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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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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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How to become a beer connoisseur: the basics of craft beer

I was recently introduced to Man Crates, who have some awesome gifts for guys.  They posed the question, what would help a beginner that is looking to get into beer. So I thought about it a bit and came to the conclusion that we should start at the beginning with a foundation discussion of beer types, ingredients and styles.

Beer is an exceptionally complex creation that, as the craft beer renaissance continues, is also exceedingly intimidating. There is a dizzying number of styles to choose from each described in terms that sound like they come from a different language.  But, fear not gentle neophyte, we are here to help.

Beer Types

Whether you want to learn about beer for your own edification or so that you can follow a beer-centric conversation without having to ask for translation, every beer drinker should know what type of beer they drinking. To clarify, there are two main types of beer, but many different styles. According to the Beer Judge Certification Program Style Guide (2008 Edition) there are 23 distinct beer styles, each with multiple sub-styles. The 2014 Great American Beer Festival guidelines list 90 styles with multiple sub-styles. But, we will talk more about styles later.

As noted above, there are two main beer types; ale and lager. The major differences between the two lie in the yeast that is used and how they are fermented.

Ales are fermented at warmer temperatures and employ top-fermenting yeast. That is to say, the yeast tends to float towards the top of a fermentation tank as it works its miracle on sugars suspended in the liquid. Ales were the first type of beer discovered and have roots that extend more than 9,000 years into history. Ales tend to have robust flavors and higher alcohol content.

Lagers are made with bottom-fermenting yeast and require cooler temperatures – around 40 to 55F. They also require longer for fermentation to complete. The term lager comes from the Germany word for storing the beer in cool caves or lagerung. Because of the longer fermentation time and cooler temperatures, lagers tend to have lighter, crisper flavors.

Beer Ingredients

Now that you know the two types of beer, it is important to understand what ingredients besides yeast go into the final product. In its purest form beer consists of just four components; water, malt, yeast and hops.

Water is arguably the most important ingredient in the mixture that comprises beer. Without this single, abundant element beer would never have been discovered. But, different water results in different beer. Indeed, entire styles of beers have resulted because of the type of water available. The relative hardness or softness of water can impart very different flavors due to mineral content.

Malt usually refers to barley that has been allowed to begin to sprout before being dried in a kiln. But, other grains such as rye, wheat and oats can be used in the brewing process. The type of malt and the amount that it is roasted in the kiln plays a major role in the characteristics of the finished beer.

Yeast strains are not restricted to just top and bottom fermenting. Within those two categories are hundreds of strains that impart different flavor profiles in to beer. Some brewers even allow their beer to be inoculated by wild yeasts to elicit sour or funky flavors.

Hops are the flower cones of the hops plant. Added during the boil phase of brewing beer, hops contribute the distinctive bitter flavor evident in most beer. In addition, hops are a natural preservative and contribute to stabilizing beer for storage over a period of time.

In the hands of a master brewer, these four ingredients can be transformed into literally scores of different beer styles. But, when adjuncts are added such as corn, rice or fruit, the possibilities open further.

Beer Styles

So, now that you know about basic beer types and ingredients, it is time to have a discussion on styles. The most popular style of beer in the world is the light lagers produced by huge corporate beer conglomerates. These beers tend to be light to medium yellow in color, highly carbonated and are mild in flavor. Most of these light lagers are brewed to closely approximate the German pilsner style. But, there are many more styles with much more flavor to choose from.

With more than 90 styles and at least that many sub-styles, getting to know them all can be daunting. So, in order to keep it simple, we will only look at the major styles and their characteristics. By far the most popular styles are:

  • Pilsner
  • Wheat
  • Pale Ale
  • India Pale Ale (IPA)
  • Stout and Porter

Pilsners are lagers and are generally straw to light gold in color and crystal clear. They have aromas of grain, yeast, flowers and some bitterness. They are crisp, slightly bitter and maybe a bit biscuity in flavor. This style takes its name from the city of Plzeň, Bohemia, Czech Republic, where it was first produced in 1842. Later the Germans began producing the style and to this day many people mistakenly attribute the style to the Germans.

Wheat beers are ales and as a general style are cloudy and range in color from pale straw to dark gold. When you smell a wheat beer you are likely to get hints of banana, cloves, grain and perhaps sweet citrus. A sip should provide a mild to strong banana and clove flavor as well as a slight tart tang. Brewers often add orange peel, cardamom and coriander to this style so these flavors may be present as well. These beers may be referred to as heffeweizen, weizen, witbier or wit.

Pale ales are, as the name implies, ales that range from pale gold to deep amber in color. They usually have a moderate aroma of hops that might include pine or citrus. On the tongue pale ales generally show off their moderate hop characteristic with a balanced, mildly sweet malty backbone. Pale ales that are brewed in the Burton upon Trent, UK are considered to be the best in the world to the high gypsum content of the local water.

IPAs are ales that are clear and have a range of colors from deep gold to reddish copper. Aromas from IPAs are heavy on hop bitterness and can include pine, citrus, resin, floral or fruity. The flavor can be mildly hoppy to bitingly bitter with an assertively sweet malt backbone. IPAs began in England and were formulated to survive long voyages by sea better than other styles.

Stouts and porters, while technically two different styles, share many of the same characteristics. These dark brews range in color from light brown to black. Aromas you will experience with both can include coffee, chocolate, dark fruits, toffee, caramel and even cream.  A taste of these styles may present flavors that match the aromas as well as others like burnt toast, hop bitterness and sweet cream. Stouts are generally considered heavy beers than porters in flavor but, not necessarily in alcohol. Porters were said to be favored by the baggage handlers in London’s train stations, thus the name. Both styles are often carbonated with nitrogen rather than carbon dioxide producing a creamier, richer mouthfeel.

As a starting point, the information presented here can be used to springboard into more learning. The world of beer is full of traditions, customs and practices. There are many more styles of beer to discover as you taste your way through craft beer culture. In addition, each style has an optimal style of glassware created to enhance its specific characteristics. The best way to learn is to simply try new things, read as much as you can and enjoy the camaraderie of friends over a delicious well-crafted beer.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2015 in Beer Education

 

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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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Goose Island hops things up in new seasonal IPA

Goose Island Rambler IPA. Image courtesy of Goose Island Brewing Company.

Goose Island Rambler IPA. Image courtesy of Goose Island Brewing Company.

The folks at Goose Island have an interesting new seasonal release on the shelves now dubbed Rambler IPA. Available now through December, the brew celebrates the aroma and taste of hops through usage of Mt. Hood and Amarillo hops. But, perhaps the most interesting feature of this brew is that it is a red IPA.

The hops used in this Seasonal Release trace their story to the town of Bonners Ferry, Idaho and Elk Mountain Farms. For the past two years, Elk Mountain Farms has been planting, growing and harvesting hops of exceptional quality for Goose Island beers. Bonners Ferry sits on the 48th parallel—the same parallel on which Europe’s best hop growing regions are found—and is situated in the ideal climate and soil condition for hop cultivation.

Look for medium body and carbonation in this unique and tasty IPA. Flavors range from hops spiciness to a rich malty backbone.

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Click HERE to sign up now!

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2014 in Beer

 

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Mead tasting at Dahlia’s Pour House to highlight ancient beverage

Mead-1-While not strictly considered a beer, mead does loosely fall into the same category. Whereas beer uses mainly malted grains for its fermentable sugars, mead uses primarily honey. Often meads are made with fruits, grains and even hops to impart unique aromas and flavors. It is often a potent drink with alcohol levels ranging from 8% ABV to over 20%.

The exact origin of mead is lost to the veils of time, but many archeologists believe that, like the best discoveries, it was a sort of happy coincidence. Thousands of years ago, man lived a nomadic existence in Africa. He stayed in a particular place only as long as the food held out. As he wandered the plains of Africa, one nomad found himself in need of something to sate his thirst.

A common feature of the African plains is the baobab tree. These massive trees have trunks that are as big around as tanker trucks and its lower limbs were often used by elephants to scratch hard-to-reach itches on their backs. Occasionally, a limb would break off during these scratching sessions causing a hollow in the trunk of the tree.

During the dry seasons, the hollows in the tree trunks made an excellent location for bees to build their hives and make honey. But, during the wet seasons, those same hollows would fill with water swamping the hives and mixing the honey with water. Windborne yeast would infiltrate the honey-water mixture and fermentation would begin.

The nomads, knowing that the hollows in the baobabs often contained water, sought out the trees for the water contained in the hollows. One day one nomad came across a hollow that had held a bee hive and tasted the water collected inside. It was sweet, cool and delicious. After drinking his fill he began to feel a strange euphoria and attributed it to the syrupy liquid. He drank more and, finding himself unable to walk far, decided to lay down for a nap. Unbeknownst to him, he had just discovered one of the world’s first alcoholic drinks and was about to discover the bane of all drinkers, the hangover.

As history progressed, so did the making of mead. Archeologists have discovered evidence that the drink was produced by man as early as 2,000 years before the Christian era by the Chinese. But, they have also uncovered proof that Europeans fermented mead around the same time. Descriptions of mead can be found in the sacred books of Hinduism as well as the teachings of Aristotle. During the Golden Age of Ancient Greece, mead was said to be the drink of choice by both aristocracy and commoners alike.

Today mead is a much more sophisticated drink than it was in history and is brewed with as much care and craftsmanship as craft beers. It is produced in a meadery and, depending on the way it is made, can be classified one of several different ways. Like wine, mead can be dry, semi-sweet or sweet. Mead that is made with spices such as cloves, cinnamon or nutmeg or herbs such as meadowsweet, hops, or even lavender or chamomile, is called a metheglin. While mead that contains fruit such as raspberry, blackberry or strawberry is called a melomel. A mead that is fermented with grape juice is called a pyment. These are just a few of the many types of mead available that are brewed using a variety of methods and adjuncts.

On Friday, February 28, Dahlia’s Pour House in the King Street Beer District, is holding a mead tasting that will include eight meads to try as well as light snacks to enjoy them with. The meads that will be offered include:

Redstone Meadery’s Black Raspberry Nectar made with black raspberries, Sunshine Nectar with apricots and Nectar of the Hops an intriguing blend of hoppiness and honey.

B. Nektar Meadery’s Necromango made with mango juice, honey and black pepper, Black Fang sparkling session mead made with honey, blackberry, clove and orange zest and Zombie Killer an apple cider mead with Michigan honey and cherry juice.

Twisted Pine Brewery’s West Bound Braggot brewed with a light grain bill, orange blossom honey, pungent Citra hops, Tasmanian pepper berries, and Buddha’s Hand, a fragrant citrus fruit, and then fermented this unique ale with Belgian saison yeast.

Crafted Artisan Meadery’s Pollinator that is dry-hopped with Cascade hops and spiced with blackberry hydromel.

Tickets for the event are available at Dahlia’s Pour House and are $35 in advance of $40 at the door. If you are looking for a unique Valentine’s Day gift for your sweetheart, you can purchase a couples’ tickets before February 14th for $60. For more information contact Dahlia’s Pour House at 2695 Post St, Jacksonville, FL 32204.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2014 in Beer Tasting

 

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The Price is Wrong is oh so right

The-Price-is-WrongAdam Sandler, in his 1996 sports comedy, “Happy Gilmore,” coined the phrase, “The Price is Wrong…” followed by a mild expletive. Well, in honor of that infamous phrase, and with its own backstory, SweetWater Brewing Co. has released its new Dank Tank offering. The brew, named The Price is Wrong of course, is a bronze Belgian-style monster that holes out at 79 IBUs and 9% ABV.

The Price is Wrong is a classic Belgian with a SweetWater twist,” said SweetWater’s head brewer Nick Nock in a company press release. We’ve enhanced it with some of our favorite hops to bridge two styles together for a big refreshing beer.”

The beer boasts a malt bill that includes Maris Otter, Pilsner, 2-row and wheat that is balanced out with Nugget, Centennial and Simcoe hops that provide herbal and pine notes. The brew is then dry-hopped with Simcoe and Amarillo hops for a citrus nose. Belgian yeast adds to the character of the beer and takes it to a whole new level of complexity.

As is the case with all Dank tank brews, the fun-loving guys and gals over at the brewery have created a backstory for The Price is Wrong. In this episode Danky, the hapless mascot of SweetWater’s Dank Tank brews, is fresh off tour as caddy to Boob Barker with whom he gets into a golf course scuffle. The predicament leads to a rigged appearance on The Price is Wrong game show, shenanigans ensue. Get the whole, hilarious story at http://sweetwaterbrew.com/brews/dank-tank/.

The Price is Wrong hit shelves and taps on Monday, August 12, 2013, so head on out and grab a few bombers while you can.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2013 in Beer, Craft Beer Brewery

 

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