Oooofff 0-3 last week. It was not a good week if you were coming here for football knowledge. It’s great if you’re choosing between these different beers. Anyway, less talk more beer.
Anchor and more specifically Anchor Steam is the beer/brewery that really sparked the craft beer revolution when Fritz Maytag took over the failing brewery and re-energized it. They are most famous for their steam beer which involves using lager yeast at ale temperatures (lagers generally require being kept at a cooler temperature than ales). This was an invention out of necessity before temperature control was possible out in California. Many regional beer styles reflect technological limitations of the time as well as the human ingenuity to find ways to create beer. They also make a fabulous small beer crafted after an English Session ale and their Old Foghorn was one of the original barleywines created in America. I could go on and on but we also need to give Surly some space. I first experienced their beer at Savor and was shocked when I could find it at a small liquor store in Dupont Circle. They didn’t really explain why or how they got it, oh well. Surly Beer is usually only available in Minnesota but the store mentioned that they had a guy who goes around and buys things specially for them. A small liquor store has an independent guy going around to buy things just for the store? You know what, I don’t care. I’m just happy that I can get my hands on one of my two FAVORITE beers. Surly Coffee Bender tastes like a legitimate iced coffee. Most breweries push coffee flavor in stouts and porters that make it very rich. Surly puts it in a brown ale to give you a fantastic sensation of drinking a great iced coffee. I notice that both of my favorite beers are available in 16oz servings…a coincidence, I’m sure. I also have heard nothing but good things about their Darkness Imperial Stout so I can only help my source keeps the beer coming.
Winner: San Francisco. I know, you thought I was going the other way. But Anchor is just too good to diss and also I refuse to select Surly until the NHL Lockout is over. I wanted to be enjoying it while watching hockey but won’t until I can crack it open to watch my Minnesota Wild.
Whoa. Macro? Many people like to buy things like Shocktop and Wild Blue thinking that they are drinking a decent craft beer. Look a wheat beer! I know that! Ooo and it has raspberry, I’m really becoming a beer guy. Many macro breweries have turned to making something like Shocktop after the success of Coors with Blue Moon. You may see some people say that these are their favorite beers and they aren’t as expensive as craft beers. How does it stack up against Goose Island, one of the premier regional craft breweries? I love the Honker’s Ale and 312 (Chicago Area Code) Urban Wheat beers year round. Goose Island does a good job with hops but I cannot get enough of their Bourbon County stout. It’s a fantastic stout with a rich bourbon after note. Rich roasty not too sweet deliciousness.
Winner: Chicago all the way. Please do not fall for faux craft beer when making your Sunday beer selections. These beers are usually cheap variations that throw some simple ingredients (usually wheat) into the mash. They taste fine, but will never compare to a truly wonderful wheat beer like the 312.
Samuel Adams has a special place in my heart. It was the first craft brewery that I ever got into after the cheap piss water that passes for beer in college. Right now I am loving their Octoberfest and their Harvest Mix pack. They give you a fantastic mix between a hazelnut beer, pumpkin, dark wheat flavors which really gives you a great sensory reflection of the season. On the other side, Flying Dog has started to grow on my more and more lately. I have nothing but praise for their Gonzo Porter. I also got to try some bourbon aged Gonzo which only served to elevate the fantastic roasty flavors. But the coolest reflection of Baltimore I’ve seen was their Gose made with Old Bay. Gose styles rely on salt to bring out the flavor so I respect the willingness to try something different. They also sell one of the coolest beer accessories EVER….a dog collar bottle opener.
Winner: New England. In honor of the release of the 10th anniversary of Utopias (and 10 years of AFC East Domination..coincidence? I think not).
With that, I hope you all enjoy the games. I will be preparing a Samuel Adams Belgian Beer Dinner using their Barrel Room collection beers paired with traditional Belgian dishes. Stay tuned for that post.