Hello Ladies (and you occasional Gents)! I sincerely apologize for keeping you waiting on the second installment of my friends lessons in beer buying! Here it is though... and just so you know, it was totally worth the wait.
Beer’s been around for approximately 8,000 years. A long time for us to appreciate the historic, economic, and cultural value of the stuff!
There are some beers that have been made of anything from baked bread (ancient Egypt) to human spit (ancient South American cultures).
Fortunately, most of the beer we’re able to get at the local market today is spit free (although there are a few very experimental brewers out there, such as DogFish Head, that’s still trying out primitive brewing methods).
The beers that I like are beverages that give a good feeling, that aren’t made with a lot of unnatural starches and sugars. Those tend to lead to headaches, upset stomachs, and bad attitudes.
I really enjoy beers that taste great, at almost any temperature. Many of the beers that I’m recommending can be enjoyed fresh from the fridge, or at room temperature, and a little flat. If I can enjoy a beer that’s a little flat, and a little warm- based on taste alone- I know I’ve found a really good one!
I hope that you’ll be able to explore and expand your pallet, trying and enjoying new tastes and new experiences with some of the beers I’m recommending.
I think that if you’re able to keep an adventurous spirit about you, you’ll be able to find some really unique
tastes that you might never have experienced!
Turn over a new leaf, and be adventurous! Challenge your taste-buds, and take them to places they’ve never been before!
New Belgium Snow Day (Seasonal)*
As promised, New Belgium is popping up again with this splendid seasonal Winter Ale. Snow Day is a medium-dark beer, and heavier than your typical Lager or Ale. The brew is made with darker malts, and features a great balance of lightly spicy and floral hops.
Snow Day has well-balanced caramel flavors, perfectly intertwined with dark chocolate and faint hints of heavier fall spices.
When I first tried Snow Day, I was struck by just how fitting a Winter Ale it really is. It’s very drinkable; no overtly strong flavors stand out. This beer really nails it- The perfect brew for that blustery Snow Day!
*Make sure to check this one out soon, it is a seasonal and will come out of most distributers’ rotation by mid-February!
Brewery: New Belgium, Fort Collins, Colorado
Expect to pay: $8.00-$10.00 / 6pk
Pairings: Corn Chowder, Grilled Chicken or Steak Panini, Roasted Grouper, Rib-eye
Bells Brewer Best Brown Ale (Seasonal)*
Delicious fall flavors highlight this malty, delicious brew. It’s a darker-brown Ale (as title suggests), with hints of cocoa and caramel and toasted walnuts and pecans. This delicious brew is heavy enough to stand up as an early winter ale, but lacks the heaviness of many of its more malty, heavy companions.
I really enjoy this brew (especially when available on tap), and find it to be a refreshing break from the normal overly spiced cool-weathered brews expected around this time of year. American grown hops balance out the smooth caramel malty taste, and give this a beautifully sweet start and finish. It’s light enough for the fire-pit evening with friends, and heavy enough to keep you warm when the fire dies down. Bell’s Best Brown Ale is a must have for this holiday season!
*Available throughout the fall and winter seasons only!
Brewery: Bell’s Brewery, Galesburg, Michigan
Expect to pay: $8.00 - $10.00 / 6 pk
Pairings: Session, Goat-Cheese Pasta, Fillet Mignon
Wild Blue Blueberry Lager
This Lager is a rush of fresh Blueberry flavor in a way you’ve never encountered! I include this in the “medium color” because of just that- color!
This is a delicious summertime brew, but beware! The heavier ABV makes this perfect cool-weather reminder of what summer can taste like, a suitable concoction for cool-weather gatherings!
I love this Lager for two simple reasons: Blueberries, and ABV. I won’t lie- this is a great buy on a budget if you’re looking for a great fizzy summery taste, without putting a lot of money into your content.
As stated, this lager does have a heavier alcoholic content than most lager, but I think that’s what makes it a better summer-nostalgic brew than the average summer sipper- (we all know it’s easier to knock back a few rather than just one or two when it’s hot out).
Fresh Blueberry Juice comes through strong and clear, with a mild taste of hops and spice to balance out the sweetness. For those of you who are migrating from the “near-beer” or “malt-beer” flavors and brands, (you know the Smir(@ff brands that I speak of) this is a great transition for you. Just take care; this Blueberry lager is extremely easy to drink- Very sweet, very mild on the pallet, but it’s mildness in flavor is paid back on the senses!
Brewery: Blue Dawg Brewing, Baldwinsville, New York
Expect to pay: $7.00 - $9.00/ 6 pk
Pairings: Pork Tenderloin, Fried Chicken, Chedderwurst
Terrapin Rye Pale Ale
As a resident of Georgia, I refuse to allow myself the luxury of being partial to a local brewery. If it’s good, it’s good. If it’s not.. then well, you won’t see it on this short review.
I’ve had only a couple of this Athens Georgia Brewery’s beer, and I think very highly of this particular selection. It’s not quite an IPA, it’s not quite a plain old Ale. Terrapin has found a really nice, happy medium between the ultra-hoppy, and the ultra malty-sweet ales.
This brew makes me see a lot of promise in Terrapin, but the brew itself, featuring five different blends of hops, shows a great maturity in the brew-master at this brewery.
This is a brew that will truly capture any beer-lover’s attention, no matter your preference. The balance of hops, spices, and blend of rye malts, promises an excellent session or dinner beer. I guarantee you will not be disappointed in one of Athens’ finest brews!
Brewery: Terrapin Brewery, Athens, Georgia
Expect to pay: $7.00-$9.00 / 6 pk
Pairings: Burgers, Chili, Pizza, Grilled Corn & Zucchini, Cranberry & Honey-Cream Grits
Yuengling Black & Tan
This is another of Yuengling’s excellent brews, and I’m happy to report it’s quite dandy!
Yuengling mixes their premium Lagers with their Porter (also an excellent brew by itself) to create this medium bodied, coffee and chocolate flavored taste fest!
The caramel flavor is evident from the first sniff of the beer, and the coffee comes soon after. I’ve always found these to bring a delicious hint of chocolate to the mix (or maybe that’s the original intent of the brewer). Overall, this is another excellent brew with a very drinkable flavor at a great price from Yuengling.
In all seriousness, if your price tag is on the lower side, this is a brewery that you really need to check out. These guys have some great year-round brews, complimented by seasonal and regional selections at a price that cannot be beat!
Brewery: Yuengling Brewing Company, Pottsville, Pennsylvania
Expect to pay: $6.00-$8.00 / 6pk
Pairings: Turkey & Pastrami Subs, Shrimp & Grits, Sushi or Sashami
Brought to you by my dear friend & ghost-writer:
-Phil Harmonic Smorgasbord