Some of the other homework was easy. Craft beer is huge and growing nationwide. Yet in Florida, it’s still in the toddler stage. Anyway we knew there was room in the marketplace and Cigar City Brewing had opened up a few years back and really blazed the trail. With that info we also ascertained that there was a growing demand for fresh, local, craft beer in this metro and that this Bay area thirst would continue to increase for quite some time.
Read more: The adventures of opening a brewery: Fun, work, headaches, beer
The Doppelbock, a high-powered version of the German Bock, is a favorite of mine. It’s darker, chewier, heavier, sweeter, and higher in alcohol than its goat-labeled little brother. Doppelbocks originated in Munich during the late 18th Century where the Paulaner Monks brewed it as “liquid bread”, which isn’t a serious naming stretch since grain is used and it’s certainly not a watery brew. Those crazy Bavarian monastic peeps even dubbed it “Salvator”, which translates to “Savior” and many of my friends believe beer to be theirs. Paulaner owns the trademark to “Salvator” but many breweries add the “-ator” ending to their own take on the style.
Read more: Doppelbocks: Two liquid bread beers to seek
A Session Beer is a beer that is relatively low in alcohol (5% or lower), balanced in character, and ideally suited for enjoying one after another. I’m getting just a little annoyed by extreme beers. Do you know what I mean? I’m talking about those striving to be the “hoppiest” or the “strongest” or the most peculiar. When I see brewers boasting that their new ale has more IBUs than ever recorded in history I simply can’t walk away fast enough.
Read more: Session beers: Desperately seeking moderation
Beer maestros brew for the seasons: Light and thirst-quenching suds for summer, malt forward amber brews for autumn, and for spring-refreshing beers with some hop presence and a decent malt backbone. Winter — with the cold, snow and lack of daylight — requires a whole different kind of beverage.In winter, beer drinkers across the land reach for rich and robust brews to warm the soul. Brew masters and breweries everywhere, of course, realize this and release their cold-weather winter offerings, usually called Winter Warmers, Christmas Ales, Holiday Ales, or Winter Ales/Lagers.These solstice-celebrating suds can be of any style but are usually of the heartier variety — Old Ales, Scotch Ales, Brown Ales, Porters, Stouts. The vast majority utilize roasted and crystal malts to achieve a darker, richer flavor profile. Some of these malt-forward, substantial beers are spiced and most are well above 6% ABV (Alcohol by Volume). Speaking from years of experience, many do indeed elicit a warming feeling.
Read more: The 3rd annual cold weather seasonal brew challenge: Eight winter ales reviewed
Recently, “The Great Imperial Pumpkin Challenge” was held, a high-powered (and pricey) pumpkin beer tasting to help determine the best 8.0+ ABV gourd beers in the land (not reviewed in the 2010 challenge) and crown the triumphant, majestic “Imperial Pump-King”.
Read more: Three Imperial Pumpkin brews reviewed: Southern Tier, Shipyard, and Hoppin’ Frog
In autumn, the days get shorter and the nights get colder so the suds-loving, frothy-mouthed masses crave something substantial to keep warm. Brew masters realize this and rotate out the light, crisp, clean summer beers for darker, richer, more malt-forward offerings. It’s my favorite time of beer, and likewise for many other brew worshipers. Oktoberfest lagers and pumpkin brews dominate the local beer mart shelves but many breweries offer a separate fall seasonal in addition. These special releases fly under the radar in comparison to the lauded Okto’s and gourd brews (aka pumpkin) but many are very good.
Read more: Four fall seasonal beers worth picking up from Sierra Nevada, Abita, Southern Tier and Breckenridge
When choosing a fermented beverage to enjoy with cuisine most people think of wine — which isn’t surprising since it’s been served at upscale dinner tables for centuries. Beer, the working man’s drink, has traditionally been associated with delicious, blue collar fare like wings, burgers, brats, and pizza. Only ten years ago, the thought of ordering a tasty brew to wash down a cut of prime beef from a high-end steakhouse would elicit snickers from the staff and a snooty recommendation from the pompous server.
Read more: Pairing beer and food: It’s not for just for wings anymore
Through chemical analysis of really old jars found near Iran we now know that beer is at least 7000 years old. A thousand years later, those rascally Sumerians in Mesopotamia left a tablet behind depicting peeps drinking from a communal bowl of brew through reed straws. This was also unintentionally recreated at my last drunken party. But today, Today, mad ale scientists have a plethora of bittering and flavoring agents available to experiment with.
Read more: The history, current state, and future of beer and brewing
Independence Day celebrates the official adoption of the Declaration of Independence way back in 1776. To most Americans, this national holiday conjures up memories of fireworks, parties, and backyard cookouts with friends. Many of us patriotic citizens open up a cold one and unknowingly pay homage to our country’s ale loving and homebrewing forefathers — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and of course Sam Adams. Today’s brew-n-cue will include three courses: an appetizer, a skewered main course, and a boozy dessert. We chose a craft beer to complement each course, all from American breweries, of course.
Read more: Brew n ‘Cue: Independence Day grilling and brews
An infographic that comes to us from Frugaldad.com, who graciously gave us permission to use this since they borrowed some content from this website. Pretty righteous, huh? It outlines — in an informatively visual fashion – at what temperature should you drink beer, the health benefits of beer and what foods pair best with America’s favorite beverage.
Read more: The case for beer: What temperature to drink? What pairings? Health benefits? (infographic)