Tag Archives: beer enthusiasts

A-B to host Oktoberfest at six breweries

oktoberfest_logo_ftcOktoberfest is the Holy Grail of beer festivals to many beer enthusiasts around the world. Each year millions of revelers make the pilgrimage to Munich, Germany to eat, drink and be merry under massive beer tents. If a trip to Europe is not feasible for you, Anheuser-Busch is bringing an authentic German Oktoberfest celebration to six of its breweries. The events, full of traditional Oktoberfest festivities, will celebrate authentic German beer, food and entertainment in September and October.

Fairfield, Calif. – September 12

Jacksonville, Fla. – September 12

Fort Collins, Colo. – September 12 and 13

St. Louis, Mo. – September 25, 26 and 27

Cartersville, Ga. – October 3 and 4

Merrimack, N.H. – October 10

In true Oktoberfest tradition, St. Louis will host a wedding ceremony to kick off the celebratory weekend. The tradition of celebrating a wedding at Oktoberfest dates back to the early 1800s when Crown Prince Ludwig, the future King of Bavaria, invited the entire population of Munich to honor his recent marriage to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen.

At each location, brewmasters and local dignitaries will kick off the celebration by tapping the first keg and leading guests in a ceremonial toast.

Guests can enjoy a variety of German-style beers, such as Spaten, Franziskaner and other seasonal favorites, paired with traditional German fare such as bratwursts, Bavarian pretzels and gingerbread cookies. Visitors can participate in traditional German games and enjoy live music and entertainment.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 2, 2015 in Beer Festival


Tags: , , ,

Ommegang and HBO collaborate on ‘Game of Thrones’ brew

game-of-thrones-beerFor fans of the HBO series “Game of Thrones” the third season cannot begin soon enough. Legions of rabid watchers want to know what becomes of the characters in the epic fantasy series. But, there is another reason for fans to get excited, especially if they enjoy great beer as well as dragon-populated fantasy tales. HBO has licensed the beer-making rights for the program to Brewery Ommegang, which is part of the Duvel Moortgat brewery family.

Ommegang, opened in 1997 in Cooperstown, NY, has long been revered as one of the best Belgian-style brewers in the United States. The brewery’s Hennepin Saison and Three Philosophers Quad are highly regarded among the beer enthusiasts garnering scores of 97% and 99% respectively on beer rating website To tie in with the March 31 “Game of Thrones” third season premier, Ommegang will release the first of a series of beers based on the critically-acclaimed show.

The first brew, a blonde ale, will be called Iron Throne after the shows seat of power and the source of much of the show’s drama. HBO worked closely with brewer Phil Leinhart and Ommegang to ensure the beer was not a mere tie-in, but more an integral part of the “Game of Thrones” experience. The beer was crafted to “directly tie into themes and nuances of the medieval-like fantasy realm of Westeros.”

“With a Lannister currently on the throne,” Leinhart explained. “It made sense to do a delicate, but piercing Golden Blonde Ale with Noble hops. Iron Throne iscertainly fair in color and soft in appearance, yet it still possesses a complexity and bite to be on guard for.”

In the realm of the show, the Iron Throne is currently occupied by a Lannister, one of the many families vying for control of the mythical kingdom of Westeros. The Lannisters are fair-haired and known for their ruthless handling of their enemies.

The beer is 6.5% ABV and will be available on draft as well as in corked bottles mid- to late-March. Future beers in the series will likely get stronger and darker as they are released. The series of brews will consist of four beers crafted specifically for the series and using elements of the narrative for inspiration. The next brew is scheduled for release in the fall of 2013, but Ommegang and HBO have not said what the style or name will be.

Keep up to date on all the beer happenings and news going on in town at the ALL NEW

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 24, 2012 in Beer, Beer News


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Samuel Adams Utopias, a potent and rare acquisition

utopiasIn the world of beer enthusiasts, there are a few beers that are so desirable, yet so difficult to obtain, that it is considered a major coup to actually acquire one. Last week, that rare beer was Westvleteren 12, the legendary beer brewed by Trappist monks at the Saint Sixtus Abbey in Belgium. The monks, notorious among beer-lovers for their maddeningly low production and frustratingly difficult procedures for obtaining the beer, released a quantity to the United States for the first and probably last time in order to finance badly needed repairs to the monastery. The allotment was snapped up in record time. I was among those dedicated fans who braved the rain in Jacksonville to snag the brew.

This week I again obtained a rare and highly sought after brew, one that is just as valued by beer aficionados as Westies, but this time is domestic. I refer to the bi-annually released Samuel Adams Utopias. Thought the brew has only existed for ten years, it has garnered the same type of reverence and demand as even the elusive Westie.

Samuel Adams founder and chairman, Jim Koch says of the Utopias brews that his original idea was not to copy the European styles of beers like all the other brewers, but to create a style of beer that had never been brewed before. His first foray into brewing a unique style resulted in the creation of the coveted Samuel Adams Triple Bock, a brew that weighed in at an astounding for the time 18% ABV, the strongest beer in the world then. Another first for the brew, Triple Bock was aged in spirits barrels and bottled in distinctive cobalt-blue bottles. The year was 1994 and the brew sold out within just a few months.

Next Koch wanted to make a brew to commemorate the upcoming millennium, so in 1999 he set his sights at creating a brew that would honor the once-in-a-lifetime event and named it Millennium. According to the company’s website, this 40 proof brew was fashioned with, “with overtones of vanilla, butterscotch, pear, and a hint of cinnamon. Noble hops give Samuel Adams Millennium a touch of herbal and orange rind-like bitterness that delivers a balanced finish.” A recent auction on eBay had a single bottle of this brew selling for nearly $1,000.

With another success under his belt, Koch began to formulate his next big beer. This time the plan was to release the brew every other year. The brews were named Utopias, and the first batch was released in 2002. That first batch hit the market at 24% ABV and was marketed as the strongest commercially available beer in the world. Subsequently, Sam Adams has released Utopias with increasing ABVs up to this year’s 10th anniversary release that comes in at 29%.

This year’s release is brewed with, “Samuel Adams two-row pale malt, smoked malt Munich, and Caramel 60 to impart the rich, ruby-red color.” The brew also incorporates three varieties of Noble Hops: Hallertau Mittlefrueh, Spalt Spalter, and Tettnang Tettnanger. But, perhaps one of the most interesting ingredients in the beer is a blend of the other Utopias including the nearly twenty-year-old Triple Bock. To obtain the higher alcohol content, Sam Adams used a strain of champagne yeast that is known to survive in the higher alcohol environment. Finally, the brew was aged in a succession of barrels to enhance its notes of vanilla and maple. Those barrels included bourbon barrels from Buffalo Trace Distillery, finishing casks of Tawny Port and Vintage Ruby Port from Portugal, and rum barrels from Nicaragua.

The end result of this time-consuming and labor-intensive process is a beer that is reminiscent of the best cordials. The company says that the brew, “invokes the flavor of a vintage Port, fine Cognac, or aged Sherry while feeling surprisingly light on the palate.” The brew is said to include flavors of fig, chocolate, raisins, vanilla, and spices.

For the brew’s 10th anniversary, only 15,000 bottles were produced. The individually-numbered bottles themselves are a work of art shaped to look like a brew kettle but colored black with roots painted on it to represent the roots beer’s that are nearly 20-year deep history.

Because of the limited number of bottles, Utopias are extremely difficult to come by and, if you are fortunate to find it, rather expensive at $190 per bottle. But, if you do manage to acquire this remarkable brew, be sure to savor it. Unlike many beers, this brew can be opend and resealed without fear of spoilage. Many take a small amount upon receipt and then pour themselves a small amount yearly on their birthday or New Year’s Eve. However you decide to drink the brew, if you are in possession of a bottle, you can feel privileged to know you are one of the very few to have that opportunity. I do.

Keep up to date on all the beer happenings and news going on in town at the ALL NEW

1 Comment

Posted by on December 20, 2012 in Beer, Beer News


Tags: , , , , , , , ,