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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.