Category Archives: IPAs

Stone Announces Markets for Enjoy By 2.15.13 IPA

Stone Brewing Co. Enjoy By IPA 2.15.13
Update 2: Sooo, MA, TX and MO will NOT get Enjoy By 2.15.13 IPA. Read this post for more information. I’m sorry for the confusion.

Update 1: I just heard back from Stone, and MA, TX and MO will be getting Enjoy By 2.15.13 IPA. Thank God. (I live in Boston, and I need more Enjoy By.)

Stone Brewing Co., maker of the much-lauded—and hyped up—Enjoy By IPAs today announced the 10 markets in which its next Enjoy By IPA, 2.15.13, could be released. I say “could be” because the company’s blog post isn’t exactly clear on the subject. It states that the following markets are “in contention for Stone Enjoy By IPA 2.15.13.” But it also states that Texas, Massachusetts and Missouri showed the most social media engagement while the last version of the IPA, Enjoy By IPA 12.21.12, was still on shelves, so it’s unclear if these states will get the next batch of Enjoy By IPA or not. (Read my review of Stone Brewing Co. Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA here.)

Anyway, here’s the list:

  • Arizona
  • Oregon
  • Idaho
  • New Mexico
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Sacramento/Lake Tahoe, CA
  • Washington, D.C.

I’ve reached out to Stone via Twitter for clarification, but who know if they’ll actually respond. Regardless, the next batch of Enjoy By IPA is scheduled to be bottled on Friday, January 11, and that’s good news anyway that you look at it. You can learn more about Stone’s Enjoy By IPA 2.15.13 on the company’s website.

UBN

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Maine Beer Co. ‘Dinner’ Double IPA

Maine Beer Co. Dinner Double IPA

I’m back like the Terminator, motherfuckers. My holiday vacation was great, but it’s time to return to The Grind.

First order of business: Maine Beer Co.‘s upcoming “Dinner” double IPA. I have no idea how I missed this, because I’m huge Maine Beer Co. fan. But the brewery is apparently working on a new double IPA to follow up on its world-class Lunch IPA. (Read my review of Maine Beer’s Lunch here and you’ll see just how much I love it.)

I heard about this from a friendly employee of Portland, Maine’s Bier Cellar craft beer shop last week during a trip to that fine city, and though I can’t really say he’s a trustworthy source—I simply don’t know the dude—Maine Beer’s recent Twitter activity seems to confirm Dinner double IPA’s existence. Maine Beer Co. is also based in Portland.

Way back on November 7, Maine Beer Company posted a tweet in response to some other users saying it was working on a new double IPA. And then a few days later, it posted another tweet mentioning a “Dinner double IPA.” No release details are available as far as I know, but it’s possible we’ll be seeing Dinner in the coming weeks or months.

And here’s a description of the “pilot batch” of the brew, from Maine Beer brewer Daniel Kleban’s Twitter feed:

“Think lunch x2 with citra and simcoe.”

The Bier Cellar dude also said he’d heard rumors of another new beer from Maine Beer Company, called “Nothing,” which he thought would be a barleywine-style brew. But, again, I can’t confirm that information.

Anyway, I can’t wait for Dinner. And I’m not even hungry.

UBN

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Recipe for Beer-Infused Caramel Popcorn

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale Beer Caramel Popcorn

Sierra-Nevada Brewing Co. just posted what seems like an interesting recipe for beer-infused caramel popcorn. I say “seems like” because I haven’t actually tried it. But how can you go wrong with beer, caramel and popcorn?

The Sierra recipe suggests you use the brewery’s tasty Celebration Ale, which is a very nice American IPA. You could use any brew of your choice, really, though dark, malty, spicy winter-seasonal ales will probably work best. Anchor Brewing’s Our Special Christmas Ale comes to mind. And beery caramel corn will surely make a nice addition to any beer-nerd holiday fête.

Here’s Sierra recipe for caramel popcorn with Celebration Ale, from its head chef:

  • 2 cups popping corn
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups toasted nuts (e.g., pecans, almonds, peanuts)
  • 1 cup dried fruit (e.g., cranberries, cherries)
  • Non-stick vegetable oil spray

Caramel sauce consisting of:

  • 1/2 cup Celebration Ale
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter

“In a large pot with a lid, add the vegetable oil and the corn. With the lid on the pot, cook over moderately high heat, shaking the pot continuously for about 8 minutes or until all of the kernels are popped. Pour the popped corn into a large bowl and set aside.

“In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, combine Celebration, water, sugar, salt and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is dark amber—about 300 degrees. Remove from heat, add baking soda and butter and stir for about 30 seconds. Caution: This will produce considerable steam. Use a long whisk and avoid touching the top of the sauce pan.

“Working quickly and carefully, pour the caramel sauce over the popped corn. Stir to coat the popped corn evenly. Add the nuts and fruit. Pour the final mixture onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or foil wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick vegetable oil spray. Note: Caramel sauce needs to be hot to mix effectively. Be mindful of timing.”

Pop on over to Sierra’s website for some pretty pictures of the cooking process.

UBN

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Details on Russian River’s Pliny the Younger 2013 Release

Russian River Pliny the Younger tap handle

Every year, on the first Friday of February, Sonoma County, California-based Russian River Brewing Co. releases its limited triple IPA, Pliny the Younger. So the fact that the 2013 Pliny the Younger will be released at Russian River’s brewpub on Friday, February 1 isn’t really news. But Russian River also shared some new release details on its Pliny the Younger 2013 in a new blog post.

If you’re not familiar with Pliny the Younger, you’re not paying close enough attention. Or you’re just not as big of a beer nerd as I am. Pliny the Younger is the “brother IPA” to Russian River’s stellar Pliny the Elder double IPA, which is one of my favorite IPAs, if not my single favorite IPA in the whole damn world. It’s fantastic. I admit, I’ve never had Pliny the Younger, because it’s made in very small quantities and only served at Russian River’s brewpub and at select local bars and establishments. But some day I will make a trip to wine country in February with the sole goal of securing a few pints of Pliny the Younger.

Now, those 2013 release details I mentioned, from Russian River:

“Pliny the Younger will be released at our brewpub in Downtown Santa Rosa on February 1st, 2013 (always the first Friday in February)!  Younger will be available on tap in 10 ounce glasses (no growlers or bottles) for 2 weeks, or 14 days.  We will allocate a certain amount each day until we run out for the day.  Last year we had very few days where we ran out at all!  The last day we will have it at the pub will be February 14th.  Last year the wait was up to 5 hours, and sometimes there was no wait at all.  It’s a bit unpredictable, however, except on weekends where you can definitely expect the longest wait.  We have learned that waiting in line can be fun and can even lead to new relationships, especially after several glasses of Younger!  So please use the buddy system while getting “Younger” at our pub (your friends will hopefully look out for you!).   As far as distribution is concerned, we usually start distributing a small amount of kegs to our accounts and distributors right after we release it at the pub.  We are planning to brew the same amount this year and release the same quantities for distribution, but who gets what is yet to be determined.  First batch of Younger will be brewed this Thursday at the pub!  I saw the man himself hand-selecting this year’s Younger hops just last week… artist or mad scientist?  Probably a lot of both :-)”

And a description of Pliny the Younger, from Russian River’s website:

“Pliny the Younger, the man, was Pliny the Elder’s nephew and adopted son. They lived nearly 2,000 years ago! Pliny the Elder is our Double IPA, so we felt it was fitting to name our Triple IPA after his son. It is almost a true Triple IPA with triple the amount of hops as a regular I.P.A. That said, it is extremely difficult, time and space consuming, and very expensive to make. And that is why we don’t make it more often! This beer is very full-bodied with tons of hop character in the nose and throughout. It is also deceptively well-balanced and smooth.”

UBN

Image via Brewniversal.com

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Dogfish Head Randall the Enamel Animal 3.0 Now Available for $288

Dogfish Head Randall the Enamel Animal 3.0

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery recently listed the latest version of its Randall the Enamel Animal fresh-hopping contraption for sale on its website, and it costs $288, not including shipping.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Randall, it’s a gadget that you fill with fresh hops or other ingredients and then connect to a beer tap, so the beverage can be blasted through the Randall chambers and flavored with the fresh materials.

Dogfish Founder Sam Calagione invented the original Randall in the early 2000s when he was asked to lead a handful of East Coast brewers in an east vs. west IPA competition, dubbed the Lupulin slam. (Lupulin is the oil in hops.)

From Calagione’s book, “Brewing Up a Business:”

“The beer comes out the other side of Randall soaked in hop flavors and aromas not previously available in beers hopped only at the brewery and not at the point where they are served. The “Enamel” in the name comes from the gritty feeling of hop resins on your teeth—when hopping is done right and to the extreme, the first sip almost feels like  the outer layer of enamel is being dissolved from your teeth. To the hop-head this is actually a very pleasant sensation.”

Indeed. I’ve never had a “Randallized” beer, but it’s on my beer bucket list. Randall isn’t really designed for in-home use—unless you own a kegerator—but every beer bar could step up its game by purchasing its very own Dogfish Randall.

Here are a few more details about the 3.0 version, from Dogfish Head:

“Randall 3.0 has two chambers: the first chamber (at the inlet) is the infusing chamber (this chamber is filled with hops, spices, etc.); The second chamber (at the outlet) is the de-foaming chamber. Foam generated by the interaction of beer and hops settles out in the second chamber allowing you to dispense the perfect pint.The second chamber also has an outer tube for holding ice. This keeps the beer cold and carbonated between pours.Randall 3.0 also features an adjustable dispensing faucet. This faucet is needed to balance the draught dispensing system back-pressure, minimizing foaming. This is particularly useful on long-draw (high-pressure) draught systems or when dispensing beers made with significant quantities of wheat in the recipe.”

Visit Dogfish.com to purchase your Randall or to find more information.

UBN

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The Single Best Holiday Gift for the Beer Nerd in Your Life

Beer Nerd Christmas Tree Ornament

I hate holiday gift guides. A lot. They suck. Or most of them do at least. I don’t care whether they’re focused on gadgets, clothing, media or beer, most of them consist of a bunch of cliché crap thrown together by lazy writers, often in the form of “slide shows” to maximize page-view traffic.

Here’s the only gift suggestion you need for your special beer nerd: Buy beer. Good beer. Beer they probably wouldn’t buy on their own, because it’s too expensive or because they’d have to order it from a far off land, like Belgium. And buy them the appropriate beer glass to drink it from. That’s it.

Is your beer nerd an IPA-crazed hop head? Buy him/her one of the beers on this list, and a glass from the brewer—not a shaker pint if at all possible. If your beer geek loves sour brews, buy one of the beers on this list and wrap it up all purty like, along with a fancy schmancy glass. Do a little research, find the best beer store or liquor store that sells beer in your area, and buy a bottle of something special. Or do a search for Belgian/German/whatever beer online. Etc. Etc.

I admit, this post was written in jest…sort of. But I’m also dead serious. I’m a class-A beer nerd, and the best (beer-related) present I could get from my significant other would be a bottle of Cantillon, any Cantillon, and a Cantillon glass. (I’d really love a new Mercedes, but we all know that ain’t fucking happening, sooooo….)

Forget those silly bottle openers and tshirts and shit. Good, special beer is the best gift a beer nerd can receive this holiday season.

UBN

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Narragansett 122nd Anniversary Imperial IPA Now Shipping

Narragansett 122nd Anniversary Imperial IPA

Providence, Rhode Island’s Narragansett Beer Co. is now shipping a brand new beer, its 122nd Anniversary Imperial IPA.

Narragansett, which is known for its mediocre lager beer and silly “Hi Neighbor!” motto, is enjoying a bit of a revival in and around New England these days, due to its PBR-esque hipster appeal. The brewery is apparently trying to capitalize on this, and the current popularity of American IPA throughout the country, with its own double IPA.

From Narragansett:

“Celebrate ‘Gansett’s storied 122 years in business with the limited-edition Imperial IPA. Released in a 22-ounce bomber bottle, the IPA is chock-full of references to Narragansett’s anniversary. The label is styled after an early Private Stock Ale label used by the company when they began brewing ales in the late 1890s, which underscores ‘Gansett’s heritage as one of the original craft brewers in New England.

“Narragansett Imperial IPA was crafted with the best of American and German ingredients, to reflect the great history and legacy behind the brand.  We used American 2-row pale malt as the base for this beer, and German Specialty malts to build the back bone and flavor profile of this beer.

“Summit hops were used for all the kettle hopping, and then we used a mix of Northern Brewers, Hallertau, Tettanager, and Sazz hops at a rate of 2 lb.’s per bbl for our dry hopping.  This Imperial IPA will weigh in at 8.6 percent ABV with a target IBU of 122 to reflect the age of Gansett as a company.

“Narragansett Imperial IPA is brewed under the supervision of award-winning Brewmaster Sean Larkin at Trinity Brew House in Providence, R.I. It will be  available for purchase for a limited time throughout all of New England, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.”

I’m not really a big Narragansett drinker, but I’ll pick up one of these bombers when I see one, if for no other reason than to support local New England brewers. I’m not expecting much, but who knows? I was pleasantly surprised by Narrangansett’s Bock beer.

UBN

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Ballast Point Sculpin IPA in a Can

Ballast Point Sculpin IPA in a can

San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing Co. is now canning its first beer, the popular Sculpin IPA, based on an image it posted on Facebook.

Sculpin has previously been available only in 12 oz. and 22 oz. bottles and on draft. Oskar Blues Brewing Co. started a craft-beer-can revolution when it decided to can all of its beer, proving that “good beer” can come in aluminum cans. And now that consumers are a bit more accustomed to seeing craft beer in cans, more and more brewers are doing the can thing.

Lots of beer nerds still prefer bottles over cans. (I’m one of them.) But cans do have their advantages. They’re smaller and stackable, so they take up less space and can be more portable. They don’t shatter. They’re lighter when they’re empty, making them easier to carry back to beer retailers for recycling. And they block out light, which can age beer quickly and decrease freshness.

UBN

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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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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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