Friday Froth: Summer Morning Coming Down

James Gribbon

Who's ready for summer to be over? You are? Well go stand in the corner with your dunce parka on, because NO. Don't listen to the dermatologists, with their "rules" and "facts": long days are our friends and we all have to get out and show some appreciation or the great dragon will return and swallow the Sun. That's the way it works and LALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU telling me there are only two weeks left in the season. No. 

There is an absolute pile of beer and event news I want to tell you about this week, but I think this first one belongs above the jump, with beer reviews to follow: 

SoNo Marketplace will present Barks&Beer this Saturday, a $5 event to benefit Bully Breed Rescue, a New Canaan organization that helps save pit bulls, Staffordshire terriers and bulldogs. I have personal experience with pit bulls who have been rescued from abusive, neglectful owners, and seeing their transformation into happy, loving dogs just because someone cared about them for the first time in their lives is tangible proof there is good in the world. See the proof for yourself, and maybe let it lick your face, Aug. 24 from  1 to 6p.m., 314 Wilson Avenue, Norwalk. (

B. United will be running another beer academy at Coalhouse Pizza in Stamford on Aug. 27 on the subject of bottom fermented beers. The trip to BU in Oxford is a bit far for most people in Fairfield County, but a ~$10 flight of beer, including Doppelbock Curator, which has a recipe kept since 1330 by German monastic brewer Klosterbrauerei Ettal in Bavaria, seems worth a trip to Stamford. 
Coalhouse will also host a beer dinner with New England Brewing on October 21. I know it seems early on this, and we don't have the exact details on this yet, but NEB brews some phenomenal beers, and you can count on this one to sell out early. I'll retweet @coalhouse_pizza as soon as I see the announcement, and you can find other beer news I find interesting, along with unrelated neurological misfires @GribWrites.  

Seasonal creep may have lead me to throw a happy mechanical Santa through the open door of a CVS 
and into the street one October, but those of you who a) have some shred of impulse control and b) really like pumpkin beers are in luck, because Two Roads Roadsmary's Baby seasonal was just born this week. This 6.8% hellion is brewed with the usual pumpkin and spices, but has been aged in rum barrels with vanilla extract. Connecticut's largest brewer hasn't been around long enough to have many members in its seasonal collection, and I'm interested to see if this one lives up to its fantastic name. Seriously: there must have been high fives when someone came up with "Roadsmary's Baby."

Stone Brewing out of San Diego (you've almost certainly seen their Arrogant Bastard Ale hereabouts) will have their next Enjoy By IPA release on shelves as you read this. These IPAs are made to be enjoyed ultra-fresh, and only last on shelves for a very short time before retailers are mandated by contract to ship back any bottles unsold by their "enjoy by" dates. I recently drank from a glass filled directly from a fermenter at an unnamed brewer, and that's one of the only ways to get fresher suds than what Stone is shipping out here, so keep an eye out. 

Stone is currently celebrating their 17 anniversary, and their gift to us comes in the form of 
Götterdämmerung IPA. It will weigh in at 9.5% in bomber bottles and on draft, and the brewers used German malts 
(Herkules, Hersbrucker, Magnum, Merkur, Opal, Smaragd, Strisselspalt) and dry hopped it with Sterling, a U.S. hop with a German Saaz petigree. Try it out for yourself, and leave a few rings of Nibelungen on your coaster.

Dark and Stormy season may be coming to a close, but that doesn't mean you have to stop drinking ginger beer. One of the best ways I've recent found to do this is to visit Half Full Brewing in Stamford on Fridays from 4-7p.m. and trying some of their new ginger beer - that is actual beer made with ginger. The traditional flavors of hops and grain are eclipsed by the fresh ginger in this brew, but it's a nice little alcoholic beer cocktail with no effort on your part at all. 

Elsewhere in the Constitution State, Thomas Hooker has created an outstanding new extra pale ale in their Spinster XPA. This is a light, golden beer that has been single hopped with a hefty dash of Summit hops (the beer's tag line is "Alone&Bitter," get it?) and it's tremendously citrusy going down. There's a nice nose to the pint, a fact you may begin to note as early as the third one. It's not actually all that bitter - at 44 IBUs a better term may be "crotchety" - and thank jeebus it has less than 5% abv, because these pints sink faster than car keys off the side of a boat. I will be having much of this, now that I know it exists.

If you want to keep that summer feel flowing, I suggest you could do a lot worse than White Birch Berliner Weisse from Hooksett, New Hampshire. As if you couldn't tell, I've developed a fairly strong crush on this particular style of Teutonic tonic this year, but this one's a lot different than Bahnhof or Weisse Trash. 

White Birch starts off looking like any of the other styles I've reviewed this year - a slightly cloudy straw color with a thick head of tiny, white bubbles - then it goes all pointillism on you, it transforms as you get close. The sour funk of most berliner weisse beers isn't apparent on the nose - this White Birch smells more like white wine. The brewers added a tiny dose of lactobacillus, certainly, but the beer in your glass is not fully sour the way others of this style are. The brewers mention Napoleon's troops calling berliner weisse the "champagne of the north," and it seems they tried to make the beer fit the descriptor. This is the gateway into craft beer for oenophiles who prefer dry whites. It would make a beautiful dinner beer. Its planned availability only runs through September, so keep an eye out for it at a location near you.  

See you out there. Cheers.