Do you have a “beer person” on your Christmas list? You know the guy (or gal!). He maps out all the microbrews he wants to visit in any city where he vacations and can tell you why (passionately!) pairing beer with food is as exciting as the whole wine thing… Well stop sweating pints, we are here to help. Local beer man Danny Reid gives you the inside scoop on just what to buy for even the most discriminating Beer Snob!
You all know one. Heck, you probably know several (actually, you probably are one). Today there are Beer Snobs everywhere as the craft beer revolution is taking over the United States. The great news is they are quite simply some of the easiest people to shop for! So what do you, the non-Beer Snob, look for? Here are a few sure-fire gift ideas….
Whatever you choose for your favorite Beer Snob, just make sure you stay away from those mass produced industrial beers that have dominated our market for the last several decades. The Beer Snob is dedicated to real craft beers and the Miller, Bud, and Coors of the world have no place in their heart. Other than that, it’s easy! And just make sure you’re around when those bottles get opened!
Saison is less a style of beer than it is a state of mind: a down-to-earth brew made for easy, summertime refreshment. Invented in Belgium, saison (French for “season”) was traditionally brewed with whatever grain was on hand–barley, rye, oats. Last year’s hops? A handful of spices? Why not? Add a peppery, fruity yeast (the Belgian trademark), leave the beer to mellow in winter, and pop the cork the next summer, when the brew is at its dry, effervescent peak.
Saison was the Gatorade of the 1800s: hydrating and–at least compared with the brackish European well water–restorative. These days, it’s often referred to in America as farmhouse ale, and though it’s still easy-drinking, crisp, and relatively low in alcohol, it doesn’t skimp on flavor like other so-called lawn-mower beers.
Perhaps that’s why saison happens to be the secret darling of an industry smitten with the big and boozy. Ask even the most extreme craft brewer what he drank with dinner last night, and chances are he’ll say, “Well, saison.” Complex enough to keep the pros busy but rustic enough for the workaday masses, saison is blue-collar beer done right: all flavor, no pretense–a picnic in a bottle. – William Bostwick, BonAppetit.com
NOW ON TAP
Cigar City Table Saison – Farmhouse Ale
Pouring a nice, hazy straw color, this beer was made for Florida! With notes of honey, tropical fruit, and a crisp lemony bitterness, prepare to quench your summer thirst! At only 5% ABV, this is an unparalleled session beer to enjoy during these hot summer months. - Danny Reid
Cigar City Brewing in the news… whether it’s coffee, chocolate or beer, we’re proud to support our local artisans! Check out the story here, then come by for $5 pints of Jai Alai IPA
The year is 7,000 B.C. Humans are settling down, raising crops — and apparently getting a little tipsy in the Neolithic Era. That wouldn’t be strange seeing as though barley beer and grape wine were first beginning to be made in the Middle East. But this isn’t the Middle East. This is Neolithic China, and they were brewing something different:
“We don’t have just a wine or a beer or a mead, but we have like a combination of all three,” says Molecular Archeologist Dr. Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology – the man who went digging for pottery in Henan Province, Northern China and found this instead.
The preserved pottery jars that McGovern unearthed revealed a mixed fermented beverage of rice, honey and fruit. Using some fancy science that you can read about here and here, he was able to extract the recipe from that pottery and Dogfish Head Brewery, in keeping with their extreme posture on beer, actually brewed it!
Stone. Just that one word alone lets you know you are in for some of the best beer on the planet. From a company that doesn’t really care what you think, and only wants to make amazing beer, Stone Brewing Company will be taking over the Datz tap list this Thursday evening with five of the most aggressive, most assertive, high quality beers that have ever crossed your palate. In Stone’s own words “You’re not worthy…” but Datz thinks you are.
Which is why we’ll be pouring Stone’s Ruination, Sublimely Self Righteous, Oaked Arrogant Bastard, and Lukcy 13 Basartd. A truly impressive lineup. But there’s more… for the first time, Datz will be offering what is arguably the best session beer on the planet – Stone’s very own Levitation Ale. This deep amber ale has a rich malt backbone, robust hop character, and a sensational citrus aroma, courtesy of prodigious dry-hopping. The result is an enormously flavorful and complex beer that weighs in at only 4.4% ABV. Yes… Stone has developed a beer that still confounds the beer world. Utilizing Columbus, Simcoe, and Crystal hops in the kettle, and an aggressive Amarillo dry-hop, Levitation has a Double IPA hops character with a Pale Ale session-ability.
Datz is so impressed with Levitation, and thinks you will be too, we want you to keep the pint glass when you order one. Stone’s gargoyle-adorned pint glasses are one of the favorites in the beer community, so you’re limited to only one; however you are certainly not limited to only one of these remarkable beers. We don’t even want to get started on the sheer AWESOMENESS of Sublimely Self Righteous, Oaked Arrogant Bastard, Ruination and Lukcy 13.
For the first time in American Craft Beer Week’s six-year history, events took place in every state! And no one understands the rise of craft beer better than Garrett Oliver. The Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster and award-winning author of The Brewmaster’s Table (2005) is finishing up his latest feat as editor-in-chief of The Oxford Companion to Beer. Oliver embarked on the work over a year ago with a preliminary list of 500 topics; 1,120 references and 160 additional writers later, the tome will drop in October.
In a recent online post by Food & Wine magazine, Oliver revealed some of the groundbreaking subjects that will be covered and what he thinks you should be drinking (and eating) now.
What convinced you to sign on? There are a lot of subjects that we in the craft-brewing community might use every day that are literally not written down. So if you want to know about, say, dry-hopping—adding hops after fermentation for extra flavor and aroma, which is done by 80 to 95 percent of all the breweries in the United States—there is precisely nothing to read.
What other categories are you breaking ground in? Sour beers. Barrel aging:There’s a huge movement all over the world now interested in deriving flavors from wooden barrels. You will read about Amarillo, a hop variety: where it comes from, how it developed, what its genetic parents are, how it grows in a field, and how people tend to use it. But then, right before that, you’d read [an entry called] Ale House, about the history of the ale house from Roman times to its development into the modern pub. So it really covers not only things scientific and technical, but also cultural and historic things.
What’s the most surprising country making beer? Of course when we think of Italy, we think of wine. But Italy has 350 breweries, and Italian brewers are really excited, creative and using a lot of their background in food to inform what they do on the beer side. Scandinavia is also a big story. We might think of one or two beers, like Carlsberg, but there are many dozens of breweries in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, etc.
Do you cover foods to eat with beer? What’s your favorite pairing? There are sections on food-and-beer pairing. I’ve done about 700 beer dinners in 12 countries, and I wrote a 360-page book on beer-and-food pairings. But this time of year, for example, I love saison, which is a Belgian-style wheat beer. [At Brooklyn Brewery] we have a new one coming out called Sorachi Ace, based on a particular hop variety of that name, and I think it’s really great with grilled salmon and shrimp dishes—lighter dishes you might grill in summertime.
How much has beer culture evolved in the last decade? It’s really pretty incredible. When I first started traveling, I would go overseas and say, “Oh, I’m an American brewer,” and people would just be dripping with disdain: “Oh, yes, we have heard of your American beer.” Because they were thinking about just the mass-market beer. We now have over 1,700 breweries in the United States, and we have the most vibrant beer culture in the world, bar none. What’s amazing is that now, we go to Germany and Belgium and Italy and, to a large extent, brewers all over the world look up to the United States. Twenty years ago it was exactly the opposite.”
According to a new study, moderate drinking of beer can cut the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure and even help people lose weight! Read the story at www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8258224/A-pint-of-beer-a-day-keeps-the-doctor-away.html and then we suggest testing out the theory at Blue Point Brewery night, Tuesday in the TapRoom.
As strange is it may sound, that’s the premise behind the Discovery Channel’s new series, “Brew Masters,” which debuted November 21. The show tracks Dogfish Head Brewery founder Sam Calagione as he travels the globe searching for unusual ingredients (Egyptian spices, anyone?) and learning about age-old beer making techniques –- all in the name of crafting the perfect pint.
Ostensibly the series will focus on a different brew master each season, but since this is just Season One, the show is effectively about Dogfish Head, perhaps the most experimental and daring of America’s 1,600 craft breweries. Episode One features the development of a collaboration between Dogfish Head and Sony Music revolving around the 40th anniversary of Miles Davis’ seminal jazz fusion classic, Bitches Brew.
On Tuesday, December 7, Datz resident Beer Geek Mike McGhee will host a special tasting and discussions of Bitches Brew from 6:30p-8p at the Chefs’ Kitchen. Until then, enjoy this interview with Calagione from the Discovery Channel blog.
How did you get into the beer business?
I started as a homebrewery – making 5 gallon batches in my cramped apartment in NYC. It was basically a hobby that went out of control and took over my life. From there I apprenticed at a small brewery in Maine, wrote a business plan, and raised the money to open our original location (and still our pub and R&D brewery), Dogfish Head Brewing and Eats in downtown Rehoboth, Delaware. We opened as the smallest brewery in the country, making ten-gallon batches. Today we are among the fastest-growing breweries in the country, making over 7,000 cases of off-centered ales per day out of our Milton, Delaware production facility. We host beer lovers for tours of both our pub and our brewery — folks can sign up at dogfish.com.
Where did the name of your brewery come from?
I always forget how goofy the name of our company sounds to most people. I grew up in New England. Dogfish Head is a head or jut of land off of Boothbay Harbor, Maine. I wanted to take a little rustic New England with me when I moved to Delaware to open the brewery, and this name allowed me to make that happen. My wife Mariah, who runs Dogfish with me, is from coastal Delaware, so that’s how we ended up here.
What’s your favorite kind of beer?
The kind that’s in front of me. Seriously, I drink all kinds of beer, not just Dogfish. There are so many amazing breweries out there around the world. But I mostly drink the beer from fellow small, indie craft breweries.
What are some of the more unusual ingredients you’ve made beer with?
Lavender buds, licorice root, juniper, tea leaves, human saliva, arctic cloudberries, chili peppers, tree seeds, gourds, saffron, coffee, maple syrup… Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
Have you learned anything surprising about beer from working on Brew Masters?
I never cease to be surprised by how good my coworkers here at Dogfish are at our job. I’m sure the exotic travel and ingredients will be highlights of the show, but I’m also looking forward to viewers getting to know the off-centered creative, funny, and dedicated people I work with here every day.
Who would you most like to have a beer with?
Living: Mark Arm of the band Mudhoney. Dead: Andy Warhol or David Foster Wallace.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’ve had a blast working with the folks from ZPZ production and Discovery Channel on this series. As obsessed with quality and authenticity as we are at Dogfish Head, these guys are within their respective industries. I always look forward to seeing them and hoisting a pint together after long days of productive work.
I received the Big Brew Day flyer in my email inbox this week, and it looks great, but I¹m a little confused. Can you tell me more about Brew Day and Special Hoperations?
I was glad to learn of your interest in our Brew Day and I’d love to yell you more about it.
Brew Day is being held and run by the newly formed South Tampa homebrew club Special Hoperations. Datz has been great and supports us whole heartedly, and they don’t hesitate to host our club meetings or events. So Datz is really our de facto headquarters.
The May 1st Brew Day will be Special Hoperations first event. As its also National Homebrew Day, we are centering the day on the three beer recipes that the American Homebrewers Association encourages brewers to make. However, don’t feel locked on to this. If you want to come out and brew something of your own choosing, please do! Our goal is really just to get together in the fellowship of craft brewmaking.
You do not have to RSVP for Brew Day, but I encourage you to come to our next Special Hoperations meeting. We hold meetings the 2nd and 4th Mondays at 6:30 p.m. at Datz, so our next meeting will be Monday the 26. As an experienced brewer we would absolutely love to get you involved with us!
Dues for membership are a whopping $15 a year. With membership, Southern Brewing Supply offers 10% off their grains and hops. Oh, and make sure to bring some of your beer to our meetings! We all try to bring in something for everybody to sample/critique.
As for brew day, bring whatever equipment you need to make a batch of beer, including ingredients. Datz will supply us with a water source, but otherwise its on the individual to bring their own equipment. One great thing about a brew day is to inspect what other brewers use and see how they do things. We are starting the day officially at 11 a.m., but most of us will probably get there by 10 a.m. to start setting up.
For more information about the AHA Big Brew Day and for a copy of the recipes, log onto the American Homebrewers Association website.
Special Hoperations also has a fledgling website: www.specialhoperations.com. It’s only about a week old, so there is not a lot there right now, but go back often.
Again, Mark it was great to hear of your interest and we look forward to meeting you. Please don’t hestiate to contact me with any other questions or comments.
President, Special Hoperations
Calling all beer geeks and Datz foodies! It’s time to hop to it and vote for the name of our new beer created exclusively for us by Cigar City Brewing.
We received nearly 400 entries to name the Datz pumpernickel rye beer, but after making some tough decisions we narrowed it down to the top three.
So vote for your favorite in our web poll. Fifty percent of the vote will come from you and the other 50 percent will be judged by a panel of Datz judges.
The 1st place winner receives:
The 2nd place winner receives:
The 3rd place winner receives: