• Hot Beer Drinks for Cold Days

    HotDrink

    Some people—maybe you are one of them—would rather live in sunny, tropical places all year long if they could manage it. My wife is one. Not me. I like seasons. I like raking leaves when it’s time for raking leaves and shoveling snow when it’s time for shoveling snow. I like the chance to do, eat and drink different things as the year turns round. I like the changing moods brought by changing weather.

    So here we are, two months into autumn, and it feels pretty much like, well, like it did at the beginning of autumn. I don’t know what it’s like in your neighborhood, but here it’s unseasonably warm. Leaves are still falling, somehow, and we’re still waiting for a decent frost. (Maybe writing about that will jinx the weather into normalcy. Or maybe writing about the jinx only jinxes the jinx, neutralizing its power. Or, maybe writing about the jinx on the jinx…)

    Anyway, let’s get on with winter. Scarves wait to be worn. Drinks wait to be warmed.

    A few days ago, I set out to write a little piece about warmed-up beer drinks for winter, and how to make a few of them. That little piece turned into a glossary of sorts, and then that glossary grew some more. I found more drinks than I expected, many of them with cool names—Dog’s Nose, anyone?—and I reserve the right to come back here later and add more.

    But before we get to the list, there are a few things to address. If you want to play with warm ale, what should you know?

    First of all: If you want, we can pretend like this is the next big hip trend and everyone is going to be heating up their ale with spices and eggs this year. But that’s bullshit. My research turned up several articles over the past several holiday seasons (although none were as comprehensive as this).

    As far as I can tell, there has been no great renaissance of hot ale drinks.

    Maybe there is a reason for that. And to take that thought further, maybe there is a reason that these drinks basically died out as refrigeration became more common, and better industrial practice produced more consistent beer.

    Maybe cool, well-made beer is by and large better than these fascinating, historic, seasonal, and at times poetic adulterations.

    Remember, these drinks were products of times when house-brewed or tavern-brewed ales were of widely varying quality. Sugar and spice probably improved them. Eggs and even bread could add nutritional value for people who had less food and more physical work to do. This was hot food, even if it raised spirits more than a cup of soup.

    It was also hot medicine. Some of these drinks were already old-fashioned by the 19th century, when recipe books (from what I have seen so far) tended to consider them as cold remedies, or hospital food for invalids.

    Also, cold days and nights hit people harder back then. Cold beer would have been a viable option in that weather, but … Let me put it this way: In the 21st century, we’re able to watch a blizzard out the window while drinking cold beer, and somehow this is not considered absurd. People think social media are such a revolution, but how about climate control?

    About heating these drinks: Some of these old recipes call for boiling the beer. Maybe they didn’t always know that this reduces the intoxicating effect, or maybe they just didn’t care—again, this was more about warmth, nutrition or healing, not just celebration. Regardless, I think the modern advice would be to heat not quite to boiling. But it’s up to you.

    Another thing: Go with sweeter beer if you have it, not bitter beer. Cold and carbonation help mediate bitterness, but heat seems to intensify it while cooking kills the bubbles. You’ve been warned.

    So far I’ve only tested one of these “recipes,” if you can call them that. My wife and I made Rum Flip. We used The Honeyed One amber from High Hops—because it is sweet and strong (7.1%) and because it was handy—with eggs, some 12-year-old Guyanese rum, and freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon. I liked it. She didn’t. The alcohol taste was a bit strong for her.

    I found it … warming.

    The rundown so far:

    Mulled ale: This is the baseline, so I put it at the top. The idea is, take whatever beer you think would work best, warm it up, and add sugar (or honey), spices and … maybe an egg. Sounds weird, but the egg is traditional when it comes to these old tavern drinks. Sometimes there is cream too. There is lots of room for interpretation and tweaking. A typical recipe involves heating the beer and spices not quite to boiling, then tempering a mixture of egg and sugar before adding it to the beer. Alan McLeod, who writes A Good Beer Blog and co-authored the historical book “Upper Hudson Valley Beer,” dug up some New York newspaper clippings for us. They included this gem from the New York Spectator of December 27, 1845:

    “There is nothing in the world so democratic as mulled ale; it is an arch leveller of all conventional dignity, and deserves to meet with especial patronage in every republic.”

    Aleberry is a mulled ale with chunks of bread soaking in it. It’s one that historian Gregg Smith, author of “Beer in America: The Early Years,” mentions here. Why bread? Maybe it’s better that way. I’d be tempted to use a dark, spicy rye. Or maybe different types of bread go better with different types of ale? Let us know if you experiment.

    Caudle is a thick, warm drink meant for nourishment. It apparently began as a medieval English version of mulled wine or ale. One 15th century recipe lists several options including egg yolks, ground almonds, sugar, honey, saffron and ginger. It’s tempting to try them all at once. Later versions appear to include bread or porridge, as its use became more medicinal.

    Dog’s Nose is typically a blend of ale (often porter) and gin, not always served warm. I think it ought to be warm. The nice-looking recipe on this blog Gin and Crumpets calls for a bottle of porter and about two ounces of gin, warming them together with nutmeg and three teaspoons of brown sugar. (It doesn’t call for an egg, but after the reading the flip recipes I’m tempted to add one. It’s also tempted to try a warmed, sweetened version of Rattleskull, which was a mixture of strong porter, rum, lime juice and nutmeg.)

    Flip is the name for several drinks, including a form of mulled ale famously heated with a iron poker red-hot from the fireplace. The poker is what people remember today, but most old flip recipes I’ve found (so far) don’t mention it. The Jerry Thomas book “How to Mix Drinks” from 1862 suggests that pouring the mixture back and forth between two pitchers is what makes it a flip. (He doesn’t mention a hot poker.) According to Thomas: “The essential in flips of all sorts is to produce the smoothness by repeated pouring back and forward between two vessels and beating up the eggs well.” Note that because these are hot liquids mixed with eggs, it’s a good time to acquaint yourself with a technique called tempering—so you don’t get bits of cooked egg floating in your drink. Thomas includes several similar versions of flip, including these:

    • Ale Flip: Boil a quart of ale. Beat two egg whites and also separately beat four egg yolks. Freshly grate half a seed of nutmeg into four tablespoons of sugar, and gradually add the separate egg mixtures to combine. Gradually whisk in the hot ale, then pour from one pitcher to another “till the flip is smooth and finely frothed.”
    • Egg Flip also takes two egg whites and four yolks, this time beaten together with four tablespoons of brown sugar and some nutmeg. Gradually pour in the boiling-hot ale while stirring, then pour from pitcher to pitcher from “as great a height as possible” to produce “the smoothness and frothing essential to the good quality of the flip.”
    • Rum Flip: Grind some ginger, nutmeg and lemon peel together with a mortar and pestle. Warm up a quart of ale. Beat three or four eggs with some sugar, a teaspoon of the ginger mixture, and a half-cup of rum or brandy. When the ale is near boiling, pour it into one pitcher and the rum mixture into another. Combine mixtures and pour back and forth from one pitcher to another “till it as smooth as cream.”

    Flip-dog is another name for Flip, as is hottle. Yard of Flannel is the same as an Egg Flip, above, according to Thomas.

    Glühkriek (or Kriek chaud) is the Belgian take on mulled wine, using cherry lambic in its place. A few breweries like Liefmans and Timmermans market tweaked version of their sweet cherry beers, meant for warming on the stove. Cascade in Oregon also makes a version with its sour cherry beers, called Glueh Kriek. The Belgian ones are available every year at the annual Kerstbierfestival in Essen, Belgium, where they have also been known to mix their own versions using authentic, sour kriek. For the version with De Cam Oude Kriek, they kept it warm at about 150°F, adding honey, cloves, a bay leaf and a cinnamon stick. (Out of curiosity I contacted Cantillon to see if the team there had any advice on warming of their kriek. Brewer Jean Van Roy says he prefers that we drink it cool. Some things, it would seem, are sacred.)

    Lambswool is another drink mentioned by Gregg Smith: “Popular in the 1700’s, preparation began by first roasting several apples until the skins burst. Strong, old ale was heated, into which nutmeg, ginger and sugar were thoroughly blended. Finally, the apples were immersed in the heated beer immediately before serving.” Some versions call specifically for crab apples.

    Posset originally was hot milk curdled by adding ale (or wine) to it. I don’t know. You try it first.

    Shenagrum is an old Cornish winter drink. Bloggers Boak & Bailey, authors of Brew Britannia, found this version in a 1930s cookbook compiled by the Cornish Women’s Institute: To two lumps of sugar, a wine glass of rum and two slices of lemon with rind, add a glass of boiling hot beer. Another recipe adds nutmeg and ginger. This site says the beer should be dark; I’m not convinced of dark beer’s historical importance in this recipe, but I like the sound of it.

    Wassail is a traditional hot drink for winter holidays, often associated in our minds with Christmas carols. The story goes that poorer beggars used to go around singing outside the homes of the rich, hopeful for a treat of cup of wassail—hence, “Here We Go a-Wassailing.” Some versions use mulled cider or wine, but ale appears to be just as traditional. According to Smith: “Sugar was placed in the bottom of a bowl, one pint of warm beer was then poured in along with nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. After all ingredients were infused, the mixture was allowed to stand for several hours. When ready to serve it was heated and topped with several thin slices of toast.”

     

    Source: http://draftmag.com/

  • Millennials are Drinking Wine Instead of Beer and the Industry is Freaking Out

    beer_vs_wine

    Millennials are increasingly moving away from beer in favor of wine and spirits.

    This trend is scaring major companies like Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, and Heineken, according to a recent report by Morgan Stanley.

    “Overall beer consumption trends remain weak, and it appears millennials are increasingly turning to other alcoholic beverages,” the analysts write.

    And many millennials who do drink beer prefer craft varieties to traditional pale lagers like Budweiser.

    In fact, a recent Budweiser study found that 44% of drinkers aged 21 to 27 have never tried the brand, reports Tripp Mickle at The Wall Street Journal.

    At the brand’s peak in 1988, it was selling 50 million barrels of beer a year. That number has declined to 16 million barrels.

    beer chart morgan stanleyMorgan Stanley

    The Journal says that traditional beers have a reputation for being bland in taste. Beer can also be difficult to keep cold, whereas wine and cocktails can be put on ice or drank at room temperature.

    In order to attract younger customers, Anheuser-Busch has released spoofs on classic cocktails.

    The Bud Light Mixxtails are canned and bottled versions of classic cocktails like the Hurricane and Long Island Iced Tea.

    The brand also released Bud Light Ritas, which are flavored to taste like margaritas.

    Morgan Stanley analysts are concerned that this strategy could backfire and Mixxtail and Rita customers will graduate to actual cocktails instead of buying classic beers.

    But Anheuser-Busch maintains the canned margaritas are a huge hit — especially with women.

  • Archaic Beer Styles are Back for The 21st Century

    Stiring the pot

    Last year we couldn’t get enough gose, a traditional tart-and-salty German ale that suddenly hit shelves en masse with popular canned versions from Anderson Valley and Westbrook leading the charge. But it’s not the only long-lost style to rise from the dead: Today’s most forward-thinking breweries are looking back, referencing historic styles to draw new drinkers.

    By culling dusty recipes from European traditions, brewers are unlocking a new world of beer for us (forewarning: these names don’t roll off the tongue as easily as “IPA”): There’s gotlandsdricka, a smoked, juniper-laced farmhouse ale from an island off Sweden, brewed stateside by D.C.’s Right Proper; and kottbusser, a dark East German ale brewed with honey and molasses that’s been revived by Chicago’s Off Color and Loveland, Colo.’s Grimm Brothers. Or pick up a bottle of sticke alt—that’s a darker, higher- ABV version of the copper-colored German altbier (look for Sticke It To The Man, brewed by Missouri’s O’Fallon). Yes, these beers are unfamiliar, but brewers say the styles are as relevant in 2015 as they were hundreds of years ago. After all, there’s a reason they were popular in the first place.

    “We have bars that are middle-of-nowhere, crazy biker bars that run through our [historic] beer because it’s drinkable,” says Russell Fruits, vice president of Grimm Brothers, which in addition to its kottbusser bottles a gratzer, a type of smoky wheat ale born in Poland.

    Drinkable—and different. As craft beer fans’ palates become more intrepid, some want to see less common styles. Brewers with a detective streak are happy to indulge craft beer fans’ taste for the unusual.

    “At the end of the day, I’m a big nerd. I have both this curiosity and this romantic notion about where everything came from,” says Erik Lars Myers of Hillsborough, N.C.’s Mystery Brewing, which eschews flagship beers entirely and instead pours a seasonal taproom lineup that has included arcane Scottish, German and British styles.

    For Mystery, that means digging deep into library stacks or Internet databases. Luckily, Myers has help from his wife, Sarah Ficke, Assistant Professor of Literature and Languages at Marymount University, who combs archives to find documents from Germany, Britain and the American South that might inspire the next Mystery beer. It was her research about Southern plantations that led to the creation of Caswell, a historic North Carolina beer that Mystery brewed with ginger, wheat, rice and N.C.-grown barley.

    Myers approximated the beer from recipes Ficke found in the “Confederate Receipt Book,” published in 1863, including entries for “table beer” and “spruce beer.” He updated the recipes with modern malts, but also included grains that would have been available in North Carolina at that time.

    Other brewers turn to enthusiasts overseas for help. Grimm Brothers’ Fruits corresponds with German beer makers, homebrew clubs and German-focused BeerAdvocate.com mes- sage boards to learn more about beer styles and recipes that aren’t well-documented in English. That back-and-forth with homebrewers helped Grimm Brothers nail Gustavus Lichtenhainer, a smoky, tart beer that takes its name from a village in central Germany.

    “Google Translate is my favorite thing,” he says. “We get emails and Facebook messages from these guys: ‘I found this recipe in Grandpa’s attic; what can I do with this?’”

    Sometimes when Fruits finds an especially dusty or regionally specific style, he doesn’t even have a recipe to start from.

    “Luckily, the Germans were very good at keeping tax records, so there’s a lot of historical data,” he says. “You can translate business records from this mill or this roaster into how much of a certain grain they were using.”

    If this sounds esoteric, that’s because it is. Though some brewers have a passion for these beers, they know that, realistically, the sticke alt isn’t going to replace the IPA on grocery shelves across America. At least not anytime soon. They rely on personal passion—and curiosity from a certain segment of drinkers—to keep these arcane beers alive.

    “Brewing these beers is a lot more than looking at it like, ‘This is a niche that isn’t filled.’ It’s more like, ‘I wonder what this tastes like. I bet other people do, too.’”

    Source:  http://draftmag.com/

  • You’re drinking your beer too cold — and here’s why

     

    I have a drinking problem, and it makes me order two beers at a time in bars and restaurants.

    My problem is this: We drink our beer too cold, America.

    Beer typically flows from taps and your fridge at a frigid 38 degrees, an ideal temperature for the mass-produced brews designed to be refreshingly easy to drink while obscuring the cost-saving ingredients within.

    But for beers aspiring to some degree of nuance — arguably the definition of craft beer — 38 degrees is the equivalent of plastic wrap around a Kandinsky: It obscures all the beauty within. Sipped too cold, most craft beer is a shadow of what its maker intends, with layers of flavor lost to a palate-chilling cold.

    The ideal minimum temperature for most craft beer is in the low to mid-40s. For hearty yeast or hop-forward ales, a bit warmer. For even more adventurous styles, such as lambics or imperial stouts infused with flavors of oak, bourbon, chocolate, coffee or vanilla, warmer still — arguably as high as the upper 50s. When trying to meld an array of intricate flavors by pairing beer and food, proper temperature becomes even more important.

    In the best bars, I therefore often order two (or more!) beers at a time: one that doesn’t mind the cold to sip immediately and one that’s higher alcohol, more complex and best served by 20 minutes of slowly warming. A double order sometimes furrows the brow of a bartender or companion — as if my drinking problem is far more serious — but of all the factors that influence beer taste, temperature is one of the easiest for a drinker to control. And so I do.

    The idea of “cold beer” remains intact as ever, thanks mostly to the millions spent by Bud, Miller and Coors to show us slow-motion pulls of glistening bottles from teeming buckets of ice. It reaches in every direction, from the innocuous (bars proudly trumpeting their “cold beer”) to the egregious (bars serving beer in chilled or — heaven forfend — frosted glasses). Though to be fair, sometimes, cold is exactly what a beer requires.

    “If I’m drinking a High Life, I want it to be cold because I don’t want to taste it,” says Gary Valentine, a beer consultant and educator, who has worked on the beer lists at Girl and the Goat and Little Goat in Chicago, among other restaurants. “Otherwise, if you have a beer you want to taste, it should be above at least 43 degrees.”

    That means being a proactive beer drinker: dual ordering in a bar or restaurant. If served a beer in a chilled or frosted glass, requesting a room temperature glass and making a careful transfer. At home, pulling a beer from the refrigerator for 10 minutes to an hour before opening it. Or, if you’re Ray Daniels, founder of the Cicerone beer education program, sticking a beer in the microwave.

    “Ten seconds takes that frosty edge off,” Daniels says. “I used to do it pretty regularly.”

    The Cicerone program, which has certified the beer knowledge of 50,000 people worldwide, spends ample time discussing beer style, storage, tap line maintenance and glassware but relatively little time on temperature “because of the practical challenges for making that happen and because there are so many other dragons to slay,” Daniels says. But as a consumer, he is acutely aware.

    “It has a big influence on your perception of flavor,” he says. “That’s undeniable.”

    Though Daniels no longer microwaves his beer — “I’m not that impatient anymore” — he does make a habit of wrapping his hands around a fresh-from-the-tap beer to warm the glass before taking a sip.

    The issue is a beer’s volatile organic compounds; bad for smelling when it comes to paints and cleaning products, VOCs are everything to beer, releasing the aroma and flavor (which combine to create “taste”) as they warm.

    “So much of our sense of taste is in the sense of smell,” Daniels says. “In order to stimulate the olfactory nerves, you have to have volatile compounds enter the nasal passage and into the throat. If beer is too cold, it will release less aromatics.”

    Daniels suggested an experiment: In identical glasses, pour a straight-from-the-refrigerator beer alongside a bottle that spent 20 minutes warming on the counter. Drink side by side. Voila — the joys of not-too-cold beer.

    So then why don’t bars and restaurants serve beer warmer? Practical concerns, mostly. Tap systems are standardized at 38 degrees for two reasons: It’s a temperature that keeps beer fresh and allows for easy troubleshooting when tap systems go awry with foaming issues.

    “If everyone ran at a different temperature of their own choosing, then it would be really hard to ensure proper beer quality,” Daniels says.

    That doesn’t mean breweries and bars aren’t trying to do their part. Jerry’s restaurant and bar, in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, has considered serving barrel-aged stouts at room temperature, or storing them at room temperature and chilling them when ordered to about 50 degrees.

    “But it takes less time to go from 38 to 50 than down from 70 to 50,” says Chris Coons, who recently left a job as beer buyer for Jerry’s to work for a beer distributor. “If I’m opening a barrel-aged stout at home that’s been stored at room temperature, I’ll put it in the fridge for about an hour to cool it to about 50.”

    He called it “a signature beer geek move.”

    “The general public isn’t getting into beer temperature,” says Coons at the bar one afternoon. “But they should be.”

    Jerry’s general manager, Trey Elder, who spent 10 years working at three different Chicago coffee companies, chimed in: “Any extreme temperature, cold or hot, will mask flavor. At room temperature you’ll taste everything. When coffee is really hot, you won’t be able to taste that much. Coffees that are really amazing, you taste what’s amazing as they cool.”

    Or in the case of beer, as it warms. The more complex the ingredients, the truer it is. At Moody Tongue Brewing Co., for instance, brewer and owner Jared Rouben focuses exclusively on food-driven beers — Sliced Nectarine IPA, Caramelized Chocolate Churro Baltic Porter and Dehydrated Tangerine Cacao Wheat are three recent releases.

    On more than one occasion I’ve had a Moody Tongue beer at tap temperature and thought, “Eh — this is pretty good.” Twenty minutes later, the sentiment has usually changed to full-on “wow” as the complexity of the fresh ingredients emerged.

    Rouben professed no offense when I told him as much, and agreed that his beers are best between about 42 and 55 degrees. That belief is what led him to pick a peculiar shape as the branded Moody Tongue glass used in bars — the 15 1/2-ounce Napoli grande, which, based on its design, steers a drinker toward wrapping a hand around the glass’ narrow base, which slowly warms the beer.

    “In beautiful beers, all it does is open up layers,” Rouben said. “That said, I would encourage people to drink a beer at different temperatures, and experience the changes.”

    It’s a fair point. Beer isn’t just worth sipping at a precisely “proper” temperature, but across a range of temperatures that gradually unfold the flavor and nuance. Such an approach to beer drinking takes patience, thought and what some might consider fussing over. But like wine, spirits or anything else worth drinking, the best beers reveal themselves across a journey of sorts.

    Though, if you’re in a hurry, the microwave works too.

    jbnoel@tribune.com

    Twitter @joshbnoel

    Source: http://www.baltimoresun.com/

  • A Brewery on a Cruise Ship? That’s the Plan at Carnival

    Carnival-Cruises-Logo

    The brewpub craze that has been sweeping the nation in recent years is now heading to the high seas.

    Industry giant Carnival on Thursday said its next ship, the Carnival Vista, will have a pub with a working brewery — a first for a North American line.

    The 4,000-passenger vessel’s RedFrog Pub will serve up three house-made beers that passengers can watch being made in tanks behind a wall of glass, the line’s vice president for beverage operations, Eddie Allen, tells USA TODAY.

    “Our guests love beer, and they love trying new things,” Allen says, noting that the line also has been rolling out more craft beers across its fleet.

    Allen says the Carnival Vista brewpub will feature holding tanks for the house-made beer located near its entrance that passengers will be able to touch as they walk in. The fermentation tanks where the beer is brewed will be in the back behind the glass, and the line also is building a grist mill on a lower deck to process the grains needed for the brewing process.

    “We’re milling everything on site,” Allen says. “We want to be sure we’re putting our heart into this beer and making the best product we can.”

     Allen wouldn’t say if Carnival is partnering with an existing brewer to operate the brewery. But he said the brewery will have its own dedicated brewmasters, and at least one of the house-made brews is likely to be a wheat beer.

    The freshly-made beer will be available on tap at the pub’s bar and through innovative tabletop taps that allow guests to pour their own beer, he says. The pub also will offer an array of Caribbean-inspired cocktails, beers and rums. It’ll have indoor and outdoor seating and feature live music. Brewery tours and tastings also are in the plans.

    Only Germany-based Aida Cruises, which caters to the German-speaking market, has a working brewery on a ship.

    Carnival’s brewpub announcement comes just seven months after the line announced a partnership with Tampa-based craft brewery Cigar City to serve its beers on 13 ships sailing out of Tampa and four other Florida ports. The move is part of an effort to bring more local craft beers onto ships that also has included the addition of Hawaii-made beer from the Maui Brewing Company to vessels sailing to Hawaii and Louisiana-made beer from the Abita Brewing Company to ships sailing from New Orleans.

     Allen says mass-market brands Corona and Bud Light continue to be the top sellers on Carnival ships. But the craft beer movement that has swept the nation definitely has spilled onto the line’s ships, and cruisers are asking for more variety. Indeed, the trend is for beer drinkers to jump from brand to brand during a single sitting.

    “They’re not necessarily drinking the same beer back to back to back,” he says.

    Scheduled to debut in spring 2016, the Carnival Vista will spend the summer of 2016 in Europe before sailing to New York for a series of cruises.

    Source: http://www.usatoday.com/

  • Lucasfilm Sues Brewery Over Star Wars-Inspired Beer

    empire_strikes_back_style_a

    An upstate brewery that serves “Empire’s Strikes Bock” beer is feeling the force of the Star Wars franchise, which is demanding it stop selling the suds.

    Fans will likely mistake Empire Brewing Co.’s German-style “bock” lager as an official Star Wars product, says Disney-owned Lucasfilm, which and filed a legal notice to stop the Syracuse-based brewery from using the name.

    The brewery had declared, “May the hops be with you,” in a description of Strikes Bock on its Web site and featured an ad proclaiming the brew a hit “across the Galaxy” in a scrolling font similar to the movies’ opening signature crawl.

    In a notice of opposition filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office on Oct. 15, Lucasfilm claims the brew’s name is too close to the title of its 1980 mega-hit, “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.”

    The name will “cause confusion” — especially because director and founder George Lucas already sells Skywalker-brand wine, named after the hero Luke Skywalker, the legal notice claims.

    The conflict bubbled up after the brewery — which has been making the beer for seven years — recently filed trademark papers for the malty lager, a source from the brewery said.

    Kevin Griffin, a manager at Empire Brewery, claimed the fight was just a misunderstanding.

    The beer, he said, is actually just called “Strikes Bock,” with the word “Empire” referring the only to its maker.

    “I don’t see why they would have any objection. It’s not like we’re using images of Star Wars on the bottle or on our Web site,” Griffin told The Post.

    “As a Star Wars fan boy, I’m a big dork. I’d love nothing more than to be the trilogy’s official beer, but I don’t think there’s any chance of people actually interpreting it that way.”

    Empire recently made a push to sell the beer at venues outside its brew pub in Syracuse.

    Pub owner David Katleski says Empire can’t afford to wage a war with the Hollywood powerhouse.

    “It’s kind of a ‘big dog against small dog’ thing,’’ he told the Syracuse Post-Standard.

     

    Source:  http://nypost.com/

  • PSA: Hops are Poisonous to Dogs

    Gathering around the boil kettle with your bi-pedal friends is always a great time, but sometimes you can’t beat the assistance of your trusty brew dog. He may not offer much help during clean up or bark an unwarranted suggestion in your ear from time to time, but at the end of the day he’s there by your side through thick mash and thin layer of boil-over.

     

    Unfortunately for our canine friends, the hops we find so irresistible in our favorite ales and lagers are highly poisonous and can be fatal to dogs. Whether the hops are on the bine in your back yard, in pelletized form on your kitchen floor or in a pile of mush post-boil, the bitter cones must be kept away from dogs.

     

    Dogs who ingest hops can suffer effects including excessive panting, restlessness and signs of pain including muscle tremors and seizures. The most significant symptom is a rapid increase in temperature called malignant hyperthermia, which can cause fevers surpassing 108°F. Such a high fever results in damage to and failure of organ systems, according to the ASPCA.

     

    If you suspect your dog has consumed hops, seek veterinary care immediately or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

     

    It has been suggested that some other animals may also suffer such adverse effects from ingesting hops, though research to back up this claim is not extensive. When in doubt, keep your hops in a safe and secure place where your furry friends can’t gain access.

     

    Source: http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/

  • America’s First Strip Club Brewpub

    PintsAndPinups

    Looking for a more adult adult focus brewery and bar?  Look no further than Pints & Pinups Medway, OH.

     

    It started as a bizarre phone call from my editor: “We need to push back your column by a week, but we have another story for you,” she explained. “It’s for our annual Sex Issue.” Pause. “Apparently, there’s a gentleman’s club that is now brewing its own beer. We need you to go investigate.”

     

    A microbrewing topless bar? Who gets assignments like this?

     

    The club in question is Pinups and Pints. Attuned to Dayton’s brewing scene, I was surprised I hadn’t heard of it. I was skeptical; so, I began my research.

     

    The club is in Medway, just north of where I-675 dead-ends into I-70. I had never been to Medway, but it struck me as a sleepy little farm town just outside the ’burbs. My thoughts about strip clubs in tiny farm towns were not kind, but I tried to keep an open mind.

     

    So, I dug deeper. Turns out, there are whole sites devoted to rating strip clubs. Think Yelp for nudie clubs. While I couldn’t find Pinups and Pints, I could find a club at the same address – Baby Dolls. I will spare the reader quotes from the somewhat incomprehensible – and almost always misogynistic – reviews, but suffice it to say, the reviews weren’t good.

     

    At a bit of a loss as to how to cover this story, I called my editor. She recommended I talk to the publisher. When I got him on the phone, he offered some direction. Go in and meet the owner, get a feel for the place.

     

    “Go have a good time. Find out about their beer, interview some of the entertainers.”

     

    “This is going to be a shit show, isn’t it?” I asked.

     

    “Go into it with an open mind,” he chided. “You might be surprised.”

     

    My publisher gave me the number for Scott Conrad, the club’s owner. I called Conrad, who was more than happy to oblige, and arranged a visit for me to come with a few friends that Saturday.

     

    So, four of us, including me, a fellow beer geek, a local brewer and the owner of a local beer-forward establishment, trekked to Medway, all expecting the worst.

     

    “Wouldn’t it be weird,” one of us remarked, “if we got to the club and it was nice inside? Weirder still, if the beer was good and the entertainers were actually, well, entertaining?”

     

    And that might be the weirdest part of the whole story.

     

    When we pulled up, we were immediately surprised by the façade. The lighting was high-end, and the club looked out of place, like it belonged in some bigger, booming town. Inside, the surprises continued. The décor was tasteful and modern. Clearly, it had been recently updated with big, comfortable chairs and ambient lighting. The stage, with its requisite pole and mirrors, was tastefully subdued.

     

    Conrad greeted us inside. He owns Pinups and Pints and is one of the partners behind Diamonds Cabaret, the regionally-famous club in Centerville, as well as Vue Ultra Lounge and Club Masque. We went to the back room, which was where the brewery was housed. The brewery is a small affair – only a 15-gallon set-up, but a SABCO high-end computerized system that homebrewers would certainly kill for.

     

    Conrad confessed he hadn’t been an avid homebrewer, but the idea of making his own beer appealed to him. It also helped to renovate the club. Baby Dolls didn’t have a liquor license, and to get a license through the regional agencies can be tough. However, a brewer’s license is easier to obtain. Pinups and Pints’ type of license is the same one Fifth Street Brewpub, Lock 27 and several other local breweries hold. It allows them to not only brew and serve their own beer, but also to serve a full bar of guest beers, liquor and wine.

     

    Pinup Pale Ale, Conrad’s inaugural beer, was being primed for release that Monday, but we sampled an early release. It was a solid pale ale, a good start on a new system and one that will get better as Conrad works out the kinks in his system. “If I’m going to have it, I might as well make it good,” Conrad explained. He plans to do an Oktoberfest as well, offering two beer styles alongside the full bar.

     

    When asked about the impact the craft beer is having on business, Conrad noted, “It’s been great. We’ve been having people come out for the beer.” Alisha, the bartender and part-time dancer, noted a similar occurrence: “People are interested in the beer. It’s fun to have more to offer.”

     

    Overall, we had a great time. What we expected was light years away from what we experienced. With high-quality décor, attractive and enthusiastic entertainers and a solid bar centered around microbrewed flagship offerings, Pinups and Pints seems to have figured out a formula to turn around a struggling gentlemen’s club into something with the possibility of being a regional destination, as well as perhaps the only microbrewing strip club in the country.

     

    Reach DCP freelance writer Kevin J. Gray at KevinGray@DaytonCityPaper.com

    It started as a bizarre phone call from my editor: “We need to push back your column by a week, but we have another story for you,” she explained. “It’s for our annual Sex Issue.” Pause. “Apparently, there’s a gentleman’s club that is now brewing its own beer. We need you to go investigate.”

    A microbrewing topless bar? Who gets assignments like this?

    The club in question is Pinups and Pints. Attuned to Dayton’s brewing scene, I was surprised I hadn’t heard of it. I was skeptical; so, I began my research.

    The club is in Medway, just north of where I-675 dead-ends into I-70. I had never been to Medway, but it struck me as a sleepy little farm town just outside the ’burbs. My thoughts about strip clubs in tiny farm towns were not kind, but I tried to keep an open mind.

    So, I dug deeper. Turns out, there are whole sites devoted to rating strip clubs. Think Yelp for nudie clubs. While I couldn’t find Pinups and Pints, I could find a club at the same address – Baby Dolls. I will spare the reader quotes from the somewhat incomprehensible – and almost always misogynistic – reviews, but suffice it to say, the reviews weren’t good.

    At a bit of a loss as to how to cover this story, I called my editor. She recommended I talk to the publisher. When I got him on the phone, he offered some direction. Go in and meet the owner, get a feel for the place.

    “Go have a good time. Find out about their beer, interview some of the entertainers.”

    “This is going to be a shit show, isn’t it?” I asked.

    “Go into it with an open mind,” he chided. “You might be surprised.”

    My publisher gave me the number for Scott Conrad, the club’s owner. I called Conrad, who was more than happy to oblige, and arranged a visit for me to come with a few friends that Saturday.

    So, four of us, including me, a fellow beer geek, a local brewer and the owner of a local beer-forward establishment, trekked to Medway, all expecting the worst.

    “Wouldn’t it be weird,” one of us remarked, “if we got to the club and it was nice inside? Weirder still, if the beer was good and the entertainers were actually, well, entertaining?”

    And that might be the weirdest part of the whole story.

    When we pulled up, we were immediately surprised by the façade. The lighting was high-end, and the club looked out of place, like it belonged in some bigger, booming town. Inside, the surprises continued. The décor was tasteful and modern. Clearly, it had been recently updated with big, comfortable chairs and ambient lighting. The stage, with its requisite pole and mirrors, was tastefully subdued.

    Conrad greeted us inside. He owns Pinups and Pints and is one of the partners behind Diamonds Cabaret, the regionally-famous club in Centerville, as well as Vue Ultra Lounge and Club Masque. We went to the back room, which was where the brewery was housed. The brewery is a small affair – only a 15-gallon set-up, but a SABCO high-end computerized system that homebrewers would certainly kill for.

    Conrad confessed he hadn’t been an avid homebrewer, but the idea of making his own beer appealed to him. It also helped to renovate the club. Baby Dolls didn’t have a liquor license, and to get a license through the regional agencies can be tough. However, a brewer’s license is easier to obtain. Pinups and Pints’ type of license is the same one Fifth Street Brewpub, Lock 27 and several other local breweries hold. It allows them to not only brew and serve their own beer, but also to serve a full bar of guest beers, liquor and wine.

    Pinup Pale Ale, Conrad’s inaugural beer, was being primed for release that Monday, but we sampled an early release. It was a solid pale ale, a good start on a new system and one that will get better as Conrad works out the kinks in his system. “If I’m going to have it, I might as well make it good,” Conrad explained. He plans to do an Oktoberfest as well, offering two beer styles alongside the full bar.

    When asked about the impact the craft beer is having on business, Conrad noted, “It’s been great. We’ve been having people come out for the beer.” Alisha, the bartender and part-time dancer, noted a similar occurrence: “People are interested in the beer. It’s fun to have more to offer.”

    Overall, we had a great time. What we expected was light years away from what we experienced. With high-quality décor, attractive and enthusiastic entertainers and a solid bar centered around microbrewed flagship offerings, Pinups and Pints seems to have figured out a formula to turn around a struggling gentlemen’s club into something with the possibility of being a regional destination, as well as perhaps the only microbrewing strip club in the country.

    Reach DCP freelance writer Kevin J. Gray at KevinGray@DaytonCityPaper.com

    – See more at: http://www.daytoncitypaper.com/the-blonde-and-the-bubbly/#sthash.qOJ851jp.dpuf

    Source: http://www.daytoncitypaper.com/

  • Seaside Suds: The Best Cruise Ships for Beer Lovers

    Celebrity

    Photo: Celebrity Cruises

    Go ahead, pick your poison. Whether your pleasure is stout, pale ale, brown ale, IPAs or just a generic “cold one,” beer lovers will find plenty to like on cruise ships. Some lines are even embracing the meteoric rise in popularity of microbrews with special beer-themed cruises.

     

    Sip suds on these cruise ships.

     

    Celebrity Equinox: This ship is debuting Celebrity Cruises‘ new Gastrobar, featuring more than 40 beer varieties and elevated pub grub. On tap you’ll find Newcastle Brown Ale, Murphy’s Stout and Old Speckled Hen Pale. The drink menu is full of dark, golden, brown and India pale varieties, and lager fans will find diverse selections from France, Massachusetts and Belgium. The Celebrity Eclipse will get the pub next spring.

     

    Carnival Sunshine, Breeze, Freedom, Legend and Magic: Try Carnival Cruise Line‘s own branded ThirstyFrog Red Lager, accompanied by snacks such as coconut shrimp in the island-themed RedFrog Pub on these ships. Other selections on the beer menu include some Caribbean brands. Carnival also recently signed a deal with Cigar City Brewing to offer the Tampa-based company’s craft beers, specifically Florida Cracker Belgian-Style White Ale and Invasion Pale Ale, on all 13 of the cruise line’s Florida-based ships.

     

    AmaLyra: On this AmaWaterways river ship, combine Dutch and Belgian beer drinking with tulip viewing as you cruise through the Netherlands and Belgium. The sailing will be hosted next spring by beer columnist Don Russell, aka Joe Sixpack. Special events will include a beer-pairing dinner, beer-related excursions (including to a Dutch windmill brewery) and onboard discussions and tastings. The one-week cruise embarks Amsterdam on March 31. The line will also host a one-week, beer-focused holiday sailing in December 2015.

     

    Royal Caribbean ships: You can order up a pint in English-style pubs on 11 Royal Caribbean ships, including the world’s largest ships, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas. The menu features some 35 beer selections including Boddingtons Pub Ale, Murphy’s Stout and Chimay Blue Belgian, and the pubs themselves are cleverly named — Globe and Atlas on Oasis and Bow and Stern on Allure.

     

    Wilderness Adventurer: Sip craft beer and hear from Seattle craft beer scene experts Kendall Jones & Kim Sharpe Jones as you cruise with Un-Cruise Adventures on this 60-passenger ship in the Pacific Northwest, including to the San Juan Islands. The cruise embarks Seattle on October 4. The resident expert on a similar April 2015 cruise will be Robyn Schumacher, one of the owners and brewers at Stoup Brewing in Seattle.

     

    Avalon Vista: Attend Oktoberfest in Bavaria and gain beer knowledge shipboard on this Avalon Waterways ship, on a nine-day cruise from Vienna to Munich in October 9, 2015. The cruise will feature onboard tastings, visits to historic breweries and lectures on such topics as European beer-brewing techniques. There’s also a beer-focused cruise from Amsterdam on the Avalon Panorama next spring.

     

    Crystal Serenity: Join the Wine and Food: Microbrews cruise in November aboard this Crystal Cruisesluxury ship and sail from New York to Miami, via the eastern seaboard and Caribbean. Once onboard, you’ll hear from beer experts, brew masters and chefs. The experts will show how to make beer cocktails and how to cook with beer, while discussing such oddities as beer made with bacon. There will be tastings at sea and on shore, with optional small group Boutique Adventures visiting micro- and nano-breweries in New York and Charleston. The two-week cruise embarks on November 5.

     

    Volendam: On any cruise in Alaska beer lovers should check out the local beer scene. Alaskan Brewing Company and Haines Brewing are among many brands you’ll want to sample en-route. In September, as part of its Culinary Arts Center Program in partnership with Food & Wine Magazine, this Holland America Line ship has the added benefit of playing host to Patrick Hoogerhyde of Snow Goose Restaurant and Sleeping Lady Brewery in Anchorage. The sailing embarks Seattle on September 10.

     

    Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Jewel: O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill on these Norwegian Cruise Line ships is an Irish pub named in tribute to the line’s CEO, Kevin Sheehan, and open 24 hours a day. There are nearly 30 varieties of beer available including Beck’s, Newcastle and Bass Pale Ale among eight varieties on draught. For something different try a Snakebite — half Heineken and half Strongbow Cider. Complimentary American comfort food is part of the pub’s attraction too.

     

    Queen Mary 2: The iconic Golden Lion on Cunard Line‘s oceanliners is a classic British pub down to the etched glass windows. Belly up to the bar and on tap you’ll find Guinness, Boddingtons Bitter and Bass Ale, among other varieties. The comprehensive international beer menu has such selections as Greene King IPA and Old Speckled Hen. Pub lunches are popular, with the traditional menu including Ploughman’s lunch and fish & chips served with mushy peas.

    Source: http://www.usatoday.com/

  • Beer Flavored Ice Cream with Alcohol

    Frozen Pints

    Summer is in full swing, and what goes great with Summer?  Ice cream!!!  Why not enjoy a pint of your favorite beer flavor in ice cream form (with alcohol, too).  With a variety of flavors, there’s something for everyone. The only problem is they seem to only distribute in the Atlanta, Georgia area.  Anyone up for a road trip?

    From their about us page:

    Love at First Taste

     

    Like most great ideas, Frozen Pints™ started as an accident…

     

    Someone spilled a beer near the ice cream maker, and in a moment of slightly inebriated inspiration, we found our calling. After a short debate over which beer would do the honors, we chose our favorite and dumped it in. We got some crazy looks from fellow partygoers, but we were on a mission. Instead of dumping the hopped up cream to start a new batch, we let our two greatest loves intermingle and watched what happened. We couldn’t be happier with the results.

     

    Our philosophy is simple. We use the finest craft beers and freshest local ingredients to bring you flavor combinations you’ve never experienced before. Or really, it’s the flavor you always knew, but you’ve been apart a while, and it seems different somehow. More mature. Did she get highlights, and is that a tattoo??

     

    We hope you like what we have to offer. Sign up for our newsletter, read our blog, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We update regularly with the latest on all things beer and ice cream. Oh, and don’t forget to check out our flavors.

     

    Lastly, if you have a flavor idea, suggestion, or random thought about anything at all, send it our way. Something about that little flag on our inbox makes us all tingly inside… (and it’s not just the booze).

    Read more below about Frozen Pints unique offerings…

     

     

     

    beer-peach1-282x1983-282x198

    Peach Lambic (1.0%)

    European sophistication meets southern comfort.  The Belgian Lambic provides hints of juicy peaches, a lingering tartness and an almost champagne-like finish. Fruit and beer may be a unique combination to some, but those who have had a Lambic before will feel right at home.  And for the peach ice cream devotees, get ready for a fresh twist…

    beer-honey1-282x198

    Honey IPA (2.4%)

    Hopheads rejoice! We start with a classic American IPA – grassy, piney, and hoppy notes of course. Then we add a floral honey to temper the true-to-style bitterness. The result is a full, well-balanced flavor that’s completely unique. Dig in and you’ll taste the honey first, then the hoppy deliciousness around the back.  Bitter sweet perfection.

    pumpkin1

    Pumpkin Ale (3.2%)

    Forget the changing of the leaves – you know it’s Fall when Pumpkin Ale rolls around.  An incredibly complex beer does the legwork in this extra special seasonal flavor. Hints of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg give you that pie in the mouth sort of feel.  It’s crisp and delicious; Fall in a pint.

    beer-brownchip1-282x198

    Brown Ale Chip (1.6%)

    Traditional Brown Ales can be pretty nutty, and the one we use is no exception.  We paired sweet chocolate chips with the hints of roasted hazelnut to create a warmth that surprises in an ice cream.  The flavor is delicate but unmistakably a classic brown – you’ll even get a little dryness at the finish.  Easy to try, easier to love.

    beer-cinn1

    Cinnamon Espresso Stout (2.7%)

    Wake up your taste buds with this bold flavor.  It’s not for the faint of heart, but a must for the Stout or coffee lover.  We use a Stout brewed with real espresso beans that’s grounded by hints of oak and vanilla.  The only viable contender to balance this strong beer is fresh cinnamon.  Plus, it’s a familiar friend to your cup of Joe. As complex as it is delicious.

    beer-vanilla1

    Vanilla Bock (3.1%)

    This is the one that started it all. It was our first and an instant classic. The beer we use is a personal favorite – a complex Bock that we pair with Madagascar vanilla. The hints of banana, dark fruit, and cloves in this sweet cream will surprise and delight your taste buds. It’s sure to become a reliable go-to in your freezer (if you can resist polishing off the pint).

    beer-milkchoc1-282x198

    Malted Milk Chocolate Stout (2.1%)

    For the chocoholics… a rich Chocolate Stout is enhanced with creamy malted milk in a simple yet satisfying blend. Milk balls are a classic movie snack, but it’s a different thing entirely when you throw a solid brew into the mix.  And while our treat tastes great with a bucket of popcorn, it stands just as well alone. Short and sweet.

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