Friday, July 4, 2014

Best Fourth of July Beers

Before we begin our salute to America, remember to follow us on twitter, facebook, youtube, instagram  and on Untappd as jenniek and guitaristshad.

Nice warm weather, sunshine, fireworks and grilled food. Must be the Fourth of July, the day we celebrate our independence from the torturous monarchy. The burgers, brats and hot dogs are on the grill, potato salad and apple pie are on the table. The sun is shining as we do a count down for the local fireworks display. Wait, something's wrong. Something's missing. Beer. Oh, yes, beer. Carrying on a 238 year old tradition of freedom, we raise our pint glasses to our founding fathers who were half crocked when they sat down and hashed out the details that would become our Declaration of Independence.

Here are some brews that we think pair perfectly well for a day of celebrating the Red, White, and Blue.

Burger Classic
This is a regional beer out of Cincinnati. It's a smooth drinking American Adjunct Lager that has a nice malt and hop combo that most Adjunct Lagers lack. It's refreshing on a hot summer day and the lower ABV will help insure that you won't get too blitzed before fireworks. This is out inexpensive beer of choice.

Bell's Oberon

 Ah, Oberon. Dear Oberon. My gateway to craft beer. It's smoother than a baby's backside, this lusty pale wheat offering from Bell's. Weighing in at 6% ABV, it's completely refreshing on one of those sweltering 95-degree-with-98%-humidity summer days that plague this side of the country.

Boulevard's Unfiltered Wheat

You know it's a good beer if you're wanting it for a nice, Summer day; but you can't have it because they don't distribute to your state. A couple quotes from our previous review:
"Perfect lighter summer beer with hints of wheat and citrus, dry finish, nice smooth mouthfeel that's as refreshing as it is smooth."
"The nose is mostly wheat, with just a hint of lemony citrus."

Founder's All Day IPA
Another great choice for summer, especially for hop heads. It's a light, sessionable IPA that's hopped to beat the heat. Founders doesn't make a brew I don't like, but this is the best session IPA on the market, in my humble opinion.

3 Floyd's Jinx-Proof 

Hopsus gazed upon the beer world and noticed that there were not enough hoppy lagers. This saddened Him. He laid out the plans to the brew gurus at Three Floyds for what became this. Hopsus be praised for this 5.1% ABV with 35 IBUs (tastes hoppier than 35 IBUs)

Founder's Rubaeus

 Instead of eating fruit or one of those vodka-filled watermelons, drink a Rubaeus. Another wonderful offering from Founders, this raspberry ale is a fantastic brew. This is also a great beer for craft beer newbies, because it doesn't taste like beer, per se. It tastes like you ate a handful of raspberries. Or drank some yummy raspberry juice. Or rolled in a bed of raspberries. If you like raspberry beers (and I most definitely do), it's hard to beat this.

Flying Dog's Doggie Style

The wonderful wizards at Flying Dog have improved on this recipe since we reviewed it. They added Simcoe and Citra hop varieties, which adds more awesomeness. This is still smooth drinking, and for those who love hops on a hot summer day (or year round like I do), do yourself a favor and get a 6-pack.

Bell's Two Hearted

This is one of our go-to IPAs, and seeing as how it has recently been ranked one of the top beers in the USA in numerous polls, it deserves a spot on our list. I, like many beer geeks, like a nice hoppy beer in the warmer months. There's something innately refreshing about drinking a well-crafted IPA on a hot summer day, and this one fits the bill perfectly.

Other brews (not fully in depth as we haven't reviewed them)
Left Hand's Good Juju
Shocked we haven't reviewed this. It's a great beer with a nice refreshing blast of ginger that's crisp, clean and thirst quenching. Perfect for cornhole with friends, pool side drinking, cookouts, pretty much any Summertime activity.

Fat Heads' Sunshine Daydream
A great session IPA that we've longed for since hearing about it. Go to your friend's house, wrangle them out of their air conditioning and do some porch drinking with this. *Review Coming Soon*

Uinta's Sum'r
We enjoyed this at a friend's house last summer. A light golden ale, it's perfect on a warm summer evening. If I recall, it's moderately hoppy and greatly refreshing. It makes me miss Tire Bite from Flying Dog, but if you can find Sum'r, do yourself a favor and pick some up.

Homestead Beer Co's Station Master Session IPA
We had this on draft at Barley's Homebrew Competition (which we were finalists in). I wanted something lighter but with great flavor. I found it with this. Huge citrus flavor with the 96 IBUs on the lighter malt backbone that clocks in at 4.2% ABV. I love what Homestead is doing; if you make it to Central, Ohio, check them out for sure.

Knee Deep's Citra Extra Pale Ale
A little heavy compared to the others on our list, but well worth it. Fantastic flavor that's mind blowing. *Review Coming Soon*

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Knee Deep Belgo Hoptologist

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So, unfortunately, we must get straight to the point on this review. Normally we do our little banter and what have yo, but Drunk History starts shortly and there is a storm rolling in.

This choice was not made by the World Cup of US vs Belgium today, it was more of a 'huh, sounds good' choice. This 102 IBU, 9% ABV behemoth might actually be the thing to ease the pain of the soccer game.

This pours a nice amber color with a decent amount of off white head. The aroma on it is bliss. piney, citrus, spice, lemon and caramel all come rushing in, attacking your olfactory senses like an assassin in the night, leaving you wonder, what just happened, but in a good way. The flavor on this is HOPSUS BE PRAISED! The caramel flavor blends with the slight Belgian notes from the yeast up front, then a bus load of hops slams into your tongue doing 90 mph. A pungent blast of pine and bitter and citrus comes crashing into your taste buds, leaving them appeased, yet slightly assaulted. This finishes dry with some lingering hop stickiness to it. Not a big fan of Belgian IPAs, but this is one that all others should be rated against.

4.75/5 caps


Ah, at least the United States put up a good fight today. The game was definitely a nail-biter. Heart-wrenching, but Tim Howard is a beast.

Normally, I don't particularly care for Belgian IPAs. They can be done well, but few are. Count this among those that are good. My partner-in-zymurgy nailed the appearance and aroma. The Belgian yeast lends more of a peppery spice flavor than the banana and clove esters that I often don't prefer. There is a lot of caramel present in this, both in the aroma and the flavor. It's a complex beer, and the flavors work well together. It's a little sweeter than I care for, but it's still well done.

The one thing I'm surprised about is that Nathan didn't compare it to Flying Dog's Raging Bitch, his other favorite Belgian IPA. This is now readily available in Ohio, and coming soon to North Carolina (and possibly other markets; Knee Deep tripled their brewhouse capacity last year).

4.6/5 caps


Music pairing:"The Sound of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel
Food Pairing: beef enchiladas
Cheese Pairing: Queso Quesadilla