Sunday, September 30, 2012

Terrapin Pumpkinfest Review: The Perfect Marriage of Pumpkin Beer and Oktoberfest

Terrapin Pumpkinfest Review: The Perfect Marriage of Pumpkin Beer and Oktoberfest

Autumn is the greatest for seasonal beer releases, simply because that's when Pumpkin craft beers and traditional Oktoberfest beers are released.  Why did it take this long for somebody to come along and decide to brew both together?  We don't really know but we're glad that Terrapin finally came to the mind blowing decision to do so.

This wasn't exactly the easiest task either, traditionally an oktoberfest is a lager and a pumpkin beer is an ale.  This meant that Terrapin had to find a way to mix the two beer styles and marry their flavors effectively at the same time.  The end result was pumpkinfest, a pumpkin lager.

They did an impressive job albeit difficult circumstances.  The beer stands up very much so overall as a pumpkin beer rather than an oktoberfest.

The smell has a very strong smell of pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices but also opens up with a very rich malty scent.

The taste itself initially is more akin to a traditional oktoberfest beer but on the back end opens up to a pumpkin flavor with plenty of pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, nutmeg).  But what keeps it balanced in between the pumpkin and oktoberfest is definitely the marriage of the pumpkin flavors with a bready and caramel malt flavor all throughout.

Overall it is an impressive brew, it might not be my first choice for the fall season but it does accomplish two beer styles in one.  I'm rather excited to see if other breweries take on this task, I'd be interested to see what others could come up with.

Check last weeks first pumpkin review of the season (Dogfish Head Punkin Ale).

Terrapin Pumpkinfest 7.5/10

Monday, September 24, 2012

Beer Barrel Bourbon Whiskey: Not What You Think It Is

No, we didn't just title this post backwards.  This one really is about Beer Barrel Bourbon Craft Whiskey not Bourbon Barrel Aged Craft Beer.

The one and only New Holland Brewing Co and Artisan Spirits of Michigan has elected to start reversing this great barrel aging process.  It's well known in the craft industry that old bourbon barrels make for great beer, but nobody yet has tried this reverse process (nobody we know of at least).

New Holland will be using barrels from their famed Dragon's Milk Stout which itself is aged in Bourbon Barrels.

Here's some information from New Holland itself,

"Beer Barrel Bourbon is first aged in new American oak barrels for several years, before a three month beer-y slumber. The beer-barrel aging lends biscuity notes and a smooth malt character to the robust whiskey tones of toffee and caramel."

I don't know about you guys, but this is something I'm rather excited for.  I love beer, I love whiskey and I really love Bourbon Barrel Aged Beer.  It seems only logical that most of us out there seeking artisan crafted drinks will naturally enjoy Beer Barrel Bourbon.

Keep an eye out this goodness should be released on the first of October.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Beer and Nuclear Weapons; A Match Made In Heaven?

According to "Operation Teapot" a government funded study on the effect of nuclear explosions on commercially packaged beverages beer will be drinkable post apocalypse.

Now I'm not going to sit here and pretend I know anything about nuclear weapons or an impending apocalypse but I sure as hell know beer.  Check out this great blog for the details of the test in a more scientific manner,

What we're taking away here at the Tri State Beer Blog though is plain and simple.  Our obsession with drinking and keeping plenty of beer in our "cellars' is now entirely justifiable.  If the world does indeed meet it's end on the 21st of December this year through some means of nuclear war and you happen to find yourself in a bunker made of stolen trailers and food trucks ( beer must be your drink of choice.

Take this as a sign from the beer gods and go out and buy more beer than you already do, on a weekly or dare I say daily basis.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pumpkin Season Is Upon Us: Dogfish Head Punkin Beer Review

Craft Beer Pumpkin season is upon us.  Yes it might be a little early, but who am I to tell these breweries to put Pumpkin production on hold until the fall weather has taken over.  It’s a real catch-22, because as much as I’d love to hold off on grabbing and drinking these pumpkins until Mother Nature has given me the okay, they’re fresh RIGHT now.  What’s better than fresh beer? Well nothing obviously.

With that said, I’m going to review our first pumpkin beer of the season or should I say our first Punkin.  It may not be the highest rated Pumpkin brew on Beer Advocate but it certainly is the most reviewed, crushing the competition.

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale with a Sandwich

Pumpkin brews can really be divided into two sectors, full bodied and light bodied.  Punkin is certainly part of the former group.  It is a full-bodied brown ale with just subtle hints of the pumpkin characteristics.  Unlike some of the sweet, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar bombs that other breweries produce.

The beer pores a beautiful light amber color with a veracious white head that really sticks around in the glass for some time.  The smell is not a smack in the face of pumpkin but more subtle pumpkin with hints of various spices.  As for the flavor it is a brown ale through and through, far more nutty flavor in this one than most pumpkin ales.  The taste begins with the nutty brown mixed with the pumpkin flavor and some cinnamon, and it finishes off with a slight spice that doesn’t overwhelm the palette as other pumpkins do.

There’s a reason that Dogfish Head is quickly becoming one of the nations largest microbreweries, they make damn good beer in ever sector.  Per the usual they do so with a twist, this is set apart from the others because it’s not your typical spice bomb but a full bodied well-rounded brown ale with pumpkin flavors mixed in well throughout.

Check out last years Great Pumpkin Tasting done by the Tri State Beer Blog right here,

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale 8.5/10

Saturday, September 8, 2012

City Swiggers - Reviewing an NYC Craft Beer Bar/Bottle Shop

City Swiggers is a brand new beer bar that opened it's doors on the Upper East Side of NYC in late 2011.  It has been making waves in the NYC Craft Beer scene ever since.  Over the past few years bottle shops and beer bars have sprung up all over Manhattan but City Swiggers is the first of it's kind on the Upper East.

The Upper East has always had the "ritzy" feel to it and thus most people assumed it was a wine neighborhood.  Due to the explosion of high quality craft beer in the past several years, beer now transcends class levels.

The Upper East Side establishment is multi purposed.  If you're just looking to pick a few up you can do that.  If you're trying to sit down and have a beer off tap they do that too.  Lastly, if you find the bottle you're looking for and simply can't make it home without cracking it open, they do that too.

Now if you're a true Craft Beer Geek you know where all the great spots to pick up your latest Haul in NYC are.  More specifically you sure as heck know which places are going to gouge their prices, and so you don't go there anymore.

City Swiggers has some of the best prices I've ever seen in the city that never sleeps.  I might even dare to say that their prices were as good or lower than prices I've seen outside of the expensive bubble that is Manhattan.

As for the location itself the beer shop/bar has a nice location on East 86th and the setting itself is a great scene.  Beautiful Hard wood floors and pristine white walls littered with paintings, this place is definitely not the beer distributor down the block from your house.

The space is long and narrow with wood shelves in the front full of domestic craft and as you move into the back it changes to steel shelves full of international brews.  I guess they ran out of funding and couldn't afford wood for the whole place?

As for the real meat and potatoes of this joint (the beer).  The selection was rather solid, nothing spectacular but they definitely had selections you can't simply find in your local grocery store.  Some more difficult to come by Sours or Barrel Aged brews would have been to my liking and I'm sure many others.

At least they allow mixed sixers, which is one of my overall pet peeves about bottle shops, making my own sixers is simply a must.  And they also allow you to crack the bottle open right there for a respectable 4 dollar corkage fee, who doesn't want to knock one back while they figure out what they're taking home?

The only other downside was the customer service.  I spent about 20 minutes in the store along side three other customers.  There might have been a total of four words spoken.  This falls squarely on the shoulders of the man behind the counter (the owner maybe? if only he spoke to me I might know).  I made a concerted effort to strike up conversation with the owner and even one of the other customers, no dice.

A knowledgable fellow behind the counter can make all the difference, especially if he's friendly and strikes up conversation with his customers.  I will always prefer a boisterous beer shopping experience full of conversation with my fellow customers and the "craft expert" behind the counter.

All in all it was a good experience, and next time I'm on the Upper East Side I'll be swinging by City Swiggers again, although I won't be heading up there just for the sole purpose of visiting.

For a similar experience well north of the City in Putnam County,  check out one of our  review of The Hop in Beacon, NY.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Stone Collaboration With Stillwater and Evil Twin Brewing Details - The Perfect Crime

Stone, the SoCal Craft Beer giant, has been leaking details of their newest collaboration beer in conjunction with Stillwater of Maryland and Evil Twin Brewing of Minnesota via their twitter feed in the past several hours.

"The Perfect Crime" as it will be called is set to be brewed by Brian of Stillwater, Mitch of Stone and Jeppe from Evil Twin Brewing.  To produce the Smoked Black Saison with Oak Smoaked Wheat they will employ the following hops and malts.  They will be using Cluster, East Kent Goldings and Chinook Hops, as well as Wheat Malt, Oats and Carafa for the malt.

All of this information has been pulled together through Stone's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feed.
The photo below of Jeppe of Evil Twin was found on their Instagram.