Monthly Archives: May 2013

Milwaukee’s Best Ice – Brew Review

Yesterday was a truly gorgeous day; the sun was shining, there was a warm breeze, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It was the kind of day you wait for all winter and savor when it finally arrives, pure bliss.  So I decided to taint it with a terrible beer: Milwaukee’s Best Ice. Brewed by MillerCoors, it won the bronze medal at the 2006 World Beer Cup in American-Style Special Lager and holds a coveted score of “Zero” on ratebeer.com.

Milwaukee's Best 3

Milwaukee’s Best Ice pours a pale golden color with a clean, white, porous head. It smells like corn and metal, with some artificial sweetness. The taste is more delicate than the smell suggested; a watery combination of grain, corn, and chemicals, with an aftertaste that clings to your tongue. The beer is smooth and crisp, with plenty of carbonation.

Milwaukee's Best 4

What I’m saying is if this is the best Milwaukee has to offer, I never want to visit Milwaukee.

So I decided to do a little investigating (Wikipedia) to find some other positive things that Milwaukee could brag about before this beer. Hey Milwaukee, why not consider one of these things your “best”?:

Named one of the “Dozen Distinctive Destinations” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2006
Lake Michigan
The city is home to Harley Davidson
Not Detroit
Milwaukee Bucks
Setting of the movie Bridesmaids
Site of a very important 1947 Earthquake
The city has a life-size bronze statue of the Fonz

Should I drink it?
Milwaukees Best 1
No.

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DIYour Drunk: 12 Ways to Re-purpose Old Beer Bottles

Starting this blog has brought about a few changes in my life. I have tried a bunch of great craft beers, been able to express myself in a written medium, and have amassed a giant, hoader-level pile of beer bottles. My building doesn’t recycle, and after learning about the sustainability efforts of these environmentally friendly beer companies, it feels like a big “F-You” just to throw them in the trash. So, living in the great age of “upcycling”, I set about trying to find ways to re-purpose the old bottles into something useful and crafty.

I thought long and hard and came up with the following ideas:

SAM_0567Door Stopper

Dog toyDog Toy

DIY Beer Bottle Vampire RepellerDIY Vampire Repellent

DIY Beer Bottle DinosaurHyper-realistic dinosaur model

SAM_0607Ship in a bottle (just add ship)

SAM_0613Mousepad

DIY bottle artArt

SAM_0611A friend

Hear that? It’s the sound of a thousand Pinterest boards being updated with these beauties.

Turning to the internet for more inspiration, here are 4 more projects to put your left over bottles to good use:

Beer Bottle Chandelier

From thebachelorguy.com, this chandelier tells guests “We may not be no Ritz-Carlton, but we know how to have a good time.”

Painted Vases

painted beer bottlesTake your old bottles from “trashy” to “classy” with a coat of gold spray-paint and a couple of fake flowers.

Candles

Etsy beer bottleThere are a few tutorials online for cutting glass beer bottles. Most of them involve fire. If you like this idea but also would like to not burn your house down, you can buy these bad boys on etsy.

Beer Cap Cuff-Links

For the man who has everything, except a pair of cuff-links to wear to a black-tie event honoring Jimmy Buffet. Available on etsy.

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Widmer Hefeweizen – Brew Review

Windmer Brothers Hefeweizen

It’s Memorial Day Weekend, a holiday that officially kicks off the summer season (sure you could argue that the solstice is the true beginning of summer, but that would make you a science nazi). This means it’s time for barbecues, pool parties, and some prime beer drinking. To kick off the festivities, I settled down with a Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen.

Widmer Brothers Brewing Company opened in 1984 in Portland, Oregon and today is one of the largest brewing companies in the US as part of the Craft Brew Alliance, Inc. The company is home to over 20 varieties of beer, and is committed to creating a great,  environmentally conscious brew.

Widmer Hefeweizen 2

The hefeweizen pours a cloudy golden orange with a minimal white head. The smell is very delicate; some mild doughy malt mixed with banana. It has a floral, malty flavor with some sweet banana and citrus notes in the finish. It is bright and bubbly, with very little bitterness.

Should I drink it?

This is a decent hefeweizen. It’s very refreshing for the summer; the sweet, bright beer is the perfect complement to a hot summer day. So go out and enjoy your long weekend, and don’t forget to thank a member of the Armed Forces for their service to the country.

Maybe even thank them with a beer.

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Hanson Introduces New Beer, 90’s Nostalgia Ensues

Sometimes the cold, unloving universe will throw us mortals a little ray of happiness that reaffirms our faith in humanity. A random act of kindness, kittens and puppies being friends, and now Hanson has introduced their own beer. AND they’ve named it “MMMHops” creating a perfect meld of 90’s nostalgia in a vessel I can finally enjoy now that I’m no longer 7.  The pale ale is being produced by Mustang Brewing in Oklahoma, and made its debut at the Hangover III premiere.

The most influential force in my childhood was my parents 90’s pop music. I cried at a Backstreet Boys concert, spent hours playing Sporty Spice in line-for-line re-enactments of Spice World, and still know all the words to every song on Baby One More Time. Suffice to say, I am super excited about a 90’s-inspired beer.

294071_2090582547259_1089279927_nMe in the 90’s.  Probably daydreaming about Nick Carter.

MMMHops has opened the door to a whole line of beers inspired by 90’s songs. I’ve already been brainstorming, and here are some suggestions:

This is how we Brew it
Only wanna be with Brew
It’s gonna Beer me
I’ll beer there for Brew
Genie in a bottle (this one doesn’t even need a pun)
Smells like teen Beer-it
Brewtylicious
My Wort will go on
Livin’ la vida Lager
Damn, I wish I was your Porter
Mama said knock you Stout
Groove is in the Hefeweizen

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Hipster Nonsense: How America’s Youth Jacked Up the Price of Bad Beer

Hipsters. They’ve already ruined so many classic American institutions: vinyl records, children’s sports team t-shirts, being aloof. But now they are threatening one of the greatest American values, the thing that separates us from the rest of the world: sub-par beer. According to a new report, the price of cheap beer is rising at a faster rate than quality craft beers. The reason? Hipsters and their cult-like devotion to PBR. Their love for those watery tall boys has caused lower-quality beer prices to jump 6.8 percent since October, nearly 5 times the amount craft beer has risen.

I’m not going to lie, when I started drinking in college, PBR was my beer of choice. Not entirely by design – it was the only cheap beer my friends snobby older boyfriend would buy us at the liquor store – but I knocked back that filtered piss water and loved every second of it.  I thought it was a pretty good beer, but this was a time in my life when I thought Private Stock and $7 handles of pomegranate-flavored vodka were also quality alcoholic drinks. Then when I turned 21 I moved onto craft beers, never to drink that blue ribbon again.
New Belgium Trippel 2

Thank you craft beer, for saving me from a life of shitty hipster parties

I think the results of this report might be a good thing. I mean, if we can continue to convince hundreds of mustache-growing “artists” to keep drinking this stuff, it wont inflate the price of quality beer for the rest of us. The key is to keep reminding them that it’s counter-culture and retro-cool.

I say PBR should change their brand mascot to a 19th-century circus bear smoking an American Spirit. Or Zooey Deschanel.

 

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Sam Adams Cherry Wheat – Brew Review

Summer’s on its way, which means warmer weather, longer days, and the imminent threat of a cicada invasion. So to beat the heat and keep me company while I brainstorm ways to kill those fuckers (idea: cicada-sized shotgun), I sat down with a Sam Adams Cherry Wheat beer.

Sam Adams Cherry Wheat 3

Sam Adams Cherry Wheat is brewed by the Boston Beer Company of Boston, Massachusetts.  Founded in 1984, the company is one of the largest beer manufacturers in America, and their flagship Sam Adams Boston Lager was awarded the Grand Gold Medal in 2011 by Monde Selection. The Boston Beer Company is home to over 30 varieties of beer, and continues to push the boundaries of brewing by  creating exciting new flavors.

The Cherry Wheat pours a dark golden-yellow with a thin white head and some moderate lacing. It has a pronounced cherry smell, closer to a Cherry Coke than the real fruit, with subtle notes of yeast and wheat. The beer is sweet and malty, with plenty of cherry flavor and little to no hop bitterness. It is crisp and clean, with plenty of carbonation.

Sam Adams Cherry Wheat

Should I Drink It?

If you like your beer like you like your women (strong and bitter, with lots of head), than this isn’t the beer for you. It’s way more cherry than beer, closer to a Shirley Temple than a witbeir. However, if you like that sweet cherry taste, this will get you buzzed and no one will call you names because you ordered a dirty shirley at the bar.

The best part is you can break use the broken ends of the bottle to beat away the cicadas.

They’re coming.

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BBC Coffeehouse Porter – Brew Review

Sorry readers reader mom, posts have been pretty light this week because I’ve been traveling. I made a trip home to visit my brother, so I haven’t had a lot of time to dedicate to drinking.

ImageOn the plus side, I got to see my cat.

I finally went to grab a beer yesterday, and decided on trying the BBC Coffeehouse Porter. Brewed by the Berkshire Brewing Company of South Deerfield, MA, this porter is one of over 15 beers the microbrewery makes, along with Pale Ales, IPAs, and even a German Kolsch.

bbc coffeehouse porter

The Coffeehouse Porter is an oily brown/black with a dense ivory head. It has a bold roasted coffee and malt aroma, with some bittersweet chocolate notes. The flavor is very coffee-forward but not it’s not overwhelming, with the nuttiness of the roasted malts and some vanilla and chocolate notes balancing out the beer. It’s creamy and full-bodied, with just a bit of carbonation.

Should I Drink It?

This is a solid porter, with the coffee enhancing the natural flavor of the roasted malts without overpowering them. Unless you hate coffee, I say give this one a try.

Note: If you hate coffee you are probably a replicant.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale – Brew Review

We’re in the heart of  American Craft Beer Week, so I thought I should celebrate with the second best-selling craft beer in the US: Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale 2

This beer is brewed by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, California. Founded in 1979, it’s the 6th largest brewing company in the United States, and was named the “Green Business of the Year” in 2010 by the EPA for their sustainability practices. So if someone complains about you being too drunk at your sisters wedding, simply explain you are doing your part to save the environment, then take your face out of the uncut cake and return to your seat.

That’ll teach ’em.

IPAs vs. Pale Ales

I previously wrote about what makes an India Pale Ale (IPA), and considering that a Pale Ale is just the second two-thirds of that, the two should be fairly similar, right? Correct! Think of the difference between a Pale Ale and and IPA like the difference between a moped and a motorcycle: they have the same basic structure, but one is bolder, more extreme, some might say cooler (mopeds are pussy-magnets). Where a Pale Ale tends to be hoppy, IPAs (especially American IPAs) take that hoppy bitterness to the next level, creating a flavor explosion. But the good kind, not like Doritos Extreme.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale 1

The beer pours a clear orange color with a decent head that settles on the surface. There’s an earthy hop quality to the smell, with some floral and citrus notes.  The taste is tangy, with obvious hop bitterness melding with the more delicate bready and floral notes. It’s smooth with a medium body, and a lingering hop finish.

Should I Drink It?

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is one of the quintessential US beers, and a great example of a quality American Pale Ale. The flavor is distinct and memorable, without being jarring to your casual beer drinker. I would definitely recommend giving this one a try.

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Nice Cans! Beer Bottles are Revamped to Make them Sexier

Last Friday, Gizmodo posted an article on new the packaging by MillerCoors, Budweiser, and Heineken. These three companies are introducing new bottles and cans that (they claim) make their beers more drinkable and accessible to consumers. The article highlights some other possibilities for the change, including increased competition from craft brewers and modern consumers’ expectations for design.

Now I’m not surprised that these companies are updating their look; switching up the branding of a product instead of the product itself is one of the oldest marketing tricks in the book. What I did find a little odd was the way they were changing the packaging. The updated bottles and cans are sleeker and taller, with smooth necks and ample curves. Heineken even described their new Star Bottle as having “strong shoulders and a taller, slimmer neck that elongates the look of the bottle giving it a more modern air of confident masculinity and pride.”

Am I supposed to drink their beer or have sex with it?

I can't wait til you're inside me.

I want you inside me.

Now don’t get me wrong;  I would love to put my mouth all over a tall, slim, Dutch man who gets me drunk. And I’m not trying to push some sort of feminist agenda (“Stop objectifying bottles! Real women can’t live up to their impossibly rigid beauty standards and full-bodied drinkability!”) I just can’t wrap my head around it. I mean, sexy lady holding a bottle of beer? Advertising gold. When the beer itself is the sexy one? It’s a little too Freudian for my liking.

Oh and if you’re sexually attracted to your beer, you’ve probably already drank too much. 

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It’s Here! American Craft Beer Week 2013

American Craft Beer Week

Source

Now that your Cinco de Mayo hangover has faded and you’ve made it through another Mother’s Day brunch, it’s time for possibly the best week of the year: American Craft Beer Week. Started by the Brewers Association in 2006, American Craft Beer Week is celebrates small and independent craft brewers across the country. From now until May 19, hundreds of events will be held nationwide, honoring all the great styles and flavors American beer has to offer.

American craft beer as we know it began in the late 1970’s, when big beer corporations were turning the US beer market into a never-ending line of low-calorie, light lagers.  Then in the early 80’s homebrewing became very popular, and over time people began to turn this hobby into a career, opening a slew of small breweries. Mixing old-world European traditions with American ingenuity, they expanded production in the 90’s and 00’s to create the diverse landscape of craft beer we know today.

This calendar from craftbeer.com highlights upcoming ACBW events happening all over the country. There’s plenty of great beer to choose from, so get out there and get tasting.

 

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