Category Archives: Beer Products

Dogfish’s Coolest Tap Handle Ever

Dogfish Head Uber Shark tap handle

Is this new Dogfish Uber Shark Tap handle the coolest tap handle ever? No, probably not. But I think it’s Dogfish’s coolest tap handle, at least of the ones I’ve seen. During the past couple of years, Dogfish has really upped its tap-handle game, releasing new tap handles every year, at least, and getting more and more colorful and creative.

Dogfish Head Uber Shark Tap handle

Some of the most interesting tap handles aren’t cheap—this one costs a cool $79, plus shipping—but any of the bars I drink at regularly should easily be able to afford it with the profits they make from my overblown drinking habit. (Give me more free beer, ya cheap bastards!)

Learn more about this tap handle, and other handles, at Dogfish’s online store.

UBN

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‘Gansett’s Jaws Can Enough to Make Me Buy Beer in a Can — but Not Drink from One

Narragansett retro 1975 Jaws cans

“It’s only a canned beer if you look at it before it’s poured into a glass.” – Urban Beer Nerd, 2013

I dislike canned beer. Not because it tastes bad, or even different. Most of the time, canned beer tastes as good as bottled beer, despite the now-long-in-the-tooth belief that beer tastes better from glass than aluminum. (Kegs are metal, too, right? You never hear people bitch about draft beer—unless it’s old or poured through a dirty tap line.)

It’s more of a mental thing for me. I drink quality beer, and cans feel cheap. So I pour just about all of my beer into a glass, if I can. One of my favorite canned beers, The Alchemist’s Heady Topper, specifically instructs you to drink it from the can. But fuck that. That’s what I have a Heady glass for.

After pouring a canned brew into a glass, I always recite the quote at the top of this post. (Okay, I’ve never said that before. I just came up with it when I saw Naragansett’s retro 1975 beer can this afternoon. But I’ll say it going forward. Maybe.)

One of my favorite films ever is “Jaws,” and one of my favorite quotes from the movie comes from a conversation between Hooper (Richard Dreyfus) and Brody (Roy Scheider), which goes a little something like this:

Brody: It doesn’t make any sense when you pay a guy like you to watch sharks.

Hooper: Well, uh, it doesn’t make much sense for a guy who hates the water to live on an island either.

Brody: It’s only an island if you look at it from the water.

Hooper: That makes a lot of sense.

Anyway, to the point of this post: Rhode Island-based Narragansett Beer Co. has released the third of three 2013 retro beer cans, and this one’s a doozy, at least if you’re a Jaws buff like I am. The can was released in 1975, and it was “made famous in the ‘Jaws’ movie during the scene in which Captain Sam Quint, played by Robert Shaw, famously crushes a can of Narragansett Lager to intimidate Richard Dreyfuss’ [sic] character, Hooper,” according to ‘Gansett.

Jaws Quint Narragansett Crush It Like Quint

I honestly haven’t had a Narragansett beer for at least a few years, and the last time I did, I only drank it because I was in Providence, Rhode Island, and I wanted to drink local brew. It’s a decent lager, and I have nothing against the brewery or the beer—except the annoying “Hi Neighbor!” slogan. I try not to be influenced by gimmicky advertising, but I admit, I’m going to run out and pick up a 12-pack of these cans and then get drunk while watching Jaws. If you’re smart, you’ll do the same

UBN

Via Boston.com

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Awesome Animated Beer Labels Make Me Want to Start Drinking Right Now

Alchemist Heady Topper Motion

I don’t really have much to say about these fantastic animated beer labels from Beer Labels in Motion, except that they’re making it hard to be productive this morning. It’s cool to start drinking at 10 am on a weekday, while you’re in the office and supposed to be working, right? Right?

Pop on over to BeerLabelsInMotion.Tumblr.com for more.

UBN

via Gizmodo

Pretty Things Jack D'Or Motion

Clown Shoes Miracle Motion

21st Amendment Bitter American Motion

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Buying Belgian Beer Online and Shipping It to the US

Belgian beer bottles Cantillon Fantome 3F Rodenbach

A few of the beers I purchased from BelgiumInABox.com and EtreGourmet

Being the Urban Beer Nerd that I am, I’m always on the lookout for rare, hard-to-find, unique and limited-release brews. Many of my favorite breweries are located in Belgium and elsewhere overseas. Often these breweries’ most unique beers are released in very limited quantities, and the brews that do make it to America are often difficult to locate and/or very expensive.

So a few months ago, I started researching ways to buy my own Belgian beer online and then ship it to Boston, where I can sit in the comfort of my own home with the rare beer of my choice. I was sick of only being able to drink Cantillon beers a few times a year and paying an arm and a liver for bottles when I could find them.

I came up with the following two websites, which I’ve since ordered from at least three times each and had no problems: BelgiumInABox.com and EtreGourmet (BieresGourmet.be).

Before I go on, a warning seems appropriate: When you order beer online, you do so at your own risk. Depending on where you live, it may not “legal” in the strictest sense of the word to buy beer online from an international retailer to ship to your locale. And in many cases, shipping companies will not accept and deliver packages with beer in them.

Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll say that personally, I have not had any issues ordering beer from BelgiumInABox.com or EtreGourmet. And when the sites declared the contents of my boxes of beer, as is required by Customs, they usually wrote something like “lambic glassware” or “collectible bottles,” which was technically true because I usually bought glassware in addition to beer.

Anyway, both of these sites offer reasonable prices on beer from my favorite Belgian breweries, including Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen, Fantome, Rodenbach, Tilquin and Blaugies. Shipping is expensive, but it’s not too much more than the markup you’d pay for a rare bottle at a beer bar or through a retailer. For example, the last time I ordered from BelgiumInABox.com, I purchased a 750ml bottle of Cantillon’s 2013 Kriek Lambic Bio (about $13), a 750ml bottle of 2012 Fantome Saison (about $9) and a 3 Fonteinen gueuze glass (about $16) for a total of roughly $38, and the shipping cost around $43.

My previous EtreGourmet order looked like this: a 750ml bottle of Rodenbach Caractère Rouge (about $20) and two 375ml bottles of Oude Quetsche Tilquin 2012-2013 (about $25 for both). The shipping was about $53.

The shipping is expensive, but I’ve been willing to pay it for beers I would not otherwise be able to find in the United States. I feel confident my payment card information is secure, because BelgiumInaBox uses Ogone for payment processing, a well-known and trusted Europe payment processing service, and EtreGourment accepts PayPal. And both sites have HTTP Secure Web pages for payments.

My packages of beer arrived in great shape, and overall, I’m very pleased with the experience with both BelgiumInABox.com and EtreGourmet. Another site that’s been recommended to me is BeerPlanet.eu, but I’ve heard rumors about some of the site’s shipments being held up in customs, so I never ordered from them.

I probably shouldn’t even be writing this post, because it may draw unwanted attention to these sites and services, but fuck it. A post like this would have been helpful to me when I was trying to fine reputable sites to order from, so I wanted to share my experiences.

UBN

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The One Book Every Beer Nerd Should Own

The Oxford Companion to Beer book with Cantillon and Drie Fonteinen gueuze bottles

Last Christmas I received a number of great beer-related gifts, including a set of Spiegelau Beer Connoisseur glasses that I use all the time. But the gift that I’ve got the most from is The Oxford Companion to Beer. The book is an amazingly in-depth encyclopedia-like tome with information on just about everything you could ever want to know about beer. I consult it constantly, to clarify beer terminology, do research for posts on this blog and much more.

The Oxford Companion to Beer is edited by Brooklyn Brewery Brewmaster Garrett Oliver. But it’s composed of writings from more than 165 beer experts from more than 20 countries. And though some entries go into painstaking detail, the majority of the book is easy to read and understand. And it’s organized alphabetically so it’s easy to look up whatever beer, brewery, brewing method or any other term you’re interested in.

The book doesn’t come cheap, with a cover price of $65. But it’s worth the money, in my opinion, and you can find deals on The Oxford Companion to Beer online at sites like Amazon.com, which currently sells the hardcover version of the book for $38.40 plus shipping and the digital Kindle edition for just $19.24.

I highly recommend picking up a copy. I’ve read a number of books and articles on beer and brewing, but The Oxford Companion to Beer is by far my favorite.

UBN

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Dogfish ‘Randall Jr.’ Mini Fresh-Hopping Gadget Costs $20

Dogfish Head Randall Jr.

You may or may not have heard of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery‘s fresh-hopping contraption called Randall the Enamel Animal. The gadget basically lets you stream beer through a variety of different ingredients, including hops, spices, etc., to impart the flavors of those ingredients in the beer.

Sounds interesting, right? Unfortunately, the full-size Randall the Enamel Animal is rather pricey at almost $300, and it’s really designed for commercial use in bars or other drinking establishments.

Dogfish also offers a Randall Jr. “Mini Enamel Animal” that lets individuals “randalize” their beers. Randall Jr. isn’t a new product, but it has been sold out in Dogfish’s online store for quite some time. Its latest release was also supposed to be in February,  but the new Randall Jrs. just went on sale this week. Randall Jr. is basically a thick plastic container that holds 16 ounces of brew. You fit a filtering screen on top of it once you add your beer and other ingredients, put another cap on to maintain carbonation, let the beer chill for a while and then pour the filtered beer into a drinking glass.

Dogfish Head Randall Jr.

You could certainly build your own Randall Jr. using a large glass or other container and a filter, but the Dogfish unit probably looks cooler than what you’ll come up with. And it’s not too pricey at $20.

Here’s the official Randall Jr. description from Dogfish:

“Our new Mini Enamel Animal will give you the power for off-centered infusions. Just twist off the top; add hops, spices, fruit or whatnot, fill with off-centered ale and savor the fruits of your creativity.

“The new super-thick Randall holds a whopping 16 ounces. Made of double-walled, BPA-free plastic, he’s a bold but sensitive guy, so please wash with a mild, non-scented soap, and by golly keep him out of the microwave or dishwasher!”

And here’s a video infomercial from Dogfish about Randall Jr.

Learn more about Randall Jr. or order one of your own via Dogfish’s online store.

UBN

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Buy Cantillon T-Shirts, Sweatshirts Online Directly from the Source

Gold Cantillon T-shirt

Yesterday I posted about an interesting new beer Brasserie Cantillon is currently working on: a spontaneously-fermented stout that will likely become either its 2014 or 2015 Zwanze beer. Once a year, Cantillon releases a special limited-release brew, and beer lovers the world over celebrate “Zwanze Day” at bars and other locales lucky enough to get some of it. (Check out my post on Zwanze Day 2012 for more information.)

While doing some research online, trying to dig up some details on this year’s Zwanze beer and the Zwanze Day 2013 date—to no avail—I found Cantillon’s new online store. In the past, if you wanted a Cantillon t-shirt or hoodie you had to visit the brewery in Belgium, attend some special event, like Zwanze Day, at which the shirts were being sold or find some random online retailer. Now you can purchase Cantillon t-shirts and sweatshirts online directly from Cantillon.

Cantillon Sweatshirt

The Cantillon tees and hoodies aren’t cheap though, and shipping to the United States is also pricey. To send a single $52.00 hooded sweatshirt from Cantillon to Boston, where I live, you need to pay roughly $32.50 in shipping fees. That’s a $85 hoodie. But $85 is still cheaper than a trip to Belgium and the Cantillon brewery. And one of these shirts would make a great gift for a Cantillon lover.

Unfortunately, the Cantillon Web shop is only selling t-shirts and sweatshirts at this point. It would be nice to see them offer glassware and other branded goodies in the future.

Visit Cantillon’s online store for more details.

UBN

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Spiegelau Beer Connoisseur Glasses for the Discerning Beer Nerd

Spiegelau Beer Connoisseur Glasses

Specialty-glass-maker Spiegelau has been getting a lot of attention this month thanks to the introduction of its new IPA glass, which was designed along with Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (That glass looks remarkably like a wine glass from Riedel, a Spiegelau sister company, but that’s another story altogether.)

Spiegelau has been making fancy glasses for beer aficionados for quite some, though. In fact, Spiegelau’s Beer Connoisseur set, which is composed of one wheat beer glass, one lager/blond glass, one tulip and a tall pilsner glass, is probably my favorite set of unbranded glassware. I got my set as a gift from my girlfriend, and I use it constantly. I prefer to use branded glassware whenever I can—I’m just as much of a beer-glass nerd as I am a regular ol’ beer nerd. But, honestly, the quality of these four Spiegelau glasses is higher than 90 percent of the branded glasses in my collection anyway, and I drink so many different kinds of beer that using corresponding branded glassware isn’t always an option.

Spiegelau glass is very thin and delicate. And it’s also quite expensive. This set of four glasses sells for $49.90 plus shipping in the official Spiegelau’s online store, but Amazon.com will sell you the same set for $39.99 plus shipping. (Free shipping is available for Amazon Prime members.) All of the glasses have the Spiegelau logo on their bases.

From Spiegelau:

“Each of these glasses is especially blown thin, and has a thin rim that lifts the perception of mouth feel and taste. The beer specific glass shape supports the beer in releasing its full spectrum of flavors and delivers them to nose and mouth.”

My favorite glass is the tulip, because I drink a lot of Belgian and Belgian-style ales that are best suited to this type of glass. It’s very well designed, and it just feels elegant. I also use the lager glass quite a bit for lagers and hoppy ales—though I’ve mostly been using the Dogfish Spiegelau glass for IPAs.

Spiegelau Beer Connoisseur Glasses Logo

Amazon.com says they are dishwasher safe, but I always hand wash my glasses just in case; they don’t feel dishwasher safe.

Again, these glasses aren’t cheap but if you take care of them they should last a long time. And they genuinely do enhance the beer-drinking experience.

UBN

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Boston Beer Co. Designs New Can for Its Samuel Adams Brew

Boston Beer Co. Samuel Adams prototype beer can

Traditional beer can and prototype Samuel Adams can (right)

Craft-beer watchers have seen numerous respectable breweries can their beers during the past few years, after Oskar Blues Brewing Co. proved that cans do not necessarily negatively affect the taste of beer. (Last month, I wrote about Ballast Point Brewing Co.’s decision to can one of my favorite IPAs, Sculpin.)

The Boston Beer Co. and its founder Jim Koch have strongly resisted the whole craft-beer-in-a-can movement, but the company has apparently come up with a brand new can design, and it will release Samuel Adams beer in cans “in time for beach cooler weather,” according to Boston.com.

From Boston.com:

“The two-year effort cost more than $1 million, including the hiring of a renowned design firm and professional beer consultants, as well as the purchase of expensive canning equipment…

“The hourglass curve [or the can] and wider lid deposits the beer further in the mouth so a drinker doesn’t have to tilt his head back…

“The bigger lid forces people to open their mouths wider, allowing more air to pass through and go up into the nasal passages. This increased exposure to the smells brings out the flavors of the beer — the hops, the grains, the fruitiness — earlier in the drinking experience, which is what consumers associate with a fresher beverage…the outward-turned lip pours the beer directly on the palate, maximizing the sweetness from the malt.”

Personally, I don’t really care if my beer comes in a bottle or a can because I don’t think cans affect taste. I also almost always pour my beer into a glass. But cans clearly have a number of advantages over bottles; they’re lighter; they don’t shatter or break; they’re easier to carry in bulk for recycling; and they take up less space and are stackable. These reasons and more are why so many brewers today are canning their beer instead of bottling. And its nice to see another craft-beer pioneer embrace aluminum cans because it means Sam Adams will be served in more places, in venues that may not welcome glass bottle, such as sporting arenas.

UBN

via Boston.com

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KegWorks.com Wastes Countless Man-Hours Sticking 60K Bottle Caps to a Wall

KegWorks.com, an online purveyor of “home and professional draft beer equipment, bartending tools, premium cocktail ingredients and novelty items, as well as high quality commercial restaurant and bar supplies and equipment,” recently built a big-ass wall of bottle caps in its New York office.

It took the company just under two months. Forty-three staffers—who apparently had nothing better to do—helped position the caps. The wall takes up roughly 459 square feet of space. KegWorks used about 60,000 bottles caps, most of which were sent in from customers and brewers. (The first cap stuck was from Dogfish Head and the last was from Harpoon.) Magnetic sheeting was applied to the wall before the bottle caps, and the magnets hold the caps in place.

I admit, the wall looks pretty cool. But the beer-snob in me sees lots of caps from shitty beers like Labatt Blue Light and Molson Canadian. That would piss me off every time I walked by. I guess the company is getting some publicity out of the wall—it made a fancy YouTube video, after all.

I can’t help but wonder just how many man-hours were wasted over two months sticking fucking bottle caps to a wall. And what happens if you accidently bump into the wall and shift a bunch of the caps? Spend another day repositioning them? Ah, time well spent.

UBN

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