Beer Profile: Ninkasi Brewing’s Venn Dortmund Style Lager

Profiled by Maria Devan

Pours straw gold and with pristine clarity. A white head of creamy foam that lasts to a ring and leaves a bit of lace as you drink. Serene int eh glass with no bubbles coming up from the bottom.

Nose is clean and crisp. A bit of grainy sweetness from malt and a floral backnote from the hops. it becomes herbal as it warms but it is not too much for the style. there is s slight pungency from sulfur on the nose. No fruity scents. Lovely.

Taste is dry and a bit rich with a lovely light honey to grace the malt . crisp on the palate with a good smooth mouthfeel. The bite from carbonation is perfect and does not hit until the swallow. There it resides with a moderate hop bitterness. A touch more bitterness than the usual but not offensive. The hop herbal sings on the mid palate and the light touch of sulfur adds a bit of dimension to this beer and actually accents the sweetness of the malt by contrast. Finishes dry and with a bit of noble hops to linger in the aftertaste.

Eu quero sempre mais.

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4.5
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Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”

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meMaria Devan lives in Ithaca, NY and is frequent reviewer of beer and a beer lover deluxe.

Let’s Go Brew Through Hawaii with Tom Becham! (Part 2)

Written by Tom Becham for PGA

www.islandsunweekly.com
www.islandsunweekly.com
I confess my impressions of Kauai Island Brewing were somewhat confusing, however.

Keep in mind I will make every effort to be fair here.

I had visited KIB once before when it was still called Waimea Brewing some years ago. I left unimpressed. Admittedly, I was still a newbie to craft beer at that time. Plus, where beer is concerned, I will always give it a second, or even third, chance.

The brewpub is an airy place, mere feet from a municipal fishing boat dock, so the result is the rare brewpub that specializes in fresh fish dishes. And to give you an idea of how good the food is, when I

lilikoi, courtesy www.beervanabuzz.com
lilikoi, courtesy www.beervanabuzz.com
visited, two locals were sitting behind my table having lunch. One was drinking Heineken, the other Coors Light. Yes, the food is so good that even industrial beer drinkers will come in for a meal.

The beer is kind of a mixed bag, however.

I’m not saying the beer was bad, by any means. It just seemed monotonous and without variety. Admittedly, they were out of their award-winning brown ale, and their lilikoi (passion fruit) ale. But every single other beer on their list (8 of them) were hop bombs except for the Pakala Porter. I can appreciate a hoppy beer. But I like variety, as do most beer geeks. And newbies will be absolutely turned off by this line-up.

Individually, here are my impressions: Continue reading “Let’s Go Brew Through Hawaii with Tom Becham! (Part 2)”

Beer Profile: Saranac Wild Hops Pils

PGA: we republished Maria Devan’s profile at at the end of this one so the reader may compare.

pgaprofile

Courtesy beerpulse.com
Courtesy beerpulse.com

Profiled by Ken Carman for PGA

The nose is cascade/American hop/citrus like with a light grapefruit sense. Very light pilsener malt in the background.

Mostly good clarity with the very slightest sense of haze. The head is pillow with a few bubbles big to small.

I have to ask up front: what the hell makes this “wild?” I understand; they used wild hops, but if you get the same result as if you used regular commercial hops: what the hell’s the point?

Otherwise: if you’re looking for a light, slightly hoppy beer that has a slight pils sense to it, but none of that lager/sulfur sense: this is it For that it’s exceptional. A great gateway beer for the somewhat hop adverse quaffer.
Continue reading “Beer Profile: Saranac Wild Hops Pils”

Let’s Go Brew Through Hawaii with Tom Becham! (Part 1)

Hawaje-NoRedLine

Written by Tom Becham for PGA

Having just returned from almost two weeks in the islands, it’s been a shock returning to reality (although reality in California is much less harsh than, say, in Buffalo).

But now, I am ready to comment on some of the beer to be had in the Hawaiian Islands.

konaThe situation is far better now than it has been in years past, since my first visit. Formerly, Kona Brewing was the only craft choice to be had, and it wasn’t as widely available as it is now. Since then, Maui Brewing has started up, smaller semi-craft outfits like Mehana have improved their game, and even local watering holes that attract a predominantly Bud Lite crowd will at least have Kona brews on tap as well. And there are more new players in the game, too.
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I was clued into the beer of Big Island Brewhaus by the lads on the television show Brew Dogs. I nabbed some of their Secret Sabbath Belgian-style Golden Ale, and Overboard IPA, in bottles at local markets on Kauai. Both beers were excellently made and worth the price. Overboard is a classic American IPA, with a hefty malt backbone, and gorgeous floral and tropical hops, which show their character in both aroma and flavor. Balance is perfect for the style. Secret Sabbath brings all the Belgian yeast fruitiness one expects from the style, combined with both some sweetness and dryness from a generous use of local Hawaiian honey. Beer geeks and novices alike will love this one. All in all, I heartily recommend seeking out anything made by Big Island.
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TomBTom Becham lives in Oxnard, CA. He’s been writing for PGA for many years now. We really should pay him but we’re poor here at PGA. Tom’s a great writer and contributor to PGA. He loves good beer, and has a great palate. Notice how much we’re sucking up to him? Maybe he should pay US?

Florida Bartender Fighting Craft Beer Jug Ban

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Craft beer fans love capped jugs known as “growlers,” and they’re an efficient way to carry fresh beer home. But in Florida, half-gallon growlers are banned, even though it’s legal to fill jugs that are smaller and larger. Critics call the law “stupid” and now one bar owner is fighting the state of Florida in court, reports CBS News Vicente Arenas.

In craft beer bars across the country, the half-gallon jug, called a growler, has become a best seller.

“Four and half pints, almost five pints to share with friends at home or for the weekend, 64 oz is a good amount, I think,” a New York City bartender said.

But filling a growler is a sobering thought at the Crafted Keg in Stuart, Florida, where bar owner Guy Piasecki would be breaking the law if he sold you one.

“I don’t get it,” Piasecki said. “I can buy the small and the large but not the medium.”

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There’s a black market for beer. And it’s bad for drinkers

141118173025-black-beer-market-620xaYour next specialty beer could cost you a lot more.

High demand for craft beers is creating a black market for some small batch brews, and unauthorized dealers are selling the beers underground (or online) for inflated prices up to 20 times above retail.

“Whether it’s a top-rated brew or one with new or seasonal ingredients, everyone wants to get their hands on exclusive batches. The demand is certainly there, and people are stepping in to fulfill that need in unsavory ways,” said beer cicerone Anne Becerra.

It’s common for craft brewers to release small or limited-time batches of a beer. Most of the time, it’s out of necessity.

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Please Wish Modern American Brewing A Happy 50th

Fritz Maytag re-launched Anchor Brewing Co. in 1965.
Fritz Maytag re-launched Anchor Brewing Co. in 1965.
On Oct. 29, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History hosted a talk and a dinner to honor the contributions of some of the earliest makers of fine wine in the United States. It was also part of the museum’s American Food and Wine History Project, which has been curating artifacts, oral histories and documents about the history of U.S. wine and winemaking.

Distinguished guests on Oct. 29 included Warren Winiarski, the winemaker who crafted the Cabernet Sauvignon that famously won the red wine half of a blind-tasting in Paris in 1976, and Fred Frank, the grandson of the late Konstantin Frank, a Ukrainian immigrant who proved that delicate, European varieties of grapes could thrive in harsher climates (in Frank’s case, New York’s Finger Lakes region).

All the honorees could trace the reason for their presence at the Smithsonian back to the early and mid-1960s, that period when American wine fine began to slowly—then quickly—emerge from France’s shadow and stake its critical, as well as commercial, claim upon the world stage. The September 1966 launch of the Robert Mondavi Winery, Napa Valley’s first ground-up winery since Prohibition, is generally credited with birthing modern fine wine in the United States.

Curiously, a full year before, Fritz Maytag’s re-launch of the Anchor Brewing Co. in nearby San Francisco birthed modern beer and brewing in the United States. Not that the Smithsonian appears to have noticed. Yes, in roughly 10 months, August 2015, it will have been a full half-century since Maytag famously saved Anchor from closing.

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