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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Finishing with a classic!

After 29 dark liquid days we have come to the end of stout month. Before we go though two final looks.

Someday I will have one in Dublin.
Our first review is of a classic. For most people in the world it is the first beer they will think of when they here the words “stout beer.” I am of course referring to Guinness. I don’t think you can do a stout month and not look at the biggest one in the world. 

Memory is a tricky thing because this was not as dry as I remembered; years of dark beer drinking have blended and faded my memories of past Guinness stouts. Truth be told I was never that big of a fan of Guinness, as I mentioned earlier this month I preferred Mackesons XXX Stout.

This particular model was the Foreign Extra Stout and it poured clear and very, very dark brown tinged with red and had a light tan head. The head stuck around for awhile, if I would have poured hard it may have stuck around for the entire glass. The drink it self has little carbonation, and a light coffee, malty taste. On the first drink it all came rushing back, particularly the characteristic Guinness slightly sweet aftertaste. It occurred to me I worked through the glass that the aftertaste actually sets up the next swig of beer and I was enjoying this more than when I started the glass.  

While the color is very dark and could lead to expectations of a heavy beer, you would be mistaken. This is rather light in body though it does pack a solid punch coming in at 7.5% ABV. The alcohol is well camouflaged though, making for a pleasant drinking experience.

I can see why this is one of the most popular beers in the world, it has enough characteristic to differentiate itself from others and honestly, it is a decent brew. It is not too heavy and it tastes good. It can be both an effective gateway to other stouts but there is enough allure that I can understand how this could also become somebody’s favorite beer. The end result is you can’t really go wrong with a Guinness but for veteran stout drinkers this may come up a bit short. 

For those keeping track at home this is a book beer and can be found on page 702.

The foil adds a nice touch of flair!
Our other candidate is Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout. A product of England, this beer poured clear and very dark brown with a light tan head. I poured it hard so the head stuck around for a while.  

On the drink this was very smooth, with minimal carbonation. It has a light chocolate malt taste followed by a pleasant and slightly sweet aftertaste that dissipates of the palette relatively quickly. Like the Guinness, while dark it is fairly light in body. Alcohol content comes in at 5% ABV and really I was hard pressed to taste the alcohol. Overall you could easily tip a few pints of this for an enjoyable evening.

Overall I would recommend this beer as a very accessible gateway to the joys of drinking dark, stout beers. It is an easy drinker but that should not take away from the fact that this is a fine crafted beer that has enough complexity to captivate both rookies and seasoned pros.

Here is the “party lines” on the Guinness and the Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout.

Foreign Extra Stout is brewed with generous hops and roasted barley for a bittersweet balance & full-flavored, natural bite. Developed over 200 years ago for global export from Ireland, the addition of extra hops ensured this Stout would arrive to its destination in perfect condition.

“Brewed with well water (the original well at the Old Brewery, sunk in 1758, is still in use, with the hard well water being drawn from 85 feet underground); fermented in ‘stone Yorkshire squares’ to create an almost opaque, wonderfully silky and smooth textured ale with a complex medium dry palate and bittersweet finish

Look for our stout month recap later this week where we will go through what we liked, what surprised us, and what disappointed us. 

My 5 Favorite Beers of All Time

When we agreed to do our five favorite beers of all time, I thought that this could be really hard or really easy.  Who is going to challenge me if I just list five obscure beers and provide some boilerplate descriptions?  Really, at a minimum I come off as pretentious and at a maximum I might even become insightful and illuminating.  Is it honest or ethical?  No and I would be losing the trust of my buds on this blog and that would SUCK.

So now we are back to being honest about it.   But five all time favorite beers?  Frankly, my beer memory doesn’t go back much further than a couple of weeks.  Perhaps I am drinking less than memorable beer?  Perhaps I am doing my drinking in the moment?  I have a feeling it is somewhere in between.
Now as a child of the late 60’s and 70’s, I was being reared squarely in a time of beer paucity.  In some ways, beer was more about the emotional attachment to the moments that surrounded its consumption than the consumption itself.  So the first of my all-time favorites is Olympia.  A mouthful of cold Oly with my Dad in our yard is a favored memory and thus a favored beer.  A close second is what became my Dad’s signature beer when he upgraded his own beer game – Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve.  It doesn’t make my list, but opened the door to experimenting beyond the light pilsners of the day.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the second beer on my list.  The 60’s and 70’s may have had a dearth of quality beer, but that situation began to change for me in the late 1980’s when I came of age.  To facilitate that transformation, we head to Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, CA (Go Bears!) and Raleigh’s[1] with their Beers of the World promotion.  Get your card on your first visit and when you completed getting all of the beers on the list stamped, you got the free t-shirt.  (Always amazed me how a university education was powered by beer, pizza and t-shirts.)  The first beer on my list – taken in the company of my good friends – was Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.  I still have the glass.

My next beer on the favorites list is Spendrup’s.  It’s a Swedish beer, the kind of beer that compliments a long refreshing sauna or ordered in a pub with friends on a Friday after work.  Simple, tasty, a pilsner with a high sociability factor.  Good times, good beer.

Now Yuengling is our regular household beer, something that we buy in cases from Costco.  A nice everyday beer, OK when a bit warm, better as it cools and best when it is cold.  You would think that this would make it automatically on the list, but this is one time when familiarity breeds contempt.  Great for everyday, but it just doesn’t stand out on its own.  I’ll be drinking it for a long time, but not an all timer.

In 1996, I took a business trip to US European Command in Stuttgart.  After a great dinner out, we retreated to the hotel bar for a final beer before heading for bed.  We had been at a brewery and sausage palace with several excellent beers.  However, the one beer that stood out for me was my first hefeweizen or weissbier.  I don’t remember the brewer, but it was full bodied, filling and satisfying.  Truly bread in a glass, served a 0.4l at a time.  It ranks as an all time favorite.

Now for the final beer on the list.  One that I thought was going to be more of a novelty when I got a hold of it, but found that it had a hook that was refreshing and satisfying.  It’s a chocolate stout.  Thick, full-bodied, chocolate like flavors coming from the roasted malts rather than chocolate itself.  Chocolate may be a misnomer, but it’s a great description of the flavor bouquet. Bought my first at Total Wine and plan to go back for more.

Ask me again next month, you may get a different list, but it will be an honest answer to the question.

[1] Raleigh’s was destroyed in a fire in November, 2011.  Dozens reported homeless.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A leaping edition of Beer links!

I found no actual leap day
 beers, just this label.
I'm rather disappointed.
(Original here)

If I was a craft brewer or even a half way decent homebrewer I would brew a leap beer, available only on February 29. The real question would be what type of beer it should be? My first thought was it should be something that would be able to age up from one leap day to the next. My second thought was completely opposite. Make it something so fresh and perishable it has to be enjoyed immediately; after all you may not make the next leap day. On that note…

In the News!

Dogfish’s Noble Rot blurs line between wine and beer (Washington Post)
I had this at Brewvival; it was different, acidic, and crisp.

A new era in beer making (The Journal)
I could make an entire post about new breweries coming on line. Hell this blog could be strictly dedicated to that. 

Clumsy waiter filmed showering German chancellor Angela Merkel in beer (The Telegraph)
I want to know if the guy that bumped into the tray ever apologized. 

Man’s Beer Can Collection a Museum (WCVB TV 5 – ABC)
Field trip time

Brewer backs Marathon, hops for ‘26.2’ beer (Boston Herald)
I know when I ran my marathon many years ago a beer was not the first thing on my mind when I finished. Race spectators or participants let us know how this tastes in April.

Alabama beer advocacy group asking Legislature to allow larger containers (The Birmingham News)
These people don’t realize how much they are missing out…well the advocacy group does. Read the comments below the article, it is worth it.

AlcoholRegulations Roundup: February 27, 2012 (
I posted the Alabama link and then found this. This may just be the ticket for blue law tracking from here on out!
I’ve never had North Korean beer, but on everything I have read about North Korea I’m thinking Pabst is probably a real step up.I do find it funny that Snoopy and Pabst are leading the charge. 

Brewvival serves awesome ales and big fun (Charleston City Paper)
Fun event with some excellent rare beers. Read our take on Brewvival later this week!

Sunoco Gives Customers a Reason to Look Forward to Filling Up (CNBC)
If this comes to Virginia or Maryland Sunocos then I may have a new favorite gas station.

Rick Santorum’s Beer Money (Mother Jones)
It is always interesting to see where the money is coming from and how much it can buy. In this case quite a bit. 
Shelby deputies break up teen beer party, issue 46 citations,oldest person there was 20 (The Republic)
Here is your weekly dose of beer crime...teenager edition.

Beer Diet – Dream or Dietary Disaster (
The article is rather misleading and short. 
In Site News!

First off a thanks to Sarah for keeping this thing running with posts over the weekend while I gallivanted around the Carolinas. Thanks Sarah you rock socks!

This week you will finally find out Brian’s five favorite beers and his beer adventure in Pennsylvania, we’ll talk about our Brewvival experience, and we finish out stout month with some classics. On the JGF Beercast  we recorded our first "live" beer round table this last weekend, we will have it posted by the middle of this week. 

As always, you can find us on a variety of forums; facebookuntappedtwitter, and google+, the widget in the top right corner of the page will take you where you want to go. We really appreciate it when you comment.

You can also subscribe to the Jolly Good Fellows beercast on iTunes. Please take the time to rate us, it increases our exposure and gets us out to larger audiences. 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Oakshire Brewing - Overcast Espresso Stout

Have you recently asked yourself this question?
What stout do I want to try tonight?
Or just, what stout do I want to drink tonight?
Well – look no further, for tonight you should try the Overcast Espresso Stout by Oakshire Brewing from Eugene, Oregon. 

As the name indicates, it’s a perfect rainy day, cold weather beer, sure to warm your heart (and stomach!). This is a fine example of a well made stout, with its signature aroma of roasted malts and chocolate. Of course, that extra note of coffee and espresso is certainly prevalent in its aroma.

The taste is milder than the deep aroma would have you believe. Some at Rate Beer have even complained that it is “too thin” for a stout. Fair enough…but I say it would be a perfect beer to have your friend who isn’t too sure about beer try out (I think my 22 oz. bottle only cost me around $3, so you really can't go wrong with trying it out!). It has a medium body and a light mouthful.

From my picture below, you can see it is dark as night, another signature quality of a stout beer.

My friend, Orin, will only drink beers that you can't see through - considering that is a 100 watt light bulb in the background, I think it would be safe to say this beer isn't getting any light through it!
A great cheese pairing for stout was Sini Fulvi Rustico Red Pepper cheese from Italy (that was a mouthful of words, huh?). The cheese has red pepper integrated into it, making for lovely pockets of spice that is calmed by the Oakshire stout’s flavor. I wouldn’t place this as a knock out of the park pairing, but for two bold flavors they marry nicely together, and would probably place themselves as acquaintances in their social media circles. Not BFF, but certainly happy to run into each other at the bar from time to time – maybe even have dinner together once in a awhile. 

{ prost! }

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fort George Stout Night

We stopped into the Belmont-Station recently to check out the Fort George Stout night. Fort George was pouring four new stouts as part of the Belmont-Station's "Bigger Badder Blacker Beer Week," a week celebrating the stout style beer.

The late great Michael Jackson's definition of a stout (from the Beer Hunter website) is as follows:
An extra-dark, almost black, top-fermenting brew, made with highly roasted malts. Sweet stout, an English style, is typified by Mackeson, which has only about 3.75 percent alcohol by volume in its domestic market but more than 5 in the Americas. Sweet stout usually contains milk sugars (lactose), and is a soothing restorative. Dry stout, the Irish style, is typified by Guinness, which comes in at around 4 percent in the British Isles, a little more in North America and as much as 8 in tropical countries. Dry stouts sometimes contain roasted unmalted barley. Imperial Stout, originally brewed as a winter warmer, for sale in the Tsarist Russian Empire, is medium dry and distinguished by its great strength: anything from 7 to more than 10.
I have always been a fan of the Fort George Brewery, and was pleased to try out a flight of their stouts. Furthermore, this flight gave a great introductory course into what the flavor spectrum of a stout beer can be.

Many of the beers we tasted were not listed on Rate Beer's website; however, I did add the ones not mentioned, so if you have tasted them, you should log in and rate them so they can get scored. Untappd does have them all listed, and I was very proud of my fellow Portlanders, who were also out tasting during the Fort George Stout night, and dutifully checking in their beers on the Untappd app - a toast to that! 

Pairing cheese with stout beer can be tricky, but when you find the right combination you will be very happy with the results. The Belmont-Station offers an artisan cheese plate with rotating cheese varieties. Friday's choices were a raw cow's milk Raschera, a raw sheep's milk Tomme, and a goat milk cheese called Mt. Zion.

Cheese and beer pairings.

Raschera paired with the Bourbon Barrel Cavatica Stout. Since the Bourbon Barrel is definitely a “big” stout, I was skeptical if it would work with a milder flavor cheese; however, this stout paired with Raschera cheese very nicely. Raschera is a semi-hard cheese with a salty taste I can relate to a Muenster cheese. This savory cheese held up to the strong flavor profiles of the Bourbon Barrel, making a nice beer and cheese pairing.

Tomme (pictured on the left) has a creamier texture and coats the entire mouth with a light, yet complex, flavor. It paired best with the Polish’s Black Walnut Stout, helping to mask that smoky flavor and enhance its woodsy taste. While this cheese paired well with stout, I think it would be a crowd pleaser no matter what beer you are drinking. I'm planning to try it again soon, and I will report back as to what beers pair with this cheese.

Another cheese we had was the Ferns Dairy Mt. Zion goat cheese. This was a dryer and nuttier cheese that paired very nicely with the Viva La Stout. I especially enjoyed eating it with a multi-seed cracker, as it brought out both the beer and the cheese’s nutty flavors. Meghan noted that the Viva La Stout’s profile of sweet and malty flavors reminder her of a Belgian brown, which also go nicely with goat cheeses.

The Spank Stout paired with cheese did not work very well – and as a side note, it completely clashed with the brown mustard that was given to us with the cheese plate.

Overall, the cheeses were quite delicious with our beers. While they were not made to specifically be beer and cheese pairings, we were both pleasantly surprised they did pair so nicely together. Let us know how your stout pairings go, and feel free to give us suggestions to what beer and cheese pairings you find most delicious!

Our experience at the Belmont-Station in Portland was lovely. The staff was able to answer our questions about the beers we tasted, and we were both happy they respect beer enough to serve it properly (have you ever ordered a stout somewhere only to have the bartender pull out a glass they’ve had “chilling” in the fridge/freezer – it just makes me cringe!). Also, the Belmont-Station may still have some of these beers on draught – I would recommend you call them first before heading down (that being said, they always have great beers there, so you won’t be disappointed if they happen to be out of the one beer you want to try!).

{ prost! }

Belmont Station BierCafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lent, Liquid Bread, and 5 recommendations to see you through

It is the Lenten season now for our Christian readers. A little over six weeks for prayer, penance, self-denial, etc. So you may ask, why are we looking at Lent? Well, two reasons actually, the first is that religion has played a significant and gigantic role in beer culture; the second is that Lent has spurred the creation of some amazing brews. Even more so than politics, beer and religion have a long intertwined relationship.

Once again we have to go back to the reason beer has been ever present in human civilization. It wasn’t until recently in human history that we have had safe, reliable drinking water. There are still substantial parts of the world where this is still not the case. The beer making process though does make beer a reliable and safe alternative. This fact was not lost on early humankind and beer quickly established itself as a beverage of choice with brewing being a noble and religious endeavor. Archeology has backed this up over the years with discoveries of the beer-religion connection in many early civilizations.

The original "liquid bread."
(Original here)
Let’s skip forward a couple of thousand years until we get to the monastic movement. Christian monks were supposed to live a life of asceticism, away from the secular, focused on the spiritual. They were also to be self-sustaining with all hands working for the benefit of the monastic community. With water still being an issue the monks brewed beer. Fasting was a major component of Lent and the monks took it seriously, but there was still work to be done. This is Latin, “liquida nonfrangunt ieuniu” and it basically means that liquids do not break the fast. In this saying though lay the solution to the problem the monks faced. Make a high calorie liquid to give them the energy needed to get through their days. The easiest way to do this was to amp up the beer they were already brewing. Enter doppelbock beers, also known as liquid bread.

In an interesting bit of irony (maybe), the monks sent a cask of their brew to the Pope in Rome for his approval that they could drink this beer during Lent. The beer skunked in route, when it was tested by the Church leaders the beer was so sour and nasty that they assumed it was additional penance and hardship and were only too willing to allow the monks to drink the beer they were brewing as an added sacrifice. Skunked beer saved the day on that occasion and we continue to enjoy delicious doppelbocks.

So how effective was the beer? Last year, J. Wilson, an Iowan, did 46 days of fasting living on just doppelbock and water. He drank an average of 4 to 5 pints throughout his day. He lost weight, but still had plenty of energy to do the work needed to be done. In his case brew beer actually. Each beer had 250+ calories. 

If you want to enjoy a couple of beers for your Lenten season I would recommend going German. The list below should prove useful.

Paulaner Salvator – the original

Finally one slightly of the beaten path: Aecht OriginalSchlenkerla Lentbeer

If you decide you want to fast for an extended period of time and drink only beer, well our advice is to please check with your doctor first.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

3 Midwest stouts and a cookie recipe!

Skye here, publishing this for our resident chef, Rudy

Rudy: In honor of February as stout beer month I selected three stouts that I had not drank before. I must admit that I have never been a true die hard stout drinker, not that I dislike stout beers, but I feel they are sometimes a little unbalanced and heavy. To clarify, I think when dealing with heavy beers and flavor it can be hard to find a balance. However, this time I was very pleased with my selections and was very surprised to find balance and taste. I did not experience the usual cotton mouth that sometimes follows darker beers. I tried them cold and at room temperature and found them very pleasant at both. The flavors tended to appear bolder as they warmed and breathed.  As a chef whenever I try new beers, one of the first things I think of is, “What style of food would this beer best be served with?” In general, I tend to steer toward the meats, then chicken, then seafood and finally dessert. Any of the three reviewed would do well with grilled meats or steamed mussels and clams. If served with chicken make sure you have a hearty herb marinade, made up with earthy flavors such as Thyme, Rosemary, and Sage to support the richer flavors of these beers. After the jump I have attached a recipe originally found in Beer Advocate magazine for “Ginger Porter Snaps” that would be great with any of these beers. I know it calls for porter beer, but the complexity of these beers would marry well with the ginger and the chocolate malt. 

You can get it growlers too!
(Original here)

This Stout was the first I tried and at first it was meek and bland, but as it warmed up it had a nice drinkable flow to it. I would strongly suggest it at around room temperature.

A true stout, strong and bold with flavors that pop from the get go; warm or cold there is no mistake you are drinking a stout. A great drinking beer that entices you to consume way too many….

Lighter than Bells and heavier that the Louie, this was my favorite of the three, easy to drink. A stout that had full range of flavors and just the right amount of heaviness to let you know this is no pushover. I already had the second beer cracked and warming by the time I had taken the second sip, er gulp of my beer. This beer is a winner for me and would be great with grilled meats, wild or domestic, seafood or as a dessert beverage. I warn you now; you might want to save at least one for the morning…for a little “hair of the dog” as they say. 

Cookie recipe after the jump!

Episode 6 - We wing it with Lancaster Milk Stout

Episode 6 of the Jolly Good Fellows Podcast

Welcome to episode 6 of the Jolly Good Fellows Beercast. This time we enjoy some Lancaster Milk Stout and since I was not prepared in the slightest I "wing" the entire episode while Dan talks about his adventures in online dating.  

 Remember to subscribe on iTunes and it will automatically update on your devices. Thanks to the folks who have rated us and left comments, they are appreciated. 

Continue spreading the word and if you like what you are listening to then please rate us and comment on iTunes. Doing that gets us more exposure!

You can listen to the podcast from this link:

Or find us on iTunes here.
Remember you can subscribe on iTunes and it will automatically update when a new podcast is uploaded.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Which President would you want to have a beer with?

Yesterday was Presidents Day so we are going lightly surf over Presidents and beer.  
It is hard to believe this is the first beer
brewed in the White House.
(Original here)

First a little bragging, having been in the Presidential box at the Kennedy Center I can tell you that President Obama doesn’t have exceptional beer taste. (No, the President was not there.) It was just an assortment of Budweiser products. While that is a slight detraction our current President redeems himself since they are the first residents to brew beer at the White House, which is surprisingly given some of its residents over 200 years. Politics aside, that is awesome.

To celebrate this weird little holiday I wrote this piece and drank a beer. To be more specific it was a General Washington’s Tavern Porter, a little bit of history in a bottle, brewed by Yards Brewing in Philadelphia using one of Washington’s very own recipes. This is part of their Ales of the Revolution series and it shares space with (not a president, but all around awesome dude) Ben Franklin’s Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce Ale, and Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale. Not to be left out the fine folks at Starr Hill Brewery in Charlottesville, VA have also been brewing Monticello Reserve Ale, a recreation of the small beer Jefferson brewed at his home.

While various Presidential views have swung on the pendulum of beer, one President takes the cake for giving a lot of thought to beer. Our fourth President, James Madison, who brewed beer at his estate of Montpelier, (also father of our constitution among other things), proposed the creation of a national brewery and that every state should also have a brewery.  He took it one step further when he wanted a cabinet position to be created for the Secretary of Beer. That could have potentially been the best job ever.

I have wondered which President I would like to share a beer with. You see this question pop up from time to time, hell the Presidential beer test is a classic election ploy used by networks.

We talked a bit about this on the Beercast a few weeks ago with the presidents who served since I have been of legal drinking age, but if I looked further back then here would be my top 5 and bottom 5.

Jefferson would have brought
good homebrew to the party.
(Original here)
Top five dead presidents to drink a beer with: 
Thomas Jefferson – You would not lack for conversation and he would have probably brought his own beer.
John Adams – Opinionated, intelligent, but passionate, guaranteed great bar conversation
George Washington – Like Jefferson he would have brought his own, also all around cool dude.
Teddy Roosevelt – it would be energetic but fun!
Ronnie Reagan – the storytelling would be phenomenal

Honorable mentions: Gerald Ford, particularly if you were watching football.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, he brought beer back!

Bottom five presidents to drink a beer with:
Franklin Pierce – too morose
Calvin Coolidge – too wooden
Andrew Johnson – too racist
Andrew Jackson – seems like he could be a real mean drunk
Rutherford B. Hayes – teetotaler
Dishonorable mention: Warren G. Harding – While he and his cronies drank, he signed laws that made Prohibition even stricter. 

Let us know yours in the comments!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mr. President, may I present to you...Beer Links.

It’s Presidents Day which means two things, one, I don’t have to go to work today, and two, mattress sales!

In the News!
George definitely knew about beer.
Another great Google image search this
time "beer and presidents"
(Original here)

We start of our Presidents Day beer links with a story about Presidents and beer. Seems fitting.

And from that mighty summit tumble down into the gutter for beer crime! Go read this article and keep in mind the When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong, Chappelle Show skit.

Good ol’ Point, keeping up with the times. I can actually find some of their products out here in northern Virginia now.

The World’s Best Beers (The Daily Meal)
Not a bad selection of beer in the slide show. Several I will have to track down when I can, particularly the Berliner Weisse out of Tampa.

9 Gluten-Free Beers to Try (The Daily Meal)
It is a Daily Meal double header, but this is good list for people looking for gluten free beer to enjoy.

Our continuing update on the beer situation in Africa. The Bigs are throwing tons of money into that continent to grow those markets to make up for their shortfalls elsewhere. 

Cool story. Mississippi needs all the quality brew it can get.

Politics and beer, they will be forever intertwined. This is pretty step and does seem like a regressive tax, but until I know the numbers I can’t real cut one way or the other.

Nice introduction to a cool homebrewing region.

Some of these laws regulating beer and wine seem so ridiculous; on top of that they also seem rather hard to roll off the books.

Local craft beer is seizing hold of Australia, not that I’m surprised, those guys and gals are pretty thirsty down there.

I can only imagine how the beer tastes…we may have to live review it on the beercast…but I can’t fault these guys. This was such an obvious idea that I can’t understand why it didn't happen sooner.

In site news!

This is a big week. Episode 6 of the JGF Beercast will be uploaded tomorrow, we will be looking at 3 Southern Tier stouts this week, expect some beer commentary on Presidents and Lent. Most importantly, Dan, Brett and I will be at Brewvival this Saturday, February 25th! Look for us there if you are going, if not expect some tweeting and untappd madness.

As always, you can find us on a variety of forums; facebook, untapped, twitter, and google+, the widget in the top right corner of the page will take you where you want to go. We really appreciate it when you comment.
You can also subscribe to the Jolly Good Fellows beercast on iTunes. Please take the time to rate us, it increases our exposure and gets us out to larger audiences. 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Welcome to Your Weekend: Sarah James Style

The Oxford Companion to Beer edited by Garrett Oliver is a book I've been salivating for. Thank goodness I had a recent birthday and my brother-in-law and his wife were kind enough to buy me a copy, which I will take most of my weekend reading through. Granted, the book is not one you sit and read from cover-to-cover, but rather, it is a complex and thorough encyclopedia for all things beer. That said, it is very readable and fun to delve into. I have already noticed it even lists one of my favorite brewers - New Glarus Brewing Company - in its pages:

I'm telling you, if you want a great beer book (or need a gift for your beer loving friend), this is the book to purchase for them. It's extensive content and easily read entries answer all your beer questions, leaving you a walking beer guru (and who wouldn't want to be that?).

The book is a little pricey ($65) - but having supernatural knowledge of beer? Say it with me: PRICELESS!

The Oxford Companion to Beer
by Garrett Oliver

Post Script: If you haven't read Garrett Oliver's other book, The Brewmaster's Table, I would highly recommend that, too. Oliver takes you on a beer journey with his narration of the places he has been, the food he has ate, and, most importantly, the beer he pairs with food during his travels. This beer book is a must have beer resource for your personal library!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lucky Town Brewing Interview Part 2 - Redefining Mississippi Beer

Here is the second part of our interview with Chip and Lucas from Lucky Town Brewing. They discuss Lucky Town's beer line up, why they chose Kickstarter, and what you can expect from them in 2012. 

Need to get caught up? Part 1 can be found here

Be looking for this if you want
to find creative southern beer.
Let’s talk about your beer for a bit; I know that you have introduced four of them on your video (see below).  Tell us a bit about them?

Lucas: Absolutely, our first beer and our staple is our maple and brown sugar oatmeal stout. We thought of adding that in there one day and started playing with recipes and took it down and won a competition with it. It turned out to be a really good beer. You don’t get as much sweetness as people think when you say that because we actually put the maple and brown sugar in the bowl so most of it ferments out, so you get a little bit of sweetness but you get a lot of additional flavor out of it.

Chip: That one is the Flare Incident.

Lucas: On top of that we have our Ballistic Blonde which is a Belgian style blonde. It is a very simple beer but we stay slightly true to form with the Belgian style but we added more hops to it because we love hops and it was just not hoppy enough. It does have some fruity notes, the yeast gives off some nice esters. We have our Lizard Tail Pale Ale which was kind of an accident one day, but it turned out really well. It is dry hopped, again we love hops so we use them more than we should. Then there is our Hop Fiasco that has been evolving ever since we have started it. The reason we call it the Hop Fiasco is because we dumped over half a pound of hops in a five gallon batch. It was a little intense for what we wanted so we backed it off, we changed up the hop schedule a little bit, and it has gotten to be a really, really good beer.

What is on the tap for future styles?

Lucas: We are playing with a lot of things, of course seasonals, we have an Octoberfest, we have an amber that was designed by Brandon Blacklidge our R&D manager. It was his first designed beer and it came out extremely well. The boy has the best palette I have ever been around when it comes to beer tasting. He has come a long way with his recipe formulation. Saisons, I’ve got one sitting right now that we are messing with. That one is going to be something that will constantly change. Of course we eventually want to get in to doing sours and all the weird, funky stuff, because we love it and there is not one style that we all enjoy so much that we don’t want to drink anything else. So we want to play with everything.

Chip: We also did some experimenting with the holiday porter which had…

Lucas: ...vanilla, fig, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, it was a smorgasbord of holiday spices.

How has the reception been with people in the area in regards to the beer?

Lucas: Very positive. As a brewer it makes you feel better than nothing else when you see somebody and you know by looking at them that they have never tried anything unique and they drink it and they love it. We had such a good reception for that stout because most people down here when they think of stout they only think of Guinness at best. Guinness is just not for everybody, so when they drink ours they are really surprised and you can see it in their face. They are not used to something like that so we have had an extremely good reception and I hope it keeps up that way.

Any particular style a favorite of yours?

Lucas: I’m typically a stout guy, I love oatmeal stouts , that is why we have one on there, but I don’t stick to one thing on any evening so that is kind of hard to say. I just love beer.

Chip: I tend to go either one of two ways, I like hops a lot so I like stong pale ales and hoppy IPAs, but also there are times that I prefer a smooth creamy porter or stout. It kind of depends on what mood I am in.

Tell us a bit about why you chose Kickstarter for the Lucky Town Brewery project?

Chip: We didn’t know about Kickstarter for awhile until after we started the business. We actually saw another brewery that was starting up use it which was Wilderness Brewing, which is Mike and Nate out of Kansas City, Missouri, so I gave them a call and we talked and about what our goals were and what we were trying to do. I asked him how was it and how was the reception because they were successful in their Kickstarter project. I brought it to the team and said that I think this would be a really good idea for us to get people involved not only on the startup side of it, from the ground up, but also because it attracts people that want to be involved but they don’t have the means to drop a big investment in a new company. It kind of gives them a little bit of pride and passion, especially for local people.

Lucas: It gets our name out there and like Chip said, it allows people to be a part of something for very little investment. It helps us in several ways, for the first phase of our business plan it allows us to get a little starter with minimal capital risk on our part. It will jump start us, I guess kickstart just like the website is called. It helps us get involved with people that want to be involved with the brewery. We have met so many people that want to be supportive of this since we have started so from every aspect this has been helpful to us.

What do you see as your projected output?

Lucas: We would like to start, and this is part of the plan now, we are projecting to start with a 15 barrel system. That allows us to not be too big starting off, but we can also add larger fermenters and upscale our output without completely changing the brewhouse size. We don’t want to go any smaller than that because we feel that with the market we are sitting in we will overrun the system very quickly. It may be a little larger, but I doubt it. I think 15 barrels is our target size to start off with.

Will you be distributing in bottles, cans?

Chip: Starting out we will be on draft and only on tap. It will be distributed throughout the central Mississippi region. In Mississippi, the law requires that all manufactured beer from a production brewery must be distributed by a distributor so we won’t be able to self-distribute anything and we also cannot have a taproom right now.

Lucas: Yes, that is another thing that hasn’t even attempted to be changed yet, but we would like to make a good business case to some of the legislature around here to see if we can’t do something about that. No one has tried to change that because we only have one brewery and they are kind of located out in the country so a taproom is really not that enticing for them, but we have gone places, I have personally visited Yazoo Brewing in Nashville and you can sit on their front porch and drink in the afternoon and take a tour which is just awesome. It is a great part of the community, so through this year we are going to see if we can get the legislature on our side to change that law for next year hopefully, or at least get it brought up because that will influence us when we go straight to brick and mortar on where we put the brewery. There is no sense in getting in the middle of Jackson if we can’t have a taproom. It is not going to be that conducive to us.

What can folks expect from Lucky Town Brewing in 2012?

Chip: Beer.

Lucas: We should have two styles flowing by the end of this year.

Do you plan on having a grand opening, or is that too far down the road?

Lucas: We will when we get to that point.

That wraps up our interview with Lucky Town Brewing. A big thanks to Chip and Lucas for taking the time to talk with us.

Check out their Kickstarter project and chip in a few bucks to help make a better beer world.

For more information on Lucky Town Brewing check out their website, facebook page, follow them on twitter or see what they are enjoying on Untappd

Want to help change the beer laws in Mississippi? Go check out the efforts of Raise Your Pints, or if you are in Mississippi contact your local state representatives and state senators