Old Dominion

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

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

Dessert Pairing

Friday, November 13, 2015 | Fuller's, Goose Island, Ithaca, Lancaster Brewing, Leffe, New Belgium, Old Dominion, Rogue, Victory

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There is often discussion here about how to pair your favorite beers with food, but typically that conversation steers towards entrees and other savory dishes. However, many beers can make an excellent accompaniment to sweeter desserts. As an introduction to this pairing style, we offer this list to consider. As with savory pairings, these duos can either mimic one another with similar flavor notes, or complement each other with different accents. For each beer, we offer an example for each.

Goose Island Sofie – Champagne-like in mouthfeel, with pepper and citrus flavors and a vanilla finish.
Imitation: Fresh Fruit Ambrosia Salad
Complement: Chocolate-Orange Scone.

Lancaster Shoo-Fly Pie Porter – Sweet heavy molasses, vanilla and brown sugar.
Imitation: Pecan Pie
Complement: Crème Brûlée

Old Dominion Candi - Pear, apple, sugar and pepper, with a bit of tartness and finishing hop character.
Imitation: Pear Upside-Down Cake
Complement: Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Fuller’s London Porter - Dark chocolate, coffee and smoky tobacco; a very strong flavor profile.
Imitation: Chocolate Torte
Complement: Raspberry Cheesecake

Leffe Blonde - Spicy banana, orange and vanilla make up this beer.
Imitation: Orange Banana Nut Bread
Complement: Dark Chocolate

Victory Storm King - Dark chocolate and espresso are cut with hop bitterness.
Imitation: Chocolate Espresso Pound Cake
Complement: Vanilla Fudge

New Belgium Snapshot - Lemony-tartness throughout, with a bready backbone.
Imitation: Lemon Shortbread
Complement: French Silk Pie

Rogue Chocolate Stout – Chocolate and hops combine for a darkly rich and bitter beer with a touch of nuttiness.
Imitation: Pecan Brownies
Complement: Cheesecake

Ithaca Country Pumpkin - All the pumpkin pie spices (clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice) and a touch of pumpkin itself.
Imitation: Pumpkin Roll
Complement: Vanilla Bean Pudding

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

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

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.

Great American Beer Festival 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014 | Old Dominion, Sierra Nevada, Troegs, Uinta, Victory, Widmer

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It’s time for our roundup of notable Great American Beer Festival competition winners for 2014. If you aren’t familiar with the festival, it’s one of the largest beer fest in the states, started in 1982 by nuclear engineer Charlie Papazian in Boulder, CO, though now it takes place in Denver. It also hosts one of the most prolific beer competitions, with over 2000 brews entered annually, seeking to be named one of three brews that best exemplifies its style.

Gold

Victory Golden Monkey – Belgian-Style Tripel

Troegs Troegentaor – Bock

Silver

Widmer Bros. Hefeweizen – American-Style Wheat Beer With Yeast

Old Dominion Spiced Harvest – Pumpkin Beer

Uinta Cutthroat – Ordinary or Special Bitter

Be sure to raise a glass to these winners, and try any of the brews you haven’t gotten a chance to yet. And if you want a chance to try the gold-winning brews by Troegs and Victory, this is the perfect excuse to make the way to their breweries to try the beers right at the source. They’re both a great spot to grab a bite if you’re out holiday shopping, too.

Troegs Tasting Room & Snack Bar: Located in Hershey, Troeg’s tasting room offers visitors the chance to try their various brewed offerings while taking a self-guided tour through the brewing process. And just adjacent to the tasting room is the snack bar, where Troegs partners with different local farms, meat-providers and creameries to bring you delicious foods inspired by their beers.

Victory Brewpubs: Victory has two brewpub locations, one at the original brewery in Downtingtown, one in Kennet Square. Their menu includes regular pub fare with their own twist, sandwiches, soups, and daily menu additions that their chefs come up with. Not to mention, all their brews on tap.

Oktoberfest

Thursday, September 18, 2014 | Goose Island, Old Dominion, Susquhanna, Victory

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Can’t make it over to Munich? Want to try your hand at hosting your very own Oktoberfest this year? Well, we’ve got the tips to help you make that happen. This is our official Oktoberfest Party Guide.’

Beverages

Victory Festbier – A favorite local marzen, it’s perfect for this event with its pleasant German malts. 5.6% ABV

Susquehanna Oktoberfest – Another local marzen with caramel and toffee notes, and Bavarian hops to balance the flavor. 6.2% ABV

Goose Island Oktoberfest - Sweet dried fruits, burnt sugar and earthy hops make up the flavor profile of this lager. 6.4% ABV

Dominion Octoberfest Maerzen – Smooth caramel, honey and bready flavors are followed by crisp hops, creating a warm yet refreshing beverage. 5.7% ABV

For the little ones or anyone else who doesn’t drink, you could always serve hot or chilled apple cider, seasoned with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg for a perfectly autumnal flavor.

Food

Apart from beer, food is the most important thing about Oktoberfest. Pretzels are a must, the salt and breadiness coupling perfectly with malty beers. This pairs well with mustard, obatzda and weisswurst, a mild, pale sausage made of veal and pork. Of course, you can always use your favorite sort of wurst. For appetizer or buffet-style servings, make or purchase small pretzels, cut one-inch lengths of sausage, and arrange with a dish of mustard and/or obatzda and toothpicks on a fall leaf-colored platter.

For a heartier meal, you could make Bavarian style burgers, using traditional Leberkäse or ground beef with German-style fixings like sauerkraut, pretzel or kaiser rolls, tasty cheeses and of course mustard. Goes great with potato salad.

The natural dessert option here is Lebkuchen hearts, a style of gingerbread cookie decorated with icing, but you could also go with the fall-appropriate apple strudel if you’d rather.

Decorations

Blue and white are the traditional colors of Oktoberfest, typically seen in a lozengy pattern as they are in a variant of the Bavarian flag. This can come in the form of tablecloths, flags, paper plates, hats, etc., all readily available at many party stores and online. For splashes of color that won’t overload the senses, fill beer steins with blue and white flowers, or tie blue and white ribbons around silverware or mug handles.

Speaking of mugs, it’s important that you aren’t drinking out of bottles or plastic cups, since that just isn’t in the spirit of Oktoberfest. Beer steins in glass, ceramic or plastic are perfect for this event, adding to an authentic atmosphere.

The backyard is the perfect spot for your Oktoberfest, and the addition of a pop-up tent or canopy can make it feel less like a yard and more like the fest itself. Using smaller tents, you can designate a biergarten, buffet and dining areas with festive signs.

Activities

Stein Race: Fill a stein with beer (or any liquid), and have contestants race from one side of a field to the other, spilling as little of their beverage as possible. Whoever can fill a most of a bucket at the end of the line in the allotted time wins.

Chicken Dance: Great for kids and adults alike, this silly dance actually started as a German tradition, originally called the Duck Dance.

Barrel Roll: Another traditional Oktoberfest event. Use an empty barrel or keg, and have participants roll it through an obstacle course. The fastest time wins, and points are deducted for losing control of the barrel and crashing into spectators.

Beer Tasting: Set up a table with a variety of the beers you’ve purchased for the occasion and small tasting glasses, allowing party-goers to try a few beers before they pick what they’d like a full glass of. For the full tasting experience, include pretzels and cheeses that pair well with the different brews.

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