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Oskar Blues GUBNA switching to draft only

hand-picking-hops-for-oskar-blues-gubna-imperial-ipa-craft-beerWhen GUBNA first came on to the beer scene in 2011, it quickly became a sensation with its in-your-face wallop of hops. Since then the annual release has been something that many hop heads look forward to with great anticipation. In the past, cans of the pungent brew were available in most markets served by Oskar Blues. But, this year the brewery is changing things up and only making it available on draft in most markets. Cans will only be available at the brewery’s taprooms in Colorado and North Carolina.

Learn more about this year’s incarnation of GUBNA in the official press release below:

 Longmont, CO, Brevard, NC, & Austin, TX – Oskar Blues Brewery’s GUBNA Imperial IPA is back in the mix for year six with an emphasis on the sticky-icky and a hop punch-in-the-mouth.

Every year Oskar Blues’ eccentric fellowship of deranged brewers work with hop growers to seek out the most potent, unique and mind-bending hop varietals of the season. By annually altering the hop bill, GUBNA continually reinvents itself while letting the best and brightest of these powerful flowers flourish. This year’s disestablishmentarian dankness comes from a blend of Azacca, Sterling, and Crystal hops hand-selected by sensory panels at each of OB’s three breweries.

“The traditional hops beat out some newer, experimental varietals this year, which surprised many of us  here at OB,” said Tim Matthews, Head of Brewing Operations. “But the hops just spoke to the nearly 100 employees that participated in GUBNA hop selection and we must obey the rub.”

GUBNA clocks in at over 100 IBUs and at 10% ABV it’s a beer that you better sit down to drink before it sits you down. Expect big zesty lime and orange flavors, with a spicy/herbal sweet aroma and all the dank you’d expect from the intense hop load. The GUB, as always, sits on a base of Rye, North American Pale, and Munich malts, which offers a smooth and flavorful backbone to support the gargantuan load of hops.

In an effort to preserve GUBNA’s finest quality, the freshness of its hops, the imperial IPA, previously featured nationally in cans, will switch to a draft-only offering across the country. 12 oz. cans will only be available for to-go purchase in the Colorado and North Carolina Tasty Weasel taprooms.

Free-flowing GUBNA goodness will be available nationwide on draft in bars from March to May while supplies last. Use our Beer Finder at http://www.oskarblues.com/beerfinder to load up.

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2017 in Beer, Beer Releases

 

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Hunahpu’s Day 2017: A long road to perfection

Hunahpus-Day-2017-Tease-300x300Back in 2010, Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout made its debut in the beer scene. The decadent stout aged on cacao nibs, Madagascar vanilla beans, ancho chilies, pasilla chilies and cinnamon garnered Cigar City a gold medal at the 2010 and 2011 U.S. Open Beer Championships catapulting it to the national beer scene’s attention.

In that first year, Hunahpu’s release day was a relatively small event held in the brewery tap room. Several hundred beer-lovers gathered to taste and purchase bottles of the beer with little fanfare. But, as word of the beer spread through the beer community, demand began to grow. The beer became a hot commodity on many beer trading websites and, as bottles became more scarce, demand grew to a fever pitch.

Taking notice of the demand for the beer, the brewery planned a bigger event for the second release date. Dubbed Hunahpu’s Day, in 2011 guest breweries were invited to bring their rare and specialty beers, set up tents and offer tastes of their beers on a pay-per-pour basis. Crowds were heavy, but manageable. Except for a few scuffles over line position, the event went well enough for Cigar City to plan the same type of event for the next year.

By 2013, the hype of Hunahpu’s Day had built to such a level that hundreds – perhaps thousands — of beer aficionados queued up to get their allotment of the brew. The line was so long that the line ran several blocks up the street from the brewery and into a nearby shopping center parking lot. Rabid fans began lining up as early as 8:00 p.m. the night before, camping out at the gates of the brewery in order to be one of the first to sample the cornucopia of rare beers brought by breweries from all over the country. Many brought coolers and shared beer as a way to whittle away at the time.

Complaints of long lines began within the first hour or so of the event. Crowds crushed in to lines at the most popular tents creating waits of more than an hour. Often, unscrupulous guests would cut the line and walk right up to the front much to the ire of those who had been waiting in the hot Florida sun. To make matters worse, a staffing agency had been hired to provide servers who had no training on how to pour beer causing even longer waits.

After the event was over, it was estimated 9,000 guests passed through the gates at Cigar City leaving over-flowing port-a-lets, mounds of trash and myriad complaints from guest who were unable to get beers they had set their minds on drinking. But, due to some quick thinking by Cigar City owner, Joey Redner who reduced bottle purchase limits from three per person to two, anyone who wanted a bottle of Hunahpu’s was able to purchase one.

The massive crowds of the past led Redner and Cigar City Brewing President Toni Derby to change the format to a ticketed event in 2014. It was also decided that the event would be limited to 3,500 attendees. Ticket holders were entitled to unlimited tastes of guest beers and guaranteed an opportunity to purchase an allotment of three bottles. When the tickets went on sale on Eventbrite, they sold out in less than two hours. In theory, by limiting the number of guests, the brewery would be better able to plan for the event and insure that there would be plenty of beer for everyone. Further, guests were to be issued a silver wristband upon entry that would be removed when they had purchased their bottles of beer. Guests were told that they could purchase their allotment of bottles any time during the day, but that at 4:00 p.m. remaining bottles would be available for purchase without limit.

Because of the popularity of the event in the past and the speed at which tickets sold out, a lively secondary market for ticket sales popped up on other online outlets such as Craigslist. Since tickets purchased on Eventbrite can be printed at home, at least one – and likely several – purchasers made copies of tickets and sold the copies online. As the counterfeit tickets began appearing at the festival gates, arguments between duped guests and ticket-takers broke out. The line to get into the event began to grow and tempers flared. A snap decision was made to open the gates to everyone. The influx of bodies filled the brewery parking lot to capacity and beer lines grew longer and longer.

Then, at 4:00 p.m. when open bottle sales began the crowd shifted from the tasting lines to the purchase lines. Thousands crowded in, vying to get extra bottles.  Many purchased the 22-ounce bottles in cases of 12. But, as the feeding frenzy escalated, it became apparent that there were many guests who still had their silver wristbands and had not been able to purchase their promised three bottles. Clashes broke out between those buying extra bottles and those trying to get their allotment.

By 5:00 p.m. the bottles sold out. Redner, looking frazzled, put his hands into the air and announced that there were no more bottles to sell and police officers moved in to close the metal bay doors. The crowd became even more agitated with several banging on the doors others chanting, “Cigar City sucks!” To many caught in the middle of the crowd, it looked as if a riot could break out.

In the end, the festival was concluded early and, as the dust settled, Redner made an apology and a promise to get Hunahpu’s to any who did not get their allotment. Later, in a statement, he said, “I am acknowledging defeat. That was the last Hunahpu’s Day. The beer will go into distribution next year and hopefully spread out among many accounts, it will get to consumers more fairly.”

But, though it looked as if Hunahpu’s Day would never happen again, Cigar City surprised consumers and announced that there would indeed be a Hunahpu’s Day 2015. But, the event would be a strictly controlled, ticketed event limited to 2,000 attendees with a ticket price of $200. Each ticket included four bottles of Hunahpu’s to be handed out as guests left the festival. They also included food and unlimited tastings of guest beers.

The event went off without a hitch.

Then, in 2016, the brewery decided to take its show on the road and hold the event at Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park on Tampa’s waterfront. The change of venue allowed the event to stretch out a bit and kept it from feeling so crowded. It also allowed the event to grow to include more brewers and that meant more exceptional beers to taste.

This year, Cigar City’s Hunahpu’s Day will once again occupy Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park with even more brewers than 2016. The lineup includes such luminaries in the brewing business as Anderson Valley, Black Project, Crooked Stave, Firestone Walker, Fremont and Toppling Goliath. In addition, there are 16 breweries from 13 different countries as far flung as Russia, New Zealand and Sweden that will afford beer lovers tastes of beers they may never otherwise be able to try.

The 2017 edition if Hunahpu’s Day takes place Saturday, March 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park, 601 Old Water St., Tampa, Fla.

Cigar City advises all attendees to plan on taking Uber to the event.

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2017 in Beer, Beer Festival, Beer Releases

 

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New Belgium La Folie marks its 20th anniversary

2017_la_folie_22oz_bottleSour beer lovers look forward to the annual release of New Belgium‘s La Folie with puckered lips. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the superbly blended beer. Get all the details about it from the official press release below.

Ft. Collins, Colo. – February 20, 2017 – This year marks New Belgium’s 20th year for making sour beers, which first launched its wood beer program in 1997 with La Folie. The award-winning sour ale’s 2017 version is now available and continues the sour ale tradition thanks to the craftsmanship of New Belgium’s blending team.

Every year, Eric Salazar, New Belgium’s Wood Cellar Manager, and Lauren Salazar, New Belgium’s Sour Beer Blender, coordinate a blending of various foeders (oak barrels) to make La Folie a winning interpretation of a Flanders-style sour brown ale.

“We’ve been blending and experimenting with sour wood beers for two decades and as the name La Folie implies it’s always with a touch of eccentric madness,” said New Belgium Spokesman, Bryan Simpson. “We combine multiple barrels based on continual tasting to create a combination that is just right. Once again, the crew nailed it this year.”

The 2017 La Folie is a sharp, tart sour ale full of green apple, deep cherry, dark chocolate, and tannin-like plum skin notes. It’s 7% ABV and available in both 22-oz. bombers and on draft.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2017 in Beer, Beer Releases

 

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Rogue distributes award-winning 6 Hop IPA

6hopipaRogue Ales has always been an innovator in sustainable brewing practices. For years they have grown their own hops reducing the need to truck them in from commercial growers. Now, the brewing geniuses who brought us Beard Beer have canned an IPA that contains six different, brewery-grown hops. Learn more about Rogue 6 Hops IPA in the official press release below.

INDEPENDENCE, Ore. (Feb. 21, 2017) — In a dedication to Mother Nature, Rogue Ales has canned 6 Hop IPA to take this farm-grown beer back outside.

The six proprietary hop varietials chosen by Brewmaster John Maier to craft 6 Hop IPA were grown on Rogue’s 52-acre hopyard in the heart of the Willamette Valley. Field-guide-style illustrations on the bright green can depict the hops inside. From ground to glass to gold, 6 Hop IPA was awarded a gold medal at the 2016 World Beer Championships.

“It’s like having a piece of the farm in your hand,” said Rogue President Brett Joyce. “The aroma reminds us of the farm during hop harvest and the new cans are perfect for getting outside and wandering among the bines of the hopyard.”

6 Hop IPA’s big, beautiful bite is now available in 12-ounce can six-packs, 22-ounce bottles and on draft worldwide

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2017 in Beer, Beer Releases

 

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Narragansett to distribute shandy just in time for FLorida just in time for summmer

narragansett-dels-shandy-6-packOn a hot Florida summer afternoon there is perhaps nothing more refreshing than an ice-cold sweet and tart shandy. In case you are not familiar with this delicious hot-weather adult treat, take a look at my “I Know Jax” segment or previous blog post on the subject.

This summer, one of the best shandys will be coming to Florida just in time for sipping after a hot afternoon mowing the lawn or lounging in the sun on the beach. Narragansett Beer is expanding distribution of its popular Del’s Shandy to the sunshine state.

Get more details in their press release below:

Narragansett Beer is excited to announce that its popular summer beer Del’s Shandy is now available in Florida. This mash-up between the iconic New England brewer and Del’s Frozen Lemonade gives drinkers a taste of a quintessential New England summer. The beer blend of ‘Gansett’s award-winning Lager with Del’s tart lemon concentrate creates the perfect thirst-quenching brew for when the weather gets hot.

The runaway New England summer hit is the highest rated major lemon shandy in America, according to BeerAdvocate users. Brewed under the supervision of celebrated Brewmaster Sean Larkin, the blend provides an effervescent, citrus blast backed by just enough sweet malt to keep it from becoming too sour.

At 4.7% ABV and 14 IBUs, Del’s Shandy is best served in backyards and on sunny beaches. It’s available in six packs of 16-ounce tallboy cans ($8.99-$9.99 SRP) and 12-packs of 12-ounce cans ($13.99-$15.99 SRP).

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2017 in Beer, Beer Releases

 

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Stone releasing new IPA and returning favorite

jindia_6pack_frontStone Brewing Company is not a brewery that rest on its laurels. It is constantly developing new and exciting brews that consistently blow the collective minds of beer lovers the world over. It is not surprising then that they announced two more releases on February 14, one new and one a returning favorite.

The first, Stone Jindia Double IPA, is a double IPA, instilled with botanicals like ginger, juniper berries, lemon peel and lime peel. The inspiration for the brew comes from ingredients traditionally found in gin.

The returning beer is Stone Pataskala Red X IPA, a red IPA brewed with a unique malt called Red X from Germany-based BESTMALZ.

Read more in the official press release below:

ESCONDIDO, CA (February 14, 2017) – Today, Stone Brewing announces two seasonal additions to its 2017 lineup of offerings with the brand new Stone Jindia Pale Ale, and the return of the much loved Stone Pataskala Red X IPA.

Making its debut as a Stone Imperial Seasonal, Stone Jindia Pale Ale is a double IPA, instilled with ginger, juniper berries, lemon peel and lime peel. The botanicals mix miraculously well with a double dose of the most delectable hops.

Steve Gonzalez, Stone’s Senior Manager of Small Batch Brewing & Innovation, jumped at the chance to create this beer as he had experience in his former job making gin blends. And he absolutely nailed it. The beer has the hop-forward component of a great IPA and also the complexity of aroma and flavors derived from gin botanicals.

“Our co-founder, Greg Koch, came up with the idea of an IPA with gin botanicals after we had done the Stone & Sierra Nevada NxS IPA, which had a portion of the beer aged in gin barrels,” said Jeremy Moynier, Senior Innovation Brewing Manager. “Along with hops, we added ginger, juniper berries, lemon peel and lime peel to create a truly unique beer.”

Returning for a second year, Stone Pataskala Red X IPA, is a red IPA brewed with a unique malt called Red X from Germany-based BESTMALZ. The beer features a backstory as vibrant as its hop bill. This specialty seasonal red IPA was first brewed in September 2015 as a fundraising beer to support music and arts education programs in Pataskala, Ohio, where co-founder Greg Koch grew up.  People loved it, so it was added to the 2016 beer lineup and the name stuck. Rarely used in hoppy beers, the special German malt variety is typically reserved for German amber lagers, Irish red ales and other mildly-hopped beers. But that’s not the Stone way.

“We loved this beer and knew we had to bring it back this year,” said Moynier. “It’s a challenging beer to brew on the big scale with the amount of hops and Red X malt that we use. But I think when you taste it you will know it’s worth the effort! It has a beautiful balance of hops and malt and definitely makes you want to have more than one pint!”

Mosaic, Amarillo and Cascade hops provide this red IPA with an upfront fruity and piney aroma, transcending into stone fruit flavor and pleasingly lingering bitterness. Brewed with late hop additions and generously dry-hopped, the 7.3 % ABV beer is incredibly hop-forward, yet balanced by very unique cereal notes and biscuit undertones from the Red X malt. When all the ingredients are combined, this IPA showcases the signature qualities of classic hoppy Stone beers: citrusy, herbal, balanced just right.

Beginning today, both will be will be available in 12-ounce six-packs to retailers and on draft at restaurants and bars where Stone beer is sold.

STONE JINDIA PALE ALE

QUICK FACTS

Name: Stone Jindia Pale Ale
Stats: 8.7% ABV, 70 IBUs
Availability:  Seasonal 12-ounce bottles in six-packs and draft, available now
Hop Varieties: Magnum, Cascade, Centennial

TASTING NOTES

Appearance: Copper and deep gold.

Aroma: Fresh botanicals combine with a ton of citrus. Fresh fruit, lemon, juniper, ginger, spruce, and slight caramel can be found on the nose.

Taste: Flavors of citrus, berries, juniper, ginger, red fruit and hop resin. The flavor components blend together nicely leading to a hop backbone and a strong finish.

Palate: A complex beer with a strong mid-palate leading up to a smooth, warm finish.

Overall: A truly unique beer combining the attributes from a citrusy IPA, balanced with botanicals reminiscent of gin. The flavor components meld nicely in this big, but well-balanced, beer.

SUGGESTED PAIRINGS

A full-bodied beer with immense balance and a lot going on with the citrus, citrusy hops, spicy ginger and fruity juniper. Tons of pairing potential with this beer. Pair with hearty soups, stew, and salad, just about any type of fish served with a squeeze of lemon or lime, roasted and herbed meats, and fresh or dried red and dark fruits. With the citrus and ginger combo, this beer screams to be paired with sushi.

STONE PATASKALA RED X IPA

QUICK FACTS

Name: Stone Pataskala Red X IPA
Stats: 7.3% ABV, 75 IBUs
Availability:  Seasonal 12-ounce bottles in six-packs and draft, available now
Hop Varieties: Amarillo, Cascade, Mosaic

TASTING NOTES

Appearance: A beautiful beer! It pours deep amber with ruby red highlights and a tan head.

Aroma: A blend of dank, herbal and citrus hop aromas dominate, followed by a nice low-level toasted malt character.

Taste: The hops come across very citrusy, followed by a bit of dankness and stone fruit, then the malt flavors provide a nice balance and layers of complexity.

Palate: Dry and moderately bitter.

Overall: The flavor is mild, not intense like other red malts, but unique and adds a great component to a hoppy beer.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Chips and salsa, grilled cheese crostini, Pho, tomato bisque, Stone World Bistro & Gardens Bruschetta BLT, Kansas City barbecue, margherita pizza, miso ramen, Apple pie, raisin oatmeal cookies.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2017 in Beer, Beer Releases

 

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Alpine Beer Company releases new IPA, canned brews for first time

alpine-windows-up-ipaSan Diego, Calif. is home to many highly regarded breweries. Alpine Beer Company is among that elite group. Started in 1999 in the small suburban village of Alpine, Calif. — so named for its resemblance to an 1880 resident’s home town in Austria — in the Cuyamaca Mountain foothills, Alpine Brewing Company focuses on diversity and has garnered a national following thanks to the popularity of their Pure Hoppiness and Exponential Hoppiness IPAs. The brewery has also won two Great American Beer Festival and two World Beer Cup medals.

Going in to the new year, the brewery is adding several new products to their lineup including their first-ever canned offerings as well as a new single IPA called “Windows Up”. Windows Up is available now while the canned beers will be available early summer 2017.

Get all the details in the press release below:

February 14, 2017 – San Diego, CA
Diving into 2017 with broad US distribution, Alpine Beer Company announces three new, year-round beers will be added to their front line. In addition, the brewery is planning four limited-release offerings which will be available exclusively in the Alpine Tasting Room. The releases include two canned offerings – a first for the brand. Twelve-ounce cans of Willy Wheat Ale and Truck Trail Ale (an American Pale) will hit select markets in early summer. In addition, Windows Up IPA already began shipping to retailers nationally in January, and is quickly becoming an Alpine bestseller.

“In addition to offering Alpine beer in cans for the first time, I am especially excited for our newest IPA addition, Windows Up, to hit the market,” says Alpine Head Brewer, Shawn McIlhenney. “It’s got big hop aromatics and a really bold flavor profile with very little bitterness; this beer is a home run.”

About Windows Up IPA

Windows Up is a single IPA made with Mosaic and Citra hops. It pours a hazy straw color and is topped with bright white beer foam. Piney aromas mingle with fruity notes, while hints of citrus fruit and an overall lingering resinous quality lend a touch of complexity to this dank IPA and is 7% ABV.

About Truck Trail Ale

Truck Trail is named for the Anderson Truck Trail in Alpine, CA and is a tribute to rural American back roads where locals go for off-roading and other shenanigans. This American Pale Ale features a balanced blend of Cascade and Centennial hops. It pours a golden yellow with an eggshell colored beer foam and its bold hop-bitterness is perfectly balanced by a mellow, malty sweetness. Dominant notes of fresh pine needles and zesty citrus rind make this a classic example of the style. Truck Trail will be available in 6-packs of 12oz cans and is 5.5% ABV.

About Willy American Wheat Cans

An old-school recipe and beloved Alpine classic, Willy is a light, crisp, and refreshing American Wheat Ale featuring a prominent wheat backbone and Amarillo hops. Its pale-hued liquid contrasts beautifully against the bright, white beer foam. Hints of clean orange zest and lemon rind are balanced by an approachable wheat character, making this a refreshing and flavorful choice for craft beer lovers and newbies alike. Willy will be available in 6-packs of 12oz cans and is 5% ABV.

In addition to the new releases, the Alpine Beer Company portfolio consists of the following full-time, front line beers: Duet IPA, Willy Vanilly American Wheat Ale with Vanilla, Mandarin Nectar Orange Blossom Honey Ale with Orange Zest and Coriander, Hoppy Birthday Pale Ale. They will release their Double IPA, Pure Hoppiness for a limited time in November of 2017. Cult-favorite, Nelson IPA will be available on draft only, with small batches slated to be brewed and released as a “special editions” throughout the year.

McIlhenney is also focused on the production of four limited-edition Alpine beers that will release in the Tasting Room throughout the year, featuring classic Alpine fan-favorites and innovative new brews. The first release slated for March is Exponential Hoppiness Double IPA, followed by Bad Boy Double IPA in the Spring. In the fall, they will release a Bourbon barrel-aged version of the Imperial Porter, “Token” and are also planning to debut a wine barrel-aged fruited sour towards the end of the year.  These in-demand offerings will be available via bottle release events on a first-come, first-served basis.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2017 in Beer, Beer Releases

 

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