Beer of the month: Sierra Nevada- Torpedo Extra IPA

February’s Beer of the Month is by Sierra Nevada…none other than the Torpedo, Extra IPA!!! Welcome.

TorpedoExtraIPA

With so many hops going on in this beer from Sierra Nevada I barely know where to start. There are so many citrus highlights to this one. After its been perfectly poured into your pint glass, sitting there a rich golden amber color topped with a beautifully white fluffy white head, the aroma coming off of it as you raise your glass to toast to life is abundantly orange-y and zesty. The flavor on the first sip is fruity and extremely hoppy all at the same time. Somehow, though it manages not to be so overwhelming. It’s an inviting aroma and an even more welcoming flavor that lets you through the front door of happy beer drinking. That is how I felt as I drank it.

Torpedo is dry-hopped which means they add whole-cone hops to the fermentation tanks. So by adding hops to cold beer this allows for any aromatic oils and resin  to basically infuse the beer with tons of flavor and yummy smells without adding any extra bitterness that may not be wanted.

sierra-nevada-torpedo

Sierra Nevada actually dry hops this beer slightly differently than the traditional way, they invented a new method of adding the hops to a stainless steel device filled with whole coned hops. They then circulate the fermenting beer in and out of the tank, manipulating the temperature, time and speed thus being able to better control specific aromas they are trying to achieve. Well, its working because Torpedo is a force to be reckoned with. A super nova of a beer.

At 7.2 % Abv the IBU’s are 65, not surprisingly, it is an IPA after all.

The ingredients include:

Yeast- ale yeast

Bittering hops- Magnum

Finishing Hops- Magnum, Crystal, Citra

Malts- two-row Pale, Caramel

So try it and drink merrily!

I am working on making sure I add great snacks and food pairings with my beer of the month… So keep your eyes out for that in “Fantastic Foods” soon.!!!

Cassandra

 

Beer highlights——> White Zombie!

white zombie beer can

This months highlight is written for the taste buds of my better half, the always wonderful Red. For his love of great brews is almost as fabulous as his fire beard. And so here is a nod to my love.

White Zombie put out by Catawba Brewery Co. in North Carolina, also the birthplace of Red.

ABV 5.1 % – Belgium Witbier, un-malted wheat and light bodied.

Interestingly enough my mister doesn’t exactly dress up for Halloween, like he will let me create a Halloween decoration to be adhered via velcro to his t-shirt, this allows for the removal of it when he sees fit throughout the evening. And yet…. he did manage to discover this gem at a bar one night out in Asheville, NC while we were visiting his hometown, in a cute little bar called “East Village”.  More to the point, White Zombie was originally a Halloween seasonal brew and I guess it’s fabulous flair and taste was just too good to come round but once  a year so it’s now available all year-long. Yay!

Flavor Profile-

It has coriander and orange peel flavors giving it a zesty kind of spice that is super enjoyable.

It’s quite cloudy because it is un-filtered but surprisingly has a really nice amount of carbonation that I honestly didn’t expect but enjoyed. Although not very hoppy at all it is a really well-rounded Witbier.


 

And to wrap up this really fantastic white beer that you absolutely must try if you love Wheat beer….White Zombie is available in either keg or can versions. So if you need to get your frat party started with something classier than the keg at your last frat party or if you just simply are ok with 12 oz of canned and carbonated yumminess to tuck into your koozie then your good on both fronts. I haven’t seen any Catawba brews in a bottle however, do not be discouraged, a great canned beer just might make your day. I actually have a strong appreciation for them and here are the reasons I found why:

The cans used to house canned beer are made of an incredibly thin aluminum which is then sprayed with a polymer that seals and actually separates the beer inside from the can itself, which is actually a good thing. As the aluminum used in modern-day cans is so thin that the beer would probably eat through it without that lining before it went from store to home.

Some people raise their eyebrows to canned beer due to the illusion of some metallic taste that actually isn’t there. It’s impossible for it to actually taste metallic, refer to the paragraph above. According to a number of tastes tests and experiments conducted by beer packaging companies, experts, beer aficionados and brewers this isn’t even slightly possible.

A little Side note and therefore no experiment needed for me: Most people often prefer draught beer to canned. However when those neurons of yours really start firing you realize draught beer is stored in a metal keg….and canned beer is kind of like a mini keg. So boom there it is!. 🙂

Sip and act like a zombie when doing so, mostly because it’s a lot of fun to pretend to be a zombie.

Cassandra

 

Beer of the month: Green Man Esb Special Amber Ale, NC

green-man-esb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had the pleasure of discovering this North Carolina beer while actually visiting North Carolina. A friend of ours, Jake, whose knowledge and love of beautifully brewed beer rivals my own actually put me onto the Greenman and for that I am ever grateful. Brewed in Ashville, NC, the bottle and website explain it as an interpretation of a traditional English style beer. It’s got a blend of British malts and hops that tastes to me, really very nutty at first but had lasting caramel flavor after a few sips. I wouldn’t call this a ESB beer per se but more of an amazing dark amber ale. It’s not very hoppy as you might initially think but nevertheless worth a taste. It’s a beautiful medium amber color and has an ABV of  5.5%. It’s surprisingly fresh tasting and I genuinely loved every moment of this beer.

It’s one of those brews that perfect to crack open after you have a particularly hard day at work, had a super long late night and a bubble bath and some wine just will not do. That’s when you have a Green man.

A bit about the brewery

green man brewery

Greenman Brewery has been doing its thing since 1997 and is one of Ashville’s oldest breweries. Located in the awesome downtown area that I had the pleasure of strolling through on a beautiful 60 degree December day. They apparently intend on expanding in 2015, which will include a giant packaging hall some 18,000 square feet big, a retail store and an outdoor ale garden overlooking the mountains which can only be described by a better poet than myself or the picture below.

nc mtn

The mountains of North Carolina, near Ashville and the surrounding towns are honestly some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. Its breathtaking.

 

They now craft seasonal brews and specialty brews alike, which is awesome for all you year round drinkers.

Interesting fun facts

In browsing their website and others I found an explanation for what exactly a “Green Man’ is, which I thought to be pretty interesting. It can be a sculpture, drawing or other representation of an actual mans face covered in green leaves making up his hair, ears and/or beard or any other part of the face. Branches can sprout from the nostrils or ears. The “Green Man” is also apparently a name in England for public houses as well. Who knew.

Some health stuff

  •  Green Man never adds corn syrup of any kind

  • They occasionally  add fruit, chocolate or brown sugars for speciality beers but it is always stated as such on the actual bottle or in the beers description.

  • They filter many of their brews but not extensively as the Green Man peeps believe their beer is much tastier this way and more unique as a result. On this I would have to concur.

  • Their hops and barley, though not organically grown, are chemical free, GMO free and additive free, which always a good thing!

Hope you enjoyed this months beer favorite because I sure as hell enjoyed tasting it, every time I tasted it.

Cassandra

All I want for Christmas is an appropriate buzz!….Beer Highlights

santa-line-up_thumb

Ho Ho Ho! Tis the season to be jolly and whatever else are you suppose to be during the holidays while you are forced to bear your family’s company. You know what I am talking about too. We all have those relatives that have to be invited to Christmas dinner because they are your mothers 3rd cousin 4 times removed but you can’t remember them in childhood like they claim to remember you while telling horrid family stories at the dinner table. And you can’t remember their name and they keep saying yours wrong. Or those in-laws you just wish would actually disappear because of their own unique set of troubled issues including everything from anger to drugs. So how exactly are we to keep up the jolly during this hard time of year you ask?  Fear not because this months beer of the month is actually four fabulous beers with perfectly high alcohol content that I am going to highlight because nothing helps you keep your sanity better than a little holiday boozing. Or if your one of those angry drunks then at the very least you will be able to deal with whoever is on your shit list this holiday season and tolerate them until vacation time is over. Cheers and Enjoy.

Founders Breakfast Stout

founders breakfast stout

In the month of October toward the end of the month, where the weather here on the North East coast should be getting chillier by the day I noticed a stout beer in a new-found NY Irish/Mexican  pub/grill by one of my favorite brewers, Founders. It’s got lots of coffee, chocolate and oat flavors and is definitely ok to drink for breakfast, lunch or dinner.Not so thankfully it’s served only in the Autumn and at 8.3% ABV it is a hardy dark beer brewed in Grand rapids, Michigan. On a hop scale you’ll probably hop right off of you seat and it’s the slight smokey taste that makes for a good autumn brew to enjoy or you can grab one during the holiday season and you will be buzzed after two and therefore able to tolerate your grandmothers constant loud dentures chewing. 🙂

SingleCut Half Stack IPA

singlecut half stackApparently having been MIA this beer is returned to us in August late in the summer this past year. In my quest for all brews which are fabulous you can imagine my delight to have tasted this one on draught. Lighter than I originally assumed it might be this Queens based brewery Singlecut, barely out of diapers brings us an extremely complex and grown up beer. This rock and roll inspired brewery located in Astoria Queens, NY boast a Full Stack IPA which may or may not be the father of said “Half Stack” in which I speak of. At 6.6 % ABV It’s light and citrus-y aroma was a pleasant beginning. I’d describe it as medium bodied and a great intro to the grapefruit and other citric hops you might not find in other IPA’s.

Dos Equis Amber Ale

dos equis amber aleServed all year round I noticed this beer, described as a Vienna lager, which means its named for it’s originating city. It’s brewed using a 3 step decoction boiling process. At 4.70 % ABV it’s a fairly light beer in flavor and taste despite both color and name. So if this is to be your holiday drink of choice perhaps making sure an entire six-pack is hidden well for yourself in the back of the fridge. Put them behind like a fruit cake or something, no one ever eats those so your beer will be safe. Dos Equis Amber Ale is a fine enough beer to sip at a medium pace and perhaps then move on to whatever liquor or cocktail is your favorite.

3-step Decoction Process

So in case you were wondering as I was what exactly this decoction process is I shall tell you. It is a part of the mashing process that involves boiling the grains and then returning them to the mash thus raising the temperature. This occurs several times, three times in fact. It’s common practice in German and Central European breweries. Originally it was a process used out of necessity due the lack of thermometers, they hadn’t invented yet. However it is still used today because it creates a unique malty flavor within the beer.

Victory Fiestbier

victory fiestbierThis is a deliciously aged brew made up of Vienna and German malts and whole flower German hops. At a reasonable ABV of 5.6 % this fiestbier is found to be medium to full-bodied I think and leaves a really yummy malt flavor on the tongue. I also think the picture on the bottle is super cute and inviting . It’s unfortunately available only during the Autumn season but well worth the wait when you take your first sip and get some surprising that rests on your taste buds. So if your like me and love to be prepared you will have bought your Victory months ago and saved it for those weird family encounters where people don’t respond when you speak to them are unnaturally angry all the time. Victory makes us all victorious during the holidays no matter where you are. 🙂

I hope my this months Beer Highlights were enlightening, exciting and helpful all at the same time. Life is made up of a collection of all the very small things that so many people miss every day so have a happy holiday and enjoy the tiny joys because they will add up to a beautiful life.

Pour it up!!!!

❤ Cassandra

Beer Highlight: DuClaw- Neon Gypsy!!!!

download (4)DuClaw Brewery- Baltimore, MD 6.5 % Alc,  Medium bodied

Flavor:

Sharp, bitter and citrus-y on the tongue.

For a second time I was thoroughly impressed by the brewers at DuClaw. Aptly named ‘Neon Gypsy”, this new Indian Pale Ale brought out a raucous, giddy way in me. There are many IPA’s, good ones, out there that can taste very similar to each other in that they are sometimes  either over or under hopped. However this IPA being slightly more bitter than their ‘Serum” but less hoppy and strong, seriously held its own among the great IPA’s I’ve had. The bitterness gave a slight lemon feel to me and the aroma was unusually sweet. I decided to on snack on some white cheddar popcorn while I enjoyed a bottle and the pairing was surprisingly perfect. I tasted ginger, orange and lemon.

Made mostly with  a blend of 7 different hops: Columbus, Simcoe, Chinook, Amarillo, Citra, Nelson Sauvin and Sorachi Ace

I love this beer and would recommend it for a beautiful fall evening, wrapped in your favorite sweater with good company and a snack. 🙂

Happy Sippin’

❤ Cassandra

Beer Highlight: Victory- Hop Devil!!!

hopdevilThis has long been one of my favorite beers to find out at a pub on tap. It happens so infrequently that when I am fortunate enough to encounter the Devil, it’s like tasting it for the first time all over again. Half way through the bottle the memories of the Hop Devil’s past flood my mind and I’m brought back to whatever occasion or experience I took part in before. When the broad barley notes roll down my tongue, I remember to sip slowly, as not to miss the enchanting maple sitting beneath the toasted nut flavors that are there. Like the average American, the Devil is full-bodied, but is above average in almost every other way. It’s tangy and very hoppy and almost demands to be drunken alone. It’s for the palate that knows no bounds. It’s for the spirit that does not fear the possibility of it tasting bad. You can not be persuaded to drink the Devil, The Devil must invite you in. And you shall know when it’s your time to be romanced by the complexity of its brewing components.

Made with whole flower American hops and German Malts (one of only a few in the country to do so), this American made Indian Pale Ale, brewed in Downingtown, PA,is described by its own brewers as spicy and menacingly delicious. It makes me wonder if their target audience are to be of the same nature. They also suggest pairing it (if the feeling should come upon you to do so) with grilled meats, bar-b-q ribs or anything with cheddar cheese and the only variant I’d offer in regards to this would be sharp cheddar.

For a brewery that is filled with German tradition then wrapped in American ingenuity, their ability to constantly produce creations of true craftsmanship and care astound and please me to no end.

Happy sippin’

❤ Cassandra

Beer of the month- DuClaw Double IPA, Serum

duclaw Serum beer

For the month of September I have chosen a beer to highlight that came to me in a six-pack. Sometimes the best discoveries happen this way. 🙂 As you may have noticed, I love sharing with you guys a wonderful beer every month that I have either found or re-discovered on my quest for all things brewed. However I also think it important to highlight the brewery that produces said beer. As it is often in the pages of their beginnings, brewing style and history put together over the years that allows them to create that one wonderful beer, that I find and share with you. It is so very important to me when I find a beer to add to the list of wonderful consumption, that I also understand something of the people who work hard everyday to produce it. Their mindset, skills and desire to produce and craft what we all sit around and enjoy in the sunshine or moonlit evenings of our lives, giving us a break to relax from all that is hectic in the world and to slowly sip it away.

DuClaw Brewing Co.- Baltimore, MD Established in 1996

This brewery has a wonderful beginning not too different from that of others started up by a young enthusiastic beer lover with a determined mind. It began in Bel-Air by a man named Dave Benfield who in conjunction today with brewmaster Jim Wagner work hard to bring over 35 unique beers with countless variations and blends to us everyday. I thank them. Upon discovering “Serum” I realized their life’s work was not a waste. IPA’s in particular are my favorite type of beers as I have professed so often before but there is nothing like the Double IPA to get your taste buds going like a 100-year-old wooden roller coaster at the amusement park. It starts of as a hesitant appreciation for the beauty of it and then gradually develops into something more. Then one day you find yourself standing  in line waiting for your turn on the coaster despite your fear of speed and heights. Ultimately, out of breath and flustered with excitement, there could have been no other choice but to take the ride and then….. you can’t wait to go again. This is how it is to drink this beer.

From ” Beer Bashes” to “Beer Tastings” this brewery offers a wonderful array of monthly events to convene at that also include food and it is what seems to be one of the more merry brew pub locations in the country. If you lived in or around the Baltimore area it’s something I would recommend giving a try.

Serum”

  • First released in 2004, Now available year round

Flavor- Despite being a double IPA it’s a fairly lite beer with a super-duper hoppy taste. I tasted lots of caramel and a kind of wheat like flavor, but it’s not so overwhelming that it’s undrinkable. It’s actually quite the opposite at 9% alc  after 3 or 4 I was pleasantly buzzed. 🙂 I also feel like this beer has a wonderfully delicious bitterness to it that may not sit well with anyone whose palate isn’t used to IPA’s to begin with however I wouldn’t let this deter me from giving it a taste if you see it at your local pub or store. After all, beer that you don’t like can always be used as an additive to a southern crawfish jambalaya or something like that. 🙂 There is a sweetness that really stays on the tongue long after you sip it.

  • Medium Bodied, Copper colored

  • The bottle even has a clever little motivational speech on it as to why you should be drinking it. Which grabs your attention immediately while browsing beers in the store.

  • The website boasts of this beer being aggressively hopped at several stages of the brewing process including a gradual two-week dry-hopping.

Food Pairing- This beer probably tastes wonderful with any dish or appetizer that’s  fried or more on the light side even. However I decided it was perfect for me with a home-made chicken pot pie, where we used cream of mushroom soup, peas, carrots, and gave it a parmesan crust. ( recipe to come in “fantastic foods” later this month). The creamy-ness  of the dish just went down well with this beer for me.

Hops variety- Columbus (bittering), Amarillo, Cascade

Grains- Pale Malt, Wheat Malt, Carared Malt

I hope you enjoyed my pick for September’s Beer of the Month. I know I truly enjoyed drinking it.

-Happy Sippin’

❤ Cassandra

 

A few awesome beer facts:

  • Plato’s- This is the measurement used by commercial brewers to measure the density of solutions.It’s expressed as the equivalent weight of cane sugar in solutions. I stumbled upon this little nugget of info on the DuClaw website.

  • The difference between a Lager and an Ale. Many people who drink beer do not truly know the difference. And since knowledge is power, let us power up. The difference is the type of yeast used for fermentation and the temperature at which they are fermented. For example Lagers are generally fermented between 48-55 degrees F and Ales between 65-75 degrees F.