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Archive for April, 2010

This week on the STL Hops Twitter

    • Today may be your last chance to try the Sour Cherry Beer at Square One Brewery. http://bit.ly/anCRq6 (a day ago)
    • The outstanding Rye IPA is available again at Buffalo Brewing in Midtown. Stop on by for a pint or a growler! (2 days ago)
    • Reminder @thegoodpiestl will be hosting IPA night tomorrow (Mon 4/26) at 6:30 as part of @stlbeerweek. Hops and Neapolitan-style pizza FTW! (4 days ago)
    • Reminder tomorrow (Mon 4/26) 5-7PM is the St. Louis Craftbeer Tweetup @BridgeSTL as part of @stlbeerweek. http://twtvite.com/stlcraftup #STL (4 days ago)
    • Today may be one of your last chances to try Founders KBS on draught. Available @33wine at Noon for Beer and Brats. (6 days ago)

      Stuff from around the web

      Retail Beer Releases

        • Paradise Valley Wine & Spirits (4/27/2010)
          • Store Closing Soon
          • Anchor Brewing Old Foghorn Barlywine Style Ale
          • Augusta Farmhouse Ale Saison (Batch #5)
          • Aventinus Eisbock
          • Breckenridge Brewery Extra ESB
          • Breckenridge Brewery Mighty Brown Ale
          • Breckenridge Brewery Imperial Porter
          • Cathedral Square Belgian-Style Best Ale
          • Founders Breakfast Stout
          • Founders Backwoods Bastard
          • Founders Double Trouble
          • Founders Imperial Stout
          • Founders KBS
          • Goose Island Night Stalker Imperial Stout 22oz bottle
          • Left Hand Widdershins Barlywine Style Ale
          • Moylan’s Kilt Lifter
          • Moylan’s Hopsickle Imperial Ale
          • Southern Tier Choklat
          • Southern Tier Cuvee Series Oak Aged Ale
        • Provisions Market (04/30/10)
          • Boulder Sweaty Betty Blonde
          • Boulder Flashback
          • Boulder Mojo IPA
          • Boulder Hazed & Infuzed
          • RJ Rockers Fish Paralizer
          • Kelpie Seaweed Ale
          • New Holland el Mole Ocho
          • New Holland Envious 2010
          • Left Hand 400 Pound Monkey
          • Point 2012 Black Ale
          • Weston Pack-O-Craic
          • O’Fallon Wheach CANS
          • Laughing Dog Devil Dog
          • Goose Island Sofie
          • Haandbryggeriet Norwegian Wood
          • O’Hara’s Irish Red
          • Blaugies Darbyste Fig Ale
        • Wine and Cheese Place (Clayton) (4/30/10)
          • Porterhouse Oyster Stout
          • Weston Pack O Craic — sampler
          • —includes Festival Irish Brown, ISB Irish Style Bitter, Emerald Lager
          • O’Fallon Wheach CANS!!!
          • Baladin Nora Sour Edition 2006
          • Baladin Super Baladin Sour Edition 2004
          • Bells Expedition Stout (more arrived)
          • J.W. Lees Harvest Ale 1999
          • J.W. Lees Harvest Ale 2001
          • J.W. Lees Harvest Ale 2002
          • J.W. Lees Harvest Ale 2006
          • J.W. Lees Harvest Ale 2007
          • J.W. Lees Harvest Ale 2008
        • Wine and Cheese Place (Ballwin) (04/26/10)
          • Plank Bavarian Pils 25oz
          • Plank Heller Weizenbock 25oz
          • Plank Hefeweizen 25oz
          • Plank Dunkler Weizenbock 25oz
          • RJ Rockers Fish Paralyzer 25oz
          • Boulevard Smokestack Series Dark Truth Stout 25oz
          • Laughing Dog Devil Dog Imperial IPA 22oz
          • Avery Maharaja Batch #11 (bottled March 2010)
          • Goose Island Night Stalker 22oz
          • Weston Brew Labs No. 1 IPA 22oz
          • Corsendonk Abbey Pale 750 mL
          • Corsendonk Abbey Pale 4pk
          • Corsendonk Abbey Brown 750 mL
          • Corsendonk Abbey Brown 4pk

          Restaurant and Bar Beer List Updates

            • Bigelo’s Bistro (4/26/10)
              • Bell’s Batch 9000
              • Bell’s Two Hearted
              • Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout
              • Schlafly Pale
              • Bear Republic Racer 5
              • Bell’s Oberon
              • Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
              • Ska Modus Hoperandi
              • Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat
              • Schlafly Summer Helles
              • New Belgium Wild Ale
              • Blue Moon
            • The Royale (4/28/10)
              • Boulevard Tank 7
              • Corsendonk Pater Noster
              • Griesedieck Bros. Golden Pilsener
              • Guinness Stout
              • O’Fallon Wee Heavy
              • Schlafly Hefeweizen
              • Schlafly Irish Extra Stout
              • Schlafly Vienna Lager
              • Strongbow Hard Cider
              • GUEST BOTTLES
              • Aecht Schlenkerla Helles
              • Boulevard Saison-Brett
              • New Holland “The Poet” Oatmeal Stout
              • NEXT
              • Great Divide Titan IPA
              • Schlafly Dry Hopped APA
            • The Stable (4/28/10)
              • Amalgamated Helles
              • Bell’s Two Hearted
              • Bell’s Oarsman Ale
              • Bell’s Oberon
              • Boulder Hazed and Infused
              • Founders Red’s Rye
              • Founders Porter
              • Charleville St. Dorian
              • Grand Teton Double Vision
              • Goose Island IPA
              • Kasteel Rouge
              • Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot
              • Left Hand Warrior IPA
              • North Coast Old Rasputin
              • New Holland El Mole Ocho
              • Odell’s Pale Ale
              • Schlafly Export IPA
              • Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
              • Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
              • Southern Tier Unearthly
              • Tucher Helles Hefe Weizen
              • Unibroue Maudite

              Brewery and Brewpub Beer List Updates

              • Augusta Brewing Company (04/26/10)
                • Augusta Blonde Ale
                • Tannhauser Pale Ale
                • Hyde Park Stout
                • Belgian Tripel
                • 1856 IPA
                • Pilsner
                • Hefe Weizen
              • Schlafly Taproom (04/30/10)
                • Raspberry Hefe
                • Export IPA (EKGs, Northdown)
                • Maibock (7.6% abv)
                • Organic Pale Ale
                • Dry-hopped Marzen (Mittlefruh)
                • Blackberry Cider
                • Kolsch
                • Summer Lager
                • Hefeweizen
                • Pale Ale
                • Dry-Hopped APA
                • Oatmeal Stout
                • Cask- Organic Pale Ale (columbus & chinook)
                • Cask- APA (columbus, centennial, simcoe)

              Here’s a list of upcoming beer events:

              Today, from 4PM to 6:30PM the Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton will be hosting Laura Dale from Boulevard who will be on hand to taste the full Boulevard Smokestack Series featuring Tank 7, Long Strange Tripel, Double Wide IPA, Sixth Glass Quad, Dark Truth Stout, Rye on Rye, SeeYouLater Doppelbock, and Harvest Dance. Additional information can be found at their blog.

              Cory from deVine Wines and Spirts, located at 2961 Dougherty Ferry Rd, holds a beer tasting every Wednesday evening from from 5PM to 8PM. Each Wednesday will offer up a few new beers for you to taste. Swing on by and check it out.

              Once again, if you’re a retail shop, bar, restaurant, brewery or distributor and want me to list your tasting, make sure to email me at mike@stlhops.com.

              This is a first for me, as I’ve never reviewed a book, but it should be pretty straightforward, right?  Read the book, talk about the book.  So that’s what I’ll attempt to do.

              The Beer Trials
              By Seamus Campbell and Robin Goldstein

              Book Concept:
              I’ve talked briefly in the past that so much of our enjoyment of beer isn’t just the beer in the glass, but environmental as well. It’s a culmination of things that can make or break a beer at times. One of the things that can also have a heavy bearing on our opinion is the label.

              How many of us have made snap judgments based solely on who brewed the beer or possibly even the style of beer? I’d bet that all of us at one time have formed an opinion without even opening the bottle or can. We can’t help it, we’ve been taught to see, learn, and assess situations.

              The idea behind The Beer Trials is to take away the hype. It’s about giving each beer a fair shake by tasting it via a blind judging. You strip away the hype and what you’re left with is the beer.

              Some of you may be curious about their methodology. Without getting into it in great detail, each judging panel was held in a brightly lit apartment where all of the participants were away from any strong smells or odors that could affect their palate. They attempted to make sure that each beer selected was the freshest example they could come across. Each participant was told the style of beer during the sampling process and was given a tasting sheet to make notes about each beer.

              Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

              The Good:
              As a non-frequent homebrewing competition judge, I think that blind tastings are best way to honestly judge beers. As I detailed above, we can too often get caught up in the label or brewery and even though it shouldn’t, that can help to shape our opinion.

              I applaud the writers of this book for bringing forth a clear and concise method of not only how they tasted the beer, but also for providing their notes and thoughts on each beer. Also of note is that they include what bottle sizes the beer is available, the ABV, the country of origin, price categories, and some quick two or three word characteristics.

              The book grades each beer on a 1-10 scale, where 10 is the highest score a beer can achieve. All of the beers in the book are easy to quickly find which gives you the opportunity to get a quick up or down opinion on.

              Also of appreciation is the wide array of beers that were sampled. There were certainly more than a few styles missing, but the overall book tries to capture the standard beer marketplace as it currently exists.

              The Bad:
              The unfortunate part is that while I do appreciate the method in which this book was put together, I do have some quibbles. I guess my first problem, and probably what I think is the biggest problem is the grading system.

              I’m not about to argue about grades that were given. For example, Foster’s was given a score of 6 while Boulevard Pale Ale achieved the same score. My issue lies in that each beer review is just given a score, but there is no reference to that beers rank within a style. Some acknowledgment of the beer’s overall rank within the style would have been helpful.

              As a craft beer nerd, my next issue comes with what beers were chosen. They decided to give about half of the 250 reviews in the book to macrobreweries, which means that we’re given reviews for things such as Corona Light, Bud Ice, and even a few malt liquors. It’s just unnecessary, especially given that a lot of the reviews for these beer are essentially given one of two options: refreshing or bland. Maybe it’s just me, but the next edition of this book doesn’t need to tell us Hamm’s is bland.

              Speaking of reviews, it’s interesting to see how a book so devoted to tasting beer blind gives a third of each review to speaking about the bottle or can’s design. It’s so superficially stupid. The authors have devoted so much effort to making sure that the stuff that’s in the bottle gets put first and then spend too much time telling us if the label is pretty or not. Ridiculous.

              Should You Buy It?
              While I do have quite a few problems with how the book is laid out and some of the beers they’ve picked, I do think it’s a fascinating look at how beers are judged when the labels are removed. I guess the determination on whether you should buy this book or not really comes down to just how comfortable you are with beer as a whole.

              If you’ve just started down the craft beer road, I think this is a wonderful reference to new beer drinkers. More often than not, all of the beers that people love are some of the highest graded beers in the book. The Beer Trials gives new beer drinkers a great handbook to try and steer them to beers that they may not have tried in the past.

              I do have a more difficult time giving a recommendation to hardcore craft beer drinkers to purchase this book. I think more than anything it would be something that aficionados would briefly glance at to see how some of their favorite beers ranked, but it would be something they’d rarely pick up afterward.

              I’m curious to hear everyone’s thoughts on the concept. I’ve also been given the opportunity to interview the authors of the books, so if you have any questions for them, feel free to leave them in the comments and I can possibly set something up to talk to them.

              mattingly_84x128.jpgThe Mattingly Brewing Company may now be producing full scale productions of beer, but that doesn’t stop them from showing off what’s yet to come.

              Tonight, in celebration of St. Louis Craft Beer Week, Head Brewer Drew Huerter will be offering up the Night of the Hops! Featuring Citra IPA, Jefferson Brown Ale and Dark Days Black IPA.

              Here’s what to expect over the new few weeks:

              5/5 Pomegranite Wit
              5/12 Apricot Wit
              5/19, 5/26 & 6/2 Hop School Extra Pale Ale (Six different dry hops, two at a time)
              6/9 Black Currant Dubbel
              6/16 Oaked Date Dubbel
              6/23 Per Aspera Pilsner

              Be sure to head out tonight and taste some of Drew’s excellent beer.

              The weather has warmed considerably over the past month, which must mean that it’s time for a Beer Menu change at Growlers Pub. Let’s take a look at what’s new:
              growlers.gif
              Draught:

              • Kilkenny Irish Ale
              • Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat
              • Schlafly Kolsch
              • Crown Valley Worktruck Wheat
              • Charleville Tornado Alley Amber Ale
              • New Belgium Ranger IPA
              • New Belgium Skinny Dip
              • Boulevard Single-Wide I.P.A.
              • Lagunitas IPA

              Bottle:

              • Flying Dog Double Dog Double Pale Ale
              • Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter
              • Pete’s Wicked Ale
              • Ommegang Abbey Ale
              • Moylan’s Tipperary Pale Ale
              • Tommyknocker Alpine Glacier
              • Grand Teton Sweetgrass IPA
              • Goose Island Matilda 22oz
              • He’brew Messiah Bold
              • Dundee Original Honey Brown Lager
              • Bell’s Oberon Ale
              • Boulevard Pilsner
              • Rogue Brutal Bitter 22oz
              • Rogue Mocha Porter
              • Sierra Nevada Kellerweis Hefeweizen
              • Arcadia Hopmouth Double IPA
              • Point Beligan White
              • Ray Hills American Pilsner
              • Avery Red Point Ale
              • Avery White Rascal
              • New Holland Full Circle
              • Southern Tier Iniquity Imperial Black Ale
              • Unibroue La Fin Du Monde
              • Bass G
              • Fuller’s London Porter
              • Old Growler Curim Gold
              • Hoegaarden
              • Chimay Red Cap
              • Chimay White Cap
              • Moinette Blonde
              • St. Bernardus Abt 12
              • St. Bernardus Prior 8
              • Czech Rebel
              • Negra Modelo

              As a self-proclaimed hophead, I have to say I’m a big fan of this draught list.  Is it the best list of draught beers I’ve ever seen?  No, but for those of us that frequent Growlers Pub and love hops, we have more than just a single draught IPA option now. I’ve been told that last Fall’s addition of Red’s Rye was a big hit, maybe they’re seeing an upswing on people wanting hoppier beers.

              I also enjoy the additional local beer options from Crown Valley and Charleville.  I think people are looking for new local alternatives to what they’ve had in the past, so it’s nice seeing some more local love.

              As far as the bottles go, I think there have been some excellent American craft beers added.  Understandably, some of the porters and stouts of the winter have made room for some lighter beers for summer.  It’s also nice seeing some great Belgian beers like St. Bernadus Abt 12 back.

              All in all, I think that Growlers is making a genuine push to put together some better beer menus. I think there is some work left to be done, but I think this is a fine start at getting back into a craft beer nerd’s heart.

              sq1r-y-cropped-small-web-viewSquare One Brewery is releasing a very special beer to help celebrate St. Louis Craft Beer Week, they’re calling it their Sour Cherry Beer.  Head brewer Dr. John Witte sent me a description of the beer:

              Brewed 3 years ago as a Tripel, then refermented with sour cherries and inoculated with a Belgian lambic blend of yeasts and bacteria.  The beer was left on the cherries and pits for 8 months and then racked off into kegs, half on oak, half all stainless.

              Prior to carbonating, we blended the two back together and then blended again with a recent batch of tripel.  Very tart and has sharp cherry flavors along with a hint of nuttiness (from the pit) in the finish.

              One of the neatest parts about this beer is that during happy hour, Monday through Friday this week, they’ll be pairing this beer with brie and a stilton cheese to show off the amazing power of pairing beer with cheese.

              I’ve been told there isn’t very much of this beer available, so if you’re a big fan of sour beers, I wouldn’t wait to try this beer out.

              Sometimes all it takes is something as easy as simply asking.  Some of us on the STL Hops forums are a big fan of Jolly Pumpkin beers and would love to see some of their products available on draught in St. Louis.

              After a couple of Twitter messages and talking to the local distributor, it was agreed upon that we should probably see some draught products by July.  But low and behold, this was the photo sent to me from Mike Turriff, V.P. Sales Northern United Brewing Company this morning.

              The photo is a little blurry, but it’s JP’s witbier, Calabaza Blanca.  So it looks like we’ll have some of this delicious beer before July.  Sometimes it just pays to ask.