Breweries

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

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

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

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

How Far Craft Has Come

Friday, April 17, 2015 | Beer News, Breweries

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Once upon a time, American beer was considered of poor quality by international standards. Liquor dominated the drinking scene, particularly of the rich and famous, while beer remained in the background, something to drink for the everyday working man, but nothing to write home about. But as imported beer came on the market, American brewers and beer drinkers took note of how delicious beer could be, and began to take action to change the beer scene.

Some say the turning point in American beer happened when Anchor Brewing Co. was bought by Maytag in 1965 and revitalized, producing their first bottles of Anchor Steam in 1971. Jimmy Carter worked to deregulate the beer market in 1971, and allowed for small-scale homebrewing, allowing for microbreweries to start and thrive, even in competition with massive breweries that controlled the market up to that point. As they began to grow into businesses that could no longer be considered micro, the broader term of Craft Brewery was introduced.

Since that time, craft beer has been on a steady rise and has seen a great boom in the last 20 years. As homebrewing has grown as a hobby, more and more people have started up their own breweries to share their love of beer with others. In fact, many craft breweries started as just a few folks making beer in a garage. By 1995, 500 breweries were making beer, and that number more than doubled in two years. In fact, at the end of the 20th century, there were more breweries operating in the U.S. than in any other country in the world, giving us a huge variety of beers that were created with good old American taste and ingenuity. As more consumers find their love of great beer, the numbers will keep rising. As of right now, there are 108 craft breweries operating in Pennsylvania alone, and the state ranks second in the nation in barrels of beer produced per year.

If the rise in events such as the Great American Beer Festival or the Craft Brewers Conference last week don’t convince you that craft beer is growing, just take a trip to your local distributor and look at the myriad of beers available. Fifty years ago, you couldn’t easily find a barley wine or saison just anywhere. If you asked an employee, they probably wouldn’t be able to tell you what an IPA was, let alone help you find one you might like. So let’s just take a moment to be thankful for how far beer has come, and look forward to where it will go from here.

Long Trail Celebrating Earth Day

Friday, April 17, 2015 | Bars, Long Trail, Spring, Sustainable

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It’s almost Earth Day again, and that means Long Trail is gearing up for its annual celebration. Long Trail has long been known for their environmental efforts, with a number of programs that keep their impact on the environment minimal. They allow farmers to use their spent grain for feed, use cow manure for 25% of their overall power usage, catch and reuse steam released in the brewing process, partner with like-minded businesses and sponsor community organizations committed to the betterment of the environment. And every Earth Day, they give out prizes to bring attention to the important issues facing the Earth. Everyone buying Long Trail at a participating location will be given a special pint glass and some spruce tree seeds to plant anywhere they like. For a list of participating locations, see below.

One location in particular has gone above and beyond to give back to the planet that gave us life. The Railroad Street Bar and Grill, located in Royersford, has had specials on Long Trail throughout the month of April, and bought extra seedlings to distribute among the community in an attempt to beautify and improve the environment. They have a goal of planting 200 trees in the area, and will be giving away Spruce seeds all day. If you don’t have much of a green thumb yourself, Tomato Joe of Royersford Tomato and Vegetable Co. will be there after 4pm to plant the seeds in a cup for you.

Beer is just another reason in a long list to keep our planet healthy, but if we do say so ourselves, it’s a damn good one. So indulge in something you love for a good cause this Earth Day, Wednesday April 22.

Participating Locations

Taverns

Distributors

Crafty Recipes

Friday, April 3, 2015 | Anchor, Boxcar, Carlow, Food, Keegan Ales, Kona, Leffe, Old Dominion, Rogue, Starr Hill Brewery, Troegs, Victory

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A beverage can be a great complement to a meal, or may be enjoyed on its own in partnership with only a great moment. But when simply drinking your favorite beers isn’t enough, there is another step to take in your appreciation for good craft brews. Eating them.

Just like wine is often used in culinary creations, beer can add wonderful flavors to all sorts of food, particularly since there is such a wide variety in flavors between all the styles of beer. Dips, sauces, glazes, desserts, breads, even pickled vegetables can all be made with a little help from your go-to beverage.

Googling recipes that call for beer can yield an overwhelming number of results. If you aren’t sure where to start, take a look at this list of recipes, and try making a few with our suggested beers.

IPA Beer Cheese DipStarr Hill Northern Lights

Beer-Battered FishKona Longboard Island Lager

Cream Cheese Beer Pancakes with Strawberry Saison SyrupHoegaarden and Anchor Saison

Beer-Soaked Grilled CheeseLeffe Brune

Craft Beer Can ChickenKeegan Ales Bine Climber or Troegs Cultivator

Dry Stout Beef StewO’Hara’s Irish Stout

Coconut Curry Beer Chicken SoupRogue MoM Hefeweizen

Slow Cooker Beer Brisket SandwichesDominion Morning Glory Espresso Stout

Belgian Tripel & Honey Black Pepper Chicken WingsVictory Golden Monkey

And if you’d like to try your hand at coming up with your own recipe, here is a brief and general guide on flavors to get you started.

Porters and Stouts – These dark beers are for adding intense flavors to a dish. Chocolate and coffee-flavored beers can be used in either rich desserts like chocolate cake or marinated meat dishes like ribs or pulled pork. Stews and soups can gain a bitterness from a dry stout or porter, while milk stouts can add a roasty sweetness to a glaze or sauce.

Wheat Beers – Fruity flavors are what hefeweizens and witbiers complement best. They’re a great addition to cakes, breads or tarts with fruit accents, and round out the flavors of sweet glazes and BBQ sauces. Honey, citrus, apricot, peach and berries are all flavors to add wheat beers to. Once you’ve tried those combinations, be adventurous and try it in combination with savory dishes like pasta and cheese sauces.

Fruity Beers, Barleywine and Saisons – These are flavors that can be a little more difficult to endow food with. It’s usually good to pair fruity beers and saisons with like flavors–candied fruits, ginger and other sweet-and-spicy notes–but barleywines need bold flavors to compete with. Roasted meats and heavy desserts like pumpkin dishes and dark chocolates can benefit from just a few tablespoons.

IPAs, Pale Ales and Pilsners – IPAs generally go with spicy dishes, but don’t limit yourself to that. Cheese sauces, breads, lemony dishes, seafood, and chicken can all benefit from the hops in the right conditions. Pale ales and pilsners can replace IPAs in many dishes, especially when looking for a milder flavor, and are more easily added to desserts.

Brown/Amber Ales – These sweet and mild brews are great for roasted chicken, pork, sticky-sweet desserts and sweet breads. Sometimes it can be added to beef-centric recipes, but it is the perfect level of flavor to be eaten with white meats.

If you’re just beginning to cook with beer, try adding it to sauces, glazes, and marinades, or try your hand at a beer bread, and before long, you’ll be looking for ways to add it into dinner every night.

Redhook Seedy Blonde

Friday, April 3, 2015 | Redhook

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It’s about time to be drinking something light, fruity and refreshing. Redhook’s Seedy Blonde is just what the doctor ordered, with a bready center, backed up by sweet apple flavors that speak to its namesake. A tart and effervescent finish make for clean drinking. An easy fruit beer to love. 5% ABV

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