Posts Tagged ‘ Thirsty Dog Brewing Company ’

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!

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.

Buds and Suds, Keepin’ It Local, and Life

I know this post is a bit late, but I wanted to share with you the spectacle that is my life.

Well maybe not a spectacle…but I was reminded last week why God has a damn good sense of humor.

So last week I was working out up at the Twinsburg Rec Center and an ad caught my eye. It was an ad for an event called Buds and Suds. At this event, a hike was to take place with local Naturalist Stanley Stine followed by a beer tasting event hosted by Great Lakes Brewing Company.

When I saw this ad I thought this would be a perfect story to write for my examiner page. Up to this point all my stories were just simple beer reviews. What could be more perfect than a beer tasting event set against the backdrop of a nature hike?

Well when I went to sign up for the event I was plagued with some horrible news. The event was cancelled.

Guess people had better things to do last Saturday morning before the US game. I just assumed everyone would want to hike and get a good buzz with some good beer before the game.

So I was pretty down. I just saw my newest story that would be simple for me to write crumble to pieces. Guess I would write another typical review.

This is where Keepin’ It Local comes in.

Since Buds and Suds got cancelled, my new plan was to buy some brews and do some reviews for the US vs Ghana soccer game. When I was buying beer a few days before the game I stumbled (in a sober state of course) upon a new brewery that has its home in Cleveland.

Indigo Imp Brewery Ltd. recently opened up 18 months ago and is looking to produce unique and unusual Real Ales. I purchased their Gatekeeper which is supposed to be their Porter to review.

As I was at home last Friday, I was working on some prewriting for my piece. While learning more about the mysterious Indigo Imp, I discovered another local event that would be perfect for my examiner page.

Indigo Imp’s website had a listing for a beer tasting event taking place right in my area. Keepin’ It Local was an awesome beer tasting event that featured Indigo Imp, Thirsty Dog, and Great Lakes.

For $10 bucks I was able to get unlimited beer samples from all three microbreweries.

Can you say Great Success!

I will not get into the details of the event as my recent article will tell you all you need to know. I will, however, share some of the awesome pictures I took from the event that I was unavailable to post on my examiner page.

Enjoy.

Here is to you Indigo Imp Rep (pictured in back). Thanks for helping me find this beer tasting event.

The Great Lakes Rep is old and wise. I learned much from this one.

The Thirsty Dog Rep is working hard to get the best pour. Thirsty Dog Brewing Company was the best of the show. Great Brewery.

Here is your Amateur Beer Enthusiast discussing Thirsty Dog’s Siberian Night. Fantastic Russian Imperial Stout. Nice and hearty

Here is Eliot Ness. This is a solid amber lager. Did you know that most microbreweries do not do lager style beers because of their simplicity? Great Lakes is one of the few.

A centerpiece of beer? I will use this as the centerpiece at every table during my wedding reception…now I need to find a woman who will agree to that…

Before I sign off I just wanted to take a moment to thank all those who have supported my blog and examiner page. Thanks again. I appreciate all the comments. It means a lot to me.

Well I hope you enjoy the pictures. Read my examiner for more. And suscribe! This way you can always get updates whenever I write something new! Until then grab a beer and enjoy.