Ommegang

Was at a happy hour the other day and found a new (to me) brew on tap, so that of course meant I had to try it.  Ommegang was the wonderful producer, out of Cooperstown, NY (also the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame).  The beer proper was their Rare Vos Amber Ale.

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Very nice.  Matches the name by color, light hops, some herbs & fruit and nice & smooth.  ABV is 6.5%.  Totally worth checking it out if you’re an amber beer fan, or just a beer fan, in general!  Cheers.

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Horse & Dragon Brewery

I’m in Ft. Collins for Christmas and of course have to check out some of the local ‘fare’ — that mostly means good microbrews.  So today that meant a new brewery by the name of Horse and Dragon Brewing Company.

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Wasn’t sure what to get so opted for a sampler.  Ok, sampler?  Six brews of 4oz each for $8 — that is quite the nice pour of some high octane beer.

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The half dozen tastes included:

Fort Kolnz Keller Kolsch-Style Ale — “A grainy sweet aroma holds well with a slight citrus note derived from the moderate hopping. Dry and clean on the palate, bitterness is present but not overpowering. Extended cellaring is evident in the clean crisp finish and despite a very pale straw color and light body our ale has great depth and complexity. Ein Prosit Der Gemütlichkeit! ABV: 5.2%”

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Sage Adweisse Berliner Weisse — “A light, effervescent, slight tart wheat ale that tastes so refreshing that it mush be good for us.  Dominant ingredients are evident from the first sniff; wheaty goodness mixed with traditional German yeast scents and a hint of tartness.  One glass will make you wonder why anyone ever put a lime in a beer, though this beer is sometimes served with dashes of flavored syrup.  Our lowest ABV brew, this is an ale you can enjoy all day.  Sage Adweisse was name for our (well, really, Linsey & Titus’s) brewdog.  ABV:  3.6%”

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Whistle Blast Honey Brown — “A welcoming ale displaying warm mahogany earth tones accentuated by a thin veil of creamy foam head, our Honey Brown Ale is as inviting as the historic English pubs where the style originated. Slight roast malt character leads the nose to a warm sensuous balance of mild hop bitterness and sweet honey malt after notes. A clean, somewhat drying finish allows the sweetness of malt to shine through and remain as a memento for each sip. Quaffable in design, this ale will toast well in any social situation and keep you coming back for more. Cheers!  ABV:  6.3%”

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Picnic Rock Pale Ale — “Picnic Rock Ale aligns itself with recreation in Colorado and our noticeable desire for great craft beer.  Fresh hops aromas likened to lemon, pineapple, and honeydew melon stand out in front of this golden colored ale holding a white laced head.  The aroma taking center stage is then carried into the noticeable hop bitterness.  Malt body is medium-light and complements the bitterness, allowing for a smooth finish with a light floral hop linger.  Let’s go for a picnic!  ABV: 5.4%”

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L3 IPA — “The L3 IPA pours an inviting copper color topped by a strong, slightly off-­white foam. Your first sniff reveals the complex balance between the citrusy, spicy pear hop aroma backed by slight caramel malt notes. Tasting the beer takes you further into a flavorful American hop experience with plenty of hop bitterness balanced perfectly with the sweet malt backbone. This flavorful combination lingers on the palate yet finishes clean and prepares you for another sip. A very drinkable IPA, L3 is hop forward yet balanced. ABV: 7.6%”

L3The Dark Crystal Cascadian Dark Ale — “A relatively recent style that has gained traction in the Pacific Northwest is the American Style India Black Ale, or “Cascadian Dark Ale”.  Deliciously hoppy, also hugely roasty-toasty malty. Get on in here and give it a try! ABV: 6.5%” (forgot to snap a picture  — it is definitely dark!)

They were all quite unique — have to love microbrews.  My favorite two were the Picnic Rock and L3.  We decided to leave with a growler of the latter to enjoy some of before dinner and to have on hand the balance of the week.

Oh My Clydesdale!

As I’m traveling across the country, there was a stop in St. Louis. That meant a visit to the Anheuser-Busch brewery was due.

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But, the only thing I truly wanted to see was the horses. I have done much work for A-B and I told them I never needed money (I say that as though I was the one truly getting the pay, I know my employer wouldn’t be thrilled with this thought), all I wanted was to do was come see the Clydesdales and play with the Dalmatians and Labs. What more could one ask???

So, we arrived at the brewery and did indeed enjoy a cold brew first. I’m not a huge fan of macrobrews (and will say I’m disappointed in how InBev/A-B, and some other names are trying to take over the beer industry), so I did not have a Budweiser. I opted for Shock Top, the good ol’ original one. They had the seasonal (pumpkin) one on tap (which I’ve had in the past and it’s pretty good), as well as the apple brew. They also had the good non-Bud brews available, including Bass, Hoegaarden, Leffe, Kirin, Stella, Beck’s, Goose Island, which they now own.

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We were able to get a horse-tour only pass to go check out the great Bud icons.

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Off we went to get a history of the horses and what they do. There was one outside and the rest were in there rough digs inside. They have quite the life.

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We were also told about the farm where many more of the horses live, Warm Springs Ranch, and stopped by it the next day. Acres and acres of land where several hundreds of these majestic guys live. It was closed when were arrived (and tough to get a tour, anyway) but I was able to snap a couple pics.

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So, I got most of what I wanted to see. Now I just want to see the dogs, both the Dalmatians and Labs, and my A-B goal will be complete!

From Om to Omission

I’ve had some great beers the past couple weeks.  After the Om feeling, I happened to try some Omission Beer while at the weekly golf league at Red Gate.  My friend is gluten intolerant and while we normally enjoy sipping some great wine together, that doesn’t happen on the golf course, during or directly after.  So, I tried some of her Omission Pale Ale and had she not handed it to me, I would never had known it was gluten free.  It was a bit darker tasting than I expected for a Pale Ale, but still darn good!  I found out later (by reading the back label and checking out the site) it’s produced by/at Widmer in OR and Redhook in NH.  I enjoyed one after the round because come to find out she and I tied (as a team) for first place that night in the league.  Cheers to that!

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Namaste

Are we in yoga class?  Oh no, much better.  We were at Dog Fish Head Brewery.  After a great time at Go Ape — a zip line and tree top adventure course outside of DC — one must refuel!  Of course you go to Dog Fish Head and there are so many choices.  They are great and give you samples, if needed.  I ended up going with Namaste…beer heaven.  Perfect way to refresh after several hours outside.  It was light, crisp and had perfect citrus notes.

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Red Hook…it’d been so long

Before the big game last weekend I went to the store to grab some brew from Seattle.  There store didn’t have any Pyramid handy and another big Seahawks fan pointed out that Red Hook is brewed right near there in Woodinville.  I had a couple options to choose from but opted for the traditional ESB.  Extra Special Bitter, smooth & bold as they say is just about right.  It was so refreshing and a perfect beer for the game.

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Southern Tier of Choklat Heaven

A friend had been telling me about a chocolate stout recently and I was quite intrigued.  I lean towards IPAs and wheats but will try something off the wall.  She had to wait to go home at Christmas to get this stuff as it’s hard to find around here.  So, last weekend I finally had the great treat of sampling some Southern Tier Choklat.  Per the bottle, it’s a stout brewed with chocolate — sounds deep. WOW, give me some gingerbread, dark cherries and dark chocolate to pair with this and heaven had arrived!  It’s 10% ABV, super smooth and just disappears.  You don’t need much.  It comes in 22oz bottles so pick one up to share with a friend for dessert.

I’m going to have to check out some of Southern Tier’s other stuff, now, too.  They are located in NY and have a nice menu.

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HOP Part II

And in the food world, a common thought when it comes to HOP is just plain old hops and beer.  Bring me that IPA.  And on the history of IPA, Wikipedia is once again that great place for just random info you never realized you were going to look up.  If you want it, here’s your easy link.

There was a beer tasting yesterday of the wonderful Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.  This phenomenal brewery comes to us from Chico, CA and has (biased opinion) one of the best pale ales.  They were also sampling two other brews.

The Celebration Seasonal has a ‘medium-high’ hop level.  They brew this with fresh hops (vs wet hops) and these are the “freshest dried hops to come from the fields, typically within seven days of harvest.”  I could taste some tree in this beer, pine-y, in a good, seasonal way.

The other beer they had out was the Torpedo Extra IPA.  This is definitely way up there in hoppiness (or you could translate that to happiness?) but the balance of flavors in it make it a very unique brew.  Trees, citrus and just dang good beer!

Thanks Sierra Nevada for the hops, IPA and great brew.

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Then, wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy one of those beers in the Sierra Nevada?  The view there is amazing!!!

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Rasp-beer-y

The snow ‘storm’ in DC brought a government shutdown.  This was the first time I’ve ever been able to actually have a paid snow day!  So, come 1pm, the snow was gone, the sun was out.  What did that mean? Time to go (Christmas) shopping.  I only had the intention of finishing off getting gifts for those on my list but when I went to the mecca of grocery, kitchen gadget, wine and beer store, things changed.  After some discussion with the beer man and other shoppers of the current offerings, New Belgium’s (new) Frambozen came up.  Nobody had actually had it for several years.  The name itself screams raspberry then the description lures you into a brown ale.  You can’t leave that poor thing sitting on the shelf!  Had some a bit later.  Very nice, smooth, nice hint of the fruit, but not overwhelming.  Pick some up for a friend, yourself, or to take to a party to celebrate the season.  Happy Holidays!

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Brew-story

Saw an interesting article in USA Today this morning about old-school beers that just aren’t what they used to be.  Some of the ‘big guys’ are losing steam as (awesome) microbrewers are making their way onto the red carpet of beer.  There are nine brews many Americans no longer drink.  Check it out.

1386601227000-119707162(Photo: Tetra Images/Getty Images/Brand X)