Creature Comforts Brewing Co. Set for Return of Athena Paradiso

CreatureAthenaParadiso2Creature Comforts Brewing Co. (Athens, Georgia) has officially announced that Athena Paradiso – Passion Fruit & Guava will see a Limited Release beginning in mid-October 2018.

Developed to be a fruited variant of the brewery’s Year-Round offering Athena, Athena Paradiso is a Berliner Weisse that boasts “the gentle tartness and subtle sweetness of . . . passion fruit and guava.”  Refreshing and easy-drinking, everything about Athena Paradiso (4.5% ABV) – from “the addition of the word ‘Paradiso’ to . . . the label artwork to the overall flavor and aroma – is ” intended to instill a vision of paradise.”

The Tasting Room at Creature Comforts is currently pouring Athena Paradiso – Passion Fruit & Guava on draft and will release 6-packs of 12 oz. cans on October 17.  Distribution is expected to follow in late October.  Once fully released, you can expect to find this Limited Release offering at select craft beer establishments located in Athens and Atlanta, Georgia.  Prost!

Vital Information for Athena Paradiso – Passion Fruit & Guava from Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

Release – Limited, mid-October 2018
Style – Berliner Weisse 
ABV – 4.5%
Added Ingredients – Passion fruit & guava
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Distribution – Athens & Atlanta, Georgia

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Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Announces Limited Return of 75 Minute IPA

DFH75MinuteDogfish Head Craft Brewery (Milton, Delaware) is officially introducing a new artist and beer lineup for its Off-Centered Art Series with the return of 75 Minute IPA in October.

75 Minute IPA – a name that references the combination of 60 Minute IPA and 90 Minute IPA, “two Dogfish innovations in continual hopping” – is a “classic” India Pale Ale brewed with “maple syrup from Sam Calagione’s (founder and CEO of Dogfish Head) family farm, . . . continually hopped during the entire boil, and then dry hopped with a slew of cascade hops.”  Fittingly coming in at 7.5% ABV and 75 IBUs, 75 Minute IPA offers a sensory experience that is “malty and earthy with citrusy-piney notes, balanced with subtle maple notes.”

This release of 75 Minute IPA will also be wearing some new label artwork now that Michael Hacker, a talented freelance artist, has taken over the brewery’s Off-Centered Art Series, “a lineup of four beers representing the creative expression that occurs at the intersection of ales and art, featuring a new illustrator each year.”  Hacker’s Off-Centered Art Series illustrations “will roll out over the next 18 months and include: 75 Minute IPA, The Perfect Disguise (8%) – an American double dry-hopped IPA disguised as a Kölsch, Dragons & YumYums (6.5%) – a lip smackingly tropical pale ale, and Punkin Ale (7%) – a full bodied brown ale brewed with real pumpkin.”

“Creative beer labels have become a fun focal point of the craft beer scene, defining brands and bringing beers to life through visuals,” said Calagione. “Since 2008, we’ve been collaborating with wildly inventive illustrators from around the world, and I couldn’t be more excited to continue the tradition with our friend, Michael Hacker, as we visually share new stories about our inventive beers.”

75 Minute IPA is hitting distribution now and is scheduled to stick around through December 2018.  You can expect to find this Limited Release available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Delaware and throughout the rest of Dogfish Head’s distribution territory.  Prost!

Vital Information for 75 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Release – Limited/Off-Centered Art Series, mid-October – December 2018
Style – American India Pale Ale
ABV – 7.5%
IBUs – 75
Featured Hops – Cascade
Added Ingredients – Maple syrup
Fun Fact – On the label artwork: “The Off-Centered Art Series artist, Michael Hacker, created the artwork for the beers. A talented freelance illustrator, Hacker finds inspiration for his Art Series illustrations by learning the unique and compelling stories behind each beer, then bringing them to life visually in his own style. Since 75 Minute IPA is a combination of two Dogfish innovations in continual hopping – 60 Minute IPA and 90 Minute IPA – Hacker wanted to artfully portray the brewing process with Calagione as the original mad scientist of the early craft beer movement. His imaginative style incorporates a few hidden gems, including a “funny glasses” disguise that was part of the original Johnny Cask packaging artwork.”
Suggested Food Pairings – “Burgers, grilled meats, avocado”
Recommended Glassware – IPA Glass
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://www.dogfish.com/brewery/fishfinder

 

Tasting Notes: Oktoberfest (2018) from Sierra Nevada & Weihenstephan

SNOFest2018PourThis year’s Oktoberfest celebration in Munich may have already come to a close, but we are doing our best to keep the party going by turning the focus of this week’s Tasting Notes to Oktoberfest (2018) from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Chico, California) and Bavarian State Brewery Weihenstephan (Freising, Germany).

Back in 2015, Sierra Nevada initiated a new approach to its seasonally released Oktoberfest offering by having its brewers explore the style’s various traditions through collaborations with some of the most respected breweries in Germany (2015 – Brauhaus Riegele; 2016 – Mahrs Bräu; 2017 –  Brauhaus Miltenberger).  For the 2018 release, Sierra Nevada teamed up with the world’s oldest brewery, Bavaria’s Weihenstephan, to create an “American take on the classic German Oktoberfest.”  What they came up with is a “crisp, clean, and drinkable crowd-pleaser” featuring a “malt backbone . . . balanced by subtle hop character.” Oktoberfest (2018) comes in at 6% ABV and 20 IBUs.

Although the 2018 run of Oktoberfest may be nearing its end, it will most assuredly still be pouring at the countless Oktoberfest celebrations that have yet to take place in the U.S. (this includes the one scheduled for October 13 at Sierra Nevada’s Mills River, North Carolina location).  You can also expect to find this Seasonal Release to be available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, North Carolina and throughout the rest of Sierra Nevada’s nationwide distribution area.

Alright, that’s about enough with the particulars and background data.  It is definitely time to for us to lift some steins, destroy some pretzels and brats, and get into these Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Oktoberfest (2018) from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. & Bavarian State Brewery Weihenstephan

Appearance: This Festbier is somewhere between amber and copper in color and is topped with right at a finger of wispy off-white foam.  When held to direct light, the color intensifies to become more of a rich golden to light copper.  The beer is perfectly clear, displaying the numerous streams of carbonation casually going about their business within.  Head retention is strong, slowly falling to a nearly complete top cap that leaves sporadic streaks of lace behind on the glass.

Aroma: The aromatics lead with comforting notes of bready malt, a touch of honey, and toasty grains.  A reserved and well-behaved mix of spicy, earthy and grassy hops then saunters in to lend some support and balance.  The aromas are beautifully simple and exactly what one might expect to get when putting his/her nose into a stein filled with Märzen.

Taste: Almost mirroring the nose, the flavor profile opens with a pronounced, yet somehow still mild malt character filled with bready notes, light caramel, a dollop of honey, and sweetly toasted cereal grains.  These malts come across as mild because they are expertly balanced by an incredibly nuanced hop presence featuring floral, spicy, grassy and herbal tones.  Incredibly clean and well-integrated, the lager yeast makes its presence known by pretty much not making its presence known (in other words, there are no off flavors or fruity notes).

Mouthfeel:  Medium in body with a slightly softer carbonation level than expected, this Festbier is easy-drinking but is comfortable taking its time when it comes to drying out.  The level of balance here is damn near perfection, riding that line between malty sweetness and hoppy bitterness with ease.  Leaving behind no trace of warmth/heat, the ABV feels much lighter than 6% and further adds to this beer’s overall drinkability. The aftertaste is just a slight amount of earthiness and bready malt.

Final Thoughts: When it comes to making Oktoberfests/Märzens, the goal is to end up with a malt-driven lager that has a level of drinkability suitable for long-haul-level sessions of consumption.  The flavors and aromatics should be malt forward, but they must not be overly sweet or cloying.  As far as the hops go, they should act as more of a delicate accompaniment that equips the beer with balance and that earthy, floral character that just makes you think of autumn.  If all of that falls into place properly, you are left with a beer that can be enjoyed stein after stein during the hours/days you spend celebrating Oktoberfest.

This Oktoberfest (2018) from Sierra Nevada and Weihenstephan exemplifies all the characteristics mentioned in the above paragraph.  It ticks each and every box an Oktoberfest/Märzen should, making it exactly what you would expect to get from two breweries of this caliber.  It is a spot-on representation of the style, and exceptional is a word that just barely scratches the surface when it comes to describing this beer.  Oktoberfest (2018) is absolutely something you need to get your hands on before its limited run is completed, so be sure to make that happen before it is too late.  Prost!

Bear Republic Brewing Co. Doubles Down on the Haze with Release of Drift Racer Hazy DIPA

BearRepDriftRacerPosterBear Republic Brewing Co. (Sonoma County, California) has announced that its highly anticipated Drift Racer Hazy Double IPA will officially begin its first wide release during the week of October 15.

Riding in on the tail of Thru the Haze IPA’s recent successful release, Drift Racer emerges as a Hazy/Juicy Double India Pale Ale that “showcases some of the hottest new hop varieties including Galaxy, Hallertau Blanc and Huell Melon.”  This hop combo works with the beer’s malt bill to produce “a juicy, fruit forward flavor profile and a smooth mouthfeel with just enough bitterness.”  Meant to be equally appealing to “craft beer enthusiasts or newbies searching for a juicy soft malt mouthfeel beer, or those who prefer a less bitter ale,” Drift Racer (8% ABV, 70 IBUs) is here to serve as a universal “escape car into a tropical, full flavored and tasty adult beverage.”

“This beer is the culmination of years of working to make an unfiltered beer as clear as possible, and then turning that knowledge on its head. We’re proud to deliver an unfiltered ale with this much character. We’ve designed Drift Racer to have huge tropical impact, and because of this the haze comes through. Drift Racer will resonate with diehard and casual craft beer fans alike,” said Bear Republic’s Master Brewer Peter Kruger. “Looking for juicy? Look no further.”

Drift Racer Hazy Double IPA will officially enter distribution during the week of October 15 with availability in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 22 oz. bottles and on draft.  You can expect to find this Limited Release at select craft beer-focused retailers, bars and restaurants located in Florida, California and throughout the rest of Bear Republic’s distribution footprint.  Prost!

Vital Information for Drift Racer Hazy Double IPA from Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Release – Limited, mid-October 2018
Style – Hazy/Juicy Double India Pale Ale
ABV – 8%
IBUs – 70
Featured Hops – Galaxy, Hallertau Blanc & Huell Melon
Malts – 2-row, Pilsner & Wheat
Yeast – Barbarian
Fun Fact – On the label artwork:  “Label artwork of Drift Racer has been carefully brought to life by Brewmaster/COO Richard Norgrove Jr. (Bear Republic’s label artist since our inception), the label features a sketched image of Richard’s own race car, his beloved Nissan Datsun S30. The artwork pays homage to Japanese auto culture and challenges the race car drivers within all of us to explore new ways of driving and thinking. Enjoy the shifts of Drift Racer and what it embodies for Bear Republic’s Brewing team: a love and desire to go the distance.”
Suggested Food Pairings – “Drift Racer should be enjoyed with traditional pub fare foods like hamburgers, wings, fries and maybe chicken & waffles.”
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 22 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://bearrepublic.com/bear-tracker/

Weyerbacher Brewing Set to Release Rico Guave Sour Ale

WeyerbacherJesterWeyerbacher Brewing (Easton, Pennsylvania) has officially announced that it will begin the Special Release of Rico Guave, a Sour Ale brewed with pineapple and guava, on October 19.

Arriving as a bit of a surprise addition to Weyerbacher’s 2018 Release Calendar, Rico Guave is a pink-hued American Sour Ale “rich with the tropical notes of pineapple and fruitiness of guava.”  Coming in at a sizable 9% ABV, Rico Guave provides an experience that “is clean and refreshing with a touch of tartness.”

Rico Guave will debut in The Taproom at Weyerbacher on October 19 and then enter distribution at or around that date.  You can expect this Special Release to be available in 16 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer establishments located in Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania and throughout the rest of Weyerbacher Brewing’s distribution footprint.  Prost!

Vital Information for Rico Guave from Weyerbacher Brewing Company 

Release – Limited/Special, October 2018
Style – American Sour Ale
ABV – 9%
Added Ingredients – Guava & pineapple purees 
Availability – 16 oz. cans & draft

Lagunitas Brewing Company Births a Fresh Batch of Born Yesterday Pale Ale

Lagunitas_BornYesterday12oz_2018_Web_195x519Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California) has announced that the 2018 batch of Born Yesterday Pale Ale, the brewery’s “Un-Freakin-Filtered” Fresh Hop Ale, is officially hitting shelves and taps during the week of October 8.

Created as a liquid celebration of fresh hop season, Born Yesterday is an unfiltered, “newer” take on Lagunitas’ DogTown Pale Ale that features a fresh addition of “some wet, lupulin-drenched, un-kilned, whole-cone, fresh-picked-and-rushed-straight-from-Yakima hops.”  With this year’s batch boasting “11 lbs-per-barrel of Simcoe, Citra, Mosaic and Indigenous Catawampus” hops, Born Yesterday (7.2% ABV) promises to be “the freshest thing to come out this fall harvest.”

Born Yesterday is shipping now and will be available as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this “HIIIIIGHLY” Limited Release available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s nationwide distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Born Yesterday Fresh Hop Pale Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Release – Limited/One Hitter Series, October 2018
Style – Harvest Ale/American Pale Ale
ABV – 7.2%
IBUs – “HIGH”
Featured Fresh Hops –  Simcoe, Citra, Mosaic & Indigenous Catawampus
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://lagunitas.com/beer-finder

Rogue Ales Counter Currant Set to Release Just in Time for the Holiday Season

Counter_Currant_Staged_WEB-4Rogue Ales (Newport, Oregon) has officially announced that it will introduce Counter Currant, a limited release fruit ale brewed with black currants, in November 2018.

Born out of inspiration sourced from the black currants grown at Rogue Farms, Counter Currant is a “ground to glass” Fruit Beer that features “rich flavors of black currant and a dry, tart finish.” Light in body and a “deep purple in color”, Counter Currant (6.4% ABV) is an eye-catching, “food-friendly” brew that will be at home on just about any table during the upcoming holiday season.

“The berries add layers of flavor to the lightly hopped ale,” says Brewmaster John Maier. “Black currants have a sweet and earthy flavor profile and floral aromatics, which makes this ale a balanced sip with depth of flavor. It’s a great beer to go on your Thanksgiving table.”

Counter Currant will launch in November 2018 and is scheduled to hang around through February 2019.  You can expect to find this Seasonal release available in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans and on draft at craft beer-focused retailers, bars and restaurants located in Alabama, Florida, Oregon, Washington and throughout the rest of Rogue’s nationwide distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Counter Currant from Rogue Ales

Release – Limited/Seasonal, November 2018 – February 2019
Style – Fruit Beer
ABV – 6.4%
IBUs – 11
Malts – 2-Row, Munich, Wheat, Red X & Dextrapils
Hops – Rogue Farms Liberty Hops
Yeast – Pacman 
Added Ingredients – Rogue Farms Black Currants
Fun Fact – “Still fairly uncommon in the United States, black currants (also known as cassis) have a cabernet sauvignon-like intensity that is balanced with a strong backbone of acidity and sweetness. This complexity makes Counter Currant food-friendly, just in time for the holiday season.”
Availability – 4-packs of 16 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – https://finder.rogue.com/

Counter_Currant_Glass_at_Farm-2

Hop Kine IPL Makes Limited Time Return for Maui Brewing Co.

MauiHopKineCanMaui Brewing Company (Kihei, Hawaii) has officially announced that Hop Kine India Pale Lager will return in October as a Limited Release offering.

First introduced back in the spring of 2016, Hop Kine returns as a golden-hued “hybrid style lager” that employs a “crisp malty base provided by Pilsner and Munich malts” to accentuate “the citrus and hop aromas from Centennial and Citra hops.”  Weighing in at a “crushable” 5.7% ABV and 57 IBUs, Hop Kine has all the refreshment of a lager while still supplying the citrus-laden hop bite one might expect from an IPA.

“We’re stoked to release Hop Kine once again because it seems like every single person on our team loves this beer,” states Brewing Supervisor Jon DuPont. “It’s to the point now where I almost feel like our customers are lucky to get some because our whole crew does their best to hoard as much as possible. Hop Kine is a perfect beer for Maui; clean, light, and crushable, with a great balance of maltiness and bitterness. This year, we loaded the dry hop up with choke Centennial, Citra, Motueka, and Loral hops and used a new strain of lager yeast so it has an amazing citrusy, fruity aroma and tastes cleaner and crisper than ever. Don’t wait to get yours because, trust me, we won’t be!”

Hop Kine IPL made its 2018 debut at Maui Brewing Company’s Maui locations in Kihei and Lahaina on October 8 and is entering distribution now.  You can expect to find this Limited Release available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer establishments located in Hawaii, Florida and in other “select mainland markets where Maui Brewing Company brews are available.” Prost!

Vital Information for HOP Kine India Pale Lager from Maui Brewing Company

Release – Limited, October 2018
Style – India Pale Lager
ABV – 5.7%
IBUs – 57
Malts – Pilsner & Munich
Hops – Centennial, Citra, Motueka & Loral
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – https://mauibrewingco.com/find-our-beer/

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CBS Returns to Close Out Founders Brewing Co.’s 2018 Barrel-Aged Series

CBS-lineupFounders Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids, Michigan) has officially announced that the highly sought-after Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS) will return in November as the sixth and final release in the brewery’s 2018 Barrel-Aged Series.

Back for the second year in row and rockin’ some new label artwork this time around, CBS is an Imperial Stout brewed with coffee and chocolate – the same base beer as Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) – and then aged in “bourbon barrels that had previously housed maple syrup.” Once its rest is completed, CBS emerges to offer a “transcendental drinking experience” that features notes of “rich maple syrup, roasted coffee and velvety chocolate.”

“We’ve been ramping up our barrel-aged program over the past few years and it’s allowed us to expand our offerings,” said President and Co-Founder, Dave Engbers. “We’re so excited to announce that CBS will be available for the second year in a row. The beer enthusiasts have been very vocal about their love for this beer and we’re happy we can accommodate. It’s what we love to do.”

The 2018 batch of CBS will debut at Founders Brewing Co.’s Grand Rapids and Detroit taproom locations on November 1 and will begin seeing distribution on November 2.  You can expect to find this incredibly Limited Release offering available in 750ml bottles (suggested retail price of $24.99 per bottle) and on draft at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Michigan and throughout the rest of the brewery’s distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS) from Founders Brewing Co.

Release – Limited/Barrel-Aged Series, November – December 2018
Style – Imperial Stout
ABV – ???
Added Ingredients – Coffee & chocolate
Treatment – Aged in bourbon barrels that previously held maple syrup
Fun Fact – On the label artwork: “Fans may notice that CBS’s label is missing a key, iconic element this year. The Mountie has been removed but the feel of the original label is maintained with an image of a bucking horse against a forested background.”
Availability – 750ml bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://foundersbrewing.com/beer/find-our-beer/

Epic Brewing Extends its Reach to Central Florida

EpicGlassEpic Brewing Company (Salt Lake City, Utah) has teamed up with Sunshine State Distributing and will officially kick-off distribution in Central Florida with a series of launch events in the Orlando area during the week of October 8.

Founded in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2010, Epic Brewing Company is the longtime dream of David Cole and Peter Erickson – the brewery’s founders and self-described “beer geeks, foodies and ‘Epic’ adventure junkies” – that has allowed them to “share a passion for making and drinking fine ales and lagers.”  Shortly after opening the doors, their beers caught the attention of locals and quickly “began earning medals . . . domestically and internationally.”  This caused an increase in demand and led Epic Brewing to open a second brewery and taproom in Denver, Colorado in 2013.  This larger facility has made it possible for Epic Brewing to steadily expand distribution, build upon its popular barrel aged beer program, and establish a line of sour beers.  Epic Brewing Company currently brews “over 40 distinctly different beers”, and they are now ready to share some of that goodness with beer lovers in Central Florida.

“We have had fans in Florida for years and it is exciting to finally start distributing our beer there. To do it with such a great partner like Sunshine State makes it a slam dunk,” said Darin McGregor, Epic’s National Sales Manager. “Chris Larue and Joe Martin have built a team that is well organized, passionate and downright scrappy. They are a perfect fit for Epic. With their help we think beers like Big Bad Baptist, Tart n’ Juicy Sour IPA, our new series of New England-Style IPAs, as well as our diverse portfolio of barrel-aged sours will add a lot to an already thriving and still up and coming market.”

Epic Brewing Company plans to enter the Central Florida market with the following offerings:

To properly introduce you to the beers listed above (and possibly a few rare surprises), representatives from Epic Brewing and Sunshine State Distributing will be in Orlando this week hosting the following launch events:

If you cannot make it out to one of these events but still wish to get your hands on some beers from Epic Brewing, you can expect to find their offerings available in bottles/cans and on draft at beer-focused establishments located throughout Orlando and the surrounding areas normally serviced by Sunshine State Distributing.  Prost!