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Tag Archives: Stout

New Belgium releases new Lips of Faith brew

salted_chocSalted chocolate is a real thing. At least is has become one over the past few years. The combination of the sweet, rich milk chocolate mixed with just a few grains of sea salt was magical. Now, it seems the salted chocolate phenomenon has spread to everything, including a new beer from New Belgium in collaboration with Perennial Artisan Ales. The two breweries put their collective creative juices together and came up with the newest entry into the Lips of Faith series: Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout.

The cooler autumn weather calls for a richer beer and Salted Belgium Chocolate Stout provides those qualities in abundance. The result of a friendship between Lauren Salazar, New Belgium’s wood beer czar and specialty brands manager, and the team at Perennial, this beer combines roasted barley and caramel malts to create a stout with a dark pour and tan head atop. Belgian yeast paired with a chocolate addition inspires rich aromas to complement a coffee tone. The beer has a hint of tobacco and dried fruit, along with a touch of mild salt, which boosts sweetness and enhances a roasty bitterness that every craft stout deserves.

“We wanted to brew a stout with a twist and the result is a decadent treat,” said Salazar. “It’s a fun and highly collaborative beer that combines some of our favorite things in a glass. We loved working with Perennial on this one. You can’t help but sip this stout and think, ‘it doesn’t get much better.’”

Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout is 9 percent ABV and 35 IBUs. It’s available in 22 oz. bombers and on draft. Pricing varies by location. To find New Belgium beers near you, use the New Belgium Libation Location tool: http://www.newbelgium.com/beer/locator.aspx.

uber_logoThe Jax Beer Guy has partnered with the UBER car service in Jacksonville. Because of this partnership, you can receive a $20 credit for your first ride by simply using the promo code “JaxBeerGuy” when you register for UBER on your smartphone.

Click HERE to sign up now!

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2014 in Craft Beer Brewery

 

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Stone Brewing release mocha stout with Mexican twist

stone_mexiacan_stoutA few days ago, Stone Brewing Company announced the release of a new beer that sounds truly amazing. Read the press release below and look for the beer on shelves soon!

ESCONDIDO, CA (Sept. 8, 2014) – ¿Una cerveza con chocolate? A beer with chocolate?¡Sí! The latest collaboration beer from Stone Brewing Co., Chris Banker/Stone/Insurgente Xocoveza Mocha Stout, is a milk stout infused with coffee, vanilla, cocoa, peppers, cinnamon and nutmeg. A creative take on Mexican hot chocolate, the beer was originally developed by San Diego homebrewer and Communications Officer for the Society of Barley Engineers Chris Banker, who submitted his recipe as one of the contenders vying for supremacy at the annual Stone Homebrew Competition & American Homebrewers Association (AHA) Rally held at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Escondidoearlier this year. Given the cross-cultural twist and Stone’s proximity to Baja California’s burgeoning craft brewing scene, Tijuana-based Cervecería Insurgente was invited to be a part of the collaboration. Today, the beer will begin arriving in 22-ounce bottles and on draft at retailers, restaurants and bars in select markets nationwide.

In March, 30 eager and creative homebrewers competed for the first-place prize: the opportunity to have their beer brewed on Stone’s large-scale system and have that creation distributed nationally. With the help of attending AHA members and an esteemed judging panel consisting of Stone President and Co-founder Steve Wagner, Brewmaster Mitch Steele, Craft Beer Ambassador “Dr.” Bill Sysak and several Stone brewers, Banker’s Mexican-inspired beer was selected as the champion.

“We’re lucky to have such an inventive and creative pool of participants compete in our annual homebrew competition,” explains Steele. “Just like previous winning recipes, Chris’ beer gave us the opportunity to experiment with ingredients and brew a beer we normally wouldn’t make for a large release. To re-create his recipe, we added cocoa and milk sugar during the brewing process, which gives the beer another level of sweetness. The coffee and additional spices were added to the beer post-fermentation to bring out its unique, up-front flavor and aroma.”

When formulating the recipe, Banker incorporated unconventional brewing ingredients to create a beer emulating the rich, robust flavors of a spiced chocolaty drink, Mexican hot cocoa. Coffee provided by San Diego-based roaster Mostra Coffee, vanilla, and pure cocoa from Southern California’s ChocoVivo gives the brew a sweet, roasty flavor. Cinnamon, nutmeg and a small dose of pasilla peppers create a medley of piquant aromas. The malt bill gives the beer a strong backbone for the various flavors and aromas, while the hops provide the perfect amount of bitterness to balance and harmonize the flavorful diversity.

To fully savor the beer’s complex chocolaty and spicy flavors, Chris Banker/Stone/Insurgente Xocoveza Mocha Stout may be enjoyed fresh or stored at proper cellaring temperatures for months or even years. Over time, the malt character will evolve, making the cocoa and coffee flavors more prevalent. So how do you pronounce this beer’s name? Sho-co-VAY-za. ¡Viva la revolución de cerveza artesanal! Cheers to the craft brewing revolution!

The Jax Beer Guy has partnered with the UBER car service in Jacksonville. Because of this partnership, you can receive a $20 credit for your first ride by simply using the promo code “JaxBeerGuy” when you register for UBER on your smartphone.

Click HERE to sign up now!

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2014 in Beer Styles

 

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Cigar City Brewing Company Hunahpu’s Day 2014 set, but with changes

hunahpu_2014Last year Hunahpu’s Day at Cigar City was a lot of fun. It was also flawed. By midnight the night before the release there was already a hefty line of beer hounds queued up to gain access to the event. A few hours later there were more than 300 lined up. By the time the sun came up the line stretched several blocks, into nearby businesses parking lots with thousands of beer lovers. This prompted the businesses to call the police who consequently issued the ultimatum to the brewery that they either open the event early and get the people off the street or it would be shut down.

Another issue with the event was poor line management, particularly for the most popular beers. Lines for some were hours long and unscrupulous imbibers routinely cut into the line making the wait even longer for those behind them. And worse still, the folks pouring the beer were hired from a staffing agency and had no experience serving. This made for confusion and foamy beer.

To try and cut down on these issues for this year’s event, the brewery has decided to make the event a ticketed festival with maximum attendance set at 3,500. Attendees will not have to purchase tokens to exchange for tastes, instead the single admission ticket will entitle them to sample as many beers as they like for the duration of the event.

In an announcement posted to FaceBook, December 30, the brewery said that bottles of Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout would be available throughout the day. Details on bottle limit have not been announced yet.

The Cigar City Brewing Company Hunahpu’s Day event will take place March 8, 2014 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the brewery in Tampa, Fla. Tickets will cost $50. Ticket purchase details have not been released yet, but the brewery has said that members of their El Catador Club will have first opportunity to get the tickets.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in Beer, Beer Festival, Events

 

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Reflections on a beer weekend with family

familyAfter a great weekend of beer sometimes it is nice to sit back and reflect on the fun that was had and the memories that were made. Followers of this column have often read that beer is a social beverage. It started over 9,000 years ago as the driving force behind binding our nomadic ancestors in civilized communities and continues to bring people together. Whether it is family, friends, or date night, beer can – and often does – helps people connect.

This week I had the pleasure of conducting my sister and brother-in-law around to several of my favorite beer destination here in Jacksonville.

First, we dined at the always fun and delicious Kickbacks in the King Street Beer District. And, even though the draft list is truncated due to the on-going construction of Guttyworks & Goozelpipes – Kickbacks’ soon-to-open sister restaurant and beer bar, owner Steve Flores manages to keep excellent brews on the menu. I accompanied my perfectly cooked ribeye with garlic-cream sauce with the tasty Ipswich Dark Ale, a satisfyingly hoppy brown ale. Others at the table sampled Tucher Helles Hefe Weizen, a smooth and refreshing brew with delightful fruity notes.

Following Kickbacks we meandered over to Bold City Brewing Company where I sipped on their newest release Big John Miller’s Apricot Wheat. This is a worthy edition to the Bold City lineup and perfect for a warm summer evening sitting al fresco in the parking lot of the brewery. It is a golden hued, cloudy wheat beer with all the notes one expects in a well-crafted wheat – flavorful malts with just the right touch of sweetness and subdued bitterness. The edition of fruit provides a delightfully tart apricot bite that is perfect for drinking with friends and family while catching up.

The next night, Friday, was date night and my girlfriend and I decided a stop at Intuition Ale Works was in order. As most people who know me will tell you, I am not shy about talking of my love for this local gem of a brewery. The consistent quality and friendly servers – who I am proud to call my friends – make this a favorite tap room for nearly all who enter. I enjoyed their distinctive Belgian-style Golden Ale, Duuval first and enjoyed the unique twist given to this stalwart style of beer. But, the star of the night was their popular rye ale Shotgun Shack served on nitro. The addition of nitro lent a smooth creamy character to the beer that I had never experienced before – but, will definitely drink again!

Intuition was followed by Dahlia’s Pour House another King Street Beer District bar that is always adding interesting and difficult-to-get brews to their tap line. My girlfriend is on a bit of a lambic kick lately and went for the Framboise while I went for Dogfish Head’s fruity and hoppy seasonal Aprihop. While we enjoyed our drinks, a follower of the blog and his wife stopped in to chat and enjoy a beer or two. In all it was another very enjoyable evening.

And then on Saturday I had the pleasure of pouring beer at the funky and fun Green Man Gourmet store in Avondale. Pete, an advertiser on the television show I appear on, I Know Jax, and a friend had asked me to pour the new Belgian Trappist ales he is selling and talk to his customers about the brews. Of course I agreed and, as always had a great time pouring. The first brew on the pour list was Westmalle Tripel an elegant, fruity and exceptional ale that is perfect for special occasions or dinners at home. Next in order of lightest in color to darkest was the always delicious Orval that presents itself with a hop-forward character due to the dry-hopping done during fermentation and the slight tang of brett yeast added in secondary fermentation. The third brew that was offered for tasting was Westmalle Dubbel a slightly sweet beer with hints of toffee, dark fruits and chocolate. The final beer poured was the astoundingly luscious Samuel Smith Organic Chocolate Stout. This heavy stout pours thick and rich and is redolent with chocolate balanced with subtle hints of coffee. It just begs to be drunk with desserts like cherry pie, raspberry tart, or even crème brulee.

For dinner I met my sister at Lola’s in the King Street Beer District and had the always amazing La Fin du Monde from Unibroue. This elegant Belgian-style triple is sweet and delightful with a floral bouquet that was a perfect accompaniment to the spicy jerked chicken burrito I ordered for dinner. Lola’s boasts over 50 drought beers and always has a great collection of brews from Unibroue.

The capper to the weekend was the Friends and Family soft opening of Jacksonville’s first World of Beer. The doors were opened to us because my daughter Taylor, aka The Beer Princess, will be working at this location. It was a who’s who of the Jacksonville beer industry with representatives from Champion Brands, Brown Distributing, Micro Man, North Florida Sales, Sierra Nevada, and Highland Brewing. On tap were some fantastic brews such as Petrus, World of Beer’s C’est la Vie brewed exclusively for them by Bavik, and a special firkin from Engine 15.

So, as you can see, the weekend was one full of great beers, great food and great family fun. We enjoyed our time together, chatting about the past as well as the future, and enjoyed good beers along the way. As a social lubricant, one could not ask for a better medium. So, as many archaeologists will tell you, beer brought civilization together, and in the case of my family, is an integral part of our gatherings. I would have it no other way.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2013 in Beer, Relaxing, Restaurant

 

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Japanese create another special beer

unko2The Japanese are known for their rather odd fascination with bizarre foods. I mean, who could forget such interesting snacks as Octopus ice cream, natto – fermented soy beans, and Wasabi beer? Each is disgusting on its own level, but what they have come up with now, may take the cake.

At first blush, Un, Kuno Kuro from the Sankt Gallen Brewery is an ordinary black chocolate stout. But, this beer, brewed in conjunction with the Golden Triangle Elephant Foundation, has a dirty little secret; it uses coffee beans that have taken a trip through the digestive system of elephants. In other words, the beans were picked out of elephant dung and then used to make the beer.

While the brewery says that actual elephant dung is not used in the beer, just the coffee beans, this seems a rather fine distinction. After all, the beans did travel through the inside of an elephant and were excreted out. No matter how you phrase it, that sounds an awful lot like elephant poop.

To prove the point that the Japanese are, well, crazy; the brew sold out in just minutes when it was put online for sale. That’s right, the brew which sold for 10,000 yen each (about $104) was snapped up by adventurous beer lovers from around the globe.

Website RocketNews24 got their hands on a bottle and their reviewer described the brew as having, “…an initial bitterness that got washed over by a wave of sweetness. Following that, a mellow body rolled in and spread out through my mouth.” The reviewer, Mr. Sato, went on to say, “Usually people talk about aftertaste when drinking beer but with Un, Kono Kuro the word afterglow is much more appropriate.

“After downing the last drop, slowly rising from my throat and mouth was that afterglow. The combination of bitter and sweet stayed fresh and lingered in my head. It was a familiar aroma that accompanied me through the entire beer.”

The coffee beans, known as Black Ivory, are so rare that the process yields just 1kg of beans for every 33kg ingested by an elephant. This is what makes them so expensive, and sought after. The beans are a major source of income for the elephant haven.

As for the name, Un, Kono Kuro, is a play on words in Japan. In Japanese the word for crap is unko, kono means this, and kuro means black. Put it all together and you have crap this black. It is not a stretch to figure out what the brewery was aiming for with the name. Common vernacular would have the name being “This is Black” or “S*it Black.”

The bottom line – no pun intended – if you get your hands on this brew, you are likely to have something truly special. Or, then again, it could just be more crap.

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2013 in Beer, Beer News

 

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Founders crossing the pond, distributing to UK

foundersMore proof that the American craft beer surge is finding its way across the pond to Europe came this week in the form of a press release April 16 from Founders Brewing Company. The makers of the popular and oh so delicious Founders Breakfast Stout, also announced on their website that their brews are being exported to the United Kingdom in bottles with draft beer to follow.

The text of the press release follows:

(UNITED KINGDOM) – Both year-round and seasonal beers will be available in bottle immediately with draught expected to follow later in the year.

John Green, President of Founders Brewing Co. said of the partnership, “We’ve been looking at export opportunities for a while now, and we’re excited to partner with James Clay in making the United Kingdom one of our first international markets.”

“We are delighted to bring Founders Brewing Co. beers to the UK market” comments Ian Clay Managing Director of James Clay. “Founders is one of the most respected breweries in the world brewing a truly world class portfolio of beers. Introducing beers of Founders’ calibre to the UK is a fantastic addition to an increasingly diverse and vibrant UK beer culture.”

James Clay are particularly excited about the arrival of Founders Brewing Company’s All Day IPA. American IPA is fast becoming the beer-drinker’s style of choice, but with most coming in at a heady 6 – 9% abv often one can’t enjoy more than a couple. Founders Brewing Company’s All Day IPA is an award winning American Session IPA that has been expertly brewed to keep all the flavour of its stronger cousins, but at 4.7%abv.

Other beers available at launch include Porter (6.5% abv), Pale Ale (5.4% abv), a more traditional Centennial IPA (7.2% abv) and the remarkably smooth Scotch Ale, Dirty Bastard (8.5% abv).

The full range of Founders Brewing beers will be available through James Clay by early May.

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2013 in Beer, Beer News

 

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Hunahpu’s Day a joyous celebration despite some issues

hunapuhsThousands of hopeful beer enthusiasts lined up in the dark streets of Tampa, FL in the wee hours of the morning Saturday. Some brought chairs to make their wait a little more comfortable; at least one intrepid soul brought a hammock that he strung between two trees. The throngs were gathered at Cigar City Brewing Company, waiting for their chance to purchase the brewery’s annual Hunahpu’s Day to begin. All in line were there in hopes of procuring their allotment of Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout, an annually-released, and much sought after beer that is a mélange of chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, and chili peppers.

Standing in line for a big release like Hunahpu’s is a uniquely social event. Beer aficionados are a gregarious and generous bunch. While discussing the finer points of other big release brews, it is likely that someone may open up a cooler, reach inside and pull out a bottle that is promptly opened and shared. The sharing often prompts discussion of the flavors evident and the process by which the brewer elicited them from the ingredients. It seemed that everywhere one looked people were laughing, talking, and sharing good beer.

But, even at the most joyous of beer events, things go wrong. Just after dawn, the Tampa police department appeared and announced that the line, which had spilled into the parking lot of a nearby retail parking lot, had to be condensed because the retailer had complained. This prompted the gates the Brewery to be opened sooner than expected. Once inside, more lines formed for tokens that had to be used to purchase beer, and for shirts and glasses.

And then there were the beer lines. At one point, early in the day, lines were more than two hours long. These lines were not the boisterous fun lines that had defined the pre-dawn hours of Hunahpu’s Day, these were unorganized lines marred by inconsiderate cutters who merely walked to the front of the line effectively disrespecting those who were trying to follow the rules and wait patiently. The shame of it is that it could have been avoided with better planning. A few well-placed stanchions and ropes could have cut down on the line cutting and helped things to remain better organized.

Another issue that could have been handled better was the beer servers. Many were inexperienced and slow. Many guests were handed beers that were more than half foam. Others were served beers that were only partially full. But, perhaps the biggest sin of all was understaffing. The beer trailer, were some of the best and most sought after beers were being poured had only three servers and a line that grew to more than two and a half hours long.

But, issues aside, the spirit of the event was festive. Coolers full of beer brought by attendees were enthusiastically poured for others for no other reason than to share. People discussed the finer points of their favorite beers, ate food from one of the ten food trucks on hand, and socialized. Perhaps what makes an event like this so great is the social aspect. Beer, after all, has always been a social beverage. This truth has never been more evident than at an event like Hunahu’s day.

In the end, Cigar City distributed more than 10,000 bottle of the Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout. All of the wristbands they promised to hand out were distributed before the end of the line was reached, but at the end of the day, there were still bottle of the brew left for those who did not have a wristband and waited until after 5:00 p.m. The event, even with issues, was a successful celebration of craft beer that attracted folks from as far away as Sweden. If that is not an indicator of the reach and popularity of craft beer, nothing is.

 

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2013 in Beer, Beer Festival

 

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