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Entries in Beer (167)

Friday
Feb132015

Friday Froth: Notes From Big Brew NY Beer Festival

Session beers are popular now, but a single drinking session rarely includes 250 different beers. The Big Brew NY Beer Festival returned to White Plains on Feb. 7 with hundreds of kegged and bottled beers, plus a VIP area with almost 30 casks of special ales. It's tough to write with a beer in one hand and camera in the other, but I managed to record a few notes and observations from what has become a very good midsize beer festival.

First: it may look crowded in a few of these photos, but the crowd was never an issue. Beer fest attendees tend to be pretty easy going. Most seem happy just to be in a place where they can simply stick out their glass and have it filled, and it's exciting to try new brands and styles without running the risk of taking your first sip and realizing you're now stuck with a six pack of beer you wouldn't use to poison driveway weeds.

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Friday
Feb062015

Friday Froth: Tröegs, Jack's and Zoë

Tröegs Brewing Company made its Connecticut debut this week at The Cask Republic, The Ginger Man, Coalhouse Pizza, Craft 260, Max Burger and other locations around the state. Troeg's, from Pennsylvania, has a large portfolio of highly rated beers which are welcome additions to the universe of options currently available in the Constitution State. This week's installment of Froth starts with Troeg's Nugget Nectar, one of the darlings of the current American beer scene, and a limited release for the late winter.  

Nugget Nectar is a 7.5% imperial amber made with traditional European malts and fancy American hops. It pours the color of bourbon with an enticing meringue of head. There are very sweet, peachy hops to the nose, probably due to the Nugget and Simcoe varieties which make part of the hop bill, and a good balance of flavors to the first sip. The color is a faithful predictor of the maltiness in this one, but the fruity hop character is fully apparent early on. 

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Friday
Jan302015

Friday Froth: Snowed In With Barleywine

Deep snow requires strong booze. Our ancestors knew it, we know it, and every year around the winter solstice we can see a certain class of beer made specifically for snow days start to take up shelf space. Barleywine is beer better served at 55º than 35º, and best enjoyed when it's 25º outside. It's usually sold in large format bottles of the 22-26oz. variety, and will wrap you in an invisible sweater of at least 10% alcohol. Blizzards are a good thing when you're properly stocked. 

Barleywine has been deployed as a winter knock out drop by bored or insufficiently rowdy residents of the frostier climes for centuries. It is NyQuil by another name, and it is a blessed boon to those of us who seek to replace the lost hours of sunlight with - in order - hijinks and oblivion. 

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Wednesday
Jan212015

Wildly Different Beer Class: Wild Beer Co. & B. United @ Harry's in Fairfield

Harry's Wine & Spirits is teaming up with B. United & Wild Beer Co for a very unique beer class and tasting on Thursday, February 19th 7-9pm. The Wild Beer Co was set up in September 2012 by Andrew Cooper and Brett Ellis to brew beers with a bit of a difference. Their goal is to focus on different ingredients, different yeasts and different barrel aging techniques. Which will be discussed throughout the tasting class. 

Their Evolver IPA that was featured in Draft Magazine as a one of the TOP 25 beers of2014.

Wild Beer Co's beer is not brewed to style but are inspired by ingredients, occasions or experiences.

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Friday
Jan162015

Friday Froth: Down With Anchor!

A California brewer reached across the country to attack Hartford's City Steam and, distressingly, they've won. At issue? Anchor thinks they own the word "steam." Regular Friday Froth readers may remember when I first mentioned the lawsuit brought by Anchor Brewing against City Steam Brewery Cafe almost a year ago. This week a judge ruled Anchor Brewing in San Francisco can force City Steam in Hartford to chance its name. The lawsuit was upsetting then, and it's dead-fish-on-a-hot-sidewalk repellant now. 

I'm urging every craft beer drinker in Connecticut to boycott Anchor beer. Just don't buy it. It's that easy. Our voices and and dollars will be noticed. Just this week, Lagunitas dropped a similarly frivolous lawsuit against Sierra Nevada due to overwhelming consumer derision. Let's tell Anchor we in Connecticut are not going to take it laying down. 

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Thursday
Dec182014

What Makes A Beer A Connecticut Beer?

Recently there was some discussion on Twitter, that infinite forum for public opinion, as to what makes a beer Connecticut Beer. At issue was the newly released Sip Of Sunshine IPA from Lawson's Finest Liquids. SOS, as we'll call it, is brewed at Two Roads in Stratford, Conn., so Elm City Beer Lovers asked if it belonged on their "Best of CT Beers" list. The obvious catch? Lawson's Finest was established in Warren, Vermont circa 2009. So: does being brewed and sold in Connecticut make it a Connecticut beer you're drinking? It depends on what you think.

First, we have to consider how hard a line we're going to draw. Some beers are obviously capital C-B Connecticut Beers: New England Brewing in Woodbridge, Beer'd Brewing in Stonington, Relic Brewing in Plainville, Southport Brewing Company... all established, licensed, brewed and sold in Connecticut.  
Verdict
: Connecticut Beers

That's easy, but are beers like these the only ones worthy of the name? What's the orthodoxy here?

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Friday
Dec052014

Friday Froth: Around A Square State With Stubborn Beauty, Black Hog and Overshores

What shape is Connecticut? Kind of a cleaver-shape, I think. I live down in the that cleaver's handle - along with you, by statistical probability - and the myriad horrors of highway travel in Connecticut tend to keep me there, but I'm wired to explore. If Lando can escape the Sarlacc, I can get out of Fairfield freaking County. 

This is especially useful as I paddle my canoe up the rivers of craft beer this state has to offer, because breweries don't usually spring up next to yacht clubs, son. Train that spyglass further afield, and you'll spot Stubborn Beauty Brewing Company in increasingly craft beer dense Middletown, Black Hog Beer Company in Oxford, and Overshores Brewing Co. in East Haven. It's about time I gave each of them their due. 

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Tuesday
Dec022014

CTbites' Guide to Happy Hours in Stamford CT

The work day comes to a close and all I can think is “Holy hell I need a bottle of wine …maybe two… maybe three… who’s coming with me?” But where do I go? What places offer specials? What vibe am I feeling? I instantly start googling “Happy Hour Downtown Stamford” but nothing pops up and suddenly I am in a panic, yes a panic. We’ve all been there many times…so I have compiled the ultimate list to help fellow happy hour enthusiasts.

Personal favorites for each day are:

  • Monday - Cotto, with half-priced bottles of wine and delicious tapas it’s the perfect way to ease into a hectic week;
  • Tuesday - Lola’s Mexican Restaurant, Taco Tuesday & Margaritas…need I say more?
  • Wednesday - Brickhouse Bar & Grill, known to many regulars as “wing night” it’s a low-key, delicious and fun way to finish hump day;
  • Thursday – Barcelona, delicious tapas and great deals on a variety of wines, the young and vibrant scene is always served up;
  • Friday – Hudson Grille, come for the happy hour and stay for the DJ, just be sure to bring your dancing shoes;

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Friday
Nov212014

Friday Froth: Beer Pairings For A Very Merry Thanksgiving

You can smash that wine bottle against a new ship's prow, because I'm drinking beer this Thanksgiving. I enjoy wine, but the waveform of my interest in it describes a gentle curve approaching zero on this particular day of the year. There's very little you can put on the table in late November that will get my personal circuits firing like a nice beer pairing.

This week's Froth will be a selection of suggested beers for both Thanksgiving hosts and guests, presented in the order you may like them to appear during our country's great feast. I enjoy typing that word. Say it with me: "FEAST!" I wish I had a relative with an eight foot tall fireplace suitable for roasting an entire ox. I hope at least one of you reading this is going to attempt a feat of inadvisable open flame cookery next week. Bonus points if you have to bribe a child so they don't tell a spouse what you're doing. 

A quick note to begin: I wrote a Thanksgiving column back in 2011, and this new post is an update/overhaul.

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Friday
Nov072014

Friday Froth: Recap of Sourcopia w/ Chef Plum & Two Roads Brewing Co.

OK, ok: I know I've gone all 2Roads2Furious on you, but I did say these events arrive in pairs. Connecticut Beer Week ended as it began this October, with me sitting at a table and listening to brewmaster Phil Markowski explain his newest beers, this time beside Chef Plum, of Plum Luv Foods and The TasteThe event, Sourcopia, was the pre-release party for Two Roads' new collection of sour beers, a kriek, a gueuze, and the concoction 2R calls "Philsamic" against - it should be noted - the wishes of one Phil. He was pretty, pret-tay clear on that last part. 

This was a beer dinner, but the portion sizes Chef Plum provided were more akin to a tasting menu. I appreciated this, since I've walked out of some previous pairing events in dire jeopardy of tipping over like a one legged T. Rex. I'm not sure if this was the plan all along, or it was a result of Chef Plum et al. having to work in an ad hoc kitchen on site.

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