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Beer of the Week: 21st Amendment Monk’s Blood

Beer of the Week - 21st Amendment Monk's Blood

21st Amendment Monk’s Blood – Craft Beer in a Can!

This week’s beer choice is Monk’s Blood from 21st Amendment. Located in San Francisco, 21st Amendment Brewery has been voted “Best Brewpub,” “Best Burger” and “Best Happy Hour” by the San Francisco press. Great craft beer sold in cans, my personal opinion is that you’ll almost always have a good beer when you choose 21st Amendment. I will say so far I’ve found one exception to this rule, the seasonal Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer, which I have never been fond of (and actually poured down the drain). Not everyone shares this opinion, nor does everyone share my opinion that Monk’s Blood is the “bee’s knees,” but I find it a tasty choice with a nice kick on any given day. Because tasting beer is such a subjective experience, you’ll just have to pick up a can for yourself and see what you think!

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, deep mahogany color with a frothy head. Fair amount of sediment that appears after poured. Thin line of retention while drinking and minimal lacing.
Smell: Malty and sweet. Dark fruits like figs or raisins.
Taste: Sweet, very malty, caramel, light on the oak flavor, a little fruity.
Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied, carbonated and crisp.
Overall: I liked this beer immediately upon trying it and would definitely drink again. The high alcohol content adds a kick, but the flavor is not compromised, and I find it a nice unique flavor that is enjoyable.

Tasty Mug Rating: 3.4 / 5

Additional Information

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
ABV: 8.3 0%
IBUs: 34
Original Gravity: Unknown
Malts:
Belgian Pilsner, Two-Row Pale, Caramunich, Caravienne, Aromatic, Special B, Flaked Oats, Flaked Wheat
Hops:
Flavor hops: Amarillo; Bittering Hops: Magnum, Centennial
Special Ingredients: Dark Belgian Candi Sugar, Cinnamon, Vanilla Bean, Dried Black Mission Figs, Aged on Oak
Availability: Winter
Food Pairings: Stew, creamy cheeses, desserts
Glassware: Snifter, Tulip, Goblet
Calories: Not listed
Aging: Unknown

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Beer of the Week: Widmer Brothers Brrr

Beer of the Week - Widmer Brothers Brrr

Widmer Brothers Brrr

Tis the season for Winter Warmers! This week’s pick is Brrr by Widmer Brothers which is quickly becoming one of my favorite breweries, especially since I recently learned they also are the masterminds behind a fairly new gluten-free beer under the label Omission (for more information on Omission beers check out the Tasty Mug Gluten-Free section).

Widmer Brothers is actually part of a larger alliance of three craft beer brands called the Craft Brew Alliance (CBA). CBA is a result of the merger of Widmer Brothers Brewing and Redhook Ale Brewery in 2008. It was then joined by Kona Brewing company in 2010. The general thought behind the formation of the alliance is that “three brands is better than one,” in other words, they share knowledge and capabilities to produce better products for a more diverse drinking audience while still maintaining their individual brands. Quite brilliant if you ask me!

If you have a moment, take a look at the Widmer Brothers website – it does a nice job presenting the story behind the brewery, their brewing process, and the various beers they offer.

Tasty Mug Review

Appearance: Pours a clear, red amber color with a nice head and lacing.
Smell: Citrusy and malty, hints of caramel. You can also pick up on the hops.
Taste: Sweet, with a nice balance of the caramel/malty flavor and the citrusy, hoppy flavor, with a tad of spice on the end.
Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium-bodied and moderate carbonation; crisp.
Overall:
I found this beer very agreeable to drink, and a nice break from the more spicy, malty winter warmers of this time of year. It has more hop than you’d expect in a winter warmer but that was ok by me! It’s well balanced and I could easily drink more than one. This was my favorite out of a sampler of four different winter beers.

Tasty Mug Rating: 3.29 / 5

Additional Information

Style: Winter Warmer
ABV: 7.20%
IBUs: 50
Original Gravity: 17° PLATO
Malts:
Pale, Caramel 10L & 80L, Munich 10L, Carapils, Dark Chocolate
Hops:
Bittering: Alchemy; Aroma: Simcoe & Cascade
Availability: Late October through December
Food Pairings: Poultry and dessert
Glassware: Pint glass
Calories: Not listed
Aging: Unknown

What’s your favorite Winter Warmer?

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Pies & Pints

Pies and Pints

Pies and Pints

I recently visited a relatively new-to-the-area pizza and beer joint – Pies & Pints – located in Worthington at The Shops at Worthington Place. Pies & Pints is not a brand-spanking new restaurant – its first location was originally was opened in Fayetteville, West Virginia. Another location then popped up in Charleston, West Virginia, and most recently, in Worthington, Ohio.

I decided to head out on a Thursday night after work to check it out for myself, and I have to say, business was hopping. When I arrived around 7pm there was a wait for a table and the bar was full. However my companion and I were able to score a spot at the bar while waiting.

Pies and Pints - Pizza

“Pizza Pie”

The Grape Pie is their most “talked-about” according to the bartender, topped with red grapes, Gorgonzola & fresh rosemary. Being a traditionalist myself, I didn’t muster the courage to try it, and instead ordered the  “Pizza Pie” which comes with pepperoni, mozzarella and tomato sauce. When asked if the bartender recommended any other toppings I was missing out on, he recommended the sausage, so I decided to add  sausage and banana peppers. Now, maybe it was because I modified my pie and they were just having a busy night, but they forgot the sausage for my order. I’m not picky so I would have let it slide, but the bartender noticed and immediately offered me up a complimentary beer and let me keep the pizza while they cooked one that was the correct to order – so kudos to them for rectifying an honest mistake. I really appreciated the care and patience they showed me and other customers.

Pies and Pints - Beers

Beers on Tap

They also entertained my indecisiveness about which beer I wanted on draft. The bartender was very  knowledgeable about what he was serving up and recommended a few samples for me. I ended up going with an always-good choice, Founders Breakfast Stout. My second choice later that night to go along with my pizza was the Stone Levitation, a great beer from Stone Brewing. With 36 beers on draft, you can choose a pint or pitchers. They also have a decent selection of bottled beers, with at least one gluten-free beer option.

Regarding the pizza, they have many interesting specialty options, or you can choose your own toppings.  Sizes come as a 10″ small (good for one hungry person, or a less-hungry person with leftovers) and a 16″ large, and you can order 1/2 and 1/2 toppings on the large size. They also have gluten-free options which I always like to note for those that cannot consume gluten. The gluten-free pizzas apparently come out in a square shape (so it’s not easily mistaken or mixed up with other pizzas) while normal pizzas are round. I did not experience this first-hand but read about it in a restaurant review. What a great idea!

The dough is very good – it’s housemade and very tasty – brushed with roasted garlic olive oil and has just the right amount of crisp.

While I liked the general the feel of the restaurant, my friend and I both agreed that the layout, while interesting, is not exactly functional. There is limited bar space and the stools are a bit odd as well, they seemed a bit off-kilter and I couldn’t get comfortable. Behind the bar seats there is a fairly cramped passageway that runs behind the bar to another area with tables. It’s a bit split up and strange. If you enter the restaurant, for example, you can’t see to the back to get an idea of how crowded it may be. Don’t let this be a deterrent if you’re going to check it out though! Just make sure you get there before prime-time if you want your choice of a seat immediately.

My official verdict? Pies & Pints is in my top 3 of favorite pizza places to date, with Dewey’s Pizza being my number one pick for specialty pizzas (I’m mildly obsessed with their buffalo chicken pizza called Ryan’s Inferno), and a toss up between Pies & Pints or Grandad’s for 2nd and 3rd place. If you’re not familiar with Grandad’s Pizza in Grandview, it’s a VERY good local, family-owned pizzeria, however they can’t compete when it comes to beer. Dewey’s, on the other hand, constantly rotates their draft beers (which vary depending on the location you visit). Either way, I’d definitely go back to Pies & Pints just to expand my pizza palate. Business must be doing well also, as their website indicates they will be continuing to expand and franchise. Check it out for yourself and let us know what you think!

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Beer of the Week: Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (2012)

Beer of the Week - Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2012

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2012

This week’s featured brew is Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (2012), a favorite among the beer community.

First brewed in 1981, Celebration Ale is a rarity among the winter holiday beers in that it is very hop-forward (typically you’ll have more malty, spicy beers released this time of year). The hop bitterness is sharp when first sipped, then quickly dissipates into a sweeter flavor. I do like this compared to some hoppy beers where the taste lingers for a prolonged time. It’s also a refreshing break from the spicy brews you’re typically going to consume during the holidays.

 

 

Tasty Mug Review

Appearance: Really nice clear, red copper color. Poured with a great head and leaves lots of nice lacing on the glass.
Smell:
Mix of malts and hops in the nose with some citrus and pine.
Taste: Well-balanced taste. Definitely more hoppy than anticipated for a winter-time beer but it’s not overpowering—it should appeal to hop heads and those that like a more malty taste.
Mouthfeel: Crisp with a nice amount of carbonation; light to medium bodied.
Overall:
For what this beer advertises, it certainly delivers. While I prefer a more spiced type of wintertime ale, this one delivers for its genre. Very drinkable, good level of alcohol … beautiful color and head. I could definitely drink more than one of these to counteract the sweets at the Christmas family meal!

Tasty Mug Rating: 3.45 / 5

Additional Information

Style: American IPA
ABV: 6.80%
IBUs: 65
Original Gravity: 16.0° plato
Malts:
Two-row Pale, Caramel
Hops:
Bittering hops: Chinook, Centennial, Finishing hops: Cascade, Centennial
Availability: Winter seasonal
Food Pairings: Fish and chips, roasted turkey and dressing, polenta and grilled vegetables, cheese (Parmagiano Reggiano, Manchego)
Glassware: Pint glass or mug
Temperature: Best served at 45° – 50° F
Calories: Unknown

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Beer of the Week: Stoudt’s Triple

Stoudt's Triple

Stoudt’s Triple

This week’s featured brew is Stoudt’s Triple – an enjoyable Belgian Abbey Style Ale from Stoudt’s Brewing Company. Sitting pretty at 9.04% ABV, this unfiltered ale is lighter-bodied and more carbonated up front than similar Belgian style ales, with a very smooth swallow which I think makes it a good candidate for folks just starting out with this style. This combined with a pleasantly balanced taste definitely makes it tempting to drink more than just one!

Founded by Carol and Ed Stoudt, the brewery is located in Adamstown, PA and is actually part of a much larger complex created by the Stoudt’s called Stoudtburg Village. The village contains the brewery, restaurant & pub, and an antique mall. You can also pick up some artisanal cheese and bread at the Wonderful Good Market.

Tasty Mug Review

Appearance: Pours a hazy, dark gold color with a thick, frothy head.
Smell: Sweet, fruity aroma , yeasty. Alcohol is detectable but is covered by the malt and sweetness of the ale.
Taste: Fruity, bready, sweet, and maybe some slight banana and coriander flavor. It has warmth to it from the alcohol but it doesn’t overpower the flavor of the beer.
Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, creamy and carbonated with a nice finish.
Overall:
Really tasty and well-rounded balance of flavor, and light-bodied enough to have more than one. I particularly enjoyed drinking this beer.

Tasty Mug Rating: 4.13 / 5

Additional Information

Style: Belgian Tripel
ABV: 9.04%
IBUs: 37
Original Gravity: Not listed
Malts:
Not listed
Hops:
Not listed
Availability: Year round
Food Pairings: Lamb, gamey meats, and aged cheese
Glassware: Snifter, Goblet (or Chalice)
Calories: Not listed
Aging: Listed as improving with age

Do you like Belgian ales? If so, what’s your favorite?