Archive for the ‘Beer News’ Category

OK, really really bad pun-title. It doesn’t even have anything to do with what I’m going to say. But titling is hard, you know? And maybe it was really an insightful play on words, because the lambs are representing a flock of people going, “Baaa, baaa, we refuse to drink cider because it’s not a REAL drinker’s drink, or so we’re told, and if we do drink it we refuse to drink it except in certain seasons! Baaaa!”

The people say “baaa,” yes.

Anyway, I just wanted to point everyone’s attention to this article in the WaPo food section today, on ciders.

I fully support this article. Not only am I a big fan of good ciders, but they referenced my absolute favorite, Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouche Brut de Normandie, blogged about way back towards the inception of this blog, when I was far less nimble with a camera and far more devoted to the integration of poetic tinkerings into beer writing, apparently.

Anyway, I think this article hit it on the head when it referenced people in Gijon sending cider back if they get a sweet one. While I think it’s not a black and white issue, and that some sweetness can be pleasant and flavor-enhancing (it’s made from apples after all), it should be approached similarly to wine (also fermented from a sweet fruit): sweet, desserty wines have their place, but they’re the exception, not the rule. Of course you wouldn’t expect a cider to have the dry tannin-ated (urban dictionary, let’s see a definition for that one) taste of a Malbec, but it should err on the side of dryness rather than sugariness, complexity rather than appeal to underage girls who don’t like to drink the Natty Boh at frat parties but still want to be seen sipping something out of a bottle rather than the potentially roofied and most definitely germ-infested plastic cooler of jungle juice.

I digress.

My favorite ciders have that funky, earthy complexity that this article talks about. Something that almost reminds you of a Flemish sour ale or a biere de garde, if they’d been made with apples. And I’m super curious try a cider, like the Asturian one they described, that is uncarbonated except for the bubbles produced by a Victoria Falls-type pour. Similarly, I wonder if we could recreate this phenomena with wine.

….honey, get several glasses and a tarp ready. I’ll be home at 4:30.


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I’m Baaaaaack!

Hello, and sorry for the long absence. I suppose I needed a break for awhile of the rigorous posting schedule I unconsciously imposed upon myself, scrambling to get those beers poured before the sun went down to capture the best light. When I also had a million other things to get done before the sun went down. I really need to invest in a good low-light camera, is my point.

Anyhow, will return later with a new brew-review, but for now, here’s a link to a good post from Pete Brown stating his reaction to the claims by Professor David Nutt that alcohol is actually more damaging than cocaine or heroin. I’d read about this when this article appeared in the health section of the Washington Post, and I have to say that my reaction was that it was pretty silly, like a lot of other articles I’ve been seeing in the Post lately (and don’t get me wrong, I love the Post). It just seemed to state things that were technically true- that alcohol is more damaging than any other drug mostly on the basis of the fact that it’s use is more widespread, as it is the only one that is legal…and because the score was based on harm to self AND harm to society/others, this gave it a big leg up- and stated it in a way that made it seem much worse than it really was. And in a way that makes most people assume solely means physically damaging to the body.

Anyhow, good for some early-morning thought and entertainment. See you all later!

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Anyone else out there await the arrival of the illusive Great Pumpkin every year like Linus?


I know I do. But my Great Pumpkin isn’t the mythical creature of the annual Charlie Brown special. My Great Pumpkin was created in the image of Púca, a mythical Celtic creature said to come upon travelers in the night, throw them on his back, take them on a wild ride, and drop them off forever changed. And I believe I spy this King of Pumpkin Kings, is hiding behind a beer glass there…

peering pumpkin.jpg

This great pumpkin is the Pum-King featured on the bottle of Pumking Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company. And it is my absolute favorite pumpkin beer of the season.

Being an imperial pumpkin ale, it’s got a lot more gravity to it than your average pumpkin ale, and has a pumpkin flavor to match. It really is one of those beers that smacks you in the face with the experience of itself.

First, you start with the deep, rich, ruby-copper color:

pumking glass.jpg

Then the aroma. It’s spicy and sweet and smells like something warm and gooey in the oven. Then the taste. Oh, the taste. Dan described it as tasting like pumpkin bread, which I think is apt: it’s slightly sweet (but not overly so- thus the bread comparison, and not pie), and oh so very thick and buttery and wheaty, with vanilla and cinnamon and spice swirling about.  Sort of like a those cinnamon-coated graham crackers, in a way, as well.

I feel like people have fallen in love with and written about Pumking in the blogosphere so much already this season, so I probably don’t have a lot more to add, except that it’s clearly a favorite of so many for a reason. And yet as quickly as it comes into our homes and our grateful gullets, so too is it gone. Until next season, that is, when the Great Pumpkin returns.

glasses of pumking.jpg

On another interesting pumpkin-beer-related note, cool article today in the Washington Post’s Going Out Guide: a pumpkin beer blind tasting.  I’ve had all but the Shipyard pumpkin ale, and recently tried Weyerbacher’s (in the #1 spot) for the first time, though regretfully didn’t photograph or review it.  Read on to get some ideas for potentially new-to-you pumpkin beers to taste this autumn!

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Says Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery.  I SO would have participated in this, just to say I made beer with my own spit:


Anyone out there had chicha before?  Thoughts on it?

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Interesting article in the Washington Post’s Food Section today:


Not only is the production of Black IPAs/CDAs concentrated in the would-be country of “Cascadia,” American IPAs are notorious for using Cascade hops.  Think Sierra Nevada.

Anyone had one of these?  What’s your opinion on them?  I tried the DogZilla Black IPA from Laughing Dog Brewery sometime ago, and though I can’t give a very accurate review since my one taste of it was months back, I can say that I recall it not quite tasting like an IPA and not quite tasking like any other dark/black ale I’d had…I really want to seek out another bottle now try to pin that taste down!

I wonder if it would be going too overboard to make a smoked CDA?  I think smoked ales have been some of my favorite dark ales (though I feel like there are far fewer dark ales than lagers, so smoked ales may also make up the majority of dark ales I’ve had), but would the smoke and hops overwhelm each other?  I know DogZilla’s IBU was a little lower than most IPAs, so it could work.

Also, with Belgian dark ales already a niche in the market, and the emerging style of “Belgian IPA” becoming more ubiquitous (Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch, of course, and I’ve seen others popping up here and there- I recently tasted one from Sam Adams as a taster at my local Total Wine that is one of two styles they are thinking of releasing next year, that people can vote on), I wonder if someone will think to fuse all THREE elements (dark ales, IPAs, and Belgian yeasts) and come up with a Belgian Dark IPA.

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I have yet to try the fabled 120-minute IPA, but it’s on my list of things to do before I die.  Looks like I won’t be dying just yet…


Good to know the folks at Dogfish Head are opting for honesty and quality over avoiding a loss of $$ though.  They never disappoint when the suds DO end up in my glass!

Stay tuned for later tonight, I’ve got a (hopefully) great new beer-marinated chicken recipe coming…

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