Elysian and AB-InBev. Brewers not Nazis

 

 

The betrayed are out in force on twitter. “Goodbye Elysian” “Last time I EVER drink Elysian Beer”

“Traitors!” “Sell outs!”

It was as if the founder of Greenpeace had just joined ACME petrol-chemicals Inc. and personally dumped toxic, radioactive waste directly on a whale’s head while laughing maniacally!

I realise that the craft beer is more than just great beer, carefully brewed by bearded artisans in railway arches and barns behind a pub. It has become a political movement that reflects the campaigns against the 1%, a liquid counterpart to ‘farm to fork’ and locavore groups.

The . . . → Read More: Elysian and AB-InBev. Brewers not Nazis

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‘The Craft Beer Revolution’ by Steve Hindy – Book Review

 

‘The Craft Beer Revolution’ by Steve Hindy

ISBN: 978-1-137-27876-0

Steve Hindy is the founder of Brooklyn Brewery, and is one of the great success stories of the American craft brewing industry. He takes us on a journey from the earliest days of enthusiastic home-brewers, MBA graduates and wealthy businessmen dipping their collective toes into the unknown waters of alternative beers. They were alternative because in the mid 60s there were no real options for the American beer drinker other than a bunch of similar tasting lagers of very little note. Steve Hindy knows all the protagonists, and has some . . . → Read More: ‘The Craft Beer Revolution’ by Steve Hindy – Book Review

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Cascadian Dark Ale – A name is dead? – time to re-brand!

Thanks to the litigiously minded Eli Gershkovitch at Steamworks Brewery in Vancouver, BC The name for that dark, top fermented beer, with full hoppy aromatics, created by the Cascadian varietals of hops, has now effectively ceased to exist. Proud Cascadian brewers across the Canada-US border in the beautiful Pacific Northwest have been denied the chance to brand the style that was created and championed with the cross national region that takes its name after the Cascade mountains (a term first used in 1825). In 1970 the term ‘Cascadia’ was first used to describe the surrounding region, and since then has . . . → Read More: Cascadian Dark Ale – A name is dead? – time to re-brand!

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Ommegang Three Philosophers

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Ommegang Three Philosophers is a Belgian style quadrupel dark ale, blended with an authentic kriek (cherry lambic). It has a dark reddish brown colour and a loose head that disappears fairly quickly. This beer has a powerful flavour that saturates my mouth as soon as it enters. The thick caramel notes and cooked, dried fruit are the main players, and it overwhelms the subtle (or is it buried?) cherry from the kriek. There are sherry-like armoas and a winey finsh that give this a bitter-sweet note that is good for strong cheeses.

I was a bit disappointed . . . → Read More: Ommegang Three Philosophers

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Lost Coast Winterbraun

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

The Lost Coast Winterbraun is a strong dark brown ale brewed especially for the winter months. The label sports a Picasso-esque snowboarder with skin the colour of this rich and deeply hued brew; the sweet, dark caramel and rye bread aromas that greet you are a comforting reminder of why we drink different beers when the nights draw in and there is a chill in the air.

The flavours are warming too, a hint of black treacle, roasted malt, baked dried fruit, and sweet caramel are all there and give this beer a cake-like appeal. This can . . . → Read More: Lost Coast Winterbraun

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Kona Brewing Oceanic Belgian Style Saison

Wrangler Rating:

(Recommended)

Kona Brewing’s Oceanic Organic Belgian Style Saison is brewed on the Big Island using Belgian yeast and organic ingredients. It has a medium gold colour and if you tip the whole bottle out, the small amount of yeast inside will give it a slightly cloudy appearance, with an aroma of spice and citrus. The flavour is a touch one dimensional, but has a nice crisp refreshing flavour with a citrus note. There is a hint of the coriander and dry spice on the finish and is pleasantly drinkable. This seemed to get better as it warmed . . . → Read More: Kona Brewing Oceanic Belgian Style Saison

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Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat is sold by the brewery as a ‘Belgian Wit’ but this is no ordinary Hoegaarden imitation that some breweries, large and small churn out in the summer. This could be the fruitiest wheat beer on the market with the vibrant orange colour of the liquid echoed by the flavour. Sweet tangerine dominates the palate with juicy blueberry notes there as well. With a touch of sweet spice and a balancing note of bitterness, this beer is a great summer refresher.

Although simple, I really enjoyed this beer and would definitely have this again . . . → Read More: Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat

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Pretty Things Hedgerow Bitter

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Pretty Things make beer with some interest, as opposed to just brewing standard styles to fill their portfolio. This time out they have used three Dwarf Hop varietals from England, Sovereign, Pioneer and First Gold, and made a well hopped British Best Bitter. The hoppy flavours may not be familiar to those used to drinking North American IPAs, but these fairly new varieties give it a distinctly wild herbaceous twang.

This is certainly reminiscent of Bitters I’ve drunk in the UK but with an extra helping of hops. The Dwarf hops taste fresh and vibrant and leave . . . → Read More: Pretty Things Hedgerow Bitter

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Winter Beer Showdown

Seasonal beers are filling the shelves right about now, and go well beyond any single type. The basic style is the classic Winter Warmer. This is not usually spiced but brewed to a slightly stronger alcohol volume (6% – 7% is typical for this warming malty style). Specialty Christmas beers take their cues from the old Wassail Ales – spiced, sometimes fortified, mulled beer given to carol singers in Medieval England. Although no longer fortified or served warm, it is usually strong and spiced, rich and filling. There are other winter seasonal ales brewed in the Belgium style. They tend . . . → Read More: Winter Beer Showdown

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A Cascadian Revolution

Viva Cascadia! So at last there seems to be some agreement on a name for a very hoppy dark brown to black ale made with Pacific Northwest hop varietals (see Northwest Brewing News). Those not from the great nation of Cascadia might not have had this mighty dark ale, but should definitely try this deliciously contrasting beer. Hoppier than an American Brown Ale, as dark as a porter, this beer has had numerous names in the past, not all of which make sense!

“A black IPA please” I hear in a crafty taproom. “A dark India Pale Ale for me!” . . . → Read More: A Cascadian Revolution

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Dogfish Head Midas Touch

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Yum Yum! Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch is both justified and ancient, being based on a 2700 year old ancient Anatolian recipe which is a re-creation based on analysis of drinking vessels that were uncovered during an archaeological dig in what is now Turkey – drinking vessels that resided within what is thought to be the tomb of none other than King Midas himself (although suspiciously they had not been turned to gold!)

I can’t say that I have ever tasted a beer quite like this (which is equal parts a delight and a shame.) Deeply golden . . . → Read More: Dogfish Head Midas Touch

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New Glarus Black Wheat

Wrangler Rating: (Outstanding)

New Glarus Brewing is to be found in Wisconsin in the U.S., and is owned by the Brewmaster Dan Carey, who has spent a lifetime perfecting his craft, and oversees a brewery that makes lots of limited release seasonal beers that keep their fans on their toes and interested with an ever-changing line-up.

Their version of the traditional German Dunkelweizen is simply called ‘Black Wheat’, but this beer is far from simple. The deep brown-black liquid, topped by a foamy caramel tan head is a delightfully complex beer, that exhibits lots of nuances, and never dominate one . . . → Read More: New Glarus Black Wheat

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Pyramid Breweries Snow Cap Winter Warmer

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Pyramid Snow Cap is the Winter seasonal offering from this popular Seattle brewery, and claims to be made in the “spirit of the British Winter ales”. At 7% alcohol, it certainly has the strength to warm the cockles, but does the flavour keep up? The combination of English and Pacific North West hops give this Winter warmer a nice bitterness, but unlike many other North American versions of this classic Christmas brew, it has copious amounts of delicious malt to back it up and keep them in check. There are notes of cocoa bean and dark caramel . . . → Read More: Pyramid Breweries Snow Cap Winter Warmer

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Rogue Mogul Madness Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Rogue Mogul Madness Ale is a Winter warmer with bite. It has a dark ruby-brown colour and a fairly creamy tan head that stays with the beer. There are some caramel flavours with some faint notes of banana bread. The unusual thing for a winter warmer, but not unusual for Rogue, are the obvious handfuls of hops used in the brew. They offer a pleasant bitterness on the finish that tastes a little grapefruity, and tends to last for a while after the beer has been swallowed. This is an enjoyable beer, but tastes like a good . . . → Read More: Rogue Mogul Madness Ale

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Anchor Brewing ‘Our Special Ale’ 2009 (Christmas Ale)

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Anchor Brewing famously change the recipe for their Special Ale every year, as well choose a different tree, a symbol of the Winter Solstice, to adorn the label. This version (2009), when held up to the light, has a gorgeously dense ruby colour and an almost creamy pale tan head. The aroma is full of malty molasses with a definite hoppy highlight. The flavours that follow fill the mouth, but don’t overwhelm it; the main taste that starts off is a strong malty one, that develops into a black molasses backbone to the beer. There are some . . . → Read More: Anchor Brewing ‘Our Special Ale’ 2009 (Christmas Ale)

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Flying Dog Porter

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Flying Dog Porter comes from one of the most irreverent breweries around, with their “Good Beer, No Shit” motto, and anarchic Ralph Steadman artwork on the labels. The beer however, is mighty fine, and their porter will delight many a dark ale fan. Its colour is a rich black, with dark cherry highlights and a creamy tightly bubbled head. Sweet molasses and coffee bean dominate the aroma and the palate is also fairly full on. Burnt chocolate notes start off, and are followed by a nice molasses malt taste. This full-bodied porter’s flavour lingers on, creating . . . → Read More: Flying Dog Porter

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Anderson Valley Brewing Boont Amber Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Recommended)

Anderson Valley Brewing Boont Amber Ale comes in the large 650 ml bottles, and it’s a good thing too, as this is a rather quaffable ale. It is a nice bright mid-amber in colour, with a medium frothy head that doesn’t linger for too long. There is a hint of sweetish toasted malt on the nose and maybe a touch of hop, but not a whole lot else. This has a nicely balanced palate with the malt leading the way followed by some spicy hop notes. There is a bit of light fruitiness in the background . . . → Read More: Anderson Valley Brewing Boont Amber Ale

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Marin Brewing Co. Point Reyes Porter

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Marin Brewing Point Reyes Porter is a rich chocolate opaque brown and this is good indicator as to the flavour that follows the pour. Roasted coffee bean and dark cocoa are at the forefront here, and their rich bitterness is very satisfying and extremely moreish. There is a touch of chocolaty sweetness on the finish, but only enough to balance the enjoyable bitter notes that rounds this beer off nicely. This is a supremely drinkable porter that slips down without any trouble at all, so even the large 650 ml bottle seems to disappear far too . . . → Read More: Marin Brewing Co. Point Reyes Porter

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Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

Wrangler Rating: (Outstanding)

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is one of the leading exponents of extreme beer and craft brewing in the world, and its founder Sam Calagione is treated with deep respect by the micro-brewing community as a whole. In the Palo Santo Marron he has created a giant of a beer, that offers a wealth of complexity that rivals a good fortified wine. It is fantastically full-bodied with notes on the nose that remind me of a Malmsey Madeira. The palate is full of rich caramel and molasses with big hints of licorice, and deep undertones of vanilla. . . . → Read More: Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

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Moylan’s Celts Golden Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Mediocre)

Moylan’s Celts Golden Ale is a slightly cloudy attractively coloured ale that pours with a nice light head that leaves almost no lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma has a nice yeasty note with a hint of hop underneath. The flavour doesn’t seem to follow the aroma as it is so lightweight that it doesn’t offer much. There are very subtle yeast notes, and maybe a touch of malt, but nothing to really get hold of. I know Golden/Summer Ales are supposed to be light, but really this is obviously aimed at the . . . → Read More: Moylan’s Celts Golden Ale

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Rogue Ales Captain Sig’s Northwestern Ale

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Rogue Northwestern Ale is a punch in the mouth of a beer. I like hoppy ales so if you don’t, this one probably isn’t for you. It pours a very ruddy mahogany colour into the glass with a lively off-white head. The carbonation is not too high, and feels like a bottled British Ale. The biggest flavour is by far and away the Pacific Northwest hops. Cascade and Amarillo are used to bring this beer to a mighty 80 IBUs. Floral and grapefruit citrus notes abound, from the initial sip right through to the aftertaste. There . . . → Read More: Rogue Ales Captain Sig’s Northwestern Ale

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Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout

Wrangler Rating: (Outstanding)

Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout is an Imperial Russian Stout that weighs in at a mighty 10%, but the alcohol is well hidden by the monumentally full-bodied flavours that caress the palate. This stout’s colour is a deep inky black, and pours into the glass with a creamy caramel coloured head that slowly dissipates. You’d be fooled into thinking that there was real cocoa beans in the brew, but Garrett Oliver, the brewer, obtains that taste from malt alone! The dark bitter chocolate notes fill the mouth, but are balanced exquisitely by rich roasted sweet malt. . . . → Read More: Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout

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Lagunitas Sirius Cream Ale

Wrangler Rating (Excellent)

Lagunitas Sirius is a ‘High Gravity’ Cream Ale weighing in at 7%, which is not a common occurrence, but nor is a cream ale of this quality. Do not be fooled by the high alcohol, this is a supremely quaffable and refreshing beer as a cream ale should be. It is surprisingly light and well balanced. There are notes of banana and crisp grapefruit with a hint of pine in the background, but no flavour overwhelms the palate. There is a touch of hoppy bitterness, that leads to a crisp finish and invites the drinker to . . . → Read More: Lagunitas Sirius Cream Ale

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Bud Light Lime

Wrangler Rating: (Poor)

This was brought round to a friend of the Beer Wrangler’s for a BBQ, so we could all try it, well chilled, on a hot summers day. The colour is very pale, like the regular Bud Light, but the aroma that hits you is one of citrus dish soap. The flavour consists of the same soapy lime, and has an altogether synthetic feel to it. I could detect very little, if any beer flavours in the drink, and it was a big disappointment. This tastes neither like a beer or a cooler/alcopop. If you like a . . . → Read More: Bud Light Lime

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