Drink Craft Beer
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:
- 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
This 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.
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 Carolina Brewing Company and The Lion Brewery. Carolina Brewing Co. sends their Carolina Blonde and Low Down Brown, while Lion Brewery has their Steg 150 All Malt Lager and Stegmaier Porter. 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.
Carolina Beer Company Carolina Blonde
Appearance: Very little white head that dissipates quickly. Light straw body that is slightly hazy.
Smell: Very mild aroma. There's just a little malt.
Taste: The beer starts out a little sweet and mildly fruity. Strangely enough, if you like wit biers, you may like the mild sweetness in this beer, it's reminiscent of the style. It ends dry, though. This would be a great beer for the summer! A good, dry lager would really quench the thirst, and the mild fruity sweetness makes it interesting. It would go very well with fruit salad.
A little while ago I took a trip (along with Devon, Sarah our Cider Writer and some friends) to Maryland for our friends’ wedding. Being who I am, I kept my eyes open for a place to grab some new beer and found it just a quick drive from our hotel. The day before we left, I stocked up. This is one of those beers.
The first thing that caught my eye about the Caldera IPA wqas the bright yellow can. How could I not check this one out? When I took a closer look, I saw Oregon on the label and knew I had to grab this west coast beer. The left coast is known for their use of hops and, despite the east coast doing some amazing things lately, I had to check out what our craft beer brethren/sistren were up to all the way on the other side of the continent. So let’s see how this west coast IPA does.
With a near opaque haziness and an orangey copper body capped by a craggy, dense off-white head...yeah, this looks like an IPA!
If you stick your nose into your glass, be prepared for what you’re going to smell...it’s hops! Not the dank, dense, oily hops of some west coast IPAs but hops almost like fresh grass clippings. After that there’s a bit of citrus fruit in there. In the background there’s a bit of clean, crisp malt but it’s definitely a canvas for hops.
This is IPA the way I love the style! The malt? Dry, smooth, clean and just a hop conveyer. The bitterness? There, but not too assertive and it doesn’t linger. The hop flavor? Citrusy, crisp and it tastes like spring. The beer isn’t resiny or abrasive, but rather it uses the hops in a way where you can enjoy a six-pack of this beer. This is an awesome IPA that I wish we had access to in Massachusetts! It’s just insanely drinkable, but it still gives you your hop fix. Plus, the bright yellow can with a neon green tab on top would draw just a slight bit of attention. If you have access to this, check it out!
There’s no doubt that 2012 was a big year for Drink Craft Beer! Last year was the year that we really took the bull by the horns and decided to see how far we could really take this company we started from meager beginnings back in 2006. Just how big did we go? Well let’s take a quick walk back through time and we’ll paint you a picture.
OK, we admit, we got off to a seemingly slow start. But we took a lot of meetings, talked with a lot of people (read: pestered a bunch of brewers) and this is when the groundwork for the year was laid. It’s not the fun part, but it’s necessary.
That said, January was the month we started writing about craft cider, and we even brought on a dedicated writer: Sarah, our cider writer! Since then, we’ve deepened our affection for this historic beverage and have had ciders at both of our festivals.
In February we held our biggest event to-date at that point! Over 550 people came out to the Taza Factory Store in Somerville for our craft beer and chocolate pairing event, “Can’t Keep ‘Em Apart: A Beer & Chocolate Love Story." With Taza donating chocolate and space and Slumbrew, Narragansett, Peak Organic and Sixpoint donating beer, we raised over $1800 for the Great Boston Food Bank - about 4,570 meals worth of donation! It even got covered on Boston.com!
March...well March was a prep month. Plus it was St. Patrick’s Day. We were busy. Let’s leave it at that.
In April it was up to Maine, something we would end up getting quite used to, to brew a collaboration beer with one of our favorite local brewers, Chris Lohring of Notch Brewing Co. After weeks of brainstorming and testing ingredients, we brewed and casked our true breakfast stout: a coffee milk session stout on cask! Coming in a little under 4% abv, this was truly one that you could have a couple pints of and not ruin the rest of your day. We launched it to a packed house at Lower Depths in Boston’s Kenmore Square and kicked the cask in just over an hour. We even had awesome coffee/beer mugs made up for the occasion! Chris said it would never be brewed again...but maybe if we all bug him enough it’ll make another appearance?
In May, we made some new friends in the form of the folks over at Grand Ten Distilling. If you’re not familiar, Grand Ten is a new distillery over in South Boston. It’s run by two cousins, one is a chemistry PhD and the other is an MBA. The split the work as you’d expect two people with those qualifications to. Spence, the distiller, is heavily influenced by time he spent in France and loves the tradition of their liqueurs. And their product shows it. They make possibly the best gin we’ve ever tasted (seriously, we use it a lot...especially in craft beer cocktails).
We hung out with them one night and worked (which I use in the lightest sense of the word) to pair their Wire Works gin with craft beer, doing a new take on the ancient practice of Kopstootje, or a shot of gin with beer. Check it out for yourself!
They’re great guys and we’ve since been back many times, including to make 2 hop liqueurs with Spence. One used an obscene amount of Sorachi Ace hops, the other had a dangerous amount of Chinook!
In June, while it may not seem huge, we had a revelation, and it’s name was Shandy! Take about equal parts craft beer and quality lemonade, combine and (if you’ve picked the right beer) you have a delicious sessionable concoction perfect for the hottest of days and the longest of all-day barbecues!
This made a huge difference in our summer as we were able to drink great beer, and still last all day as more and more of our friends seem to be getting yards...which inevitably means cook outs. Also, it helps that we can drink and it doesn’t hurt our skills at baggo, a favorite summer pastime of ours.
Nothing big really happened in July...oh, except that we launched our first craft beer fest! Drink Craft Beer Summerfest: A Celebration of Farmhouse Ales was a huge success, thanks to our volunteers, the brewers and all the awesome folks that came out. We had 25 brewers, all from New England and all of them brought at least one farmhouse ale or saison! All three sessions sold out and we had 1200 attendees drinking awesome summer beer on Friday night and all day Saturday. We also had B. Good and Culinary Cruisers serving up awesome grilled burgers and hot dogs, as well as Taza Chocolate and Quinn Popcorn on hand sampling. Damn this was a great event!
In August we launched a post about our five rules to rare craft beer that generated a lot of discussion on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and elsewhere. While not everybody agreed with us (and that’s fine, we don’t pretend to be the autocrats of craft beer), many did on many points. The idea was to get a discussion going as it seems a portion of the craft beer audience is moving more into a ticker mentality of chasing down everything new and hyped. We just wanted to remember that beer is supposed to be fun and social. To recap, Drink Craft Beer’s 5 Rules to Rare Beer can be summed up as:
- Don’t be greedy
- Don’t sell it
- Drink it now
- Share it
- Beer should be fun
In September we made another new friend, Chris Olds bar manager at Park Cambridge. After Devon had a couple great experiences with their beer cocktails he was a convert to the idea of craft beer cocktails. The folks on bar there told him there were a whole bunch of off-menu beer cocktails available and, resultantly, our curious nature took over. Next thing we knew, we were hanging out with Chris at Park before opening, mixing up cocktails so that we could tell the world about the awesomeness available here.
In October, Devon and I used Columbus Day to go up to Portland, ME to check out the growing scene up there. We ended up hanging out with the folks at Urban Farm Fermentory for the morning and saw the great set up that they have over there. They’re turning out some awesome spontaneously fermented cider and doing all sorts of neat stuff to it. They also make some killer kombucha!
After a delicious lunch of burgers and beer at Nosh, we met up with Heather and Nathan from Rising Tide Brewing and checked out their new brewery, which is huge. It’s a good thing their new space is so big, because the beer rocks and we see big things for this husband and wife team!
We did a quick stop at Allagash Brewing to pick up some of their new House Beer, which unfortunately was sold out, but we ended up capping off the day by grabbing dinner with Heather and Natchan at Novare Res Bier Cafe, a joint that never ceases to amaze us, and even had a surprise chance to finally meet Craig, proprietor of the Pour Farm Tavern in New Bedford, MA. Great trip all around!
November was a busy, busy month! First, we went up to Maine again (we’ve been in Maine a lot this year it seems) to brew the Drink Craft Beer Fall to Winter Fest official beer with Peak Organic Brewing. Nut Your Average Ginger, a harvest brown ale with local ginger, hops, malt, honey and then some France-sourced chestnut puree, turned out great and was a hit at the fest. Not to mention we had a great time with Jon from Peak Organic as well as Josh from Puritan & Co. (the chef there, Will Gilson, supplied the honey for the beer from his family farm) and his girlfriend Stevie, and Brooks, the head brewer at the brewery we used to make the beer. Check the video:
Later in the month was our second beer fest ever, Drink Craft Beer Fall to Winter Fest. We again featured 25 New England brewers who this time each brought at least one beer featuring a fall or winter seasonal ingredient. The diversity of offerings was incredible, with fresh hops, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, Christmas spices, cider, rosemary, nuts and so much more all used to brew beers or ciders. Again, we couldn’t have done it without our awesome volunteers, the brewers or the 1500+ attendees that came out. These things just seem to keep growing!
As December just wrapped up, we look back at it and are just trying to get ready for 2013! We hit 200,000 followers on Twitter. We announced our next fest, Drink Craft Beer Springfest: A Celebration of Hops. We’re lining up some other great stuff for the coming year.
So we hope you all enjoyed 2012, we know we did! And, also, let’s look forward to what 2013 has coming for us. It’s going to be a big one! Thanks to everyone who helped make 2012 such a banner year for Drink Craft Beer. When we launched this thing in 2006, we never thought it would grow so big, but we’re stoked and flattered and, honestly, just overwhelmed by the support we’ve gotten. Thanks again, keep reading and drinking craft beer, and we hope to see you at Drink Craft Beer Springfest: A Celebration of Hops in April!
We just received word from Mayflower Brewing Company that they will be releasing their much-awaited Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter this weekend, December 12th & 13th, 2008. The beer was aged in Buffalo Trace barrels and will be extremely rare. For more details, here's the email sent by the brewery:
Happy Holidays from Mayflower Brewing Company!
We are pleased to tell you that we will be releasing our Bourbon Barrel-Aged Porter this week at the brewery. This unique version of our award-winning Mayflower Porter was aged in a Buffalo Trace bourbon barrel for a month this fall. The result combines hints of bourbon and oak with the rich flavor of our Porter to create a smooth and complex brew that will warm your soul.
As you may know, supply is extremely limited, with just 70 growlers for sale. To make it available to as many of you as possible, we will be pre-filling growlers and selling them on a first-come, first-served basis at two separate times , with the first 35 growlers available on Friday 12/12 from 4:30PM to 6:30PM and the second 35 growlers available on Saturday 12/13 from 12 noon to 3:00PM. Pricing will be $20 per growler (including the $2 deposit), and quantities will be limited to one per customer.
All the best for the holidays, and we look forward to seeing you this week at the brewery!
This is one beer we've been excited about for a few months now, and could not wait to try! Unfortunately we'll both be in Pennsylvania this weekend for the Sly Fox IPA Fest (I know, I know... no sympathy for us!). We're leaving early Friday and coming back late Saturday, so looks like we'll miss this one. But it is definitely highly recommended!