Best “New” Beer of the Year: Fruit Beer

2013I sort of fell behind on this endeavor so you can expect a more updates in the next few days. For today’s entry, we are looking at some fruit beers. A style that some love and some hate, but a style that has started taking off. Looking through my list, I had many more of these this year than I originally thought. Finalists for this years best “New” fruit beer where:
*New Glarus Strawberry Rhubarb
*Founders Rubeaus
*Hoppin’ Frog Turbo Shandy
*New Glarus Apple Ale

I had my first New Glarus Apple Ale last weekend and really thought it was delicious, but it’s going to come in 2nd to another New Glarus brew. This years best “New” fruit beer is……………

serendipity

New Glarus Serendipity

Serendipity has a beautiful ruby-red pour with a nice off-white head. Cherry aromas dominate but hints of apple also come through. The flavor is remarkable. The sweetness from the apples combined with the tartness of the cherries and cranberries make this accident very forgivable. Here’s more from New Glarus on this brew:

Happy Accident Fruit Ale Severe Drought, we shared the farmer’s horror as Wisconsin’s cherry crop failed! Dan bought what cherries he could. The apple crop fared better. Then joy! A grand Wisconsin cranberry harvest. What will Dan brew with Apples, Cranberries and Cherries? Oh my! You hold the happy accident of Wisconsin’s favorite fruit aged in oak with an almost magical wild fermentation. Serendipity is a wondrous celebration that sparkles your senses and dances across your palate. A kaleidoscope of flavors discovered by accident in a sour ale! Cheers to the unexpected. Vielen Dank!

**If this is a brew much too sweet for you, I recommend mixing it with an imperial stout for nice fruity touch! **

2013 New Fruit Beer of the Year: New Glarus Serendipity serendipity
ABV: 5.1%
Ratebeer: 100
Beeradvocate: 96

 

Beer Review #113: Founders Harvest Ale

foundersIt’s the time of the year when fresh hop beers starting making their way to the shelves. If you aren’t familiar with what a fresh hop beer is, here’s a quick little breakdown.

Fresh hop — sometimes called “wet” hop — beers only happen once a year, when hops are harvested in late August well into September.

Most of those hops are dried, which preserves them so brewers can use them throughout the year. But increasingly, a percentage of hops never make it to the drying kilns. These hops go directly from bines to brew kettle — sometimes within just hours — to become the main attraction in fresh hop beers. (Incidentally, bines are different from vines. Bines wrap themselves around a support, while vines use tendrils or other means to cling to supports.)

If I could recommend one for you to try this year, I would go with Founders Harvest Ale. Easily one of my favorite fresh hop beers and one I would like to keep stocked well into November.

A nice medium white head to go along with the golden/orange color. Fantastic aroma of grapefruit, orange, and pine. Not as big of a malt backing as some IPAs (which I prefer) but there is a subtle existence there. Grapefruit and orange start out in the flavor profile, followed by minimal sweetness from the malts and then the wonderful resinous pine flavor smacks you in the mouth.  Here’s what the brewery had to say about their beer:

This liquid dream pours a hazy golden orange straw color with a large puffy white two-finger head. First sip of this beer rewards with a super juicy hop presence bursting with fresh orange and lemon citrus then continues to introduce toasted malt undertones.

REVIEW

STYLE: IPA

ABV: 7.6%

PURCHASED AT: Hy-Vee Marion, IA

POUR: Golden/orange pour with a medium white head.

AROMA: Grapefruit, orange, lemon, and pine.

TASTE: Lots of citrus fruit, a bit of sweetness and then the hops take over.

Ratebeer.com rating: 99

Beeradvocate rating: 95

Overall: A

My recommendation: Fresh Hop beers are meant to be drank fresh. If you’re an IPA fan this is a must have and you have to get it soon! Terrific brew!

 

Big Sky Brewing Tasting at Benz Beverage Depot

big skyJust saw a post from Benz Beverage Depot in Cedar Rapids that they will be having a Big Sky Brewing tasting on Friday October 25. Big Sky is most notably known for their Moose Drool Brown Ale and it sounds like Benz will be kicking out some of their speciality beers during this tasting. Check out their beer lineup here: http://www.bigskybrew.com/Our%20Beer.

More info can be found on Benz Facebook page. Anyone making this event that can give me an overview, drop me a line.

Pumpkin Time!

pumpkinIt’s still August and it’s hotter than hell, but we are surrounded by pumpkin beers on our shelves. The question is, which one do we choose. I just received an email from Hy-Vee outlining the many pumpkin beers they are carrying. I didn’t see O’Fallon on their yet, hopefully we get that one in the next few months. So, which is your go to? (I liked Schlafly and Sam Adams, didn’t care for New Belgiums at all).

Ace Pumpkin Cider

9.99 per 6 pack

Commercial description

We first made this cider three years ago in 2010. It has become extremely popular since then. We add cinnamon, cloves and allspice to fermented apple juice to produce a 5 per cent cider which tastes like pumpkin pie. It is orange in color with a full rich taste that makes you want more….we carbonate the cider, cold- filter it four times before we bottle and keg it. This cider is released after Labor Day and is ideal for Halloween through Thanksgiving; although some customers think we should make it year round. It is the first Pumpkin cider to be made out West. One word for ACE PUMPKIN, delicious!

Schlafly Pumpkin Ale

9.99 per 6 pack

Rate Beer 96

Commercial description

A full-bodied, deep reddish amber beer made with pumpkin and butternut squash and spiced with nutmeg, clove and cinnamon. Celebrate the bounty of harvest with this rich, malty ale and invoke the season of plenty.

Jolly Pumpkin La Parcela 750 ml

12.99 per bottle

Rate Beer 97

Commercial description

Ok, so the joke was that Jolly Pumpkin doesn’t brew a pumpkin beer. Well, now we do. Just this one. Packed with real pumpkins, hints of spice, and a gentle kiss of cocoa to liven the soul. An everyday easy way to fill your squashy quotient. Guess now folks will have to find something else to joke about…

New Belgium Pumpkick

7.99 per 6 pack

Commercial description

What’s that bite of tartness doing in a pumpkin beer? Adding the unexpected kick of cranberry juice to brighten this traditionally spiced seasonal ale. PUMPKICK is brewed with plenty of pumpkin juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, but it’s the cranberries and touch of lemongrass that send your tastebuds sailing.

 

Rogue Pumpkin Patch 750 ml

10.99 per bottle

Rate Beer 91

Commercial description

The newest addition to the Chatoe Rogue series is Pumpkin Patch Ale, a beer made using fresh pumpkins grown in a patch that borders Rogue’s 42 acre hop yard. The pumpkins are picked, loaded into Rogue’s farm truck, driven immediately 77 miles to our brewery in Newport, quickly roasted, and pitched into the brew kettle to create a batch of Pumpkin Patch Ale.

Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin 22 oz

8.99 per bottle

Rate Beer 89

Commercial description

Smashed Pumpkin is a big-bodied beer with a light coppery orange color and pleasing aroma of pumpkin and nutmeg. The OG and final Alc./Vol. provide the structure and body. Pale Ale, Wheat and Light Munich Malts combine with the natural tannin in pumpkin and the delicate spiciness of Willamette and Hallertau Hops to balance the sweetness of the fruit. To fully enjoy all the flavors, this ale is best drunk at 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Smashed Pumpkin pairs well with sharp cheeses, nuts, lamb, hearty stews and desserts like flan or pumpkin pie. Chefs find this an excellent beer to cook with in dishes such as braised short ribs.

 

Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale

9.99 per 6 pack

Commercial description

Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale is a crisp and refreshing wheat ale with delightful aromatics and subtle spiced flavor

 

Point Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale

8.99 per 4 pack

Rate Beer 89

Commercial description

Ale brewed with pumpkin and spices. Handcrafed using real pumpkin and savory pumpkin pie spices and hints of all natural cinnamon and nutmeg. Perle hops balance with rich Munich, Roasted, and Caramel malts for the full-bodied taste and exceptional flavor.

Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin

7.99 per 6 pack

Commercial description

A perennial favorite at our Brewery Halloween party, this reddish amber ale is perfect for fall. Real pumpkin adds a full body and sweetness, while deep roasted malts lend a toasty finish to this subtly spiced brew.

Lakefront Pumpkin Lager

8.99 per 6 pack

Commercial description

Pumpkin Lager is brewed with pumpkins in the mash, spices added during the boil, and lightly hopped. The rich specialty grains and lager fermentation combine to produce the taste and the texture of pumpkin pie.

Kansas City Beer Festival Announcement

kcJust got this info to pass along any readers that might be in the Kansas City area:

I wanted to send information about a big event happening in the region that might be of interest to your readers for a weekend getaway. The Fifth Annual Kansas City Beer Festival in Kansas City, Mo., is taking place Saturday, Sept. 28 at KC Live! in the Power & Lights District located in Downtown Kansas City.

Featuring more than 60 craft beers from local, regional and other breweries around the world, the KC Beer Fest will be worth the drive and a great excuse for a weekend trip for your readers. Additionally, a portion of funds will benefit two charitable organizations, Kansas City Care Clinic and AIDS Service Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

Tickets went on sale this week, and I wanted to share the official news release for more information in case you’d like to include on upcoming regional events calendars or include a blurb in your publication.

You can view the news release athttp://powerandlightdistrict.com/index.cfm?page=news, which includes all details, but please let me know if you have questions.

Thank you for your consideration,

Kenneth Martin

Shipyard Brewing Mint Chocolate Stout hitting shelves

mintShipyard Brewing will be releasing a new brew to their Signature Series line starting in November. A mint chocolate stout should be available in 22 oz bottles soon. I’ve seen Shipyard products sporadically on Eastern Iowa shelves so I’m not exactly sure who is going to be carrying it. I know they are distributed by Dimitri Wine and Spirits out of Davenport. Let me know if you see this brew on your shelves. More from beerpulse.com:

Portland, ME) – Shipyard Brewing Company is adding a new beer to Pugsley’s Signature Series: Shipyard Mint Chocolate Stout. More on this imperial stout below…

ABV: 9%

Description: Mint Chocolate Stout is a dark, silky beer with aromas of chocolate and licorice. Smooth chocolate and coffee flavors upfront lead to a subtle spearmint finish. To fully enjoy all the flavors of this ale it is best drunk at 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Malt: Pale, Flaked Barley, Chocolate, Roasted Barley, Rolled Oats, Whole Wheat, Black, Caramunich II

Hops: WGV (Whitbread Golding Variety), Perle

Yeast: Top-fermenting English

Look for it in 22 oz. gold foil-topped bottles and draft from November through February.

New to Shelves: Boulevard Pop-Up Session IPA

boulevardAnother sessionable IPA is/will be hitting shelves in Eastern Iowa very soon, in fact it might already be there. Boulevard’s Pop-Up Session IPA is their newest year-round offering. Here’s the breakdown of the beer:

Style: IPA
ABV: 4.2%

More info courtesy of Boulevard’s webpage:

Boulevard Pop-Up Session I.P.A. joins its big brothers Single-Wide and Double-Wide in our trailer park of hop-centric beers. This “session” model is built for frequent excursions, with a very drinkable character and relatively low bitterness tucked behind a big, fruity hop aroma.

Madhouse Brewing Belgian Golden Ale releases next week!

madhouseThe next part of the successful Madhouse Brewing (www.madhousebeer.com) Venture Series is due to hit Eastern Iowa shelves next week. Their summer seasonal Belgian Golden Ale will be making its way to Eastern Iowa. From the Madhouse Brewing Facebook page:

This Belgian Golden Ale features the Nelson Sauvin hop from New Zealand. This hop variety is named for its aromatic similarity to Sauvignon Blanc wines. This creates a complex aroma which mixes the spice and clove from the Belgian yeast with tropical fruit and citrus from the hops. This beer finishes clean and crisp to make it the perfect summer release. 

I’m really excited for this release as I’ve been exploring more Belgian style brews lately. Also, if you haven’t had their Maple nut-brown, I’ve seen some bombers still on the shelves. I really enjoyed that beer, give it a shot! Support Iowa craft beer!

Newest Beer Label Approvals from Beerpulse

bullyI love Beerpulse (www.beerpulse.com). Not only do they have constant news from the beer world but one of my favorite things is when they show the newest label approvals for beers yet to be released. It gives us a great opportunity to take a look and plan out what is ahead. Now, not all of these beers will be available in Iowa, in fact, we might not see any of them. But I know there are readers that come to this blog that will travel to different states to get their hands on beers that we can’t get in Iowa. Below is a list of the newest label approvals, a brief description, and their link to beerpulse.com. Are any of these beers worthy of a drive to Chicago? Madison? Minny? Are any of these beers, whose brewer’s beers are usually on our shelves, absolutely a must to get into Iowa? I would love your thoughts! Here is a sampling:

Pipeworks Brewing Company  (http://www.pipeworksbrewing.net/)

*Raspberry Truffle Abduction Imperial Stout – http://beerpulse.com/beer/pipeworks-raspberry-truffle-abduction-imperial-stout-2/
*Chipotle Smoked Porter – http://beerpulse.com/beer/pipeworks-chipotle-smoked-porter/

Bear Republic Brewing Company – http://bearrepublic.com/

*Cafe Racer 15 Imperial IPA –http://beerpulse.com/beer/bear-republic-cafe-racer-15-double-ipa-2/

Summit Brewing Company – http://www.summitbrewing.com/

*Another IPA – http://beerpulse.com/beer/summit-another-ipa-2/

Boulevard Brewing Company – http://www.boulevard.com/

*Mid Coast IPA – http://beerpulse.com/beer/boulevard-mid-coast-ipa/

*Westside Rye Ale – http://beerpulse.com/beer/boulevard-westside-rye-ale/

Magic Hat Brewing Company – http://www.magichat.net/

*DeVEILed Amber Ale – http://beerpulse.com/beer/magic-hat-deveiled-amber-ale/

*Seance Saison – http://beerpulse.com/beer/magic-hat-seance-saison/

Dogfish Head Brewing Company www.dogfish.com

*Northfield Mount Hermon Ale – http://beerpulse.com/beer/dogfish-head-northfield-mount-hermon-ale/

Really excited for the Boulevard series they are coming out with. Also, I think I would head to Madison to get my hands on the Cafe Racer 15 from Bear Republic. To check out all the recent label approvals head over to http://beerpulse.com/beers/ with more from Lakefront, Alaskan, Anchor, Slyfox, Bells, Shipyard, and more!