Total Pageviews

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Frankenmuth New Year Stout 2012

I was very pleased to score 4 of the 801 bottles of this year's Frankenmuth New Year Stout.

One of the really cool things about the bottles is that each one is signed by the brewer Jeff Coon.  I talked with a couple of beer store owners to see if they were going to get any of the very limited production beers and two let me know when they came in.  I hurried over to the stores to make sure a got some.

I bought two at each store, but the last bottle I purchased had an extra surprise--a handwritten message above the brewers signature that said, "Julie Laughs Like She is Wasted."  I can just imagine how much fun the bottle signing party must have been.

Anyone know Julie?


Addendum:  I asked the brewer and found out that Julie is his daughter!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

United States Beer Labeling: Alcohol Content

For some time now, I have wondered why many US beer labels do not contain alcohol content information, particularly since so many other countries' labels contained this information.  It seems to me that this information is extremely important for the consumer since the alcohol content of beer can vary greatly.  Common mass produced American beers vary from 3%-5%.  Craft beers, however, can be anywhere from 4% to 18%, with some extremely special beers having up to 20% alcohol by volume (ABV).

So I did a little research.  See:
It turns out that a lot of countries, indeed, do require the ABV content of beer be printed on the label.  Here's a list of the countries: Australia (if over 1.15%); Brazil; Canada (if over 1.1%); Chile; China (only if under 10%); Columbia; All European Union Countries; Japan; Mexico; New Zealand; Philippines; Russia; South Korea; Switzerland; Taiwan; and Thailand.  In the US, however,adding the alcohol content to a beer label is optional:  Of course, state laws could require this, but this is not the case in Michigan where I live.  I can think of no valid reason against putting ABV on beer labels.  In a country where drunk driving is an all too common occurrence, people should have the information they need to make good decisions. Furthermore, knowing the ABV helps the consumer purchase beers that fit a particular occasion or taste.  Some breweries put out so many different beers each year, that one should not have to research each new beer's characteristics in order to decide if they want to purchase them.   I appeal to all brewers to put the alcohol content on your labels voluntarily.  It is just common sense.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Samuel Adams Infinium

I very much enjoy when a brewer strives to make something unique and special.  The Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) caught my eye in 1994, when they released their first batch of Tripple Bock. At 17.5% ABV and little to no carbonation, the beer was more like a sherry than a beer. With its blue glass bottle and gold silk screened labeling, it was a beauty for a collector like me. I purchased several, but over the years I have consumed them with various friends who appreciate craft beers.

1994 Samuel Adams Tripple Bock
Over the years, Samuel Adams has periodically produced new specialty beers including: Millennium (1999); Utopias (2002); Imperial Pilsner (2008); and Infinium (2011).  The latter I recently tried.  Infinium is brewed in collaboration with the German Brewery Weihenstephan, who lays claim to being the world's oldest brewery.  According to the brewers, the goal of the Infinium project was to create a completely new beer style, while adhering to the famous German beer purity laws that only allow 4 ingredients in a beer. What they ended up with is a beer that tastes and looks a bit like sparkling wine, except that the beverage maintains a nice head after pouring.

2011 Samuel Adams Infinium
The beer is really very nice and refreshing and would be great for celebrating a special occasion.  Good job Boston Beer Company! I look forward to their next specialty beer.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Witch's Hat Brewing Company

I think it is fun when a new brewery opens locally.  Recently I visited the Witch's Hat Brewery located in South Lyon, MI.  The brewery opened the day after Christmas, 2011 and I managed to visit it a few days after it opened.  We arrived in the evening in the middle of the week (vacation time for all of us).
Witch's Hat Brewing Company, South Lyon, MI
The place was packed with patrons standing by the bar.  We were lucky enough to get a table.  While we were there, dozens of people stopped by to fill growlers or to have a pint.  The selection of beers was fairly extensive, ranging from a wheat beer to an IPA to a barleywine (out when we visited).
The Day's Offerings
My party all ordered samplers, where you get to pick 5 of the beers they are pouring.  Among us, of course, we tried all of the beers.  My general impression is that the beer is pretty good, but lacked the heaviness and hoppiness I expected in some of the beers, such as the IPA.

A Sampling of Beers.
Nevertheless, I applaud the new venture and expect that the beers will evolve with time and interest from the patrons.  Once the crowds die down, I think the ambiance of the place will improve (they have a fireplace).  The staff were very friendly, skilled, and knowledgeable about beer.  I also enjoyed learning what the brewery is named after.  Hint: Look at the pictures on the wall.