Summer is here, allowing all of us who live in a four season climate to enjoy the things that only summer can bring. For me – bring on the shandy (or radler if you prefer) perhaps the greatest beer cocktail. Like so many drinks the origins of the shandy beer cocktail are fuzzy and hotly debated. Some have suggested that the drink’s origins are found with Henry VIII who enjoyed the beverage in times of marital discord. It’s hard to imagine this, since a few shandies could never leave one in the mood to separate your spouse’s head from her body. However, he may have had issues well beyond the mood lifting properties of the shandy.
Read more: Shandy beer cocktail: Refreshing summertime drink
Fond of ale, his favorite was an 8.6 % Imperial Stout that tasted of scorched caramel followed by charred malt. Sweet throughout, this full-bodied brew finished with substantial notes of nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. They called this Master of the Underworld the Warlock.”
Read more: Bewitching brews: Spooky craft beer Halloween tales
Some interesting facts about wine and beer consumption across the planet, which beers and wines sell the most, and who is drinking what. Geek out with these facts and figures.
Read more: Infographic: Beer versus wine surprising facts on how much we drink of both
Much has happened in the last few months at Coppertail Brewing Co. Progress seems to move so slowly at times but after looking back (since the last update) it is frankly surprising how much has taken place. Back then we had a name, a building, and little else. Now, plans have been set, equipment has been ordered, and we’re starting to gain, well… a little momentum anyway. Ironically, last weekend was Wazoo which is where my compadre and fellow co-founder Kent originally pitched the idea to me last year (2012).
Read more: The adventures of opening a brewery: The wheels start to roll
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