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Archive for December, 2008

Stuff from around the web

Beer Releases and News

  • Andrew from Bon Vivant Wines informs me to some beers he has in his stock:
    • Achel Blond
    • Avery Czar
    • Bink Bruin
    • Dieu de Ciel Solstice d’Hiver
    • Ellzelloise Hercule Stout
    • Fantome Hiver
    • Mahr’s Christmas Bock
    • Olfabrikken Jule Ale
    • Victory Hop Wallop
  • Hari Patel, of Bombay Wines & Spirits emailed to let us know about some new beers he has in stock:
    • BFM La Dragonne “Swiss After Ski Ale”
    • Orkney Brewery – Red MacGregor
    • Orkney Brewery – Dark Island
    • Orkney Brewery – Dragonhead Stout.
  • Kevin at The Wine and Cheese Place in West County has expanded his selection and has added these beers:
    • Fantome Hiver
    • Fantome Noel
  • Robin at Provisions Gourmet Market has some new beers as well:
    • Full Moon Winter Ale
    • Breckenridge Vanilla Porter
    • Breckenridge Oatmeal stout
    • Sam Adams Winter Lager
    • Left Hand Snowbound
    • Anderson Valley Brother David Triple
    • Anderson Valley Brother David Double
  • Paul at The Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton alerts me to some new beers he has in stock:
    • Anderson Valley Deep Enders Porter
    • Azuga Regala Romanian Beer
    • O’Fallon Bourbon Barrel Smoked Porter (Weller Edition)
  • Derek Bean from MoBev sent along some information about new beers available at LeGrand Market:
    • Left Hand Milk Stout
    • Left Hand Polestar Pilsner
    • Fort Collins Rocky Mountain IPA
  • Lukas Liquor posts on their blog some of the new and special selections they have in stock:
    • He’Brew Jewbelation 12
    • Leinenkugel Fireside Nut Brown Ale
    • Great Divide Hibernation
  • Mike at The Wine and Cheese Place in Rock Hill alerts me to some new beers he has in stock:
    • Fantome Hiver
    • Fantome Noel

Local Restaurant Beer List Updates

  • Mark from Bigelo’s Bistro sent along their selection from their new 12 tap tower:
    • Schlafly ESB
    • Schlafly Pilsner
    • Schlafly Pale
    • Three Floyds Alpha King
    • North Coast Red Seal
    • Dogfish Head IBA
    • Sam Adams Winter Lager
    • Boulevard Wheat
    • Blue Moon
    • Fat Tire
    • Founders Red’s Rye
    • Lagunitas Imperial Red

Derek Bean of MoBev sent along a bunch of new selections in local restaurants:

  • Nick’s Pub
    • Left Hand Milk Stout (draft)
    • Left Hand Sawtooth (bottles)
    • St. Louis Framboise Lambic (draft)
    • Anderson Valley Winter Solstice (draft)
  • Llywelyn’s Central West End
    • Left Hand Sawtooth (draft)
    • Left Hand Milk Stout (bottles)
    • Hobgoblin (bottles)
    • JK Scrumpy Organic Cider (bottles)
  • Atomic Cowboy
    • North Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner (draft)
  • Mazara:
    • Anderson Valley Winter Solstice (draft)
  • Herbie’s Restaurant:
    • Bear Republic Racer 5 (draft)

Here’s a list of upcoming beer events:

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 Aalborg Julebuk, Sam Smiths Winter Welcome, Blaugies La Moneuse, and Haandbryggeriet Nissifir. More information can be found at their blog.

Provisions Market in Creve Coeur will be sampling Boulevard Smokestack Bourbon Barrel Quad, Struise Pannepot, Sam Adams Chocolate Bock, Sierra Nevada Celebration, AB Winter Bourbon Cask, O’Dell Isolation, Delirium Noel, Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome, and O’Fallon Chocolate Cherry. This tasting will be today and will run from 5PM-7PM.

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 a variety of different seasonal beers that he has left in stock. 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

As I was scoping out some of the different beer blogs that are all over the ‘net I noticed a post on B.C. Beer Blog about a cheesecake made with Russian Imperial Stout.  “I like Russian Imperial Stouts and I like cheesecake,” I said to myself.  I often talk to myself.  So I started perusing the recipe (adapted here for a US audience):

beer-1742_1280x960.JPGRussian Imperial Stout Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp white sugar
1/2 cup melted butter

32oz (4 8oz pkgs Philadelphia) cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 lb dark chocolate melted in a double boiler
12oz Russian Imperial Stout (room temperature, degassed)
4 large eggs at room temperature

Preheat oven to 325°F (or 300°F if using a dark pan). Grease the sides of 9? spring form pan and cover bottom with wax paper. Mix crumbs, 2 tbsp sugar, and melted butter in a bowl until evenly blended; press firmly onto the bottom of the pan with a fork.

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth, then add remaining ingredients (except eggs) at medium speed until well blended. On low speed, add eggs one at a time, mixing each until just blended. Pour batter over crust.

Bake 55-60 minutes or until center is almost set. Loosen cake from side of pan by running a paring knife around the inside edge. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature before removing side of pan. Refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight. Store any leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator.

Adapted from Michel Brown’s Russian Imperial Stout Cheesecake by Fred Eckhardt in Northwest Brewing News, Feb/Mar 2008, Volume 7 Number 1, pg. 29.

The author of BC beer blog mentions a method of degassing the beer, personally I think it’s just easier pouring the beer into a bowl and whisking it until it seems degassed.  Also, the author makes no mention of the cheesecake being cooked in a water bath, but seeing how that’s the only way I’ve ever cooked cheesecake, I went about using one.  Using a water bath added about an extra half hour to the cooking time, but your mileage may very.

I ended up using Founders Breakfast Stout as my RIS of choice as I thought the chocolate and coffee notes in the beer would really enhance the cake.  Did they?  I don’t know, I’d almost have to make a separate cake using a different beer to see the difference. I think almost any RIS would work well in the beer, so use the one you like best.

I ended up using a very bitter chocolate which made the cake very bitter as well.  This wasn’t a bad thing for me as I love a bitter chocolate dessert, but if bitter chocolate isn’t your thing you may want to try a very high end milk chocolate and see how it turns out.  If you do end up trying this out, let me know your results.

Provisions Gourmet Market in Creve Coeur will be holding a special beer tasting on Friday, December 19th from 5-7pm.  If yesterday’s Know Your Styles has got you salivating for from Christmas beers, then you’re in luck:

  • provisions.GIFBoulevard Smokestack Bourbon Barrel Quad
  • Struise Pannepot
  • Sam Adams Chocolate Bock
  • Sierra Nevada Celebration
  • AB Winter Bourbon Cask
  • O’Dell Isolation
  • Delirium Noel
  • Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome
  • O’Fallon Chocolate Cherry

Along with all of these beers, they’ll also give you a chance to check out Provisions ever expanding beer selection.  I’ve heard they’ll also be tasting wines and some cheese to match with your beer choices.

Ho, ho, humbug. I’ll be honest, I’m not really a Christmas guy.  Sure it’s nice getting together with family and friends, but the whole season isn’t really for me.  But the one benefit to the tinsel and traffic is Christmas Spiced Beers.  This week’s installment of Know Your Styles is being brought to you by William Nordmann of the blog Year of Beer.  I’m sure in William’s experiment of trying a new beer everyday of the week he came across plenty of Christmas beer last year, so this should be old hat to him. Let’s see what he has to say about Christmas/Winter Spiced Beer:

Christmas/Winter Specialty Spiced Beer


Christmas beer is a wide open style with no set method of brewing or even a set strain of yeast. Lager, Ale, Belgian, even Lambic yeast strains are used by brewers to create a Christmas beer. A brewery often starts with a simple style like amber ale, and tweaks the recipe with spices or extra malt. Christmas beers typically have strong flavor and high alcohol content, with some extra sweetness. Sometimes this style is referred to as a ‘winter warmer’ because of the extra alcohol and malt, helping you keep warm in the snow. The real key point of the style is to invoke the flavors and spirit of the Christmas / Holiday season with tastes of gingerbread, cookies, and pine trees.

The Christmas/Winter Specialty Spiced Beer BJCP style 21B is a relatively new style, and was not present in the 1999 edition of the guidelines. It is rumored that the addition of the Christmas/Winter specialty spice beers style was encouraged by the Happy Holiday Homebrew Competition (HHHC) sponsored by the St. Louis Brews Homebrew club. Since the competition is always held around the holidays, the style was judged in the competition before it was official in the BJCP.

What you should be seeing: The beer should have some color and not be too light or straw colored, but really anything past amber and just shy of black can be acceptable. The Delirium Noel had a good deal of sediment, likely from bottle conditioning. The Bells, Schlafly and Samuel Smith were pretty light, with the Anchor being the darkest at an almost black/stout color.

What you should be smelling: Christmas memories is the goal of the aroma. The Delirium Noel had a fruity cranberry aroma with some hints of farm house or lambic yeast. Sweet aromas of molasses and honey are present with the Samuel Smith, Bells and Anchor. The Schlafly Christmas ale had a fruity hop aroma which smells more APA than cookie.

What you should be tasting: Again, Christmas beer celebrates the taste of gingerbread and spiced cookies, clove, and pine. The malt is often strong to increase the alcohol to around 7-12%, and there is usually some residual sweetness from the malt. Out of the beers I sampled, the Anchor beer has a nice molasses flavor with some spicy notes of ginger and pine. To me, the Delirium brought back more Thanksgiving-style memories than Christmas with a cranberry taste and some sour funkiness. Schlafly comes across well with nice, subtle spices balanced against the sweet honey malt flavor and the hop aroma turns into a nice fruity flavor. The Samuel Smith has a nice aroma of cherries but the flavor is far too dry and without much flavor.

How you should be drinking this: No good guidance on how these beers should be drunk since the underlying style and yeast are not well defined. The warmer range of (55-65) is a good idea, since there should be a lot of flavors and aromas that can come out better as the beer warms up. Plus, the weather is likely on the cold side anyway, so ice cold beer is less appetizing. For glassware, tulip pints are good choices since they allow the aroma to open up well and let the drinker to warm up the beer as needed.


What you should be buying: A lot of breweries make a Christmas beer as a seasonal. Wine and Cheese in Clayton had a large selection of Christmas beer grouped together in an end cap. Even some Schnucks and Dierbergs will have Christmas beers grouped together. There is the Bad Elf series by the Shelton brother with fun labels of Elves looking evil. Anchor has been making their Christmas beer since 1975, each year with a new label. AB InBev makes a Winters Bourbon Cask Ale, but I don’t recommend it. Sam Adams puts out a selection of Christmas beers including a Winter Lager, Cranberry Lambic, Holiday Porter and Old Fezziwig Ale.

Related Styles: Spice and Herbed beers are the closest, but a Christmas beer can be anything.

The Mattingly Brewing Company continues it’s successful run of Peek-a-Brew Wednesdays this evening with two new beers from Head Brewer Drew Huerter.  Tonight Drew will be offering a 1984 Classic American Cream Ale on draft and a 90 Schilling on cask.  Drew describes the Cream Ale as a pre-Prohibition style cream ale on draft and the 90 Schilling as between an 80 Schilling and Wee Heavy at 6.6%

If you’re in the mood to celebrate the holidays by trying new beer, then you’re in luck.  According to the Mattingly Brewing Blog, they’ll be offering Peek-A-Brews on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve as well.

December 24th: Black Sky Stout Porter on draft and HOPtimal Munition APA double dry hopped on cask (as in dry hopped in the fermenter, then again, in the cask).

December 31st: 90 Schilling on draft and another cask of Double Dry Hopped HOPtimal Munition APA…plus some other surprises…possibly big ones!

These events are a lot of fun and you’re surrounded by a lot of STL Hops regulars. For those of you who haven’t been, check out some of the photos below to see what you’ve missed.

image001.jpgAs we’re all pressed to find gifts in the last few days before Christmas, how about a beer of the month subscription?  Nothing says, “I love you” like having new beer being delivered to your loved one’s door every or every other month.  But with the number of different beer clubs out there, which are the good ones?  These are the two clubs I could recommend:

Michael Jackson is arguably the person who put craft beer back on the map in the United States and even all over the world.  While he may be gone, his Rare Beer Club remains.  This club places the emphasis on as the name says, rare beers.  As the website states, “Most of these beers have never been in distribution in the United States, and in some cases they are bottled exclusively for the Rare Beer Club by these passionate artisan brewers.”  Here’s a list of last year’s selections, just to give you an idea of what your recipient could be in for.

It may be too late to be a Sinner, but luckily it’s not too late to be a Saint.  The Lost Abbey in San Diego, CA brews some of the most unusual and creative Belgian style beers in the world.  Winners of numerous medals, the beer are fantastic but difficult to get outside a few select areas in the country.  The Saints club not only offers two 750ml bottles every other month but also a Lost Abbey Dickies Work Shirt.  This is a great club and will be my second year of being a member.

If you’re looking for a more local Christmas gift, be sure to check out my list of St. Louis beer gifts that I put together last year.