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  1. There's only a week left this month, and I just recently remembered a great time of year for beer lovers, Christmas in July (CIJ). I better get with the program! What Christmas/winter holiday beers have you tasted this month, or plan to taste? How were they after six months, or some years later for those who save some vintage beers? Do any of the beer bars you visit have a CIJ celebration this month, or are any winter holiday brews on tap? After I remembered, I chilled and drank an Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale, and put a few more in the fridge. The Anderson Valley went great with a sandwich and it was surpringly hearty and smooth -- not too heavy on the spices for me, which sometimes is the reason I don't care for these kinds of special brews. I think I appreciated it better this time around than I did during the winter. So, here's what I found in the cool bottom of my bedroom closet and now have in the fridge waiting: Troegs Mad Elf Holiday Ale (I think this is two or three years old); Old Dominion Winter Brew 2005; Sierra Nevade Celebration Ale, 2000 and 2005; Pyramid Snow Cap Winter Warmer (I think this is pretty old; if I recall correctly, I don't like this much); and Anchor Brewing Co's Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2003.
  2. Introducing flavors into beer may be sacreligious to some but when that ingredient imparts some functionality, I believe it should be well considered. Wattleseed in both ground or extract form is becoming a force in flavors as an ingredient in ice cream, cream, sauces and now brewing. While some devotees have attempted to introduce Wattleseed (which is a roasted seed from the genus Acacia) into the wort as a fermentable, economy suggest there must be a better way. The extract has been used in commercial trials in Australia and added post-brewing and pre-pasteurization. At 1% addition to a light bodied beer, Wattleseed enhances the intrinsic qualities of the brew only expressing its own flavor late on the palate. The result is that the beer exhibits a subtle coffee, chocolate, hazelnut character ending in a very clean finish effectively wiping any residual hop bitterness from the tongue. This means the palate is made ready for the full flavor of the following sip and drinkers do not get that 'furry tongue' feel of hop build up. It makes a true cleansing ale.
  3. This weekend is the cask ale festival at the Brazen Head in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. About 20-30 casks from lots of American breweries like Six Point, Ommegang, Victory, and more. Great time to have like 8-10 half pints of various beers. (And a damn good cider in the past, too.) Brazen Head Cask Festival
  4. Has anyone seen it in stores? I've checked a few of my local stores and nobody has it. A woman at Canal's (Rt 73, Marlton) told me they didn't get any in this year.
  5. Ah, life is good. The first of two Friday the Firkinteenth beer festivals is taking place this Friday, January 13, at the Grey Lodge Public House in Philadelphia. Check their website for logistical details Here is the lineup for this time around at the only beer event decided by the vagaries of the calendar: Yards, Philadelphia, PA Heavyweight Stickenjab Alt, Ocean Township, NJ Troegs Oatmeal Stout, harrisburg, PA Magic Hat, South Burlington, VT Flying Fish, Cherry Hill, NJ Iron Hill, West Chester, PA Nodding Head brand new hoppy ale, Philadelphia, PA Sly Fox Robbie Burn's Scottish ale, Phoenixville, PA Lancaster Doppelbock, Lancaster, PA Ramstein Pale Ale, Butller NJ Rock Art, Johnson, VT Middle Ages Dragon Slayer Imperial Stout, Syracuse, NY General Lafayette Fuggled Up, Lafayette Hill, PA Legacy, Reading, PA Weyerbacher Heresy, Easton, PA Victory Uncle Teddy's Bitter, Downingtown, PA Another killer cask ale lineup. The Grey Lodge website says that they will be tapping the casks starting at noon to accomdate the crowds and demand. Jeebus. Worth the drive from anywhere.
  6. A Visitor Welcomed in Cold Weather* If you're looking for something to give you that warm feeling in your stomach, you might check out some of these tasty choices. *Requires registration, free access will expire.
  7. Last night, I stopped in at a local wine bar that also has a good beer list. I ordered a bottle of Chimay White Label, and was shocked that it came in a Chimay glass. I asked the bartender how many other beers had their own glassware. He listed off Belgian producers only. I also remember a business trip to the Netherlands and Belgium a little over a year ago. Everytime I ordered beer, it was served with a glass that featured the name of the beer. I know there's a school of thought that certain beers (like certain wines) are best when served in certain glassware. But in England, where everything comes in the same-shaped pint glass, the name of the beer one orders appears on the glass. In addition to best showing off the beer, I'm sure it helps the server remember what customers are drinking. I wish we saw more of this -- in the United States (especially with microbrews) and elsewhere.
  8. Has anyone noticed restaurants anywhere in the US (or the world) beginning to pair their cheese course explicitly with beer rather than wine?
  9. This is my second favorite brewery after Unibroue (Fin du Monde, Trois Pistoles). If you are a fan of Belgian-style beers, and especially if you are also a Unibroue fan, you will enjoy Caracole's offerings. My favorites in order are: Nostradamus - Belgian brown ale, similar to Trois Pistoles Troublette - wheat ale, similar to Fin Du Monde Saxo I am actually not too fond of Caracole, the namesake beer.
  10. What do you think about Shiner, especially the flagship Shiner Bock? Here in Texas, it is the lowest common denominator of beer; you'll always be welcome at a party if you bring a case of Shiner. If you bring Miller or Bud others might think you are either very poor or just have poor taste -- and this is not just from the beer snobs, most everyday people will ask "Why didn't you bring Shiner? It's only a few dollars more." Do you have a non-macrobrewery, lowest common denominator beer in your part of the country? The export of Shiner to the rest of the country and the elevation of its status is a bit strange to Texans. It's particularly frustrating to find that more and more bars are classifying Shiner as a fancy or import beer and charging import prices. The above questions are strictly about the perception and popularity of Shiner. As for its taste, I'm not really fond of lagers so I would never buy Shiner for myself, but I do buy it often to bring to parties.
  11. SBonner

    Chocolate Beers

    Just wondering if any of you have had any amazing chocolate beers lately. In the past three months we have had three while travelling overseas. In London, Young's Double Chocolate Stout, at Redoak Brewing in Sydney Australia (Chocolate Cherry Stout) and in Barcelona (Xocoa beer). All tasty and unusual. Our favourite to date was the Redoak Chocolate Stout with it's rich and creamy texture and flavours of Black Forest Cake Cheers, Stephen Vancouver
  12. Since a friend brought some of this back for me last year, i have been hooked. So everytime he goes back I ask him to bring me more. Its not as dry as Urquel; more like belgian than czech beer. Anyone tried this?
  13. elfin

    Azorean beer?

    The Azores, Portugese islands in the middle of the Atlantic, apparently brews its own beer-Especial. Anyone tried it?
  14. I'll be in France next week. I'm interested in finding some top notch beer that I'm unlikely to encounter back in the states. Consequently: 1. Does anyone know of any interesting french beers that aren't generally exported? 2. Is there likely to be a greater availability of top notch belgian and/or Belgian beers than there would be in the US. 3. Does anyone know of any shops that might be a good place to look for either of the above types of beer? Na zdravi!
  15. Last year each glass was 50 cents. With over 40 breweries on hand this is a great event and a good benefit for the local listener-supported, non-commercial, independent public radio station. I was wondering if anyone else planned on attending? Information can be found here: http://www.klcc.org/post/microbrewfest2006.html
  16. eje

    Variety Grains

    Was noticing Malkavian's post over in the Homebrew journal regarding Sorghum in beer making: It's interesting to see the recent interest in Sorghum Beer. I've seen one at local liquor stores called "Dragon's Gold" from Bard's Tale Beer. Doing some googling, I see even Anheuser Busch is now making a Sorghum Beer. Now, I'm not usually fond of variety grains in beer, so it's not something I would pick up without some sort of review first. But, a recent positive experience with Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale has me thinking they all aren't bad. Is the flavor of sorghum beer similar to beers made with corn?
  17. On my annual search for winter/Christmas beers, I picked up Clipper City's Winter Storm, which the label says is an "Imperial ESB". ABV is 7.5%. It tastes like an IPA to me. Am I missing something, or should there be a difference between the two styles??
  18. This could just as easily go into the Wine forum, but for those of you who are interested, there are some nineteenth century brewing, wine-making and related books online and FREE at <a href= "http://books.google.com/">Google Books</a>. Here are a few I have found so far: Key to Gray's ale brewer's assistant By James Gray; 1848 The British Wine-maker, and Domestic Brewer: A Complete, Practical, and Easy Treatise on the Art... By W. H. Roberts, of Edinburgh W H Roberts; 1835 The Complete Practical Brewer; Or Plain, Accurate, and Thorough Instructions in the Art of... By Marcus Lafayette Byrn; 1852 The vintner's, brewer's, spirit merchant's, and licensed victualler's guide; by a practical man By Vintner; 1826 Clarke's Complete Cellarman: The Publican and Innkeeper's Practical Guide, and Wine and Spirit... By William Clarke, 1830 If you go to Advanced Search and put "wine" or "beer" into the subject line you get a lot more. Have fun, Janet
  19. From Sustainable Food News.com, a subscription-only daily news service; re-posted in part, below, with permission from the editor: 5.25% alcohol content from Miller? Anyone over there in PNW who tastes it / has tasted it, please post a review, thanks.
  20. The Drafting Room is hosting an irresistable event with Victory 10 Years Alt which is not even available directly at the brewery. More info here See you there!
  21. Tkrup

    gift ideas?

    I've got a good friend who is the head brewer at a brewpub, and I'm looking for gift ideas from folks who probably know better. I'm looking for neat gadget ideas or esoteric ingredients for brews, but any ideas will help since I'm kinda stumped here. Thanks!!!
  22. Rich Pawlak

    BROOKS!

    So, Brooks, please tell us, how did this gig come about? What did it take to get into the Times??? CONGRATS! It is a deftly written piece: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/29/dining/2...ing&oref=slogin
  23. I had the good fortune to attend a Dogfish Head dinner at Gracie's in Providence hosted by Sam Calagione. He mentioned "a molecular archaeologist" when he introduced the Chateau Jiahu, which the Dogfish Head website describes as follows: The website also mentions the same sort of genesis story with the Midas Touch Golden Elixir. Both were good, though I thought that the Jiahu was far superior. It's great marketing, to be sure -- and I'll admit to being swayed by Calagione's enthusiasm and grace. But I wanted to know more about this reference to "molecular archaeology" and its relationship to brewing. Is this just a Dogfish Head phenomenon? Are others pursuing it?
  24. I was talking to my aunt this weekend and she was telling me that her neighbor drinks beer with a raw egg added to the glass he drinks it out of. Has anybody heard of this and if so is there a name for it? I dont think i could do that!
  25. sadistick

    Vintage Beer?!

    Anyways, long story short...was at the good ol LCBO yesterday, looking at their various imported beers, and saw this really fancy looking smallish box, that said Fuller's (or feller's...cant recall, no receipt handy) 2006 "Vintage Beer"...well, with a $7 price tag each, it better be vintage! Just was wondering if any of you folks have tried this...I bought a couple, giving one to my dad as he is a beer nut...they say you should actually age these 3-4 years...wondering if anyone has had any experience with it. Cheers.
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