Saturday, June 9, 2012

What makes a good beer glass?

Here's an interesting story on choosing beer glasses (not goggles) I saw today over on NYTimes.  There's also some photos of glasses Garrett Oliver likes.  I particularly like the Nostetangen Klukk beer glass.  The wonderful prunts harken back to those seen on the German roemer glass of the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

If you're interested in earlier beer glasses check this out.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Prohibition Coming!

To TV, that is.

I just received the following to my inbox announcing the new Ken Burns documentary premiering Sunday night.

For three consecutive nights, beginning October 2 at 8 p.m., PBS will air one of the most compelling documentaries ever created about an embarrassing 13-year era of U.S. history. "Prohibition," by award winning film maker Ken Burns, chronicles the crime, loose morality and violence that erupted from an unenforceable law that escalated alcohol's status and made heroes out of the thugs who illegally supplied it.

Check your local listings for the broadcast times on your local PBS station.

In conjunction with this event, our local PBS station WVIA-TV has put together a show airing this Thursday, September 29 at 7 pm entitled Prohibition In Northeast Pennsylvania as part of its State of Pennsylvania series with guest Guy Graybill, author of "Prohibition's Prince".

In Northeast Pennsylvania, moonshiner and bootlegger Prince David Farrington became a notorious character. His bootlegging operations impacted thousands made a legend of the man and the stills he left standing. Learn the truth about Prohibition's Prince on our next State of PA.

Should be very interesting indeed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wild Hops?

Uncle Kazek insists there are wild hops growing behind his house.

I won't argue with him since hops were cultivated in the eastern US long ago, but this brings to mind something that does grow on a vine, wild, at the end of the street by my house: grapes.

On Saturday I went for a long run (11) and on two occasions, once at the end of said street and another on the long road back, passed stands of wild grapes, their vines resolutely clutching tree trunk and extending like octopus tentacles along the branches next to and in some cases overhanging the road. Stands may be too strong as there appeared to be only a single surviving vine in each case. The sweet, ripe, purple grape emitted an intoxicating aroma as I passed.

I wonder if someday soon there might be hop fields along these same roads, lending their own exotic nimbus into the air for passing beer/running enthusiasts to enjoy?

Drying Out Over a ShawneeCraft® Double Pale Ale at the Gem and Keystone

One of the almost infinite benefits of working in the Garden State is that we pass more than a few brewpubs on our way back and forth, slaves to the grind.  (This is going to end soon, but Elmer Sudds has plenty of beers to cry over.  I surely will be crying over this.)

Today we decided to stop in at the Gem and Keystone Brew Pub to see if anything from ShawneeCraft® Brewing Company's new brewmaster Chris was gracing the taps yet.  (As you probably know from Mr. MyBeerBuzz the Leo has left and now the Chris is at the mash tun.)

Anyway, the short answer is that the beers available now are still collaborative efforts of Chris and Leo with some of Chris' own creations coming on real soon.  As a matter of fact this weekend there'll be an Oktoberfest beer coming on and in November a pumpkin ale.  To follow is the wonderful Porter--to Leo's recipe according to the `keep.

This afternoon, we sampled the Double Pale Ale to the right which was a nice hoppy creation which we did not have a chance to taste on our last visit.  (Or did we?) This is not an Americanized pale ale but something that an English brewer might brew.  If hopped up.  Aah, the perfect antidote to a day in NJ!  That was quickly followed up by the delicious Stock Ale™which is, dare we use the word, sessionable, coming in at a meager 4.8% ABV.

We were truly saddened to hear that there was a loss of many kegs of barrel aging beers due to Tropical Storm Lee that blasted through Eastern PA a few weeks ago.   (ShawneeCraft® is located in Shawnee on the Delaware right next to the Delaware River.) Some of the barrels had been aging for a couple of years, but had to be dumped nonetheless.  Our hearts go out to the brewery over this loss.  Much of the brewery gear was saved by moving it to higher elevation, but some of the brewery equipment was still damaged by the rampaging river.  The good news is that the damage was not that bad according to the `keep.

Talk to you lager,

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

American Homebrewers Association(r) has a new logo (#homebrew)



You've probably seen this already but if you haven't it's all there--one-inch view looking down at a bottle cap, the golden circle of life enclosing a hop flower, a barley spikelet, and a refreshing, what? A full glass of pilsner? I suppose that's ok. But a half-drank shaker of homebrew IPA with some awesome lacing might have looked a little more apropos. IMHO.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Anderson Sant’anna De Lima's 508 Gastrobrewery

Anderson shows us his blueprint for success. Must visit.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The No-Drone Zone

Have you ever been in a beer bar where there's just an incessant drone of 100 people?

Good people, all--don't get me wrong--they're drinking great beers, right?

But there's something just downright sweet about a more settled, cozy atmosphere.


Schlitz Original Recipe

S and I went out pre-Potter to the friendly Ice House Pub last night for a bite and to see what was on draught.

I wanted to try something new but alas almost everything on that looked interesting had been tried--I was hoping to try something different from Berwick Brewing but all they had was their Hondo Keller bier. A fine beer in it's own right, but still not something untried.

After taking another closer look at the draught list, I was drawn to something at the very top, a beer I hadn't tasted before, advertising itself as Original Recipe, the Beer that Made Milwaukee Famous, Schlitz Gusto. And at $2.50 a full pint how could I wrong?

This beer rose from the dead a few years ago and is now brewed by the Pabst Brewing Company.

A lively, easy drinking beer it be, it turned out to be a perfect accompaniment to a couple dozen Virginia littlenecks.

S opted for something that's becoming all too regular for her, a Leinenkugel Summer Shandy. A surprisingly, refreshing sessionable (there can be no argument on this) treat, lying somewhere east of the forgettable and unforgettable continuum.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Phish and Beer

As readers of this blog may know, I'm a Phish fan--not a raging fan that follows them across the land--but a fan still.

Well they're on the road again this summer and they'll be playing seven sets at the Super Ball IX festival at Watkins Glen (yes at the racetrack), starting Friday July 1st through Sunday July 3rd.

Phish fans like beer, I tell you no lie. When we saw them in Hershey last summer there were great beers available for sale in the stadium as well as a boatload of great beers being quaffed (and confiscated by the po-po, [sigh]) in the parking lot.

In keeping with their solid dedication to wetting dry whistles, there will be a Beers of the World tent during the festival. Here's something I recently received from Phish.

Years of marketing research and focus groups have revealed that Phish fans, given a choice of a wide variety of beverage options, often choose a fermented concoction made from cereal grains. We created a tent at Festival 8 called Beers of the World where any fan, no matter what language they spoke, would find a pleasing option. BOTW will be back at Super Ball IX with over 50 different kinds of beer available. Of note is the return of Sierra Nevada's FOAM, a special pilsner brewed specifically for Phish. True fact: After Festival 8, FOAM went on to win the Gold Medal at the 2010 World Beer Championship as the world's best Pilsner. It sold out in a hurry at its debut. They're brewing a little extra this time.

Sadly, I won't be seeing them this summer as there's just too much going on with timberframing, landscaping, working on cars and whole lot of other stuff.

I'll be there in spirit though!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lightstreet Porter float

Now, I'm not one for dessert but when I saw this on the menu over at Turkey Hill Brewing, well, it's now history.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Beer Gardens

I saw this nice article today in the Times (you haven't reached your browse limit yet have you?) about the resurgence of beer gardens in the city. There's now 54. Perhaps not all pure in the sense of the Bohemian, but still there seems to be more interest lately in getting outside with friends.

You know, we're getting a few of our own up in NEPA too. Both that I've been to (what others are there?) are really sweet: Berwick Brewing Co. has a nice covered beer garden behind the brewery (where else) with a stage on one end and The Backyard Ale House has one behind the bar proper (uncovered so watch those T-storms).

Gee, is this beer blog still active?

Well, it's been about as active the last few months as I've been in this heat today--stuck in my office with no AC, three computers, two phone systems, 8 phones, zero air circulation and no beer.

But, it's quittin' time now (aka The Best Part of Every Day™)

Welcome to the Memorial Day weekend everyone! Try to remember what this is about, be safe and have someone else drive if you've had too much.

Friday, April 29, 2011

YeeHaw! Turkey Hill Brewing Company Dances

When we heard about six months ago that the Turkey Hill Brewing Company was opening, we immediately expected great things since the Inn at Turkey Hill Inn is such a fantastic place to stay and enjoy imaginative five-star cuisine. After our first visit last week, we're here to say they've delivered on every expectation.

From the outside, the building looks like a barn that's been turned into something more--exactly what you can't be certain until you get closer, but the twin cupolas on the roof ensure there's no mistaking the original purpose of this structure. Approaching from the large parking area, the sidewalk passes by windows that let you know the focus of this place is beer. The entrance: a wonderful faux timber frame that beckons and hints at what's inside.

Passing through the doors leads to a reception area where you'll find wood and lots of it. Benches for waiting patrons are arrayed around the room--their seats made of rustic slabs of timber. Wood paneling; and a well executed custom wood staircase ascends to the second floor. To the right in the reception area are windows looking directly into the brewery that is at the same level.

The staircase up places you in a room that on one side has a windowed gallery overlooking the brewery and on the other side a doorway opens into the main space of the second floor which contains a bar and dining room. Simple wooden stools and a narrow bar rail along the gallery windows will be a nice place to watch the brewery in action. Alas on this night not to be: it's time to celebrate boys!

Passing through the opening into the main space, there's a bar straight ahead and dining room to the left. Magnificent and authentic barn framing soars overhead. Well done fellows! The cupola admitting early evening light enhances the framing.

The beer menu strikes a nice balance: there are a couple or three of approachable beers reminiscent of earlier times, an intriguing Belgian Dubbel, and a few nice American-style craft beers where the brewmaster Donny Abraczinskas really displays his deft touch. A six-flight sampler was $8.50, delivered in a carpenter's wooden toolbox and well worth the few bucks. The only beer on the menu not yet ready when we visited was the NewWhirrld Vienna Lager.

The Barn Dance Blonde Ale is a German style Kölsch beer (not my favorite style) and comes in at a light 4.5% ABV. This is a beer to session over; there can be no argument on this can there? This hybrid style can be cloying to us but this one is perfectly suited to bringing to a barn dance. You can not go wrong choosing this beer even if you're more of a Bud Lite drinker.

The Belgian Blonde Ale Bamboozled in Bruges reminded me of Blanche de Bruges (RIP) and was nice and easy drinking. This beer is made for summer and is on the light side for the style at a Witbier-like 5.3% ABV. Doonie's Dubbel is a Belgian Strong Ale--darker and stronger than the Blonde, similar in character and just as easy drinkin'. This dubbel brings it, so watch out.

What impressed me the most was the Epiphany American Pale Ale. Beautiful color, enticing aroma, just the right amount of hop flavor (not overwhelming at all) and lingering lacing on the glass. This beauty squirms into that space just below an American IPA. By that we mean it's a perfect beer for someone wanting to step up to more flavor or when you needs a breather from a string of hop bombs. This one's a keeper.

The Journeyman IPA is a revelation! Crystal clear amber, a delicate yet direct sharp jab in the nose from the hops--guessin' there's C-hops in here. The taste is a bit spicy (Cilantro?) and citrusy. You won't find something like Berwick Brewing Company's Atomic Punk IPA in this beer and it's really not aiming for that. Super good.

The Lightstreet Porter is named after Lightstreet which is a small community just on the other side of I-80 from the brewery. (We haven't been through there in years since PA-487 was modernized oh, 20 years ago, to bypass the town proper. Didn't the store in town have Ma's Root Beer?). This example is served on nitrogen. It's appearance is beguiling its lightness which at 4.9% it truly is a good drinking brew.

Each and every beer was perfect in clarity.

There were a few empty tables when we arrived about 6:30, these quickly filled and there was a wait when we departed. The wait-staff was pleasant and knowledgable of the beer and quick to engage our thoughts on each of the beers. Kudos on that as it shows a real concern. The meals were very good, served quickly.

We didn't get a good look at the bar, other than to see the edge of a very handsome bar rail. We'll have to get back soon for a closer look.

Gee, they've really gotten in right here. Wonderful timber framing reminiscent of the barns I grew up in with innards like the bar and dining room booths hewn from reclaimed building materials. Locally sourced foodstuffs. Beers that are out of this world.

Congratulations to everyone involved! D: I hope you brewed plenty of beer!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Beer Surpasses Water, Tea, and Coffee as Beverage of Choice

Beer: it’s not just for watching football games anymore.

The American Beverage Association has just released the results of a survey that suggests that beer has recently surpassed bottled waters, teas, soft-drinks, and juices in popularity in the United States. When contacted for more information, an ABA spokesman declined any lengthy comments on the matter only offering that the industry was “pursuing new products incorporating beer” in order to profit from the nation’s newfound interest in “tubby beverages”.

We wanted to understand how this wave of popularity is being felt closer to home so we spoke with a Wilkes-Barre PA brewer who informed us that his business has never been better. “As you’d expect we’re supplying lots of kegs to bars and restaurants, but also to ordinary citizens for events like baby and wedding showers, bar and bat mitzvahs and even to some nursing homes. And we recently had contact from a local pet hotel operator who inquired as to the suitability of our beers for small pets.” The brewer continued, “I have noticed a disturbing side-effect though, that many people arriving at the brewery for their kegs, have to be assisted out of their cars due to their oversize midsections.”

We visited a local beer bar for a chance to speak with a few patrons to get their thoughts. We found two who were enjoying some beers from the draught list over lunch. Both declined to identify themselves as they were there on their lunch hour and didn’t want their bosses to know where they were. “It’s an addiction,” one said. “I keep a notebook at home with every beer I’ve ever tasted and it’s up over 1,000 now. And I’ve only been doing this for two years.” During our conversation, the other patron in the bar was furiously swyping the keyboard on his phone so we asked what he was so engaged in. “I’m tweeting about this awesome Trappist ale from Chimay.” When we asked, “What’s a Trappist?”, he responded, “Oh, they’re the high priests of beer from somewhere in Europe. No really. They’re priests that make beer.”

It seems the overwhelming interest in beer has an interesting economic side effect too. We visited a Mr. Z’s grocery store and found the soft-drink manager sadly looking at an aisle and two end-caps brimming with soda. When we approached to get his opinion on the lack of interest in these drinks he intoned that “My pay depends on me moving product and no one’s buying this sugary crap anymore.” But he did get a gleam in his eyes when he concluded, “I can’t wait `til the governor lets us sell beer in here though, I‘m gonna be rich.”

With bottle shops and beer bars catering to a wide array of tastes, blogs and #beer tweets proselytizing about beer, and beer menus, brewery tasting rooms, beer and food pairing dinners, cooking with beer, brewpubs, gastropubs, micro and macro breweries, nano-breweries, pico-breweries, beer of the month clubs, Cicerones, shows about beer on television, radio, and internet, and who knows what else proliferating like dandelions, it’s no surprise that beer has become as American as apple pie and a fat gut.