Author Archive

Holiday Beer Tasting at RFD

beer_santahatThe Holidays are quickly approaching.  This is supposed to be a season of giving.  What better gift for a beer drinker than a beer event!  On Wednesday December 19, RFD will be hosting a holiday beer tasting.  Now this isn’t just any olde beer tasting; this is:  Happy Holidaze! The Multiple Guest Brewmaster Winter Holidaze Extravaganzee.

This year will be amazingly enough the 25th, yes 25th, anniversary of this event. It is more than merely a tasting though.  You’ll be able to gain some insight on the brews from the many local area brewmasters who will speak.

Doors will open at 6PM for the “7PM” start (like a beer event ever starts on time). Tickets are $45 and can be purchased on the RFD website.

I hope to see you there!

-Pyzocha

EDIT: I now have a list of the breweries which will be attending and it’s a great list: Lost Rhino, Sweetwater, Devils Backbone, Chophouse, Brewers Alley, White Marsh, Union Craft, Vintage 50, Rock Bottom, Gordon Biersch, Baying Hound, Dog Brewing, DuClaw, Heavy Seas, 3 Stars, and DC Brau!


Brew Review: Widmer Citra Summer Blonde Ale

Widmer Citra SummerI recently wrote an App for my Blackberry to make reviewing beers more efficient.  It takes input of various aspects of the beer, allows you to take a picture and then emails all of this to you.  This was in effort to get myself to review more beers.  Well, the App works as intended but so far I haven’t been as successful in reviewing more beers.  I think it will help because it helps me from forgetting certain aspects of the beer.

The first beer I reviewed using my App was the Widmer Brothers’ Citra Summer Blonde Ale.  I love most beers made with citra hops so I had to give this one a try.  It poured a light light golden blonde color with quick fading white head; as to be expected from a blonde ale.  The aroma was all about the sweet citrus smells from the citra hops.  It had a refreshing feeling even before I took a drink.  The taste started with a sweet citrus flavor that faded into a crisp refreshing finish.  At 4.3% it is a very light and sessionable summer beer.  This is definitely a summer beer worth trying.

-Pyzocha


Brew Review: Florida Beer Swamp Ape IPA

I hadn’t tried any beers from Florida Beer so when I saw this pretty big (10%) IPA I figured I’d give it a try.

As you can see from the picture, it poured to a clear-ish light amber color with little to no head.  I gave it a smell…almost nothing, slight malt and even less bitter hop aroma.  I figured my nose was just playing tricks on me because there was no way a high percentage IPA would have this little aroma.  So I gave it to a friend to smell and he didn’t get anything either.  Not a good start.

The taste followed suit with the aroma and was a bit of a let down.  It started with a decently sweet hop flavor that progressed into a bland malt middle and a slightly bitter hop finish.

I was not very impressed with the first beer from Florida Beer.  The only thing I can say that it had going for it is that when it was cold it hid the alcohol well, but even that left once it started to warm up.

This is at best a mediocre IPA, but I’ll give it one hop out of three because it’s strong…I like strong beers.

-pyzocha


Brew Review: Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA

75 MinuteI was out on my usual Friday after-lunch beer browsing when I came across the Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA.  Like most, I’ve had the 60, 90 and 120 minute IPAs, but I’d never seen the 75 before.  I heard this was a brew that typically stayed at the brew pubs.  Naturally, I had to give it a try.

Without even looking a the description I paid for it and went on my merry way.  Once I got home I took a look and saw that it is a blend of the 90 Minute and 60 Minute with maple syrup added.  Maple syrup in an IPA? I was worried.

It poured, as a typical IPA would, with a slight amber color.  As you can see from the picture, it had quite a head on the pour (no it was not a bad pour by me!!).  I attribute this to being naturally carbonated in the bottle.

The aroma was hoppy, similar to the 90 minute, but there was a slight sweet maple finish that blended quite well.  My worries started to fade with the aroma, so I took a sip.  Overall a mellow hop flavor started sweet, then progressed to a slightly bitter hop and back to the sweet maple flavor.  The flavors melted together perfectly and could barely tell this was 7.5% beer.

This beer is very solid, but in limited supply, so if you see it get it!  Dogfish sells it on their website, but make sure they deliver to your state before ordering.

-pyzocha


Ballpark Brews: Fairgrounds

As you may or may not have been aware of Fairgrounds has replaced the Bullpen and Das Bullpen as the pre-game spot to grab beer around Nationals Park.  Fairgrounds has taken over the whole area along half street which makes this place humungous!  With this added space the typical beer stands, stage for a band, and corn hole remain as in years past.  This year there are also little shops inside the shipping containers surrounding the Fairgrounds selling various clothing and knickknacks.  The food trucks made their way to the additional space as well for the opening day game, I hope this will be a recurring event because additional food is always welcome.  Now onto the beer.

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The 2nd Annual District Beer Hunt

Dc Beer HuntThe District Beer Hunt is back!  Last year’s event was a huge success and we hope this year will be as well.  Our friends over at DC Beer have taken over the organization of this year’s Hunt.  Don’t worry, many of us at J Street have been a part of the planning and will be judges again.

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Brew Review: Bud Light Platinum

I haven’t written a review in a while so I figured I better start back in with a bang.  I was out with a few friends one of which was an ABInBev rep, so of course I was offered the newest and greatest beer: Bud Light Platinum.  I saw all the commercials and, I’ll be honest, I was a bit intrigued.  So I tried one.

I comes in a very blue bottle and smells like a regular old Bud Light, Miller Lite, etc.  (If you don’t know what I’m talking about you aren’t missing anything.)  The only difference I noticed so far, was that the bottle said 6% (higher ABV the Bud and less calories, I can drink and be thin!).  I was worried, a “light” beer that is relatively higher in alcohol. My brain tried to stop me, “This is going to be horrible” it said.  This wasn’t going to be stopped.

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RFD & Bell’s Beer Dinner

RFDBell's

Now that the holidays are finishing up it’s time to spend that gift money.

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Cool viral video for…..Natty Light?!?

I recently came across a video for “The first beer in space” and figured I’d take a look.  The typical: a weather balloon and a camera with GPS to get cool pictures of space.  This one was particularly well-done…and by fans of Natty Light – do Natty Light fans exist with the capability to make this video?  Needless to say, I became a bit suspicious.   The Beer and Whiskey Bros did some investigating and it was determined to be a marketing stunt by Anheuser-Busch InBev.  As much as us craft beer drinkers dislike the macro breweries, I had to give credit where credit was due: this was a solid marketing technique.

-Pyzocha


3xB: Upland Infinite Wisdom

3xB

This week’s Big Bottle: Upland Infinite Wisdom (more…)


The Gift

As you know, Tonzi moved to Chicago (that’s their flag to the left) and without our leader the rest of us have slacked on posting new content.  All of us here at J Street would like to apologize for our…well…laziness.  We will be making a concerted effort to get back into the swing of things with more reviews.  I know we’ve all been drinking and have plenty of ideas for new posts.

First, we would like to thank Tonzi for everything he’s done for the blog.  He started it and pushed to to try and write about new beer.  More importantly we would like to thank him for his loyal friendship.  He is immensely missed.  Second, as a small token of our gratitude for all that he’s done for us, I put together a gift. (more…)


Brew Review: BrewDog/Stone Bashah

I was at Pizzaria Paradiso in Dupont Circle and saw that BrewDog and Stone collaborated to make a Black Double Belgian IPA called the Bashah (that’s a mouthful).  Not only did they have it, but it was on tap.  Waiting for it I was practically drooling: I love Belgian IPAs, I had never tried a Black Belgian IPA and this was a double (twice the fun).  I had to have it! But would it live up to my high expectations?

This 8.6% ABV brew poured a deep opaque black with a small toasted marshmallow colored head. The aroma was not overpowering toasted malt was the dominant smell followed by a typical hop aroma.  With the first sip the toasted malt became even more apparent but in a much more complex way.  There was a bit of smokiness and spice (couldn’t quite put my finger on which ones, but tasty none-the-less).  The hops followed, and unlike other brews made by Stone and BrewDog they were not overpowering.  They were a perfect compliment to the maltiness.  The finish was slightly sweet and fruity.

So did this beer live up to my expectations? Absolutely!  I had my first couple sips and said to Boardwalk, “This is probably the best Black IPA I’ve had.”  I’d recommend going to Pizzaria Paradiso to try this ASAP!

-Pyzocha


Brew Review: Epic Hopulent IPA

I’m becoming a big fan of Epic Brewing so when I saw this bottle I just had to try it.  The Hopulent is an IPA that Epic is changing throughout the season.  They are changing the grain bill and they are doing everything over the top, lots of hops and lots of malt.

This particular Hopulent was the Release #13.  Epic has a website describing when each beer was brewed and which ingredients were used.  The #13 was brewed on February 13, 2011 using Premium Briess Two Row with a nearly equal amount of Ultra Premium Maris Otter as the base malts.  Briess Munich Malt and Weyermann CaraMunich finish off the bill nicely. Next the hops:
In the Boil: Columbus, Chinook, Centennial, Simcoe and more Simcoe. The Dry Hops: Chinook and Centennial.  (Now us homebrewers need to figure out how to clone this one)  This grain bill resulted in an 8.4% ABV beer.

The pour was light and cloudy with a very small white head.  The aroma was exactly what I like in an IPA: very sweet hops and lots of them.  The taste followed the aroma with very sweet hops upfront, but then a solid malty middle and a slightly bitter finish created a beautifully balanced big beer.

Now unfortunately this is a limited release beer and I’m not sure how many are around, but if you can find one definitely try it.  This was an awesome beer!

-Pyzocha


Brew Review: Alaskan Imperial IPA (Pilot Series)

Living on the east coast I don’t get to try many Alaskan Brewing Co. beers, so I was excited to see a big bottle of it when I was in Seattle.  I am generally a big fan of imperial IPAs and even better – this was a pilot series beer. The Alaskan Imperial IPA was brewed in the American Imperial IPA style, which “was developed and made popular by west coast American brewers. The style is most often characterized by a gold or copper color, citrus hop character, big malt body and lingering bitterness.”  Let’s see how it stands up to their characterization.

This 8.5% brew poured a very dark brown with a toasty white head, solid start, but that ended with the aroma.  It was quite lacking, with mostly a caramel malt with a very slight hint of citrus hops.  The taste followed suit with a malt that overpowered any hops that could be found.  It finished with refreshing bitterness. They seemed to hit on all the points of the style but appeared to miss the ratios.

I had high expectations for this Imperial IPA, but it was quite a let down.  It’s an odd recommendation for an Imperial IPA to have less malt and more hops, but that is what this beer needed.  Normally, for a rare beer like this I would recommend trying it, but not this time.

-Pyzocha


Brew Review: Alaskan Summer

The Alaskan Summer caught my eye with its orca tap handle; being a beautiful summer day didn’t hurt either.  This particular summer brew is based on the Kölsch style.  Seemed like a great light summer beer.

The pour was a clear golden-light color with a slight white head.  The aroma was not very strong but had mild scents of grass and just a little bit of citrus.  The taste was a very slight barley malt start that transitioned into some sweet citrus flavor.  The finish was crisp and refreshing, but something was a bit off.  I couldn’t put my finger on what it was, but it left a bad taste in my mouth (figuratively and literally).  At 5.3% this beer would be a great refreshing light beer if it wasn’t for the finish.

Now I’m not sure if maybe the keg that I had it from was bad, but based on my tasting, I thought it was decent.  Definitely some room for improvement.  Having an east coast bias I’d recommend trying it.

-Pyzocha


Trademarks

What do trademarks and beer have to do with each other?  Quite a bit actually.  I was browsing the interwebs and came across an interesting article about beer and trademarks.  Normally I have no problem with breweries obtaining trademarks to protect their intellectual property (brew names and/or labels).  However, Anheuser-Busch InBev (with its recent purchase of Goose Island) has decided to trademark beer names that include area codes.  I’m sure this was originally intended to merely protect the newly acquired 312 Urban Wheat, but they have also been granted trademarks for area codes which there is not currently a beer name.  This includes D.C.’s beloved 202 area code.  The problem which arises from this practice is where does this stop? Are they going to trademark any number? Will they actively sue microbreweries with established names to strong arm them?

This is a slippery slope.  I fear that Anheuser-Busch InBev will use this as another method to attempt to push their microbrewery competition out of the market.  It will most likely stop a local brewery from using names which will identify it with their city.  I really hope that these trademarks will not be used for evil. What do you think?


Vancouver: Beer City?

CanadiaOn our recent trip to the Pacific Northwest, Boardwalk and I ventured up to Vancouver.  This happened to correspond to Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals.  We decided to head out to experience hockey in Canada and I figured this would be a good opportunity to try some of the beer offerings.

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Ballpark Brews: Safeco Field

Boardwalk and I recently took a trip out to the Pacific Northwest with a stop in Seattle.  Being a baseball fan, I convinced her to come to a Mariners game with me.  So we bought tickets from StubHub, for cheap and we looked forward to trying the different food (garlic fries = heaven) and to see what kind of beers they would have.  So how was the beer selection? (more…)


SAVOR Beer Week Event Preview: Flying Dog Backyard Symposium

X and I are headed up to Flying Dog brewery tomorrow morning for a “Backyard Symposium” FD is hosting for SAVOR.  Flying Dog Brewmaster Matt Brophy will be leading two panel discussions.  The first, on East Coast Hop Cultivation, will include representatives from several east coast farms. The second panel will be about one of X’s favorite styles: Belgian-Inspired American Beers.  Panelists will include brewers from The Brewer’s Art, Ommegang, and Devil’s Backbone among others.

Cooking with beer, as evidenced by 1 2 3, is one of my own personal interests, and the afternoon is set to wrap up with lunch (food!) and a “cooking with beer” demonstration by Chef Bryan Voltaggio.  Hopefully I’ll learn a few more things to try back at home.

We hope to get a recap and maybe some photos up by Friday afternoon.

-Pyzocha


Quick Hit: Breckenridge Brewery Ads

Breckenridge has started an advertising campaign called “Truth in Beervertising” ripping on Big Beer (Coors and Miler at this point).  The ads are well done and quite funny.  So far they have and introductory ad and three others:

Hopefully they’ll make some more!
-Pyzocha

Cooking with Beer: Beer Battered Catfish

Cooking with Beer

For this post on cooking with beer I will go over a beer batter recipe in which Boardwalk and I used Port City’s IPA as the base.  The recipe is based off of one from my favorite chef: Alton Brown.  He did Chips and Fish, but we stuck to the fish.

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T.G.I. Friday’s

I began seeing the commercials for T.G.I. Friday’s touting the use of Magic Hat #9 in some of their meals and I was ready to rip on Magic Hat for selling out to a chain.  Then I did some research and it is not Magic Hat selling out.  It was something much different: T.G.I. Friday’s is making themselves a craft beer hotspot!  Well, sort of.  They still have many crappy macro beers, but they are increasing the number of craft beers they carry.  Certain dishes will also be made with craft beer, including: a beer battered shrimp appetizer; entrees with steak, flounder, ribs and chicken either marinated or cooked with it; and a couple of beer-based desserts  (adults only).  While the selection varies by state, Friday’s will be serving some of the following beers: Harpoon IPA, Magic Hat #9, New Belgium Fat Tire, Goose Island Honkers Ale, Abita Amber, Alaskan IPA (Alaska only), Boulevard Wheat, and Uinta Cutthroat Ale (Utah only).  It would be great if each restaurant carried all of the aforementioned brews, but having any exposure to mass markets is great for craft beer.  Cheers to you T.G.I. Friday’s!

-Pyzocha


Ballpark Brews: New Season New Beer?

A new season brings new hope that this could be the season where the Nationals (or your favorite team, well, besides the Pirates) break through to the winning side.  For the beer lovers out there, the new season brings hope that there will be added “good” beer at the stadium.  I was able to find good beer last season, but would these beers still be there? (more…)


Happy National Beer Day!

No more of this!

On April 7th, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Cullen-Harrison Act into law, ending 13 long years of prohibition. While the act required the beer to be less than 4.0% ABV, it was beer none the less. In commemoration of this act, today – April 7th – has become known as National Beer Day. So join me in grabbing a tall frosty one and honor of FDR allowing us to continue to drink our beloved beer.

-Pyzocha


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