Tag Archives: beers

The Chainmail Beer Stein Fit for a Medieval Knight

Chainmail Beer Stein

Like many serious beer nerds, I collect glassware. But this one-of-a-kind, chainmail beer stein made entirely of ringlets of galvanized steel is one of the most unique beer steins I’ve ever seen. Of course, you wouldn’t really want to attempt to drink a beer out of it because it’s full of holes. It’s not for sale, anyway; its creator spent more than a year designing and building the five-pound, 7.5-inch tall stein, so he/she probably wouldn’t part with it without a (sword) fight—or an exchange of significant funds.

Still, that thing would make a worthy addition to any beer nerd’s glassware and/or tchotchke collection.

UBN

Via ChainedBeauty.DeviantArt.com

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Build a Beer-Bottle Menorah This Chanukah, Win Prizes from Shmaltz Brewing

ShmatlzBrewingBeerMenorahContest

Chanukah 2012 is right around the corner, and this year Chosen beer nerds have many reasons to celebrate, not the least of which: Shmaltz Brewing Co. is once again holding its annual Beer Menorah Contest, and you can win a number of prizes from the brewer simply by pounding a few brews and then constructing a menorah out of your empties.

Shmaltz is pushing its Limited 2012 Holiday Gift Pack, which comes with eight different beers, a special glass and Chanukah candles, as part of the Beer Menorah Contest. And the gift pack comes with some basic instruction on how to get started. Once you’ve completed your holiday beer masterpiece, you simply submit images to Shmaltz via email (BeerMenorah@shmaltzbrewing.com) or on the brewer’s Facebook page. And Shmaltz’s Facebook “Friends” will then vote for the best submissions.

ShmaltzBrewingHolidayGiftPack2012

Shmaltz hasn’t specified the prizes that can be won, but it stands to reason that pint glasses, tshirts, bottle openers and all the usual beer tchotchkes will be on the list.

L’Chaim!

(Gentiles may also be interested in my recent post, “How to Make Your Own Custom Beer Nerd Christmas Ornament.”)

UBN

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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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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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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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How PBR Got Its “Blue Ribbon” — and Its Modern Name

PBR Pabst Blue Ribbon Neon Sign

Pabst Blue Ribbon, a.k.a., PBR, the current beer of choice for angst-ridden hipsters and cheap alcoholics everywhere, got its “blue ribbon” and its modern name after winning the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair beer exposition, according to a blog post on SmithsonianMag.com.

The beer, which was originally called Pabst Best Select, or PBS, had apparently been getting a lot of attention before the World’s Fair, and the brewer started tying ribbons onto the beer bottles to make them stand out. By 1900, Pabst was using more than a million feet of ribbon per year, according to the post. After winning best beer at the Chicago World’ Fair, the company changed its name.

I guess it makes sense that Pabst actually won a major award before it got its modern-day name, but I never really stopped to consider which one. Now I—and you—know.

The Smithsonian post is packed with additional details, so pop on over there for more information.

UBN

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A New Brew for Beer Nerds and BOOK Nerds: Rogue White Whale Ale, with Pages from Moby Dick

Rogue Moby Dick White Whale Ale

Rogue Ales makes some really fucking weird beers. It also makes some really good beers—I’m partial to its Brutal IPA. But it’s often the odd ones that get the most attention.

Today, the Oregon-based brewery announced a new ale made with pages from the classic novel, Moby Dick, by Herman Melville. Seriously. The brewer, along with Powell’s Books, also based in Oregon, tore up some pages and dropped them into the kettle during the brewing process.

From Rogue:

“White Whale Ale was brewed in honor of Powell’s Books 41st Anniversary. Powell’s Books is the one of the world’s great independent and family run bookstores. Its flagship store in downtown Portland, Oregon covers an entire city block and contains more than one million new and used books. It also serves customers worldwide through Powells.com.

“White Whale Ale is available at Rogue Hall in the heart of the Portland State University campus and the Rogue Distillery & Public House located in Portland’s historic Pearl District, just blocks from Powell’s Books on Burnside.  Commemorative bottles may also be purchased online at www.rogue.com.”

No information is available on what type of beer White Whale Ale is, but it stands to reason that it’s a Belgian-style white.

Rogue also recently announced a new beer that’s made with yeast from brewmaster John Maier’s beard, and it’s the maker of the (in)famous Rouge Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple ale.

I think I’d be more interested if someone made a beer with pages from Stephen King’s The Shining, but that’s just me. (DREN REEB, DREN REEB)

UBN

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Tips on How to Age Beer, from Dogfish Head

Cantillon Bottles Aging

Bottles of beer aging at the Cantillon brewery in Brussels, Belgium

Last summer, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery posted an informative story with five tips on how to age beer. At the time, I glanced over it quickly, but I honestly wasn’t really thinking too much about aging brews at that point. Since then, I’ve built up my beer “cellar,” which is really just a big-ass cabinet built into the wall in my apartment, and I’ve spend quite a bit of time identifying and amassing beers that should age well.

Here’s a quick breakdown of Dogfish Head’s tips on how to age beer:

  1. A little experimentation goes a long way
  2. Don’t underestimate fresh
  3. High-alcohol beers tend to age better
  4. Storage matters
  5. Beer won’t spoil

After doing a lot of experimenting of my own, the first two steps really stand out to me. I’ve learned that the best way to really see and taste the difference between aged beer and “young” beer is to collect different “vintages” of each of them, and then do side-by-side taste tests. For example, I have bottles of this year’s Dogfish Worldwide Stout and 120 Minute IPA, both of which have very high ABVs, and both of which are particularly well suited for aging. I don’t plan on drinking either of them until I can get 2013 versions of each beer, at least, and probably not until I collect 2014 bottles, too. I’ve had Worldwide Stout and 120 Minute IPA numerous times in the past, but never along with different vintages, and it’s hard to remember their complex subtleties.

I’ve also learned that as a general rule of thumb, hoppy beers and beers made with fruit tend to taste better fresh and probably don’t make the best candidates for aging. There are some exceptions, of course—120 Minute IPA is intensely hoppy and some Belgian beers made with cherries or other berries can age well over a number of years. Many people think IPAs age well, because they were originally sent by the British Army to soldiers in India and were thought to age better than normal pale ales. But that was due to the increase in ABV, and I’d bet those IPAs didn’t exactly taste fresh after their long voyages.

Read more specifics from Dogfish Head’s Quality Control Manager Rebecca Newman on the brewer’s website.

UBN

Image via Flickr user Travlr

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