Uinta

Aging Beers

Friday, March 25, 2016 | Fun, Goose Island, Troegs, Uinta, Victory, Widmer

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Most beers are best drunk fresh, particularly those on the hop-forward side of things. But as with every rule, there are exceptions. Like fine wines, some beers dig deeper into their flavors with age, blooming into something truly extraordinary. Today, we’ll go over the best methods for choosing a beer to age, and what conditions are best for bringing out the most in your bottle.

Will It Age Well?

The flavors that hold true over time are breadiness, earthiness, blackcurrant, straw, woodiness, wine and sweetness. If you choose a beer that is strong in these flavors already, chances are they will only grow. However, do consider that metallic and cardboard flavors can develop in some beers. Also, beers with higher ABV (7% and up) tend to age better than those with less alcohol.

Don’t be afraid to experiment! Just as taste in beer style is relative, the styles that you may like aged are probably different than your neighbors’ or friends’ preferred aged styles.

So, here’s a quick rundown of the styles that might be good for aging.

Barleywines
Saisons
Winter Warmers
Sours
Lambics
Krieks
Gueuzes
Stouts
Porters
Oak-Aged Beers

Where and How to Store

There’s a reason that this process is often referred to as ‘cellaring.’ Beer of any variety hates heat and light. This is the cause of ‘skunkiness,’ or that stale, horrible flavor that one equates with a bottle that’s been found sitting on a porch after several weeks. This is why craft beers are stored in dark bottles or cans. So you’ll want a cool, dark environment to let your beer sleep. Temperatures in the low 50s are thought to be best, thought consistency in temperature is also key. If you have a corner of your basement that keeps cool year-round, that might be the places to set up your little aging center.

It’s best to keep your beer upright for several reasons. Although wine cellars have a tendency to store their bottles horizontally, vertical orientation helps to keep the beer from over-oxidizing and ruining the flavor. Also, if you are choosing the age a corked beer, that same cork can impart some not-so-pleasant flavors into the brew. Sommeliers refer to this as a wine being ‘corked.’

Deciding to age a beer can be fraught with impatience. The time that you store a beer is ultimately up to you. However, we so humbly suggest buying several of your chosen beer, and tasting it as it progresses, starting with a fresh sample, then aging one year, two years and so on to see how the flavor changes. Keeping note of the changes can be a fun project, as well as allow you to know what the best aging time is for your next go ’round. Plus, if you don’t wait as long as planned (there is that impatience again), you will still have a back up so you can taste what you otherwise would have missed.

Our Suggestions

Of course we have a few suggestions for as to what you might like to age. If there is something on this list you’ve liked fresh, maybe put a bottle or two away to see how your favorite flavors develop with age. There’s a few of these that will be off shelf for the season, so try and grab them while you still can.

Goose Island – Sofie

Troegs – Mad Elf

Uinta – Anniversary Barleywine

Widmer Bros. – Old Embalmer

Victory – Storm King Stout

Evolution – Bourbon Migration

Barrel-Aging

Thursday, December 10, 2015 | Goose Island, New Belgium, Tennent's, Uinta, Victory

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Beer was housed in wood for centuries, fermenting, aging, traveling and even being served straight from barrels. Barrels were simply the best method of containment not only for beer but also wine, liquor, vinegars and even dry goods. Although the true time and place of origin for barrels is hard to determine as all early artifacts rotted long ago, the general consensus is that they were first constructed by Celts or Gauls in northern Europe around 300 B.C., and spread over the world after they were conquered by the Roman Empire. Although wine is now traditionally the drink that comes to mind when thinking of barrels, it is likely that the first barrels were actually made to house beer as the Gauls and Celts did not make their own wine until much later. With wood being lighter, stronger and easier to handle than the clay pots being used before, the use of barrels expanded into wine and other goods by 100 A.D.

Wooden barrels remained the standard housing for wine, beer and later liquor up into the 20th century. Somewhere in there, it was realized that the wood and aging process imbued the beverage with particular flavor qualities. Additionally, what had previously been stored in the barrel also had an effect on taste. Generally, this was prevented by adding a layer of pitch to the inside of the barrel before storing beer, but winemakers were making full use of this by the 19th centrury.

Wood has its downsides, though; it’s hard to clean, porous, and hard to seal completely. Because of this, beer had to be consumed quickly, hopped heavy-handedly or cask-conditioned in order to prevent infection. With the advent of metal brewing equipment and storage, barrels were all but abandoned by brewers.

However, the qualities provided by barrels were not forgotten, and now breweries are taking advantage of the flavors of wood, as well as the wines and liquors stored before. Barrels in beer-making are gaining popularity for some of the same reasons they were abandoned. Fortunately, breweries nowadays have the luxury of being selective in which brews they decide to age, and the barrels they age in, allowing for combinations to be orchestrated and perfected.

Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout may be the first modern craft beer that utilized the bourbon barrel-aging process that has taken the craft scene by storm. The bourbon gives this a unique sweetness and the oak a smokiness over chocolate caramel and vanilla notes.

A twist on a classic, O’Hara’s Barrel-Aged Leann Follain is allowed to sit for 90 days in Irish whiskey barrels, enhancing the chocolatey flavor of the stout with the addition of dry scotch.

Tennent’s Aged with Whisky Oak combines wood, caramel and vanilla flavors through the use of a single malt and toasted oak.

Uinta’s Jacked B Nimble is a part of their Crooked Line, a spicy imperial pumpkin ale that’s has a signature oak note and a touch of rye.

Victory White Monkey takes the beloved Golden Monkey and allows it to mature for three months in oaken barrels that once stored white wine, adding nuanced to an already delicious brew.

After eight months aging, Evolution Bourbon Migration puts the bourbon flavor at the front with notes of vanilla and char, balanced by chocolate, toffee and coffee underneath.

New Belgium La Folie is a sour brown ale that spends one to three years in a huge oak barrels called foeders, coming out with a sharply fruity flavor full of berries and apple.

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

Uinta Contrail White

Thursday, August 13, 2015 | Featured Beer, Uinta

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This Belgium-style witbier is brewed with coriander and orange peel for a deliciously spicy, citrus flavor. Along with the orangey flavor are notes of other fruits like banana and lemon, and a hint of herbal hoppiness adds to the overall spice. It’s light in body, making for a great late-summer beer. 4% ABV

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.

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

Looking Forward to Fall

Friday, September 5, 2014 | Anchor, Long Trail, Shock Top, Uinta, Victory

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Though the temperatures haven’t yet dipped, it’s already nearly a week into September and fall is just around the corner. So now’s the time to start thinking about what autumnal brews you’ll be enjoying this season. Given that this is the season that beer drinkers look forward to all year, it’s a lot to think about. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a few beverages that you don’t want to miss.

Anchor BigLeaf Maple - This autumn red ale has a hint of maple syrup in it to add to its maltiness, and enough hops to balance its rich flavor. The taste will bring fall foliage to mind, especially changing maples.

Long Trail Imperial Pumpkin – The first in the Brush and Barrel series, this beer is brewed with pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and cloves for a flavor profile that screams fall.

Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat – A traditional Belgian-style wheat ale that’s been brewed with ripe pumpkins, making it a perfect go-to this season for all sorts of fall fun; picking pumpkins, harvest parties and of course, Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Uinta Punk’n – Roasted pumpkin, honey, vanilla and a strong ale backbone combine to make this great brew. Add to this that it’s quite sessionable, and you’ll be looking for space for a handful of six packs in your fridge.

Victory Festbier – Smooth German malts and hints of earthy hops make for a lovely Oktoberfest with a thick mouthfeel and satisfying flavor. A shining example of the style.

World Beer Cup 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014 | 5 Rabbit, Contests, Old Dominion, Redhook, Starr Hill Brewery, Uinta, Widmer

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Last week was the World Beer Cup in Boulder, CO, with judgements over 96 different styles on a global level, with only three top beers named in each category and often dozens of entries into each. Starting in 1996, hundreds of brewers have entered their creations every two years, with more breweries entering with each competition. However, only a few come out on top, named best in their styles. This competition is considered the most prestigious beer competition in the world, and is not to be taken lightly.

Here’s a list of some of the brews that won that are available in our area.

Widmer Hefeweizen – Won Gold in the American Style Wheat Beer with Yeast category.

Starr Hill Whiter Shade of Pale – Won Gold in the American Belgo Style Ale category.

Redhook Audible Ale – Won Gold in the Classic English Style Pale Ale category.

Dominion Candy Belgian Tripel – Won Gold in the Belgian Style Tripel category.

Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier Dunkel – Won Silver in the German Style Dark Wheat Ale category.

Uinta Bristlecone Brown - Won Bronze in the English Style Mild category.

For more information on the World Beer Cup, visit their website.

Superbowl Food and Beer Pairings

Thursday, January 23, 2014 | Prism, Susquhanna, Troegs, Uinta, Victory

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So the Eagles didn’t make it to the Superbowl this year, but don’t go canceling your party yet. We’ve got some ideas for some Denver and Seattle inspired meals, as well as the perfect beers to go with them. So root for you favorite team–even if it’s not really your favorite–and try one of these delicious combos.

Seattle Seahawks

Washington is known for its huge, delicious sockeye salmon, and there are so many recipes to choose from. Although salmon is always tasty, here’s three serving suggestions.

Smoked Salmon – Victory Golden Monkey’s sweet and spicy flavor pairs well with the brown sugar and light but rich texture of sweet salmon.

Glazed Salmon – Susquehanna’s HopFive IPA has enough hops to counter balance the sticky-sweetness of the glaze, and is light enough for seafood.

Smoked Salmon Dip – Troeg’s Dreamweaver pairs well with all sorts of seafood, and it’s light enough to serve with snacks/appetizers.

Denver Broncos

Where Washington is famous for salmon, Colorado’s claim to fame is its buffalo, which can be cooked in a number of different, delicious ways. These three options really bring out the sweet, rich flavor of the meat.

Buffalo Burgers – The smokiness of these burgers matches that of Prism Brewing’s Insana Stout, brewed with chocolate and bacon. Mmm!

Buffalo Brisket – East Coast Beer Co. Winter Rental’s sweet dark fruit notes will play up the sweetness of the meat in this brisket.

Buffalo Chili – Evolution Lot #3 IPA goes great with this spicy chili, as the bitterness will complement the hot peppers, and the light body

And of course, if you aren’t particular to either team but are still hosting a party, you can always play up the joke that each team is from a state where marijuana use is now legal, and serve everyone their own Uinta Dubhe (pronounced doo-bee).

Everyone have a safe and pleasant game time!

Uinta’s Punk’n Harvest Pumpkin Ale

Thursday, September 12, 2013 | Breweries, Fall, Featured Beer, Uinta

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Uinta’s Punk’n is a pumpkin ale with a bright amber hue and frothy head. The malts and hops are accented with a pumpkin flavor, spices and hints of vanilla and honey. With bright carbonation and a heavier body than expected from a 4% ABV beverage, this autumn drink goes great with roasted turkey and squash or pumpkin dishes. For a more daring serving option that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser, try adding vanilla ice cream for a pumpkin ale float.

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