Tuesday, March 30, 2010

First Ever Boston Bacon and Beer Festival

Can we cover this event in cheese and call it heaven?

I can’t really describe in words how happy the idea of a Bacon and Beer Fest makes me. I am almost mad that I didn’t think of it myself.

What could possibly go better with beer than salty, succulent bacon? Think of all the smoked hop brews out there and how harmoniously those flavors would dance together in your mouth.

AMAZING – and as we know, I am a huge sucker for fundraising events; all the proceeds go to charity: Community Servings, Share our Strength, South End Youth Baseball and, The Juniper Fund.

$25 gets you in to sample as many brews and bacon dish combos you can stuff in your mouth. Try not to make a pig of yourself.

Check out the lineup:


Brooklyn Brewery | Blue Hills Brewery | Cape Anne Brewing | Dogfish Head | Cody Brewing Company | Harpoon Brewery | Just Beer | Mayflower Brewing Company | Mercury Brewing Company | Narragansett Beer | Peak Organic Brewery | Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project | Rapscallion | Smuttynose Brewing Company

33 Restaurant | 51 Lincoln | Atwood's | B.Good | Beacon Hill Bistro | Channel Cafe | Chez Jacky | Franklin Cafe | The Gallows | Garden at the Cellar | Gaslight | Henrietta's Table | Myers and Chang | Petit Robert Bistro | Picco | Rialto | Rocca | Stoddard's | The Fireplace | Toro | Trina's Starlite Lounge | Turner Fisheries | Union | Whole Foods Symphony | Wicked Kickn' Cheesecake

For more info or to RSVP, visit: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=10150140931855183

The Rules Don't Apply to BrewDog

So after several conversations, I realized that not many people are familiar with the folks from BrewDog.

Beer411 readers, meet BrewDog. BrewDog... meet Beer411.

(I have to start off by saying I've never had these brews, but they have certainly sparked my interest. So if anyone out there can share their encounters with BrewDog... feel free to share!)

These guys hail from way across the pond in Scotland. The passion that they have in their beer is evident as they became Scotland's largest independent brewery in 2007. One of their claim to fames is brewing the worlds Strongest beer. Now you read previous reviews about ABV at 8% or even 10%. And most likely, Kate and I will warn you to drink with caution, because a 10% beer is pretty high.

Not to these guys.

Several years ago, BrewDog introduced their beer TOKYO to the world. A Russian Imperial Stout which clock in at a whopping 18.2% ABV. At the time, it was considered the Strongest Beer in the World. But like with any records, they are meant to be broken... So BrewDog was dethroned to the likes of Sam Adams Utopias and other small craft brewers.

The ABV of beers got higher and higher... constantly raising the bar on the competition. Then after a German beer (that I can't even pronounce) held the title of World's Strongest Beer at 30.86%, the boys from BrewDog took back their title with a beer they called, Tactical Nuclear Penguin at a ridiculous 32% ABV!!! It falls in the category of a American Double / Imperial Stout. (See the video below on how they went about re-claiming their title.)

Time to sit back and relax, right? Not for these guys.

Needless to say, the German folks over at the beer that I can't pronounce, did not take too kindly getting bumped from the top. So they shot back with their new line, raising the ABV bar to a stupid 39.44%!! No one will EVER beat that!

Remember what I said about records? Yeah... BrewDog wasn't about to let this happen.

So not ONLY did they introduce something bigger and stronger, but the name they picked just tells me that there's something personal about this ABV rivalry. Presenting BrewDog's SINK THE BISMARK; and a ridiculously high %41 ABV. Now a quick history lesson, the Bismark was the name of a German Navy Ship that the Royal Navy attempted to sink during WWII. (tell me that this isn't getting personal). This blend is a Double IPA that is suggested to be enjoyed in several sittings. Or with lots of friends. (See the video below...).

To put this whole ABV talk into perspective... here's a list of ABV of spirits:
Bourbon (51-79 %ABV)
Brandy (40-45 %ABV)
Gin (37.5 %ABV)
Rum (37.5-57 %ABV)
Tequila (40-50 %ABV)
Vodka (35-50 %ABV)
Whisky (40-53.3 %ABV)

So these beers are on the same block as some of the cheaper Gins, Vodkas, Rums, Whiskeys and Tequilas. That's just silly.

If you have a moment... check out how BrewDog went about making their Tactical Nuclear Penguin and their newly crowned Sink the Bismark! Funny, funny guys that I hope to meet someday.

Tactical Nuclear Penguin from BrewDog on Vimeo.

Sink the Bismarck! from BrewDog on Vimeo.

For a full list of BeerAdvocates top 100 Strongest Beers in the World check out the link below:

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Springtime

Brewing Company: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Style: IPA
Size: 12 fl oz.
ABV: 7.00%

I had to break down last night. I just couldn't take it anymore.

After the weather we had last week, I have been in a summertime mood like its going out of style. I've been talking up the softball season with my friends... I've been discussing potential trips to take this summer... and I've been talking to my roommate about getting the grill ready... mmmmm Grillin'. But, since Connecticut likes to remind us New Englanders that it's still March by giving us 20-40 degree weather today... I had to take matters into my own hands.

Per the suggestion of Mr. John Gill, I stopped by the packy a few days ago to sample this year's offering of Dogfish's Aprihop. And needless to say, it did not disappoint.

So there I was last night, dusting off the George Foreman grill in my kitchen. The burger hit the pan and the smells of summertime food were in the air; enter delicious beer stage right. As you can see by the above picture, the Aprihop pours a very nice amber color with a white head which quickly dissipates. Now, you have two very obvious factors at this point. The beer is call APRI-HOP. So you can guess that it's going to have some apricot/peach nodes in there with some extra hops to give it a dry Pale Ale type finish to it.


The smells come across with a citrus nose but has definitely a hint of sweetness & maltiness to it. But what's fantastic about this beer is that it's not too sweet. So for all of your Sam Adams Cherry Wheat fans out there, this one isn't for you. But for those that enjoy actually drinking a beer and not getting a cavity, step up to the bar. The hops are also very present as well. But enough about look and smells... let's taste the damn thing.

The name "Aprihop" in my opinion really lends itself to the type of beer you're about to taste. The citrus/apricot/peachy smells work very well with the hoppy bitterness of this variety. While you get the fruitiness of the beer at first, the hops cut the sweetness, which gives a clean, crisp, dry finish.

Now, my cousin as viciously accused me of being a "hop head". Ok, ok... I admit, I love me some hops which could be why I enjoy this Dogfish offering so much (for the daring/curious SEE Dogfish's 90 min or 120 min IPA). But I really don't think it's too hoppy for your average beer goer. And notice that it's only at about 7.0% ABV so in my opinion, it's a great beer to crack at the end of the day. A little sweet, a little crisp, a little bitter, and quite refreshing. So if you are looking for something a little different for the Easter season or just want to get into that Spring/Summer spirit... you know what to drink.

Final Grade: A-

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Aww Shucks: Harpoon Oyster Stout

Harpoon Brewery / Oyster Stout

English Stout: 5.50% ABV

Grade: B+

When has a bartender ever asked, “Are you allergic to shellfish?”

Well if you are ordering the Harpoon Oyster Stout, it’s a prerequisite.

This salty sud was boiled with 180 oysters pulled from the Duxbury Bay to create Harpoon’s 100 Barrel Series Island Creek Oyster Stout, bottled on Feb. 5.

Sidebar: Depending on which group of friends I am with, they would be surprised I could taste this brew without breaking out in hives. TRUTH: I don’t like seafood. I have tried almost every kind out there, REALLY, I have. So normally I say I am allergic to fish avoid the rhapsody, “No – but try this, you will really like it, really – try it,” – I’VE TRIED IT, I DONT LIKE FISH! I digress…

SO, I was happy to learn that while the Oyster Stout smells like the inside of a seashell, it does not taste like fish at all AND I got to have this beer straight out of the brewery tap. Does it get any fresher than that?

It pours dark with a frothy head that coats your mouth. After a glass, I felt like I was at the beach all day – water please! The Oyster Stout is full bodied and salty with burnt caramel and mocha flavors. It’s delicious, but more than one would have been tough to get through.

I would imagine that this beer would pair much better with food, paella being my recommendation. Yes I’ve tried it.

After chatting up with the brew master I learned that oyster stouts are big in the UK. Their water is “thinner”, which is great for making lighter beers, but it lacks the minerals needed to create stouts and lagers. They use the minerals from the oyster shells to create depth and body in their beer.

Harpoon is tipping their hat to the UK and they did a pretty good job. If you can get your hands on it and you are not allergic, (or fake allergic) give it a shot or in this case, give it a pint.