It’s Crabbie’s Time Somewhere

Hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland, Crabbie’s Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer has appeared in the US by way of St. Killian Importing. Popular in the UK (where it is available in flavors such as strawberry and lime and Scottish raspberry), Crabbie’s is the official sponsor of the Grand National Festival, an annual handicap steeplechase held in Liverpool, England. St. Killian’s has been importing Crabbie’s into the US for the past couple of years, and it’s currently available available in 18 US states.

Category: Flavored malt and cider20140710_202918

Style/Type: Malt beverage

Description: Flavored with imported ginger cold-steeped for a period of up to 6 weeks, then combined with “four secret ingredients.”

How to serve: In a tall glass, over ice, with a slice of lemon or lime.

Stats: ABV 4.8%

Tasting notes: Has a lovely spicy ginger flavor that provides the gentle, back-of-the-throat burn that ginger lovers will appreciate. Both the original and the orange versions are dominated by ginger flavor, and as is typical of other malt beverages, the alcohol is almost indiscernible. The sweetness is prominent, as in nonalcoholic ginger ale. Because Crabbie’s isn’t technically a “beer,” I won’t use the ASTMO standards in my review.

Comments: Although I don’t typically choose sweet beverages, I enjoyed this one. It’s sweet but crisp, spicy, and very refreshing. It has a complexity of flavors that, for me, worked well with the sweetness. I can see why the words “alcoholic” and “for grownups only” are used in all the labeling.I’d like to try this in a shandygaff, the British version of the shandy, which mixes ginger beer with ale. (Click for my Lemon Shandy recipe.) It’s not the sort of thing I’d drink with a meal–I prefer straight-up beer–but it’s a nice summery change of pace from hard lemonade or cider for patio sipping. I’ll be stocking this one over the summer for sure.

Disclaimer: I received samples of both the Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer and the Spiced Orange for tasting and review. My review is not compensated, and all opinions are mine.

Mix It Up: Beer Cocktails

steamroller

I know what you’re thinking when you hear the words “beer cocktails”: Why on earth would you do that to a beer? I initially thought the same thing. But consider this: say you have a few cans left of that beer you bought when you were going through your hipster phase. (Hey, no shame, we’ve all been there.) You don’t want to waste it, but it’s not going to drink itself. Those beers are just taking up valuable refrigerator real estate.

With a couple of mixers, you can put those wallflower beers to good use and clear the shelf for those sexy summer craft beers.

Check out my post–”3 Beer Cocktails to Set Your Summer Scene” on PlumDeluxe.com and get shaking.

 

 

5 Ways to Celebrate American Craft Beer Week

smithswicks-closer

Finally, it’s that most special time of the year: American Craft Beer Week! Here are 5 ways to celebrate this week-long toast to our favorite libation.

1. Drink a craft beer you’ve never tried before. Repeat as necessary.

2. Join Untappd if you haven’t already. Tap in your craft beer and get the American Craft Beer Week badge.

3. Visit a brewpub. Or several. Tip your server handsomely to thank them for facilitating your celebration of craft beer.

4. Host a craft beer tasting.

5. Become a beer activist.

Share your beer chat on Twitter with the following hashtags: #craftbeer #ACBW #AmericanCraftBeerWeek

What are you drinking today to celebrate craft beer in America?

World Beer Cup 2014 Winners List

If you watched the livestreaming of the World Beer Cup 2014 yesterday, you know it was pretty exciting. Lots of competition this year, and a few shakeups. (No gold awarded? REALLY? But that’s completely legit, according to the WBC awards philosophy.) 

Here’s the complete World Beer Cup 2014 Winners list so you can print out a copy and discuss it with your friends over a beer.

Cheers,

Sandy

10 Questions with Michael Beaman of Banger Brewing

Photo courtesy of BangerBrewing.com

Photo courtesy of BangerBrewing.com

Michael (Banger) Beaman, 33, single, Co-Founder, Head Brewer, (HMFIC)

Banger Brewing, Microbrewery, tasting room

Address: 450 Fremont St #135, Las Vegas, NV 89101

Web site/blog: BangerBrewing.com
Twitter: @BangerBrewing @LVBanger
Facebook: Michael Beaman
Instagram: @BangerBrewing

10 Questions with Michael Beaman of Banger Brewing

1. What led you to craft beer?

I don’t really know the answer to that question. I have always enjoyed a good pint of beer. I have always been intrigued by the many different beers a single brewery can produce. If I had to put it on one moment I would have to say it is the first time I tried a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I fell in love with the hop flavors and aromas. Ever since that beer my roommate and I would go to the store and try every craft beer we could get a hold of. Eventually I saw a commercial for Sam Adams homebrew competition, found out where to buy a kit and wallah! Here I am, writing this. Ha Ha!

2. If you weren’t doing this for a living, you’d probably be _________?

A ski bum.

3. What are your five favorite beers of all time?

Any one of Avery’s Barrel Aged Series, New Belgium Sour Brown, Deschutes Red Chair NWPA, Rochefort 8, and of course Guinness

4. If you could enjoy a beer with 3 people, living or dead, who would they be and why?

Benjamin Franklin, because he was a home brewer. I would love to try some of his brew and of course I would bring some of mine too. The Dude, because he knows how to party! And has great taste in music. Last but certainly not least, my Dad–we always have some good times over beers. Especially after a long day of four-wheeling or shooting.

5. Please describe your perfect meal and which beer(s) you’d pair with it.

I’d start off with a seared foie gras paired with Le Terroir by New Belgium. Then I would move on to a Kobe rib eye paired with a Lagunitas IPA. And last I would enjoy a chocolate souffle paired with a Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout by Rogue. I would then bring it all together with a shot of Fernnet Branca and a ginger beer back.

6. Favorite beer quote OR drinking toast?

“Once it hits your lips…It’s so good.” –Frank the Tank.

7. How have you seen the craft beer industry change over the past five years, and how do you see it changing in the next five?

I have seen it change in the last five years, after four years of planning and developing, my brewery finally opened!! There are more and more breweries opening every year. We finally just surpassed the number of breweries that there were pre-Prohibition, which is awesome because it shows you that people are drinking a lot more of their local craft brews and less “yellow stuff.”

8. Favorite place to drink a beer?

Lunchtime on the slopes.

9. Pretend it’s bring-your-fans-to-work day. What can we expect to see you doing during a typical day on the job?

I get to work about 8:30–8:45. I go straight to the taps and make sure to “taste” all of the beers, you know, for quality assurance. Then I head to the mill room and start crushing up the days brew. I then walk into the brewery and turn up the music and dough in. During the last part of the mash I order lunch from one of the many places to eat in downtown Las Vegas (Le Thai is my favorite). I then start the runoff and wait for my food; in the meantime I try to figure out a beer to pair with my food. After the boil during knockout I grab my “knockout” beer. Now comes the fun part, cleaning. I make sure to sweep and mop the mill room and brewery.

10. Licence to brag: what’s the best thing you’ve contributed to the craft beer universe?

I am so new to the world of commercial brewing. I don’t think I have contributed anything. But the year is still young!!

11. Bonus round (optional but awesome): Please share a little-known fun fact about yourself.

I have backpacked Europe a couple of times. Once was a beer and food trip, the other was for the amazing skiing.

Thank you, Michael. Cheers to you and yours!

St. Patty’s Day Beer Sampler

Smithwick’s Irish Ale

You’ve got your green socks and your “Kiss Me, I’m Irish (Today)” T-shirt. You know what to eat ~ corned beef and cabbage, colcannon, soda bread. You know where you’ll be bending your elbow, be it in your favorite rowdy pub or the coziest indent on your sofa. 

But what are you going to drink? My friend, this is where we can help. You will not be drinking green-dyed house beer this year ~ not on our watch! 

guinness

Guinness Foreign Stout

I’ve put together a sampler of authentic Irish beers that you can choose from. Go HERE to find your St. Patty’s Day picks. You won’t have to drive all over town, hunting down the craft-est little beer shops to find them. It’s St. Patrick’s Day; the less time you spend driving, the better, right? It’s not going to nice out there. Which reminds me . . .

Wexford Irish Style Creme Ale

Don’t be a newb. Don’t drink on an empty stomach; but don’t drink too much on a full stomach, either ~ no one wants to revisit your corned beef and cabbage. Drink plenty of water. Pace yourself. Designate a driver or take a cab.

Be safe. Be responsible. Be courteous. Be happy in the morning.

Sleinte!

Sandy

10 Questions with Tommy Keegan of Keegan Ales

Tommy Keegan, 43, Owner/Brewmaster 

Keegan Ales, production brewery with pub and restaurant

Address: 20 Saint James Street
Kingston, NY 12401

http://www.keeganales.com
Twitter: @TommyKeegan
Facebook: Keegan Ales

10 Questions with Tommy Keegan of Keegan Ales

1. What led you to craft beer?

While studying biochemistry in San Francisco, I purchased a homebrew kit for my dad one year for Father’s Day. I liked the idea so much I went back to the store and bought myself one. As my homebrew hobby grew and my studies were finishing, I was looking towards graduate school. I ended up attending the Master Brewers Program at UC Davis after a brief stint at the famous Anchor Brewery.

2. If you weren’t doing this for a living, you’d probably be _________?

Working in genetics

3. What are your five favorite beers of all time?

My own IPA, Hurricane Kitty
Anchor Liberty
Ithaca Flower Power
Guinness Stout
Coors Light

4. If you could enjoy a beer with 3 people, living or dead, who would they be and why?

I assume you mean famous people, but to be honest, I’d need a 4th, Butt, Meaty, Wonka and Marcus. They are my best friends and I like drinking with them because when we get together we stay up all night drinking beers and it feels like that we are back in high school.

5. Please describe your perfect meal and which beer(s) you’d pair with it.

I love IPAs so I can justify pairing an IPA with about anything. But I really love a nice rare steak with mashed potatoes and these Lisa’s (the love of my life) carrots with a nice, not too bitter stout, like my milk stout Mother’s Milk.

6. Favorite beer quote OR drinking toast?

“I love you too brother.”

7. How have you seen the craft beer industry change over the past five years, and how do you see it changing in the next five?

The craft beer industry has exploded exponentially over the last 5 years. Not only are the numbers of breweries growing at an alarming rate, but the sophistication, palate and knowledge of the average consumer has taken a huge leap. In the next 5 years, I see a pretty significant shake-u pcoming our way. A lot of smaller breweries are getting in on the action for all the wrong reasons. Many don’t have a brewery or even a brewer. They simly have a logo and an agreement with a brewery to produce beers designed by that breweries brewmaster. That’s going to take a dive in a very similar way that it happened to the industry in the second half of the 1990’s. The result will be a more mature, stronger and more stable industry, much like the results of last time.

8. Favorite place to drink a beer?

Anywhere there’s live music, like my pub. My pub especially because we always have live music and I can buy all my frineds beers without breaking the bank.

9. Pretend it’s bring-your-fans-to-work day. What can we expect to see you doing during a typical day on the job?

Being a small company, we all wear a lot of hats. To be honest, I end up sitting behind a computer screen more than I’d like. I also manage relationships with new and existing distributor partners. My favorite though is when things break. I am in my element with a wrench in my hand, standing over the bottling line (usually using the wrench to scratch my head).

10. License to brag: what’s the best thing you’ve contributed to the craft beer universe?

Maybe I’m not responsible for bringing it to the entire universe, but I like to think that I bring fun. I am constantly reminding my crew that fun is what we are really selling. Everyone has stress, whether it’s the job, the family, etc., our job it to bring a little peace and relaxation to you after a hard day of work (or play).

11. Bonus round (optional but awesome): Please share a little-known fun fact about yourself.

Before studying science, I was in the Coast Guard. I loved my time there and am proud that I can say I personally saved 8 lives.

Thank you, Tommy. Cheers to you and yours!