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Summer Shandy Love

Friday, May 22, 2015 | Kona, Shock Top, Sierra Nevada, Starr Hill Brewery, Susquhanna, Widmer

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By now, you’re probably familiar with shandies; the beer cocktail that is typically mixed with lemonade, but could include a soft drink such as ginger ale, other light sodas, or orange juice. They’ve become a popular addition to many breweries’ lineups, particularly as the weather warms and craft drinkers look for refreshing beverages. Usually sweet and often tart, these mixes are a great fruity break from maltier or hoppier alternatives. They also tend to be lower in alcohol content, due to their mixed nature, so make a great go-to for day-time get-togethers like picnics and BBQs or just relaxing on the deck on a weekend.

The idea of mixing a sweet drink with beer might seem strange at first, but it’s been going on for a long time, and with good reason. The earliest record of a beer cocktail of its ilk is from 1853, in the form of the shandygaff, a beer and ginger ale mix. Other countries have their own versions, including the Radler (German for cyclist), a beer mixed with sparkling lemonade, which supposedly originated in Munich in 1922. France has its version, the Panache, which is close to the Radler definition. Even Singapore has a cocktail where beer is mixed with tonic water, called Kip Lin after its inventor.

Where shandies were traditionally mixed on-site, you can now conveniently buy them pre-mixed in a bottle. Here are a few to try:

Widmer Bros Hefe Shandy – A hefeweizen made with Lemon Drop hops and mixed with natural lemonade for a lip-smacking mix. 4.2% ABV

Shock Top Shandy – Another wheat beer with a big lemon taste and a spicy yeast to back it up. 4.2% ABV

Susquehanna Shady Spot Shandy – This shandy harkens back to the traditional English style: dry and refreshing. 4.7% ABV

While these shandies are a great grab-n-go option, and definitely worth a try, you might want to try your hand and making one of your own. If you’re unsure of where to begin, let’s go over a few simple recipes that can get you started, and you can take it from there.

Big Lemon Wave

1 12oz bottle Kona’s Big Golden Wave

4oz Fresh lemonade, pulp optional

Mix, garnish with lemon rind for aroma.

Grapefruit Popfest

6oz bottle Sierra Nevada Summerfest

6oz Pure grapefruit juice, pulp optional

Splash sparkling water

Mix all, garnish with slice of lemon. Use one 12oz bottle for two servings.

Ginger Love

12oz bottle Starr Hill The Love Hefeweizen

6oz Ginger ale, such as Schweppes

Mix, garnish with either a thin slice of fresh ginger or slice of lemon

Beachy Beers

Friday, May 22, 2015 | Fun, Summer

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Chances are you’ll be visiting a beach this summer. If you’re set on an oceanside vacation, you can hit two birds with one stone by also taking the chance to visit a brewery you might not be able to visit otherwise. Whether you’ve got a destination in mind or you’re looking for ideas, we’ve got a list that might help you visit both a sunny beach spot and a tasty craft brewery.

Beach Haus Brewery – These guys were named for the beach, and as they’re just over in Belmar, NJ, visiting can make a good weekend retreat.

Nearby Beaches

Belmar Beach: A recently revamped boardwalk, lots of activities like kayaking and boogie boarding, and clean, sandy beaches are all just minutes away from the brewery.

Evolution Brewery: While Salisbury isn’t exactly an oceanside city, the surrounding beauty of Maryland can be a wonderful getaway, and you can reach the ocean in under an hour.

Nearby Beaches

Assateague Island: Wild ponies, crabbing, kayak tours and beauty in all directions are just 40 minutes away from Salisbury.

Ocean City: Lots of awesome shops, games and restaurants line Ocean City’s beach, meaning you’ll have plenty of things to see on your trip.

Sandy Point State Park: This Chesapeake Bay retreat may be a little further away from Salisbury, but it’s certainly worth the drive for hiking, boating, fishing and more.

Kona: If you’re visiting Hawaii, it’s a given you’ll hit up some beaches. But don’t leave the Big Island before you tour the brewery and visit one of their pubs.

Nearby Beaches

Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area: The closest beach to the brewery, this isn’t one that most tourists come to, but it’s great for a relaxing walk or picnic.

Kaloko-HonokĊhau: This beautiful beach comes with fascinating history of the native island peoples, which you can learn about on a guided tour.

Manini’owali Beach: Gorgeous white sand, great snorkeling among the rocky outcroppings and all around fantastic swimming all make for a perfect beach experience.

Anchor: San Francisco has such a colorful history, it’s hard to get it all in in one visit, but you won’t want to miss a visit to Anchor’s brewery–or one of their many beautiful beaches.

Nearby Beaches

Baker Beach: A popular beach with a scenic view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands.

Ocean Beach: This spacious beach spans 3.5 miles and is a great spot for running the dogs or grabbing a bite to eat.

Stinson Beach: It’s a little ways out of San Fran, but its natural beauty, abundance of space and awesome restaurants are worth the trip.

Rogue: Newport is home to four of Rogue’s meeting halls, where you can enjoy a unique menu as well as all the Rogue beer you could want.

South Beach State Park: Equestrian and biking trails, camping, hiking, and fishing should be enough to entice most beach-lovers.

Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site: This lovely park hosts a beautiful lighthouse and stretches of gorgeous sand.

Lancaster Strawberry Wheat

Friday, May 22, 2015 | Featured Beer, Lancaster Brewing

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Natural strawberry flavor gives a pleasant hint of fruitiness to this award-winning brew. Great effervescence gives this beer an awesome, refreshing crispness, while the wheat provides a subtle tang. Definitely a must-add onto your summer drinking list, and it’ll be available in 12-packs soon. 4.7% ABV

Dog and Bull

Friday, May 22, 2015 | Bars

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This is the place you go when you’re looking for something to do any night of the week. With daily drink specials, live music every Friday–as well as other days of the week–and a mouth-watering menu that ranges from brunch to dinner, Dog and Bull is always a good decision. To make that decision even sweeter, they have a huge range of craft beers, including Ithaca, Victory, Starr Hill, Troegs, Magic Hat and Rogue. As if that weren’t enough, they have outdoor seating and a place for you to watch the soccer game when you need to. So don’t wait any longer to see them.

Dog and Bull
810 Bristol Pike
Croydon, PA
Website

Pairing Beer with Chocolate

Monday, May 4, 2015 | Breweries, Food, Goose Island, Old Dominion, Rogue, Troegs, Victory

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Chocolate, much like beer, is a treat to be savored. It has a reputation of being paired with strong emotions like love and sympathy, and for good reason. It releases feel-good chemicals serotonin and dopamine, creating a feeling of well-being that can be shared between lovers or help bring you out of a slump. Good beer can have a similar effect, relaxing and bringing cheer to the drinker. So it makes good sense to combine the two. If you aren’t sure on where to start, or what chocolate might pair well with your favorite brew, look no further than this guide on how to pair the two.

Stouts and Porters are the simplest way to start your foray into chocolate and beer pairing, because many of them include the roasty flavors that are in chocolate. Your first instinct might be to go with a dark chocolate for these dark beers, but milk chocolates actually complement the bitterness better by adding sweetness to the palate and allowing the strong flavors of the drink to play on the subtler notes of the chocolate. The milk in the chocolate will also play on the creaminess of milk stouts. Try DAGOBA’s milk chocolate with Old Dominion’s Morning Glory Espresso Stout to round out the flavors of both.

Brown ales can be paired with nutty chocolates, either those that actually contain nuts like almonds or hazelnuts, or those that simply carry nut-like characteristics. This will bring out the earthy tones in the beer that can sometimes be lost under its sweetness. Ghiradelli’s Intense Dark Hazelnut Heaven Bar will pair perfectly with Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar.

Sometimes you need something to sweeten your bitter, dark chocolate, and in that case, it’s best to pair it with a Belgian-style Dubbel or Tripel. Chocolove’s Strong Dark Chocolate has enough bite for Troegs’ Jovial.

Wheat beer can be great in combination with a citrus-accented chocolate. Darker chocolates will bring out more contrast in the two flavors for a great complement. Lindt’s Lemon EXCELLENCE Bar would go well with Hoegaarden’s Original.

It may not seem intuitive to pair something hoppy like a Pale Ale or IPA with chocolate, but there is a whole range of flavors that can work with the complexity in these beers. Chocolates containing citrus rinds like orange or lemon can bring out these flavors in the hops, and the same goes for floral notes. Alternatively, dark chocolates with chiles can be a wonderful combination with an IPA. DAGOBA Organic Xocolatl Dark chocolate is a good spicy chocolate to go with Goose Island’s IPA.

The highly alcoholic and quite varied Barley Wine can be the perfect partner with a strong chocolate that can compete with its flavor. This includes both sweet and bitter chocolates, depending on the profile you are looking for. Try Chocolove’s Ginger Crystalized in Dark Chocolate with Victory’s Old Horizontal as a good nightcap.

Floral Brews

Monday, May 4, 2015 | Ithaca, Old Dominion, Rogue, Victory

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As we begin May and the scenery changes to one more colorful, we can reflect on mid-spring with beverages that high-light the growth of new flowers. When reading about different flavor profiles, oftentimes one will come across the word floral in the description, and it is what it sounds like; a flavor that tastes like flowers smell. A soft and fresh nectary sweetness that is often found in hops, but can also be aided by malts or even come from actual flowers. These flavors don’t tend to be as powerful–or as prevalent–as fruit or pine notes, but they can be found in some of the most delicious beers out there.

Ithaca Flower Power – As it was named for, this IPA is packed with a big floral flavor with fruity notes to back it up.

Victory DirtWolf – This hoppy nectar has a bit of honey sweetness to add to its flowery taste while still retaining a nice bitterness.

Rogue MoM Hefeweizen – This lightly spicy wheat beer is brewed with rose petals to give it a perfumed bitterness.

Old Dominion Cherry Blossom Lager – This springtime favorite has some floral flavors under its big cherry taste.

Old Dominion Sunseeker Wheat

Monday, May 4, 2015 | Old Dominion

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A wheat beer with a taste that’s just about bursting out of the bottle. Banana and clove carry from the nose into the flavor of this full-bodied unfiltered brew. It will definitely become one of your go-to brews this summer as it goes great with a clear sky and bright sun. Then again, it’s great after dark, too. 5% ABV

Trooper Thorns Irish Beef House

Monday, May 4, 2015 | Bars

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Whether you’re looking for a traditional pub or a fine dining experience, Trooper Thorns has something for everyone. Upstairs, they have their fine dining room, while their downstairs is a comfortable pub setting. And as the weather warms up, their deck will be in more use. Their Irish pub fare is some of the best in the area, and with a fine selection of import beers reasonably priced, you’ll never go thirsty. Great for a quick lunch midday and even better for a dinner outing in the evening.

Trooper Thorns Irish Beef Hous
451 Morgantown Rd
Reading, PA
(610) 685-4944
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Mon:
4:00 pm – 2:00 am
Tue – Sun:
11:30 am – 2:00 am

Widmer Bros. Hefe Shandy

Friday, April 17, 2015 | Widmer

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It’s about time we start getting into gear with this full-fledged spring with a brew that’s as sweet as blossoming trees and as refreshing as a morning rain. New to Widmer’s line of craft brews is their hefeweizen shandy, great for spring and even better for summer. Their bold hefeweizen serves as a base for this beer, and Lemon Drop hops and natural lemonade flavor is added to create a whole new, brighter flavor. The perfect porch-sitting accessory after spring cleaning, gardening or mowing the lawn. 4.2% ABV

Bensalem Beer & Soda

Friday, April 17, 2015 | Retailers

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There’s no better place in the area to stock up on your favorite craft brew than Bensalem Beer & Soda. And even if you don’t know what your favorite is yet, they’ve got samplings every Friday to help you figure it out, featuring such breweries as Magic Hat, Troegs and Victory. Their kegs come in three sizes, are always on ice, and can contain such delicious nectars as beers from Anchor, Ithaca, and Stella Artois.

Plus, they’ve teamed up with Long Trail for the seedling giveaway on Earth Day. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to drink beer you love and give back to Mother Earth.

Bensalem Beer & Soda
Bensalem Plaza Shopping Center
1919 Street Rd
Bensalem, PA 19020
(215) 639-4790

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