Beer is the world's most widely consumed and probably oldest of alcoholic beverages; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. At NorCal Beer Blog we'll discuss beer, brewing and beer culture in not only Northern California, but across the beer drinking community He who drinks beer sleeps well. He who sleeps well cannot sin. He who does not sin goes to heaven. Amen.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Uinta Brewing Company Punk’n Harvest Pumpkin Ale
Tonight’s featured beer is Uinta Brewing Company Punk’n Harvest Pumpkin Ale. In keeping with a fall or Halloween theme I plan to review all of the pumpkin beers I can get my hands on. I’ve been trolling the local stores in search of new pumpkin beers and low and behold I found Uinta’s. Last time I was in Utah I failed to visit them (made it to Squatters Brewery, Wasatch Brew Pub and Brewery, Desert Edge Brewery and Red Rock Brewing Company) so I was happy to find a six pack of their seasonal to give it a try.
From the Uinta Brewing Company website:” Harvest the flavors of fall with a bottle opener and a stroll down the craft-brewed beer aisle. Four+ Punk’n Ale is the pick of the crop with notes of roasted pumpkin and seasonal spices. Savory. Crisp. The sweetness is in the celebration, not on the palate.
Malt and hops accented with roasted pumpkin and spices of the season. A subtle hint of vanilla and honey. Punk'n is a wonderful compliment to foods with nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove flavors. Try it with roasted turkey, squash or pumpkin ravioli, peach cobbler, or pumpkin cheesecake.”
Monday, September 26, 2011
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Punkin Ale
Tonight’s featured beer is Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Punkin Ale. In keeping with a fall or Halloween theme I plan to review all of the pumpkin beers I can get my hands on. Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale is one of my seasonal favorites and I typically purchase a few four packs each season.
From the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery website: “A full-bodied brown ale with smooth hints of pumpkin and brown sugar. We brew our Punkin Ale with pumpkin meat, organic brown sugar and spices. This is the perfect beer to warm-up with, as the season cools.
Punkin Chunkin (check out some of these Discovery Channel videos of Punkin Chunkin, you gotta see it to believe it!). In fact, Punkin Ale made it's debut as it claimed First Prize in the 1994 Punkin Chunkin Recipe Contest - yes, that was a full 6 months before we even opened our doors for business. Punkin Chunkin has grown in size and scale with pumpkins now being hurled more than 4,000 feet through the air! If you come down to see if for yourself - come by and visit us.
Since then, we've brewed Punkin Ale each and every fall. It is released right around September first each year. When you find it, grab some extra because it's usually gone by Thanksgiving.”
Every Beer Has A Story - here's Punkin Ale:
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Lost Coast Brewery 8-Ball Stout
Tonight’s featured beer is Lost Coast Brewery 8-Ball Stout. I have long enjoyed a good stout and lucky for me Lost Coast brews a GREAT stout. Since I've reviewed several of their offerings I thought perhaps a little Lost Coast history lesson was in order (thanks Wikipedia) "Lost Coast Brewery is a rare instance of a female-owned microbrewery breaking into the male dominated microbrew world. Groom, a pharmacist, and Pound, a family counselor, began experimenting with the idea of starting their own pub in 1986. Following years of planning, home brewing, and visiting pubs in England and Wales, Groom and Pound purchased the Pythian Castle in 1989. The building went under restoration to house the pub and cafe after being purchased from the original owners, the Fraternal Order of the Knights of Pythias. Lost Coast Brewery pub and cafe is family owned and operated and has been open for business since July 1990. The brewery outgrew its origins in Pythian's Castle and moved to a larger building further down Highway 101 in 2005. As the 46th largest brewery in the US, Lost Coast Brewery is expected to produce 30,000 barrels despite only distributing in 19 states".
From the Lost Coast Brewery website: “Not for the faint hearted! Our stout rewards the palate with robust flavor of roasted malts (malts are roasted like coffee beans) and heavy hops. A creamy smooth surprise.”
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Lagunitas Brewing Company Bavarian-Styled Doppel Weizen
Tonight’s featured beer is Lagunitas Brewing Company Bavarian-Styled Doppel Weizen. I get stoked when I hear there’s a new Lagunitas product on the market. I started calling around and no one had it. I stopped by Mission Liquors in Fremont and Evan said it was going to come in and sure enough they got it before anyone else. So I made the drive over to Mission Liquors to pick up a few bottles (to get me started).
From the Lagunitas Brewing Company website:” A Brand-Spankin' New Beer Inspired by Rolec: The Builders of our New Brewing System. They Sent Us a Traditional Yeast Sent From Their Friends in Bavaria & We Way-Overfed It To Take It All Up A Bit!
And…from the beer label:” In far-away 2006, in a beer hall in Philly, at the end of a long road, we shared our first beer with a Friestat Bayern Brewer enharmonically named Wolfgang. At stake, over a Prima Pils, was whether or not Lagunitas would purchase from him a new 80bbl brewhouse. It was a lot of money. Playing Silenus to my Brewery’s chariot, together- with the benefit of the Pils- we forded the emotional-economic crevasse and commissioned the brewhouse. Unforeseeable at the time would be the need for even more brewing capacity today in extra-local 2011. So, for the sixth time in our short history, we lurch down that increasingly familiar road towards a new 250 barrel brewhouse. The actual installation, beginning in November, will bear a strong resemblance to a heart transplant, on an awake patient, performed on the backside of a galloping horse, or at very least in tow behind Dionysus’ trustworthy Silenus. Some is good, more is better. The good news is; it’s still us.”
And now a word from Lagunitas…
Aroma: Bananas and spice (cloves) dominate. Smells like a hefewiezen. Slight hop and malt scents are present.
Taste: Like the aroma – sweet banana, wheat, mild cloves with a sweet finish that’s really nice. This beer makes me think of the fall…and I love the fall.
Overall: Very enjoyable and at 9% ABV a dangerous beer. I’m very happy I tracked a few bottles down as this is the perfect beer to usher in the new season.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Buffalo Bill's Brewery Pumpkin Ale
Tonight’s featured beer is Buffalo Bill's Brewery Pumpkin Ale. As I’ve said before, Buffalo Bill's Brewery is the closest brew pub to my house and I feel REALLY fortunate to have such a fantastic place so close to home. I’ve been a huge fan of their pumpkin ale and fall starts for me with my first pint of Buffalo Bill’s Brewery Pumpkin Ale (and I always like fall to come early and often). Since today is the official first day of fall I figured it was fitting to post this.
From the Buffalo Bill’s Brewery website: “America’s Original Pumpkin Ale – From Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale is one of the most sought after seasonal beers. It is believed that George Washington brewed beer using this bright orange squash. In modern times, Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale is a true original microbrew that uses baked and roasted pumpkin. Cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg are added to create what has been described as, “pumpkin pie in a bottle”.”
found from Geoff Harries of Buffalo Bill’s Brewery about brewing their pumpkin ale, “Brewer: Geoff Harries of Buffalo Bill’s Brewery in Hayward, California. Geoff homebrewed from 1981 to 1987. He became the head brewer at Buffalo Bill’s from '87 to '89, then the GM and head brewer at Brewpub on the Green from '90 to '93. He bought Buffalo Bill’s and is now the owner and head brewer - " Our pumpkin beer is brewed at several locations for us, but one definite rule is that we always use fresh, whole pumpkins. The kinds vary depending on the season and what is ripe, but we like to use Atlantic Giants and Big Macs. Both are jumbo in size and have lots of fiber. Especially the fiber makes for easier mashing.
We roast the pumpkins, since a raw pumpkin is really nothing but a squash and if you try to use them raw, nothing comes out of them. Roasting converts some of the starch inside the pumpkin, and lets us extract sugars and sweetness. We cook them to the point where they’re kind of done—maybe a little brown around the edges, just when they are starting to caramelize. But we don’t want them turned to mush. Since pumpkins come in all different sizes, cooking times will vary. Once they are ready we cut them open and pull out the seeds.
We always experiment with the base beer, but it’s generally a red ale/amber beer. We are looking for something with an orange to red hue. All the color in the beer comes from the malt. None comes from the pumpkin.
We go through the standard sparge. We have had trouble with this stage in the past, and what we have discovered is if you overcook the pumpkin it gets all mushy and causes the stuck mash. So, it’s important to not over roast.
Hops should be low-key. Be subtle, just to balance the malt sweetness. You don’t want the beer to be bitter. Think pumpkin pie in a glass, and shoot for that flavor profile. The dominant character will be the up front malt flavor, followed by a finish that highlight the spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. And speaking of spices, we use whole spice. This year we’ll put them in a big sparge bag, and then hang them in the conditioning tanks, after the boil. This is the way to get that nice, spiced character because it’s kind of like dry-hopping."
I am eagerly awaiting their Imperial Pumpkin Ale a 9.8% ABV MONSTER (photo to the left is me enjoying my first glass of it last year). They had intended on bottling it, but at this point I’ve not heard. If they do…look out…I’m buying CASES!
I love seeing displays of Buffalo Bill's Brewery Pumpkin Ale when I’m out and about. I found this one at Cost Plus World Market. Good price on the beer too ($6.99 a six pack). Pick some up! You’ll be glad you did!
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Firestone Walker Brewing Company Solace Summertime Fusion Wheat Beer
Hello beer lovers and welcome to another edition of the NorCal Beer Blog's brew review.
Tonight’s featured beer is Firestone Walker Brewing Company Solace Summertime Fusion Wheat Beer. In keeping with the end of summer theme (and start of fall) I figured I had better get to reviewing beers I’ve been drinking over the summer. My beginnings with Firestone Walker beers was a mixed 12-pack that contained Solace (and others) and prior to that I hadn’t paid much attention to their beers. Since then I’ve come a fan and plan to review some of their other offerings.
From the Firestone Walker Brewing Company website:” Firestone Walker presents Solace, an ode to warmer weather in the northern hemisphere. A hint of citrus fruit and clove aroma are followed by tangy dry malt flavor and a silky finish making it an approachable and refreshing session beer. We bring you this beer unfettered, a craftily unfiltered ale full of flavor and perfectly constructed to compliment those lazy warm days ahead. Ideal for washing down fish tacos or other south o’ the border-inspired dishes.
REMEMBER: Watch for bottled on dates located on the necks of our beers. Our beer is not pasteurized, so it is best when stored at 44F or below, out of light and within 110 days of the bottled on date...this insures freshness and ultimately a great Firestone Walker beer!”
Overall: At 6% ABV Firestone Walker Brewing Company Solace Summertime Fusion Wheat Beer is tremendously drinkable and perfect for a summer BBQ. I’m sure my review is a little late for you to pick up a six so be sure to watch for this in the spring or summer of 2012.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Lagunitas Brewing Company Little Sumpin’ Wild
Tonight’s featured beer is Lagunitas Brewing Company Little Sumpin’ Wild. I believe I have amply sung the praises of Lagunitas Brewing Company in past posts, so I’ll just get onto the review.
From the Lagunitas Brewing Company website: “Another Big Sister of the Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale.... Loads of Malted Wheat for a Curious Malt Foundation and a Light Color, But Our Belgian Yeast Leaves a Huge Flavor and Complexishness.”
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Festina Peche
Tonight’s featured beer is Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s Festina Peche. I like to “beer shop” and tend to purchase nearly every beer Dogfish Head brews. When I saw Festina Peche I was a little reluctant (low ABV and high price), but I thought what the heck…I’ll pick up a four pack for the sake of trying and possibly reviewing.
From the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery website:” A refreshing neo-Berliner Weisse fermented with honest-to-goodness peaches to (get this!) 4.5% ABV! Because extreme beers don't have to be extremely boozy! Available in 4-pack and draft during the sweaty months.
Sadly, there are only a few breweries left in Berlin still brewing the Berliner Weisse style which is characterized by its intense tartness (some say sour). There were once over 70 breweries in Berlin alone making this beer! In addition to fermentation with an ale yeast, Berliner Weisse is traditionally fermented with lactic cultures to produce its acidic or green apple-like character. It is delicately hopped with a pale straw color and served as an aperitif or summertime quencher. To soften the intense sourness, Berliner Weisse is traditionally served with a dash of essence of woodruff or raspberry syrup.
In our Festina Peche since the natural peach sugars are eaten by the yeast, the fruit complexity is woven into both the aroma and the taste of the beer so there is no need to doctor it with woodruff or raspberry syrup - open and enjoy!”
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