Brewholder News: May the 4th Be With You!

Happy Star Wars Day!  To celebrate I just ordered my tickets for “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” so all is right with the world. But…

I’ve been lax on posting recently due to my immersion in a writing project – a project that I must say has been extremely invigorating for me.  It’s the most fun I’ve had on a project since one last year for Philly Beer Scene Magazine!  When the link goes hot on my newest project, I will certainly post it here.

Brew in the desert!

Blueprint Brewing in Kulpsville, PA – gluten free brew!

A delicious pumpkin porter at Pocono Brewery.

I’m also a slacker because I recently visited Tucson, AZ, and more locally, Blueprint Brewing in Kulpsville and Pocono Brewery Company, but I haven’t posted about them here yet…coming soon!  In the meantime, check me out on Instagram, Facebook and Untappd to see glimpses into those visits!

Now – for the news that’s important to me:

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant opened their 13th location in Greenville, South Carolina on May 1, 2018.  According to a press release, “The brewery and restaurant spans 7,500 sq. ft. and has a seating capacity of 250, which includes an on-site brewery, cocktail area, and an outdoor patio. The brewery, which is fully operational on-site, will produce between 800 to 900 barrels of their award-wining craft beer annually.”  I’ve been to Greenville before, and this gives me a great reason to visit again!   

Ommegang Double Barrel Dubbel – luxurious flavors.

I tried Ommegang’s Double Barrel Double last week – I think the best word for it is “luxurious” – Rich flavors of brown sugar and coffee mixed with the distinctive Ommegang house yeast.  If you are an Ommegang fan, you’ll really like this.  Great for sipping on a cool spring evening for sure!  

A growler of Tripel Chair straight from America’s winter playground! Cheers!

Magic Hat released their “Tripel Chair,” a new golden Belgian-style tripel.  It is only available in Vermont and was named after Sugarbush Ski Resort’s triple chairlift.  I was lucky enough to get my hands on a 32 oz growler of it – at 9.1% ABV, it packs a nice warmth and has the distinctive Belgian yeast esters.  If you like high gravity Belgian styles this might be worth a trip to Vermont to try!  

A new brewery named “Workhorse Brewing” is setting up shop in the Bridgeport / King of Prussia area.  https://www.workhorsebrewing.com I noticed them on Instagram the other day – looks like it is going to be a pretty massive production brewery.  According to the website, the Brewmaster is Nate Olewine, formerly of Victory Brewing Company and most recently of Devil’s Backbone Brewing in Virginia.  The plan is to open in “Spring 2018.”  Stay tuned!

BrewDog USA products are now available in Southeast Philadelphia.  The Columbus, OH-based branch of the brewery was opened in 2017 and is the brainchild of the pair from the well-known BrewDogs television show that aired from 2013 – 2015.  

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2018 – all rights reserved

Ommegang releases Double Barrel Dubbel

Double Barrel Dubbel, photo courtesy Brewery Ommegang.

Cooperstown, NY-based Brewery Ommegang announced on April 11 its release of “Double Barrel Dubbel” a bourbon barrel aged Belgian Dubbel.  Here’s the press release:

Bourbon and brandy flavors shine in Ommegang’s new Double Barrel Dubbel blend 

(COOPERSTOWN, NY) Brewery Ommegang is pleased to announce the release of a new beer this month: Double Barrel Dubbel, a beautiful blend of traditional Belgian-style dubbel aged in bourbon and brandy casks.

A nod to Ommegang’s first beer, a beloved dubbel called Ommegang Abbey Ale, Double Barrel Dubbel is a glorious new take on the style. This luxurious brew begins with Abbey Ale, which then gracefully ages for six months in a mix of bourbon and brandy casks in the brewery’s cellar. This blend of barrels adds an additional layer of complexity to an already flavorful beer.

“As we’ve expanded our barrel-aging program, we’ve experimented with some of our favorite core beers, trying different barrels, and combinations of barrels, to create something new with beers we already enjoy,” said Phil Leinhart, Ommegang’s brewmaster. “We thought the combination of bourbon and brandy for Abbey Ale was a great one and we’re pleased to share Double Barrel Dubbelwith fans.”

Brewed with pils, amber, Munich, and aroma malts and hopped with Syrian Golding and Spalter Select, Double Barrel Dubbel enjoys a similar spicing to Abbey Ale with orange peel, coriander, cumin, star anise, and licorice root. It pours a deep burgundy color with a creamy tan head. Robust aromas of coconut, vanilla, molasses, burnt sugar, and dark stone fruit greet the drinker up front, with more subtle hints of vanilla and bourbon following in their wake. Flavor of caramel, raisin, and plums mix nicely with underlying flavors of oak, bourbon, and subtle hints of dried fruit and vanilla. A wonderfully full mouthfeel pairs with a lingering sweetness on the finish resulting in a decadent drinking experience.

This big, rich beer with an ABV of 9.9% pairs well with bold flavors like beef carbonade over mashed potatoes, robust cheeses like sharp cheddar and bleu cheese, and for dessert, a brandy-soaked fruitcake. Double Barrel Dubbel will be available for a limited time in 12 oz four-packs and on draft beginning in late April.

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2018 – all rights reserved

The Brewholder News: Digging out!

Time to dig out and drink up!  PS – on a recommendation from a trusted source, I tried the 10 Barrel Pub Ale.  I wasn’t impressed, but it’s drinkable.  

Hey everyone!   It’s been a some time since I’ve posted here, but between celebrating a Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl win and digging out from multiple snow storms, let’s just say I’ve been drinking more beer than writing about it!  (See my Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Untappd activity as proof!)

There’s been some really cool stuff that’s come across my barrel recently – so let’s dig out:

The Bruery – or more specifically – Bruery Terreux – is releasing a foeder aged beer that sounds amazing – Saison Ardennes.  I’m expecting to try it soon – here’s the description I received:

A new, authentic, oak foeder-aged, Belgian-style farmhouse ale that just got released from Bruery Terreux – a brand from The Bruery in Orange County, CA that exclusively focuses on and explores the sour and wild side of beer.

At Bruery Terreux, we channel nature for inspiration and participation in crafting both traditional and new takes on farmhouse-style ales, including Belgian-style saisons, tart wheat beers and oak-aged fruited sours.

This new release, Saison Ardennes, is no exception. Saison Ardennes is a tart saison, hand-crafted to embody the dependable, spirited nature of a classic Belgian-style farmhouse ale. This includes a crisp malt profile, rustic floral and spice notes, and lively carbonation. Our rendition expresses further depth and character from a six-month fermentation and maturation in one of our newest 103BBL large oak foeders previously used for wine in Santa Rosa, California. It’s a bottle of beer that will pleasantly evolve over time, thanks to the presence of wild yeast added for bottle conditioning.

The beer will be available in 375-ml. bottles and on tap in nearly 30 states throughout the country, starting this month – here’s how to find bottles where our beer is distributed. Bottles are also available on TheBrueryStore.com (shipping within CA only) and will soon be on the shelves at The Bruery Store at Union Market in Washington, D.C.

 

The Bruery’s Saison Ardennes, photo courtesy The Bruery

Did you know Forest & Main in Ambler opened their new space?  Swing in and check it out!

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant announced that they will be opening a new location in Hershey, Pennsylvania in late 2018/early 2019.  A press release explained that the 9,000 sf facility “will house an on-site brewing facility and seating for up to 290 including a bar area and additional outdoor space.”  The release also suggested that Iron Hill Hershey “will join in the amusements, world-class golf courses, museums, and outlet shopping at one of Pennsylvania’s most popular tourist destinations.”  For those of us who love beer tourism, Iron Hill Hershey will be a great addition to a the list of outstanding breweries in the area, including Troegs and Boneshire Brew Works.  And of course, those of us in the Philly area are anxiously awaiting the opening of Iron Hill’s Center City Philadelphia location, which, we were last told, should happen this Spring!

Magic Hat’s “Barroom Hero” is a strong recommendation for St. Patty’s Day.

Did you hear that Vermont-based Magic Hat Brewing released a collaboration pub style ale with The Dropkick Murphys?  Unlike many craft nerds, I truly enjoy a traditional pub ale – and when listening to the Dropkick Murphys, Magic Hat’s “Barroom Hero” is outstanding. The Brewholder’s recommendation:  If you can find it, I’d strongly recommend holding some for St. Patty’s Day!

Magic Hat is also re-releasing their “Elder Betty,” an elderberry enhanced Weissbeer.  Keep an eye on my social media channels for my thoughts on it soon!

Summer Love is back, with a new look. Photo courtesy Victory Brewing Company

To help us get through our most recent snow storm, Victory Brewing Company is counting down the days to summer!   And today they announced the return of Summer Love Ale, with a new look.  It won’t be long until you start getting bombarded with pictures of cans from The Brewholder Pool!

Prima Pils by the Pool, 2016!

Cooperstown, NY-based Ommegang Brewery recently released two beers of note:  Candi Stout “fuses rich roasted malts with Belgian candi sugar, bittersweet cocoa nibs, and a special strain of Belgian ale yeast. The result is a delightfully drinkable blend of a Belgian-style dark ale and a traditional stout.”  If you didn’t try this on Valentine’s Day, maybe replace a few chocolate eggs with it on Easter!

Their newest Game of Thrones inspired beer, in a new series – The Royal Reserve Collection – The Hand of the Queen, is a barleywine ale that will be available in the beginning of April.  If you happen to live in the Cooperstown area, or are able to make the trek to the brewery, it will be for sale at the brewery store on Saturday, March 17, 2018.  But remember – the brewery is currently closed for tours due to renovations.

Ommegang’s “Hand of the Queen” Barleywine, coming soon. Photo courtesy of Brewery Ommegang.

Tons of stuff happening in the craft beer world – if you are looking at it from the business sense, it makes one wonder if the we’re turning a corner.  One announcement that really struck me was the fact that New Hampshire-based Smuttynose Brewing is up for auction!  Believe it or not, there was a time when The Brewholder could/would not drink anything hoppier than a Yuengling Lord Chesterfield Ale.  But one day in the early 2000’s, standing in warm sunlight at an outdoor picnic in the month of May, someone handed me a Smuttynose Finest Kind IPA, and it was an awakening.  I’ll never forget that moment of confusion, delight, and sudden understanding that a doorway to a whole new style of beer had just been opened to me. I believe it is that rush of excitement that has been the power behind the craft beer movement (or at least it is for me).  So when I heard that Smuttynose might undergo some significant changes, I felt a little something, right there in the chest.

But no need to cry!  There are still many new beers being created every day, and there are tons of cities/states/countries that are modernizing their beer laws (think you had it bad in Pennsylvania?  Indiana just passed a law allowing for Sunday beer sales!)  So keep on trying new brews, especially local brews!

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2018 – all rights reserved

Brewholder News: Starting off 2018 Right!

    Sly Fox Mudlust Coffee Porter, with Coffee from Herman’s Coffee. Photo courtesy Sly Fox Brewing Company

Happy New Year! Here’s some news and upcoming events to start off 2018:

Iron Hill will roll out their “winter 2018 lineup with the release of cult favorite, Rising Sun: a single-hopped IPA with the intensely tropical Sorachi Ace. For the first time in the brewery’s 21-year history, ‪Iron Hill‬ will place year-round emphasis on their canning program by releasing at least one canned beer every month. Rising Sun will be the first canned offering in 2018, followed by Bedotter (‪February 8‬) and Ore House IPA (‪February 22‬), with more fresh beer coming out throughout the year.

Rising Sun is an American IPA that is single-hopped with Japanese Sorachi Ace for unexpected notes of lemon and coconut in a light, well-balanced beer with a nimble hop kick
Bedotter is a traditional Belgian-style golden ale with complex aroma and notes of plum, spice and banana balanced by refreshing bitterness
Ore House IPA is a Golden IPA with a balanced hop bitterness and wonderful citrus and pine aroma and flavor, weighing in at 6.5% ABV

All three cans will feature fun new designs from Pittsburgh, PA’s Smith Brothers Agency, the latest in an ongoing series of collaborations between the brewery and the firm, including other favorites such as Crusher, Mahalo, Apollo!, Vienna Red Lager, ‪Pig Iron Porter‬, Pumpkin Ale and Oktoberfest.”

Keystone Homebrew Supply began accepting submissions for the 23rd Annual War of the Worts on January 13, 2018. The judging and competition will be held on February 17, 2018 at The Montgomeryville store. Submissions can be made here:  http://www.keystonehops.com/waroftheworts2018/

Sly Fox has been busy in early 2018.

Check out their new release Mudlust Coffee Porter, brewed with coffee roasted by our friends at Herman’s Coffee! Mudlust is available at both Sly Fox locations now! http://www.slyfoxbeer.com/beer/mudlust-coffee-porter

On January 20, they will host their annual Robert Burns party at the Phoenixville Pub, with the release of their Gang Aft Agley Scotch Ale.

Also, your favorite Sly Fox beers may look a little different in 2018. According to a press release, “With an eye to the future once again, the Pottstown-based brewery will unveil new branding for their entire lineup of core brands and seasonal beers, including a modern update on their playful “Sly Fox” logo. This bold new look accurately represents what Sly Fox does best: telling the outdoor enthusiast’s tale through the lens of fresh beer. The stylish “Y” in the word “Sly” depicts a bushy fox tail, emblematic of the red and gray foxes indigenous to the wild backwoods of Pennsylvania, and the words “Brewing Company” reinforce their reputation as one of the pioneering leaders of the craft beer movement.”

Dogfish Head Names New President and CEO –

Dogfish Head Names New President and COO

The Brewers of Pennsylvania announced their winter beer selections for 2018 – which is your favorite?

Southern Tier announced new DIPA project – Southern Tier announced new DIPAs in a press release this week – “Southern Tier Brewing Company introduces a new 16oz can Double India Pale Ale collection. The brand new “Science is the Art” Collection showcases their brewers’ scientific exactitude through distinctive commissioned artistry. Featuring vibrant and energetic graphic novel-like labels, the collection will feature six expertly crafted, flavorful episodes that depict a short story throughout 2018. The first episode titled ‘All is Well at the Station’, is set to release early-January.
The six releases feature new flavor profiles, and each label is an episode in a six-part story, as interpreted by sci-fi artist, Christopher Balaskas. These unconventionally named beers each serve as a snapshot of an unfolding science fiction tale. ‘All is Well at the Station’ is an 8.5% ABV, double IPA featuring Amarillo, Chinook, CTZ, and Simcoe hops, giving this brew a big citrusy and earthy character with a dank edge. It is a remarkably drinkable double IPA as the malt bill leaves just enough residual sweetness to perfectly balance its hoppiness. As for the artwork, we see an astronaut flying above a tranquil moon outpost. Surely all is well…or is it?”

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2018 – all rights reserved

 

 

 

Against All Hops – A Distinctively Refreshing Brew Recipe Book

Against All Hops by Butch Heilshorn

In the midst of the electronic onslaught of blog posts, tweets, and visual inundation of digital photos on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, every once in a while it is refreshing to just sit and read a physical book while enjoying a well-crafted beer. My most recent foray into physical media was “Against All Hops – Techniques and Philosophy for Creating Extraordinary Botanical Beers,” by Butch Heilshorn, the co-founder of Earth Eagle Brewings located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Against All Hops at its core is a recipe book for some of the brews that Butch and his team have created at their brewery. At the outset, be warned – the recipes are for advanced brewers and the book does not get into introductory methods of brewing, cleaning, or sanitization. The book is a fantastic read because, if you are not familiar with Earth Eagle Brewings, their brews use more than just hops in their beers. Butch has embraced the use of locally foraged herbs and plants in his beer, with the help and knowledge of his herbalist wife April.

While the book contains recipes for their interpretation of standard styles (IPA, Stout, Pale Ale), generally Earth Eagle Brewings beer can be described as “gruit,” an ancient ale that did not use hops as the bittering agent. Instead, all manner of herbs, flowers, and other plant matter are used to create new and interesting tastes. Each recipe is prefaced with a enlightening discussion on the history, tastes, and medicinal qualities of the herbs used in the brew. Along with high-quality photographs of the plants, it makes for an extremely enjoyable read.

In addition to the recipes, Butch explains his philosophy on brewing, which is most definitely on the artistic side of the brewing spectrum (as compared to the technical, scientific side where large, industrial breweries necessarily reside). His concept of humanity’s connection to Earth is well presented, without being judgmental or overbearing, and is clearly reflected in the recipes for his beer.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Against All Hops, especially in the cold of December and January when thoughts of foraging for locally harvested herbs and plants seem to warm you from the inside. While the book is meant for brewers, anyone who has an appreciation for creative and well-crafted beer would probably enjoy reading the narratives between the recipes. As a home brewer, after reading Against All Hops, I am truly looking forward to trying my hand at a gruit with some home grown herbs this Spring – and maybe a trip to New Hampshire this year to try these recipes for myself!

Against All Hops is available on Amazon in paperback for $12.91 and on Kindle for $9.99.

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2018 – all rights reserved

The Brewholder’s New Year’s Resolution 2018

As 2017 comes to an end, I am reflecting on the beers I experienced this year. In fact, I made a “trailer” of many of the beers I enjoyed and breweries I visited in 2017. You can view it on my Facebook page.   Thanks to everyone that shared those beers and experiences with me!

The highlights? Finally making my way out to Brew Gentlemen in Braddock, PA; two trips to Seattle and amazing beers at Populuxe Brewing and Urban Family; toasting at the last Real Ale Fest at the old Yards Brewing location; and celebrating Oktoberfest with traditional German style brews and cuisine at Weeping Radish on the Outer Banks.  Of course, my list wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t add my interviews with the most influential brew writers in Philly beer history – Lew Bryson, Don “Joe Six Pack” Russell, and George Hummel; and I can now say that I interviewed “The Most Interesting Man in the World”!

I am ready to celebrate the beginning of 2018. After all, I’m looking forward to checking out the brew scenes in St. Augustine, Tucson, Washington DC, Bar Harbor, and Nashville this year!

But closer to home, I’m truly curious what 2018 will bring. Locally, I saw a few things that gave me pause for concern his year – Prism Brewing closed after moving to its long awaited new location; Beergeeknation stopped reviewing beers this fall; and Philly Beer Scene has reduced its activity on social media and in publication, as well as the cancellation of the Band of Brewers final competition in November.

Could this be the prophesied “bursting of the bubble of the craft beer scene” in the Philly area?

I don’t think so – we all know there were plenty of new breweries that opened this year, tons of new beers introduced, and lots of new places to drink them. Could it simply be a changing of the guard in the Philly beer scene? Or maybe a decrease in the excitement surrounding new beers? Is A-B InBev silently winning the market share war by continuing to purchase breweries like Wicked Weed and releasing catchy “Dilly dilly” commercials? Who knows.

All I know is that every time I hear about a new local beer or brewery, I still get that thrill of excitement and adventure – especially when I can share those beers with friends and other like-minded beergeeks!

I for one will not give up on my beer quest. It is my New Year’s resolution to continue to celebrate this golden age of American brewing! I will continue to check in on Untappd, post on Instagram and Facebook, and upload posts right here on theBrewholder.com. I hope you will continue to join me in 2018!

Cheers to 2018; cheers to the small local breweries living their dreams, and cheers to craft beer! See you out there in 2018!

Happy New Year!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

 

Brewholder News: Thanksgiving Edition

Thanksgiving Eve events and new releases are ready to make you extra thankful this holiday! Have a peaceful Thanksgiving!

Sly Fox Brewing Company released its “Hop Project No. 004 Pils” today. The press release describes it as “Hopped exclusively with the prized noble German variety, Tettnang, and packaged unfiltered, No. 004 is a majestic Keller Pils bringing a lively lager to the Hop Project series.” Try it soon at their Pottstown and Phoenixville locations, or in cans at select locations….

…And Sly Fox also has released it’s Christmas Ale too! “If this one doesn’t get you into the Christmas spirit, you truly are a Scrooge!”

Riverhorse Brewing Company will hold its “Out of the Cellar” event on Saturday, December 9 from 7 – 10pm. “All of our most limited beers from throughout the year – together at one event!!” Tickets went on sale on Saturday, November 18 – follow this link to get them soon!

Levante Brewing Company’s Firksgiving Eve (Wednesday, November 22) will be an opportunity to enjoy their brew and help others at the same time. According to their release, “A free 10 oz. pour of “Citra Hop Necessity” to anyone who walks in the door. Also, if you bring a new unused toy to donate to “Toys for Tots” we’ll hook you up with a $5 crowler or $10 growler fill of Citra Hop Necessity. This is our small way of saying thank you from Team Levante for your continual support of what we do.
Helping Other People (H.O.P.) is a built into our mission, so let’s fill up the donation bin with toys and send you home with some hops! Stay posted for announcements on 2 specialty firkens for the event.

Conshohocken Brewing will also host a Thanksgiving Eve event – “Wednesday November 22nd we have everything you need to take it easy for Thanksgiving. Stock up on take out beer with cans and all non-imperial 64oz growler fills are 1/2 off! Take out beer is available at both the Conshohocken Taproom and Bridgeport Brewpub.”

Cheers!
The Brewholder
Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

Brewery Ommegang Releases Smoked Porter

A roasty brew for a cool autumn evening! Photo courtesy Brewery Ommegang

Have you tried Brewery Ommegang’s Smoked Porter?  Looks like a perfect beer for the cooler weather….

Brewery Ommegang releases limited edition Smoked Porter to pair with the flavors of fall

(COOPERSTOWN, NY) As cooler weather settles in on the northeast, Brewery Ommegang is pleased to introduce their latest limited edition brew: Ommegang Smoked Porter. This nod to a traditional English beer is brewed with subtle additions of smoked malt and a touch of Saaz hops to add additional depth and character to an otherwise traditional English brew. While the style is a departure from Ommegang’s traditional Belgian-style beers, the characteristic aromas of chocolate malt along with caramelized sugar are reminiscent of many things Belgian, and of all things good. Smoked Porter is available now in limited quantities in four-packs and on draft while supplies last.

Smoked Porter is brewed with a carefully crafted blend of Pilsner, Special B, Munich 20, Cara-20, Midnight Wheat, chocolate malt, and smoked malt. Balanced hopping is achieved with Saaz, while fermentation with American ale yeast ensures the malt remains in the spotlight.

This 7.6% ABV beer pours a deep dark brown – almost black – with a thick tan head. Aromas of cocoa, burnt sugar, and roasted malt give way to subtle hints of smoke. The flavor follows the aroma with rich notes of cocoa and roasted malt, followed by caramel sweetness and mild smoke. A medium-full body leads to a well-rounded finish with lingering smoke on the backend.

Smoked Porter is a wonder accompaniment for a variety of foods. Pair smoke with smoke – and enjoy with smoked meats and cheeses. It’s also an ideal charcuterie beer, and a wonder pairing for rich confections like chocolate cheesecake.

 

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

    A roasty brew for a cool autumn evening! Photo courtesy Brewery Ommegang

Brewholder News: Mad Elf Grand Cru is released; Keystone Homebrew Supply Celebrates 25 Years

Troegs Brewing Company has released its Anthology Winter Variety pack – which includes Troeganator Bock, Blizzard of Hops IPA, Scratch 307 – Cherry Chocolate Stout, and Perpetual IPA. Troegs’ holiday favorite Mad Elf is also out in abundance, and a new, exciting release of Mad Elf Grand Cru can be found! It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year!

Keystone Homebrew Supply will celebrate its 25th anniversary this Saturday, November 18, from 2 – 9pm. They’ll be pouring wine, cider and brews, and some local breweries will be there too! Live music by The Counterparts, food from The Pizza Wagon, games and giveaways will round out the day. Details can be found on their Facebook page.

Skadoosh IPA by The Alchemist – thanks!

Special thanks to a secret source who shared two amazing brews with me from The Alchemist Brewery in Vermont – Skadoosh IPA and The Crusher IPA. Oh – and a Super Session #8 IPA from Lawson’s Finest Liquids! What a great IPA week!

Cheers!
The Brewholder
Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved