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Beer of the Week: Lagunitas Hop Stoopid

Beer of the Week - Lagunitas Hop StoopidThis week’s featured beer is delicious IPA named Hop Stoopid, yet another beer from Lagunitas. I’ve featured their beers several times as of late – but hey – I can’t argue with a brewery that consistently brews great quality beers! And ’tis the summer season which means hoppy beers are in abundance. This beer is extra hopped, and dry hopped at the end, however it is also “extra malted” so the malt backbone does a dandy job of balancing things out so it isn’t too bitter, despite it’s larger IBU rating.

Tasty Mug Review

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy, deep gold with a nice foamy head, good retention and nice lacing.

Smell: Smells super hoppy to me, with hints of pine and citrus. Nicely aromatic. As the beer warms slightly the malty aroma emerges more.

Taste: I was very pleasantly surprised at how well the flavor of this beer rounds out when compared with the strong hop aroma and the high IBUs. Just as a side-note, I’m still working my taste buds up to super hoppy IPAs and on first pass this smelled as though it would be heavy duty. Has a really clean, hoppy and bitter finish to it with a slight sweetness that lingers in the mouth afterward.

Mouthfeel: Nice, creamy medium-bodied beer that goes down smooth has very well-balanced carbonation. Follows the typical mouthfeel that is characteristic with most Lagunitas brews.

Overall: Fits the bill for hop heads and non-hop heads alike – a very good middle-of-the-road and well-balanced IPA that should be a real crowd pleaser. Yet another good brew from Lagunitas.

Tasty Mug Rating: 4.34 / 5

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA
ABV: 8.0%
IBUs: 102
Original Gravity:
Malts: Not listed
Hops: This is a dry-hopped beer
Special Ingredients: Not listed
Availability: Year-round
Food Pairings: Cheese (peppery; Monterey / Pepper Jack, sharp; Blue, Cheddar, pungent; Gorgonzola, Limburger) Grilled meat, fish or barbeque. I personally think this would go well with any spicy dish.
Glassware: Snifter, Tulip, Oversized Wine Glass
Aging: Can be cellared for long periods, under the proper conditions

Where to get it:
This one should be available at most stores that carry a decent craft beer selection.

 

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Weekly Roundup – Where to Drink on a Weekend Trip to Austin

I recently visited Austin for the first time, and being the beer freak I am, I went to as many beer destinations as I could possibly cram into a single weekend. For a detailed run down of all the places I visited, check back in a week or two – I’ll be posting the full article of my exploits. In the meantime here are a few of the places I highly recommend you make time to visit if you’re only visiting the Lone Star state for a few days.


Weekly Roundup - Austin - Austin BeerworksAustin Beerworks

Austin Beerworks a must visit if you can time it right – their beer is seriously good but they’re only open to the public at certain times. Make sure you check their events page to see when they are hosting events or happy hours – a ticket is almost always required in order to attend, and it isn’t uncommon for them to sell out.

Where is it?
3009 Industrial Terrace Austin, TX 78758
info@austinbeerworks.com


Weekly Roundup - Austin - Barber ShopBarber Shop

While Barber Shop is officially in Dripping Springs, about a 30 minute drive from Austin, it’s totally worth every minute to take a detour for a drink with the locals. While I’d be inclined to label it a hole-in-the-wall, it ultimately really isn’t, especially with the selection of beers on draft as well as some special bottles they may have tucked away in the cooler. I had a thoroughly good time the night I rolled into Barber Shop and I guarantee you will too.

Where is it?
207 Mercer Street Dripping Springs, TX 78620
512-829-4636


Weekly Roundup - Austin - BangersBanger’s

Sausage any way you want it abounds at Banger’s, along with the best beverage to pair with cooked meat – beer! They boast the largest sausage selection in Austin and also have over 100 beers on draft. There’s a bar and tables inside and long community-seating picnic tables underneath the shade of the trees outside. If you have a dog there is even a leashless mini dog park so your pooch can mingle while you get your drink on. If you’re vegetarian you’ll find options on the menu to accommodate you as well – even sausage – with choices of smoked mushroom and asparagus, or beet and goat cheese.

Where is it?
79 & 81 Rainey St. Austin, TX 78701
512-386-1656


Weekly Roundup - Austin - Pinthouse PizzaPinthouse Pizza

Pinthouse Pizza may seriously be the best place in Austin to get a pizza and a flight. They have over 40 craft beers including a lineup of their own brews – which I recommend ordering if you enjoy IPAs because most of their beers have a hoppy, bitter profile. If you aren’t sure what to order the bartenders will assemble a flight for you. Their pizzas are also very tasty – I got the Hill Country and it paired very nicely with my flight, which by the way, had a very nice presentation. If you really like the taster glasses (which I did of course!) you can buy those as well as any of their other glasses too!

Where is it?
4729 Burnet Rd. Austin, TX 78756
512-436-9605


Weekly Roundup - Austin - The Ginger ManThe Ginger Man

Part of a family of pubs that were opened by a man named Bob Precious, The Ginger Man in Austin is the third location that opened, back in 1994. The pubs derive their name from a 1952 novel by J.P. Donleavy called The Ginger Man– a story about the misadventures of a young American studying in Dublin, Ireland just after World War II. Supposedly the main character was quite the witty, boozing scoundrel, and the book is a hilarious read according to the reviews. The Ginger Man pub focuses on quality beer and service and they have an extensive list of beers both in bottles or draught.

Where is it?
301 Lavaca St. Austin, TX 78701
512-473-8801


Got a favorite beer hangout in Austin? Tell us about it in the comments below!

 

 

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Beer of the Week: Équinoxe du Printemps

Beer of the Week - Équinoxe du PrintempsThis week’s beer hails from Canada – a uniquely-flavored brew called Équinoxe du Printemps from Brasserie Dieu du Ciel. This is a Scotch Ale brewed with maple syrup and definitely packs a punch at 9.5% ABV.

Équinoxe du Printemps translates to “spring equinox” in French, and the bottle states that this time of year is “the quintessential marriage of two great traditions – beer brewing in Scotland and maple syrup production in Quebec.” I’d have to agree that mixing the two together in the correct proportions results in a nicely flavored Scotch ale with a twist that is definitely enjoyable and makes for a complexly-flavored beer.

If you like spicy beers, I recommend checking out Route des épices from the same brewery – it’s a rye beer brewed with both black and green peppercorns.

Tasty Mug Review

Appearance: Pours a hazy deep brown with a bit of a fizz; has a minimal head but it retains around the sides of the glass.

Smell: Malty, sweet and syrupy (maple syrup) with a hint of woodiness and underlying undertones of booze.

Taste: This is an interesting one with the woody flavor upfront that transitions to sweet, maple syrup, and malty flavor on the back, then finishes with a warm boozy tone. Rich and complex.

Mouthfeel: Solid, medium-bodied beer with fine and balanced carbonation and a very smooth, buttery feel.

Overall: This is a solid brew. The maple syrup doesn’t overwhelm with sweetness – in fact it balances with the traditional flavors in Scotch Ales in a way that rounds this beer out nicely and makes it a very enjoyable sipping beer. I’d recommend giving it a try!

Tasty Mug Rating: 3.75 / 5

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
ABV: 9.50%
IBUs: Unknown
Original Gravity: Not listed
Malts:Not listed
Hops:Not listed
Special Ingredients: Maple syrup
Availability: Rotating
Food Pairings: Cheese (buttery; Brie, Gouda, Havarti, Swiss); smoked meat
Glassware: Pint Glass, Snifter, Tulip
Aging: Can be cellared for long periods, under the proper conditions

Where to get it:
This isn’t a beer I’ve seen just on any old shelf. I think I bought this bottle at Jungle Jim’s down near Cincinnati (they often have a lot of imported beers to choose from). I’d recommend grabbing a bottle if you randomly come across it and giving it a try!

P.S. In case you were wondering, the glassware sporting this week’s beer is one of CraftGeer’s snifters – come on admit it … you know you want one!

 

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Beer of the Week: Stone Enjoy By IPA – 05.17.13

Stone Enjoy By IPAThis week’s featured brew is Stone Enjoy By IPA, my particular bottle being for 05.17.13. If you haven’t acquired your bottle by now, don’t despair – there should be more batches available soon (if not already). This is the seventh batch of the Enjoy By IPA, and it’s extremely popular so I’m sure there are many more to come.

Stone says:
“You see, we specifically brewed it NOT to last. We’ve not only gone to extensive lengths to ensure that you’re getting this beer in your hands within an extraordinarily short window, we made sure that the Enjoy By date isn’t randomly etched in tiny text somewhere on the label, to be overlooked by all but the most attentive of retailers and consumers. Instead, we’ve sent a clear message with the name of the beer itself that there is no better time than right now to enjoy this IPA.”

Tasty Mug Review

Appearance: Pours a clear pale to medium amber with a nice, frothy head and nice retention. Lots of lacing around the glass as you drink.

Smell: Hops, hops and more hops! Definitely some notes of citrus and tropical fruits with perhaps a hint of floral. Very nicely aromatic.

Taste: Starts off very bready then rolls into the fruity sweetness. Finishes with a pleasant, hoppy bitterness that lingers on the palette.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, creamy beer with nicely balanced carbonation and crispness.

Overall: This is a solid IPA from Stone. Comes off very fresh in flavor and is very enjoyable to drink. There’s virtually no hint of the amount of booze in this brew until you start to feel it from sipping your way through the beer. Stone is one of my favorite breweries and this beer doesn’t disappoint.

Tasty Mug Rating: 4.11 / 5

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA
ABV: 9.40%
IBUs: 88
Original Gravity: Unknown
Malts: Not listed
Hops: Not listed
Special Ingredients: Not listed
Availability: Rotating (to encourage drinking in a timely manner it is released in batches with labels that clearly indicate the “drink by” date)
Food Pairings: Cheese (peppery; Monterey / Pepper Jack, sharp; Blue, Cheddar, pungent; Gorgonzola, Limburger) Grilled meat, fish or barbeque
Glassware: Snifter, Tulip, Oversized Wine Glass
Aging: Enjoy this beer to the fullest by consuming it before the “enjoy by” date on the label

Where to get it:
A bit hard to come by; this is a beer that often requires you to be on friendly terms with your local beer store. I personally picked my bottle up at Northwest Wine & Spirits because the gentleman at the counter was nice to me. 🙂

 

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Drinking on Caribbean Time

I recently traveled to the Caribbean where I visited Saint Martin and Anguilla. Both are beautiful countries. And of course, when traveling to paradise (or anywhere else!) one of the foremost questions of any beer enthusiast’s mind is “What kind of beer can I drink there?” followed shortly thereafter by “Where can I go to drink it?”

Drinking on Caribbean Time - Anguilla Beach
Besides researching what one does for 10 days in paradise, I also made it top order of business to find the local brews available for consumption on the island.

While Saint Martin doesn’t produce any local beers, there were still plenty to be had from surrounding islands or even a few imported from the United States, Europe or Asia. Craft beers (imported of course) are rare to come by but I still made it a goal to try as many different beers as possible. I quickly learned that even beers like Heineken taste different (literally) in the Caribbean than the United States.

 

Where is St MaartenThe Islands

St MaartenSaint Martin is approximately 37 square miles and is actually divided between France and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The northern half (French side) goes by Saint Martin and the southern half (Dutch side) goes by Sint Maarten. I stayed in a nice area called Pelican Key along the Dutch side in a villa right on the beach. This is one of the best spots if you like to beachcomb, or to see beautiful sunsets and cruise ships leaving from the main port in Philipsburg.

AnguillaAnguilla (pronounced Ann-gwilla – similar to “vanilla”) is a British overseas territory directly north of Saint Martin; it’s about 25 minutes by ferry from the port at Marigot. Approximately 16 miles long by about 3 miles wide, Anguilla is much smaller and sleepier than Saint Martin. In fact the common method of reaching the island is often to fly into Saint Martin then take the ferry over, rather than trying to fly over to the little island. I only took a day trip to the island (not long enough to spend there by any means!) but was able to visit a few locations – more on that later!

 

Guavaberry RumThe Rum

The primary beverage of choice on Saint Martin is their locally produced rum. While it’s not beer, I have to say their rum is delicious and probably the best rum I’ve had in any of the islands! You’ll find homemade rum everywhere – outdoor markets, grocery store shelves, and of course at all the bars and restaurants.

Drinking on Caribbean Time - Almond RumThere are a plethora of flavors available, although they are most known for their Guavaberry flavor. Guavaberries grow on trees and are a rare fruit found high in the warm hills in the center of the island. If you’re ever on the island, I also highly recommend you take a shopping trip to Philipsburg and make sure to stop at The Sint Maarten Guavaberry Shop (just avoid Tuesdays as this is the most busy cruise ship day). They cannot send their liquors from Saint Martin to the U.S. and Canada, but I would travel back just to stock up on this stuff. They also make some really good hot sauces and spices, which you can order online from the states.

I picked up some Guavaberry and Island Almond rum for the trip home. The woman manning the tasting counter at the shop informed me that the almond flavor is “the Amaretto of the Caribbean” (it was pretty damn good).

Cruzan RumI also recommend both Rum Jumbie (the Vanilla Splash flavor was my favorite) or Cruzan Rum (which also comes in many flavors). They’re awesome in mixed drinks or even on the rocks.

ShotglassesAnd of course if you’re drinking quality liquor, you should get some hand-painted quality shotglasses! I picked these up from a French couple at the market at Marigot (a must-visit if you go to Saint Martin).

 

The Beer

Drinking on Caribbean Time - CoronaIn Saint Martin I managed to try 19 unique beers. 20 if I count the mysterious dark bottle of motor oil we purchased at a small corner market that listed “alcohol” on the contents (although to this day I’m not exactly sure what was in that bottle). “Craft beer” isn’t really a thing on the island, but that surely didn’t prevent me from indulging.

The primary thing I can say that is pretty awesome about the Dutch side of the island is that there are little to no rules involved with the where, when and how of alcohol consumption. It’s basically a free-for-all and you can crack open a beer while you are going for a stroll  or even driving to the beach (I don’t recommend this on the French side, however, I’m pretty sure their laws are not as lax). There is also a complete lack of “no glass” rules on the beaches – in fact – something that really amazed me was not once did I see broken glass anywhere on the sand, yet people are drinking from bottles of beer everywhere.

Here’s the official list of the beers I enjoyed while in the Caribbean:

  • Amstel Bright
    Not to be confused with Amstel Light, Amstel Bright is a pale lager formerly produced in Curaçao, but now it’s brewed in the Netherlands and then exported back to the islands. It’s not sold in the states, only the islands.
  • Asahi Super Dry
    If you like sushi or frequent Japanese Steakhouses you’ve probably had this beer at one point. It’s brewed in Japan of course, and is an easy-drinking island beer.
  • Carib Lager
    Brewed in Trinidad & Tobago, this is your standard Lager – however I can personally vouch that getting a bucket of Carib beers (with lime wedges) and watching the planes fly in at the famous Sunset Bar & Grill in Saint Martin is the perfect way to spend a full afternoon!
  • Ceres Royal Stout (Ceres Extra Strong Stout)
    One of the two stouts I tried while on the island, it’s highly ranked by “the bros” on BeerAdvocate. It is a malty, toasty, coffee-flavored stout and overall I preferred this one over the Mackeson (listed further below). This brew hails from Denmark.
  • Corona Extra
    Almost everyone should be familiar with Corona Extra, which is brewed in Mexico and a very popular beach beer (with a wedge of lime included of course!)
  • Crabbie’s Ginger Beer – Original
    Crabbie’s is from Scotland, and it’s good stuff. Very flavorful and refreshing, and a great change up from the typical beers available. The original version is flavored like ginger (of course) and lemon and lime.
  • Crabbie’s Ginger Beer – Spiced Orange
    Flavored to match it’s name, like ginger and orange, this was also a very refreshing brew.
  • Desperados
    This was new to me, and came in several variations depending on what you’re in the mood for. The Desperados line of beers comes from France and is considered a Lager.
  • Desperados Red
    This variation is sweeter and higher in alcohol than its sisters, and is good to change things up if you want something different than the traditional normal flavor.
  • Desperados Mas
    This was my least favorite of the three Desperados I tried, it is a pale Lager and comes in the lowest in alcohol content at 3.0% ABV.
  • Elephant Beer
    This is a Strong PIlsner brewed in Copenhagen, Denmark. It’s definitely your go-to beer if looking for a higher ABV (7.2% to be exact) while you’re in the islands.
  • Full Sail IPA
    This was one of the two beers I had while on Anguilla, and it appears Blanchards brought it in from Oregon. That’s a long trip for an imported beer!
  • Heineken Pilsener
    Brewed in the Netherlands, this appears to be a slight variation of the Heineken we know in the U.S. (in fact I swear it tastes better). They also come in smaller bottles (almost mini-bottles if you will) than the ones you’re used to seeing at home.
  • Mackeson Triple XXX Stout
    My first experience with a stout while in a tropical location, and while a decent milk stout from Trinidad & Tobago, it isn’t quite as tasty in a warm climate as the lighter beers.
  • Presidente
    A classic for drinking in the islands and “the true taste of the Caribbean,” Presidente is a Pilsner produced in the Dominican Republic.
  • Red Strip Jamaican Lager
    Most people are familiar with Red Stripe as it’s readily available in the U.S. – it’s brewed in Jamaica.
  • San Miguel Pale Pilsen
    A German Pilsener from the Philippines, this was the second beer I tried while on Anguilla.
  • Tiger Beer
    This is a Lager from Singapore – I wouldn’t say it’s anything special but will quench your thirst on a hot tropical day.
  • Tiegerbrau
    The mysterious beer that is very similar to motor oil (and also tastes like it). All I could derive from the label was that it was based from a German malt formula and supposedly did have alcohol. However it tasted pretty terrible so I didn’t spend much time analyzing it.
  • Tsingtao
    A Lager from China, I think this one is “ok” but I’d drink some of the other beers on the list before reaching for this one.

 

Bars and Restaurants

There are a few places that are a must-visit for your drinking purposes if you travel to Saint Martin or Anguilla.

Sunset Beach Bar (Maho Beach, St. Maarten)

Sunset Beach BarFirst and foremost, the Sunset Bar & Grill on Maho Beach is a must-see purely to go watch the airplanes take off and land. They only have a narrow airstrip with which to perform this feat, with ocean on one side and mountains on the other. I highly recommend going by around noon and checking the surfboard to see what times the big jets are scheduled to land. There is generally a constant stream of airplanes landing from early to late afternoon, but the larger jets are by far the most spectacular to watch land.

Bucket of CaribAirplaneThen, go get yourself a bucket of beers and a prime spot on the small strip of sand near the blast zone (although not in the blast zone) – and I promise you’re in for some real entertainment! I actually went here twice while on my trip and it never gets boring. Plus, you can’t beat free-flowing drinks and a great view!

Loterie Farm Treelounge (Loterie Farm, St. Martin)

This is a chill, hidden-away-in-the-trees, open loft area that is on the grounds of Loterie Farm, which is nestled on the hillside of Pic Paradis (another attraction I highly recommend you see). Loterie Farm Treelounge has a plethora of beer, cocktails and wine available for your consumption as well as tapas if you’re hungry.

TreeloungeIf you’re into activities such as zip-lining, or hiking, Loterie is also the perfect place, especially if you would like to also see Pic Paradise. As you may read when researching Pic Paradis, driving up to the start of the trail for this scenic overlook is not recommended, as the route is secluded and surrounded by trees (which often results in tourists being mugged). However, Loterie Farm has a hiking trail that leads up to the start of the trail for Pic Paradis, and it’s the recommended way to go if you want to see this particular attraction.

I’m not a habitual hiker, and I’d say that the trail is definitely doable, however, bring sturdy shoes and be prepared to do a bit of climbing up rocks and fairly steep hills (there are ropes to assist you). If you don’t get around very easily, this probably isn’t the way for you, but the hike itself provides some spectacular views and interesting surroundings such an area with a very old-looking well and trees with thorns on the trunks.

Pic ParadiseIf you do take the Loterie Farm trail, once you cross the road and ascend the final part of the trail to Pic Paradis, make sure you turn right and go slightly downhill once you hit the opening with the towers – the direction you’re supposed to go for the overlook is not well-marked and my brother and I spent some time wandering around before we figured out the proper direction. Once you find it, you won’t be disappointed – it’s a breathtaking view and the picture here doesn’t do it justice.

Blanchards Beach Shack (Meads Bay, Anguilla)

Blanchards Beach ShackBob and Melinda Blanchard moved from Vermont to Anguilla to pursue their dream of opening a great restaurant on a sleepy Caribbean island. Their first restaurant, Blanchards, was a resounding success. Thanks to this (and to my delight) they decided to open a second restaurant, Blanchards Beach Shack, which opened in December of 2011. I first became acquainted with their life story and entrepreneurial adventures when I read their book, A Trip to the Beach: Living on Island Time in the Caribbean. It became my goal to visit one of their establishments if I ever reached Anguilla – so I was very excited to be able to experience lunch at their Beach Shack firsthand.

Blanchards Street TacosBlanchards Beach Shack is definitely one of the top places I ate while on this trip. Their food is excellent and very high quality, they had several beers available (including an imported craft beer from the states) and the view from Meads Bay was absolutely beautiful. I highly recommend their “street tacos” and I’m pretty sure anything else on the menu is excellent as well.

 

Lessons Learned While Drinking in the Caribbean

  • Saint Martin is an awesome island, especially when it comes to drinking brews on the Dutch side. You’re free to pop open a cold one wherever and whenever the mood strikes, which is something it’s easy to get used to (and forget you can’t do most places back in the states!)
  • Stouts are rare to come by, but for good reason. They just really aren’t as tasty in tropical 80 degree weather – no matter how good the stout is. Plus, your beer will be warm in about 10 minutes. 😉
  • Carib is better with lime, just like Corona.
  • Elephant is your best bet for a high ABV light-bodied beer.
  • Presidente always tastes a little better than you expect it will, especially after an uphill half-day hike!
  • Desperados Red is a great switch from all the typical lagers but it’s too sweet to drink more than two in one sitting.
  • The Heineken Pilsener tastes way better than the Heineken that you get in the states, and it comes in a little “mini bottle.” This is true for several of the beers down there – no idea why they come in munchkin sizes (maybe it’s because your beer gets warm so fast??).

 

This was a long article, so if you stuck with me through the whole thing, I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it – and as much as I enjoyed visiting Saint Martin and Anguilla! I highly recommend the trip for anyone, and I’m definitely looking forward to the day I can go back again and have an ice cold Carib on a warm, sunny beach.

Carib Bottle Cap

 

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Weekly Roundup – Cool Beerish Products

Beerish Products - C5 Beer PongC5 Beer Pong Tables
C5 beer pong tables are the beer ponger’s dream come true. They have a variety of color themes to choose from and if you’re feeling really creative, you can even personalize one with your own design. (Photo courtesy of c5beerpong.com)


Beerish Products - CraftgeerCraftGeer – Beer Glassware and Apparel
I can personally attest that CraftGeer products are pretty damn cool. All the cool craft beer drinkers have them! I recently purchased a pair of their snifters and their Mason Betta and in addition to the cool factor, I was really impressed with their service and delivery!


Beerish Products - Peele PaddlePeele Paddle – Beer Tasting Paddles
Ever wonder where to get some fine quality, handcrafted beer flight paddles? Wonder no more, Peele Paddle is here! I own a few sets of their four-hole red oak finish paddles and they’re very good quality. Even better, you can choose from 3 different styles of glasses to add to your set – I have some of the 6oz Mini Pilsners. They also have some really cool looking 6 pack carriers they’ve recently added to their product list!


Beerish Products - Beer FlightBeer Flight Paddles
Beerflight.com is another great go-to site for awesome quality beer flight sets. I looked them up after I came across their flight paddles at a local hangout called Liberty Tavern. You can choose from different colors for the stains on the paddles as well as 3 different types of glassware – what’s nice is the style of paddles and glassware are slightly different than those offered by Peele – so between the two you have a lot of options! Definitely check these out as well if you’re interested in some flight options.


Photo courtesy of Beersocks.netBeer Socks Another beer lover told me about Beersocks.net when I noticed them sporting these awesome socks at an event. I’m sure many of you participate in events that would be perfect for rocking out some beer socks so stock up now! You can choose from a variety of colors and if beer isn’t your thing, they also have socks for Tequila, Vodka, and Whiskey! (Photo courtesy of Beersocks.net)


What are some of your favorite beerish products? Let us know by posting in the comments below!

 

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Beer of the Week: Founders Double Trouble

Beer of the Week - Founders Double TroubleThis week’s featured brew is Founders Double Trouble. As Founders states on their website, it’s “An imperial IPA brewed to turn your world upside down.” The bottle label artwork also deserves a special mention, it’s quite the treat. For the full effect, make sure you don’t forget to turn your bottle upside-down (after it’s empty of course!)

Tasty Mug Review

Appearance: Pours a clear, medium amber with foamy head, and nice retention around the glass with lacing.

Smell: Very aromatic and hoppy with notes of grass, pine, citrus and a hint of floral.

Taste: Very hop forward with a fair amount of bitterness which lingers on the palette but isn’t overwhelming. Towards the end the malts kick in the sweetness which helps balance out the hoppiness. Earthy and citrusy notes as well. Very flavorful.

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel that is crisp yet creamy. Has a smooth, bitter finish.

Overall: This is a very good representative of the DIPA (Double Imperial Pale Ale) style. Great summer-time porch sipping beer.

Tasty Mug Rating: 4.19 / 5

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA
ABV: 9.4%
IBUs: 86
Original Gravity: Unknown
Malts: Not listed
Hops: Not listed
Special Ingredients: Not listed
Availability: Seasonal (Spring/Summer) typically May-June
Food Pairings: Cheese (peppery; Monterey / Pepper Jack, sharp; Blue, Cheddar, pungent; Gorgonzola, Limburger) Grilled meat, fish or barbeque.
Glassware: Snifter, Tulip, Oversized Wine Glass
Aging: Can be cellared for long periods, under the proper conditions

Where to get it:
Just about any store that sells craft beer when in season.

 

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Weekly Roundup – Beer Apps for Drinking on the Go

The craft beer market is booming, and so is the list of beer apps you can download for your mobile phone. I’ve outlined some of the bigger players below. There are lots of choices, so you may ask “Which one should I choose?” The answer really depends on what you want to do! If you’re a major beer geek and want to track and record detailed tasting notes, Pintley is for you. If you want to go the road-more-traveled-route, Untappd is probably the most popular choice. Want to pioneer a new app? Try out Beer Hunt – it just launched this month.

untappdUntappd
Untappd is one of the more pervasive apps in the beer community and is focused on the social aspect of beer drinking. It allows you to share the beer you’re currently drinking, as well as where you are drinking it. You can rate the beer, upload your own photo, and add comments. It has a friend functionality similar to Facebook; you can connect with others and then see what they’re drinking and when they are nearby. Not sure where to go grab a pint? You can also see nearby bars and breweries near your location. There are also other cool features like “trending beers” and the ability to toast (aka “like”) what your friends are drinking.

brewskimeBrewski Me
Brewski Me is a similar concept to Untappd, but uses awards instead of badges, and has some additional features letting you select how you consumed a beer (can, bottle or draft) and add it as a favorite. You can add tasting notes, photos, and share your comments on Twitter, Facebook and check in through Foursquare. It delivers customized beer recommendations by comparing your ratings to other ratings in the database.

brewgeneBrewGene
BrewGene is also like Untappd and Brewski Me; it lets you rate beer, find new beers, and connect with other beer drinkers. You can check in to locations and when you add beers you can do a quick 1-5 star rating or add detailed tasting notes. I’d recommend checking out their Top 100 Beers list as well as the Beer of the Day for new suggestions on beers to try.

pintleyPintley
Pintley is a beer rating and tracking app that also syncs with the Pintley website. While there are social aspects to it, such as being able to follow other users or read their tasting notes, the focus of this app is tracking what you drink and providing recommendations based on your beer preferences. For example, if I drink 3 Belgian Ales, then click the “recommended” tab, Pintley will compile a nice list of other beers I may like based on my tastes. You can also do detailed ratings in the app that break out the different components of beer tasting and then share what you’ve rated on Facebook or Twitter.

beerhuntBeer Hunt
BeerHunt is a mix of a beer app and game. You log your beers as you drink to earn points; you gain more points if it’s a rare beer or from another country, or simply a new beer you haven’t had before. The more points you get, the higher you place on the leaderboard, which then lets you unlock badges. In the future BeerHunt plans to add deals for free beer or swag related to how many points a user has. There are also other cool tidbits of info such as the app keeping track of how many ounces of beer total you have consumed, as well as how much time has elapsed since your last brew. This one looks promising and fun and I’ll be giving it a try – who knows maybe down the road I’ll even score some free swag.


instagramInstagram
Instagram is, of course, not officially a beer app, but it deserves an honorable mention for its capability for dialing a beer enthusiast into the craft beer community. I jumped on this bandwagon after reading an excellent list of 15 Must Follow #CraftBeer Instagrammers posted by The Beer Wench on her Drink With The Wench Blog. If you use Instagram at all, I highly recommend you go to the “explore” tab and search for #craftbeer – your eyes will be opened to a whole new beer community that is clearly passionate about beer, photography, and sharing their experiences with other beer enthusiasts.

 

What beer app is your favorite?

 

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Beer of the Week: Rogue Juniper Pale Ale

Beer of the Week - Rogue Juniper Pale AleThis week’s featured brew is Juniper Pale Ale from Rogue. This ale is out just in time for warmer spring weather – especially for those of us in seasonal climates. I label this good warm-weather beer for doing some yard work, especially when you dust off the ‘ol riding lawn mower!

A little history on this ale from Rogue:
“The Turkey was named the official bird of the Rogue Nation in August 2007. To commemorate the momentous occasion, Rogue Juniper Pale Ale was dedicated to “the turkey in each of us.”

 

Tasty Mug Review

Appearance: Pours a clear, deep gold with an adequate head and minimal retention. Some minimal lacing as you drink.

Smell: Hoppy and piney and a little floral.

Taste: Dominant pine and hops upfront, then ends more on the malty side with a mild sweetness. It leans on the dry side. There’s a very slight taste to this that reminds me of the hint of a pilsner somewhere in the middle.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied but feels right for the taste of the beer, crisp and carbonated. Sticks to the tongue a bit at the end.

Overall: I’m classifying this in the “it’s a good craft beer to try for craft beer newbies weaning themselves off of Bud Light” category. It’s nothing extraordinary to a seasoned craft palette – it’s got some flavor, but it’s got a slight underlying taste that falls in line with something that tastes similar to a domestic. It’s got better flavor and hoppiness to it though, which shouldn’t come off too strong for a newbie palette. Would definitely be a good lawn-mowing beer on a hot summer day when you need something crisp and refreshing. Good session beer.

Tasty Mug Rating: 3.25 / 5

Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 5.30%
IBUs: 34
Original Gravity: 13º Plato
Malts: Maier Munich,Crystal, Triumph, C-15, Great Western 2-Row
Hops: Styrian Golding, Amarillo, Perle
Special Ingredients: Juniper Berries; Pacman Yeast, Free Range Coastal Water
Availability: Seasonal
Food Pairings: Turkey, Hot & Spicy
Glassware: Pint glass or mug
Aging: Not recommended

Where to get it:
My guess is this one is pretty easy to find when it’s in-season, I picked up a single bottle at the local Whole Foods.