Evolution

Beer Style Resolution

Friday, January 20, 2017 | Anchor, Boxcar, East Coast Beer Co., Evolution, Fat Head's, Finch's, Fuller's, Fun, Goose Island, Hoegaarden, Ithaca, Keegan Ales, Kona, Lancaster Brewing, Long Trail, Magic Hat, New Belgium, Old Dominion, Redhook, Rogue, Spencer Trappist Brewery, Starr Hill Brewery, Susquhanna, Troegs, Uinta, Victory, Widmer

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Want a New Year’s resolution you won’t want to abandon in a couple months? Why not challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone and try new styles of beer. It’s easy to decide you like a select few varieties and rarely try anything that doesn’t fit in that box, but you never know what you might be missing.

Here we’ve listed a number of different common styles, as well as a few examples of each. An easy way to go through the list is just to pick one from each category and try it, but if you’re up for more of a challenge, try going through all the list before the end of the year is up. Could be you find your new favorite brew.

Amber/Red Ales:

Troegs Nugget Nectar

Goose Island Autumn Ale

Blonde Ale -

Victory Summer Love

Kona Big Wave Golden Ale

New Belgium Whizbang

Brown Ale -

Rogue Hazelnut Brown Ale

Bock/Doppelbock -

Lancaster Billy’s Bock

Starr Hill Snow Blind Doppelbock

Extra Special Bitter -

Magic Hat Wooly

Redhook Extra Special Bitter

Gose -

Victory Kirsch Gose

Uinta Ready Set Gose

Long Trail Cranberry Gose

Hefeweizen -

Troegs Dreamweaver

Starr Hill The Love

India Pale Ale -

Evolution Lot #3

Ithaca Flower Power

Fat Head’s Head Hunter

American Lager -

Kona Long Board Island Lager

Anchor Steam Beer

Susquehanna Goldencold Lager

Marzen -

Victory Festbier

Susquehanna Oktoberfest

Goose Island Oktoberfest

Milk/Sweet Stout -

Lancaster Milk Stout

Pale Ale –

Spencer Trappist Ale

Prism ParTea Pale Ale

Victory Headwaters

Pilsner -

BeachHaus Pislner

Troegs Sunshine Pils

Porter -

Fuller’s London Porter

Anchor Porter

Lancaster Shoo-Fly Pie Porter

Saison -

Goose Island Sofie

Old Dominion Gigi’s Farmhouse Ale

Victory Helios

Stout -

Old Dominion Morning Glory Espresso Stout

Magic Hat Heart of Darkness

Troegs Javahead

Tripel -

Old Dominion Candi Tripel

Victory Golden Monkey

Wild Ale -

Goose Island Lolita

New Belgium Le Terroir

Rogue Beard Beer

Witbier -

New Belgium Tartastic

Hoegaarden Original White

Sweet and Bitter: Fruit IPAs

Thursday, May 26, 2016 | Evolution, Magic Hat, New Belgium, Old Dominion, Starr Hill Brewery, Uinta

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You’ve probably noticed it. A definite trend in the India Pale Ale scene that is only gaining speed as summer comes around the bend. Fruit has entered the playing field in a huge way in the last few years–though the concept of brewing the style with fruit is certainly older than that–and it seems like every brewery is coming out with their own rendition of the Fruit IPA. Old favorites are getting a new twist and new brews are being born with fruitiness as their sole intention. The trend isn’t exactly surprising. American hop varieties have been moving to more juicy citrus and pithy flavors and many breweries have been recreating fruit flavors with a blend of hops and malt, so the craft beer drinker’s palate has been ready for this move for awhile. It was only a matter of time before the idea of adding real fruit really took off, and it’s likely a style that will be around for awhile.

New Belgium Citradelic – Bright citra hops and tangerine peel work as a power duo in this brew for an overall flavor that is both smooth and packs a juicy aroma. 6% ABV

Magic Hat Electric Peel – The zest and flesh of grapefruit dominate the palate in this crisp ale. It’s almost easy to mistake it for a glass of juice. 6% ABV

Evolution Pine’Hop’le – A complex hop aroma carries hints of mango, citrus and melon, but the taste is unmistakably pineapple and well-balanced between sweet and bitter. 6.8% ABV

Starr Hill The Hook – A crisp and refreshing grapefruit ale that is sessionable, so you don’t have to worry about going back for another. 4.9% ABV

Dominion GPA – This one sets itself apart by including zest in its brewing process, creating a more subtle grapefruit flavor amidst hoppiness. 6% ABV

Uinta Hop Nosh Tangerine – A fresh splash of tangerine flavor in every mouthful, this is a brilliant twist on what is already a classic brew. 7.3% ABV

Evolution – Pine’Hop’le

Friday, March 25, 2016 | Evolution

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Take an IPA and add a load of pineapple juice, and you get this little golden beauty. The citrus and piney hops in this brew balance the sweetness of juicy pineapple rather well, creating a refreshing and very drinkable IPA. 6.8% ABV

Dark Beers for Winter

Friday, January 22, 2016 | Anchor, Evolution, Fuller's, Keegan Ales, Lancaster Brewing, Old Dominion, Rogue, Troegs, Victory, Wyndridge Farm

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We still aren’t done with winter, folks. With the cold season still coming on strong, let’s take a moment to look at the best beer styles to warm the soul when the weather is frigid: stouts and porters.The strong, roasted flavors of these styles provide a rich escape from the realities of the cold outside, and notes of cocoa or coffee keep the mind on warm beverages.

Porters are first mentioned in the early eighteenth century as a style of well-hopped ale made from brown malt and strong in both flavor and alcohol. They derived their name from being popular with porters, which allowed breweries to make this style in a variety of strengths. Stouts actually began as a type of porter, referred to as ‘stout’ or ‘double stout’ porters, due to their higher ABV than standard porters. Even today, there is some debate on whether the two styles should be separated as they are, as the difference between them is largely their alcohol content.

Anchor Porter: A rich and well-balanced drink with a deep roasted malt flavor and touches of chocolate and dark fruit. 5.6% ABV

Dominion Oak Barrel Stout: Infused with vanilla bean and oak chips, this brew is smooth, with woody, chocolatey and caramel notes. 6% ABV

Ithaca Super Stout: A coffee oatmeal stout is full-bodied and packed with bittersweet chocolate and coffee flavors. 4.9% ABV

Lancaster Double Chocolate: Cocoa nibs and pure chocolate were infused into this slightly sweet milk stout. 6.7% ABV

Fullers London Porter: Fuller’s has been brewing ales since 1654, so it stands to reason that their classic porter is one of the best representations of the style. 5.4% ABV

Evolution Lucky 7: Smokey and chocolatey with toffee and dark fruit notes, this porter is top notch. 5.8% ABV

Troegs Java Head: Locally roasted espresso and Kenyan coffee beans make this oatmeal stout taste like another delicious brew we know. 7.5% ABV

Keegan Mother’s Milk: A silky milk stout with licorice hints above a coffee and chocolate base. 6% ABV

Rogue Chocolate Stout: This one is chocolate all the way down without being overly sweet. Top of its class. 5.8% ABV

Victory Storm King Imperial Stout: Huge hops lay over the darkest roasted malts you’ll ever encounter for a rich espresso-chocolate profile. 9.2% ABV

Wyndridge Farm Farm Dog Chocolate Vanilla Imperial Porter: Madagascar vanilla beans and Ghana cacao nibs imbue this finely-crafted porter with the richest of flavors. 7% ABV

Spooky Good Beer

Friday, October 30, 2015 | Evolution, Long Trail, McKenzie's Hard Cider, New Belgium, Rogue, Victory

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Halloween is tomorrow, and we’re here to help with a few last minute party and costume ideas to make sure the night goes spookily–err, smoothly.

Beers to Try:

Magic Hat Night of the Living Dead Variety Pack – Today is Magic Hat’s 21st birthday, so you should give them a little love. This festive case includes #9 Not Quite Pale Ale, Magic Hat Ale (their first beer ever brewed), Wilhelm Scream and Miss Bliss.
Victory Storm King Stout – This blackest of black beer starts with a huge hop aroma and continues with a rich, deep chocolate malt flavor. And at 9.2% ABV, it’ll warm your night.
Evolution Jacques Au Lantern – Halloween wouldn’t be right without a pumpkin ale, and Evolution provides a perfect example of the style.
New Belgium Pumpkick – Another pumpkin ale, but with a kick of cranberry tartness to shake things up. Available locally for the first time, so be sure to give it a try.
Long Trail Limbo – Citrus and resiny pine hoppiness lies inside this IPA, and a beautiful red-black-white label features a skeleton just in theme with Halloween.
Rogue Dead Guy Ale – This notorious brew is always great for Halloween due to its drinkability, appropriate name and popularity.

Party Ideas:

Costume and Pumpkin-Carving Contest Prizes: If you’re having a larger party, it’s always nice to have a few activities planned; either a costume contest or a jack-o-lantern carving contest (or both) are fun ideas to keep people engaged. And if you’re going to have a contest, you’re also going to need prizes. It’s best to separate these contests into kids and adults categories, to check for skill as well as so you can cater the prizes to the age range. For the kids, a bag of dried apples, spooky stickers, maple candies, a coloring book and a ribbon would make a nice prize basket. For the adults, make your own variety six-pack with the seasonal favorites we listed above.

Ghostly Beer Giveaway: Create cheesecloth ghosts of appropriate height and opacity, and once dry, set the ghosts over several bottles or cans of different types of beer. Make sure the cloth hides the label well enough that the beer cannot be deciphered. When guests arrive, have them choose a ghost-beer combo. They can drink the beer at the party and take the ghost home as a souvenir. For smaller parties, this works particularly well with larger bottles, like Victory’s V-Twelve. For larger parties, a 12 oz bottle variety pack can be used, like Magic Hat’s Night of the Living Dead.

Cider Cocktails – Instead of serving just straight cider, try your hand at making cider cocktails. This recipe has the benefit of being blood-red, but there are a number of delicious hard cider cocktail recipes out there, and you can use your favorite cider (we suggest McKenzie’s, Bold Rock or Johnny Appleseed) in the mix.

Costume Ideas:

Dead Guy – The namesake of one of Rogue’s top ales actually makes a pretty simple costume. Most costume stores will carry a skeleton suit of some sort. They will also probably have some sort of helmet/hat that is similar to the one on the label–gold or bronze is the color you’re looking for, particularly one that is tall. You can easily add length to a helmet by getting one that sits on top of, not around, your head. If you have trouble finding a suitable helmet, use the dome template on this page, and try making the bottom wider to lengthen the helmet. While you’re at the costume store, pick up some black and white face paint, and follow this guide to make your face into a skull. Carry a plastic beer mug around and voila. Bonus points for anyone with a barrel to sit on while they hand out candy.

Hop Flower – If you’ve got a little time, and a knack for a bit of sewing, a hop flower is a pretty straight-forward. First, you need a green beanie, shirt/dress and pants/leggings/tights. Second, you need a couple yards of light green material, and lastly a single sheet of green felt. The petals are roughly diamond in shape, with rounded sides, a pointy bottom tip and a flat top. Here is a basic outline. Measurements should be roughly 5 inches wide at the widest point, and 7 inches long. A little variance is okay, and petals near the top of the costume should be slightly smaller. How many you need will vary. To keep track, you can start pinning the petals onto your shirt or dress in rows as you cut then out. The petals in each row will touch, but not overlap too much. Rows should be roughly 3 inches apart, overlapping some with the lower row underneath the upper. Be sure to stagger the petals, like so. Cover the entire shirt or dress, and allow some petals to hang past the hem. It might be easiest to start from the bottom, and sew each row as you work your way up. For the hat, make a few small petals, sew then in a ring around about the middle of the beanie, and then sew on a green felt stem.

Beer Knight – A fun, cheap and relatively easy costume is waiting right next to your recycling; use your favorite old beer case boxes to create armor for yourself, including helmet, shield and breastplate. With a little ingenuity and a lot of clear packing tape, you can make a costume that will have people pointing you out at every party.

Long Trail Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Friday, October 30, 2015 | Evolution

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Looking for a pumpkin ale willing to take it a step further? This imperial ale is sure to please. A well-blended mix of spices (ginger, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg) meld with a pumpkin and malt base. A hint of hoppiness sharpens the flavor, and a full, smooth body make it a pleasure to drink. Be sure to bring it to Thanksgiving dinner; it’s the perfect alternative to wine and sure to pair well with the meal. 8% ABV

A Brief History of Pumpkin Ale

Friday, October 9, 2015 | Evolution, Long Trail, Magic Hat, Old Dominion, Redhook, Rogue, Shock Top, Starr Hill Brewery, Troegs, Uinta

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To look at the market, one might assume that pumpkin ales are a recent invention, riding on the coattails of certain spiced coffees and dessert items. Culturally, pumpkins are synonymous with Halloween, Thanksgiving and all things autumnal. But the history of pumpkin ales stretches even back further than the history of this country, when European colonists first began to settle in the Americas, and Native Americans shared the secrets of the crop.

Most school children learn of the hardships of the pilgrims, and how their the Native Americans aided in their plight with knowledge of the land and the crops which could be grown there. Pumpkins are a perfect example of this exchange. When planted alongside corn and beans (the three sisters, as the natives referred to them), they were simple to grow and yielded many fruit for minimal effort. This squash was an easily-cultivated alternative in a lot of foods, from baked goods to soups. Pumpkins were so prolific, one of America’s first folk songs mentions their necessity.

“Instead of pottage and puddings and custards and pies,
Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies;
We have pumpkin at morning and pumpkin at noon;
If it was not for pumpkins we should be undone
… Hey down, down, hey down derry down….
If barley be wanting to make into malt
We must be contented and think it no fault
For we can make liquor, to sweeten our lips,
Of pumpkins and parsnips and walnut-tree chips.”

So it’s not surprising that when malted barley, the main source of sugar in fermentation, was hard to come by, pumpkins were used as a readily available resource. As easily grown as pumpkins were, pumpkin ale remained a regular beverage into the 18th century. But the long-held view of pumpkins as a poor-man’s food overcame the popularity, especially as good quality malt became more accessible, and pumpkin ale went out of fashion. Occasionally, it had a small revival as a flavoring agent, but none so great as the one that has bloomed in the last thirty years when home brewers and craft breweries have taken such inspiration as from George Washington’s pumpkin ale recipes or trying to capture pumpkin pie in a bottle to create a new, flavorful generation of pumpkin ales. Adding spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and clove has become commonplace, and most pumpkin ales are not fermented pumpkin sugars, but simply use pumpkin as an adjunct. Though the newest rendition of the style may be far different, it still harkens back to a time when pumpkins were the only crop to be used in a variety of dishes.

If you’ve somehow managed to miss this phenomena, here’s a few pumpkin ales worth a try:

Jacque au Lantern – Evolution

Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Long Trail

Wilhelm Scream – Magic Hat

Out of Your Gourd Pumpkin Porter – Redhook

Pumpkin Patch Ale – Rogue Ales

Pumpkin Wheat – Shock Top

Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter – Starr Hill

Master of Pumpkins – Troegs

Punk’n – Uinta

Pumpkin Ale – Susquehanna Brewing

Baked Pumpkin – Lancaster Brewing

Country Pumpkin – Ithaca Beer

Pumpkick – New Belgium

Plan Your Spookiest Halloween Party

Friday, October 17, 2014 | Evolution, Fall, Fun, Ithaca, Long Trail, Rogue, Starr Hill Brewery, Victory

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Halloween is one of the few holidays that is celebrated in many different countries across the world, and has evolved into a huge cultural phenomenon here in the U.S. Whole stores dedicated to costumes and decorations, movies and TV shows drawing on the themes of this scary night, and of course, many beers that pay homage to the traditions of this day. You may have stopped trick-or-treating some years back, but you can still treat yourself and guests to an All Hallow’s Eve party you aren’t likely to forget with a few of these tricks.

Beverages: The clear choice here is pumpkin ales, given the importance of Jack-O-Lanterns in traditional Halloween lore, but cider, and harvest ales are also appropriate.

Rogue Dead Guy Ale: This beer-fan favorite’s name is scary enough to serve at this spookiest of holidays. Great balance between hops and malt makes for easy drinking. Looking to try it before you buy some for your party? 6.5% ABV Click here to find a case, and here if you’re looking to try it on draft.

Evolution Jacques Au Lantern: This deep orange brew is full of pumpkin and spicy clove, cinnamon and nutmeg flavors without being over-the-top. Sweet, and goes down easy. 6.3 % ABV

Long Trail Imperial Pumpkin: A touch of hoppy bitterness balances the sweet pumpkin and pie spice notes in this Brush and Barrel series brew. It’s also a little higher in the alcohol content than others on this list. 8% ABV

Ithaca Country Pumpkin: Natural-tasting pumpkin flavors are the backbone of this brew, with just enough cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and hop to keep it interesting. 6.3% ABV

Starr Hill Boxcar Pumpkin Porter: This hybrid brew mixes a sweet pumpkin taste with the caramel and coffee notes of a porter. Definitely not your usual pumpkin beer. 5.2% ABV

Victory Festbier: Marzen’s aren’t only for Oktoberfest. The deep-roasted malts in this beer go well with all sorts of hearty harvest foods, and it’s the perfect choice for anyone who isn’t too into pumpkin ales. 5.6% ABV

An easy way to make these beers even more festive is to serve them in a pumpkin keg. If you have more than one beer, paint the pumpkin festively with the name of the brew, or cut out a coffin from cardboard, paint it black and add the name.

Food: Whether you’re having a sit-down meal, or just want to serve some ghoulish treats for your guests, we’ve got you covered.

Not-so-tricky treats: Disembodied hands, caramel apples, spider bites, finger sandwiches, pumpkin cheeseball, roasted pumpkin seeds, bloody tomato soup & munster sammies, and deviled eggs are all good choices of finger foods to set out on a spooky spread.

Harvest Meal: These foods stick with the theme of the autumn harvest, using such ingredients at squash, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, parsnips, pears, carrots and apples for a number of hearty dishes. Garlicky sweet potato fries, roasted acorn squash with mushroom, peppers and goat cheese, butternut squash and mushroom lasagna, pork roast with apple and sage, Thai pumpkin and chicken curry, fennel-crusted pork loin with roasted potatoes and pearsporcini and pumpkin ale mac & cheese, apple dumpling, spice-roasted chicken, red onions, carrots and parsnips, pumpkin beer bread, apple-pumpkin muffins and of course, don’t forget the pumpkin pie.

Decorations: Atmosphere is all-important when it comes to this holiday. Even if you’re not looking to right-out scare any of your guests, you at least want to maintain an eerie mood. Since there are so many things that can be done with your decorations and we’re sure you’ve already got tons of ideas, let’s cover a few basics and list some things that you might like to try this year.

Outdoors: Fire is a must. If you have a fire pit or room for a chiminea, use it. The heat will keep everyone cozy, and the flicker from the flames add a lovely ambiance. Tiki torches can also be used for this effect, and to light walkways in a spooky manner. Just be sure that trick-or-treaters won’t be in danger of getting burned. For the garden or yard, homemade tombstones can add some fright, and adding a mummy can take it to the next level. Chicken wire can also be used to create ghostly figures in the exterior. This is especially effective in darker corners of the yard, and a fog machine can really bring these life-size figures to afterlife.

Indoors: If you’re hosting your party indoors, there are lots of things you can do to bring a little spook into your home. Candles offer the same benefit of mood-setting as the fire does outside, but without all the heat and minimal fire hazard. Set lights to off or dimmed in certain rooms to complete this effect, or replace bulbs in certain rooms with colored ones, like red, purple or green. Cobwebs are a cheap and easy way to give your home an ancient vibe, and cheesecloth ghosts are a fun craft to do with the kids beforehand to add some haunters in. Silhouettes of bats, cats, rats and freakish figures cut from black construction paper can be set into windows for a scary view inside or along walls to add a bit of flair. Try making a whole swarm of bats flying along a wall.

Activities: Other than the usual trick-or-treating, there are a number of activities for all ages. Contests can be awarded with candy for the kids and a six-pack of a pumpkin ale for the adults.

Costume Contest: Any Halloween party should be full of costumes, so a contest is a fun idea to get people really into the spirit of things. You can divide the contest by a number of categories; age, gender, spookiest, funniest, most creative, or best group costume.

Bobbing for Apples: This old game was once considered a fortune teller, revealing the marriage and financial fates of the players. Now, it’s just a fun game that kids and adults can both have fun with.

Mummy Wrap: Divide guests into twos, give each team a roll of toilet paper, crepe paper or thick ribbon, and have them race for who can mummify their partner first.

Pumpkin Carving Contest: The tradition of carving jack-o-lanterns can be made into a fun party sport, either by having guests bring their pre-carved pumpkins to be judged, or setting up a table with pumpkins and carving sets and judging the freaky creations at the end of the night.

Cheese and… Beer?

Thursday, October 2, 2014 | Anchor, Beer News, Evolution, Goose Island, Hoegaarden, Lancaster Brewing, Magic Hat, Victory

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Last year, Philly Beer Scene made a whole feature on the topic of beer and cheese pairing. Victory is taking it to a whole new level when they created beer-infused Wisconsin cheddar cheese spreads with Key Ingredient Market. HopDevil and Golden Monkey have been paired with cheddar spread, and Headwaters with cheddar dip for something really special.

And if you’re looking to pair some of your own, try these on for size.

Hoegaarden pairs well with fresh cheeses like feta and gooey, fragrant cheeses like brie, with its fruity, citrus notes and spicy finish. Another one to try alongside these would be Magic Hat’s Circus Boy

Hard, aged cheeses like sharp cheddars and gouda need a strong flavor to match. Goose Island’s IPA and Evolution Lucky 7 stand up to the challenge.

Bleu cheese is varied, and thus, can be paired in a variety of ways. Try it with Lancaster Milk Stout or Anchor’s IPA.

Hoppy Fall

Thursday, September 18, 2014 | Evolution, Ithaca, Prism, Rebates, Troegs, Uinta, Victory

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Hopheads, we’ve got some great news for you! From now until the end of October, there will be a $5 rebate on cases of select IPAs and DIPAs purchased at your local Delaware, Bucks, Montgomery and Berks County Beer Distributors. Simply fill out and mail in this rebate form with the UPC from the case and a dated receipt, and you’ll receive $5 back on up to 2 cases per household. If you’re having trouble deciding which of these fantastically hoppy beers to get, take a look at the descriptions below to get a better feel for them.

Evolution Lot No 3 IPA – Fruity citrus and sharp pine notes sit heavily on a quiet but firm malt backbone in this vigorously hopped brew. 6.8% ABV

Uinta Hop Nosh IPA – Grapefruit is the flavor at the forefront of this IPA, with earthy hops and fruit inflections over a smooth, malty base. 7.3% ABV

Ithaca Flower Power IPA – The flavor starts with rich malts, which flow smoothly into herbal hops in this five-times-hopped ale. 7.5% ABV

Prism Felony IPA – At 100 IBUs with ten different hop varieties, this DIPA isn’t messing around. Hoppy fruit and pine notes dominate, balanced by maltiness. 10% ABV

Victory DirtWolf Double IPA –  Robustly hopped, this ale holds floral nectar, herbal and pine flavors amongst the pleasant bitterness, with slight citrus traits intermixed. 8.7% ABV

Troegs Perpetual IPA – Peppery, piney and grassy. This bold IPA (that’s Imperial Pale Ale) serves up a healthy serving of hops with every sip. 7.5% ABV

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