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Victory Summer Love Ale [Beer Review]

You know when you just want a beer but you don’t want to think about it? Rather you want to be able to be outside playing baggo or wiffleball? Or maybe you want to socialize with friends and family? Whatever the activity, if it’s a situation where beer is a second thought to what’s at hand, don’t reach for some mass market lager because I’ve found your what you want! I first had Victory Summer Love at a big family gathering, and downed quite a few straight from the bottle while keeping busy in the yard with my cousins. But don’t take my word for it, here’s the details.

Victory Brewing Summer Love Ale

Crystal clear, light and a wispy head that quickly fades? If you didn’t know better you’d think I was describing something that was much less appealing. Having had this quite a few times, though, I’ll tell you to ignore any worry as this is a great beer for socializing and playing wiffle ball!

I hate to say this, because we all know that beer is a super diverse drink, but this smells like beer. There’s a bit of malt in it, very little hops and the well known mark of yeast having caused fermentation. You can tell it’s an ale as there’s a bit of fruitiness to the nose but, other than that, it’s a fairly neutral beer.

So I told you this was a great beer that you didn’t have to think about. The carbonation is smooth and not overwhelming. The hops provide a bit of flavor, but there’s nothing challenging about them. The malt is a bit sweet, balancing the hops, and has a great biscuity flavor. Over all, this is one of those beers that’s a delicious social lubricant. Don’t worry too much about it, just enjoy it! Cheers!

Interview with Dave Lambert, owner of Sherwood Forest Brewery

It's no secret that we're big fans of local beer. So, when we found out Sherwood Forest was launching a new beer, Sheriff's IPA, we wanted to get theSherwood Forest Archers Ale inside scoop. Sherwood Forest was one of the very first breweries to start canning craft beer with their Archer's Ale (pictured in bottle form on the right). We spoke with Dave Lambert, the owner of Sherwood Forest, about the launch of the new product. It turns out that the launch of Sheriff's IPA is just one of a few new products coming out. Read the full interview bellow:

First of all we noticed you're expanding your offerings. What made you decide to launch Sheriff's IPA and can you give us any details on this new offering?
Dave Lambert: We decided to come out with this due to a lot of feedback from our loyal fans and distributors. We have had only one style since we started back in1997, at that time we focused on getting the archer ale right and making a quality consistent English Ale. Once we felt we had been able to do that successfully we then decided to branch out to another style. With the IPA there is much more acceptance of this style and more and more are discovering that a well balanced hoppy IPA is a wonderful experience. Sheriff's uses Centennial, Cascade and Nugget with domestic 2 row pale malt and English Caramalt the result is an ABV of 6.0% and produces an American India Pale Ale, a bitterness, flavor and aroma dominated by these hops yet balanced with premium English specialty malts. A deep golden copper, clear and precise is the result and one that fits into our theme with the Sheriff!

DCB: Who/what inspired you to own a brewery? For Jon (Sherwood Forest's Brewer) or you, who/what inspired you to start brewing?
Dave Lambert: We just loved beer and both of us home brewed before we got into the business. We knew nothing about distribution or selling or anything else that goes into building a successful brewery. We just knew that we enjoyed beer and the process of making it!

DCB: Do you or have you homebrewed? If so, what was your most recent batch?
Dave Lambert: Yes we both have homebrewed; I have not done it now in over 3 years as Jon is in charge now of all of the test batch brews. I still have my homebrew system but have been to busy lately with building the business!

DCB: One trend that seems to be growing right now is the double/imperialization of almost every style. What's your take on this trend? Is this just a brewing fad or something you think will stick around?
Dave Lambert: I think that you stick with the basics when it comes to brewing; we have been probably too conservative in what we do; but we know what our customers look for from us. I think that this is more of a luxury to those that do doubles etc...we try to run a tight ship and we watch everything that we do and this does not fit into who we are.

DCB: Back in April 2006 you spoke with the Boston Globe about cannedbeer. At the time it was a tough sell for some accounts. Is that still the case, or have you seen a change in the market now that more breweries are moving to cans?
Dave Lambert: We were the 2nd company to do the canning in all of the U.S.; there was us and Dale's and that was it. When I spoke back then many did not understand why you would take a craft brewed ale and put it into a can! Fast forward to today there are now many small craft breweries canning and it is becoming much more accepted here in the U.S. as a unique way to package great craft brewed ales and lagers. We just loved the idea of drinking our product from a can while still realizing that the taste profile and flavor are not affected by the can at all. We have many customers who drink only the can which is great to see! So when I mentioned that it was a tough sell this was because we were the only ones out here on the East Coast out there all alone. Now we have many more who have come to see this as a great craft package!

DCB: Do you see yourself expanding your market? If so, where to?
Dave Lambert: Yes; currently we are in MA,CT,RI and NH so this is a lot to handle as is, but we have gotten many request to expand this distribution footprint but are just not in a position right now to produce enough product, this may change in the next year or two but right now we are pretty busy with what we have.

DCB: Coming back to your new beer offerings, how do you decide on which beer to bring to market? Is it driven by a desire to bring out a certain style? How many tests do you go through before the right beer is made?
Dave Lambert: This is a decision that our board makes! Jon and I!!! We both love IPA's and always wanted to bring our own to the market. Many of our loyal fans asked us for another style and we wanted to have one that even if it did not do well we could have a hefty supply for our own consumption!!

DCB: Adding a new brand is always a big move, but is there anything else other than the IPA in the near horizon?
Dave Lambert: Yes, Friar's Belgian White and Maiden's Blueberry

DCB: Anything else we should know about?
Dave Lambert: We are just a couple of guys getting up every day and loving what we do while trying to make sure we keep the Sheriff at Bay!!!

So there you have it! We've tried the Archer's Ale, in fact we drank a couple over the 4th of July and it's quite tasty, so give it a shot next time you see it. We haven't tried the IPA yet as it wasn't yet out at the time of this interview, but keep a look out for it at your favorite store. 


Beer of the Month Review - Amazing Clubs March

Hey all you craft beer drinkers! It's that time again! What time? New Beer of the Month from Amazing Clubs time! Yeah... we know, it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. But the beer... The beer tastes good. So let's get to it!

This month, we've got beer from High Country Brewing Company and Farmington River Brewing Company, made by Mercury Brewing Company. High Country sends their Blowing Rock Ale and Blowing Rock Bock, while Farmington River has their Blonde Ale and Brown Ale. With that in mind, let's get to the beer!

And, like always, if you want to join this club go here: Click to Join.

High Country Blowing Rock Ale

Appearance: Light golden

Smell Biscuity light honey notes

Taste: This tatses more like a lager than an ale to us, but it's really nice. Light and hoppy with a light honey like finish. Really tasty beer.

Smuttynose Launches 2009 Big Beer Series Subscription

For the very first time, New Hampshire's Smuttynose Brewing Company will be offering a subscription to get a case of each Big Beer they put out in 2009. The lineup is:

Image - Gravitation Belgian Quad (New Release) - early January, 2009
 - Imperial Stout - mid February
 - Maibock - late March
 - Baltic Porter - Early May
 - Farmhouse Ale - late June
 - Big A IPA - early August
 - Wheat Wine - mid September
 - Barley Wine - early November
 - S'Muttonator Double Bock - early December, 2009

ImageThis is one of the finest brewers on the East Coast, and each edition of their Big Beer Series is limited and often hard to get if you don't act right away... Their Big A has been known to sell out of stores within a week of release (and some stores sell out in a day). This subscription will ensure you get some of each one.

The downside? You have to buy a case of each and you have to pick it up at the Brewery. But, they will be having beer socials for the release of each brew. For all the details, check out the website here.

Drink Craft Beer Brewvet Challenge

There are physical and mental changes that occur when you ride your bike – sure there is the elevated heart rate, increased perspiration, and slow release of endorphins – but you also change your perspective on the world around you. You notice storefronts you never noticed before, you realize which roads go uphill, and who minds when you drag your sweaty self into a bar for a refreshing drink. I find myself to be much more in tune with my surroundings on a bike, and that creates a strong sense of local pride.

The thing is craft beer can do similar things to you. You might yearn to connect with your local brewer, or observe (and want to try) new beers on the menu you hadn't noticed before, and if you find something you like you keep coming back for more – like that favorite biking route.

It is in the spirit of commingling our shared love for gears and grains, hops and handlebars that we’re launching the Drink Craft Beer Brewvet Challenge.

In short this is a challenge to inspire you to get on your bike and explore your surroundings – and your local craft beers. The event will run from May 30th, 2013 through July 14th, 2013.

Gears & Craft Beers

What is a Brewvet?

A friend and award-winning blogger in Washington, DC, Mary of Chasing Mailboxes, provides the inspiration for the concept. Two years ago Mary combined her love of the long-distance cycling sport known as randonneuring and the simple pleasure of a good cup of coffee and created the Coffeeneuring Challenge. Since a randonneuring event is called a brevet, it only made sense to call our take on this concept the Brewvet.

The brewvet concept follows the spirit of the Coffeeneuring Challenge - incorporate take 12 separate bike rides, each of which fitting into a specific category, for a total distance of 100 km (62 miles). Just like in a brevet, you must provide documentation of each stop on your adventures. If you complete the challenge you’ll even get a little prize. 

A ride qualifies if you either stop to drink a beer during your bike ride, or purchase a beer on your bike ride that you drink shortly after you get back home.

Spokes and Craft Beers

The Categories

  1. Buy Local: Ride to your favorite local bar and enjoy a beer.
  2. Brew Local: Take a break during your ride to enjoy a locally brewed craft beer.
  3. Enjoy your Hops: Enjoy an IPA on your ride (obviously not while you ride...take a breather and get your IPA on).
  4. Cider Century: Ok, we don’t mind if you ride less than 100 miles – but at least try a crisp hard cider!
  5. Spring Classic: The first rides of the professional season are in Belgium, seek out some Belgian beer.
  6. Macro Ride: Sometimes you end up in the middle of nowhere, and all that’s there to drink is one of the beers from the macro-brewers. Plan your route better next time! 
  7. Porteur Ride: A porteur bike is built for carrying loads - but a porter is built for enjoyment – and we hope you try one!
  8. Go Exploring: Try a new craft beer for the first time!
  9. ‘Tis the Saison: Originally brewed for farmers laboring in the fields, saisons are crisp, refreshing, and a perfect complement to a warm bike ride.

The Rules

Rules? Yes, there has to be rules! That’s another quirk of these randonneur events. It seems like a lot, but I promise you’ll still enjoy yourself.

  1. In the interest of safety, you can only count 1 ride per day. If you have more than 1 beer per ride, it still only counts as 1 ride. Know your limits and be safe!
  2. You must complete at least one ride in 7 of the 9 categories above, and a total of 12 rides. Each category can only be used twice.
  3. The 12 rides must be completed between May 30th, 2013 and July 14th, 2013.
  4. There is no minimum length for each brewvet ride, but once you have completed all 12 rides, the total distance you've covered must be at least 100km (62 miles). 
  5. Complete the Brewvet control card at each stop. Document the location, the beer you enjoyed, the miles you rode, and the date. Also be sure to take a photo! Get your Brewvet card when you sign up here!
  6. Once you have completed your Brewvet submit your 12 photos and completed control card to john “at” drinkcraftbeer dot com. Photos can submitted on your blog, as links to a photo sharing website or tweets, or via email. Deadline for Brewvet submissions is July 21, 2013.
  7. Everyone who successfully completes the Drink Craft Beer Brewvet will receive a prize. In fact, even if you try but fail, we might send something your way so feel free to submit whatever you can. To participate, sign up here.

How to Sign Up

To sign up, you'll need to register for the Drink Craft Beer Brewvet by clicking here and filling out the form.

Be sure to tweet using the hashtag #DCBBrewvet so we can follow your adventures!