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54 Beers For You to Try - From Some of the Northeast's Best Brewers

Author // Jeff Wharton

The rise in craft beer has been great, with new choices of beer coming out almost daily! Years ago, you’d be happy to see a token Samuel Adams Boston Lager in the cooler in many stores…now those same establishments have multiple craft six packs and bombers to choose from. With that variety, though, comes…well…choice. To help out, we asked of our favorite Northeast brewers what they would choose. Here are the answers.

Question: You walk into a magical beer shop with every beer currently available. You can put together one six-pack. What do you walk out with? Only one beer can be from your brewery.

Ryan Gwozdz – Head Brewer, Mayflower Brewing Co.

Cantillon Gueuze, Orval, Schlenkerla Urbock, Mayflower Summer Rye, Allagash Interlude, Half Acre Daisy Cutter. I’m adding a 7th, Molson (reminds me beers with my grandfather!).

Ben Roesch – Brewmaster, Wormtown Brewing Co. 

Cambridge Brewing Heather Ale, Harpoon Saison Various, The Lost Abbey Red Poppy, Jack's Abby Fire in the Ham, Wormtown Buddha's Juice, and [North Coast] Old Rasputin XII.

Jason Perkins – Brewmaster, Allagash Brewing Co.

This is not an easy question. There are so many great options out there, and my decision would change immensely depending on mood. Right now (keep in mind it is 7 AM) would be: Orval, Firestone Walker Pale 31, Smuttynose Robust Porter, Sierra Nevada Celebration, a fresh DeDolle Arabier and Russian River Temptation.

Helder Pimentel – Founder, Backlash Beer Co.

To be honest, right now I'd probably walk out with a 6 pack of Heady Topper.

Alex Zielke – Co-Founder/Brewer, Portico Brewing Co.


Alex Zielke - 2nd from left

Off the top of my head, I'd say:

  1. Troegs Nugget Nectar
  2. Zunft Kolsch, Erzquell Brauerei
  3. Left Hand Milk Stout
  4. Southern Tier Unearthly
  5. Alchemist Heady Topper
  6. (and of course) Portico Fuzzy Logic

Shane Welch – Founder, Sixpoint Craft Ales

This is sort of a trick question because many of my favorite beers are not available in bottles.  They are draft-only varieties.  But since this is a "magical" beer shop I am assuming they also can magically bottle these draft-only varieties and have them for sale.  :-)   In that case, I will go with beers from:

  1. Live Oak Hefeweizen
  2. Live Oak IPA
  3. Barrier Brewing Company Dunegrass (shout out to Craig Frymark and Evan Klein)
  4. Hill Farmstead Ephraim (shout out to Dan Suarez and Sean Hill) 
  5. Ale Asylum (shout out to Dean Coffey)
  6. Augustiner Edelstoff Helles (non-export version, the fresh draft straight from the brewery) - FYI this is a beer I can drink gallons of

Chris Lohring – Founder/Brewer, Notch Brewing Co.

My magical beer shop has beers brewed within 100 miles of Boston, and nothing else, and my six pack is a constantly rotating selection of these beers. When people say, “I can’t find local beers as good,” I challenge them: let’s start the blind taste test right now.

Jennifer Glanville – Boston Brewery Manager, Samuel Adams

I’m going to go with a variety of styles. My first choice is a Sam Adams Boston Lager, then a smoky Rauchbier, a fresh crisp Pilsner, an English Stout, an IPA with a variety of American hops & a traditional German Weiss bier.

Rob Burns – Co-Founder, Night Shift Brewing Co.


Rob Burns on right

This is obviously a really tough question. There are so many amazing beers out today that I can never really narrow down my favorites. My ideal 6 pack would include some aged beers and some fresh ones. 

  1. Cantillon Vignerrone
  2. J.W. Lees 1999 Harvest Ale - this aged barleywine is one of my favorite beers of all time
  3. Drie Fontaine Kriek
  4. Six point Bengali Tiger IPA
  5. Rochefort 10
  6. Russian River Beautification

What is your magical 6-pack? Let us know on Twitteron Facebook, or in the comments below!

Smoked Beer Can Chicken [Recipes]

Author // Devon

Here in New England the Summer weather is quickly fading, in fact I woke up this morning to temps in the low 50's. However, I reject the notion that BBQ season is over, far from it as far as I'm concerned. Now, if you don't have a smoker that's okay, read on as this chicken is still damn tasty without one, thought perhaps you'll keep reading and decide you need to go buy a smoker, also a good call. Smoking meat is really pretty easy, I bought my first smoker last summer for $70 and made some very tasty food on it. Some of you might note I've upgraded since then but this recipe really is almost fool proof. I've made this five or six times now and made small adjustments each time. What I present here is my final recipe that I've come to rely on and decided to share with all of you. 

So before I start, for those of you who already brine their chicken just skip ahead to the ingredients, for those that haven't read on. I had never brined chicken until about a year ago, and then learned how I'd been cooking chicken wrong my entire life. This simple step takes chicken from good to great and it's soooooo easy. I can guarantee some of you are going to look at the salt and sugar content listed below and say "that can't be right!" or perhaps even scale it back thinking you don't need that much...DON'T!. Seriously, this will not make your meet super salty or sweet or anything else, it just makes it tender and juicy and amazing. OK back to the cooking.

Alright without further ado, on to the recipe!

Ingredients

Chicken:

4lb Whole Chicken (you can go larger or smaller if you wish)

Beer:

1 can of beer half full (drink the first half)

Brine Ingredients:

1 Gallon Water

1 Cup Sugar

3/4 Cup Kosher Salt

1 TBSP Coarse Black Pepper

1 TBSP Paprika

2 tsp Cayenne Pepper

2 tsp Celery Seed

Chicken Rub:

1/4 Cup Paprika

1 TBSP Kosher Salt

1 TBSP Garlic Powder

1 1/2 tsp Dried Time

1 tsp coarse ground pepper

3/4 tsp cayenne pepper 

Instructions

Heat water to near boil in a large pot and add all ingredients. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Take pot off off heat and allow to cool to at least room temperature. Once cool clean your chicken and submerge fully in the brine, refrigerate for at least 4 hours though overnight is great as well. 

After the chicken has been brined remove from brine and dry thoroughly with paper towels. 

Combine all rub ingredients and apply liberally to the chicken. You're looking for a nice thin even coating but this is not a time to be shy with the rub, some excess will fall off on it's own the picture below gives you a good idea what it should look like. 

The next step is to choose a beer, I tend to like lagers or lighter pale ales. For this time I used Notch Brewing Left of Dial IPA and it was killer. I purchased a beer can chicken stand off of amazon for about $7, to me it's totally worth it but you can pick these up a lot of place. After your chicken is covered in rub, heat your grill or smoker to 250 degrees. I use apple wood when smoking my chicken. Emtpy 1/2  of your beer into your mouth and then put the other half in your chicken with the spout facing up. As the can heats the beer will evaporate and make your chicken juicy and awesome.

Allow chicken to cook for 3-4 hours or until internal breast temp of around 165, I tend to pull mine off around 160 as it will keep cooking for a bit. It should look something like the pic below if you've done it right!

Once done take chicken off your smoker and remove the stand. Place in a tray and tent with aluminum foil and allow the chicken to rest for at least 10 mins. Slice and enjoy! This is my favorite chicken recipe and I hope you all enjoy it!


Vote for the Fall To Winter Fest Cider

Author // Jeff Wharton

For Fall to Winter Fest 2014 we're bringing in more hard ciders then ever before! We know we love cider, and showed that when we brought in Downeast Cider to our first beer fest back in 2012. We're happy that, over the years, our attendees have told us how much they love the ciders and want even more. Well, we're delivering!

This year, for Fall to Winter Fest, we're not just bringing you more cider than ever, we're working with Downeast Cider on the Official Fall to Winter Fest Cider! Even better? You get to vote on it below!

We're going to let you, the Drink Craft Beer audience, vote on what ingredients you'd like to nominate to be included in a special cider that Downeast will make ONLY FOR Fall to Winter Fest.


Then, we're going to comb through the list with the guys at Downeast, pick some top choices, and let you all vote on the final blend of ingredients! (NOTE: Nominations closed September 19, this is now final voting.)

So vote below to nominate for your favorite ingredient, then tell us what you picked on Twitter with hashtag #FTWFest, Facebook or in the comments below!

To get your tickets for Fall to Winter Fest on Friday, November 14th and Saturday, November 15th in Boston, featuring 25 of New England's best brewers and cider makers bringing 90+ craft beers and cider, go to the event page now!

VOTING ENDS at 5pm EST on Friday, October 3rd at 4pm EDT.

You can vote for more that 1 ingredient.

Smuttynose Smuttlabs Schmutzig Bavarian IPA [Beer Of The Week]

Author // Jeff Wharton

Years ago, Smuttynose Brewing quietly started what was then called the Short Batch Series, a series of draft only beers made once each in a small batch. There were a lot of winners in this, but one always stood out to me. I'm a well-known fan of hefeweizens and an obvious lover of hops. Their Schmutzig combined the yeasty goodness of a hefe with elegant hopping so that the two combined to form some sort of super beer.

Let me reiterate: I loved this beer. I literally wrote letters to Smuttynose owner Peter Egleston and Smuttynose head brewer Dave Yarrington. For real. I asked both of them if they could please add the beer just to the Big Beer Series line-up...I wasn't even being greedy and asking for seasonal or year-round lineup! If I remember correctly, I got two polite responses saying that they'd love into it. I figured that was that. And, for years, it was. Then I recently saw on Twitter that they'd be releasing Schmutzig as part of their Smuttlabs series (this is what the Short Batch Series became, just bottled as well as draft now), including in bottles! Cue excitement.

Needless to say, I picked some up and looked forward to drinking it. A light pour let me know I'd made the correct choice as a solid, but not overly voluminous, head puffed up, and the aromas of hops and banana esters filled my nose. Darker than many hefeweizens and cloudier than most IPAs, it's a bit befuddling on sight...but that smell! If you like these styles, this is one you've got to check out (it was still in the cooler at Smuttynose as of September 6, 2014). 

The taste is exactly as I remembered it, too. The bitterness is restrained, light even, while the flavor of the hefeweizen yeast and the hops blends together to form a spicy, herbal, barely citrusy combination of goodness. I had it with an Indian Salmon Curry Stew with tomato and onion chutney, and the creaminess of the stew went great with the beer, which helped to cut through. Needless to say, I was a happy camper and think that you should look out for this beer!

Want a chance to try some great beers from Smuttynose and other New England craft brewers? Then check out Drink Craft Beer Fall to Winter Fest in Boston, MA on November 14 & 15! 25 New England brewers and cider makers bringing over 90 craft beers and ciders. Get your tickets to Drink Craft Beer Fall to Winter Fest 2014 now!