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Archive for November, 2008

A few quick beer tastings to tell you about.

Today, from 4PM to 6:30PM the Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton will be having a tasting featuring Left Hand Warrior IPA, Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence, 2008 Anchor Christmas, Schlafly 2008 Oak Aged Imperial Stout, and Schlafly 2007 Oak Aged Imperial Stout. More information can be found at their blog.

Mike at the Wine and Cheese Place in Rock Hill will also be holding a tasting today from 4PM to 6:30. He’ll be sampling these beers: Left Hand Warrior IPA, Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence, 2008 Anchor Christmas, and Schlafly 2008 Oak Aged Imperial Stout. Once again, more information can be found at their blog.

Tasting is a great way to try before you buy.

If you’re a retail shop and want me to list your tasting, make sure to email me at mike@stlhops.com.

schlafly3color.gifI’ve been informed that Brennan Greene will be tapping a cask of Vanilla Coffee Stout at the Schlafly Tap Room tonight.  Drew Huerter emailed me with some info about the cask:

Freshly ground Kaldi’s Coffee and split vanilla beans were added directly to the cask for a chocolately, aromatic and fascinating version of our Coffee Stout. Only two casks made, so it will not likely last for long. 

Couple this cask with the cask of Bell’s Two Hearted being opening this evening at 33 Wine Shop tonight and it makes for a very good weekend for being a beer drinker in St. Louis.

When I started my great journey of beer all I kept hearing was, “You have to visit Corral Liquors!” After hearing this from at least 6 or 7 people, I was beginning to wonder, “Can this place live up to the hype?” After my first visit, I can enthusiastically say, yes.

Store: Corral Liquors
Address: 3304 Nameoki Rd., Granite City, IL 62040 (Map it)
Phone: (618) 451-9116
Selection: Over 400 beers.

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Photo courtesy Porcelain Monkey Garage

Corral Liquors houses one of the largest beer selections in the metro area, providing a large variety of beers that you can’t find in Missouri. We had a user in the forum asking about where to find the best mix-a-six selection in St. Louis and a number of users (including me) said that Corral provides the largest variety of beers that can be bought in singles.

Corral also offers a large variety of beer in kegs, just be certain to call first to find out what’s available. Corral may be a little out of the way if you live on the western side of the river, but it’s a fantastic place to find some gems.

This is a new, requested feature for STL Hops and I was more than happy to oblige. I think more than anything I really want to keep educating people about beer and I hope this website and specifically this feature helps to do just that. This should be a semi-regular weekly feature and will be written by members of STL Hops. Here’s the first one, make sure to provide input on what could be better. Also, a thanks to Paul from The Wine and Cheese Place for supplying beer for this feature.

twoheartedale.jpgAmerican India Pale Ale

What you should be smelling: Hops. Hops and more hops. Specifically though, the hop aroma can be a number of different things, though an American IPA usually tends toward fruity, citrusy hops aromas. But it’s likely you’ll also find grassy, piney, or even pineapple aromas. You should also be able to detect a malt presense as well, it may come across as slightly sweet or even a little biscuity.

What you should be seeing: The color of an American IPA can range from a deep golden hue to a reddish, caramel color. The beers can suffer from some haze which is often due to dry hopping the beer (which helps to provide more aroma.) With any luck you’ll have a very persistent fluffy white head which will allow you to smell the beer from the first drink to the last.

What you should be tasting: Did you read the description of the aroma? It’s going to be pretty similar. You’re going to get a refreshing hop bitterness that will contain some of the flavors of the aromas described above. You should also have just enough malt sweetness to back up the bitterness. You have to have the right balance of sweetness to bitterness though, because if the beer is sways either direction it becomes difficult to drink more than one or two pints. You always want a relatively medium-light body otherwise you suffer from a similar drinkability problem.

How you should you be drinking this: My two best suggestions for glassware would be a standard shaker pint glass or an all purpose wide-mouth tulip glass which will allow you really smell some of this beer’s complex aroma. One caveat with the tulip glass is that they are usually pretty thin walled and will allow the beer to warm up relatively quickly. Speaking of temperature, BeerAdvocate recommends serving this beer at 45-50°F which seems about perfect to me. You want the beer to be warm enough to pick up on the aroma, but not so warm that it becomes harsh and difficult to drink.

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What you should be buying: Some of the best examples of this style you can pick up locally are O’Fallon 5-Day IPA, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, 60 Minute IPA, Racer 5 India Pale Ale, Victory Hop Devil, Avery IPA, Lagunitas IPA, and Founders Centennial IPA. Be sure to ask your local beer store clerk for your options.

Related Styles: American Pale Ale, English IPA, Double or Imperial IPA.

Beers I sampled for this discussion: Green Flash IPA, Bell’s Two Hearted, and Avery IPA.

ciceros.jpg Cicero’s Italian Restaurant continues their fall Beer School semester this Wednesday from 5:30-6:30PM. Cicero’s Beer School provides background about beers and beer styles usually directly from people directly in the beer industry. It’s perfect opportunity to learn more about a style you’re unfamiliar with or to just brush up on a style you haven’t enjoyed in a while.

This week’s school is being taught by George Reisch, an Executive Brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch InBev. George will be on hand to discuss teaching about Boddingtons, Leffe and Bass. Go out and take advantage of one of the few places where you can drink and learn!

If you can’t make it out to the Beer School, you can check out all of the classes via podcast at Cicerosbeerschool.com.

Thoughts?  Personally I think it looks like the eagle is about to poop on the InBev part.

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In the past year I’ve been to a number of beer dinners. Some were good, so were OK and others weren’t very good. But I’ve now been to one that was pretty amazing. Last Tuesday night the Schlafly Tap Room hosted their 2008 SIP Club Beer Dinner which featured not only fantastic food from Chef Andy White, but also provided the opportunity to have the vertical tasting of 2006, 2007, and 2008 Imperial Stout and Barleywine.

Do yourself a favor and buy a SIP Club membership so you don’t miss this dinner next year. I wish I could propery explain just how fantastic this dinner was.