Posts Tagged ‘ An Amateur Beer Enthusiast ’

Merry Christmas from An Amateur Beer Enthusiast!

It is Christmas once again, and everyone knows what that means!

Christmas is a time for time for great food, quality time with family and friends, a few presents, and of course some well crafted beer.

This Christmas has been a bit strange in terms of my beer selection. Typically I stock up on every winter seasonal possible since many of my favorite beers are winter seasonals. This year, however, I have decided to try to some new year round craft beers in order to replace the void I have with my inability to get Thirsty Dog Brewing Company’s 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale and Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Christmas Ale (2 of the best winter seasonals from Northeast Ohio). My first series of beers comes from a fun Colorado Brewery known as Oskar Blues.

What makes Oskar Blues special in the world of craft beer is that they were the first craft brewery to can their beer. Originally Oskar Blues beer was available on a draught only basis at the Oskar Blue Grill and Brew in Lyons, Colorado. In November 2002, brewery founder Dale Katechis  launched a campaign titled “Canned Beer Apocalypse” with the canning of Oskar Blues flagship beer Dale’s Pale Ale.

At the beginning, Oskar Blues could only seal one can at a time. Now Oskar Blues offer 6 beer varieties available in cans as well as several draught only beers available at multiple Oskar Blues locations throughout Colorado.

I sampled all 6 Oskar Blues canned offerings and I must say I am very impressed. For many craft beer enthusiasts the can is a symbol of the bland tasting macro produced beers. Oskar Blues on the other hand has put some of the best beer I have ever tasted into convenience of a can.

The debate between whether beer should be canned or bottled has always raged amongst craft beer fans. The perception among many is that bottled beer is superior to canned beer. This is not necessarily true, as Oskar Blues decision to can their beer was intentional.

Canned beer actually has several benefits. Cans keep beer safe from light and oxygen, provide easier portability than bottles for both outdoor events and commercial transportation. According to Oskar Blues website, 35% of the weight of a bottled beer is the bottle itself.

Cans also protect beer from potential breakage that is very common with the transportation of glass bottles. Working in beer distribution, I have witnessed first hand the horrors of broken glass and the mess that comes when bottled beers break.

And most importantly, you cannot hang beer bottles on your Christmas tree.

I know. What an awesome picture.

Here is a brief summary of Oskar Blues “Canned Beer Apocalypse” lineup:

Dale’s Pale Ale ( American Pale Ale, 6.5% Abv, 65 IBUs): This is Oskar Blues flagship beer. It has received several accolades, including a Gold Medal from the 2010 World Beer Championships and recognition in the New York Times as one of the best American Pale Ales. Overall this beer is a great session beer that is a light amber/copper in color, and has a slight sweetness and a solid hop finish.

Mama’s Little Yella Pils (Czech Pilsner, 5.3%Abv, 35 IBUs): Mama’s Little Yella Pils is what a pilsner should be. Want something light, easy to drink and full of flavor. Well put down that Miller Lite champ and treat yourself to this beer.

Old Chub (Scottish Ale/ Wee Heavy, 8% Abv): When I drank this beer, I was slightly reminded of 12 Dogs of Christmas. While Old Chub is not as sweet, it has a semi-sweet/smokey flavor that makes this beer very warming for the cold winter months. I will certainly be buying this again during the winter season.

Gordon Ale ( Imperial Red/Double IPA, 8.7% Abv, 6o IBUs): Named after Colorado craft brewer Gordon Knight, this beer falls into the categories of IPAs I like. I tend to gravitate toward IPAs that can couple strong hop bitterness with a full body and enough malt to prevent the beer from tasting to dry. Gordon Ale is an interesting take in the world of IPAs.

Ten Fidy (Imperial Stout, 10.5% Abv, 98 IBUs): Next to Old Chub, Ten Fidy is probably my favorite beer from Oskar Blues. This beer is rich in flavor and has a deep black color that always makes me smile when I pour it into a glass. Ten Fidy has the strong chocolate/toffee flavors that do well to balance out the hop taste.

Gubna (Imperial IPA, 10% Abv, 100 IBUs): Oskar Blues calls this a hop grenade in a can. This is definitely true, as Gubna is a complex IPA. Gubna pours an orangish color that has a slight haze to it. The flavor is strong throughout the beer, but does well to not be offensive.

So there you have it. These are the beers that I have been drinking as I prepared for the Christmas season. They are all delicious and it is impressive when a craft brewery has a lineup of beers that exudes this much quality. While Ten Fidy, and Gubna are only available in expensive four packs, I will not think twice about purchasing beer from Oskar Blues in the future.

Merry Christmas readers! Drink and be merry!

An Amateur Beer Enthusiast is Back!

Wow! It has been a long time since I have written for An Amateur Beer Enthusiast. Since my last post at the beginning of October my life has changed drastically.

For readers who do not know, I have moved to New York City from Twinsburg, Ohio (Near Akron/Cleveland). The reason I moved was because of a job I accepted with an NYC beer distributor. I now work for a company that specializes in the sale of a variety of American craft and specialty import brands. While NYC has a great craft beer scene, there is still much work to be done to improve the growth and development of craft brands and their placement in bars and stores.

Thus far it has been very exciting! I love craft beer and working in distribution has given me the opportunity to learn about beer and the industry. One of my main goals when I began An Amateur Beer Enthusiast was to work with craft beer (in any way possible). Now I have achieved that goal and I want to reignite this blog to share with beer lovers what I have experienced working with beer.

I am entering the craft beer industry at an important time. 2010 has been one of the most productive years for craft beer and the market for higher quality beers continues to grow. Craftbeer.com (recently rated Men’s Journal Best Beer Website for 2010) recently released an article highlighting major happenings for the craft beer industry. 2010 was a great year for the growth and opening of micro and nano breweries (check out Pretty Little Things Beer and Ale Project to see what a nano brewery is like).

Here is a logo from one of Pretty Little Things beer offerings. Just one of the few nano breweries entering the craft beer market.

And you know what? It is only going to get better in 2011.

So as we head toward 2011 I plan on getting An Amateur Beer Enthusiast back on its feet. With new posts in the works, I look forward to comments and page views.

Drink up my friends. Things are looking great in the craft beer world.

Beer+Chai Tea=Mutinous Battle Chai

Yes. You read the headline correctly.

Craftbeer.com recently highlighted a collaboration project between Mutineer Magazine and New Holland Brewing Company (Holland, MI) known as Mutinous Battle Chai. The idea for this collaborative beer began in July and was finally released at the Falling Rock Tap House (Denver, CO) during the Great American Beer Festival.

Photo Credit: Craftbeer.com

Mutinous Battle Chai was initially thought of a chai tea inspired saison. Ingredients include:

Malt: 80% two-row barley, 20% Malted Rye

Hops: Summit, Styrian Goldings

Spices: Traditional chai tea spices, Saigon cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, crystallized ginger, pink peppercorns, and toasted fennel

Yeast: Belgian wit (first fermentation), Merlot yeast (secondary fermentation)

Other Ingredients: Michigan beer sugars (first fermentation), Nutty Dutchman Brown Ale wort (secondary fermentation)

This collaborative beer seems like a complex and ambitious beer. According to the Craftbeer.com article, Mutinous Battle Chai does not fit into any style category. Good thing that is what Mutineer Magazine and New Holland Brewing Company were going for.

Mutinous Battle Chai is another example of how spirited craft beer enthusiasts and brewers are. This crazy and eccentric beer shows how Americans continue to push the boundaries on beer and brewing. Beer styles will continue to evolve as craft brewers continue to innovate the art of brewing.

I am not sure if Mutinous Battle Chai will be bottled or distributed in a larger market. However, proceeds from Mutinous Battle Chai and Mutineer Magazine go towards A Child’s Right. A Child’s Right is a non-profit charity that works to provide children with clean and safe water in areas where drinkable water is scarce.

Photo Credit: A Child’s Right

So even if you can not get your hands on Mutinous Battle Chai, purchase an issue of Mutineer Magazine and support A Child’s Right. This month’s issue is filled with some cool stuff, including a feature on Mutinous Battle Chai and an interview with James Watt of BrewDog.

Guinness Foregin Extra Stout Coming to America

It is really funny that I just wrote about Guinness on Friday.

An article from beernews.org said the Guinness announced the U.S. launch of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout today. While many American consumers are familiar with Guinness Draught, most Americans have probably never tasted Guinness Foreign Extra Stout.

Photo Credit: beernews.org

That is because this will be the first time Guinness Foreign Extra Stout will be available in the U.S. since prohibition.

The history behind Foreign Extra Stout is fairly interesting. Brewed at St. James Gate Brewery in Dublin, Ireland in 1801, Foreign Extra Stout was Guinness’s flagship export beer. It was originally known as West India Porter.

Unlike Guinness Draught, Foreign Extra Stout is carbonated instead of nitrogenated. It is also brewed with a larger amount of hops. Along with a stronger hop flavor, the increased volume of hops in serves to preserve the beer that may have made long trip during exportation.

Foreign Extra Stout also spots a 7.5% Abv. This is considerably stronger than Guinness Draught’s 4.2% Abv. In short, Foreign Extra Stout seems like a stronger Guinness with a larger hop profile.

Guinness Foreign Extra Stout will be available this October in 4-packs priced at $9.49.

Happy 251st. Guinness!

Well the title says it all. Guinness turns 251 today!

Photo Credit: Wayyang Times

251….well that make Yuengling look like an infant.

Although I primarily drink American craft beer, I have been known to have a Guinness every now and then. Guinness has actually made its way onto An Amateur Beer Enthusiast a couple of times.

My recent post “Drink Up! Beer is healthy for you” highlights the antioxidants in Guinness that can provide advantageous health benefits. Not only is this beer the premier Irish Stout, but it is healthy for you! That is a nice deal.

In commemoration of Guinness’s birth, it is necessary to take a moment and pay respect to Guinness father Arthur Guinness. If Arthur were still alive (God rest his soul) he would be 285 year old!

Photo Credit: Counter Intelligence

Wow. That is old. Almost as old as drinking a Guinness with Toucan Sam’s cousin.

So take a moment tonight and drink a Guinness in honor of Arthur Guinness and his creation. After all, it is a lovely day for a Guinness.

Best Beers of College #11 – American Light

I love America. It is the greatest country on earth. We have freedom. We have an array of mediocre light beer. And best of all…we have Canada for a hat.

So when I wanted to feel the most American in college, I would crack open a refreshing American Light.

 

 

Photo Credit: Louis Glunz Beer Inc.

I had a difficult time finding information on American Light. I guess that is what you can expect when you can buy a case at around $11. Rumor also has it that American Light is discontinued. Either way, here is what I do know about American Light:

-Apparently American Light is brewed by Iron City Brewing Company. This does not surprise me.

-It helps you to defeat terrorists.

-Its regular style counterpart that simply carries the name American is an awful go-to-move.

-American Light may just even be more American than Budweiser.

I loved American Light. It just made me feel American every time a drank it. After consuming a few (or many) American Light’s I was loud, obnoxious, and ready to wave my American flag to let everyone know how much I love America.

I drink it. The president drink’s it. You should too.

American Light. You can never go wrong with a beer that has an eagle on its logo.