- Written by Jeff Wharton
With quite a few sought out stouts in the portfolio, Founders Brewing started the #StoutSeason campaign back in 2012 to mark the time when these beers were available. More generally, though, stouts and other dark beers have been seen as cold weather beverages meant to warm you up...or at least make you not care if you are cold. I've always heard people say that stouts are for cold weather, but have always been curious about how true this is (from a behavior standpoint at least) and, more importanlty, just when is stout season, exactly?!
I've long been an advocate of the "summer stout," more to be contrary than anything. But am I the weirdo? Or is stout as a winter-only beverage an urban legend deserving of a good old-fashioned Snopes.com-style debunking?
In the spirit of a recent article I wrote, "Why Is Pumpkin Beer Released in August," I went back to Google Trends to check out what the reality of the situation is. To make up for year-over-year growth of craft beer, I normalized the data on a June-May year. I also removed a few irrelevant months from the graph that I published here, but only to make the image easier to publish and maintain readability. This "missing data" was taken into account when I actually went over the seasonality.
And, well...the results were fairly obvious. Stout Season starts fairly sharply in November and lasts through March, with a sharp drop-off in April. Seeing as people think of stout as a cold weather beverage, it seems that this belief really does influence behavior and interest in a pretty serious way! For five months of the year interest is piqued, while for the remaining seven months, it's quite low. Oddly enough, if you look back at "Why Is Pumpkin Beer Released in August," you'll see that Stout Season picks up right where Pumpkin Beer Season leaves off. Either way, October shows interest in stouts begin to rise before it spikes in November. In an attempt at hipsterdom, I'm going to enjoy some this month (October)...before they're popular again.
- Written by 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!
4lb Whole Chicken (you can go larger or smaller if you wish)
1 can of beer half full (drink the first half)
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
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
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!
- Written by 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.)
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.
- Written by 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!