Baxter Brewing Co. burst on to the scene in 2011 and quickly impressed many with a tight, but well executed, line up of two beers: and IPA and an Extra Pale Ale. They’ve since added and third, an Amber, and finally have put out their first seasonal, Celsius Summer Ale brewed with spices. With June half past us already, I thought that I should check out this brand new summer offering. After all, I need some good canned beer to bring with me camping this summer!
Pouring a hazy, light golden that darkens as you get the yeast at the end of the can with a big, cloudy white head on top this beer just looks like summer! Combine that with the bright yellow on the can and I’d say that this is one for outdoor activity on a hot, sunny day.
Wow, this really has some great citrus aroma to it! The can says lemon and lime peel, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass and it’s all there! What’s great, though, is the subtley of these aromas. Nothing is in your face or too much, it’s just a great, clean, crisp and slightly acidic aroma. If I didn’t know this beer had spices in it, I’d never guess that the smell wasn’t from hops. This is superbly balanced in the nose! You can even smell some light, grainy malt in it. It gives a nice lightly toasted bread smell to the finish.
Of course, while look and smell are great, what really matters is how does Baxter’s newest offering taste. And you want to know? Really good! It’s a bit different than I expected, but quite scrumptious. At 4.7% abv it’s light on the tongue and very dry, with a slightly minerally finish that leaves you craving another sip. There’s a grainy malt that stays throughout which is the vehicle that everything else rides on. Up front and on the mid tongue the citrus plays the most dominant role, it’s not sweet at all but it’s definitely fruit-influenced. As you swallow, though, a slightly resinous hoppiness sticks to the back of your tongue, battling that minerally dryness I mentioned before.
This one does a great job of being light and drinkable while keeping it interesting on a hot day. The fact that it’s in a can is great because, as the can says, you can take it to the camp, lake, bbq, mountain, hike, picnic, beach, cooler, backpack, fridge or golf course...it’s diverse! I definitely see this one being drank more this summer.
It's always fun to get something new and out of state in your local store, and that's the feeling when Doc's Draft Hard Apple Cider from Warwick, NY showed up. Who doesn't want to try something that has a potential field trip attached one day? (You can visit their winery, distillery & orchards if you ever find yourself up there).
As the cider pours into the glass I was a bit surprised as it settled into a darker, lager-like brownish gold since it started off pouring in a frenzy of light bubbles as expected with champagne yeast in the cider, people often go with lighter styles. I was really curious if it was going to be as dry as I usually expect a champagne yeast cider to be. Well folks, there's only one way to find out & here I go...
The scent is sweet and slightly floral mixed in with the juicy apple tones, not that underlying sharpness that I was initially expecting, but making perfect sense when looking at the dark coloration.
Great first sip, it comes in with that sharpness from the nose, then bam! A surprise tartness that actually puckered my lips which then eases off into a jammy sweetness, much like apple butter if you've ever had it. I love a good sour beer and there are a lot of similarities here, such as that intial punch that prevents you from chugging down the glass. That said, it's not so strong that you have to baby sip through a sample. The unexpected crisp tartness mixed with the softer, preserved apple sweetness makes for an unexpected, but great, combination. A few more sips in, as the tartness becomes less in your face and more of a team player, you notice some of that almost tannic dryness on the back of the tongue. Interestingly enough most of the apple notes come through the nose after you swallow, there are some real surprises with this cider, all of them good. She mellows out as you get further into the glass but comes in swinging every time, just not the same knock out that unexpectedly greeted me in the first sip. If I were looking to create a dream meal with this one chicken keeps coming to mind. Some of Doc's Draft paired with a roasted or BBQ chicken with those savory flavors in every bite, nice rich sauce or glaze cooked in would match this one bite for sip. Doc's Draft does their tagline true: "Hard Apple Cider: The Great American Drink."
"Made from pressed NY State apples, fermented with champagne yeast & malic acide to excite the action" (produced by Warwick Valley Wine Co, Warwick NY)
This past weekend I was headed over to my friend Erica's for her 30th birthday party. It was a beautiful sunny day so I headed over to Craft Beer Cellar to grab some summery beer. I picked up some usual suspects like Mayflower Summer Rye, Narragansett Summer, Sixpoint Sweet Action as well as a couple new offerings like Victory Summer Love. My cooler still felt incomplete somehow though. When I'm not drinking beer, gin is my go to spirit and after meeting with Grand Ten Distilling I'd been thinking about more interesting ways to pair gin and beer. Recently I've seen beer cocktails popping up at some local restaurants. I'll admit at first I approached them with a bit of trepidation but I've since become a convert. So, while standing in the store I started to think, what could I do with gin and beer to make a tasty cocktail. I knew gin and hops worked nicely together so I wanted something which accentuated that flavor. I took a gamble and got some Boulder Mojo IPA, some grapefruit juice and some Grand Ten gin...then I got to mixing!
Admittedly there was some trial and error to begin, but after a few minutes of tinkering I came up with a pretty fantastic summer beer cocktail. My goal was something that brought out the best of the gin and the beer without being too sweet. The grapefruit juice helped accentuate the hops in the beer while still allowing the gin to come through in the finish of the drink. A sprig of mint set it off adding just a touch of coolness. For me it was summer perfection. This is definitely a fairly bitter cocktail which was bey design, think of it more along the lines of a gin and tonic vs a sweeter juice based cocktail or punch.
1 part Gin (Grand Ten Wireworks or another low juniper gin)
1 part grapefruit juice
2 parts IPA (Boulder Mojo works nicely)
1 tsp simple syrup (adjust to taste if you prefer a sweeter drink)
Sprig of mint
Wedge of grapefruit
Shake gin, juice and simple with ice. Pour into glass and top with beer. Add sprig of month and wedge of grapefruit to the glass.
Hope you all enjoy this as much as I did! If you have some favorite beer cocktails of your own let us know in the comments below.
Most people in the craft beer world are always looking forward. What’s new? What haven’t I had before? I’ll admit, I’m guilty of this as well. Especially running Drink Craft Beer, we’re always looking for the newest beer or brewery to tell you all about. But sometimes you just have to sit and go back to an old favorite. Allagash White is one of the beers that helped to popularize craft beer and was a part of the explosion of Belgian-style ales that we saw a while back. Since then, they’ve been able to ride their White and grow the business while greatly expanding the lineup to include tons of amazing specialty beers. That said, when a friend who is new to craft beer asks me what to try, there’s a good chance Allagash White will be on that list. So let’s all take a moment to remember this beer and sit back and enjoy it.
I’m almost shocked by the appearance of this beer. I don’t remember it being such a radiant yellow, it almost looks like there’s coloring in it. A puffy white head settles on the top, crowning this beer that has conquered so many craft beer doubters before it. I would say this is one of the top 5 most influential beers to ever come out of New England.
I can only laugh because I’ve forgotten how pungent this beer is! As soon as you smell, Belgian yeast esters, banana and peppery spice just take over! As you keep pushing through it, the familiar notes of wheat, that dry, minerally wonderful grain show through. This takes me back to my early days of getting into craft beer!
And that taste is why this is still the beer I recommend to friends when they don’t know what they want, despite the fact I haven’t had one in who knows how long! As strong, and enticing, as the smell is the taste is a bit milder. While the wheat and yeast all vie for dominance in your nose, on your tongue it’s more of a chess match. Up front the beer is simply crisp and refreshing. As you swallow, around your mid palate, you start to get yeasty notes of banana and spicy esters...but they’re toned way down from the smell. Finally, on the finish, that wheat comes back to dry your tongue and crisp the whole thing up. I love wheat beers! There’s just something about a great wit bier or hefeweizen: the history, the flavor, the subtlety mixed with brashness that makes them special. I’m going to have to drink this one more often!