby at you.
Appearance: Had this one on draft, of course. It arrived at my table with a 1/2″ white head, and a clear, dark amber body. The head fades fast, but there’s actually an OK amount of lacing in this beer.
Aroma: Eh, not much to be said about the aroma of this beer, but that could have been the environment. It was pretty crowded and bustling. The little bit of hoppiness that I could catch was really a hay-type scent.
Taste: Lightly hoppy up front – fruity, followed by a nice lightly toasted malt flavor. The lingering flavor is that hay-hop flavor that I picked up on smell.
Mouthfeel: Medium body with the standard oily-type mouthfeel of an ale. The hoppy flavor leaves it a little drying and leaves your tongue a little coated feeling.
My waitress informs me that the Me Lucky is technically Chumley’s beer, but brewed special for them by Chelsea Brewing Co. So here we have a special NY beer in a special NY place. Let’s hope Chumley’s can come back and keep serving us seedy New York drinkers!

More Dogfish Head

indian-brown.jpgI find myself amazed at just how huge a variety of beers that Dogfish Head Brewery manages to create. One could spend weeks just trying different Dogfish beers and reviewing. Today, instead of an IPA, I’m trying their Indian Brown Ale. I found it a pleasantly refreshing flavor.
Appearance: Pours a dark dark ruby color with a good 3/4″ – 1″ nutty brown head. The body (though it’s so dark you can barely see through it) is crystal clear.
Aroma: Lots of malt fragrance in this beer. Dark, roasted malts. It smells so rich, like a really really good cup of coffee. There’s also a sweet smell like molasses or deep caramel, but I largely find that roasted nutty smell. Mixing with the malts is a nice bit of hoppy smell – pine or resin type smells, a nice earthy-type hop. I also smell a little bit of a tobacco smell, which I think is a mingling of the hops and malts.
Taste: Yum! Great rich nutty roasted malts on first sip, then you get those earthy hops. Not too much, mind you. Finally the aftertaste is that coffee flavor. There’s also a bit of mingling spiciness, but I can’t quite place the flavor.
Mouthfeel: This has a surprisingly rich and full mouthfeel. Kind of creamy.
Overall, this is a great ale. Hoppier than most, probably, but I really enjoy the complexity in this beer.

Of Manly Things

I found this blog entry over at the blog Brakar, a blog for guys that live with women. Brakar posted a great entry about an article written up in Men’s Journal The 25 Best Beers of the US. The article says that they “…put this list together by gathering recommendations from the experts and carefully tasting case after case, on deadline”. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I found it a pretty refreshing take on popular micro-brews. Check out the list, and also check out Brakar. A lot of funny takes on “The good guy’s guide to living with a woman”.

Going Publick

southampton.jpgToday’s brew comes to us from the Hamptons – Southampton to be exact. Based out in the Hamptons in Long Island, Southampton Publick House brings us a really nice variety of beers. Today, I’m checking out their IPA.
Appearance: Pours with a large foamy head – about 1 inch. Body is a cloudy, dark orange. Not much lacing to speak of.
Aroma: Surprisingly abundant caramel malt scent for an IPA. Lots and lots of hops though, as one would expect. The first notable fragrance to hit me is banana, as well as other fruity tones like apple, peach and citrus. There’s a very faint yeasty smell, but it’s pretty much overpowered by the hops and malts.
Taste: Lots of hops and malts in this beer. Almost a little too much malt for the American IPA that this beer is supposed to be. Strikes me as a more English IPA maybe. This isn’t, mind you, a mark against this beer. Just not quite what I expected.
Mouthfeel: Standard IPA – medium body, oily feel. Not much of a lingering aftertaste.
Overall, this is a pretty good, drinkable beer. If you’re hop-crazy, stick with something a little stronger, but if you’d like a nice, smooth IPA, this one’s a keeper!

Devilshly hoppy

hopdevil.jpgHow cool is it that when I go home, my dad greets me with a case of Victory Hop Devil. Just for me! So thanks dad! Now we get to review the Hop Devil!
Hop Devil is an IPA, to be technical, it’s an “American” IPA, and it’s one of my favorites. While Victory brews several celebrated beers like their Prima Pils and Golden Monkey, I’m a hop-head. I really like the rich, not overly bitter taste of this beer.
Appearance: Pours with a huge head (about 3 fingers initially) and a cloudy dark orangey/amber color. The head lasts for quite a while, but there’s not a whole lot of lacing.
Aroma: Rich and hoppy. There’s a sweet caramel and grain malt smell, but of course, the hops just about knock you down. The heavy smell of hops – citrus, pine, perfumes, grass – is the big smell here. There’s also a faint doughy smell and a little bit of alcohol smell lingering.
Taste: The hops in this beer are great! I’ve had some beers that are hoppier, but somehow Victory manages to make a SUPER hoppy IPA with out the bitterness being overwhelming. It’s a different, richer kind of bitter. You taste those hops right up front, then that rich malty flavor comes through and lingers. On exhale, the hops really bloom. While this beer is obviously hoppy, and made for the hop-head, the malts do a great job of keeping the flavor under control.
Mouthfeel: This is a medium body beer with a oily mouthfeel. Despite the giant head, I don’t sense a lot of carbonation.

The Facts:
ABV: 6.7%

Belgian, German, American?

bubbles_sm.jpg

As people send me feedback in comments, e-mails or in person, I find really mixed
feelings about what beers people would like to see covered. Some feel strongly about Belgian and Czech beers. A lot of people say they don’t like the Belgians and want to see American. Bob posted this weekend that he wants to see German beers.
When I first started this blog, I thought it best to stick with American craft brews. Then, a lot of people in the beer community were saying: You’ve gotta try this Belgian, or Czech or German beer. So now I’m kind of muddling around trying to decide what would be best for this blog. So I think from now on I’m going to try and stick with American craft brews. If someone out there writes me or posts and says that they’d like to see something about a certain style of brewing, or they’d like to see the American micro-brew compared to a Belgian style, etc. I’ll be all over that. Or if I want you guys to know about a style that I can’t find by an American craft brew, I’m going to step over that line.
Ultimately, part of what I love about Craft brewing, is that it is so American. It’s something that started out in Europe, and every country and region has taken it and adapted it to their own. I think that’s great. And there are enough people out there celebrating the great international breweries. Let’s support our local breweries.

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