June Beer Club: Iowa

Adnams ExplorerAdnams
Explorer

Southwold, Suffolk, England

Adnams Explorer is the result of their previous Head Brewer, Mike Powell-Evans’ trips to the United States. He was inspired to create a blonde beer using two American hops that are grown in the Yakima Valley in Washington. These hops, called Columbus and Chinook, add wonderful grapefruit flavors to the beer. Over the years, Adnams and their new Head Brewer, Fergus, have dropped the Columbus hops to make the beer less harsh. Eventually, they moved to dry hopping their Explorer in tank, allowing them to add a depth a flavor to their beers. The citrus attack will burst on your palate as the hops deliver their fruity bitterness. Explorer is fantastic served chilled and pairs well with cleanly flavored foods. Contains barley.

BeerStyles: Crisp & Clean
Style: Golden Ale
ABV: 5%

ABOUT BREWER:

Adnams is an award-winning UK brewer, hotelier and wine merchant producing amazing beers and spirts from grain-to glass in their coastal home of Southwold.  The brewery, in which brothers George and Ernest Adnams purchased in 1872, had brewed beer for at least 670 years. Adnams Brewery is proud of their roots, which gives them strength and confidence to grow and evolve.  They run their business sustainably with passion and care, supported by ever-evolving technology, to make great products and create memorable experiences for their customers.  From selecting suppliers they work with, to the ingredients they buy for their beers and spirits, they look at all aspects of production to make sure they’re doing the right thing.  You can find these award-winning beers and spirits in Adnams stores in the UK, partner pubs and in outlets across the world.

Adnams Southwold BitterAdnams
Southwold Bitter
Southwold, Suffolk, England

First brewed in 1967 (under the name Adnams Best Bitter), Southwold Bitter holds Adnams oldest trademark, Southwold Jack.  Southwold Bitter is a beautiful copper-colored beer, late hopped with Fuggles for a distinctive, lingering hoppiness. Perfectly balanced hops and malt creates a classic session beer. Their Bitter pairs with roast meats and fish cooked in batter as the clean bitterness cuts through the slightly fatty notes and hence keeps the palate refreshed. Contains gluten – barley.

BeerStyles: Malty & Sweet
Style: English Bitter
ABV: 4.1%

Adnams BroadsideAdnams
Broadside
Southwold, Suffolk, England

Perfect for parties or celebratory gatherings. Brewed with English Pale Ale malts and English First Gold hops, Broadside is a dark ruby red beer rich in fruitcake aromas, almonds and conserved fruit; this beer is served by the bottle, draft or in casks. Adnams’ mini-casks are filled with fresh beer and have a short shelf life of a minimum of two weeks and should be consumed within that time. Please leave to settle for 24 hours after purchase. Contains gluten – barley

BeerStyles: Malty & Sweet
Style: English Strong Bitter
ABV: 6.3%

Adnams Tally-HoAdnams
Tally-Ho Reserve
Southwold, Suffolk, England

Brewed with Pale Ale, Crystal and Brown malts. Tally Ho is dark Mahogany red in color with a rich, fruity aroma and a heart warming sweet raisin and biscuit palate. Adnams Tally-Ho is a limited edition Barley-wine style beer, brewed at Adnams since 1880. Traditionally a Christmas beer, and brewed in October in limited quantities, many pubs lay a cask down like fine wine and save it for special occasions throughout the year. The ABV of Tally Ho in cask varies year to year.

BeerStyles: Malty & Sweet
Style: Barley-Wine Style Ale
ABV: Around 7-9%

Samuel Smith's Perry CiderSamuel Smith’s
Organic Perry Cider
Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, England

A dry, sparkling pear cider with glowing pale straw color, smooth body, crisp but rich flavor and the gentle aroma of a summer pear orchard. Samuel Smith’s makes this perry at a small, independent British brewery, the oldest brewery in Yorkshire.

BeerStyles: Fruity & Spicy
Style: Cider
ABV: 5%

ABOUT BREWER:

Samuel Smith’s is an independent English brewery in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, England. It is Yorkshire‘s oldest brewery, founded in 1758. They brew a wide range of high quality beers, solely from authentic natural ingredients. The brewery still uses stone Yorkshire squares to ferment all of its ales and stouts (except Sovereign and Extra Stout) and the same yeast strain has been used since the 1800s. Samuel Smith’s uses oak casks for all of its naturally conditional ale. Whole dried English hop varieties such as Fuggles and Goldings are used to add bitterness and aroma to Samuel Smith’s traditional ales in the antique boiling coppers. Their casks are made and repaired at the Old Brewery by the brewery’s full-time coopers. The brewery operates over 200 pubs, which are notable for their independence.

May Beer Club: Iowa

Bridge Road BrewersBridge Road Brewers
Mayday Hills

Australia

Built upon an IPA base and features as-yet-unnamed Aussie hop variety HPA-016. Aroma wise, the fruits of the foeder delivers cooked or ripe citrus on the nose, with lemon and lime trying their best to smother the Bretty characters lingering within.  The hops are more potent on the palate, with citrus zest, a little resin and what appears to be blackcurrant and licorice lurking inside the cloudy, deep copper liquid. 

BeerStyles: Hoppy & Bitter
Style: Foeder Fermented Fruit Beer
ABV: 6.5%

ABOUT BREWER:

The Bridge Road Brewers story begins in 2000, when 21-year-old Ben was a budding young winemaker.  Initially trained as a viticulturist and winemaker, his head turned in the direction of craft beer during a working stint in the Margaret River wine region.  He studied brewing at the University of Ballarat and renovated his parent’s shed to a brewery, bar and tasting room and bottling line. Bridge Road Brewers have continued growing since 2005 and now employs around 40 people, most of them in Beechworth. 

 

Carakale Imperial Red AleCarakale Brewing Co.
Imperial Red Ale
Amman, Jordan

Carakale’s Imperial Red Ale is ruby in color, aromas of dark fruit like cherry and plum, also has aromatic notes of toasty sweet caramel.  Flavor rich of melons and dark caramel with hints of dark fruits, full-bodied, dry and light on bitterness.  Brewed with Data molasses.

BeerStyles: Malty & Sweet
Style: Imperial Red Ale
ABV: 7.5%

ABOUT BREWER:

Carakale, the first family owned microbrewery in Jordan.  Located in the beautiful Fuhays Canyon, producing handcrafted ales from the finest ingredients with respect and love for beer.  There are lots of roots to beer in the region and Carakale is trying to revive that history. Beer was discovered in Mesopotamia, and its written history was recorded in ancient Egypt.  Each Carakale Brew is handcrafted using only the best ingredients, imported from Europe and the U.S., in order to provide the perfect concoction of flavor and aroma. In addition to the rich smell and taste of these hand-crafted ales, Carakale’s inclusion of actual green hops – opposed to commonly used concentrate or essence – adds an extra element of flavor and aroma. Carakale is committed to keeping it natural, never using foam enhancers, malt extract, hop concentrate, enzymes, chemical preservatives or malt substitutes such as rice, corn or cheap adjunct. Each of their beers are made to be packaged and drank as they are produced – they do not practice high gravity brewing or cut beer down with water prior to packaging.

Sangria sourEdge Brewing
Sangria Sour
Barcelona, Spain

A year in the making and after many trials, Edge Brewing selected a unique souring strain as part of a double fermentation process, and a blend of summer fruits to create this vibrant Sangria inspired sour ale.  Deep pink in color, with ripe tropical fruits and berries combine with a hint of licorice and sour characteristics, with a lasting finish that is tart and juicy. 

BeerStyles: Sour, Tart, & Funky
Style: Fruit Ale
ABV: 6.3%
Hops: Crystal
Malts: Pale, Wheat, CaraPils, CaraHell, Oat Flakes

ABOUT BREWER:

Edge Brewing was established in Barcelona in 2013 by two Americans who were so eager to join the craft beer revolution in Europe that they brought a brewery.  Combining finely engineered American brewing equipment, the best ingredients available and many years of brewing experience, they are now making fresh, genuine, American craft beer for the local market.  Their new brewing home is located in one of the worlds most exciting cities, in Barcelona’s edgy Poble Nou district. Edge Brewing was named the top new brewer in the world, as well as top brewer in Spain.

German Beer Video Round-Up!

Oktoberfest is already in full swing in Germany!  Spruce up on your beer knowledge and check out these informative and fun videos about German beer. Prost! (Cheers!)

germanbeer

Video 1 German Beer – Centuries of Tradition

This video talks in-depth about the German brewing economy. It details how much beer is sold in Germany each year, and the number of breweries the country has. (Statistics as of 2013). You’ll hear from a Professor of Biotechnology from Berlin’s Technical University, as well as a student in the field, and how they feel about the ongoing use of the German Beer Purity Law, “das Reinheitsgebot”. Enjoy the views of Oktoberfest tents and crowds towards the end. It really is a big celebration!

Video 2 – Top 10 German Beer Styles

This video gives a great overview of the 10 most common German beer styles. The host, from Beerland Diaries, also peppers in some great German beer-drinking cultural norms, such as the two-man beer race called “Bierkasten Rennen”, and how to properly toast with a Weizen.

Video 3 – Beer Geek – Germany Part 1: The Reinheitsgebot

This third video is very approachable, from an avid beer-drinker and self-proclaimed “beer geek”, Oli Haydon. Oli will walk you through the Berliner Weisse beer style, as well as the German Beer Purity Law and what it means in Europe today. If you want to continue learning about German beers, follow Oli’s YouTube channel here as he continues with his series on German Beer.

Video 4 – Ein Prosit – Oktoberfest Song Karaoke

Now for a German beer drinking song! Oktoberfest isn’t complete without crowds of people sloshing around huge beer steins loudly singing together traditional German beer-drinking songs. This one is often heard in large Oktoberfest tents in Munich, and all over Germany. It’s titled, “Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit” which roughly translates to “A Toast to Good Cheer”.

“Ein Prosit”, means “A Toast”, but “Gemütlichkeit” is one of those untranslatable words from German to English. It isn’t just one thing. It’s cheer, and warmth, and belonging, and acceptance all rolled into one – rather fun to pronounce – word.

Of all the German beer drinking songs, you’re sure to hear this one should you visit Germany for Oktoberfest. It helps keep the party going, because each time it’s played, guests are invited to stand up, toast each other, and chug!

Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit – German lyrics:

Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Der Gemütlichkeit
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Der Gemütlichkeit
OINS! ZWOI! DREI! G’SUFFA!

A Toast to Good Cheer – English lyrics:

A toast, a toast
To cheer and good times
A toast, a toast
To cheer and good times.
ONE! TWO! THREE! DRINK UP!

Thanks for reading, and Happy Oktoberfest! Prost!

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Beer and Chocolate Pairing Guide

In our last post (click here to read), we celebrated National Chocolate Fondue Day with tasty chocolate fondue recipes, fun chocolate quotes, and our wine and chocolate pairing guide! We hope you enjoyed it, and will practice your wine and chocolate pairing skills all year long.

But, why should wine get all the attention? Let’s talk about BEER!

beer-chocolate-pairingSo, to all our craft beer lovers out there, we have good news — beer and chocolate go great together, too! In this post, we will discuss the basics of beer and chocolate pairing, and offer some tips for creating a match made in heaven.

Like wine, craft beer is a very complex product of ingredients, time, and art. There is a wide, and ever-growing, variety of craft beers being introduced into the market every day. Craft beer brewers are taking matters into their own hands, mixing and matching ingredients like we’ve never seen before. This new age of craft brewing has truly become an art form all its own.

Sweetshop Truffles WineStyles

Sweet Shop USA truffle assortment from WineStyles Tasting Station

Likewise, one bite into high quality chocolate and you’ll immediately realize the difference. Each variety of chocolate contains its own unique set of flavor profiles just like wine and craft beer. Similar to grapes, cacao beans and their subsequent flavors can be the result of a multitude of variables including topography, weather, soil conditions and harvesting processes.

Who ever thought that chocolate would pair well with beer? Let’s break it down: to put it very simply – chocolate and beer pair well together, because there is a desirable interaction between the richness of the chocolate, and the carbonation of the beer.

Think back to when we advised you to try champagne or sparkling wines with any type of chocolate in the chocolate and wine pairing guide. The carbonation in the bubbly, or beer, provides a round and full mouth-feel when paired with the fatty feeling of the cacao butter on your tongue.

As we move on, remember the best part of any pairing is the experience, the joy of experimenting and trying different flavors together. We’re here to give you a basic road map to help you along that journey.

Beer and Chocolate Pairing GuideStout Glass Craft Beer WineStyles

You may have guessed it – richer, bigger, and overall maltier beers typically pair the best with gourmet chocolate. These styles are known as porters, barley wines, sours, stouts, and barrel-aged beers. The rich flavors of these brews easily bring out the nuances in fine chocolates.

Beer with a higher alcohol content is better able to cut through rich cacao butter (this is especially important to heed if pairing with white chocolate, as it is higher in cacao butter).

It’s a good rule of thumb to first seek to match the intensity of the chocolate. If you’re opting for a dark-as-night gourmet chocolate bar, it would best be paired with an equally intense beer, such as a Russian Imperial Stout. Sours pair well with most milk chocolates, because they balance out the sweetness.

Sweetshop Milk Pecan Brag WineStyles

Beers with nut and caramel flavors pair well with a Sweet Shop USA gourmet Milk Chocolate Pecan Brag

If you’re unsure how intense your beer might be, or want to try another route, try matching up similar flavors. For example, IPAs are notoriously difficult to pair with chocolate, due to the bitterness of the hops used in making them. They do, however, tend to embody notes of summertime citrus. Match those citrus notes with a chocolate that has added lemon or orange zest for a pleasant pairing experience. Are there caramel or nutty notes in your chosen beer? Try pairing it with matching flavors — a delicious caramel truffle, or a nutty gourmet chocolate.

We know what you’re thinking — is there a universal pairing? One beer that can be paired with nearly any chocolate of choice? Yes, indeed, one beer rules them all when it comes to versatility! That king of beers is the fruit-infused Lambic. Kriek (Cherry) or Framboise (Raspberry) are great selections for a spot-on chocolate pairing 99% of the time.

Like we said in the beginning, it is the journey that is the most fun. If you’re a beginner, try casually picking up a gourmet chocolate truffle the next time you head to your local WineStyles to pick up craft beer. If you’re already ahead of the game, invite friends over for a fun beer and chocolate pairing night. Have fun picking out which chocolates to pair with your favorite craft beers. You may just love what you find!

Love Craft Beer? 

BeerClubLogoJoin our exclusive Craft Beer Club* and you’ll be among fellow beer lovers across the country. Each month you’ll discover remarkable craft brews, each with different beer styles such as Ales, IPA’s, Pilsners, Porters or Stouts. Monthly beer selections are chosen locally, focusing on beers from small independent brewers to regional microbrewers to international brewers using time-honored brewing methods. Plus you’ll enjoy all the perks that come with our Craft Beer Club memberships! It’s the perfect opportunity to Taste, Learn and Enjoy® amazing hand-crafted beers all year long! Gift memberships can be purchased by visiting your nearest WineStyles Tasting Station location.

*Craft Beer Club is not available at all WineStyles locations. Please see your local WineStyles for details and information. (Click here for store locator).

Thanks for reading, 

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When Dogs Fly

Matt_Brophy_FlyingDogs

Interview with Matt Brophy, Brewmaster & COO of Flying Dog Brewery

Since opening as a brewpub in Aspen, Colorado in 1990, Flying Dog Brewery has taken the craft beer world by storm.  Today they ship more than 800,000 cases a year, across the world from their state-of-the-art facility in Frederick, Maryland.  Matt Brophy, Flying Dog’s Brewmaster and COO, shares with us what makes craft beer so unique.

What makes craft beer different from other beers?

Craft beers draw their inspiration not from the factory profit-driven-machine mentality but from the creative desire to produce a product that is unique to its creator, the brewer, and enjoyable to the customer.  Although beer is very simple in that is contains only four ingredients – water, malted barley, hops and yeast – it’s the nontraditional ingredients such as the use of spices, fruits, sugars and alternative cereal grains that has found its way to craft beers.

How does Flying Dog brew their beer?

Flying Dog brewers use traditional brewing techniques and all-natural ingredients.

FlyingDogs-PaleAleWhat are some of the different flavor profile you can find in a craft beer?

Generally speaking all beers are a balance of malt sweetness and hop bitterness.  A good brewer can manipulate ingredients to produce aromas and flavors ranging from crisp and quenching to much bolder sensory experiences.

With the Super Bowl coming up, can you recommend special beers that pair well with Super Bowl food/snacks?

Our hoppy Snake Dog IPA pairs with a spicy-hot pepper jack cheese but it will also do well with hot wings, spicy salsa or queso dip. Dog Schwarz is brewed using smoked malt and has a moderate amount of smoke in the aroma and flavor.  This beer pairs great with smoked or grilled meats.  A malty American amber lager like our Old Scratch goes great with some brats from the grill.

What tips do you have for pairing craft beer with food?

The simplest and best advise I have is to have fun and experiment.  There is no “right” or “wrong” pairing as long as it tastes good to you.

Join us May 12-18 to celebrate American Craft Beer Week

Craft-beer-week

Rogue_glass_StoutPlease join us this  week, featuring Rogue craft beer tasting event!  Guests will take home their very own Rogue Stout glass! RSVP at your local participating WineStyles location.

Rogue_Tasting_Event

Celebrating 25 years, Rogue Ales is an Artisan Varietal Brewery founded in Oregon in 1988, as one of America’s first 50 micro-breweries. Just like a winery, Rogue grows more than a dozen ingredients on farms in Independence and Tygh Valley, John Maier crafts beers of distinction with a proprietary palate of flavors and a known terroir.   Rogue collaborated with Spiegelau to design the ideal glass for a stout, yours to enjoy!

Rogue_Beer_TastingReserve your Seat Early!

Our national tasting event May 12-18 will sell out fast!

Contact your participating WineStyles for local details and reservations!

Oktoberfest Beer Picks

Fall is in the air and with the change of season brings new combinations of entertaining options, seasonal ingredients and fall flavor combinations.  As the summer heat begins to recede into cooler fall temperatures, the cooler weather generally allows our taste preferences to transition into more EARTHY craft beers that highlight the seasonal fall flavors.  Here’s a few picks for pairing with grilled kielbasa, bratwurst or pork chops:

AutumnBeerPicks

Smashed_PumpkinShipyard Brewing Co. Smashed Pumpkin (Maine)

Smashed_Pumpkin_labelA big-bodied beer with aromas of pumpkin and nutmeg. The Pale Ale, Wheat and Light Munich malts combine with the natural tannin in pumpkin and the delicate spiciness of hops to balance the sweetness of fruit.

Pumpkinhead_AleShipyard Brewing Co. Pumpkinhead Ale (Maine)

Pumpkinhead_Ale_labelA crisp and refreshing wheat ale with delightful aromatics and subtle spiced flavor.

Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen (Germany)

Ayinger_OktoberAyinger is one of Germany’s most famous and historic brewery’s. The  Oktober Fest Märzen has a deep golden color tinted with amber. It is lightly sweet with a malty nose balanced with floral hops. Its medium to big body and alcohol is not overpowering.

WeihenstepFestbierhan Festbier (Germany)Weihenstephan_label

A full rich bodied, hoppy, seasonal lager. Especially brewed for the Festbier season. This beer truly represents the Bavarian way of celebrating. Deep gold color, great mouthfeel and lots of flavor. Prost!