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.
[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.
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.
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
I 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.
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:
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.
It’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 bad 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!
Ok, so what did I miss? What’s are you getting your beer loving dad for this Father’s day?
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.
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”
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.
- I definitely like barrel-aged beers.
- Cincinnati-area beers performed well, taking 4 of the 15 spots.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
This beer (the second of 2 in the series so far) is a very cool idea that hasn’t gotten much attention lately. Most people drink beer whenever they feel like it, some people keep beer for years letting it age, very few people strive to drink beer as fast as possible to experience an ultra fresh brew. That is Stone’s aim with this beer, and it’s predecessor the Enjoy By 9.21.12. They bottled and shipped this beer as fast as they could and once November 9th has come and gone they are taking back all the bottles and tossing them. This ensures that if this beer is consumed, it’s consumed fresh. The concept doesn’t matter much for many kinds of beers, especially my favorite Belgian ales, but when it comes to IPAs and super hoppy double IPAs the fresher the better. Hops lose their aroma and flavor with every day that goes by so Stone aims to make sure you get all the flavor. Now, don’t worry and think that the next IPA you buy is crap because it’s a few weeks old. A strawberry you buy at Kroger is still tasty, just not as rockin’ as one plucked off the vine.
The last of the beers Stone sent to me. Gives me a mixture of joy and sadness. Joy because my OCD tendencies have been satiated and I can move onto all the other beers in my fridge (Green Flash here I come!). Sadness because that’s the last of my free Stone beer.
Part of the Stone media pack I received was the book The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and unbiased arrogance. The book is broken down into sections and I’ll follow that breakdown for my review.
The Nature of Beer
- Excellent break down of what beer is. They go into detail about the core ingredients of beer and what difference they make. Of interest to home brewers and beer nerds is a breakdown of many styles of hops with name, alpha acid level, and flavor profile. They do the same thing with malt and even various chemicals in water! This is a resource I’ll hold onto for a while and I’ll use it as a basis for an eventual blog post(s) on this subject.
Beer Through The Ages
- Re-read this section because it was that good. OK, so I wrote that note to myself while doing an initial draft of this post. Then I decided to keep it there because it’s true and everyone should do it. This is by far my favorite section of this book and is full of great info. There is a 4,000 year old recipe for beer which includes brewing instructions called “the Hymn to Ninkasi” from what is now Iraq, no word if anyone has recreated it recently (get on that Dogfish Head!). That kinda fact just blows my mind. From there they skip ahead a few thousand years and mainly focus on the results of ending prohibition. That is to say the crushing of small brewers and the following slow rise of craft beer ending in the world we have today.
A Story Called Stone
- This section is really for hard core Stone fans. It goes through the history, founding, problems, and fortune and fame of the company. There isn’t a lot of great info for people looking to start small breweries or small breweries looking to grow. It’s still a fun story and an interesting ride. Plus like the book as a whole it’s told in a very engaging way.
The Beers of Stone Brewing Co.
- This is a huge section with detailed info and stories on all of the Stone beers. At least all of them as of 2011, which is a lot! This includes all the anniversary and collaboration beers as well as the regular round up. Again it’s really for Stone super fans, but it’s also an excellent resource for anyone interested in Stone beers… like a blogger who is in the midst of writing posts about the beers.
Dr. Bill’s Beer How-Tos
- This is a rather quick section that talks about serving, cellaring, and pairing beer. For the serving section it focuses on choosing the correct glass and getting a good pour. Then a very cursory discussion on enjoying and tasting. The cellaring section just goes through what kind of styles are best to age and good places to store the beer. Pairing is just what you think, talks about why beer works great with food and what foods work with what beers. The how-to section is overall alright but I’d prefer the tasting section to be a bit more in depth. Also in aging it’d be nice if they said age X style for Y years to achieve optimal results. I realize this is very difficult for anyone to say, but still they could give it a shot.
Recipes from the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens
- As I’ve stated many times I’m no foodie and I’m a horrible cook. As such this section was lost on me. There are about 15 or 20 recipes for food served at Stone’s brewpub. They look tasty but are pretty complex, at least from my perspective.
Home brew Recipes
- The first portion here is a nice overview of the entire home brew process. I wouldn’t use this as my only guide for my first brew but it gives you a decent idea of what you’re looking at and could be a good starting place. Following that is beer recipes for a somewhat odd collection of Stone beers. Pale ale, smoked porter, and levitation make sense then there are a scattering of anniversary’s and collaborations. But no arrogant bastard which I think may disappoint many people. Though as most home brewers already know that’s just a Google search away.
In the end this is a good general beer book and a fantastic book about Stone. If you know any Stone fanatics this would make a great present for them. If you’ve been reading my reviews you’ve seen that I’m no Stone super fan so the Stone-centric portions of this book only held mild interest for me. Despite that I thoroughly enjoyed the general info like the nature and history of beer. Regardless of all that it’s not a huge book so you can pop through it pretty quick unless you want to memorize all the recipes by heart or something.
FULL DISCLOSURE: This
beer book was sent to me for free by Stone. To our readers, and any breweries interested in sending me stuff, giving me free stuff impacts the review in only 1 way. That way is that I WILL review the beer whatever and I WILL write a blog post about it. Giving me free beer swag does not guarantee you a favorable review or that I will tell everyone to go buy it or anything like that.