Breweries

Brewing for Independence

Thursday, July 2, 2015 | Anchor, Anheuser Busch, Rogue, Troegs, Victory, Widmer

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With the 4th of July being this Saturday, you’ve likely made plans, either for your own party or to attend another’s. Whether you’re holding your own event or going to a friend’s/family’s, you can’t forget what goes best with BBQ and patriotism; a cold, refreshing beverage. Let’s go through a list of the best options to put in your cooler.

Anchor Liberty Ale – This effervescent IPA is crisp, piney and balanced perfectly with a firm backbone of sweet malts. It was first brewed as a celebration of the Bicentennial of Paul Revere’s famous ride to Lexington and Concord.

Rogue American Amber – Caramel and roasted malt character is accentuated by assertive hops in this American Amber Ale. Quite drinkable, a great craft brew for the uninitiated and craft fiends alike. As another plus, it’s available in cans for ease of cleanup and safe outdoor parties.

Victory Summer Love – This American Blonde Ale just screams summer with its bright, floral hops and bit of honey malts. It pairs well with pretty much any sort of grilled dish you can think of, but stands well enough on its own. So good there won’t be any leftovers. Now available in cans for the first time.

Budweiser – It’s a classic choice for the Fourth, and particularly in their beautiful Statue of Liberty emblazoned cans. Fill up a cooler (or two) with this and you’ll be sure to make a great party.

If you want to put a twist on the usual, there are some unique ways to incorporate beer into the festivities. Chances are when you were a kid, your drink of choice for the 4th was lemonade. Why not harken back to the good old days with a more adult version. Check out this list of shandies, including a few recipes to make on your own.

Another unique way to incorporate beer would be to add it to your cooking. Here’s a recipe for beer can chicken, with the suggestion of either Victory’s Prima Pils or Troeg’s Sunshine Pilsner. Or if you’re looking for an all-purpose marinade or mop, try this recipe and use either Troegenator or Widmer Bros’ Drop Top Amber Ale.

Magic Hat Electric Peel

Thursday, July 2, 2015 | Featured Beer, Magic Hat

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This brew may be your new summer favorite. With a perfectly zippy blend of grapefruit and citrusy hops, creating a delightful bitterness that is both quenching and will put a spark on your tongue. Its flavor is held on a light body and comes to a crisp, clean finish that certainly is aided by that bitter bite. Definitely a beer to keep stocked for those hot summer afternoons. 6% ABV

Fresh Fruit Pairing

Thursday, July 2, 2015 | Anheuser Busch, Ithaca, Lancaster Brewing, Widmer

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As beer drinkers become more familiar with the pairing options that their beverage of choice affords them, they’ve explored all sorts of the world’s entrees, cheeses, and even desserts. One food group is often used in the art of brewing, but not so often spoken of as a food to pair with beer. Fruit offers a healthy, delicious partner to many brews, and beer can often complement the sweet, tangy, bitter and juicy flavors associated with fruit, either as a beverage on the side or as a part of the dish. Here’s some fruity beers that are easy to pair with.

Ithaca Apricot Wheat

Pair With: Peach, nectarine, apricot, plum

Serving Suggestion: Try making popsicles with peach or nectarine chunks frozen inside this beer.

Lancaster Strawberry Wheat

Pair With: Strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry

Serving Suggestion: Serve alongside berry pies, tarts or cobblers, or add just a splash to put a little punch into a fruit pie.

Widmer Lemon Shandy

Pair With: Peach, orange, lemon, grapefruit, strawberry

Serving Suggestion: Throw in some fruit to rest at the bottom to add flavor, as well as a tasty snack at the end of the glass.

Wild Blue

Pair With: Blueberry, strawberry

Serving Suggestion: This very-blueberry flavored beer would go well with fresh fruit-topped ice cream, or a pie topped with either whipped or ice cream.

Wheat Beer Summer

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 | Hoegaarden, Lancaster Brewing, Troegs, Widmer

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When the days are hot and long, your early evening calls for something bright and juicy, and wheat beers may just hit the spot. Citrus, banana or bubblegum flavors, often mixed with spicy clove or cinnamon dominate the wheat beer styles. So if you’re looking for that big, bold taste, here’s six wheat beers to get you started.

Hoegaarden Belgian White – This traditional witbier has an almost peppery aroma and a sweet and sour lemony flavor with yeast at the forefront and light hops.

Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc – A French witbier with tart citrus flavor and light spiciness. A more delicate palate than many of the style, but there is much to appreciate.

Lancaster Strawberry Wheat – A smooth strawberry flavor comes with a bit of tang in this American wheat beer. It’s a delicious melding of wheat and fruit.

Widmer Hefe – Lemon and clove are the dominant features in this Hefeweizen, along with a light, refreshing hop character.

Troegs Dreamweaver – This fan favorite is a Hefeweizen that brings that big, fruity banana flavor, along with sweet clove and just enough hoppiness to balance it.

Ithaca Apricot Wheat - This wheat ale is light in body and color, great for summer heat, with a touch of apricot that carries the wheat flavor through and keeps your mouth watering.

Anchor Summer Wheat

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 | Anchor, Featured Beer

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A great, refreshing brew to grab in the warm evenings of summer. Citrus, bready scents come off the generous white head, and give into a lemony biscuit flavor that ends on light bittering hops. It’s got a lighter body than many of the same style for a more refreshing finish. A new release to try this season. 4.6% ABV

Starr Hill 2015 Collaboration Tour Kicks Off with O’Hara’s

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 | Carlow, Collaboration, Starr Hill Brewery

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Starr Hill believes beer is made to be shared, and that brewing can be more fun when the process is shared with friends. That’s why they’re going on tour and collaborating with seven different craft breweries the world-over.

The headlining collaboration of this tour is Carlow Brewing Co/O’Hara’s Brewery. These two breweries are brought together from across the Atlantic by each of their award-winning Irish stouts, they’re collaborating on something entirely different; a Session Red IPA to be released in Ireland on July 4th, in celebration of American and Irish independence. And in early 2016, Carlow/O’Hara’s will travel to Virginia to produce a US-based collaboration brew that will be released on St. Patrick’s Day the next year. Not only will they be creating awesome beers to drink, but they’ll be learning about the growing craft beer communities in each country.

Stateside, Starr Hill will be continuing on its tour, visiting six US breweries and various music events, making for a trip full of festivities, good beer and new friends.

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.

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