Tag Archives: craft beer

5 O’Clock on Friday is Rodenbach Time

Fuck Guinness Time. It’s five o’clock on Friday, and that’s Rodenbach time as far as I’m concerned. I’m about to crack a frosty Flemish red, and I thought I’d share this funky old vintage Rodenbach sign I recently found on the Belgian brewer’s Facebook page:

Rodenbach Time vintage sign

And here’s my very own Rodenbach Grand Cru:

Rodenbach Grand Cru bottle and glassware

This is the first beer I’ve had this week, so I’m really looking forward to it. Happy Friday, errybuddy. Cheers, sláinte, proost, santé and all that good stuff.

UBN

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The Beeriodic Table of Elements

While bottling a batch of my UBN Big Dipper Belgian-style double IPA (UBN BDIPA) last weekend at Barleycorn’s Craft Brew in Natick, Mass., I spotted this amusing “Beeriodic Table” poster. It’s a beery take on the scientific Periodic Table of Elements.

The Beeriodic Table

From Beeriodic.com, where you can purchase your own Beeriodic Table post for $11.50 (plus shipping):

“This authentic marriage of general chemistry and zymurgy (brewing) is intended to be delightfully entertaining. Even if you aren’t a science or beer drinking type, you might still find the poster intriguing. It serves as a classy addition to most any wall, and it could quite possibly be the perfect gift idea!

“Each of the 112 blocks comprising the poster showcases the ‘science’ (elemental information) along with the ‘suds’ (a beer’s information) by pairing a specific beer to a specific element.”

A Beeriodic Table poster could make a nice addition to man cave, barroom or other drinking spot. Something tells me my girl wouldn’t appreciate it if purchased one and hung it in our tiny apartment though.

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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Beer Porn: Bottles of Cantillon Zwanze 2013

Bottles of Cantillon Zwanze 2013 in Brussels Belgium

Last week, I posted about Brasserie Cantillon‘s 2014/2015 Zwanze beer, which will very likely be a spontaneously-fermented stout. I’ve been searching for details on the 2013 version of Cantillon’s Zwanze, an annual, limited-release beer that’s different each year, but I haven’t come up with anything. In fact, it seems as though Cantillon and its lead brewer Jean Van Roy are being somewhat secretive about the 2013 Zwanze beer.

The picture above comes from Twitter user Kyle Black (@kylefblack), and it was taken yesterday at the Cantillon brewery in Brussels, Belgium. The image shows bottles of 2013 Zwanze and 2013 gueuze. When Black asked about Zwanze 2013, the Cantillon staff would not share any details. That’s unfortunate, but I’m still glad to see this fine bit of beer porn. It was all but certain that Cantillon has a 2013 Zwanze in the works, and this image seems to confirm it. This Zwanze 2013 appears to have been bottled in October 2012. For more on Zwanze, check out my post from a 2012 Zwanze Day celebration.

Thanks again for sharing, Kyle.

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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Got a Case of Bad Nerves? Get a Case of Good Beer

Cases of Heady Topper IPA

“There is nothing for a case of nerves like a case of beer.” – Joan Goldstein

I have no idea who Ms. Goldstein is, and Google wasn’t particularly helpful in finding out. But I like her style. I don’t totally agree with this quote, and I can think of a few other chemical and pharmaceutical fixes for ragged nerves that may top beer. But personally, I prefer the beer—especially if it’s Heady Topper. On a snowy Tuesday evening after a long day of alternating between shoveling and sitting in front of a computer monitor, I really need a beer to calm my nerves. Or 24 of them.

UBN

Image via Reddit

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Scenes from Extreme Beer Fest (EBF) 2013 in Boston

I just walked through the doors of Boston’s Cyclorama, the location of the 2013 Extreme Beer Fest (EBF), presented by Beer Advocate and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. EBF was supposed to be held in Boston a month ago, but a major snow storm hit the Northeast and crippled the city for days, leading to the cancellation and eventual rescheduling of the festival. Mother Nature can’t keep us beer nerds down, and we’re here today to try as many wacky, wild and challenging new beers as we can in three and a half hours. I don’t think I’ll have too much more time to write, but I thought I’d share some scenes from this year’s EBF. I’ll be updating this post throughout the event with images so check back often if you want to see what I see.

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Craft beer enthusiasts mill about before the EBF evening session

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The EBF line rapidly forming 45 minutes before doors open

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The Dogfish stand at EBF

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Allagash stand at EBF. Fantastic sour called FV13.

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Crazy busy show floor at EBF

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Firestone Walker booth at EBF. Wild Weisse Berliner Weisse made it worth the wait in the long ass line

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John Kimmich from The Alchemist, brewer of the illustrious Heady Topper

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The Bruery folks. Love that Sour in the Rye

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Samuel Adams dudes talking beer

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Captain Lawrence Brewing served a nice chocolate stout

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Nothing like a piping hot, sugar-coated waffle to top off a successful beer fest

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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Cantillon’s 2014/2015 Zwanze Could be Spontaneously-Fermented Stout

Cantillon Zwanze Stout wort

Brasserie Cantillon, one of the world’s finest traditional brewers of Belgian lambic beer and one of my favorite breweries, recently posted some images and information on its Facebook page that suggest its annual Zwanze beer for 2014 or 2015 could be a spontaneously fermented stout.

From Cantillon’s page:

“Dark for a Lambic wort isn’it?? This is the probably future Zwanze 2014 or 2015, a Cantillon interpretation for a spontaneous fermentation stout…Fermentation starts! Foam is darker than the one from a Lambic, we are on the right way…”

Last year’s Zwanze Day was one of my favorite beer “holidays” of 2012. (Find out why here.) And the 2012 Zwanze brew, a lambic flavored with rhubard, was one of the most interesting beers I’ve ever tasted. I haven’t been able to find any official details on the 2013 Zwanze Day, but I can tell you I will be in attendance, assuming there is a celebration this year.

Cantillon Zwanze Stout Fermentation

I honestly don’t think I’ve ever had a spontaneously fermented stout, but I’ll give anything Cantillon brews a try. The closest beer I can think of is Drie Fonteinen’s Zwet.be, a porter brewed with wild yeast, which I had recently and enjoyed.

Anyway, the countdown to 2013—and 2014 and 2015—Zwanze Day is on.

UBN

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One More Reason to Dig Dogfish Head

Dogfish Head for Life beer coaster

I’ve been drinking beer from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery for nearly a decade. I remember the first bottle of Dogfish 90 Minute IPA I drank at an Irish pub called the Squealing Pig in Boston’s Mission Hill neighborhood. It blew me away and sparked a love affair with hops and IPA.

I support Dogfish first and foremost because it brews great beer. But I also support the brewery because it’s a cool, socially responsible company with a sense of humor that genuinely cares about and values its customers. (Read, “5 Funky Facts I Learned About Dogfish from Founder Sam Calagione’s Book,” for more on Dogfish.)

Case in point: I purchased Dogfish’s new Spiegelau IPA glass the day it was released via Dogfish’s online store. Less than a month later, my glass cracked while I was hand washing it under very hot water. I didn’t drop the glass. I didn’t bump it. It didn’t shatter. It just cracked straight down its side, from the rim of the glass to close to the bottom of its “bowl.”

I tweeted about the incident, and Dogfish quickly responded, asking me to send details to its customer support account. I did so, received an email response within 24 hours and a new Dogfish IPA glass in just a few days.

Dogfish didn’t have to send a new glass; I honestly didn’t expect to get another one for free. Glasses break, right? Especially when people are drinking alcohol out of them.

That said, I also probably would not have purchased another Spiegelau IPA glass. I collect beer glasses. I own other Spiegelau glasses. I have other Dogfish glasses, and I have never had one break while simply washing it, without bumping it or anything. This makes me question the viability of the design of the IPA glass. Its features work just as Dogfish, its partner in design Sierra Nevada and Spiegelau intended them to. It provides an quality IPA drinking experience. But the glass is so thin along its rim that I bet I won’t be the only person to see their IPA glass break for no good reason.

Time will tell, but I’m still dubious. Either way, I appreciate the new glass. And even more, I appreciate the gesture of good faith. Thanks Dogfish. (Shout out to Janelle at Dogfish who responded to my email and quickly sent along a new glass.)

UBN

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