Archive for Blog About Beer

Turn Anything Into a Bottle Opener With The BROpener

Posted in #Beer with tags , on February 27, 2014 by VanPort Brewing

One thing that I’ve learned from running this beer blog for awhile is people are incredibly innovative when it comes to opening their alcohol. It seems like there is always a new style of bottle opener coming out, showing just how creative people are.

The most recent bottle opener I’ve added to my collection is The BROpener. No, it’s not a device that opens mens bras (if you’re not familiar, check out this Seinfeld clip). The BROpener is a small opener that allows you to turn any flat and stable surface into a bottle opener.

Made of anodized aluminum, the small opener features a crazy strong magnet that works to catch your cap. You can choose between either red, silver, or a custom design if you want to order in bulk.

On the back there is a small piece of 3M VHB tape that allows you to stick it securely to any surface. Careful though, that stuff is strong so choose where you put it wisely or you’ll be fighting to get it off.

The video below does a good job showing how and where to install it:

The guys over at The BROpener sent me out a couple to try out and I was eager to give it a crack.

The BROpener Package

The BROpener Package

I ended up placing mine right on my beer fridge so I had easy access when pulling out a bottle. I’ll admit that like a typical guy I was too eager to try it that I didn’t read the instructions at first. After about 5 minutes of trying to get the beer opened, I gave up thinking this thing was useless. However I read through the instructions and watched the instructional video and realized you have to give the cap a good thump (I was just trying to use it like a regular opener which didn’t get me anywhere).

Pow, the first strike opened the cap right up. It’s actually a lot easier than I was thinking, plus I felt pretty tough cracking that beer open. I’m still a bit amazed at how strong the magnet is that catches the cap.

While it does take a little getting used to, I’m liking this opener more and more. I do fear I’ll knock my beer out of my hands, but I’m sure that feeling will go away with more practice. And more practice I shall do.

Check out The BROpener website for all the details.

And no, they didn’t pay me for this review. They just were kind enough to send me out a few to try so I figured I’d let you guys know them.

The post Turn Anything Into a Bottle Opener With The BROpener appeared first on Blog About Beer.

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2014 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Released

Posted in #Beer with tags , on February 24, 2014 by VanPort Brewing

Stone Brewing Co. is celebrating the release of its big, malty, fiercely hopped strong ale: 2014 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine. Beginning today, eager consumers and collectors may pick up a bottle of this annual release at retailers in select markets across the country.

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine is a brawny beer with a rich malt backbone and assertive New World hop profile. The beer pours a burnt amber color with strong citrus and tropical fruit aromas. Its flavor is rich and malty, displaying hints of molasses and brown sugar up front, with apricot and pine notes in the finish.

“Each year, the beer’s recipe is slightly adjusted to allow us to play with different malt and hop varieties,” explains Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele. “All in all, I aim for the same end result: a well-rounded, complex beer that’s ready to drink now or age at cellar temperatures for many years.”

Fans may enjoy 2014 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine now, or properly store it to enjoy in the future. Over time, the hoppiness of the beer will fade and its initial sweetness will smooth out, transforming the beer into a much different, even richer and more refined brew.

2014 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Quick Facts

Name: 2014 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine
Stats: 11.6% ABV, 80 IBUs
Availability: Limited 22-ounce bottles and draft, beginning February 24
Hops Bill: Nugget, Cascade, Delta, Chinook
Distribution: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, and WA

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine 2014

Tasting notes, provided by Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele

Appearance: Deep amber with a creamy tan head and light haze.
Aroma: A blend of bready and banana yeast esters, toffee malt flavors and citrus hops. Allowing the beer to warm to ~50°-55°F really allows the malt and hop character to come through.
Taste: Flavor is rich and malty, with a pronounced yeasty ester profile. It finishes with light citrus and tropical fruit hop flavors.
Palate: Rich and smooth up front. At mid-palate the beer transitions to a pleasant dryness and lingering hop bitterness with a slight alcohol heat on the finish.
Overall: We make small adjustments to the recipe every year, just a little bit, as it provides an opportunity to try some different hops or malts. This year, the changes were minor. We used Nugget instead of Magnum for the bittering hop, and we replaced the CTZ hops in the whirlpool with Cascade to give the beer a piney, more citrusy note. It’s a well-rounded, complex beer that is ready to drink now, or can be aged at cellar temperature for many years.

Suggested pairings, provided by Stone Craft Beer Ambassador “Dr.” Bill Sysak

Appetizers: Stuffed mushrooms, bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese, foie gras, lamb lollipops, caramelized onions on brioche
Entrees: Pumpkin ravioli with sage, vegetarian shepherd’s pie, cassoulet, duck confit, venison, boar
Cheeses: Stilton, Gorgonzola, Maytag Blue, Montgomery Cheddar
Desserts: Fig Newtons, salted caramel apple pie, caramel pecan crunch, sticky toffee pudding, plum-almond tart
Cigars: Dunhill Signed Range Toro, Don Pepin Garcia Lancero, Illusione 888 Churchill

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Contest: Design a Craft Beer Helmet

Posted in #Beer with tags , on February 24, 2014 by VanPort Brewing

While thinking of your beer-bonging past may make your inner frat boy/sorority girl shiver now, there was a time when many of us found ourselves on the receiving end of one of these homemade delivery systems.

I myself built a 5 foot long one for me and my friend’s “post high-school party pad” which funneled more Olde English 800 through it than a Snoop Dogg party circa 1993! But, I digress.

Just the other day, I was obsessing over proper glassware for a certain type of brew, and I had a crazy idea. An idea I would love some help with.

I started to reminisce about the ever iconic beer helmet and how cheesy and gimmicky the idea of it was.

But then I saw an opportunity.

What would the beer helmet look like if it were meant for craft beer?

How would one capture the appearance, aroma, mouthfeel, and flavors from amazing craft beer in a hands-free helmet scenario?

Are there any artists out there who can help us out?

We don’t care if it’s a drunken doodle on a bar napkin or pictures of one you actually built; everything is fair game!

The best design will receive a free copy of Beer Lover’s Oregon!

So c’mon artists! Let’s see what you’ve got!

To enter, either comment with a link to your design in the comments below, or email your design to news [at] blogaboutbeer.com.

The winner will be chosen on March 24, 2014 based on creativity. Remember, it needs to be hands free, yet able to capture the beer the way the brewer meant for it to be experienced.

WARNING: This contest is not intended for those who do not know how to have fun on the internet! We realize the concept of a craft beer helmet is silly; this contest is just for fun!

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Canadian Beer Fridge At Olympics Only Opens With a Canadian Passport

Posted in #Beer with tags , on February 11, 2014 by VanPort Brewing

As the Olympics are in full swing, every day a new story develops. Whether it’s about the problems at the hotels in Sochi or Bob Costas pink eyes, the media is loving the stories that are coming out of the Olympic games.

Out of all the stories so far, my favorite is what Molson is doing for their fellow Canadians.

Apparently in the official Canada House in the Olympic Village, a beer fridge sits that allows anyone to grab a beer. Although to actually get a beer you need to scan a Canadian passport before it will unlock.

Last year the company first introduced the machine via the following commercial, but this is the first time it’s been seen in public outside of the commercial.

Although I’m rooting hard for the U.S. athletes, for this I say “Go Canada”.

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Alaskan Brewing Co. Hopothermia Double IPA Review

Posted in #Beer with tags , on February 6, 2014 by VanPort Brewing

Alaskan Hopothermia Double IPAAs I’m writing this review, a magical dusting of snow is falling around the Portland area while a gentle wind is causing us northwesterners to zip our North Face jackets up tight.

Like usual when anything other than rain falls from the sky, the city and surrounding areas go crazy. Schools shut down just at the word snow, cars wreck for no other reason than a few rogue flakes falling from the sky, and everyone seems to leave work early.

I’m sure most people from places such as Canada, Minnesota, North Dakota, Maine and Alaska would laugh loudly at the absurdity that ensues when we get an inch or two of snow.

Luckily for us, the good people at Alaskan Brewing Co. in Juneau know what being cold is all about. To survive during these frigid times, they recently released the newest addition to their year round line-up, Hopothermia Double IPA.

Fortunately for me I was able to snag one of their 4-packs to test it out in this wintery “storm” we’re having.

First lets talk about the label. I love a good design, and the simplicity of this gray, white and green design makes me happy. A frozen hop cone to form the “O” in hop is very creative and adds to the appeal.

The beer pours a glowing reddish orange color with a thick off white head that sticks around awhile. It’s like a beacon of light shines brightly from the glass tempting you to take a drink.

This is a beer that I would love to see turned into a cologne as I was lost in the aroma. A touch of piney hops shine through the dramatic burst of citrus with plenty of apricot, mangoes, pineapples, and caramel-like sweet malt throughout.

Following the aroma, the flavor is packed with citrus and piney hops, tropical fruits, and a huge malt backbone that balances out the entire beer beautifully. With the use of Nugget, Apollo, Amarillo, Citra, and Centennial hops, hop heads everywhere should enjoy this beer.

This beast of a beer has a full body that feels full and smooth in your mouth.

As my glass diminished, I definitely noticed that it did a stellar job of warming me up. Well, the 8.5% ABV helped.

If you’re lucky enough to be in one of the 15 states that Alaskan distributes in, definitely give Hopothermia a try.

For those looking to pair it with food, they suggest drinking it alongside wild game, Thai food, sharp cheeses, bitter green salads and gourmet pizzas.

I’ll leave you with this poem that they included in the packaging:

There are strange brews made where glaciers cascade
By the brewers who know no bounds.
For they stuff in the hops ’til the temperature drops
And then call for a few more rounds.
In Alaska, it seems, every brewer dreams
of a bold Double IPA.
Hopothermia’s the beer, in the Last Frontier
That will keep the wild wolves at bay.

ABV: 8.5%
IBUs: 70
Style: Double IPA

What’s your thoughts on Alaskan Hopothermia Double IPA?

The post Alaskan Brewing Co. Hopothermia Double IPA Review appeared first on Blog About Beer.

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7 Awesome IPAs You Can Buy Online

Posted in #Beer with tags , on February 4, 2014 by VanPort Brewing

A few weeks back I wrote a post called The Top 5 Beers in the World that seemed to strike a chord with many readers. One of the big takeaways is that I’ve never been a huge fan of definitive lists.

However I do enjoy a good list that helps me discover new things, especially if that “thing” is beer. Often times I see beer suggestions online and I think “cool, but I can’t find that beer near me”.

With that in mind, I figured I’d put together a list of beers, specifically IPAs, that can be bought online and shipped in the US.

Buying beer online is a challenge with the amount of shipping laws in each state. Very few online stores actually sell beer, and many of those that do can only ship to a few states.

One of my favorite places to buy beer online is a site called LetsPour. What’s unique about them is that they currently have warehouses in Washington, Colorado, Florida and New Jersey. This allows them to offer a selection of beers found all across the country.

Since each state has strict shipping laws for beer, you do need to check each specific beer to see if it can be shipped to your state (they show it on their website).

7 Awesome IPAs Available On LetsPour

After scouring the website, I chose 7 IPAs that I’ve personally tried that I would recommend to any hop head who enjoys a good IPA. This isn’t to say these are the 7 best that they sell, they are just 7 awesome beers that I’ve enjoyed and think you might too.

Bell’s Two Hearted Ale

A very easy drinking IPA hopped exclusively with Centennial hops. It has a malty body that is bursting with flavor, yet not overpowering with bitterness.

Bells Two Hearted IPA

Green Flash Palate Wrecker

I couldn’t think of a better name for this beer. It’s big. It’s bold. It will wreck your palate so be sure it’s your final beer.

Green Flash Palate Wrecker

Old Schoolhouse Reserve Series Imperial IPA

Many people across the country are probably not familiar with Old Schoolhouse Brewery in tiny Winthrop, Washington. They are making killer beers, and this well balanced imperial IPA is one of their best.

Old Schoolhouse Imperial IPA

Great Divide Hercules Double IPA

Hercules is a 10% beast that will have you so lost in the flavor, you won’t even notice the alcohol content. With so much fruit and spice in the taste, you can experience new flavors with every sip if you pay attention.

Great Divide Hercules Double IPA

Cigar City Jai Alai IPA

Jai Alai just might be my favorite IPA that doesn’t hail from the west coast. A pleasant citrus bitterness plays with a touch of caramel and tropical fruit. Their oak aged version is even better.

Cigar City Jai Ala India Pale Ale

AleSmith IPA

AleSmith IPA is one of those beers you just take for granted, yet it’s one of the best straight IPAs around. My mouth is just watering thinking about it.

Alesmith IPA

Lagunitas Sucks

I love trying new beers and will very rarely buy more than 1 six pack of any beer unless I’m going to a party. Lagunitas Sucks is one of the few beers that I will always buy multiple 6 packs of every year. It’s so unique that it stands in a class of its own. I love this beer.

Lagunitas Sucks

To check out LetsPour and buy any of these beers (unless they are no longer available by the time you read this), just visit their website and sign up (they require your email to browse the site).

What beers do you suggest that can be bought online?

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Uinta Redesigns Detour Douple IPA Packaging

Posted in #Beer with tags , on January 31, 2014 by VanPort Brewing

Uinta Detour Double IPAI’ve always been a sucker for good design when it comes to beer packaging. A well designed package is important these days with so many options facing consumers on the shelves, so when I see a brewery improve their design, it makes me take notice.

Just today, Uinta Brewing Company announced the release of Detour Double IPA in a 12oz bottle with a full redesign.

First brewed and released in 2010 as a core brand in their Crooked Line of beers, Detour Double IPA escalated into a brand that no longer fit in with the limited release nature intended for Uinta’s Crooked Line.  And so, Uinta gave the brand a face lift, adapting its packaging to emerge the brand into their Classic Line of beers.

Uinta Detour Old Design

Uinta Detour Old Design

So what changed? In lieu of a 750ml cork and caged finished bottle, Detour will be bottled in Uinta’s proprietary 12oz Compass Bottle and adorned with new label artwork that adopts the outdoorsy, adventurous look and feel of Uinta’s Classic Line.

The Detour label depicts a Vintage International Scout and Airstream Camper heading away from the ‘hustle and bustle’ towards the great outdoors; the type of ‘Detour’ that resonates with the Uinta team and consumers alike.

Detour will be available in a 4 pack and is scheduled to hit shelves in early February.

As for the beer, Detour’s hop profile will be kicked up a few notches with the addition of a fifth hop, Citra, which boosts citrusy characteristics in the beer.  A scenic tour of hops, consumers can expect a bright and bold Double IPA.

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