Beer and Religion: A good combination

On Saturday the Jewish day of repentance, Yom Kippur, ended at sundown. So in celebration of the completion to this holy day I decided that I would drink a kosher beer.

He’Brew Genesis Ale from Shmatlz Brewing Company is the flagship of the He’Brew line of beers that provides beer choices for those looking to consume something kosher. He’Brew Genesis Ale in particular is certified by Kosher Supervision of America.

A beer that is Rabbi-approved? Holy it may be, is it actually any good?

Well the picture says it all.

After drinking this beer its kosher identity made sense.  He’Brew Genesis Ale is a solid brown ale that does not overwhelm in any way. The aroma, taste, and mouthfeel all have moderate qualities that make this beer easy to drink. The flavors in this beer give it just enough to avoid being too bland. This beer will both satisfy those looking to be kosher and those looking for a refreshing brown ale.

Drinking He’Brew Genesis Ale reminded me that connection between beer and religion is not something new. In fact, monasteries were (and many still are) known for brewing beer. Indigo Imp’s Candi Man is a Belgian Style Double Ale that pays homage to the Monastic breweries of the Middle Ages. I had that beer earlier this year at a local beer tasting. While I enjoyed Genesis Ale more than Candi Man, it is cool to see that there are even beer styles that are rooted in religion.

There is also a Pittsburgh brewpub called Church Brew Works that operates out of the now defunct (but restored) St. John the Baptist parish. I reviewed their Pious Monk Dunkel last May and remember it having the same inoffensive qualities as He’Brew Genesis Ale.

You can learn more about He’Brew Genesis Ale on my Examiner page. The article is located here. It is a little more detailed and will give you a better idea about how this beer tastes.

Thoughts? Questions? Comments?

McNulty’s Bier Markt and Some Updates.

Yesterday I decided that I need to get out into the Cleveland beer scene a bit more. So I took a visit to McNulty’s Bier Markt in the historic Ohio City neighborhood.

Bier Markt is a pretty awesome place. This Belgian beer bar has a ton of beer choices (just look at the sign in the picture…99 is a lot). Whether you are looking for craft beer, import beer, specialty beers, or just a simple Pabst Blue Ribbon, you will be able to find it at Bier Markt.

It even has food until 2 AM. Nice.

During my trip to Bier Markt I had Dogfish Head‘s Punkin Ale (I love that beer!) and Duvel Green. I talked a bit about Punkin Ale yesterday, but Duvel Green was a new experience for me. I have had Belgian witbiers before, but have never sampled a Belgian pale ale. Most of all, God knows I would not visit a Belgian beer bar without drinking something Belgian.

Duvel Green was a solid session beer. It has a solid wheat texture coupled with a moderate hop finish. This beer is not bland, yet it does not overwhelm in any way. Overall not a bad choice if you want a Belgian style beer. Go to my Cleveland Craft Beer Examiner Page for more on Duvel Green.

In other news, your Amateur Beer Enthusiast is planning on doing a “How-to-Review A Beer” post (Thank Jonathan Lim for this one). I am pretty excited/anxious to write this post. I feel like I have come a long way in terms of my beer knowledge, but I want to make sure I review the beer that I choose the right way.

So what beer will I review for my “How-to” post? I am glad you asked.

I chose Oktoberfest from Stoudts Brewery in Adamstown, PA. I feel pretty good about the Oktoberfest/Marzen style since I have recently written about 3 very different Oktoberfest brews. You can check them out on my Examiner page.

Photo Credit: Stoudt’s Brewery

There is one more update before I sign off. Stay posted to both An Amateur Beer Enthusiast and my Examiner page for a very special Yom Kippur article. In honor of the Jewish day of repentance, which ends tomorrow night, I am going to drink Genesis Ale form Shmaltz Brewing Company’s He’Brew brand. This special beer will come to my taste buds all the way from San Francisco, CA.

Photo Credit: Shmaltz Brewing Company

That is all I have for you guys today. Enjoy the weekend and drink something special!

It is practially fall. Time for Pumpkin Ales!

Yesterday I had my first pumpkin ale of the season.

Dogfish Head‘s Punkin Ale was truly a pleasure to have. It was a complex brew filled with sweet, spicy, and real pumpkin flavor.

Punkin Ale may only be on sale in 4-packs, but it is well worth it!

I love this beer. In many ways reminded me of my favorite winter seasonal from Thirsty Dog in Akron, Ohio. Thirsty Dog’s 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale is in many ways similar to Punkin Ale. While I found Punkin Ale to be toned down a bit, both ales use similar spices to provide their beer’s character with a sweet and spicy contrast.

12 Dogs of Christmas Ale is so good it won’t last long. Get it when it gets released this November.

I will not get into too many details about Punkin Ale as you can check out my Punkin Ale review on my Examiner page. I just want to quickly comment on how awesome this beer was.

Before Punkin Ale my only experience with a pumpkin ale was Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale from Blue Moon Brewing Company. While I like Harvest Moon solely because I had no frame of reference with pumpkin ales, I think that Dogfish Head’s variety blows Blue Moon’s pumpkin ale attempt out of the water.

Punkin ale is original, complex, and has an authentic pumpkin flavor that does not taste like a nauseatingly sweet pumpkin pie.

If you are a fan of pumpkin ales such as this one, then I encourage you to visit Vintage Estate Wine & Beer in Boardman, OH on September 25th. Vintage Estate is hosting a Pumpkin Ale Blind Tasting event. About 8 to 10 pumpkin ales will be featured and tasters will not be revealed to their identity until they decide which ales are the best.

Have a pumpkin ale you like? Comment and let me know so I can pick it up and review it. Pumpkin ales will be a good break from the slew of Oktoberfest brews that get released during this season.

I am a Craft Beer Drinker

I love beer.

Wait…scratch that. I love craft beer….a lot. And I am a craft beer drinker.

Last week I found a pretty cool video off of my homepage Craftbeer.com. It is from a site called New Brew Thursday and is called I am a Craft Beer Drinker. In short this video highlights different people who want to share their love of craft beer with the world.

Simple yet beautiful.

I loved this video. I feel as though craft beer reflects the American principle of freedom. As Americans, we desire choice and the freedom to choose. So why should beer be any different?

As a craft beer writer for the Examiner I have truly learned of the vast varieties of beers available. Just look at my past couple of Oktoberfest reviews to see how many differences exist between beers of the same style!

I encourage you to check out the video. Craft beer is an up and coming industry. Many people love craft beer and want to push beer beyond the limits of bland mass market brands.

Most importantly, beer is a community. A video such as this one embodies that idea.

Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery-Nashville, TN

So my fellow blogger and friend Jonathan S. Lim (aka Slim) recently wrote about his experience at the Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery in Nashville, TN. While Slim is not as intense about beer as I am, his blog about this brewpub is well done. Slim definitely shares my affinity for craft beer and has a sincere appreciation for good food and good beer.

Photo Credit: Jonathan S. Lim

While at Blackstone, Slim decided to go ahead an try the sampler. Now I have heard from some resources, such as Beer Advocate, that tasting samples of beer is not the best way to review a beer. While I do not entirely disagree with this notion, I think that Beer Advocate is a little extreme in their view of a sampler. You can review beers based on a sampler, but it is imperative that you drink each beer in the right order.

During any drinking session, whether you are taking notes on your beer or not, you should drink the beers with the lowest alcohol content/bitterness first. That way you will be able to taste each beer properly without having flavors (typically hop flavors) from previous beers being mixed in.

That aside, Slim did take a moment to discuss which beers were his favorite.

Photo Credit: Blackstone Brewing Blog

From his sampler, Slim enjoyed Blackstone’s Hefeweizen the best. I am a big fan of Hefeweizen, as Whippet Wheat from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company in Akron, Ohio is one of my favorite Hefeweizen’s available.

Slim also enjoyed the Chaser Pale, which is Blackstone’s German Kolsch, and Maris Otter, which an English Barely Wine from Blackstone. I do not have much experience with Kolsch or Barely Wines, so I cannot speak too much about these styles. I will say however that Slim have a similar taste in beer, so if you agree with most of my reviews than it is safe to say you will enjoy Slim’s beer suggestions.

Yet again, Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery will be added to my list of brewpubs that I need to visit. If you are ever in the Nashville area I encourage you to visit here. Slim’s advice is pretty sound, as he highly recommends Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery.

Son of Brewzilla Homebrew Competition; A Cleveland Beer Week Event

For those who are unaware (or not from the Northeast Ohio region), the 2nd annual Cleveland Beer Week is taking place from October 15-23. While there are a ton of events to celebrate the region’s love for craft and import beer, there is one event that I think you should try to attend.

The Son of Brewzilla Hombrew Competition will be Cleveland Beer Week’s first ever hombrew competition!  It will also be one of the main events to help close out Cleveland Beer Week. After interacting with the members of SNOB, I guarantee that the feedback you receive from this competition will only make you a better homebrewer.

This homebrew competition is located at Fat Head’s Brewery and Saloon in Cleveland and is sponsored by SNOB (The Society of Northeast Ohio Brewers). This event looks to be promising to homebrewers of all levels. Even if you have never homebrewed and are looking to start, Son of Brewzilla would be a perfect way to get some quality feedback from beer enthusiasts who are highly knowledgeable.

I have been looking to start homebrewing for quite some time now, and I think that this competition is going to be where I start. I know that most novice homebrewers will probably not receive any accolades for their beer, but Son of Brewzilla will be a great event for the novice homebrewer to learn more about brewing.

SNOB is also the perfect sponsor for this event. I have been attending meetings with SNOB since the beginning of August in order to improve my knowledge about beer and to receive some direction as to how I should begin homebrewing.

SNOB knows there stuff. Enter Son of Brewzilla for some quality feedback.

Entering the competition is pretty easy. All you need to do is submit 2 bottles of your homebrew by October 9th. The first entry is $7 and entries after that are only $5. Homebrews can be submitted in one of  23 categories as outlined by the Beer Judge Certification Program.

I encourage you to attend and enter this event. SNOB is really putting a great deal of effort into making this event a memorable part of Cleveland Beer Week. If you have even had the slightest inclination about possible homebrewing, then the Son of Brewzilla Homebrew Competition is the place you should start!

Drink Up! Beer is healthy for you.

I just do not quite get how mass produced beer is marketed these days. I mean there are so many light beer ads that have are marketed as a light beer that can be enjoyable, but will not make you fat.

As I write this, I think of how Michelob Ultra is advertised. It gets me steamed that they try to market this beer as superior on the basis that it has less calories and carbs. They even have Lance Armstrong as a promotional model.

Really?

Truth is beer does not make you fat.

That is right. The so-called “Beer Belly” is a myth.

People are not saving their physique by drinking a low calorie light beer.  In beer, most of the calories come from the alcohol. This means that drinking a Michelob Ultra is not that much better for you than drinking a Guinness. In fact, certain beers like Guinness actually contain antioxidants that help daily body function.

People pack on the unwanted weight from binge drinking. Sure you can drink a Miller Lite because it has “Great Taste” and is “Less Filling”. If you drink 10 Miller Lites every time you go out drinking however, you will eventually grow the mythical “Beer Belly”

In fact, moderate beer consumption (typically 1-3 beers daily is the general definition of moderate consumption) is actually healthy for you! Dr. Charlie Bamforth, who is the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences at the University of California Davis, has done extensive research on how beer and alcohol consumption effect the body.

You can find of summary of what he has found at this link on CraftBeer.com, but here are some facts about what moderate beer consumption can do for you.

-Beer is superior to water in flushing out the kidneys. This is why you pee so much when you drink it!

-Moderate drinking reduces the risk of diabetes.

-There are reports that moderate drinking reduces the risk of ulcers.

-Beer (and alcoholic beverages) may be a beneficial impact to the body as it can directly help bodily functions and indirectly boost morale and well being.

Another big benefit to moderate alcohol consumption is that it may improve life expectancy. A recent article from Time discusses a  journal study from Alcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research that cites that moderate drinking is linked with the lowest mortality rate. Many fatalities faced by people defined as “alcoholics” actually comes from alcoholics abstaining from alcohol.

Jodi Cobb/National Geographic/Getty Images

Now still does not justify binge drinking, as too heavy drinking has serious health risks. But never drinking at all is not necessarily the answer.

It is important to remember that these health benefits are pretty much null and void if you binge drink on a regular basis. These benefits are caused by moderate alcohol consumption.

So go ahead. Grab a beer and enjoy it. It will be beneficial to your body.