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Entries in Friday Froth (54)


Friday Froth: Take Your Own Advice (Southern Tier, Two Roads & Victory Breweries)

Ernest Hemingway told us to always do sober what we said we'd do drunk. "That will teach you to keep your mouth shut," was his lesson. I don't get space here on Fridays for keeping my metaphorical mouth shut, and a few weeks ago I could be found pleading with you to hold off on All Pumpkin Errthang, and take the limited time we have at summer's end to enjoy the brief grunion-run of harvest ales. 

The same day Froth published, I went out, slapped my modest gains on a counter, and walked out, brown bottles with orange labels in my hands. I've found some good ones for you, so here's a sampler.  

Southern Tier Harvest special ale is an Extra Special Bitter, and pours with a golden ruby color. Decent head foams up at first and settles into thickish ring. The first whiff is bready malt, bouncing with hops. Rich and bitter, but mellow, Harvest is a hedge fund divorcee on xanax. It is also terrifically easy to drink, which means the robust 6.7%ABV tends to sneak up on you. The world is not exactly full of beers which aren't heavy, or beset with fruits or lactose, and still manage to feel like a treat, but Harvest is the exact recipe. It is decadent despite a deceptively simple formula, and a prototypical autumn beer.

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Friday Froth: Love The Harvest

Screw pumpkin beer and the sell sheet it rode in on. Screw it in September, and double-dog screw it in August, when I first start seeing it in stores. The fact I wasn't arrested for petty vandalism last month is a minor miracle. If you complain about summer being over to soon while ordering a late fall seasonal I hope you step in something wet while wearing socks. Such are the depths of my disdain. 

I say all this, even though I don't dislike pumpkin beers as such, because the end of summer and early fall are excellent times for beer. Hops and grain are both being harvested this time of year, and I encourage you to take full advantage of the brilliant little season between light, summer beers, and the heavy, spiced beers of winter, because that middleground is fertile, delicious,and short-lived. Let's do this.

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Friday Froth: Negative And Positive

I like beers from Otter Creek and Jack's Abby, but their collaboration beer, Joint Custody, is a can full of nope. Thankfully it's also exceedingly rare, so chances are you'll be spared from drinking one. I don't usually talk about bad beer experiences in this column - and feel free to skip down to the two contrasting examples I give below - but this one's been nagging at me.  

The collective German heritage of the OC and JA brewmasters inspired them to seek out two newborn German hop strains, Huell Melon and Mandarina Bavaria, in the creation of what they call a Nouveau Pilsner. Joint Custody pours cloudy gold, and has a slightly odd lemony scent - both fine - and then you take a drink and taste fresh Band-Aid. There is the unmistakable pils malt underneath, but what in the hell with this plasticky flavor? In beer-nerd terms, we sometimes call this ortho-chlorophenolic, because it's a medicinal smell/flavor which usually comes from residual sanitizers, or using chlorinated water to make the beer. I don't think that's what happened here, we're dealing with seriously talented brewers, so the only remaining explanation is they've done this on purpose.

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Friday Froth: 3 Cold Beers For A Hot Day

No. Just no, NYC commissioner of the Department of Health, Mary Bassett - I will not avoid drinking beer on scorching hot summer days. Yes, I will drink some water, because I am not an idiot, but you can take a cold beer from my (still mostly warm), dead hand. Thankfully, this is 'murica, where many a dilapidated package store is hung with signs advertising the coldest beer in town (following Strong Bad's motto: "A One That Isn't Cold Is Scarcely A One At All"), thus saving us all from aloe vera vitamin drinks and the resultant loss of will to live. 

A crisp beer on a hot day is a joy forever, as the poet probably said, so this week we're going to check out three hot weather beers, canned for your lawn mower riding, golf bag stuffing, back yard sitting pleasure. 

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Friday Froth: Beavertown Brewery, USA

"Raygun Gothic," they call it - all pneumatic curves and sleek fins blasting through air and space. This was the look of a future that meant rocket vacations to the moon, a fission reactor in every home, and wristwatch television walkie-talkies. Like Cicely, Alaska, I've always wanted to live there. 

Humanity has accomplished some of this - I'm sure at least one of you reading this right now has an iWatch on your wrist - but the dream, the one Huge Gernsback had while writing inside his isolator and thinking about "Vacation City" suspended 20,000 feet in the clouds, is out of reach. Maybe not quite so far as I think, though, thanks to Beavertown Brewing of London, and late of America.


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Friday Froth: Connecticut Beer Triple Double

When we last left Friday Froth, your occasionally humble and rapidly expanding host wastalking American Craft Beer Week, and local offerings from OEC, Stony Creek and Stubborn Beauty. We'll continue the furthering rides the Connecticut beer bus this week as we take our minds on a drive to Bristol, Hartford, and Stratford. Buckle up, because it gets heavy. 

Life is currently pretty fluid out there on the vast, rolling prairie of American craft beer. Everyone who lays hands on a mash paddle seems to be inventing a new style, or at least melting an existing style down and sculpting it into a new form. Much of this morphology arrives in the world with enough alcohol to sterilize minor gunshot wounds. These come stamped with labels marked "double" or "Imperial," which are largely interchangeable, and just mean "strong."

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Friday Froth: Connecticut On Craft Beer Week

American Craft Beer Week was last week, and my pants hate me. You'd think massive doses of beer paired with little to no sleep for long periods of time would do a body good, but no. Anyone would tell you that if you'd just listen, but then you'd also have to hear about "healthy decisions" and "getting out of that bulldozer this instant," and anyway I can always buy new pants.

So, I'm fat now and here are some of the beers which left me with a) no regrets in that regard, and b) this red line under my navel. 

Stony Creek Dock Time. For the past several years, the tasting room at Two Roads has reigned supreme in Connecticut. It is a massive, brightly lit space which fairly bubbles with history, it has an enormous central bar, and the stools have these bearings in them that let you spin around. Truly a top notch operation. Now, though, dare mention the Two Roads tasting room in any context and people will burst from out of nowhere shouting a chorus of "BUT HAVE YOU BEEN TO STONY CREEK" like it's the "fiiiiive gooold-en riiiiings" part in The Twelve Days of Christmas. 

You know what? That's fair.

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Friday Froth: Back To The Land With Kent Falls Brewery 

The drinking population, increasingly located in cities as we carve through the invisible gelatin of time's future, has been separated from the earth. Beer taps in brick buildings reflect the light of televisions, and fluorescent light sears our retinas as we grab a shiny cardboard package from metal coolers. We obtain beer from chrome. The paradox is that brewing culture in the extravagantly digital 21st century has begun to bring us a little closer to the farm, and to the inextricable link between agriculture and beer. 

Breweries were farms and farms were breweries, for most of human history. People fed themselves with what they grew and raised, but they also drank it, and the beers changed based on whatever crop was in season. We still drink the different styles of beer which resulted from these changes, but now we hardly ever see the farm. That's beginning to change, in food as well as beer.

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Friday Froth: Brewers' Collaboration Beers

Life is better when you're among friends, and people have been gathering together over a beer or a beer-like substance for thousands of years now. Everywhere there are humans, we gather in the sun, the shade of palm fronds, or under a warm tavern roof to enjoy a few drinks and catch up on what's new. We host bottle shares and beer festivals and, increasingly, brewers have been working together across brands to combine their experience, just to see what happens. 

This week, Friday Froth is going to drink a few of the beers resulting from these evanescent partnerships between breweries. The beers themselves are friendship in a glass.

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Celebrate National Beer Day w/ Three Floyds Zombie Dust...If You Can Find It

Apparently today is National Beer Day, so here are my notes from the first time I had Three Floyds Zombie Dust

*Yep - not a Friday at all, but Tuesdays could stand a bit of Fridayness, anyway.

I have a friend out in Indiana who floated the idea of doing a beer trade; he'd send me some of his state's beer, and I'd send him a few selections from Connecticut. I sent him Sea Hag from New England Brewing and Two Roads Lil Heaven, and made one request of him: "Whatever you send, please send me some Zombie Dust, too." He did not disappoint. What follows is the result, word for word:  

Grapefruit hop notes hit from two feet away as soon as it's poured. Barely cloudy amber, head forms and resolves into a thin ring. Big, juicy hops on nose, very fruity. It's hoppy on the tongue like a jungle is green - everywhere and all at once. Far cry from the punch of west coast IPAs. This is a smooth and flavorful pale ale. I want to turn back time and drink it again.

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