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Category Archives: Beer Styles

Maggies-3D-Can_TransparentBeer is a many splendor thing, whether it is in the form of an IPA, stout, kolsch or pale ale, there is an ever-changing kaleidoscope of flavors to choose from. And craft beer lovers like it that way. All one has to do is pay attention to the weekly offerings at many of the local breweries to see that mid-week most offer a variation to one of their current brews. Be it an herb-infused saison or an IPA aged on fruit, variety is the name of the game.

One of the hottest emerging trends in the world of craft beer is fruit-infused brew. Sure, the Belgians have had fruit in their beer for more than a century. Breweries such as Brasserie Cantillon in Brussels created Framboise (raspberry) and Kriek (cherry) lambics more than 100 years ago. Lambics are a style of ale that is not inoculated with yeast; instead it is allowed to spontaneously ferment from yeast present in the air that gets to the beer via open air cooling vessels often located on the roof or the top floor of the brewery that is open to the outside.

As a modern phenomenon, fruit beers come in several iterations; fruit additions to typical styles like IPAs and stouts, styles that have traditionally included fruit or fruit syrup additions like Berliner Weisse and hybrid styles that are created specifically to highlight fruit flavors like apple ales.

A trip to your local beer monger will reveal an ever-increasing shift towards fruit-flavors in familiar styles. The highly-rated IPA Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company of San Diego, Calif. now comes in a wide array of fruit flavors like grapefruit, pineapple and even habanero (yes, peppers are technically fruits). Another style that has had the fruit-infusion treatment is farmhouse ale. This style, akin to saison, has been refreshingly imbued with peach by Terrapin Beer Company of Athens, Ga. in their Maggie’s Peach Farmhouse. Wheat beers are also frequently amped up with fruit flavors. Traditional Belgian wheat beers often include orange peel in the brewing process, but American brewers like 21st Amendment have upped the ante by adding watermelon in their Hell or high Watermelon.

Berliner Weisse, a German sour wheat beer, was traditionally served with raspberry (Himbeersirup) syrup to balance the tartness. Today brewers create their own riffs of the style by adding fruit directly in the beer during fermentation. Locally in Jacksonville, Aardwolf Brewing Company has created several variations of their Lactic Zeppelin Berliner Weisse with guava and passionfruit.

Samuel Smith’s The Old Brewery in Tadcaster, England produces several fruit beers that defy any other style categorization. One of their best is Samuel Smith Organic Strawberry a spontaneously fermented brew with tart and sour flavors similar to a Belgian lambic. The addition of strawberry juice adds some sweetness to balance the flavors. But, perhaps the fastest growing flavor among fruit beers is apple. With the growing popularity of hard cider, companies like Redd’s (part of the Miller Brewing Company) are capitalizing on the fruit beer trend. Available in several flavors, Redd’s is an apple-flavored beverage that is brewed like a beer rather than simply fermented like a cider.

Whether you are a purist and think beer should taste like, well, beer or a progressive and accept the current flood of fruit beers hitting the market, one fact is certain; brewers are going to keep experimenting with new fruits and flavors. You may as well relax, fill a cooler with ice and add some refreshing fruit-infused brews for enjoying on the back porch on the coming hot summer nights.

 

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Posted by on July 24, 2017 in Beer, Beer Styles

 

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Taste for sour beer may be due to evolution

sourThe power of sour is undeniable. For centuries, breweries have been making sour beers that range from mildly tart to toe-curling, tooth enamel-eating sour. Sour beers that go by names like gose (pronounced go-zah), lambic, Berliner Weiss and more are seeing a surge in popularity rivaled only by the IPA craze of the past few years. And, with the hot, humid summer months coming, you will see more and more of these thirst-quenching beers on local shelves.

But, why do we humans have such a craving for sour things? It all goes back to biology. Sour tastes are generally associated with acids that are found in relatively few places when it comes to food. Somewhere in our evolutionary history, we lost the ability to synthesize vitamin C meaning that we had to get it from our environment in the form of food. Acids in the form of vitamin C are key nutrients in holding off a number of deadly conditions like scurvy and also help to build our immune systems. Since sour meant acid to our ancestors and that satisfied our body’s need for vitamin C, our collective physiology made us seek out acidic foods like citrus fruits.

Now that we have an idea why some of us are inclined to enjoy sour flavors, let’s take a look at how sour beer developed.

Before yeast was discovered in the late 1800’s, most beers were at least a little sour. This was because the role of yeast was not known to brewers and beer was usually brewed using open-topped fermentation vessels. Wild yeast “infected” the sugary pre-beer liquid known as wort and caused the magical process of fermentation to occur.

Once the properties of yeast were understood, breweries began to control the amount of sour flavors in their beers. Some breweries, particularly those in Belgium continued allowing their wort to “spontaneously ferment” by withholding yeast and allowing natural yeast to inoculate the liquid. From these breweries come beers such as gueuze, an intensely sour beer created from blending one, two and three year-old lambic ales.

Other sour styles such as German goze, are produced by intentionally adding yeast strains that add sour flavors to the finished beer. This style is also characterized by the addition of salt and coriander. Yet another style is Berliner Weiss a German wheat beer made with Lactobacillus bacteria and usually, but not always, served with flavored syrup. Yet another sour beer is Flanders Red named for the area of Belgium where it is made as well as the red color and sour flavor it obtains from the red wine barrels it is aged in.

Sour beers have emerged as one of the hot trends in craft beer today. You can look forward to more and more sour beer produced by craft brewers in the coming months and years.

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2017 in Beer, Beer Styles

 

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Harpoon releases 54th 100 Barrel Series beer: Nordic Saison

Nordic-Saison-glass-jpgHolding Brewing Permit #001 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is something of a big deal. It means that Harpoon Brewing Company was the first brewery in Boston. In the early day, the brewery, owned by three friends — Dan Kenary, Rich Doyle, and George Ligeti — was founded in 1986 after Kenary and Doyle returned from a trip to Europe where they fell in love with the fresh, local beers found there.

Over the years, the brewery introduced new beers and lines. In 1993, Harpoon IPA, now a favorite among many beer-lovers, was launched as a summer seasonal. The beer was so popular that it brought the company out of the red and in to the black financially for the first time since its founding. More new offerings followed with the UFO line, launched in 1998 with the breweries first unfiltered brews. UFO, a German-style Hefeweizen, was a new style for New Englanders who immediately took to the cloudy, refreshing beer with its notes of lemon and garnish. Harpoon quickly became known as a brewery with its finger planted firmly on the pulse of the burgeoning craft beer revolution.

To further highlight the talents of the brewery’s brewers, the 100 Barrel Series was introduced in 2003. Originally this program was intended to spotlight the creativity of a single brewer from inception to production. Brewers were challenged to use their imagination to create experimental styles or new twists on established styles. When the recipe is finalized a small batch of the brew is produced and offered as a special release to thirsty beer-drinkers everywhere.

Th newest edition to the 100 Barrel Series is Nordic Saison, brewed collaboratively with Anders Kissmeyer of Kissmeyer Beer & Brewing, Will Meyers of Cambridge Brewing Company, and Jaime Schier of Harpoon Brewery. The brew is a study of fresh floral aromas and a tart, dry finish.

Learn more about 100 Barrel Series: Nordic Saison in the official press release below.

THE HARPOON BREWERY RELEASES 100 BARREL SERIES NORDIC SAISON
An Experimental Collaboration that Celebrates Local ingredients and Brewing Individuality

Boston, MA (July 1, 2015) – Harpoon is proud to introduce the 54th installment of the Harpoon 100 Barrel Series: Nordic Saison. Anders Kissmeyer of Kissmeyer Beer & Brewing, Will Meyers of Cambridge Brewing Company, and Jaime Schier of Harpoon Brewery created this effervescent golden Saison using local honey and cranberries, rosehips, yarrow, and heather flowers.

Harpoon’s Jaime Schier first met and enjoyed beers with Anders Kissmeyer, a pioneer of the Danish craft beer movement, on one of Harpoon’s annual beer culture trips to Denmark back in 2005. So when Anders asked him to join his Saison experiment—brewing the same recipe at select craft breweries around the world— Jaime jumped at the chance. Together with longtime friend Will Meyers from across the Charles River at Cambridge Brewing Company, the three fashioned this Saison with a distinctly floral, herbal character, refreshing tartness, and sublimely dry finish.

Harpoon Nordic Saison is part of Anders’ collaborative experiment that celebrates local ingredients and showcases the individual “stamp” of each craft brewer. “The Nordic Saison project is aimed at exploring the fascinating differences in the character of beers arising from the same base recipe but brewed at different breweries. Then the ’fingerprint’ of the brewery – in the form of the karma of the brewers, their equipment and methodology, and the local ingredients – can be expressed,” says Anders. “The Harpoon Nordic Saison is very accessible and drinkable, but still with a subtle depth of complexity that keeps you coming back for more.”

Harpoon Nordic Saison has a light body and a slight tartness and bitterness. The aroma is fruity and spicy with a subtle Citra hop note. The flavor is crisp, floral, and spicy from the addition of local honey and cranberries, rosehips, yarrow, and heather flowers. It finishes is crisp with a yeast spiciness, fruity complexity, and a touch of citrus.

Brewers’ pairing recommendations:
Anders:  “This beer is extremely ´food versatile´ meaning that it will go very well with almost any seafood dish imaginable, with most of the salads and sandwiches (burgers excluded, though!) I know of, traditional chicken dishes, most Thai dishes, all pale and/or vegetable based soups, most cheeses (apart from very strong or bleu cheeses…).”

Will:  “I see this beer as quite versatile and able to complement food in a variety of circumstances. Terrific with fresh chevre and soft rind cheeses, mild pickled or cured vegetables and meats, definitely seafood and grilled fowl. Not only would it pair well with a salad of fresh herbs, I would also include it as an ingredient in a vinaigrette and as a marinade.”

Jaime:  “This beer is best paired with a warm summer day out on the patio, filled with great friends and great conversation!”

Brewers’ Tasting Notes for Nordic Saison:
Appearance:  very pale golden
Aroma:  herbal notes with yeast phenols and esters
Mouth feel:  very light bodied, highly carbonated,
Taste:  tart, herbal, with balanced contribution from Yarrow, Heather flowers, dried cranberries, honey, and Rose Hips

Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Nordic Saison Beer Specs:
Style:  Saison
ABV:  6.1%
IBUs:  25
Color:  8 EBC

The Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Nordic Saison is now available in 22 oz. bottles and draft (limited availability).

Harpoon introduced the 100 Barrel Series in 2003 to showcase the individual brewing talents of its employees.  Every couple months, a different Harpooner is invited to choose a style of beer, formulate the recipe, and brew the beer.  That brewer’s signature can be found on the bottle label.  The beers in the series are one-offs; they are brewed in limited batches and are available only until the batch sells out.  Since the series began in May of 2003, 54 different styles of beer have been brewed.  For a complete list of beers that have been released as part of the 100 Barrel Series, visit www.harpoonbrewery.com.

For additional information about the Harpoon Brewery and the Harpoon 100 Barrel Series, please contact Liz Melby atlmelby@harpoonbrewery.com.

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2015 in Beer Styles

 

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Ancient German Gose beer style making a comeback

VictoryKirschGoseAs the craft beer movement spreads and becomes more and more popular, brewers are always looking for different styles of beer to introduce to American palates. One style that has begun to appear with more frequency is the German Gose (pronounced go-zuh) style. With its slightly salty and tangy flavor, Gose is a bracing and interesting addition to the portfolio of craft beer styles that begs the question, “Why make a salty beer?”

As a style, Gose originated over 1,000 years ago in the German state of Lower Saxony specifically in the town of Goslar through which the brew’s namesake river — the Gose — flows. About 100 miles west of Leipzig, Goslar rose to prominence in the 11th century, not only as one of the wealthiest and most important copper, lead, zinc, salt, and silver mining towns in the German Empire, but also as a brew center. The naturally saline water of the aquifer in and around Goslar was renowned for its high mineral content and lent that saltiness to the beers brewed in the region.

By 1738, the mines in the Goslar began to deplete causing the population to shift to Leipzig. Along with the population, the breweries followed. Gose production quickly grew in Leipzig until it became the predominate style in the city and region. By 1826, Gose production in Goslar had fallen to such a small amount that the city council decided to abolish production. Gose’s popularity rose so much that by 1900 there were more than 80 licensed Gose houses in Leipzig.

Because of wars and communist occupation, during the 20th century Gose slowly disappeared and became an extinct style. BUt, after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 the style made a comeback due in great part to Gosebrauerei Bayerischer Bahnhof (Gose Brewery Bavarian Station), which opened its doors in 2000.

Now, Victory Brewing Company has tackled the style producing the distinctly flavored Kirsch Gose. Read the press release below for more information abut this new brew and the Gose style.

Downingtown, PA, April 7, 2015Victory Brewing Company (Victory) announces Kirsch Gose, its first endeavor incorporating natural fruit juices, which add subtle flavors over a unique tart and salty finish. Gose is a German-style brew that takes its name from the salinic river Gose. Promising to excite with the sharpness and sweetness of fresh cherries, Victory puts a modern twist on an old-world, time-honored process to bring a distinct and refreshing session ale to market.

Kirsch Gose was borne out of the passionate artistry of Victory Brewing Company’s brewers and blends a variety of wheat malts, Czech-grown Saaz hops and cherry juice to create a distinctly bracing, light-bodied pleasantly sharp beer with a nod to European tradition while featuring American ingenuity. With an ABV of 4.7% and exciting flavor profile, Kirsch Gose invites fans to ‘Taste Victory.’

Available throughout Victory’s 35 state distribution footprint, Kirsch Gose’s suggested retail price for a 12 oz. four-pack is approximately $9.99, but varies upon location. Use Victory’s Beerfinder to discover a nearby location, or download the free Victory Mobile app for Android or iPhone.

Goses, which are traditionally brewed to be slightly tangy and salty, have a longstanding German history since the 16th century. They are brewed using both malted barley and wheat to provide a bit of sharpness and a smooth mouthfeel. After the brewhouse additions of spices such as coriander, the style is then fermented with wild, top-fermenting yeast to produce a dry, bubbly, puckery product. Interestingly, because brewing goses required more wheat than the standard lager beers then in vogue, they fell out of production as post-World War East Germany (where it was primarily brewed) needing to ration their supply for bread making as opposed to beer making.  The demolition of the Berlin Wall, in combination with the booming North American craft beer movement in the late 80’s, encouraged the gose resurgence in Germany with local Leipzig brewers and provided a canvas of endless creative possibility for North American craft brewers.

“At Victory, we rely on our German training to keep the best brewing traditions alive, while incorporating inspiration from the wide world of flavor possibilities, ” said Victory’s President and Brewmaster, Bill Covaleski. “Kirsch Gose is a slightly different, definitely delicious sensation that we hope our fans enjoy as much as we enjoyed creating it.”

About Victory Brewing Company

Victory Brewing Company is a craft brewery headquartered in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Founded by childhood friends, Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet, Victory officially opened its doors in February of 1996. In addition to the original Downingtown brewery and brewpub, Victory recently opened a second state-of-the-art brewery in Parkesburg, PA to expand production capabilities and serve fans of fully flavored beers in 35 states with innovative beers melding European ingredients and technology with American creativity. To learn more about Victory Brewing Company visit us on the web at www.victorybeer.com.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2015 in Beer Styles

 

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Nitro brews a growing craft beer trend

guinness_cascadeThe smooth, creamy texture of beers like Guinness, Bodington’s and Old Speckled Hen is due to the addition of nitrogen rather than carbon dioxide. Since nitrogen forms much smaller bubbles than CO2, the result is a silky smooth mouthfeel that has won over legions of beer drinkers the world over. The popularity of these beers and the unique sensation and flavors created by nitrogen has contributed to the growing trend among craft brewers to add nitrogen to their beers. Over the past few years more and more brewers have added nitro taps to their tap rooms and begun experimenting with the gas.

Nitrogen is largely insoluble in liquid, which is what contributes to the thick mouth feel. This effect is helped by a special piece of tap equipment known as a restrictor plate that forces the beer through tiny holes before it lands in the glass. That process causes the “rising” effect that is topped with the head. And it’s really only the bubbles on the sides of the glass that fall. Inside they are actually rising, as typically seen with a poured carbonated beverage.

Left Hand Brewing Company of Longmont, Colo. was the first American craft brewer to introduce a bottled nitrogen beer without a widget to dd the gas to the beer. On the first night of the 2011 Great American Beer Festival, Left Hand revealed Milk Stout Nitro in a bottle.

Just a few years later, Tampa brewing powerhouse Cigar City Brewing Company decided to begin a program dedicated to distributing a number of their brews for nitro taps. In 2013 the brewery issued a memo to its distributors that said:

We here at CCB have decided to place a focus on our draft nitro beers. We think the nitro adds a unique aspect to many brands. Our tasting room has two nitro taps and we want to get more nitro beers out into the market.

Since then, the trend has spread to many more breweries who have begun experimenting with putting all manner of beers on tap. Traditionally, beers that are predominantly malt forward have been served on nitro. These beers consist primarily of stouts and porters, but may also include malty ales like Boddington’s. But, as the trend spreads, some brewers are trying the gas with pumpkin ales, red ales and even IPAs to spectacular results.

The trend has become so popular that it has spawned nitro only beer festivals and even a new product that allows homebrewers to turn any beer into a nitro beer. Called NitroBrew, the new device allows beer-lovers to even turn store-bought brews into a smooth, creamy nitrogen masterpiece.

To learn more about the NitroBrew, read the press release below.

New York, NY — NitroBrew, an innovative new technology that nitrogenates any beer at the point of service, is now available to craft beer fans and home brewers at http://nitrobrew.com/shop/.  An ideal Father’s Day gift, NitroBrew is the first commercially available product designed to bring nitrogenating technology into the home, enabling beer lovers to nitrogenate store-bought brews and hobbyist beer brewers to create their own nitro-style brews from scratch.  In under a minute, NitroBrew turns any home-brewed or bottled beer into a sensational, silky nitro-style beer masterpiece.

Nitro-style beers are rapidly gaining popularity among beer connoisseurs and foodies for their smooth mouthfeel and well-rounded flavor.  The nitrogenated beverage trend has also crossed over into cold brew coffee, which NitroBrew can also be used to nitrogenate.

“The precise balance of nitrogen and carbon dioxide in a nitrogenated beer changes dramatically during transportation and storage.  Whether it’s bottled or kegged, it’s impossible for a brewer to control the quality of a nitrogenated beer after it leaves the brewery,” said NitroBrew inventor and 25-year beer industry veteran Murthy Tata. “My colleagues and I developed NitroBrew to deliver a dependable mix of nitrogen and carbon dioxide with every pour at the point of service, whether it’s a bar, a restaurant or at home.”

Each NitroBrew kit includes a kettle, a discreet charging station and a small air compressor.  NitroBrew is easy to use, easy to clean, compact and takes up little storage space.

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2015 in Beer Styles

 

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Oats and hops coexist in New Belgium, Half Acre collaboration

oatmealipa_lNew Belgium Brewing’s Hop Kitchen series will see a new release soon. This time the trailblazing series will be produced with Chicago’s Half Acre Beer company to create a creamy, hops forward Oatmeal IPA. If you are thinking that oatmeal is not your normal addition to an IPA, you are right. Used more often in stouts, oatmeal imparts a smoother, creamier mouthfeel to this innovative brew.

Learn more about the beer and the Hop Kitchen series in New Belgium’s press release below.

Ft. Collins, Colo., March 16, 2015 New Belgium Brewing and Chicago’s Half Acre Beer Company join forces to create Oatmeal IPA, a fruity, tropical hop-bomb with a creamier sip than the average IPA. The beer is available on draft, while supplies last, through New Belgium’s Hop Kitchen Series.

Oatmeal IPA first came to life about four years ago, when New Belgium’s brewmaster, Peter Bouckaert, visited Half Acre where he met with owners Gabriel Magliaro and Matt Gallagher. That’s when they planted the seeds for a collaboration beer.

In late 2013, the first beer in this two-part collaboration was released as Avoine IPA, an oat-spiked IPA brewed at New Belgium and released throughout Chicago (Avoine means “oats” in French). In February of this year, the Half Acre team traveled to Fort Collins, Colo., to brew the second installment: Oatmeal IPA.

This 2015 release is honey-hued with a velvety mouthfeel that offers brilliant pine, grass and guava courtesy of Citra and Centennial dry-hopping. Oatmeal IPA is ultra-tropical and appears softer than the traditional IPA, but be warned – lurking beneath the smooth oats and toasted malts, are vibrant hops with a bitter bite.

“Having Avoine IPA only available in Chicago was just too much of a tease,” says Specialty Brand Manager and Blender Lauren Salazar. “I couldn’t resist bringing it back and sharing it with everyone. You just can’t get better than the Half Acre guys—we’ll always have a soft spot for them.”

Oatmeal IPA comes in at 6 percent ABV and 60 IBUs. Pricing varies by location. To find this beer and other New Belgium beers near you use the New Belgium Libation Location tool: http://www.newbelgium.com/beer/locator.aspx.

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2015 in Beer Styles

 

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Sierra Nevada releases first national beer with wild hop

neomexicanus-hopSierra Nevada Brewing Company has long been an innovator in the craft beer industry. Founded in 1980, the company is unarguably one of the forefathers of the entire movement. In keeping with their pioneering attitude, the brwery is the first to use a newly-discovered wild hop variety — the Neomexicanus hop — in a nationally-released brew.

read more about the hop and Sierra Nevada’s release below.

Chico, CA—For the finale of its five-bottle 2014 Harvest series, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is showcasing the wild Neomexicanus hop for the first time on a national stage. Originally found during a backcountry quest in the foothills of Taos, New Mexico, the bizarre cones of the Neomexicanus hop produce multiple heads—aptly nicknamed Medusa—and Harvest Wild Hop IPA boasts their vibrant melon, apricot and citrus aromas. The 24-ounce bottles ship to distributors starting this week and will be available through January 2015.

Quick stats on Harvest Wild Hop IPA:

• ABV—6.5%
• BU—55
• Hop(s)—Neomexicanus
• Malts—Two-row Pale, Caramel

“There’s a fun sense of adventure in our final Harvest beer of the year,” said Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada’s founder. “The Neomexicanus hop was a lucky find by a rogue hophead combing the wild landscape, and he’s essentially gifted it to craft beer. We’re always looking for new aromas and flavors, and when they’re unexpected, it’s all the more exciting.”

Throughout 2014, the inaugural Harvest series explored newly developed hop varieties and different hopping methods: single hop (Yakima 291 and Equinox), fresh hop (Southern Hemisphere Harvest®), wet hop (Northern Hemisphere Harvest®), and wild hop. Sierra Nevada will reimagine the Harvest series for 2015, with the first release slated for February.

Tied to the Harvest series and its celebration of hops, Sierra Nevada last month hosted its second annual Single, Fresh, Wet & Wild Harvest Festival in Chico, Calif. More than 50 brewers from across the country celebrated the annual hop harvest, pouring a selection of their beers that included at least one single hop, fresh hop, wet hop or wild hop beer. “With arguably the
greatest brewers in the country setting up camp next to the newly harvested hop fields,” said the Chico News & Review, “it’s pretty much the perfect beer experience.”

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2014 in Beer Styles

 

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