In honor of the Self Hating Hipster’s first birthday, I asked the SHH himself what the topic of the first style guide in almost a year should be. If you’re not familiar with some of the other ones I’ve written, what I like to do is talk about a style of beer, it’s background, and offer some suggestions to help you navigate the beer store so you don’t have to ask the guy at the counter, who is busy doing scratchers. Continue reading
American Double/Imperial Stout
Poured from bottle to pint glass.
Opaque, dark chocolate (near black) in color with a thin, khaki head that Continue reading
230 Ninth Avenue
New York, NY 10001
My ticket to this event was another Valentine’s Day gift to me this year (gurl done good!). We arrived just as the event was starting at noon. I didn’t take any pictures because I left my cell phone behind to charge, but to give you an idea of what Co. looks like…
That’s almost the entire restaurant right there with a bit of bench seating along the left wall not pictured. The event, which ran from noon until 4pm, was extremely crowded at the beginning and so my girlfriend and I posted up on the bench and acted as hybrid consumers/coat-check station. The pizza and beer was served buffet style: a quesadilla-sized slice and 4 0z. of beer served out of continuously refilled growlers. Continue reading
Somewhere, likely in Missouri, someone decided that Bud Light just wasn’t getting America’s college students and off-duty bus drivers drunk fast enough. Why sell it in a brown beer bottle, when it can be blue? Let’s pretend there is somehow a premium clientele for our high selling, beer-flavored enhanced water beverage. The end result, is Bud Light Platinum.
Anheuser-Busch’s newest creation boasts a 6 percent alcohol by volume, (up from 4.2%) and a special blue bottle normally reserved for over priced mineral water sold to women in funny hats at the race courses. Bud Light Platinum is even stronger than Continue reading
IT FINALLY SNOWED! After what seemed like forever, there is snow on the ground where I live. It is officially winter. The holidays are over and there is nothing but the grey sky and shoveling for two/three months. Refreshment be damned; it’s about staying warm. Stouts get all the love, and I’ve been on a porter kick lately [Ed's note - not a euphemism] so I decided to crack an egg of knowledge all on all ya’ll. Porter: the other dark beer. Wikipedia’s got a whole bunch of facts that you can read if you want, but since I already did that just sit tight. Anyways, you know the band Joy Division? Yeah, Love Will Tear Us Apart and all that. Porter is what all their dad’s drank after a hard day at a Manchester textile factory. Your son would be depressed enough to write “The Eternal,” too. Continue reading
Hello and welcome to the inaugural edition of ON NOTICE! The idea here is a really bastardized and far more serious version of what Stephen Colbert does on his television program. We’ll look at people, places, things, organizations, or whatever needs to be documented to let you know who’s peddling bullshit. This week, we’ll look at a few breweries that need to get their act together and quit skating by. All too often people fall into traps with some blind devotion to a brewery that really just wants to get as much of your money as possible. I’ve mentioned a few of these companies before, and not in a particularly flattering light. While this isn’t intended necessarily to accomplish anything, perhaps I can help you make more informed choices for your beer purchasing dollar. We’ll get right down to it and work our way from five to the number one.
The beer scene in the state of Colorado is one that I’m pretty jealous of. While their distribution can vary, (No Lagunitas!) a few good friends live out that way and Continue reading
Some breweries just get it. Every distributed brewery has a marketing department of some kind. Judging by the amount of beer available at any given beverage center (back in Buffalo, they call them party stores) it’s no easy task to make sure you stand out from the crowd. I mean, I’ll occasionally buy a beer because its label looks cool. I’m no more oblivious to bright colors and fancy scripts as the next guy. I’ll buy based on style of beer more than anything, but breweries have to know I’m spending upwards of a half hour looking up and down at the same shelves hoping I’ll notice their brand. There’s always a different school of thought in how they get you to look their way. There is the big-swinging-dick approach, where places like Stone Brewery more or less question your manhood by daring you to try one of their beers. There’s the fancy swirling art motif employed by Continue reading
About a month or so ago, I ran down a list of some of my favorite pumpkin beers for the Fall brewing season. Since that was a lot of fun, I decided that the Winter brews deserve some love too. Generally, most winter brewed beers are going to be heavier in style, as well as higher in alcohol percentage (for them cold, cold nights). There are gimmicky beers brewed with all kinds of fruit, champagne beers, spicy winter warmers, and other beers not themed so specifically for Christmas, and will sell late into the season.
Hibernator by Long Trail Brewing Co. (Bridgewater Corners, VT) – We start this list with one of my favorite beers for winter. I am a completely biased, unabashed devotee to Long Trail for their session beers. Hibernator is Continue reading
The India Pale Ale, or IPA, is a polarizing style of beer. To some, it’s a go-to style and is considered great test of a particular brewer’s ability. To others, it can be an overwhelming and otherwise bitter experience. Some people (ie: my girlfriend) find the hop bite to be hard to drink. She says simply too strong for a casual palate. I guess it’s just an acquired taste. Anyways, the recipe comes from 19th century England, and carries with it a widely disputed legend that it was brewed specifically to last longer than normal beer being shipped to India. As it was, typical English porters would last years, let alone a four month or so ship ride to India. The beer proved popular in just about any market it was available. The two most popular styles of IPA are the American and Belgian variations. (The Belgian variation uses Belgian yeasts, as well as being cloudier in appearance and generally higher in alcohol.) As I said before, I wasn’t too fond of IPAs as recently as last year. I was all about stouts. Stouts, stouts, stouts. ”This is beer,” I thought. While I was correct (it sure is beer), I eventually grew tired of the same coffee or dark chocolate motifs that fit so well with darker, heavier beers. When I decided to branch out I noticed the IPA style was produced by such a number of breweries, that I had to have been missing something. This would lead to the inevitable discovery of the Imperial or Double IPA style (or DIPA), which is about what it amounts to in recipe and flavor. Generally higher in alcohol content and cranked up on all flavors involved, but mostly hops. Sure enough, the more variations I tried the more I grew to appreciate the strength and big flavors. These days, there’s almost nothing more disappointing than a bad IPA. While ranking them seems meaningless and almost impossible, I decided there were a few that definitely stood out from the rest. I’ll include some Double IPA for those seasoned in the ways of the IPA, but simply wanting more.
21st Amendment Brewing. (San Fransisco, CA) – Brew Free or Die! IPA: Our first selection is also our only selection to be exclusively packaged in cans. I would consider this an everyday IPA. As in, I could drink this every day. It’s refreshing, crisp, and has Mt. Rushmore on it. What’s not to like? It offers more in the way of citrus aroma which I can never seem to get enough of. Along with the patriotic artwork slapped all over the can, it’s an ideal way to keep light out even more efficiently than a brown bottle would. For a long time, craft beer couldn’t be canned because the reaction with aluminum would taint the taste. This is no longer the case, as special can liners were developed. But for goodness’ sake, pour it in a glass you savage.
Rogue Ales (Portland, OR) – Brutal IPA : West Coast IPAs generally get most of the love in the beer communities, and for good reason. Rogue Ales has several offerings in the IPA style, with the more popular being Yellow Snow IPA. While I don’t dislike Yellow Snow, it’s lingering bitterness is sort of a dealbreaker. I much prefer Brutal IPA, which is the angrier older brother of Yellow Snow. It packs a high alcohol content for a standard IPA (8.8%) but drinks very, very easy and clean. It’s cloudier in appearance as well, with just enough hops before it would start to feel oily on the palate. Rogue almost never disappoints, so buy their stuff with confidence.
Brew Dog (Fraserburgh, Scotland, UK) – Punk IPA: I will totally admit to being a huge mark for Punk IPA. Punk IPA semi-recently revamped their recipe, the distinguishing difference being the newer recipe has lower alcohol content (5.6% from 6%) but still delicious. A European take on an American IPA by dudes who are just plain old down for beer. Also heavy on that lovely citrus aroma. I cannot imagine what this tastes like fresh, versus whatever I happen to find here in America. It also looks so cool. Be sure to check your local beverage center’s British selection to find this and other Brew Dog offerings.
Southern Tier Brewing (Lakewood, NY) – Unearthy Imperial: Of course, I cannot go a list without a nod to one of my favorite breweries. I also needed to include my home state of New York, and get on with recommending some DIPAs. Unearthly is very East coast in style, as the amount of hops used in this brew is so great, the natural oils of the hops are very noticeable in the mouth as you drink it. It’s a big beer, and is best shared between two people per bomber. I also say this as it’s a whopping 10% alcohol by volume. If you choose to tackle it solo, may you do so responsibly. Southern Tier bottles and sells an oak aged variation, which takes down a considerable amount of hop and alcohol bite. It pours such a mesmerizing shade of golden orange if you’re into that sort of thing.
Firestone Walker (Paso Robles, CA) – Double Jack: A good friend of mine schlepped this all the way out here from Denver, only to find it in good supply in these parts. No matter, as this was excellent. The beer itself has loads of those delicious citrus and grapefruit notes I so desperately crave in a DIPA. it finishes kind of syrupy, but still one of the better I have had. This seems like a great time to mention that I do not know what lacing is or what it has to do with beer. Does this beer lace? DRINK IT AND THEN GOOGLE IT AND FIND OUT!
Flying Dog Brewery (Fredrick, MD) – Raging Bitch Belgian IPA: I had to think for a minute, but to give you a recommendation on a Belgian IPA is a bit skewed. You see, I apparently have ever only had one. I know. Anyways, behind the Ralph Steadman diarrhea on the label (Time to let HST go, you guys) you’ll find an absolutely wonderful brew. Most Europeans actually think the Belgian style is TOO hoppy, and prefer the American style. I say they need to try some of the stuff coming from California, then talk to me.
Dogfish Head Brewing (Milton, DE) – Burton Baton: I mentioned this earlier when talking about Unearthy, but this is an oak barrel aged DIPA. It is incredibly drinkable for it’s strength. There is a bit of a warming finish which is strange for a DIPA, but the subtle vanilla from the oak barrels really serves to take everything down a notch or two. With breweries like Lagunitas and Stone seemingly trying to outdo each other with intensity and flavor, dialing things back by aging beer is a great idea.
That’s a few with some background for you, here’s a few more worth picking up if you see them while prowlin’ for some new world hop bombs:
- Ithaca Brewery – Flower Power IPA (NY)
- Dogfish Head – 60/90/120 Minute IPAs (DE)
- Russian River Brewing Company – Pliny the Elder (CA)
- Sierra Nevada – Estate Homegrown Organic Ale (CA)
- Sixpoint Brewing – Bengali Tiger IPA (NY)
Hope you found the list helpful. Remember if you’re drivin’, don’t drink. And if you did, don’t drive.
Poured from bottle to pint glass.
I figured I ought to review the Pumking that has been sitting in my fridge for two weeks since we’re now past the harvest season. I meant to bring it to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving, but I’m glad that I didn’t in retrospect; not because it wasn’t enjoyable, but rather because I got supremely tanked as it was. The Pumking pours dark orange with two fingers of a quick to recede foamy head. Surprisingly, there was little to no lacing. The nose, as to be expected, was rich with pumpkin pie, clove, cinnamon, spice, pepper and graham cracker. The taste fell a little short of the nose, but was fairly well-balanced and added hints of nutmeg and brown sugar. The carbonation stings the pallet briefly before a pleasant buttery finish. I’m not very big into flavored beers, but the Pumking was enjoyable albeit a bit of an overdose at 650ml. I have yet to be disappointed by a Southern Tier Imperial. I will absolutely try this one again next season…and share it.