Tag Archives: Genevieve

Southern Tier 2X Steam

The #BOTW this week is Southern Tier 2X Steam, taken from the Ray’s Wine & Spirits latest Craft Beer Newsletter. (Sign up for it if you haven’t yet. You won’t regret it. I promise.)

ind_bp_label_2xSteam

From the newsletter,

The first beer on the list is in a league of its own. We’ve dicussed the California Common (aka “steam beer”) in the past, but here’s a quick refresher. Back before commercial refrigeration, it was difficult to ferment beers at the lower temperatures necessary for lagers. As a result, brewers used shallow open fermenters so the air would cool the wort faster. They ended up using a lager yeast (normally activated at 45-50°F) and fermented it at a higher than average temperature (typically 58-68°F).

A unique style to begin with, Southern Tier out of Lakewood, New York ups the ante even further with their 2x Steam. Much like their 2x Stout or IPA, they take the normal ingredients and double it. Clocking in at 8% ABV, you’ll be surprised at how mildly this beer exerts itself. A deep, golden color, honey and mint aromas shine through. The hops are subtle, but firm. Sweet up front, light tangerine notes blend among earthy hop profiles. One of a kind, Southern Tier doubles your fun way better than Doublemint gum ever could hope.

Southern Tier recommends these food pairings: Cheddar cheeses, grilled chicken, salmon, salads and light desserts such as shortcake or shortbread cookies.

I think I may take them up on their cheddar cheeses suggestion, because cheese.

As an added bonus, the good folks at Ray’s Wine and Spirits gives us this incentive:

So be sure to take them up on their generosity and support #beerclub in the process.

And for more information about the brewery and beer:

Established: 2002
Southern Tier Brewing Company was founded in 2004 by Phineas DeMink and Allen Yahn with the vision of bringing small batch brewing back to a region rich in brewing tradition. In 2003 Skip and Phin purchased the defunct Old Saddle Back Brewing Co. in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. All the equipment was removed and brought back to Lakewood, New York and set up at its new 10,000 square foot home, The Southern Tier Brewing Company. The Brewery began operations in February 2004 distributing regionally. By 2005 sales covered the majority of the New York State and the eastern half of Pennsylvania. In the beginning their two Flagship brands were a Pilsner and Mild Ale. Oh yeah they also brewed IPA! As it turned out the flagships were a flop and the IPA was a huge success. They next launched a line of seasonal beers which have gained great success. Since the beginning, Southern Tier has experienced steady growth, currently distributing to over 25% of the United States. Multiple expansions have been made to keep up with demand and the brewery continues to be innovative by producing new products. Keep a look out for new products coming to stores near you.
California Common Beer
Availability: Not Available
Glassware: Pint Glass

Cheers. See you Monday night at 8, at #beerclub.

#Beerclub Opens Doors

Monday night a few #beerclubbers were invited to a special Tenth and Blake tasting at Miller Brewery by our newest #beerclub member, the stunning Lisa Zimmer (I wasn’t put up to saying she’s stunning or anything 😉 ). Lisa is the Digital and Consumer Outreach Manager for Tenth and Blake, a division of Miller Brewing.

First, a little background. Tenth and Blake was created three and a half years ago in as the craft and import division of Miller. They oversee brands like Blue Moon, Leinenkugels, Pilsner Urkell, AC Golden, and St. Stefanus among others. They get a lot of flak for being “Fake Craft Beer” and the corporate whores of the beer industry, but through people like Lisa, they are working on overcoming that image.

One of the ways they are overcoming this stems from some internal policies. All staff members of the Tenth and Blake division are given two weeks of intensive beer education. This education includes how to homebrew, and how to taste beer. Every employee is given a homebrew kit as part of their employment, and they are all required to pass the server level cicerone test. Lisa also said that since their offices are in Chicago, away from the brewing facilities, that they are encouraged to brew beer at work. They feel it’s important to be around the brewing process, and have beers fermenting near them while they work. This is the same company that gets constantly derided for not appreciating beer. More on Tenth and Blake in a bit, but let’s get onto the drinking stories.

Fred Miller's Pub

Fred Miller’s Pub

A few weeks ago, #beerclub drank Blue Moon to celebrate the actual blue moon. This is a beer that falls under the umbrella of Tenth and Blake, so we invited Lisa to join in on the conversation. She wasn’t able to make it that night, but she did want to reach out to us and invited a small group to meet her at Frederick Miller’s Pub. The pub is located on the brewery grounds, and it was built after the SAB Miller purchase with the intention of being a place for employees to go after work, and increase camaraderie among the staff.

Miller's Cooler

The cooler door at Miller’s Pub

The bar is gorgeous. It’s really welcoming with plush seating, bright wood on the walls, beer steins, and there’s no tacky neon. I have some pics taken by fellow #beerclubber Jodi. If I was an employee, or had access to the bar, I’d be there pretty often. The place just has a very cool atmosphere.

Genevieve and I arrived at the same time and Lisa invited us to grab a beer from the bar. Both of us had the Third Shift Marzen. poured into a tall glass while Lisa arranged to start pouring from her secret stash. Once she opened up her stash, we were off to the races.

I’m not going to give a commentary on all the drinks we had, but I will provide a list, just so you can get some idea of the variety, and quality of the beers we were trying:

  • Crispin – Ginger and Elderberry Cider
  • AC Golden – Hidden Barrel Kriek
  • Leinenkugels – Snowdrift Vanilla Porter
  • Terrapin – Free Spirit Farmhouse Ale
  • Brouwerij Van Steenberge –  St. Stefanus Blonde
  • Worthington’s White Shield – IPA from Burton upon Trent
  • Blue Moon – Caramel Apple Spiced Ale
  • Crispin – Stagger Lee
  • Fox Barrel –  Orange Peel & Corriander
  • Fox Barrel – English Perry
  • Crispin – Lansdowne
  • Leinenkugels – “Ten Miles Wide” (a special not for release version of the Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout that was bourbon barrel aged over sour cherries) This one was complete with a special label:
Ten Miles Wide

Ten Miles Wide

All of these beers were really good, and we had some great discussion about where Tenth and Blake’s sees themselves in the market. 

We even had some special guests who came to talk with us.

Mike from Crispin has been the Wisconsin rep for some time, and now he’s in charge of the Midwest region. He came and brought most of the Crispin and Fox Barrel samples that we had. Unfortunately we ran out of time to try all of the ciders he brought, so he just sent them home with us. I have some ciders here that I’m really excited to try.

It was very interesting to hear the viewpoint of someone who worked for Crispin well before the Tenth and Blake acquisition, and who admitted he wasn’t sure how the company would be treated after being bought out. After the acquisition, not a single employee has left the company. That tells me that Tenth and Blake is doing this right. They’re not the big evil conglomerate that some people in the craft community make them out to be. Sure, they are a part of a large brewery, but these people are passionate about their beers and ciders.

Dick Leinenkugel and Mike Christensen

Dick Leinenkugel and Mike Christensen

Then, while we were drinking and talking, Dick Leinenkugel came and sat with us. Dick doesn’t quite understand twitter, but he does understand beer, and he’s a very personable guy who has a pretty quick wit. He stayed and talked with us for most of the time we were in the pub. It’s kind of surreal to be drinking with a member of the Leinenkugel family who is wearing a Leinenkugel’s shirt.

As if that weren’t enough, we had a quick introduction to Dr. David Ryder, head brewer at Miller, and VP in charge of Brewing and Research for MillerCoors. He had a quick sample with us, before he went back to drinking his Miller Lite. When Dick commented on the choice of a Miller Lite, Dr. Ryder responded with “What can I say?” Another very pleasant man, who really knows his beer.

Dr. David Ryder and Dick Leinenkugel

Dr. David Ryder and Dick Leinenkugel

Once we finished at the pub (it was just after 6:30 PM by this time) we took a cab over to Molly Cool’s seafood for dinner where the discussion with Lisa continued. She is a perfect person to be doing this consumer outreach. She knows her stuff, but she is also very friendly and easy to get along with.

There are more stories, but this post has gotten long, and unfortunately, you just had to be there for yourself to experience it. We may have an opportunity to do this again, I’ll keep you all posted if such an opportunity arises. Trust me, you don’t want to miss it.

Barley’s Angels

For the past year, Thursdays have been my solace. It is my weekly date with one of my closest friends. We go to a bar, where no one knows our names, and decompress over drinks. Mostly Riverwest Steins. Occasionally a social event pops up and we do that instead. This last Thursday night was one of those times.

We had the pleasure of attending the inaugural meeting of the Milwaukee chapter of Barley’s Angels. There was such an awesome variety of women there- women in the industry, home brewers, non home brewers, displaced Suds Club members and, like, one other twitter user. The one common thread was craft beer, and from the sounds of this informational meeting, we have plenty of craft beer fun in our future. Tastings, brewery tours, cheese and beer pairings and social hours are in store along with plenty of learning and meeting new friends.

Meetings are the first Thursday of the month. If you are a female and interested in craft beer, I encourage you to join us. A good sized group of women were there for the first meeting and I only see this growing into something super awesome.

Also, Happy International Beer Day!

Happy #IPAday!

EinleyAnyone who knows me knows that I drink an IPA almost every day.

Today is #IPAday, a day created to crack open a new or familiar IPA and share via social media the wonders of craft beer. Why was IPA the chosen beer? I am not sure. Will there be Saison day? I don’t know. What I do know is that I love that #IPAday exists, for a few reasons:

1. I love that it is a social media driven event. I’m a social media junkie.

2. Anything that gives me an excuse to yammer about craft beer is cool with me.

3. Any reason for breweries to pimp their beer, have events, and promote craft beer is plain awesome in my book.

4. It’s my favorite style of beer, and from my experience, the most misunderstood.

This last reason may be my favorite reason. I have been told by many people that they cannot stand IPAs. They protest that the beer is too hoppy, too strong, too heavy, too this, too that. And then they hit just the right one and fall in love. Not everyone will love IPAs, I get that. I’m pretty sure I will never fall in love with a barleywine, but I’ll keep tasting them in the meantime. So I love that #IPAday may give someone who normally wouldn’t drink an IPA an excuse to drink one, and just maybe, become a fan.

Milwaukee Brewery – Hop Happy IPA

There has been a small amount of brouhaha over #IPAday. People getting pissy that they don’t need a special day to drink an IPA. People getting pissy that this will snowball into “holidays” for all types of beer. People getting pissy for the sake of getting pissy.

When it comes to beer, and life, I’m pretty chill. I’m cool with Miller existing and people drinking it. A friend once told me that sometimes it’s just nice to have a Bud Light with lunch. I think he’s come around since then, but honestly, it’s not a big deal. I’ve been known to slam down a shandy or two, and even enjoy it. But the fact is, that in my heart I’m a beer snob and love to convert people over to craft beer. So if someone wants to institute a day for IPAs, a day for Saisons, a day for Porters, a day for Sours or even a day for Barleywine, I’m down. Stout day already exists, so maybe that snowball is already rolling.

I’ll be enjoying #IPAday at the first Milwaukee Barley’s Angels meeting, so if you’re a gal and you want to join in, come to Sugar Maple!

Happy Anniversary!

I am not even going to pretend that I remember how this all came about. This is what I know to be true. I saw Joe from Blatz liquor tweeting about a beer club.  I schlepped the kids into the now deceased Blatz Liquor store (pour some out for our homie) to buy beer including the beer of the week. I followed Mitch on twitter and attended the very first #beerclub.  Anything else I remember probably isn’t true.

I have been present at each and every beer club since – whether the kids or I were sick, whether I was at home or not and I think once I didn’t even have the beer of the week but still participated. By (not my) popular demand, the beer club time was changed and since then it has been a challenge for me to be present, but I always try to at least stop in and say hi.

This is what else I know to be true.  I have had great conversations, learned a thing or two, and made life-long friends through #beerclub. I am so grateful for this group that gathers on twitter every Monday night and shares a beer.  I look forward to it every week and I can’t wait to see what this next year has in store for us.  I imagine some more great (and not so great) beer, more friends and more field trips!

I am hoping we have a great turn out of old friends (@vasser40 I am looking at you) and new friends to celebrate the one year anniversary of #beerclub! See you at 8pm this Monday night!

A special shout out thank you to Mitch! Without you, none of this would have happened and I so appreciate you!

#beerclub Favorites

I am grateful for every beer that the twitter #beerclub has introduced me to. Even the gross ones (hey! that could be another blog post!). I am partial to an IPA, but I really enjoy tasting all kinds of beer.  Here is a list of my favorite beers that we have done so far in the #beerclub- in no particular order. So I’m not numbering them. (And I am sure I am leaving some out).

Ale Asylum Bedlam IPA

Ale Asylum Bedlam

Ale Asylum Bedlam

From their website:

“ALE ASYLUM is unfiltered and all natural. We use no additives, preservatives, fruit, horse hooves, fish guts, or extracts. Our ingredient list: water, malt, hops, and yeast. This is what we mean when we say our beer is FERMENTED IN SANITY. You know who makes it, you know what it’s made with. You know after having one you’ll want another.”

So, in other words, this brewery in Madison, Wisconsin kicks ass. I am a lover of (almost) all IPAs and this beer is described as a Belgian style IPA. It is a seasonal beer and was perfect for the season we drank it in- Spring.  It was fruity, hoppy, delicious.

Victory V-12

Victory V 12

Victory V 12

Admittedly, I don’t remember the exact taste of this beer that well. But I know it tasted really good.  This is called a strong ale and I was told that if I enjoyed an IPA, I would enjoy this. And I did. Very much. This beer has a very high alcohol content, 12%, and the alcohol content was cleverly disguised by a great tasting beer. Resulting in me drinking enough of it not to remember exactly how it tasted. I know it had a hoppiness I enjoyed and it came in a really cool corked bottle.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye

Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye

Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye

An IPA (go figure) made with 18% rye malt. This gold medal winning beer has the super hoppy flavor that I just cannot get enough of. It was the first time I had tried a rye malt beer and I am glad I did! This brewery also produces another favorite IPA of mine, Racer 5- which was not a beer club pick, but has become a staple in my refrigerator.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Three Floyds Gumballhead

Three Floyds Gumballhead

Three Floyds Gumballhead

Here is a shocker- this one is not an IPA! It is actually a wheat beer, and I have to say, I do not enjoy many wheat beers.  But this is a wheat beer that has made a permanent home in my refrigerator. It is not an easy beer to describe, but it is an extremely easy and enjoyable beer to drink, with big flavor. This brewery also makes another favorite of mine that was not a beer club pick, and is also not an IPA- Alpha King is a pale ale and it is awesome.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Honorable mentions:

Left Hand Brewing Chainsaw Ale a “connoisseur version of our award winning Sawtooth Ale” Yum

Sprecher Belgian Dubbel a 25th anniversary brew and a classic. Brewed locally here in Wisconsin!

Stone Brewing Arrogant Bastard Ale A strong ale and very enjoyable

Thank you Mitch for letting me use your photos! It should be noted that Mitch is classy and drinks out of fancy glasses. I drink from the bottle.

Beerpiphany

Genevieve

Genevieve

This blog presents a perfect opportunity to explore topics relating to beer outside of just which beer we’re drinking each week. It’s in this spirit that I’ve invited Genevieve (@Einley) to become a contributor to the site.

Genevieve is one of the core members of the #beerclub. She’s attended every single virtual meeting and even though she hasn’t liked every beer we’ve tried, she keeps coming back to experiment. As a craft beer loving mother and wife, who’s not afraid to tell it like it is, she adds a fresh perspective to the club and I look forward to reading her thoughts on beer and beer culture in future posts.

– Mitch

The other day on twitter, @AnneSprecher posted a general question to all of her followers, “What was your first beerpiphany?”   I answered back that I would have to think on that. And I did.  And what I came up with was way more than the 140 characters that Twitter allows, so here is the best place to put my beerpiphany right?

In 1996, I was a student at Michigan State University. About a half an hour outside of East Lansing, in Webberville, Michigan Brewing Company opened and I made sure to visit this craft brewery. And visit often.

This new, small brewery was my beerpiphany.  When it opened, it had only a few tables, a long bar, and a few beers on tap. There was a glass door that led to the brewery containing the vats of brewing beer and picnic tables with freezing temperatures where smoking was allowed. The parking lot was gravel and you had to drive through a gas station to get to the brewery.

Of course, I made quick best friends with a bartender there and would pay for one pint of

Michigan Brewing Co.

Michigan Brewing Co.

beer and drink limitless amounts of beer (and leave a nice tip).  This craft beer was my beerpiphany because prior to that, I was a beer snob who only drank Labatts.  This was a big deal because all of the college kids drank Busch light so Labatts was high brow.  Compared to LaBatts, this new craft beer (from the only craft brewery remotely local to me) was pure heaven.  I was introduced to my favorite kind of beer- IPAs and many other kinds as well.

Now Michigan Brewing Company has expanded big time. They have a pub in Lansing in addition to moving to a larger brewing facility. They paired up with Kid Rock to make BadAss Lager and have expanded their distribution.

I am grateful to them for giving me my first beerpiphany and to Anne Sprecher who made me remember such a great time in my life.