Friday, March 28, 2008

Beer of the Week

In homage to my new home, this week's beer comes from a suburb of Minneapolis, courtesy of Surly Brewing Company.

Surly is relatively new to the brewing game, having been on the scene for about two years, but has started with a bang. The young brewery has been featured in Gourmet magazine and was rated the #1 brewery in America by Beeradvocate magazine, quite the praise.

Surly produces two year-round brews, and both are excellent. Furious is a solid, medium bodied, well hopped ale, and Bender is our BOTW.

According to Surly, the Bender is an amalgamation of styles: part porter, part brown ale, part APA. After a few Benders at the bar last night, I decided that Brown Ale is the tag that a beer gets when the brewers don't know what the hell to call it, likewise with Amber Ale.

This brown ale is a little browner than one might expect, pouring an almost black color with a nice off-white head.

One definitely picks up hops in the aroma, but it doesn't slam you in the face, which considering the style, is not a bad thing. There's definitely some oatmeal in the nose, almost like an oatmeal stout. Surly says the oatmeal is for smoothing out the finish, which it does, but it also gives it quite a pleasant smell.

The beer has a nice medium body with almost perfect carbonation. It has a nice defined presence, but you don't have to work to get it down. Its perfect body and 5% ABV make it an outstanding session beer, keeping you coming back for more.

The brew has a solid roasted malt base with the oatmeal really smoothing it out and mingling with the hops at the end of the taste. The beer is complex yet crisp, easy to drink, yet satisfying: a true acrobat in the art of brewing balance.

Surly is only available in the immediate area, so if you're outside of the Twin Cities or Duluth, have someone send you some, or better yet, come to Minneapolis and raise a few pints.

Congrats to Surly Bender as our Beer of the Week.

Links of Interest:

Surly Brewing Company

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Own Personal Heaven

Or your own personal heaven if you go to the STAT sports bar in Atlanta.

The bar features about 30 tables that have their own individual taps. The taps run up a tab based on a per ounce setting (a full pint being $4), and the taps have certain restrictions such as ID verification, and a waittress check in to make sure you aren't too wasted.

Contact your elected representatives; we need this legal everywhere!

Full story here.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Beer of the Week

Wisconsin is home to many fine ambers: Sprecher Amber & Lakefront Riverwest Stein to name two.

Capital Brewery in Middleton brews a sturdy repertoire of beers in the German style including various bocks, Oktoberfest, and our BOTW, Wisconsin Amber.

Wisconsin Amber is a rich malty beer with just a hint of hop bittering and aroma. It pours a color true to its name, with a minimal white head that leaves some lacing on the glass.

The beer is carmelly and sweet, with just enough hops to even it out. It's loosely based on a Vienna lager, and is definitely hopped like one.

The mouthfeel is quite nice, with a medium body, soft carbonation, and a clean crisp finish. One could definitely have a few of these in one sitting.

From the perspective of a lager, there are few in the US that can match Capital and Wisconsin Amber is no exception. When judged against beers of similar style, WA stands out, and drinks easily.

Remember this one come fall; it's perfect paired with a crisp breeze.
Links of Interest:

Wisconsin Amber & German Beer Fish

PS: This BOTW is dedicated to my own Wisconsin Amber, who is moving away from her home in Madison to join me here in Minneapolis. I couldn't be happier.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Can Beer Predict the Election - Pt. II

A month ago we posed the question: Can beer predict the election?

Indeed, it seemed that the beer question held some sway in the minds of voters.

But how does wine fit into that equation? Do the vit-elite carry the same weight as the brew-letariats?

According to CNN, who is, thank God, still doing relevant journalism such as this piece, Senator McCain wins out over Senator Clinton among beer drinkers, while polling at a virtual tie versus Senator Obama.

Among the wine sippers, Senators Clinton & Obama each win handily. It is my professional cerevisapolitical estimation that the beer poll is in fact more accurate.

Will suds swing the election? Stay Tuned.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Stars and Taps Forever

These flags were created as part of an ad campaign for the Sunset Grill & Tap in Boston.

Clever. Could I get one with hops in place of the Canadian Maple Leaf?

Via Neatorama

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Beer of the Weekend

Since we did not have a beer of the week to guide us over the St. Patrick's holiday weekend, let me offer some suggestions on the day of Green itself.

The First Leaf of the Clover: Avoid "green" beers unless you're trying something organic. Green beer is only good if you're interested in seeing a sorority girl make bright green vomit.

The Second Leaf of the Clover: Avoid Killian's "Irish" Red. It's so Irish that it's made by Coors in Colorado. Don't let that sellout Killian fool you; his family hasn't made that beer in decades.

The Third Leaf of the Clover: Avoid Finnigan's "Irish" Ale. Made with Potatoes? Do you know why the Irish ate so many potatoes? Because they had to. Have you been to Dublin recently? I think their economy is doing well enough to leave the potato thing behind. At least it's made in St. Paul which is a little more Irish than Colorado.

The Fourth Leaf of the Clover: Stick with a few pints of the black stuff. Guiness has single-handedly made stout the most known beer style behind a lager. They've been doing it for over 200 years and have brought Guiness to the far reaches of the globe. Its relative low alcohol and calorie content make it the original session beer: you could have 8 imperial pints and still not fall off your stool, but yet, the medium-light body is full of creamy stout flavor.

Take a cab, and Éirinn go Brágh

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Beer May Help Prevent Alzheimer's

Yet more proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy, here.

How can you argue with that beard? It must be true!

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Friday, March 7, 2008

Beer of the Week

Due to a new job and a new residence, BOTB had to take some well deserved time off. Having settled into our new digs however, a celebratory beer was in order, and it turned out to be our beer of the week.

Singletrack Copper Ale is our second BOTW from the original Colorado microbrewery, Boulder Beer. The bottle and the name are obviously linked to bicycling, perhaps a jab at cross-state rival New Belgium Brewing, whose "Fat Tire" ale also features a bicycle on the label, and also is a similar tasting amber ale.

The beer pours a light copper color (hence the name) and has a small white head that has some retention throughout. No doubt, this is a fine looking beer.

The beer has a light nose of malt biscuit, with some floral hops mingling in there, however not as strong as say, Fat Tire.

Singletrack tastes incredibly well rounded: a nice sturdy medium bodied malt base, with just enough hops bittering and aroma to make it stand out. If it were just a tough sweeter, it could pass for a British ESB, but perhaps because it is not as sweet, I actually enjoyed it more.

Singletrack is definitely a session beer: not too heavy, but flavorful and distinctive enough. I could almost see myself drinking one for a break on a nice long bike ride.

Cheers to Boulder Beer for its second Beer of the Week.

Links of Interest:

Boulder Beer

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Monday, March 3, 2008

Temporary Hiatus

Beer on the Brain will be taking a temporary hiatus while I get aclimated to a new position and living situation.

Beer related rantings will resume before the end of March.

Chug on, loyal readers.

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