Anytime we hear Ron Jeffries is working on something new we get exited. For any of you who haven't tried Jolly Pumkin's beer, you're missing out. What has us really excited is something very new though. Ron has started Northern United Brewing Co (NUBC). NUBC will be comprised of three new Jolly Pumpkin cafe's, one in Dexter (next to JP brewery), one in Ann Arbor and one on the Old Mission peninsula just north of Traverse City. In addition to the cafes they are adding two breweries, North Peak and Grizzly Peak, the top two brewpubs in Michigan. Both North Peak and Grizzly peak have been around for over a decade, we're excited to see some expanded distribution since we haven't tried their beer.
If all this isn't excting enough, next to the location in Traverse City they will also be christening a brand new 10,000 BBL production facility which will produce non-sour Jolly Pumpkin beers. Non sour Jolly Pumpkin? We dont' even know what that's going to be, and they're still working that out, or just keeping it tight lipped for now, but we'll be following this closely as it develops.
We've been fans of Somerville, Massachusetts' Taza Chocolate for a while now. We did a beer pairing with them in February 2008 and found their chocolate to be amazing with a variety of beers. When we heart that Watch City Brewing in Waltham, MA had partnered with them to brew a chocolate porter we knew we had to go check it out. The beer, dubbed "Chocolate Thunder" incorporates 45 pounds of Taza's 70% Dark Stone Ground Chocolate and 5 pounds of Taza's Chocolate Mexicano Vanilla Bean. This is one really delicious beer! Any fan of Taza will be able to pick up the signature complexity of the chocolate in the brew as well as a raw subtle sweetness that helps round out the finish. While this is certainly no light beer it manages to be very drinkable and doesn't feel heavy. Aaron Mateychuk, the brewer at Watch City, has managed to blend the roasty malt flavors with the bitter dark chocolate notes without making the beer itself feel overly bitter.
Alex Whitemore, of Taza Chocolate, was on hand for the release. While this beer is amazing on its own, we were lucky enough to pair the beer with the chocolate which really brings it up another notch. While we can't guarantee the brewpub approves, bring in some Taza with you to the bar and do the pairing yourself, trust us on this one. The Chocolate Mexicano Salted Almond goes especially well with the chocolate in the beer, creating an almost peanut butter and chocolate experience.
On a side note, having tasted some of Taza's new chocolates, look out for an all new event with DrinkCraftBeer and Taza Chocolate coming soon. Stay tuned for more details.
Some of you may remember my recent trip to Mayflower Brewing Company in “Professional Brewer for a Day: Mayflower Brewing Company.” In that article, I stressed that professional brewer is very different from homebrewing. Not necessarily in the chemistry of how the beer is brewed, but in how your day goes. I told you that it’s not just sitting around with friends while you have a few beers. It’s not barbecuing or relaxing and ordering pizza. The ingredients cost a lot of money and you have to know you can sell it. There is no down time, there’s always work to be done. I went on and on about how it’s different and it’s a job…
Well that’s going to make this one of the most ironic articles I’ve ever written. I was invited back to Mayflower Brewing Company a week and a half after brewing with Matt Steinberg for a special brew day. We ended up having a day of hanging out with friends and drinking amazing beer, plus we ordered pizza. When there was down time, instead of cleaning tanks, we socialized and drank fresh Mayflower beer plus rare or limited beers from Cambridge Brewing Company, Portsmouth Brewery and Rock Bottom Boston that head brewers Will Meyers, Tod Mott and Scott Brunelle, respectively, hand bottled or put into growlers.
The Official Beer of St. Patrick's Day has always seemed to be Guinness Draught Irish Dry Stout. Well we wanted to see if we could find a better beer for this holiday's festivities. Obviously, it needs to be a stout. You must be able to drink it all day without getting too intoxicated or too full. After all, nobody likes the drunk kid and you don't want to be too full to eat the corned beef and cabbage dinner (at least you don't want to be too full to eat it at our party, it's delicious). Given this criteria, we're about to answer the question: Is Guinness the Best St. Patrick's Day Beer? We'll start with the benchmark:
Smell: Aroma is unsweetened chocolate and roast. You can pick up a bit of sourness, which is what gives Guinness its distinct smell and taste.
Taste: Light and thin, perfect for drinking all day. That sourness we smelled? It gives the beer a nice twang right at the end, which keeps it from being a thing and smooth tasting bore. Despite what people may tell you, this beer is not "thick" or "a meal in a glass." It's also not strong. It's in the low 4%abv range and definitely won't fill you up. This is a good beer if you're going to be drinking all St. Patrick's Day but don't want to be wasted or full.
Haven't you ever wondered why Guinness is on top in Black & Tans? It's because the Guinness is lighter than the other beer!
Number we could drink on St. Patrick's Day: We haven't found a top end to this number, yet. So, we're going to say "a whole bunch."