July 30, 2014

Sierra Nevada Tap Takeover Tip Sheet

Tomorrow (July 31st) is a tap takeover I'm really buzzing over (before and after probably). It's the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp tap takeover at the Little Rock Flying Saucer. It's 12 collaborations from 12 different kick ass breweries all on draft, all day long and until they're gone. OK, so let's be honest, that's a ton of choices for anybody. So I've got a handy little tip sheet for you here with a bit of a description on each of the beers. These are just cut-and-pasted from their site: http://beercamp.sierranevada.com/

I think my top 3 most anticiptated, and obviously the ones I'll tackle first, are the ones from Bell's, Ninkasi and Oskar Blues. We'll see how they stack up in the end. I hope to try all 12 before they're gone (duh). 

Doubtful I'll be able to come up with a 12-pack. I'm starting to doubt ANYBODY around here will come up with one. So this is our chance!

Here ya go:

(Allagash) Myron’s Walk is a Belgian-style pale ale combining the best of our two breweries. It features intense citrusy flavor and a complex aroma from the use of fruity and resinous whole-cone Citra and Mosaic hops offset by the complex spicy character of Allagash’s house Belgian yeast strain.

(Cigar City) Yonder Bock is a summery twist on the robust blonde bock. Its silky, semi-sweet malt body is bolstered by a blend of new and experimental hops that impart bright, fruity hop aromas of guava, mango and passion fruit.

(New Glarus) There and Back is a classic, sessionable, English-style Bitter—easy-drinking but full of flavor. It features nutty, toasted Golden Promise and English Crystal malts balanced by a solid dose of zesty hops, with a fruity dry finish from the use of an authentic English yeast.

(Russian River) Yvan The Great - This genre-bending beer has the bright, resinous hop profile of an American IPA blended with the dry and complex yeast character of a Belgian farmhouse ale. Yvan the Great is a perfect combination of the two brewing styles—hoppy, dry, spicy, and impressive.

(Victory) Alt Route is our take on the old school German Altbier style featuring an ale-lager hybrid yeast, which is top fermenting and fruity like an ale, but matured at cool temperatures for a clean, lager-like flavor. This deep amber beer has a slight emphasis on the richly layered, slightly sweet malt body with enough citrusy hop flavor and aroma to produce a balanced, dry finish.

(Ninkasi) Double Latte is a cold-press milk stout featuring roasted grain, amazing coffee, and a sweet coffee-chocolate-mocha-like flavor. A play on the milk in a classic latte, lactose or “milk sugar” helps produce a robust, rich body and a sweet malty backbone in this beer.

 (Ballast Point) Electric Ray is an IPL—Imperial Pale Lager—combining intense citrusy and floral American hop aroma with the clean, crisp, classic malt body of a robust blonde lager. It is both traditionally dry-hopped AND torpedoed with whole-cone American hops for an intense grapefruit and rose-like nose.

(3 Floyds) Chico King is a regal yet raucous take on the pale ale that both our breweries adore. It features a complex malt body from the use of an undermodified malt, which leads to a complex and nutty malt flavor, and a bright fruit-forward blend of Mosaic, El Dorado and Calypso hop varietals. Chico King is a beer fit for royalty.

(Bell’s) Maillard’s Odyssey is a robust dark ale layered with complex malt flavors of toffee, caramel, chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit. This malt-focused concept spawned a daunting grain bill featuring 10 different grains including pale malt, Munich, chocolate malt, oats, dark wheat and roasted barley for a rich, semi-sweet and intense experience.

(Asheville Brewers Alliance) Tater Ridge pays homage to our area’s Scottish Highland history, and its craft brew pioneers. With a hint of down home Southern flair, this Scottish ale is rich and malty, using special floor-malted six-row barley from Asheville’s Riverbend Malting, and has a smooth kick from the use of sweet potatoes, a tasty Southern staple.

(Firestone Walker) Torpedo Pilsner ditches the traditional German “noble” hops and heads south of the equator for inspiration. With a traditional golden malt body, this “kiwi” pils features intense fruity and floral New Zealand-grown Motueka and Southern Cross hops, making this an alternate and delicious take on the classic pilsner.

(Oskar Blues) CANfusion is a dry-hop rye bock with a complex malt body that launches a peppery blast from the rye, balanced by a fruity hop aroma. As the style suggests, it was dry-hopped for an added aroma punch from the unique citrusy and spice-like Australian Ella hop varietal.

Enjoy! And drink responsible of course. 

July 29, 2014

Visit To Memphis Made Brewing

If you're from Little Rock and enjoy getting over to Memphis for weekends regularly as do I, I'm sure you've also had some frustrating trips on I-40. It's the interstate/parking lot that seems to have been under construction since prohibition. John Lee (Rebel Kettle Brewing) and I took a a quick trip over on Sunday, but the drive over was anything but quick. 4 hours and 25 minutes (and approx 200 curse words) later we got to town, and thanks to the super patient Drew Barton at Memphis Made Brewing, we still got to stop by the brewery and visit for a little bit as we'd planned. It made the drive seem like a distant memory pretty quickly.

Memphis Made Brewing is located in Cooper­-Young and it's just expanded, after less than a year in production (they opened in Oct 2013). They recently installed three new fermenters, doubling their capacity. These guys are just pretty much everything I want in a brewery, except of course I wish their location was much closer to my home. The owners/operators/brewers are just the type of guys you pull for to really succeed, I dig their marketing, and oh yes... the beer. Damn tasty stuff.

We got to sample the newest brew, Bearcat, an IPA (Simcoe, Chinook, Citra and Mosaic hops) that's very nice. Also had some Lucid, a Kolsch that's crisp and easy to drink, but with a spicy hop note from Herkules hops in the back end. And lastly, we tried the FANTASTIC Soulful Ginger, a 6.2% ABV golden saison brewed with candied ginger and peppercorn. This brew is just so completely kick ass, Elvis might come out of hiding to sing a song about it.

So find these guys on your next Memphis trip for sure. Their tap room at the brewery is hoping to be opened this fall (there's a picture down below of the future patio area). Until then, you can find the 750ml bottles in some stores (we did at Cash Saver) and they're on tap in plenty of places around town. Ask for them.

Here's a few pics:

This welcomes you to the parking lot

Yes, you're there

Inside the brew room

Rebel Kettle and Memphis Made talking shop

2 excellent brews here

Here's what's going to be the big patio area soon

July 28, 2014

Video: Cooling A Can of Beer in 2 Minutes

Cooling down a can of beer in 2 minutes? Best tip ever. Forget the lemonade in the video. I mean who can't just pour their lemonade over ice? But this is a seriously useful tip when you can't wait to get that newly purchased brew in your belly:

July 27, 2014

Final Round of STL Photos

I've been swamped lately but had promised some more pics from the St. Louis trip over the 4th Of July weekend (see Charleville visit here and Alpha Brewing visit here) so I'm just putting the visits to Busch Stadium, Flying Saucer, Schlafly Tap Room, Morgan Street Brewery and Urban Chestnut (midtown) all in one. See how efficient I am? Also, it's the lazy man's way. Dang it, I've been busy I tell you! So here ya go, with some captions.

Here's the rest of my beer list:

Flying Saucer: Bell's Two Hearted Ale (one of my faves even more wonderful on draft), 4 Hands Reprise Centennial Red, Perennial Saison de Lis, 4 Hands Single Speed Session

Busch Stadium: Urban Chestnut Schnicklefritz, Urban Chestnut Winged Nut, Goose Island Honkers Ale

Urban Chestnut: Pierre's Wit, Apotheosis

Morgan Street Brewery: Virgin Territory, Summit This Summit That

Schlafly Tap Room: Oatmeal Stout, Dry Hopped APA, No. 15

This was my first visit to the newest Flying Saucer location, my 8th Saucer overall!

4 Hands Single Speed Session at Flying Saucer

2 Tickets to Paradise to me

Perrennial Saison de Lis is excellent
4 Hands Centennial Reprise Red at Flying Saucer

This is the selection of Urban Chestnut at Busch Stadium... $7.50 a pop (worth it)

Not a great view on the first night, but we were sitting in a bar basically

A Virgin Territory at Morgan Street Brewery

The tap selection board at Morgan Street Brewery
Better view day 2

One of my favorites in the Lou, the Schlafly Tap Room

A Delicious Dry-Hopped APA at the Schlafly Tap Room

Lots of choices at the Schlafly Tap Room
Beautiful tap wall at the STL Flying Saucer

Urban Chestnut beer garden area

Urban Chestnut tap selection

Urban Chestnut

Delicious Pierre's Wit at Urban Chestnut

Separate bar outdoors, all on same system. Your tab is running where ever you are.

Apotheosis with a fantastic brat and kraut in the garden

Brewing area at Urban Chestnut

We came to Schlafly Tap Room for the dinner and beer, stayed for some live music.

July 20, 2014

Mother's Plus Andy Frasco Plus Stickyz = Win

I can't be the only one who is just ecstatic about Mother's Brewing landing in central Arkansas next month finally! Things are starting to come together and what I do know is that the very first thing going down is some brews will be available at a show at Stickyz Rock n Roll Chicken Shack on Sunday night, August 24th. That will be the start of an epic week that'll include dinners, pint nights and a 20+ tap takeover at The Flying Saucer. Yes, 20+ taps. More on all that to come.

It all seems a bit far off but that will give you a good chance to check out Andy Frasco's music, who'll be playing on Sunday night. Here's his bio:

Andy Frasco, the 26-year old Los Angeles, CA native singer/songwriter/band maestro/entrepreneur/party starter/everyday hustler, and his band of gypsies “The U.N.” have been dubbed “Party Blues with a touch of Barefoot Boogie.” Frasco’s shows have been described as infectious, entertaining, and feel good. His performances are recognized as orchestrated chaos, inciting frenzied, undeniable good times, dancing, and perhaps even a good ole fashion freak out.

Sold! And there will be Mother's on tap! This can't miss. Prepare accordingly.

July 17, 2014

Catchy Jingle... Summit Beer Now in Cans!

Well now this is catchy! From the guys at Summit Brewing:

"Our friend and NYC-base musician Abstract Artimus wrote this rockin' jingle for new Summit cans. Six-pack 12-ounce cans of Extra Pale Ale, Sága IPA & Seasonal (Frost Line Rye, Maibock, Summer Ale, Oktobefest, Winter Ale) now available."

Check out more music from Abstract Artimus: http://www.abstractartimus.com/

July 12, 2014

A Visit To Charleville Vineyard & Microbrewery

On the way home from St. Louis last weekend we stopped by a brewery that I've been a pretty big fan of since they started distributing in our area over a year ago. And if you like your breweries in the middle of the wilderness, then maybe a visit to Charleville Vineyard and Microbrewery is for you also. We got off I-55 and visited the beautiful town of St. Genevieve, Mo before following the website directions through the winding hills to the brewery. I recommend using their directions as my Garmin was leading us to who knows where, but I swear I heard "Dueling Banjos" at one point before giving up on it. But finally, on top of a hill, at the end of a gravel road and surrounded by gorgeous vineyards, I got to visit where El Mucho Hoppo and Whiskey Scented Santa and all their wonderful liquid friends are created.

It's several buildings in all, log cabin style, in sort of a little village type setting. We got there a little before they actually opened at 11am on a Sunday but it didn't seem to matter, we were welcomed into the huge gift shop and tasting room and I began sampling beers right away. I tried a couple that I haven't tried yet, the 2014 Barley Wine (wonderful) and their Coffee Stout (wonderful + 1). My wife wasted no time getting a wine sampler as well, and I sipped a few of these too and realized that I like their wine about as much as their beer. We brought home 2 bottles of wine (2008 St. Vion and 2009 Estate Norton), a growler full of the Coffee Stout and a 4-pack with 2 bottles each of 2013 Barley Wine and 2014 Barley Wine. I also picked up a nice growler koozy and a t-shirt of my favorite brew of theirs, El Mucho Hoppo.

There's a bed & breakfast on site with 2 bedrooms and as soon as we saw the big back porch overlooking the beautiful hills, we decided we'd be back to stay for a weekend. A still smouldering fire pit from the previous night made me wish we'd been there to sit around it sipping more of their beers and wines. Soon!

They're in the process of building a new, much larger, brew house and said it might be done as early as this October.

So anyway, it's a fantastic brewery to add to your visit list and since a picture is worth a thousand words, I'll shut up and post some.

So worth the trip off the main road

Beautiful views all around

Tap room selections

A beautiful site indeed

An inviting view to the patio

The new, much larger, brewhouse is almost finished

This is the bed and breakfast, which accommodates 2 couples

The current brewhouse

My short-lived 2014 Barley Wine sample

The tap room and gift shop

I can have a few with this view I think
Got a bit to go of course

July 10, 2014

A Quick Visit To Alpha Brewing

The wife and I visited one of my favorite cities, St Louis, over the 4th of July weekend to take in a couple of Cardinal's games and some local flavor. It was my first trip there in almost 5 years, after going up almost every Summer for at least a weekend series for a decade. A lot has changed, especially in their beer scene. It seems there are new breweries popping up all over, like a lot of American cities now. We hit a few, but it became pretty apparent I need to get back up there much more often and see some more.

First up was Alpha Brewing, a microbrewery and taproom downtown (1409 Washington Ave Rear). I had their Berlinerweisse, which they add raspberry syrup to. It sweetens up what is a nice, clean, tart easy drinker. Very nice. They tapped a cask of their Storter (malty, dark chocolate) with mustard seeds added, which was very interesting, and my wife had the Pacific Gem, a nice IPA made with an experimental New Zealand hop. I also brought home a bottle of their coffee beer, Kofe Karmel, which I'll be digging into soon.

All in all a pretty cool place. Nice set-up, good beer, nice people. Recommended. I hope to get to stay a bit longer on my next visit.

Here's a few pics:

Patio seating at Alpha Brewing

Tap wall, all house brews

A beautiful Berlinerweise

Sipsters are a club of their regular patrons

Cool artwork at Alpha Brewing
We'll definitely be back to Alpha Brewing