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Entries in Beer (162)

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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Wednesday
Nov052014

CT Beer Week Recap, Part 1: Two Roads Brewing & Cask Republic Talk Beer & Eat Good Food

Sometimes, when it comes to beer, I envy starfish. Nature can tear the humble sea star in half and it just returns with backup, like a teeny Lernaean Hydra. The creature that is "Connecticut Beer Week" underwent a similar duplication for 2014 - with one week in May and another in October - and, after trying to be everywhere at once, I failed, regenerated, and present the first in this three part recap. 

Starfish likewise have the remarkable ability to turn inside out to eat. I like to think this would give them infinite eating capacity, which would be handy at your average multi-course beer pairing dinner. Fittingly, beer pairing events with Two Roads appear to be binate: the first of which was held at The Cask Republic in Stamford to kick off Connecticut Beer Week: The Revenge, this October.

The hosts for the night were Two Roads Brewmaster Phil Markowski, who was debuting his Unothrodox Russian Imperial Stout, and Executive Chef Carl Carrion, whom I've mentioned before

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Friday
Oct102014

Friday Froth: Holy Schnitzengiggles

"I wish it was winter so we could freeze it into ice blocks and skate on it and melt it in the spring time and drink it!"

Beerfest is a movie by Broken Lizard (the Super Troopers guys), who take the "unlikely hero saves the rec center" trope and get it knee-walking drunk in front of horrified loved ones. I'm a big fan. 

The action centers on the proprietors of Schnitzengiggle Tavern, a family of German descendants on a quest to regain both a long lost lager recipe, and America's beer drinking honor. The movie is extravagantly crass, usually leaves me sore both from laughing and a hangover, and MAY have been the inspiration for New England Brewing Company's Schnitzengiggles Festbier. Allegedly.

Schnitzengiggles pours a distinctly brassy color, with a respectably sticky head. There are more hops to the nose than most märzens, and just a light whiff of malt. It is a beautifully smooth, slightly dry lager, and it has a very nice marbling of grainy richness. The hop character comes through in terms of a fruity flavor, rather than the more staid, traditional bitterness, and I'd say that's to be expected from the brewery that brought us Gandhi-Bot and Coriolis. I could and would drink this by the stein, liter, or glass boot.  

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Friday
Sep192014

Two Roads Brewing Hosts First Connecticut Brewers Festival October 6th

As a prelude to CT Beer Week (October 13-20), over 20 breweries from around the state will be converging a week early on Two Roads Brewing Company in Stratford for the first ever Connecticut Brewers Festival on Monday, October 6th from 6-9 p.m. Over 20 breweries will be in attendance with only 250 tickets available for festival-goers.

Tickets are $25, which gets patrons a pint glass commemorating the event as well as unlimited three ounce pours of some of their favorite CT beers. The event is 21+. All proceeds to this event benefit the Connecticut Brewers Guild. 

Food Trucks include: LobstercraftLocal Meatball and Bounty Burger.

Connecticut, like most places around the country, is seeing a boom in craft beer. In 2011, there were only a handful of breweries and today, over 25 breweries are operating within the Nutmeg State with more and more opening every month. 

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Friday
Sep192014

Friday Froth: Oktoberfest Was Born In March 

I'm forever tempted to geek out in FrothHop varieties from New Zealand, Gemini astronauts on labels, fat tankers, coolships - I'm curious about everything, and I'll drink most of it once. Today I'll attempt to make a few points, mention beer early, then get out. Here we go: 

Oktoberfest is not a style of beer. In fact, it has more to do with a horse race than anything we drink. 

Most beer drinkers have heard the basic origin story: On October 12, 1810, crown prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen and everyone in Munich was invited to party on the fields in front of the city gates, which have been known as Theresienwiese, or "Theresa's meadow" ever since. Everyone had a great time, and you know damn well there was some beer involved, but the highlight of the party for everyone but the non-royals (probably) were the horse races which closed the jubilation. It was the desire to have the horse races again the next year which lead to Oktoberfest becoming an annual tradition.

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Thursday
Sep182014

New Canaan Nature Center Hosts Harvest Festival w/ Beer, Music & More 

On October 4th New Canaan Nature Center will be hosting their third annual Harvest Festival from 7-10pm.  This event is a fundraiser for the Nature Center, and is also the party everyone loves to attend but doesn’t want to host anymore.  Boots, jeans, and a jacket in the meadow with beer, a bit of wine, music, and food for one ticket price.  A local band called the Jazzholes will be performing, and Half Full Brewery and Two Roads Brewery, will be coming to serve party go-ers. 

There will be a wide variety of beer and wine to choose from and some great eats.  Last year, vendors pouring beer and wine included Half Full, Two Roads, Estrella, GW Beer, Berkshire, DogFish Head, Widmer, Murphy’s and Charter Oak along with 3 liquor stores pouring a selection of wines and a few signature cocktails. This year they will also have a selection of gluten free labels.

For more information about the location/time/etc.: http://www.newcanaannature.org/programs/adult/index.php

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