Posts Tagged ‘ Pilsner ’

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!


Best Beers of College – Honorable Mentions

Alright folks. You have waited patiently…and now I have delivered. Welcome to the Best Beers of College!

As I posted last week, I was creating a list of the best beers that I had the pleasure of consuming during my college tenure. The ranking process was difficult to complete, but I have created a list which I think culminates the beer tasting experience of my friends and I during college.

When I started writing the list, I had to choose from a pool of over 50 beers. While 15 beers made the final cut, I wanted to take a moment to recognize five beers that are worthy of an honorable mention. These five beers may not have been worthy of the Best Beers of College list, but when I reminisce about them a tear still comes to my eye.

So until the release of the official list, these five beers will have to suffice.


Miller High Life


Photo Credit: yoneg

Dear Miller High Life,

Not even Mr. Rogers can convince me that this is a good beer.

You may claim to be the champagne of beers, but your cheap price tag for a keg of you shows how low you truly go. Even your delivery guy won’t let elite and sophisticated socialites drink you. Nope…Miller High Life low price is the main reason that anyone wants to be with you.

Still though there is a special place for this beer in my heart. While I make fun of this run of the mill pilsner, Miller High Life does well to market itself as a modest beer at a reasonable price. In all reality, you are paying for what you get with Miller High Life. It may not be the best, but it is certainly not the worst.

My favorite part about Miller High Life is the advertising campaign. The 1 second ad for Super Bowl 43 was probably one of the most amusing Super Bowl commercials I have seen.


Big City Lager

This beer is so scummy. I discovered Big City Lager one eventful evening when my friends and I took a trip to the beer distributor only to ask, “What is the most beer that we can get with 50 bucks?” 

Let’s just say say you can buy a lot of Big City Lager with 50 bucks.

 Photo Credit: Aaron Sipe

Big City Lager comes from City Brewing Company out of La Crosse, Wisconsin. Other than that I do not really have much more to say. Unless we have another depression, I would say to stay away from Big City Lager. It is not good. At all.

They have a Facebook group though. It’s called Big City Beer. Join if you dare. I did. It will always remind me of how poor I was in college.



Photo Credit:

This honorable mention is a shout out to one of my college buddies who religiously drank the King of Beers.

There is no doubt that Budweiser is the face of American-style lagers. It may even be safe to say that Budweiser is the most advertised beer around the world. If you are a soccer fan like me, take a look at the billboards on the sidelines for this upcoming World Cup. You will probably see at least one Budweiser sign.

Despite Budweiser’s international exposure, I enjoy Budweiser because when I drink it I feel American. I know it sounds strange, but Budweiser’s American lineage is something that Budweiser drinkers have pride in. Budweiser is a beer founded on tradition. While it may not be my favorite beer,  I hope that the tradition Budweiser was founded on will never change.

It is just unfortunate that Budweiser is now owned by the Belgian company InBev. What a shame.


Minhas Light

I love this beer. Minhas Light from Minhas Craft Brewery in Monroe, Wisconsin is the cheapest case of beer I paid for during college.

I discovered Minhas Light at Rendos Beer Distributor in Volant, PA. For $10.75, this inexpensive craft beer is not half bad. While Minhas Light would not be my go to move for a craft beer, Minhas Light is better than many of the cheap beers out there.

What I enjoyed the most about Minhas Light was its craft brewed label. When you think of a craft beer, typically you expect a high quality beer that is a little pricier.

Well little did I know that there is a market for cheap craft brewed beers. Check Minhas Light out if you are pinching pennies.

Photo Credit: Brian Artzberger


Carling Black Label








 Photo Credit: Kagablog

Carling Black Label is a beer that I was always curious to try throughout college. During every trip to the beer distributor this Canadian beer would always catch my eye. Maybe it was the maple leaf on the box.

 Then as I stared at the case I would ask myself the same questions.

Was it any good? Is it just another cheap beer ( it did only cost $13.75)? Do people in Canada actually drink Carling Black Label? Should I just buy Pabst Blue Ribbon like I alway do?

For graduation, however, I decided that I would finish off my college career the right way. I finally caved in and bought a case of Carling Black Label.

After my first taste I was very pleased.

This beer tastes a lot like Pabst Blue Ribbon. If you know my drinking choices, then you know that anything that resembles PBR is a great beer in my book.

And the contradiction on the can is pretty hysterical. How can a beer that says Canada and has a maple leaf on the can be made in the U.S.A? The world may never know.

Well there you have it. This is the beginning of what will prove to be an entertaining list. I hope that these honorable mentions are enough to keep your mouth-watering until I begin to release the actual list.

Until then…Thoughts? Comments?