Monthly Archives: November 2012

Get Your Own Personal Kegerator for Just $329 Shipped

I always kind of wanted my own kegerator, especially when I was in college, but I never actually bought one because I was broke as a joke in my college days, and now I don’t like to drink the same beer for very long, so it’s just not practical.

I spotted a great deal on this Nostalgia Electrics KRS2100 Kegorator Beer Keg Fridge on Reddit.com/r/beer, so I thought I’d share. The kegerator, which normally retails for $500—and was reportedly selling for as much as $660 earlier this year—is now on sale for a very reasonable $329, with free Amazon.com Super Saver shipping.

And it comes with “everything you need to dispense a commercial keg including- regulator, D system keg coupler, tubing, CO2 tank and tap,” according to HomeBrewFinds.com. That’s a steal, but you should act fast if you’re interested. The Amazon sale price could change at any time.

UBN

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Reminder: Cantillon Zwanze Day 2012 is Saturday, December 1

Just a quick reminder that the 2012 Cantillon Zwanze Day is this Saturday, December 1. Lambic, sour and Belian-beer lovers won’t want to miss it. The 2012 Zwanze lambic is a reproduction of the 2008 Zwanze brew, and it will be made with rhubard. More details on Zwanze Day and all the 31 official locations across the globe can be found here. I’ll be attending the event at Lord Hobo in Cambridge, MA. If you’re there, just scream, “Yo, Urban Beer Nerd, where you at?” and I’ll come say hello. Cheers, salute, slainte, prost and all that good shit.

UBN

Image via 100Beers30Days.com

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Dogfish Head’s Shippy Shipperton is My Homeboy

Dogfish Head Shippy Shipperton

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I’m a big fan of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and its founder Sam Calagione. The number one reason for that: Its quality brews.  I buy a lot of Dogfish beer, but I also support the company in a number of additional ways. I frequently recommend the brewery to those who might not be familiar with it. And I purchase a variety of Dogfish products, including glassware, t-shirts, soaps and shampoo, even Christmas ornaments.

One of my favorite things about Dogfish is its sense of humor. For example, I always crack up when I look at the Dogfish logo on the four pack of its Halloween-themed Punkin Ale and on the Punkin four pack—note the fangs. And whenever I place an order, the return address on my package makes me crack a smile.

Dogfish Punkin Ale logo

UBN

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Uber-Rare Westvleteren XII Belgian Quad Coming to US for 1st Time in December

Westvleteren XII abbey of Saint Sixtus

I love me a rare beer, and Westvleteren XII from the Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren in Flanders, Belgium, is nothing if not rare. In fact, it’s never officially been distributed in the United States before—the only way to get it was to travel to the abbey or to track a bottle down online and then pay an arm and a leg for it, and even then you had to make reservations.

But Westvleteren XII, a Trappist-made Belgian quad ale, is reportedly coming to the United States for the first time in December as part of a six-bottle, two-glass gift pack that should cost somewhere between $50 and $100. (It was also briefly available in North America earlier this year as part of a special fund-raising event.) The price of the gift pack is sure to skyrocket on the secondary market, too, after the beer sells out in liquor stores.

I’ve never had Westvleteren XII, but it has an amazing reputation, due in part to its difficulty to obtain. It also has the second highest user-rating on BeerAdvocate.com and the highest rating on RateBeer.com.

Westvleteren XII, which has a ABV of 10.2%, will be distributed by the Belchertown, Mass.-based Shelton Brothers, one of the leading importers of Belgian beer in the United States, which means it should be at least somewhat readily available in and around my home city of Boston. Needless to say, I’ll be keeping an eye out for this beer, and I’ll review it on this blog if I’m lucky enough to find a bottle or six.

UBN

Via NorwichBulletin.com

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Drink Beer, Think Beer

Washington Irving with Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA

“They who drink beer will think beer.” – Washington Irving

That Washington Irving, man, he was one smart motherfucker. The more beer I drink, the more I think about beer. I can’t get my mind off of the Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA I picked up during my lunch break, and it’s not helping me get any work done.

I think Irving’s principle could also be applied to chicken wings—he who eats chicken wings thinks chicken wings—because I had some buffalo wings last Sunday, and I’ve been fantasizing about those spicy bastards ever since.

UBN

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Spread Holiday Cheer with Artisan Chocolate and Sam Adams Beer

Samuel Adams Beer Lover's Chocolate Box

The Boston Beer Co, makers of Samuel Adams beer, and artisan chocolatier TCHO.com, yesterday announced their Samuel Adams Beer Lover’s Chocolate Box, which costs $16.95, and comes with a dozen 8-gram chocolate squares and no beer—the Sam Adams is sold separately.

From a related press release:

“The Brewers at Samuel Adams worked closely with TCHO’s Chief Chocolate Maker Brad Kintzer to design the gift box so that each premium chocolate pairs with a Samuel Adams brew from the Samuel Adams Winter Classics Variety Pack. Just in time for holiday festivities and gifting, this assortment of specialty chocolates will prove to any foodie that beer and chocolate are the perfect combination.”

If you’re interested, you should act fast; the first 150 orders ship with two Sam Adams “perfect pint” glasses.

You can order your Samuel Adams Beer Lover’s Chocolate Box or find more information on TCHO.com.

UBN

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How to Make Your Own Custom Beer Nerd Christmas Ornament

Beer Nerd Christmas Tree Ornament

Yesterday my girlfriend and I bought our 2012 Christmas tree. After setting it up and arguing about whether or not it was straight enough in its shitty-plastic stand, we dug up our box of ornaments and started decorating. I cracked a bottle of Stone Brewing Co.’s Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA and quickly realized that I don’t have any craft-beer-related Christmas tree ornaments. Shameful, I know.

I decided to remedy this unfortunate issue and make my own custom beer nerd Christmas ornament. If you can gather a handful of bottle caps, a round Christmas ornament and some Krazy Glue you too can make your own beer nerd ornament. (But your ornament probably won’t be as awesome as mine.)

Step one: Collect bottle caps. I didn’t use standard bottles caps, but instead chose to use the smaller caps that come on top of corked bottles of beer. I also used caps from different breweries, but you could use only caps from your favorite brewery.

Step two: Buy Krazy Glue.

Step three: Get yourself a round Christmas tree ornament.

Step four: Crack a beer. (You might get thirsty while building your custom ornament. I know I did.)

Step five: Carefully apply Krazy Glue to the bottom edges of your bottle caps, and then stick them one at a time to your ornament. Be patient and let each one dry before trying to add more caps. (Note: The Urban Beer Nerd assumes no responsibility for fingers stuck to other digits, bottle caps, your beer or anything else. If you can’t use Krazy Glue without getting it everywhere, you have no business making this ornament. Moron.)

Step six: Let glue dry, hang the ornament on your Christmas tree, raise your glass for a toast and then bask in your new creation’s glory.

UBN

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Stone Brewing Co. Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA Review

Stone Brewing Co. Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA

This week Stone Brewing Co. shipped the third batch of its Enjoy By IPA to 10 states, and beer nerds everywhere—well, beer nerds in or around those 10 states—scrambled to grab a few bottles before it disappears. (I picked up six bottles on Tuesday, November 20, the day it hit Boston. I drank three bottles over the past few days, and I have three more in my refrigerator.)

The idea behind Stone’s Enjoy By IPA—all three batches were made with the same recipe—is to use extremely fresh ingredients and then get the beer into customers’ hands as soon as possible after it’s bottled, to demonstrate just how important freshness can be to beer. The date in the name, in this case 12.21.12, is the date by which the beer is supposed to be at its best.

So does Stone’s Enjoy By 12.21.12 double IPA live up to all of the hype? Yes…with a few caveats.

Stone puts a lot of love and care into every single beer it brews, and Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA is no exception. What sets this big ol’ double IPA apart is that Stone supposedly brewed it “specifically NOT to last.” I’m not really sure what that means, and Stone hasn’t said.  I’m guessing it just means it’s not pasteurized and doesn’t have any preservatives, but that’s not exactly rare; IPAs and hoppy beers are generally better when they’re fresh, and the best don’t have preservatives. Stone’s definitely not the only brewer to stress this fact, either. Russian River Brewing Co., maker of Pliny the Elder, one of my favorite IPAs, prints instructions to consume the beer as soon as possible on every bottle. And the majority of craft beer today has bottling dates, though it’s usually printed in barely-noticeable, small text and not mentioned in the name of the beer.

Anyway, on to my Stone Enjoy By 12.21.12 review.

Stone Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA is available in 22-ounce bottles and on draft. I vigorously poured my bottle into a tall Stone Arrogant Bastard glass, and it formed a thick ivory-colored head of fine bubbles. The ale itself is golden with amber hues.

Stone Brewing Co. Enjoy By IPA Logo

One of my favorite things about this beer is its smell. It stinks, in a good way. The aroma is truly amazing. It smells of sticky, pungent hops and mild alcohol. I enjoyed smelling this beer as much as I did drinking it.

The beer is extremely crisp and clean at first, as you might expect from such a fresh brew. The initial taste is malty and refreshing, followed by a serious hop smack in the face. It has a notable “dank” marijuana-like taste. This is one seriously hoppy and bitter brew. It’s also surprisingly drinkable for a 9.4%ABV double IPA. You only get a slight warming alcohol flavor.

The intense hop flavor is a result of some ridiculous hopping during the brewing process. Stone literally used 11 different types of hops: Calypso; Super Galena (extract); Simcoe, Delta, Target, Amarillo, Motueka, Citra, Cascade; Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy. I can’t think of another IPA with so much hop variety. And it shows.

My bottles cost $10 each, which isn’t cheap, but I don’t feel burned.

I was genuinely impressed by Stone’s Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA…but something rubs me the wrong way about the whole presentation. It feels like a marketing gimmick, and I don’t like feeling as though I’m being sold something other than a really fresh beer. The craft beer world is full of weird gimmicks right now, and I understand why. The market is extremely competitive, and brewers will do just about anything to differentiate themselves from competitors. But I guess I kind of expect more from Stone.

Again, this Enjoy By IPA is a great beer, so I’m not trying to knock Stone. At the same time, I bet it will taste just fine in a couple of months—maybe not as good as it does today, but it’s not as if the brew will spoil or something. Stone doesn’t need to convince me to drink its beers with marketing gimmick. It has already earned my respect through quality brewing.

Stone’s Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA gets a 9 out of 10 on the Urban Beer Nerd Scale. (It currently has a BeerAdvocate.com score of 94/100 based on 111 users reviews.)

Check out the above video or visit Stone’s website for more details. (And read my recent list of noteworthy IPAs all hop lovers should drink at least once for more recommendations on awesome hoppy brews.)

UBN

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Thankful for Craft Beer

Rodenbach Vintate Allagash Interlude Stone Enjoy By IPA Brux

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for craft beer. (I’m also thankful for lots of other things—and people—but this is a beer blog, so I won’t bore you with all that shit).

As I wandered around my local beer shop yesterday, stocking up for today’s holiday, I couldn’t help but feel happy about the current state of craft beer in my home state of Massachusetts and throughout the rest of the United States. I stopped in one of the liquor store aisles, surrounded by bomber bottles stacked so high I couldn’t see beyond them, and thought about how awesome it is that beer is finally getting the respect it deserves. Talented brewers are pushing the boundaries of beer making every day, and I, and all my fellow beer lovers, get to reap the benefits.  For that, I’m truly thankful.

What you see above is my Thanksgiving 2012 craft beer lineup. I plan to start with Stone Brewing Co.‘s fantastic Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA, then move on to the Russian River/Sierra Nevada collaboration wild ale, Brux. After that, I’ll either pop the cork on the Rodenbach Vintage 2009 or the Allagash 2009 Interlude; I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

I hope you’ve got something special to sip on today, too. Happy Thanksgiving, beer nerds.

UBN

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Barfly’s View: Gritty McDuff’s Brew Pub in Portland, ME

Gritty McDuff's Brew Pub in Portland, Maine

Gritty McDuff’s Brew Pub in Portland, Maine’s Old Port neighborhood is “Maine’s original brew pub”—it was Maine’s first brew pub since the end of prohibition, and it opened in 1988. I stopped by Gritty’s for a few pints a couple of weeks ago during Portland Beer Week, and it turned out to be one of my favorite watering holes I found in a city that’s packed with quality drinking establishments.

The brew pub is just a few blocks from the Atlantic Ocean, and you can see the waterfront area through a back window on clear days. The bar is topped with shiny, battered copper. The bartender was friendly and quick to offer recommendations for other nearby bars and attractions. I didn’t have any food, but I Gritty’s offers a wide range of pub grub.

All of the “real ales” at Gritty McDuff’s are brewed on premise, and it shows; the beers I had were extremely fresh. I’d had a few different Gritty’s beers before my visit; Gritty’s Black Fly Stout isn’t difficult to find in my home city of Boston. But the draft version I had at the brew pub was even more delicious, a truly fine stout.

Gritty McDuff's Mug Club mugs

Gritty’s Mug Club mugs hanging above the bar

Gritty’s regulars can pay $75 a year to join its Mug Club, which gets you a 21-ounce, white ceramic mug of your own and five more ounces of brew for the same price as the standard 16-ounce pints. Five-year Mug Club members get special colored mugs that are even larger. And every Gritty’s pub—there are two more of them, in Freeport and Lewiston/Auburn, Maine—offers two-dollar drafts for Mug Club members two nights a week.

If you’re ever in Portland and have a hankerin’ for a real ale, you’ll find a friend in Gritty McDuff’s.

UBN

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