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Have I told you lately that I love….Dale’s Pale Ale.

22 Aug

Dale’s Pale Ale is truly a masterful blend. 

After doing some “field research” for an article I am writing on canned beers, I decided I need to praise this old classic once again. I also got the chance to interview Dale Katechis, of Oskar Blues, for the article and he had some really interesting things to say.

We took a trip down memory lane to 2002,when he became the Father of canned craft beer and spawned this tasty brew. He said he knew people would scoff at the idea of putting such a high quality of product in a can. Since then, there are now over 600 craft beers in cans from over 200 breweries.

Here’s some things I learned about  the idea behind canning:

1. Portable – Better for hiking, biking, backpacking. Watch out for the trees and don’t pull a Sonny Bono. And, you can cool down a can in 5 minutes – quick for a break in your outdoor adventures.

Light penetrating bottles causes beer to smell like this guy. Le sigh.

2. Better quality – It’s SCIENCE people. A photochemical reaction occurs when light reaches beer through glass. It degrades the hops and causes it to excrete the same compounds produced by skunks. Hence, skunked beer. Beer in clear and green bottles have a better chance of skunking than brown bottles, but still some light gets through them. Not so in cans.

3. Legal – Some stadiums and outdoor venues don’t allow glass, but you don’t have to duck the cops when you’re rolling around with aluminum.

4. Eco-friendly – Mother Nature will thank you, since aluminum is more widely accepted by recycling facilities and infinitely recyclable.

5. Cheaper – Cans are lighter, so this concept should be pretty straight forward, even if you’re on your 3rd or 6th brew. Lighter cans, less fuel.

6. Practical – Just like driving a Subaru, it may not be pretty, but it’s a damn good package – perfect for the outdoors, trustworthy, and nothing more fancy than you need.

So if you think canned beer is only for Nascar races, above ground pools, and hanging out with people that don’t wear shoes and may be named Billy Bob or Bobby Jo, you’re just wrong. Unless it’s Natty Light in a can, then you are probably right. But as far, as craft beer in cans go, love it or hate it, I don’t care. I’ll be driving my Subaru up a mountain with a sixer of these bad boys.

Cans get cold in just 5 short minutes.

The Bang-For-You-Buck IPA (working girls IPA)

4 Jul

Do you love tasty craft beer but hate the high prices?

I feel like an oldster when I am like “I remember when Dale’s used to be $8.99 for a six-pack.”

But really, am I the only one who thinks the price of craft beer has inflated recently? I mean come on craft breweries…I am not made of money and I certainly am not going back to the ANBUSCH products.

So as I scour the racks for a tasty brew that will not blow my budget, I always come back to this old Imagefavorite: Sweetwater IPA.

Located in Atlanta, Sweetwater was one the pioneering breweries of the South. It slowly tricked town to Northern Florida, where I was going to school at the time (Go Noles!).

So lets talk taste: this beer is a citrusy, hoppy IPA. True to the IPA nature, it’s strong (6.5 ABV) and rings in at $7.99/$8.99. It’s a beautiful orangish/reddish color with a great floral smell and undertones of red grapefruit. This is not a piney or grassy IPA and definitely falls heavy on the fruit spectrum.

Image

If you are made of $$$, try something I like to call “IPA of the gods” – Stone IPA.

If not, stick with Sweetwater. You can thank me later.

Two Beer Trends to Try For Kicks: Spicy and Sour Beers

2 Jun

Although I try and hide it, I have very weird food routines. I love putting salt and vinegar chips in my sandwiches and I dump a bucket of Crystal hot sauce on my eggs first thing in the morning. So it’s no wonder I was drawn to sour and spicy beers and have acid reflux.

Spicy peppers + Beer = ❤

And just as I grow tired of eating the same thing every day, I have grown tired of a lot of my old favorite friends beers (bye  Old Chub). I know…#BeerGirlProblems

I am definitely one to take the challenge of spicy food. So of course I was game for a spicy beer. Think chipotle for a smokey mild indulgence and habanero for a real kick in the boobs.

I tried Rouge Chipotle Ale , which I thought was really tasty. It was smooth, slightly spicy, smoky, dark and sweet. Brewed out of Oregon, Rogue has their stuff together to say the least. The beer is only 5.5%, so I am still not sure why they served it to me in a little dinky glass.

I have also tried Billy’s Chilies, which is pretty good – just enough spice so it’s not overbearing. It’s brewed by Twisted Pine, who does a lot of experiential delicious things. 

If you really want to feel the burn Ghost Face Hillah by Twisted Pine is unbearably hot. If you are from Latin America or have no taste buds, you will probably be fine

For sours, I would recommend Duchesse De Bourgogne or Rodenbach Grand Cru  for a brown, oaky sour that leaves no aftertaste. I am on the search for a lighter sour beer. I had a home brew from Alligator Brewing in Gainesville that used loquats to add the sour taste, without having the age the beer for long.

Leffe: The Poor Girl’s Belgian

17 Apr

While many girls “window shop” by standing in front of overpriced designer clothes and purses falling off of awkwardly naked mannequins, I stand in liquor stores and markets gawking at the imports and American craft brews that are all so delicious.

And while I CAN rationalize spending $40 on organic dog food because I am a really really good dog owner crazy, spending $8 on 12 oz of Duvel doesn’t fit into my poor graduate student budget.

So when Leffe was all pretty, brown, delicious-looking and CHEAP ($7.99 for a 12 pack at Publix), I was sold. Also, I need something delicious to feed the beer-loving boyfriend (who hijacked the last two posts) to mask my suspicious vegetarian cooking.

Now if you are going to read on, you need to learn out to say it proper. Here we go: LA-EFF-AY.

So here’s the deal, I am allowed to judge because I spend a fair amount of time drinking vacationing in Belgium. Leffe is a dark mahogany-colored abbey ale with a sweet, velvety, caramel taste. You might as well call it the Pinot Noir of beers. You can detect a light spice and woody undertone. It has thick ivory-colored foam that sits on top of the beer, holding in the carbonation. All of the carbonation makes this beer much lighter than it seems – allowing you to drink one, two or five. Mmmmm.

All around, I am a fan. No complaints, besides it being made by Anheuser-Busch, which also makes the disgusting Landshark and Natty light, and kind of put the little Trappist breweries out (poor monks!).

Also, since it’s a Belgian, you have an excuse to drink out of a fancy class. *Excuse me, it’s a chalice not a glass.

Fresh hops and black IPAs: Two trends you should keep an eye on

22 Jan

Well well well, It’s been a hot minute!

Sorry for the delay in posts, I have been busy with my other blog (which I am doing as a thesis project).

Anyways, I am taking a break from that today to talk about a few beer trends that are currently rocking my world.

I have a constant predicament every time I go to work try new beers on my own time. Do I go dark beer or do I go hoppy beer? Now after I wrote this I immediately thought of a bunch of nifty twitter trends: #beersnobproblems #firstworldproblems #gradschoolproblems … but this a problem that plagues me every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. But I have found a solution…Black IPAs! Here you have the best of both worlds, with a creamy rich texture paired with the bitter hoppy flavor that is true to IPAs. Although I am on the lookout for more, the only one I have tried thus far is the Terrapin Capt. Krunkles IPA, which I like because their logo is a cute turtle, and also because they have lots of good beers. And while I think this is a discontinued side project, I am sure there are other good ones out there. Beware: since this is such a strong, intense beer, anything you drink after this may taste like Natural Light.

Cute turtle

Cuter Turtles

The second trend I have become slightly obsessed with is fresh-hopped beer (mmmmmm!). Now, if you have ever cooked a decent meal in your life, you know the difference in taste between dried spices and fresh spices. This is sort of the same premises. Terrapin uses “wet” hops, which means they are freshly picked and unprocessed. Apparently, they fly in their hops overnight from Washington State – INTENSE! And while this beer sort of has a grassy flavor, I enjoyed it. It was herby, earthy and fresh tasting.Oh yeah, it’s also strong as shit (6.7%) and definitely worth a try in you are looking for something different.

Ceviche Salad and Sweetwater IPA: Light and delicious summer dinner

15 Apr

Ceviche salad + Sweetwater IPA = Excellent dinner

Living in Florida definitely has its advantages.

But lets face it, this place is hot as hell.

With no pool, living in town that’s 2 hours from the beach and recently discovering people judge you for slip-n-sliding as an adult, it’s a struggle to stay cool.

So cold beer and cold yummy food are of the upmost importance to stay cool in my post slip-n-side days.

In addition, bathing suit season is right around the corner and I’m feelin’ the need to eat a little healthier and maybe shed some LB’s before I spend some time on the water.

Now, I normally don’t review food, I’ll leave that up to the pros, Healthy Lazy Food and Brave New Food, BUT this was super delicious, easy and involved no cooking. I happened to have some Sweetwater IPA’s in the fridge and a bunch of other random things that ended up being the perfect blend for ceviche!

Ceviche is a blend of random seafood, veggies and citrus. The citric acid actually mock-cooks the seafood, turning it firm and pink, as if you had heated it (no pots and pans – yay!).

The light citrusy flavor of the ceviche went perfectly with the Sweetwater IPA, which is a hoppy, citrusy beer. This is one of my favorite IPA’s, right up there with Bell’s Two Hearted, Swamp Head 10/10/10 and Dogfish 60 minute. Both were tangy, flavorful and light.

I kind of just threw some stuff together, but it ended up turning out great, so here you go.

Random Ceviche Recipe (makes 4 servings)

Ingredients

Just the ceviche, now add salad and chips and beer. DONT forget the beer

12 Large Shrimp

1 Avocado

1 Cucumber

1 Tomato

2 Limes

2 Lemons

1/3 cup Orange Juice

1/3 Cup Cilantro

pinch Cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. Chop up all veggies and shrimp, put in a bowl.
  2. Squeeze lemon and lime juice, add all other ingredients.
  3. Stir up, cover, let chill for an hour or so.
  4. Serve over lettuce (I used organic spring mix), with tortilla chips. Enjoy!

More about Sweetwater IPA! 

Sweetwater beers are delicious in general. Brewed out Atlanta, this craft brewery has been slowly expanding over the past couple of years and now ranks at the 27th largest craft brewery in the US.

They make an impressive IPA – very hoppy, well balanced and has hints of citrus, especially grapefruit. It’s bitter, but not overpowering. It also is not overly sweet, as IPA’s can sometimes be. It has normal carbonation, foam and is overall and excellent beer – worth a try if you like IPA’s or want to try a good, strong (6.7% ABV), summer beer.

Starr Hill Brewery – 2-for-1 Special

11 Apr

If you live in an area where Publix dominates the grocery industry with their good looks, fresh produce and uncanny ability to employ the fastest mentally challenged bag boys on the face of the planet, you must have come to know and love the Buy 1, get 1 Free specials they offer.

Now normally, I end up with a cabinet full of stuff I don’t need or really even like, such as soup, popcorn and random cereal, but this week they have a sweet deal and I thought I should let you know about it.

They are offering Starr Hill beer 6-packs buy 1 – get 1.

They are normally $8.99, so you will be getting 12 for the same price. Wait, put your phone calculator down – I got this.  You’re paying 75 cents per beer, which is a great deal.

They have some pretty tasty beers, brewed out of Charlottesville, VA. The Master Brewer Mark Thompson seems super laid back. Check out this Q and A with him, it’s pretty funny.

Starr Hill is a pretty cool little craft brewery, definitely worth an honorable mention, that <3’s bright lights, chill music and other trippy stuff.

I haven’t made my way over to Publix yet, but my picks would be Northern Lights and Dark Starr Stout.

For your convenience, here’s a run down of some Starr Hill beers:

Northern Lights – 6.5% ABV. This is a good India pale ale.  It’s not overwhelming, and certainly not as strong and bold as, say Bell’s Two Hearted, but definitely a good beer. It’s slightly hoppy, amber in color, floral smelling with fruit tastes.

The Love – 4.6% ABV – This German Hefeweizen is a light unfiltered wheat beer with tastes of banana and clove.

Jomo – 4.6% – If amber lagers are your thing, this could be a good option. It’s won a couple of awards at the Great American Beer Festival.

Dark Starr Stout – 4.6% – I had this at a recent beer festival, but it was toward the end and everything sort of tasted the same. But, it is a dark, heavy, chocolate stout. They brew it with coffee, so you may want to give it a try if you like stouts. It has also won multiple awards.

Lucy – 4.4% – This spiced golden ale is their current seasonal that is out. It’s spiced with ginger, lime and coriander. I have not had this beer yet but I’m guessing it’s light and herbal.

On their website, they claim this Lucy beer will “remind you of warm summer nights on the beach”. Now this makes me wonder why this is named as such. Could it be a waterfront hook-up or a beach-side Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds experience?  Considering master brewer goes to Bonaroo, loves Grateful Dead and said he thinks he should have existed in the 60’s, I’m going to go with the latter. Rock on Mark Thompson. Below is a video of what may or may not have inspired this beer (Beatle’s stuff is super copyrighted, it’s one click away!)