Sunday, November 17, 2013
Regardless of your preferences of bottles vs. cans (that is a whole different argument for another post), most beer geeks prefer to drink their suds in something other than the original packaging. As we try to fine-tune our palates, we are told that is the only way to get the full experience - sipping from a snifter or specialty Spiegelau glass to enhance flavor and aroma...
Additionally, we are told to let some beers warm as we drink them to get the full complexity and flavor profile of the beer. I have let big, heavy Belgians, Rauchbiers, and other dark ales rise in temperature and have been pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
However, all of these thoughts aside, from my personal experiences there are certain beers that I still want to drink cold - or more importantly, to NOT warm. For example, I have sampled excellent, monster IPA's like Bell's Hopslam, Mikkeller's 1,000 IBU, and Dogfish Head's 120 Minute that range from 9.5-13% ABV, so you can't just slam these down to keep them at temperature. But you want to find the quickest way to turn a beer snob's nose up? Put your glass, or the bottle of one of those "Holy Grail" beers in a beer koozie - you might as well have added ice cubes to a glass of chardonnay!
Fortunately for me, I have never been one to shy away from doing what is logical just to hold someone's favorable opinion! That's right craft beer drinkers, you are paying $3, $5, and sometimes $20 a bottle for that awesome experience - it is OKAY to use an insulator to keep your brew cold!!!
And to that end we have been rewarded...I have found an awesome site that allows you to custom print your own amazing koozies, for bottles, glasses, or cans. They can also provide you or your business (hint, hint breweries!) with stadium cups, mugs, napkins, and shot glasses to suit your event, store, or man cave.
Check out all the koozies that Express Imprint carries!
Their wide variety of offerings could be perfect for your beer dinner, festival, or social gathering. The Carabiner Koozies (for cans or bottles) certainly caught my eye, and would be awesome for somebody like me that loves the outdoors and goes hiking or kayaking!
Sunday, August 11, 2013
You see, August is Virginia Craft Beer Month, and that is not a hollow statement. Virginia breweries are pumping out what are arguably some of the best suds in the US right now, and new launches are popping up every time I turn around.
With this being said, I am extremely excited to help promote the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest - a gathering of some of the best, and newest, craft masters from the Commonwealth. The festival will be held at one of my personal favorite breweries/restaurants - Devil's Backbone Brewing Company - in Roseland, VA on Saturday, August 24th from 2-10 PM.
The breweries will include:
AleWerks Brewing Company (Williamsburg, VA)
Apocalypse Ale Works (Forest, VA)
Beer Hound Brewery (Barboursville, VA)
Blue & Gray Brewing Company (Fredericksburg, VA)
Blue Lab Brewing Co. (Lexington, VA)
Blue Mountain Barrel House (Arrington, VA)
Blue Mountain Brewery (Afton, VA)
Bold Rock Hard Cider (Nellysford, VA)
Bull & Bones Brewhaus (Blacksburg / Radford, VA)
Capitol City Brewing Co. (Arlington, VA & Washington, D.C.)
Center of the Universe Brewing Co. (Ashland, VA)
Champion Brewing Co. (Charlottesville, VA)
Corcoran Brewing Co. (Loudon County, VA)
Devils Backbone Brewing Company. (Roseland, VA)
Devils Backbone Outpost Brewery (Lexington, VA)
Extra Billy’s Brewery (Midlothian, VA)
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery (Richmond, VA)
James River Brewing Company (Scottsville, VA)
Legend Brewing Co. (Richmond, VA)
Lost Rhino Brewing Co. (Ashburn, VA)
Mad Fox Brewing Company (Falls Church, VA)
O’Connor Brewing Company (Norfolk, VA)
Port City Brewing Co. (Alexandria, VA)
River Company Brewery (Fairlawn, VA)
Smartmouth Brewing Company (Norfolk, VA)
St. George Brewing Company (Hampton, VA)
Starr Hill Brewery (Crozet, VA)
Strangeways Brewing (Richmond, VA)
Sunken City Brewing Company (Hardy, VA)
Three Brothers Brewing Co. ( Harrisonburg, VA)
Vintage 50 (Leesburg, VA)
Wild Wolf Brewing Co. (Nellysford, VA)
I'm stoked most about this event because I haven't even sampled anything from 10 of these breweries, and they are all less than 4 hours from me!!!
Come out and join me at what is sure to be an excellent showing of craft beer. There are even overnight camping passes available, and the DBBC food is AMAZING!
You can find out more info about the event, musical guests, or order tickets at the website for the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Well this year I was given an early Christmas gift that not only cemented this fact in the record books, but also served to humiliate some of my close friends - a real win-win! :0)
University Games Pub Trivia is a team trivia game (think: a more relevant and interesting Trivial Pursuit crossed with the game of LIFE) that includes 1,000 different questions from 5 different categories. Many of the questions from the Entertainment, Sports & Recreation, Science, History and Anything Goes sections are just obscure enough to get you thinking, but won't require cheating by asking Siri or Google because the answer is from the dark ages...Face it, Nate, it still didn't help you win!
Playing this game with my buddies reminds me of a good Trivia Night at a bar - except in my basement we are drinking Rogue's VooDoo Doughnut Maple Bacon or a three year variety of Firestone-Walker's Double Jack as opposed to Bud Light or Blue Moon. After a couple of rounds of 10% ABV ales the humorous questions start to become downright hilarious, and my confidence in my long-shot answers goes through the roof!
The best part about this game?...You can buy it at any Walmart, so you still have plenty of time to pick up 3-4 of them to distribute under the trees of your friends, or at your office Dirty Santa party!
Just remember, you can practice all you want but there is NO CHANCE that you could ever beat me at this game.
Saturday, September 1, 2012
During the first two weeks of September I will be having a contest to giveaway a set of 10 assorted Plastic Beer Steins! Provided by Promos Online to celebrate the upcoming Oktoberfest season, all you need to do to enter to win is comment on this post with your favorite O'fest-style brew!
I have checked out the huge selection of fully customize-able products on their site; including varying sizes, colors, and even color-changing features - and they all look fantastic!
So, make sure to enter to win and share with your friends (remember - there are 10 mugs, so you can share!), and click the link above to check out all of their offerings for gift ideas/business promotion!
*Contest ends at midnight on 9/15/12 - open to US residents only.
However, it would be nice to have that whole paycheck-for-my-opinion scenario...
Anyway, just because I haven't been writing doesn't mean I have just been hibernating the Summer away in my basement....There was a trip to Buffalo, NY, a couple weeks in VA Beach and then a couple weeks ago a beer-fueled trip to Richmond. Let's start there:
My good friend Dick and I (insert one-liner here___) decided we were long overdue to try out one of Virginia's newest, and most talked-about, breweries - Hardywood Park. Located in Richmond, about 2 hours from where we are from, it is just far enough away that we needed to plan a day around the visit. Fortunately, there is a shit-ton of quality suds in this area of the Commonwealth!
|Innis & Gunn Jim Beam Cask|
|Victory Uncle Teddy's Bitter|
|Stone Smoked Porter w/ Chipotle Peppers|
- Laughing Dog Capital Ale House 10th Anniversary Citra Single-Hop IPA
- Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers
- Brouwerij Van Steenberge Klokke Roeland
- Ommegang Biere D'Hougoumont
- Founders Devil Dancer (2012)
- Weyerbacher Heresy
- Harvest Pils
- Pale Ale
- Brown Ale
- Golden IPA
- Belgian Quad
- Imperial IPA
- Cask-aged Barleywine
Next up, and the highlight of the day IMO, was the stop at Hardywood Park. Let me just say - we were not the only people who had heard the buzz about them - this place was HOPPING! We pulled into what looks like an old fire station, complete with two large bays with giant garage doors and took our place in line for our samplers. When we finally got to tasting we just looked at each other and knew we had found something good!
|SB 604 Centennial Dry-Hopped|
- Singel Belgian Blonde Ale
- SB 604 Centennial Dry-Hopped Special Bitter
- Belgian Double IPA
- Bourbon Double IPA
- Naked Wit
- Virginia Blackberry
They were all so good I had to grab a bomber of their Virginia Strawberry to sample at a later date! I will need to make another trip up this Fall/Winter to sample the highly-acclaimed Mocha Belgique and Gingerbread Stout!!!
After Hardywood we tried to make a stop at an even younger brewery that we had heard good things about - Midnight Brewing. But alas, it was not to be on this trip...the GPS couldn't find the place so we ended up driving around an industrial complex in circles for a half-hour!
So the last part of that expedition was worth it, we stopped by the nearby Trader Joe's to see if there was anything we could find that wouldn't be for sale back home. What we found was 24 somethings that we had never heard of before - Stories on those to come!
Finally, for dinner we hit up the Blue Goat, a fancier-than-we-were-dressed-for, darkly-lit tapas restaurant that sources all of its ingredients locally. Although the portions were tiny and the food a bit overpriced, it was excellent and we were able to try a new brew that I have been searching at least 2 years for...Cigar City's Maduro Brown Ale! It was AWESOME - one of the best beers of the day, and out of a bottle.
After splitting the food and beer, and nearly confirming the suspicion that the two overly-loud guys laughing near the bar might be a white-trash gay couple to all the tables around us, we set out for home.
What a day! I highly suggest making the trip to Richmond soon, and often, to try out all the new, exciting stuff coming out of the area!