Beer Bloggers Conference Takeaways

The Beer Bloggers Conference is a three-day whirlwind of drinking, talking about blogging, drinking, talking about beer, drinking, occasionally sleeping, eating, and drinking some more. A lot of the conference is about blogging and behind the scenes crap that I won’t bore you with. However there were a few things you may care about. First off I want to introduce you to an app that I’m very excited about.

Continue reading “Beer Bloggers Conference Takeaways”

Learn About Barley Wines + Stone Old Guardian Review + Barley Wine vs. Barleywine

[Ed. Note: Kyle is a friend I met on Twitter (@KyleWDavis) and is one of the most knowledgeable and experienced barley wine fanatics I know. I have been trying to do more educational posts on different styles but get busy with a billion other things. So I figured this would be a great opportunity for Kyle to step in and help us learn about barley wines]

Barley Wine History

A barley wine is an alcoholic beverage dating back to ancient Greece, but the current offerings from breweries on both sides of the pond draw inspiration from England in the late 18th century. This is when British aristocracy began to celebrate a desire for any food or drink that weren’t readily available or affordable by the middle and lower classes.  Barley wines require larger amounts of ingredients and take more time to produce than most typical beer, which made them just decadent enough to be held in high regard.

Photo courtesy of Victor Szalvay
Photo courtesy of Victor Szalvay

Continue reading “Learn About Barley Wines + Stone Old Guardian Review + Barley Wine vs. Barleywine”

List of Great Father’s Day Beer Gifts

With Father’s Day just two weeks away time is running tight to find your beer loving dad a great gift. I’ve compiled a quick list if you’ve run out of ideas.

Beer History

The-Audacity-of-HopsAudacity of Hops (my review) is a great introductory book to the history of the American craft beer movement. Dad’s into history, beer, or especially beer history will all enjoy this read.

For those beer history buffs with a special interest in Cincinnati I’d suggest Over-The-Rhine: When Beer was King. Even if you don’t like beer at all this book provides a gripping and interesting history of Cincinnati, including two riots and a Gatling gun on top of the courthouse!

If you want more of an event and a hands on history experience then the Cincinnati Brewery Tours can’t be beat. Again, beer fan or not everyone in or around the Greater Cincinnati area should experience one of these awesome tours.

Beer Tasting Guides

Beer: What to Drink NextI love books, especially as gifts. All three of these books make great coffee table books and excellent references for learning about beer. If your dad isn’t interested in homebrewing then I’m sure they’re interested in learning more about their favorite beer and how to enjoy it better. Tasting Beer (my review), Beer: What to Drink Next (my thoughts), and The Complete Beer Course will make any dad happy.

 

Magazines

I like to think of magazines as little gifts that show up every month. Reminding the person you’re giving the gift to of your awesome gift! Here are my three favorite beer-centric magazines:

Homebrewing

After long enough enjoying finely crafted beers many people want to try making their own beer. Your father may have already contemplated this, or many not even know it’s possible. Either way a great place to start is with a Mr. Beer Kit. This is a relatively inexpensive way to get a taste for the hobby.

If they’ve already been brewing for a bit then help them up their game with How to Brew or The Homebrewer’s Companion books. Both books are very similar and each has their own pros and cons. Personally I prefer How To Brew because it feels more up-to-date than The Homebrewer’s Companion. If you’ve had one or two of their batches and have been less than impressed then perhaps giving them a class at Osborn Brewing Brew-U School is a better way to go.

A gift card to your local homebrew supply store like Osborn Brewing is a great way to go if they’re already a master homebrewer. Your dad may already have a garage full of homebrewing equipment but I promise there is something he wants to upgrade or tinker with. At the very least he could use it for ingredients or a kit.

Other Stuff

41rGREsGzQLIt’s somewhat sad how few people realize the importance the appropriate glass can play. I’m not going to say a beer is crap if it’s in a shaker pint, but an IPA in a Spiegelau IPA Glass certainly tastes better than one in a shaker pint. Something like Spiegelau Tasting Kit Craft Beer Glass Set also makes a great present because it’s one of those things someone is less likely to buy themselves and doesn’t know they need.

Growlers are becoming more and more common every day so it’s important to had a 41spCN7s1XLbad ass one. This Stone swing top growler is easily the nicest one I own. Great sturdy
construction, rocking Stone logo, handy-dandy thumb loop for pouring, oh and it’s a swing stop to help keep your beer fresh longer!

 

Finally something I always find myself in need of more of are tasting glasses and a swanky serving paddle to go along with them would be really nice. Check out this set from BeerLoved.com

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Ok, so what did I miss? What’s are you getting your beer loving dad for this Father’s day?

Beer Review: Stone Go To IPA

Stone’s got a new year round beer hitting the market this week to cash in on the session IPA craze. Go To IPA doesn’t just cash in on the session IPA craze but also the hop bursting craze that’s been sweeping through the nation of homebrewers. Stone has never seemed like the company to cash in on any craze, much less one driven by market analysis. Remember, this is the company through brought us Arrogant Bastard and made it live up to that name.

All these things left me in a situation of not anticipating this beer. When companies make these kinds of changes it makes me worry that the quality of their products is going to begin to suffer. Sometimes though we have to forget the marketing and just enjoy what’s in the bottle. Before we get to the quality of the contents here is Stone’s blurb on the brew:

Since Day One, we’ve been abundantly forthright and fully transparent about our lust for hops. It’s led us to craft many an IPA, most of them imperial—some intense for their time and all timeless in their intensity. For Stone Go To IPA, we are embracing our hop obsession in a new way, funneling an abundance of lupulin-borne bitterness into a “session” IPA delivering all the fruity, piney character of a much bigger IPA. To accomplish this, we employed “hop bursting,” a new technique wherein an irrational amount of hops is added during the final phase of the brewing process to coax out extreme flavors and aromas while also imparting a burst of desirably pleasant bitterness. The result is an Alpha-acid-rich beer that fans can enjoy more of without missing out on the assertive hop character you, like us, crave. So, sit back and go two with your new everyday go-to IPA and bask along with us in the glory of the almighty hop.

Continue reading “Beer Review: Stone Go To IPA”

Beercation: San Diego

In honor of my soon to be brother-in-law’s soon to be marriage we headed out to San Diego for the bachelor party! Now my last beercation post about Atlanta really wasn’t a true beercation. It was Christmas vacation in Atlanta where I drank a lot of beer. This time we are going to San Diego solely for awesome breweries, brewpubs, and bars that abound there. Continue reading “Beercation: San Diego”

Josh’s Favorite Beers of 2012

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been going through my Untappd profile, rounding up my most memorable beer than I was lucky enough to try in 2012. I ended up with a total of fifteen beers, consisting of a top ten and five honorable mentions which were just short of the cut. It’s not quite the end of 2012 yet, so I suppose it’s possible that late additions bump some of these out, but it’s a risk I’m going to make.

My takeaways?

  1. I definitely like barrel-aged beers.
  2. Cincinnati-area beers performed well, taking 4 of the 15 spots.
  3. This list was really, really hard to cull down. There is so much great beer out there and I’ve been able to try so much of it. I love the choice that better beer drinkers have now.

Now, for the list. There are more details for each beer in the captions of the slideshow below, but this here’s the summary. By the way, the top ten are in no particular order.

Top Ten

  • Rivertown Lambic (2010)
  • Founders Looking Glass
  • Sierra Nevada barrel-aged draft only beers
  • Quaff Bros. Joseph
  • The Bruery Black Tuesday (2009, 2011) & Chocolate Rain
  • Goose Island Juliet
  • Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Plead the Fifth (2011, 2012)
  • Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (2012)
  • Westvleteren XII
  • Listermann Cincinnatus

Honorable Mentions

  • Rivertown Sour Cherry Porter
  • Stone Enjoy By 11.09.12
  • Quaff Bros Sour Grapes
  • New Belgium La Folie
  • Founders Better Half

The format is a little awkward below with the captions, so if you’d like a better view of them, you can do so here.

 

Ken Schmidt / Iron Fist / Stone Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout: A Visual Review

OR

Thin Mints, for those of you savages unaware.

OR (to a lesser degree)

In all seriousness, this is a very, very good beer. In fact, in my opinion, it’s easily the best of their collaboration beers. I was skeptical at first because I’ve never had mint done well in a beer; it’s either overpowering or overpowered. In this case, it hits the mark perfectly, melding with the chocolate and slight roast to create something far more cohesive than would be expected. It’s sweet without being cloying and improves immensely as it warms up; more chocolate, less mint. As a bonus, that 9.6% ABV is virtually undetectable. This is a nice counterpoint in the dessert beer war to Southern Tier’s delicious, yet Diabetes-inducing monsters. Despite my hesitancy on this, Stone et al. has served up a a really great offering. Recommended without any qualifications.