Posted by BoaBeerBlog on October 23, 2012
It had been three years since I last attended the Capitol City Brewing Company‘s Mid-Atlantic Oktoberfest. Since 2009, unfortunate conflicts had kept me away from my favorite Oktoberfest celebration of the year. So it was great to be back in the cozy confines of Shirlington Village on October 6 for the 13th edition of the annual street festival.
We set up four chairs in the heart of the festival — at the main intersection and beside the stage — where we enjoyed the live authentic German Alpine music and dancing from Liab’ und Schneid. The spot also happened to be the perfect central launch-point for the 100+ beer and food tents!
With more than 100 different beers from 75 breweries, there was a lot of brew to choose from. And with thousands of people sampling beer at the festival (or still looking for parking), the sampling strategy called for finding the tent with the shortest line. Actually, the crowd wasn’t that bad, unless you were waiting in line for the porta-potty.
I was hunting for fall seasonals and IPAs, and was quite successful. I sampled:
- Pumking, Southern Tier Brewing Company, Lakewood, NY
- Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Chico, CA
- Little Sumpin’ Wild, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Petaluma, CA
- Golden Cap Saison, New Holland Brewing Company, Holland, MI
- Harvest Ale, Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown, NY
- Cherry Bourbon, Lost Rhino Brewing Company, Ashburn, VA
- Lot No3 IPA, Evolution Craft Brewing Company, Salisbury, MD
- 8 Point IPA, Devils Backbone Brewing Company, Roseland, VA
- Centennial IPA, Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids, MI
- Monumental IPA, Port City Brewing Company, Alexandria, VA
- Hop Hog IPA, Lancaster Brewing Company, Lancaster, PA
- Full Nelson Pale Ale, Blue Mountain Brewery, Afton, VA
Favorite fall seasonal: Pumking, an Imperial Pumpkin Ale.
Favorite IPA: To close to call – all five were excellent!
Best of the rest: Little Sumpin’ Wild, 8.7% ABV and full of flavor.
We spent a fun couple of hours at the festival, and with so many breweries and beers to try, we could have made it an all-day event. But the kids were ready to head home, not long after we met up with their cousins and Uncle Rich at the festival. So we all went back to my place to sample from my current stock of bottles and the six-pack of New Belgium’s Red Hoptober that Rick brought along.
Posted in Fall Beers, Festivals | Tagged: Blue Mountain Brewery, Brewery Ommegang, California, Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company, Evolution Craft Brewing Company, Founders Brewing Company, Lancaster Brewing Company, Lost Rhino Brewing Company, Maryland, Michigan, New Holland Brewing Company, New York, Port City Brewing, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Southern Tier Brewing Company, Virginia | Leave a Comment »
Posted by BoaBeerBlog on September 18, 2012
What is Sierra Nevada Beer Camp? Beer geeks invade the Sierra Nevada brewery in Chico, California for a three-day “hands-on beer-focused adventure.” Camp activities include an in-depth, behind-the-scenes brewery tour of the entire brewing operation and guided tastings of one-off rarities with Sierra Nevada brew masters. It all culminates in a collaborative brew with fellow campers, and these camps have produced some amazing brews, which Sierra Nevada has gratefully made available to the masses in their Beer Camp mixed 12-pack.
The variety pack debuted in May 2011, and I found the 2012 edition on the beer shelves at Magruder’s last month. I grabbed the 12-pack with no hesitation and couldn’t wait to see what the campers had brewed up this time.
The 2012 Sierra Nevada Beer Camp 12-pack features:
- Floral IPA (5.9%), This unique take on the traditional IPA style pairs the bold and intense aromas of whole-cone hop “flowers” with aromatic natural rose hips and petals for complex aromas and unexpected flavors. AKA Beer Camp #53 Long Stem IPA.
- Imperial Pilsner (5.6%),Packing a big hop-forward punch and bright crisp finish, this golden pilsner features a hearty dose of “sticky,” resinous Crystal and Pacifica dry hops, which balance the light-bodied yet complex malt backbone. AKA Beer Camp #43 Sticke Pilsner.
- Imperial Red (8.1%), This Imperial Red Ale takes the intense hop profile found in a traditional double IPA and turns up the malt. It has aromatic hop notes of grapefruit, peach, and melon – balanced by a smooth and surprisingly robust malt body. AKA Beer Camp #65 Red-oric.
- Oatmeal Stout (9.0%), This big oatmeal stout is midnight black in color-with a big, roast, mocha-like aroma. It has a silky body from the use of rolled oats, and a round and lasting finish. Perfect as an after dinner treat. AKA Beer Camp #45 Snowed In Stout.
Want to go to Beer Camp? Sierra Nevada is now accepting entries for a contest to attend their winter 2012 beer camps! Entries are due by September 30 — see SierraBeerCamp.com for more details!
Posted in From the Beer Store | Tagged: California, Magruder's, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company | Leave a Comment »
Posted by BoaBeerBlog on July 11, 2012
What do you do when you are in the grips of a record-setting summer heat wave? A heat wave that makes history?
We’ve been spending a lot of time at the pool, where we can relax with a cold beer among the shady trees in the picnic area, and then jump in the pool to cool off when we get too hot. Rinse and repeat!
Our pool has a strict “no bottles” policy, so we bring craft beer in a can, which is surprisingly easy to find these days as more and more brewers are packaging their beer in cans. Washington Post beer writer Greg Kitsock recently asked, What’s wrong with canned brews? and my answer to that is nothing – nothing at all. Over three years ago, I was promoting craft beer in a can and I like the light, tight package even more today.
My favorite line from Kitsock’s column: Cans create more “drinking occasions,” says Ryan Dailey, Magic Hat brand manager. “Cans are perfect for outdoor concerts, music festivals and other venues where bottles are typically not permitted.” Like the pool!
[For pictures of all of the cans, see the photo gallery below.]
I find a lot of canned craft beer at Magruder’s in Chevy Chase Circle, including:
- Starr Hill Northern Lights IPA (Charlottesville, Virginia, 6.5%)
- Breckenridge Avalanche Amber (Denver, Colorado, 5.4%)
- 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon (San Francisco, California, 5.5%)
- 21st Amendment Brew Free or Die IPA(San Francisco, California, 7.0%)
Magruder’s also carries canned brew from DC’s own DC Brau:
- The Public, an American-style Pale Ale (6.0%)
- The Corruption, an IPA (6.5%)
- The Citizen, a Belgian Pale Ale (7.0%) (added on 7/25/12)
Corridor Wine and Spirits in Laurel, MD carries a lot of cans. Leinenkugel’s mixed summer 12 pack of cans was a great find! This 12 pack of light brews included:
- Honey Weiss (4.9%)
- Sunset Wheat (4.9%)
- Berry Weiss (4.7%)
- Summer Shandy (4.2%)
From Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.
Canned beer has instant credibility when a brewery like Sierra Nevada starts canning. I bought a 12-pack of canned Sierra Nevada Pale Ale – a classic session brew that is perfect for cans. I also found tall boy four-packs of the fabulous Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA. My tweet says it all.
Remember my last post on the Saranac 12 Beers of Summer 2012? And the new Blueberry Blonde Ale? Well, they can it and sell it by the 12-pack. Beth loves blueberry brew, so this 12 pack is perfect for her.
And by far, my favorite beer can find is Fat Tire. I buy 12-packs of canned Fat Tire at the Harris Teeter in Arlington. We brought Fat Tire on a camping trip to Southern Maryland — perfect with freshly caught Maryland blue crabs! Hell, perfect any time!
Updated: October 28, 2012
New Belgium also sells Tall Boys – 16-ounce cans of Fat Tire and Shift Pale Lager (see pic in the gallery below).
Posted in Beer Hunt, Beer News, From the Beer Store, Summer Beers | Tagged: 21st Amendment, Breckenridge Brewing Company, California, Colorado, DC Brau, Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, Kitsock, Matt Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing, New York, Saranac, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Starr Hill Brewery, Virginia, Washington D.C., Wisconsin | Leave a Comment »
Posted by BoaBeerBlog on March 26, 2012
I always look forward to getting the newspaper on Wednesday morning because the Food section is published in the Wednesday edition of the Washington Post. I love the Post’s Food section for a couple of reasons.
First, I enjoy reading Greg Kitsock’s beer column. Sure, it’s easy to keep up with the Food section through the All We Can Eat blog, but I like thumbing through the print edition to find Kitsock’s column. Lately, the focus of the column has been on Beer Madness, “The Washington Post’s annual suds showdown.”
Second, I look for the Magruder’s ad to find out about their weekly specials and Beer of the Week. The Beer of the Week features a particular brewery, whose line-up of beers is on sale that week. Every Friday and Saturday, a brewery rep or distributor is in the store pouring samples of beer from the featured brewer. I drive by Magruder’s in Chevy Chase Circle everyday on my way home from work. Their convenient parking (for DC), low prices, and friendly service have made it my go-to beer store. And I always try to stop in on Fridays!
Magruder’s Beer of the Week is the inspiration behind this new series of posts on the Boa Beer Blog. First up: Lagunitas Brewing Company from Petaluma, California.
I bought a case made up of four different 6-packs of brew from Lagunitas Brewing Company. The brewery rep pouring the samples didn’t need to sell me on Lagunitas, which has become one of my favorite breweries. Their beer descriptions are the best!
My mixed case included:
- IPA (6.2%), Thanks for choosing to spend the next few minutes with this special homicidally hoppy ale. Savor the moment as the raging hop character engages the imperial qualities of the Malt foundation in mortal combat on the battlefield of your palate!
- Pils, a Czech Style Pilsner (6.2%), Like Adam and Eve, Issac and Ishmael, Mao and Confuscious, Good and Evil, Day and Night, Hittites and Visigoths, John and Lorena, or Groucho and Moe, Ales and Lagers are as different as can be. Still, we must love each other for who they are, separately but equally, with liberty, and justice, for all. Cheers!
- Pale Ale (6.2%), We at the Lagunitas Brewing Company hope you enjoy this genuinely handmade ale. A lot of hard work and enthusiasm go into every aspect of brewing this Mondo Ultra Mega Super Premium Ale. From building the brewery itself to putting the cap on each and every bottle, virtually every step was done by hand. Thanks for your trust and as always: Think Globally, Drink Locally
- Censored, a Copper Ale (6.75%), The original name of this original ale was originally derived from an origin so heinous that we cannot reveal its aboriginal oregeny. Sorry. Actually, it’s an easy drinking malty Copper Ale that goes easy on the hops. Whatever.
The Lagunitas brewery rep told me the story behind Censored and the label. It was originally called Kronik, but when the brewery submitted the label for approval, the name was rejected. So Lagunitas slapped a Censored label on top of the original name, and resubmitted it for approval. It came back approved, so the name stuck.
I also picked up a 22 oz bomber of Hop Stoopid Ale, a double IPA (8.0%) that is “built for everything hop heads desire.” Take the virtual tour with Lagunitas below, then do yourself a favor and try it for yourself.
Posted in Beer of the Week, From the Beer Store | Tagged: California, Kitsock, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Magruder's | 3 Comments »
Posted by BoaBeerBlog on February 11, 2012
In 2011 I added 67 new posts to the Boa Beer Blog, or a little better than fives posts per month. And I’m way behind! As I look at my running list of potential blog topics, I see more than 20 beer experiences that should be logged. So I’m going to write a catch-up post and pull in a bunch of 2011 brews who deserve a rightful place at the Boa Beer Blog table.
Random Beer Tasting headlined by Dogfish Head
A trip to Total Wine in McLean, Virgina resulted in a random beer tasting with several Dogfish Head brews that I was trying for the first time. I’m a big fan of Dogfish Head (DE) so this was a favorite 2011 beer moment. The tasting included:
- Saison du BUFF, a collaboration between Dogfish Head, Stone Brewing Co. and Victory Brewing Company (6.0%). ‘Nuff said.
- Miles Davis Bitches Brew, a unique dark beer with an interesting story as described on the Dogfish Head web site (9.0%).
- Burton Baton, an “oak-aged gentle giant” that is a blend of a an English-style old ale and an imperial IPA (10.0%).
This was an interesting four-beer tasting:
- Humming Ale, Anchor Brewing Company (CA), a summer release from Anchor (5.9%).
- Imperial Porter, Southampton Publick House (NY), a robust Black Ale
- Yakima Glory Ale, Victory Brewing Company (PA), a well-balanced Double IPA (8.7%)
- Organic Imperial Brown Ale, Bison Brewing (CA), a strong Brown Ale at 7.0%
Old Dominion Brewing Company
Old Dominion Brewing Company (DE) beers were on sale at Magruder’s, so I picked up a couple of cases of mixed six packs, including:
- Oak Barrel Stout
- Dominion Lager
- Dominion Ale
- Big Thaw Bock
- Hop Mountain Pale Ale
- Millennium Ale
Another Random Beer Tasting
Another random big beer tasting in 2011 featured:
Southern Hemisphere Harvest, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
“a beer with fresh-picked hops from the southern hemisphere”
Coffee Stout, Long Trail Brewing Company (8.0%),
available as part of the limited release styles brewed in small batches.
Posted in Beer Tasting, From the Beer Store | Tagged: Anchor Brewing Company, Bison Brewing, California, Colorado, Delaware, Dogfish Head Brewery, Long Trail Brewing Company, New York, Old Dominion Brewing Company, Pennsylvania, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Southampton Publick House, Vermont, Victory Brewing Company | Leave a Comment »
Posted by BoaBeerBlog on June 21, 2011
Inspired by a recent Greg Kitsock beer column in the Washington Post, I’ve been on the hunt for mixed 12-packs. I love this opener from Kitsock’s column:
Chocoholics have their Whitman’s Samplers; beer connoisseurs have their variety packs.
I’ve written many times about variety 12-packs, but from Kitsock’s column, I learned about three new mixed packs that I had never tried – and that I had to get my hands on. I found them at Magruder’s, my DC beer store. Thus begins a three-posts-in-three-days review of these 12-packs.
First up: the Sierra Nevada Best of Beer Camp Variety Pack.
What is Beer Camp? Sierra Nevada describes it as a “hands-on beer-focused adventure.” For three days, beer geeks invade the brewery in Chico, California. Camp activities include an in-depth, behind-the-scenes brewery tour of the entire brewing operation and guided tastings of one-off rarities with Sierra Nevada brew masters. It all culminates in a collaborative brew with fellow campers, and these camps have produced some amazing brews. Check the list on the Beer Camp web site!
I bet you’d love to get your hands on some of these beers – and you can through the Best of Beer Camp Variety Pack, which includes:
- California Common (Camp #8), a light, easy-drinker, at least compared to the other brews in this 12-pack; a steam beer with flavor (6.5%)
- Juniper Black Ale (Camp #16), this delicious, strong black beer is brewed with juniper berries (8.2%)
- Double IPA (Camp #29), originally called Ghidorah IPA, this American Double IPA is a strong hop bomb (8.1%)
- Weizenbock (Camp #37), a strong wheat beer, full of flavor (6.6%)
I enjoyed these beers during our annual Memorial Day Weekend camping trip at Point Lookout State Park in southern Maryland.
Speaking of camping, Sierra Nevada is now accepting entries for a contest to attend their 2011 summer beer camps. Entries are due July 7 — see SierraBeerCamp.com for more details!
Posted in From the Beer Store | Tagged: California, Magruder's, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company | 2 Comments »
Posted by BoaBeerBlog on May 2, 2011
Spring Break begs for a beach, so on our first full day in Florida for Spring Break 2011, we went to Siesta Beach on Siesta Key. We love visiting Siesta Key for its beautiful, award-winning white sand beach…and its beer!
Sarasota Brewing Company is only 3 miles from Siesta Beach and the perfect place to stop for lunch after a morning of sunning on the exquisite Gulf Coast.
We had gone to the beach with my sister’s family and they joined us for lunch, so there were eight of us in total, creating a lot of havoc. It didn’t help that there was only one waitress for the entire brewpub. She was pouring beers, serving customers at the bar, waiting on tables, taking food to customers, and otherwise running around like mad. The poor woman!
Thank God is wasn’t too busy as Rich and I ordered the samplers, which came with five house-made beers:
- Sarasota Gold (4.5%), your typical light, easy-drinking beer
- Sequoia Amber Lager (5.5%), your typical Amber Lager
- Honeymeade Ale (7.0%), OK, finally, not a typical beer. This strong ale made with honey-caramel malt and real honey was delicious.
- Sarasota Pale Ale (7.0%), a tasty IPA
- Midnight Pass Porter (6.0%), this robust Porter is named for Midnight Pass Road on Siesta Key.
The food was delicious – I had an awesome blackened grouper sandwich, and everyone in the party loved their food. I was still parched from the beach, so after my sampler, I ordered from their guest draft beer selections: Tangerine Wheat from Lost Coast Brewery in Eureka, California. I loved the citrusy flavor of this refreshing ale. Beth had a Sea Dog Blueberry Wheat.
Siesta Beach/Sarasota Brewing Company is one of my all-time favorite family activity/brewpub combos!
Posted in Beer Travels, Brew Pub | Tagged: California, Florida, Lost Coast Brewery, Sarasota Brewing Company, Spring Break 2011 | 1 Comment »