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Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Holiday Cheese Board: Great with Any Seasonal Beer

I know we discuss all things BEER here at the Jolly Good Fellows, but I come from a beer pairing background and love to match beer with a great cheese. This story is from my former blog, Beer Meets Cheese. It doesn't speak to the beer as much as the cheese - but trust me, any of your favorite holiday ales will pair pleasantly with these cheeses. Before you run out to the store for some last minute items, consider putting together this cheese board to pair with your holiday beers.

Enjoy - and let us know what beer and cheese you like to to pair for the holidays.

Picture it... Phoenix, 2011.

I’m at my in-laws house for Christmas day. All of them have heard about my blogging and my love for beer and cheese. Suddenly, the dreaded question is asked: “why don’t you make a cheese board for Christmas brunch?”

Oh, crap. Now I have to put my money where my mouth is – or some clever phrase like that.

Did I mention I’m in a dry household?

Well – at least that helps to end the fear of pairing beer with my cheese.

Now all I need is to get my cheese board together.

But we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto. While one of the 5 C’s of Arizona is cattle, dairy cows are definitely NOT part of this agreement. Finally, after going to several “standard” grocery stores around the Scottsdale area, I broke down and drove the 8 miles to Whole Foods Market. I could feel the rays of light shining down from heaven as they lit my path to the cheese counter – filled with lovely gourmet cheese! Finally, I feel like I’m pack in Portland for a moment (the sunshine outside tells me otherwise, but that’s why I’m here in Phoenix to avoid the rains of an Oregon Christmas).

Selection was easy from that point – a 5 month old Manchego cheese to be paired with a pear / apple chutney (made from the gift box from Harry & David’s – thanks aunt Molly and uncle John!) was the first selection (thanks to Deborah Madison's book Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone for this suggestion!).

Then I moved to my old standards, a good aged Gouda and some creamy Taleggio. From here, I was stumped… but thankfully the friendly WFM cheesemonger was there to save me!

He suggested we try La Tur, an Italian cheese made from pasteurized goat, sheep, and cow’s milks. What we discovered was love at first bite! I would describe the cheese in my own words, but I find that Murray’s Cheese shop of New York City does it the best justice:
From the great wine region of Piemonte comes La Tur: a dense, creamy blend of pasteurized cow, goat and sheep milk. Runny and oozing around the perimeter with a moist, cakey, palette-coating paste, its flavor is earthy and full, with a lingering lactic tang. The effect is like ice cream served from a warm scoop: decadent and melting from the outside in.

Um…yes, please! I’d like to crawl into a bucket of this and not come out until the New Year… oh, wait, you mean I can do that!? Ye-es!
Seriously, spend the extra duckets to buy this cheese next time you pick up some food for a party (impressing your friends = priceless), or maybe just hoard it for yourself once your realize how delicious it is!

For pictures of the entire cheese board and brunch, please check out my Flikr page HERE.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Best Books About Beer: A Perfect Gift for the Beer Lover

Looking for a great gift for the beer lover on your list? Here are some of my favorite books about beer:

This book, organized like a hybrid dictionary/encyclopdedia, is my go to reference guide for everything about beer.

As described by the Oxford University Press website:
The first major reference work to investigate the history and vast scope of beer, The Oxford Companion to Beer features more than 1,100 A-Z entries written by 166 of the world's most prominent beer experts. Attractively illustrated with over 140 images, the book covers everything from the agricultural makeup of various beers to the technical elements of the brewing process, local effects of brewing on regions around the world, and the social and political implications of sharing a beer.


This book is a must have for the beginning to expert brewer. 

As described by The Complete Joy of Homebrewing website:

Charlie Papazian, master brewer and founder and president of the American Homebrewer's Association and Association of Brewers, presents a fully revised edition of his essential guide to homebrewing. This third edition of the best-selling and most trusted homebrewing guide includes a complete update of all instructions, recipes, charts, and guidelines. Everything you need to get started is here, including classic and new recipes for brewing stouts, ales, lagers, pilseners, porters, specialty beers, and honey meads. 


If you are going to own any book about beer, it should be one written by the late great Michael Jackson. The companion to beer is a nice little guide, easy to travel with, and easy to reference. The perfect book for that person who enjoys beer, but wants to learn more about different styles and new styles.


This book is for the true beer geek. It's filled with lengthy descriptions of the anatomy of beer - why is beer a certain color? What does bitterness really mean, and how is it measured? How do I have my own tasting party? All of this and much much more is included in these pages. It's also filled with some lovely illustrations, graphs, and infographics, which was wonderful for somebody like me who loves visual communication.

Enjoy finding and reading some of our favorite beer books! 

Did we miss one you love? Let us know!

{ prost! } 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Beer Gifts: The Brewing Magazine

Looking for a great gift for the beer lover? How about a subscription to a brewing magazine? The homebrewer, the beer lover, and the beginning aficionado will enjoy their monthly / bimonthly news, sent straight to their doorstep. Here are a few magazine suggestions Jolly Good Fellows would like to recommend:


Draft Magazine is "America's Favorite Beer Magazine." It is filled with reviews, traveling ideas, and everything beer . 

All About Beer is a magazine that focuses on the culture of beer. Each issue includes beer and brewing news, made for the beer lover, the connoisseur, and the brewer.


Brew is one of the best resources for homebrewers of all skill levels. If you somebody who is dabbling in this hobby (or thinking about it), then this magazine is a must have resource for the brewers library. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Beer Gift Ideas: Etsy Style

Looking for a gift for the beer geek on your list? Skip the beer baskets this year and build your own beer gift with these beer gift ideas from Sure, it's a unique beer gift idea, but the one of a kind quality makes it that much better. Check our this treasury, filled with ideas, hopefully giving you some inspiration!

{ prost! }

Monday, November 26, 2012

Portland Event - Holiday Ale Festival

This Wednesday, November 28th, marks the start of the 17th annual Ale Festival in Portland, Oregon. This beer festival is in the heart of Portland's downtown area, at Pioneer Courthouse Square (perfect for taking public transportation).

The Ale Festival begins at noon on Wednesday (anybody want to blow work off early with me?), and runs through Sunday, December 2nd (make sure you check out the Sunday Beer Brunch - best beer brunch ever!). One thing that's awesome about it - you get FREE admission everyday once you pay for the wristband. In other words, drop by everyday, and taste the new and limited releases by some of your favorite brewers, including: Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg, North Coast Brewing, Hair of the Dog Brewing, Deschutes, and Bear Rupublic Brewing Co., just to name a few.

Come on out and support your local community of Brewers. While doing so, you are also supporting the Children's Cancer Association, which the Holiday Ale Festival is a proud supporter. For more information about this Portland beer event, you can download the Holiday Ale Festival brochure:


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

These beer links are all business!

In the News!
BeerSci: What's The Connection Between Hops And Marijuana? (
Science, alcohol, and pot!
Robots and Beer! (Original found here)

The Genius of Starting a Company Without Outside Capital (New York Times)
Contract brewing and crowd sourcing are proving to be legitimate outlets for up and coming breweries.

The GrOpener opens your beer with one hand, keeping the other free for … (Denver Westword)
Can't wait till I get mine.

Tin Man Brewery out to change the thinking about beer--and robots (Evansville Courier & Press)
Everytime I think of robots I think of this.

Who’s Afraid of the Fiscal Cliff? Media Companies, and with Good Reason (Ad Age)
The downside is politicians on both sides of the aisle will probably be in favor to raise taxes on alcohol.

Review: Frothy ‘Bitter Brew’ covers Busch Empire (USA Today)
I think I found one of my reads for the holiday season!

Simpson: Don’t threaten American breweries: drink locally (University Daily Kansan)
The sentiment is great but the logic is flawed. Undergrads have no understanding of context and system thinking.

Beer chief: French tax will hit all European brewers (
In more tax news be glad you are not a beer drinker in France.

Beer Wars: Craft Brewers Are Using This Strategy to Compete (Wall St. Cheat Sheet)
Size matters and it is a strategy craft brewers are using to their advantage. Meanwhile...

Big Beer dresses up in craft brewers’ clothing (CNN Money)
...the big boys are doing this. If you read one article out of these then read this one.

Revolutionizing the beer culture in America (Buffalo News)
Jim Koch makes a lot of good points.

Genetically-Modified Beer: Is It Evil? (Broward-Palm Beach New Times)
Depends if it chaotic, lawful, or neutral evil, once we know that we can better prepare.

In Site News!
While the Mother Earth Brewing interview was supposed to be up last week I'm in the process of moving my household so things have been put on hold. Fear not though, it will be up starting tomorrow. Later this week we will have a review of ciders and expect a Thanksgiving post on Thursday.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

One year later...

Jolly Good Fellows has reached its first birthday and for awhile I toyed with the idea of a big, convoluted post to celebrate the occasion but I think I would rather just say thank you.

Thank you to Sarah, Brian, Dan, Jeremy, Rudy, and Craig for being part of this, contributing, and providing counsel when I needed it. You are all awesome beyond measure.
Now this is a birthday cake!
(Original here)
Thank you to everyone who has read an article, commented, shared us with their friends, listened to us, provided advise, took the time to speak with us, welcomed us into their brewery, allowed us to attend your festivals and events, smiled for photographs, and shared a pint or two with us. Without your support we wouldn't have made it this far. 

We have come along way in a year and have told some good stories, but there is still much work to be done and many more excellent beers and beer stories to discover.  Jolly Good Fellows is just the type of site to find them!

Thank you and may you be privileged to drink excellent beer!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fall Seasonal Review: A closer look at the Bruery's Autumn Maple

Our candidate for today's review is the Bruery's Autumn Maple. This particular bottle is last year's model, bought when it was first released, made a small cameo, and then stored away in the cellar.

Autumn Maple poured a hazy burnt umber color with a tannish head that fizzled down quickly and a rich aroma rising up as it filled the glass. This beer immediately clues you in that it is made for the changing season.

It is rich on taste, with a small tang at the end and muted sour aftertaste with a slight bit of cloying. The yams bring a different flavor profile to it, while similar to the pumpkin it does not have the spicy dryness of that fruit. On the contrary, the flavor is more rounded and mellow. The beer has a sweetness to it, stemming from the molasses and maple syrup. Interestingly enough neither of those flavors really stand out. Instead this is an ensemble beer with each component blending and adding it's own piece to the chorus. It is a filling beer which is a compliment at this time of year. It comes in at a velveted iron gauntlet of 10% ABV. (Seriously this is a sneaky but potent beer.) If you enjoy brown ales or pumpkin beers then this is worth tracking down. Overall this is a great beer and will be the perfect accompaniment to any Thanksgiving feast. Even better pick up two, enjoy one this year and put one away for next.

Here is the "party line" on Autumn Maple:
Brewed with 17 lbs. of yams per barrel (in other words, a lot of yams!), this autumn seasonal is a different take on the “pumpkin” beer style. Brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, molasses, and maple syrup, and fermented with our traditional Belgian yeast strain, this bold and spicy beer is perfect on a cold autumn evening.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

2nd Annual International Stout Day: 6 relatively easy" to find stouts so you can participate!

It is the 2nd International Stout Day, a day to raise a pint of this delicious dark beer. While stouts themselves are a diverse lot with its milk, coffee, oyster, dry, imperial, chocolate, etc. here are six examples that are relatively easy to find but aren't too challenging to the pallette so you can enjoy the day too. One last thing, let these warm up just a bit to get a more rewarding drinking experience.

Guinness - Plain and simple this will be the easiest to find. It is everywhere and it is not half bad. While it is good, it can also stand in as the stout of last resort due to its ubiquitous nature. (P.S. If you can get the foreign extra version, go with that)

Murphy's Irish Stout - Guinness's #1 competitor, owned by Heineken this also has global presence. You should be able to find it in most places that sell import beer.

Sierra Nevada Stout - This is one of the easiest American craft beer stouts to find. National distribution means that this should be available in most respectable supermarkets. If your local store has a good craft selection then this should be available.

Young's Double Chocolate Stout - A blue bottled (or canned) beauty that should be available in most reputable beer stores or supermarkets.  (For a bit more fun mix it with Wells Banana Bread Beer.)

Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout - While it is starting to push the "challenging" boundary for drinking for novices it is the beer that revived the oatmeal stout style. Most likely you'll find this one in a decent beer store or a high end supermarket.

Lion Stout - This one will probably be a bit more challenging to locate than any of the others, but it is an examplar of the stout style and worth seeking out. If you have a Total Wine near you then they'll have this on the shelves. If you don't have one close then any top notch bottle shop should have this stocked also.

If you decide to go an alternative path then I recommend you drink local! Grab your favorite local craft brewery's best stout and enjoy. I'll be enjoying World Wide Stout by Dogfish Head. Remember to check in on Untappd to unlock your badge. Yours in the comments!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Welcome to Fall Seasonals: A closer look at Jolly Pumpkin Fuego del Otono

It is time to launch into fall seasonals. This is actually our first go at these, last year's contribution was posted before the schedule had really been thought out. Our kickoff candidate is Jolly Pumpkin Fuego del Otono, Autumn Fire. Interestingly enough this actual beer is older than JGF having been bottled on October 7, 2011, Batch 899/900.

Since Jolly Pumpkin does not distribute to Virginia, I picked this up on the way home from vacation from Florida in August at Hop City in Atlanta, and it has been sitting vertically in the cool, dark of the cellar ever since.

This poured a hazy, burnt orange color, very reminiscent of autumn and falling leaves. It looks quite pleasing in the glass. It had a decent carbonation to it, but it had faded a bit with time. It should be foamy on the pour, but this dissipated very quickly on my model.
Jolly Pumpkin labels are some of my favorites!

On the first taste this beer roars at you with it's big tangy, tart taste, which covers up a lot of the nuance that exists in this beer. That is a reoccurring characteristic I have noticed in several Jolly Pumpkin beers I have sampled over the last few months but not quite as forward as this particular example. Once you get passed that though you can pick out the spice and the citrus. The chestnut aspect is there but it was very faint. I expected it to be a bit more upfront. It is the tanginess that rides strong throughout pushing other flavors rudely aside, finishing with a dry, flat, bitterness.

I don't know how long it was on the shelf and if it has been diminished by time and light. I would sure like to try it fresh instead of a year old. Bottom line is I will be trying this again with a more recently bottled example when I get the chance. It comes in at 6.1% ABV and would be great with sharp cheese.

Here is the "party line" on Jolly Pumpkin Fuego del Otono, Autumn Fire:
To catch a bit of soft radiance in each bottle, we wait for fall colors to begin their bright and fleeting glow before brewing this wonderful ale under their autumn fire. Gentle amber malt blend smooth caramel notes, gently lapping against a shore of distant forgotten spice. A beer to sip, contemplate and enjoy.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

10 Beers for Election Day 2012

It's Election Day here in the United States which means you have two jobs to do today. Vote and then drink a beer. While we aren't here to help you with the first part of the equation, we can help you with the second. Here are ten beers to quench your thirst after you have done your civic duty.
This was too good not to post!
(Original found here)

Yuengling Lager - It is the oldest brewery in America and still American owned. This beer has been in part of the fabric of America since Andrew Jackson was President. (Depending on when they brewed their first barrel it could have even been in the waning days of John Quincy Adams's presidency!) Lift a Yuengling to celebrate the legacy of democracy!

Terrapin All American Imperial Pilsner - Feeling confidant today that your candidate is going to win? Then this is the beer for you while you celebrate the victory.

RJ Rockers Patriot Pale - Brewed by a former Army Ranger, this slice of southern brew is a surefire thirst quencher after waiting at the polls.

Blue & Gray Classic Lager - The Civil War was Americas darkest hour, but we pulled through. It has been 150 years since those trials and tribulations. Drink this and reflect on the fact while it can be bad, at least it isn't that bad.

Alewerks Washington's Porter Ale - Our first President set a precedent by ensuring a peaceful transition of power. He also had a pretty good head on his shoulders when it came to brewing beer.

Yards Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce Ale - He may have not been President, but there is a reason ol' Ben is on the one hundred dollar bill. One of our premier founding fathers and an American genius. Without Ben we might not even be voting today.

Anchor Brewing Liberty Ale - This is the big one in election terms, President, Senate, House, Gubernatorial, all that exciting stuff. Frankly it may be a bit exhausting. Here is a beer that pick you up and renew your civic pride.

21st Amendment Brew Free or Die IPA - Passions running high today? Then this is the beer for you.

DC Brau The Corruption - Worried that the fix is in? It can't possibly be as bad as 1824, or 1876, but if you need something to calm your nerves then this beer will do the trick.

Avery Ale to the Chief - At the end of the day we should have a pretty good idea what the presidency will be for the next four years.  Cheers to surviving another American election day!

Get out there and vote!!

11 Beer links to tide you through Election Day!

It sure looks pretty but is it worth two Benjamins?
(Original found here)
We are in November now and that means we have almost come full circle. It is time to launch into fall seasonals, a style that was abbreviated last year with only a few getting looked at. First though let's take a look at some of the latest beer news.

In the News!
Beer and Metal: Perrenial’s Heart of Gold wheat wine (Chicago Reader)
Wheat wines are a style I need to get better versed in. Another brewery though to keep on the radar.

Chipotle Is Experimenting With Craft Beer (Business Insider)
Nothing new about beer at Chipotle, but if anybody in Chicago can chime in I’d love to know what they will be offering and how it pairs with a fat burrito.

Beer drinkers brace for further price hikes in kegs and tanks (The Prague Post)
I think I need to start doing research on the economic / beer price correlation.

Local Breweries Awarded at Brussels Beer Challenge (NBC 7 – San Diego)
San Diego is a must travel destination for the discerning craft beer drinker.

The Common Table Will Soon Stop Serving Horrible Beer (Dallas Observer)
A bold move.

Beer aged like bourbon is the rage (San Francisco Chronicle)
Sometimes I think the craft beer world is as style conscious as a bunch of teenage girls.

France to Hike Tax on Beer by 160 Percent (The New American)
Is it too soon to start daydreaming about being a craft beer smuggler of the coast of France.
The silver lining: this is great news for the French homebrewing community!
Sam Adams’ Utopias Beer Cost $190 A Bottle (Huffington Post)
Do I get a bottle of this and call it a Christmas present for myself…this might still be a little too rich for my blood.

N.Y. breweries take a hit during Hurricane Sandy (Associated Press by way of
Best of luck to them and hopefully they will be back on their feet soon.

The Art and Sustainability of Craft Beers (Triple Pundit)
One of the strengths of the craft beer industry is promotion of community.

These volunteers will work for beer (Orlando Sentinel)
I have become more picky of the beer I will actually work for.

In Site News
The plate is full, I just have to start serving up the entrees. This week we'll have an Election Day special, our first fall seasonal review of the month, and the first entry of our interview with Mother Earth Brewing out of North Carolina. Stay tuned and thanks for stopping in.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Pumpkin Ale Tripleheader!

We are closing out October with a tripleheader of pumpkin beers. So strap in folks and let us dive in!

Saranac Pumpkin Ale was my backup, my second choice. At one point in my early craft beer career I only really drank Post Road Pumpkin Ale for my pumpkin beer of the season. Then came a time when I couldn't find it so I had to find an alternative. Saranac's version was the first one I stumbled upon so I picked it up. It was one of those moments that lead to me discovering there was a whole other world out there for pumpkin brews because while I enjoyed it, I wasn't quite satisfied with it. Now though it is time to approach it again and take a closer look at it. 

Saranac Pumpkin Ale also doesn't go for the dessert angle instead focusing on the fruit aspect, though some of those qualities are present. It poured a clear copper color with a small tannish head. Allspice and cloves standout on the spice side of things, but they aren't overpowering. It is decently hopped but they are in the background. It is light on the palette, and finishes fairly dry with minimal aftertaste. Overall it is an easy drinker and not a challenging pumpkin ale. It comes in at an ABV of 5.4%. All this adds up to make Saranac Pumpkin Ale a good candidate to introduce folks to the joys of the style. 

Here's the "party line" on Saranac Pumpkin Ale:

Saranac Pumpkin Ale is brewed with Pumpkin, Cinnamon, Allspice, Cloves, Ginger and Vanilla. Look for a full-body and amber color. We're sure you'll enjoy this special brew!

Our second beer is RJ Rockers Gruntled Pumpkin Ale out of South Carolina. It poured a clear, dark orange color with a small white head. It is moderately carbonated and has a noticeable spice up front attitude. There is a spiced, sweet nature to this brew and those characteristics mask the pumpkin on the front end of things holding back that flavor until it suddenly appears at the end of the drink.  The beer finishes fairly dry with a lingering hop bitter aftertaste. This is one of those beers that improves as it warms up with the flavors becoming more full and rich. It comes in at a full and well-hidden 7% ABV. It is a solid effort by RJ Rockers which is a pleasant surprise. This isn't a beer to use to introduce the style, too many disparate elements going on that could be a turn off for novices. 

There is no "party line" on RJ Rockers Gruntled Pumpkin Ale so here is a second opinion instead by It's a Blog about the Beer

Our third and final beer is Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale out of Pennsylvania. It poured a clear light brown color with a small off white head. This is a big pumpkin pie style beer and it is another beer that really comes into its own when it is just shy of room temperature. You notice the big spices right out the gate. The smell will get in the nose even before you take a drink with the nutmeg and cloves barging their way to the front and the cinnamon tagging along. The pumpkin flavor is there but it stays wrapped up with the spices, never quite breaking free to establish its independence. It finishes dry with a spiced aftertaste that remains present for several minutes after. It comes in at a noticeable 8% ABV. I would recommend this at room temperature so the flavors and scents can really bloom, but this is a one bottle beer. Eventually the spice profile of this proves overpowering and starts to tire out the palette. While it is a very good beer, it is not a beer I would recommend as a starting point, and I would also be hesitant to promote it to anyone who wasn't a big fan of spices. If you pass those two hurdles though this is well worth checking out. 

Here is the "party line" on Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale:

Like a pyramid for a pharaoh, we set out to make a bold monument for The King of the Pumpkins! This 8.0% ABV pumpkin ale is the mother of all pumpkin ales. It is heartier, spicier, and more “caramelly” and “pumpkiny” than its faint brethren! We have added lots of pumpkin along with cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of cardamom and clove giving this beer a spicy, full-bodied flavor. This truly is an Imperial Pumpkin Ale. Perfect finisher on a cool autumn night, or match it up with a slice of pumpkin pie and fresh whipped cream.
Happy Halloween everyone!

Welcome to your weekend: Spooky Halloween Edition!

Brought to you by spooky plastic pumpkins with
special guest Saranac Pumpkin Ale.
Also remember to check in today for a special Untappd badge!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Beer Battles Breast Cancer: A Look at Pretty in Pink

A slight detour today with the review. Instead of looking at some more pumpkin ales we are going to look at a beer brewed for a good cause. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and many organizations and events have been taking place to raise awareness of this insidious and perfidous disease. I'm proud to say that the Viriginia and DC brewing community is doing their part too.

Four brewsters, Becky Jordan of Lost Rhino, Megan Parisi of Bluejacket, Kristi Mathews-Griner of Vintage 50, and Rachael Cardwell of Hardywood Park, put their minds together and came up with a beer to represent the brewing community's efforts to support breast cancer research. The end result of their collaboration is Pretty in Pink: Awareness Ferments Hope, a saison style beer amplified by pomegranate and hibiscus.

The brilliant brains behind a beautiful beer.
(L-R: Becky Jordan, Kristi Mathews-Griner, Rachael Cardwell, and Megan Parisi)
I stopped in at the Churchkey in DC earlier this week for one of the tappings. The beer filled the tulip glass with a hazy pink hue, an appropriate color for its cause. On the drink the pomegranate and hibiscus blend exceptionally well with the tangy flavors found in most saisons. It finishes dry with a bitter tartness retained in the mouth. This actually works in the beer's favor, amplifying the fruity nature on the next drink. Overall this went down smoothly and way too quickly. This is a wonderful fruity, refreshing, and drinkable beer that should appeal to a wide audience. It has an understated ABV of 5.8%. 

Part of the proceeds of the sales of Pretty in Pink will be donated to the Massey Cancer Center in Richmond to continue their mission of research and treatment of all types of cancer. 

The initial 80 barrels have sold out quickly to the drinking establishments in the region. Another batch is in the works and will be making its way to shelves in 22 ounce bottles during the holiday season. 

Pretty in Pink is a well-crafted beer for a notable cause. Keep your eyes open for this and pick up a bottle or two when you get the chance. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Beer Recipe: Quick Beer Bread

Looking for a easy and delicious way to cook with beer? This beer recipe for a Quick Beer Bread is quick, easy, and very tasty.

  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bottle light or dark beer (but not stout), cold or at room temperature, but not flat

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the beer and fold just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center and all the way to the bottom of the pan comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes.

Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before un-molding to cool completely on the rack.

Download a recipe card here:

Questions? Comments? Please write below, or contact the author at:

Beer Recipe: Bavarian Style Mustard

Want to cook with beer? Here is a great beer recipe that is easy to make at home, and delicious. It's homemade mustard, great with sausages, pretzels, and anything you would find at Oktoberfest. Also - this is an expensive beer lovers gift you can make for your friends this holiday season.

Here's how to make a simple Bavarian style beer mustard:

  • 1/2 cup whole brown mustard seed
  • 1 cup beer, ambers, browns, or pale ales work best
  • 1 cup dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Combine mustard seed and beer in a medium glass or plastic bowl (nothing metal!) and let stand overnight. Transfer mixture to a food processor or blender and blend until almost smooth (mustard will be grainy). Add the dry mustard, sugar, and salt; blend well.

Place in a jar with tight-fitting lid. Age in a cool dark place 2 to 8 weeks. Store in a cool dark place.

Download the recipe card here:

Below are a few pictures I took during the process. Please let us know if you have a favorite homemade mustard recipe, especially if it's a beer recipe.


For jars, I sanitized some small canning jars I had around the house. These are pint sized, and I simply boiled them in water for 10 minutes.

Here is what the seeds look like after soaking them in beer overnight:

And this is the consistency of the mustard after grinding it in my food processor:

Monday, October 22, 2012

10 Beer links for the latter part of October

We haven't done the beer news lately so let's dive in!

In the News!
(Original found here)

Imagine the Drunken Emails You’ll Send With a Beer Can Keyboard (
This could be a case where you could become to drunk to type.

Pink saison and hot beer (Washington Post)
The release for this is at the Church Key Wednesday evening. I'll be there.

Latino Beer Sales Hint At Economic Recovery Among Hispanics (Huffington Post)
Beer consumption and purchase is a fascinating economic indicator. One day we will have to explore it.

Craft Brewers Global – Salone del Gusto (
Now this would be an awesome event to talk my way into.

A little beer is there in the Brahms, says Grand Rapids Symphony’s guest pianist (
Time for a bit of culture. Also I bet Brahms like a pint or two.

Tacoma dispensary busted for marijuana beer (Seattle Times)
I wonder what the flavor profile is on this.

County parks plan would use beer garden money for maintenance projects (Business Journal)
Beer in service of government. This could be a Parks and Rec storyline.

More Filipino women beer drinkers than men, says Radio Veritas study (Inquirer News)
Some interesting statistics in this.

Brown’s beer: Dodgy pints are the Achilles heel of the craft beer revival (London Loves Business)
Quality control of the product is important. Bad pints are bad business!

Brooks on Beer: The 10 most common beer defects (San Jose Mercury News)
But if you do get a bad pint this primer will help guide on why it sucks.

In site news!

Look forward to a final wrap up of GABF and what it all means, more reviews on pumpkin ales, and a look at some ciders. Also part 1 of the Mother Earth Brewing Company interview will be up at the end of the week. This coming Saturday I'll be at the Annapolis Craft Beer and Music Festival, if you see me say hi. Stay tuned and thanks for stopping in!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's a Pumpkin Ale Doubleheader!

Pumpkins are a big deal in America at this time of year, you would be hard pressed to go anywhere without seeing them or some reference to them. That ubiquitous nature is what made pumpkin ale a viable entity for the colonists in the 18th century. Pumpkins offered a cheap alternative for brewers to add different flavor to their beer. This time we are going to look at two firsts. The first candidate is Post Road Pumpkin Ale by Brooklyn Brewery. This was the beer that introduced me to the joys of pumpkin ale. Ever since then I try to enjoy at least of bottle of it every year around this time. I freely admit it is a favorite of mine so this first review will be a bit biased. 

It poured clear copper color with a small white head that dwindled down to a thin sheet across the top of the glass. It has a decent nose with the nutmeg standing up, waving its hands around to be noticed. It has above average carbonation and the effervescence helps promote the spices of the beer. The most notable thing about this beer is unlike other pumpkin ales this one is not going for the pumpkin pie effect but rather more raw pumpkin taste. On the drink the spices flash up front on the swallow. The pumpkin rides along throughout the whole drink, a constant companion from start to finish. Another element of this beer that differs it from the pumpkin pie crowd is that it is not very sweet. It finishes dry with only a mild hop bitterness with the spices slowly fading out. This is a pumpkin ale that can be sessioned, it comes in at a drinkable 5% ABV and it is not overwhelming with its presence.

Here is the "party line" on Post Road Pumpkin Ale:
Early American colonialists, seeking natural ingredients for brewing ales, turned to pumpkins, which were plentiful, flavorful and nutritious. Blended with barley malt, pumpkins became a commonly used beer ingredient. Post Road Pumpkin Ale brings back this tasty tradition. Hundreds of pounds of pumpkins are blended into the mash of each batch, creating a beer with an orange amber color, warm pumpkin aroma, biscuity malt center, and crisp finish.
While Post Road was my first pumpkin ale, our other candidate tonight was the first publicly available pumpkin ale back when craft brewing was still in its infancy in the 1980s. Part of the story line on this beer was that it used a version of George Washington's pumpkin ale recipe. This beer may have started out as a novelty but it has hung around for almost three decades and helped usher in a thriving category of beer.

Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale poured a slightly hazy dark orange color with a rapidly dissipating white head. On the drink the pumpkin pushes to the front followed by a slightly sour taste. The spices in this beer are not overt, instead hanging out on the edges flashing up for a cameo on the swallow. It finishes very dry with a quickly vanishing raw pumpkin aftertaste. That said once you start on this beer it quickly becomes an easy drinker. Each drink builds on the previous one. This beer also does not subscribe to the pumpkin pie variety but stays focused on the pumpkin itself, even more so than the Post Road. If you want a pumpkin beer with little spice presence then this is the beer to choose. It comes in at 5.5% ABV.

Right now it looks like Buffalo Bill's Brewery's website is currently under construction so here is a second opinion instead.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Virginia craft brewing has arrived! A recap of the Great American Beer Festival Awards Ceremony

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper
toasts the assembled craft brewers.
This past Saturday I attended the Great American Beer Festival Awards ceremony held in the Wells Fargo Theater in downtown Denver where the Brewers Association handed out the medals and awards for the judging portion of the festival. Charlie Papazian, the godfather of American homebrewing, and president of the Brewers Association greeted and awarded each brewer or brewing team that was privileged to be called up to the stage.

One of the cool stories of the awards ceremony was watching the east coast beer scene really come into its own. Devils Backbone Brewing, by any definition, kicked ass and stole the show taking home 8 medals (2 golds) and small brewpub and brewpub brewer of the year award. With their strong showing at the Virginia Beer Cup and now here, I think we can safely crown them heir-apparent to the brewing crown of Virginia. While they may sit on the throne now there are still usurpers waiting in the wings to seize it. My local, Port City Brewing, took a bronze with Monumental IPA and Blue Mountain Barrel House (Devils Backbone's neighbor up the road) bronze medaled with Local Species, Mad Fox Brewing  and Rock Bottom - Arlington also grabbed some nice shiny hardware.  Half the Virginia breweries that entered the competition took home at least a medal. While Virginia made a strong showing so to did other breweries in the region. DuClaw from Maryland medaled and so too did the District's own DC Brau. To the south, Mother Earth Brewing in North Carolina grabbed a bronze and to the north, Troegs of Pennsylvania ran away with a few medals and the mid-sized brewery and brewer of the year award. A bit closer to my heart was the showing by Wisconsin breweries. Old favorites of mine such as New Glarus, Stevens Point Brewery, and Central Waters also took home medals. 

Devils Backbone Brewing of Virgina stole the show. 
The competition had 84 categories with a total of 4338 entries by 666 breweries (This is the real reason why Devils Backbone won! It's a conspiracy) and was judged by 185 beer industry professionals from 11 countries over three days. Take a moment to think about that because that is a lot of beer and a good portion of it has only recently emerged on the scene in the last ten years or less. As for the beer itself, IPAs still dominate with the American-Style India Pale Ale category having over 200 entries submitted and the Imperial IPA category had over 100 entries. As one brewer said sarcastically while receiving his medal, "These IPAs are just a fad."  Other categories that were deep with entries were Herb and Spice beer, American Pale Ales, American-Style Strong Pale Ales, and surprisingly the Wood and Barrel Aged category.

The big picture is this. There is no better place in the world right now for beer. Time and again it was said that America is brewing the best beer in the world. American craft beer can go toe to toe, pound for pound against any country in the world not only in beer quality but also for sheer diversity. It is hard to refute that when you look at the strong showings by breweries across the country in all the categories.  

On a side note, one of the things that was interesting to note was audience reaction to several of the winners.  Of particular interest was how former crafts who had been bought up by macro companies were treated. Both Goose Island and Leinenkugels appeared to get the cold shoulder with only perfunctory applause from the audience when their medals were announced. Meanwhile Pabst got a rousing applause from the crowd for its gold medal in American-Style Lager. Make what you will about that. 

Final results can be found here.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Greatest Beer Show on Earth! Part 1

Overwhelming, loud, relentless. These are the thoughts that cross my mind as I walk through the throngs of crowds crisscrossing in front of me from one beer station to another. Cries go up everytime someone drops their plastic tasting glass. All I can think is this is a bit insane, but absolutely wonderful at the same time. 

Hours later I started writing this while down in the media room on the floor below the convention hall. Even here behind closed doors the dull roar of the crowd above can still be heard, pulsating and droning on. Plainly put, the Great American Beer Festival is simply, "Beer as Spectacle."

 Merriam-Webster defines spectacle as:
"something exhibited to view as unusual, notable, or entertaining; especially : an eye-catching or dramatic public display"
This is what GABF is for craft beer, a dramatic public display on what craft beer is, was, and what it can be. The love of beer here both by brewers and participants is infectious. The mad scramble from one station to another, the deep conversations, and the celebration of a good thing. 

This year there were 570 plus breweries and brewpubs on the floor with over 2700 beers being poured. For shear size alone this is intimidating. My original plan was quickly dashed to pieces and I just rambled through the lanes tasting known entities in my first session. Big hits of the Friday evening session were Stone, Cigar City, Russian River, Dogfish Head, and Bear Republic. The lines for them were long but moving quickly. A majority of the stations I passed had minimal or no wait though and an attendee could quickly bounce among them tasting what they liked. With a one ounce taster you could easily try a lot of things without losing your senses.

I wouldn't go so far to say fortunes are won or lost here, but medaling here will make a difference. Fortune is won by almost every brewery or brewpub who is participating. The exposure to tens of thousands craft beer fanatics is priceless for these breweries, putting unknowns on the radar, and reconfirming the stature of others. For many of the attendees here this may be the greatest beer experience they have ever had. It is very cool to be part of this. 

Stay tuned for more updates!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Jolly Good Fellows preview of the Great American Beer Festival

The Great American Beer Festival kicked off properly today though events have been running all week.  Tomorrow I will be experiencing it for myself. Truth be told I have no idea what I will be walking into. The last time I was at the Colorado Convention Center I was briefing Department of Defense personnel and allied foreign nationals from various Ministries of Defense about the power of social media in the environmental arena. Funny little thing about that experience; it indirectly lead to the creation of Jolly Good Fellows. So in a weird way heading back to Denver and the Colorado Convention Center in particular is actually the end of a journey for me. The concepts I laid out two and half years ago have seen fruition in a beer blog that I started as a side project but has grown by leaps and bounds. GABF is, in a way, a victory lap for me personally.

Tomorrow's adventure is easily one of the coolest things Jolly Good Fellows has done yet. There will be a lot of ground to cover but I have three sessions to do it. Here is the basic plan, find some kick ass stories, take a lot of pictures, taste new and interesting beers, meet new folks, and share the 3 tenets with anybody who will listen. You can expect a few articles, plenty of photos, and updates on Twitter, Facebook, and Untappd. I'm open to recommendations, if there is something you want to know about then let me know and I will see what I can do. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It's pumpkin time! An intro and a review.

We have reached that time of the year where finally the temperature appears to be cooling down. Autumn is here not only date wise but weather-wise also. That means it is time for an all around original American style brew, pumpkin ale. The first recorded recipe of pumpkin ale dates from 1771, but with beer being such a big part of colonial life it is easy to argue that resourceful colonists had being brewing with this plentiful fall fruit many decades earlier.

Pumpkin ales today take more of their influence from pumpkin pie than just the fruit itself, using a variety of spices found in the dessert to inform the brew. No worries though, the pumpkin itself is still the leading actor. Pumpkin ales vary quite a bit, the only real constant is the pumpkin itself, but even how or when it is applied to the brew kettle can be different from brewer to brewer.

Our first on the docket is Pumking by Southern Tier Brewing. This is a beer I have been wanting to try now for a few years and now I finally get the chance. Let's dive in.

For starters, the aroma of this beer is fantastic especially if you love pumpkin pie. On the first whiff it smells like the dessert and that aroma stays with the ale through the entire glass. It is very pleasing. In appearance this beer has a clear orange, copper color with small, quickly disappearing light tan head. On the drink it starts off smooth but quickly balloons into a big bundle of spice and flavors in the mouth. It has a light sweetness that eventually gives way to a dry, mildly bitter finish. This beer is a good study on putting all the pieces together, it has the right aroma, the right look, and the right appearance. All these add up to a unified and enjoyable drinking session.

That said, this is a one bottle beer. It is big, complex, and tasty, but I wouldn't want to drink multiples of this in row. First it comes in at a very deceptive 8.6% ABV. All the spice and flavors mask the alcohol very well but it does pack a bit of a punch. Second, it is a bit of a spice bomb and after awhile all those flavors start becoming a bit of a drag. Break out a bottle or two of these for a fall dinner party and use it as an aperitif in four ounce tasters and you have yourself a sure fire winner. One recommendation, I enjoyed this beer more as it warmed up and more character developed.

Here is the "party line" on Southern Tier Pumking:
All Hallows Eve is a time of the year when spirits can make contact with the physical world, and when magic is most potent. It is thought that we harness this magic to brew our powerful pumpkin ale. Not so, but it is with great respect of the magic of their trade that our brewers produce this fine beer. Take a whiff of this complex ale and your journey has just begun. At first sip, a magical spell will bewitch your taste buds, yet another victim enraptured by the Pumking.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Beer links by the baker's dozen!

Thirteen beer links strung together for your enjoyment. Let's get to it!

In the News

Civil War beer returns to market (Washington Post)
The Civil War was the first historical event to capture my imagination when I was a kid. I will track down all 9 of these as they become available.
I could have went with bull testicles but I figured
I would keep it classy.  (Original found here)

Revival of historic beer (Mountain-Ear Newspaper)
Historical beers always have a place in my heart. I think it may be time to have a favorite historical beer group post.

Colorado brewery creates beer flavored with bull testicles; Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout is made with 25 lbs of roasted bull gonads. (New York Daily News)
When April Fool's jokes become reality. I will be trying this beer at GABF because you have to try every beer at least once.

Great American Beer Festival 2012: GABF Celebrates 31 Years Of Great American Craft Beer (PHOTOS) (Huffington Post)
I can’t tell you how excited I that's not true, I can and I will at the bottom of this post.

7 Beers to Try at the Great American Beer Festival (The Daily Meal)
I’m looking forward to everyone of these even the last one which may take some hustling.

Maryland Beer Fest coming right up (Baltimore Sun)
Fall beerfests are going on everywhere!

Snallygaster Brings Rare Fall Beers to Yards Park (Washington City Paper)
This would have been my alternative if GABF wasn't on the calendar.

Beer tourism: How far would you travel for a brew?
For sure to here.

Beer Bombs (
I always drank the beer in Fallout games because as long as you had RadAway you were ok.

The West Bank fetes Oktoberfest (Deutsche Welle)
This makes me happy. I love the unifying power of beer.

Reduced purchasing power hits beer consumption (Business Day)
More of a global perspective but things like this are scary for macro breweries.

Sustainable agriculture tackles challenges in beer production (The Guardian)
This is worth taking the time to read and understand what is necessary to continue to produce our favorite beverage because it can be environmentally intensive.

Alabama poised for craft beer boom (
I first noticed this when I was at the Music City Brewers Fest in July. The southern scene continues to rise.

In Site News

With Oktoberfest month now finally over we launch into pumpkin beers and ciders for the remainder of October. For me those those styles always shout out fall to me both in appearance and flavor. The colder, crisper days play to the apple and pumpkin flavors. Expect our first pumpkin ale review tomorrow night.

The big news though is the Great American Beer Festival which I will be covering as a one man army out in Denver from Friday till close on Saturday. I am beyond excited. Look for my preview on Thursday and stay tuned with updates on Untappd, Twitter, and Facebook. You can link in with all of those by clicking on the widget in the top right corner. As always thanks for stopping in!