Epic Brewing Set to Unleash Three Versions of Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout

EpicBaptistPourEpic Brewing Company (Salt Lake City, Utah) has officially announced that it will send three versions of its fan-favorite Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout out into full distribution in November: Big Bad Baptist Imperial StoutQuadruple Barrel Big Bad Baptist, and Big Bad Baptista.

After stripping its “barrel aging program . . . down to its core and [rebuilding] it with one goal in mind – taking a legendary beer and making it even better”, Epic Brewing is now ready to hit its fans with a “truly Epic” Big Bad Baptist season that will feature the following three takes on its highly coveted Imperial Stout (descriptions sourced from the brewery’s press release):

  • Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout – “This year OG Big Bad Baptist is one of the finest and most fussed over releases we’ve ever produced. Each release is a hand-picked blend of first, second, and third use whiskey barrels. We’ve expanded our barrel aging program to over 2000 barrels and our cellarman track and taste each one as it develops. This attention to detail and the high standards we place on each barrel means the resulting blend is simply the best of the best. This year’s coffee is a Columbian origin roasted by Salt Lake City’s Blue Copper Coffee Roasters. The lightly roasted beans have a nutty and earthy quality that rounds out the chocolate, malt and barrel character. The coffee is still upfront but quick to step aside and show off the barrel character.
  • Quadruple Barrel Big Bad Baptist – Quadruple Barrel Big Bad Baptist is one of those ideas that’s just crazy enough to be great. We started with our Imperial Stout and a grip of rum barrels. These tend to highlight the molasses and toasted marshmallow flavors in the beer and pairs perfectly with coconut as noted by the success of last year’s Triple Barrel Big Bad Baptist. But we felt like there was still room to take this concept and the complexity a step farther and it didn’t take us long to start experimenting with almonds. We packed first-use whiskey barrels with Blue Copper’s Brazil Cruzerio coffee beans, shaved coconut, and slivered almond so all three ingredients could soak up as much barrel character as possible before being added to the beer.
  • Big Bad Baptista – Completing the trio this year is Big Bad Baptista. We just couldn’t imagine a winter without the warm and comforting combination of Mexican coffee, chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla. Adding to its long list of accolades Baptista was ranked #23 in Paste Magazine’s massive 144 Imperial Stout tasting and maintains a solid 4.4 caps on Untappd.

“We wanted this year’s Big Bad Baptist to reflect the complexity and nuance that goes into its making. In a lot of ways this year’s approach is a return to the first few batches we made when our program was only 20 barrels. I have to hand it to our team – handling a program one hundred times larger isn’t easy and you can taste the hard work and passion they put into the beer.”

 

– Dave Cole, Epic Brewing Co-Founder

All three variants of Big Bad Baptist will enter distribution in mid-November 2018 and will hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find these Limited Release brews at select craft beer establishments located in Florida, Utah and throughout the rest of Epic Brewing’s distribution area.  Prost!

 

 

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Cigar City Brewing Marches Marshal Zhukov’s Out for Annual Release

zhukovmock-current-view-1-e1539715897323.pngCigar City Brewing (Tampa, Florida) has announced that Marshal Zhukov’s Russian Imperial Stout will officially hit distribution as a Limited Release in November, but beer lovers in Tampa can get a first taste of this year’s batch now in the brewery’s Tasting Room.

Brewed as an homage to “arguably one of the finest generals of World War II”, Marshal Zhukov’s is a Russian Imperial Stout that is “opaque black in color, with notes of espresso, chocolate, dark toffee and hints of blackstrap molasses.” Finding balance with a “subtle herbal dryness” sourced from English hop varietals, the formidable Marshal Zhukov’s (11.2% ABV) “finishes with a hearty slap of roasty espresso.”

Marshal Zhukov’s is available now – in bottles and on draft – in Cigar City’s Tasting Room and is expected to enter full distribution in November 2018.  You can expect to find this Special Release in 22 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer-focused establishments located in Alabama, Florida and throughout the rest of Cigar City’s distribution footprint.  Prost!

Vital Information for Marshal Zhukov’s from Cigar City Brewing

Release – Limited/Special, November 2018
Style – Russian Imperial Stout
ABV – 11.2%
IBUs – 70
Ingredients – Roasted barley & English hop varietals 
Recommended Glassware – Tulip
Availability – 22 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://cigarcitybrewing.com/beers/cigar-city-distribution/

Cycle Brewing Partners with Brew Hub, Begins Canning

CycleBrewHubCycle Brewing (St. Petersburg, Florida) has entered into a partnership agreement with Brew Hub (Lakeland, Florida) that will soon allow the brewery to offer its first line of beers packaged in 12 oz. cans.

In order to give its St. Petersburg facility the ability to keep up with demand for the brewery’s highly sought-after, limited-edition barrel-aged beers, Cycle Brewing has decided to begin “partner brewing” its Core offerings at Brew Hub so that it can “immediately increase production and expand distribution throughout Florida.” This move will also allow Cycle Brewing to begin packaging Crank IPA (6.6% ABV) and Cream & Sugar, Please American Porter (5.4% ABV) in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans.  Brew Hub is also expected to brew Cycle’s Fixie IPA (5.3% ABV), Sharrow Double IPA (8.3% ABV) and Peloton Pilsner (5.5% ABV).

“Cycle Brewing is one of the most sought-after and innovative craft brewers in Florida,” said Tim Schoen, founder and CEO of Brew Hub. “This unique collaborative partnership allows Brew Hub to manage marketing and distribution of Cycle’s brands throughout Florida and potentially other markets outside the state. Brew Hub’s model was designed to help brands like Cycle get to the next level, and we can’t wait to grow together.”

 

“What Brew Hub has accomplished for other craft brewers is impressive, and their quality is second to none,” said Doug Dozark, founder and brewmaster of Cycle Brewing. “I’m excited for our beers to be packaged in cans for the first time and to get more beer to our fans across Florida. Most importantly, the partnership allows us to continue to focus on our passion of brewing and serving unique barrel-aged and small-batch beers in our St. Petersburg tasting room.”

All five of the Cycle beers mentioned above will be available on draft from Brew Hub beginning in mid-November 2018, and cans of Crank IPA and Cream & Sugar, Please are expected to launch in the near future.  All Cycle Brewing offerings “will continue to be distributed in the Tampa Bay area by J.J. Taylor Distributing and this new partnership will broaden the availability at local bars, restaurants, and retail locations.”  Cycle Brewing has also tentatively scheduled “distribution in the Orlando and Miami markets . . . for early 2019 and throughout Florida by mid-2019.”  Prost!

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Marker 48 Brewing to Offer Darker 48 Haunted House Experience this Halloween

Marker 48 logo (1)During the last two weekends in October and Halloween night, Marker 48 Brewing (Weeki Wachee, Florida) will transform to take the shape of “Darker 48: The Upside Down”, a terrifying haunted house experience that will benefit four local nonprofit groups in Hernando County.

The Darker 48 Haunted House has returned to the grounds of Marker 48 Brewing with a “gory experience” that will completely flip reality and allow “only those 18 and up . . . to traverse the town from another, stranger dimension.”  The folks at the brewery are so convinced that they have “pulled out all stops for this terrifying adventure” that they will be requiring all attendees to sign a waiver before entering because “the actors can touch you. You cannot touch them back.”

The schedule for Darker 48: The Upside Down is as follows:

  • Thursday, October 18 – 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. | VIP night | $25 per person
  • Friday, October 19 – 8:30 p.m. to Midnight | General Admission | $10 per person
  • Saturday, October 20 – 8:30 p.m. to Midnight | General Admission | $10 per person
  • Thursday, October 25 – 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. | VIP night | $25 per person
  • Friday, October 26 – 8:30 p.m. to Midnight | General Admission | $10 per person
  • Saturday, October 27 – 8:30 p.m. to Midnight | General Admission | $10 per person
  • Wednesday, October 31 – 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. | Family friendly experience & all ages welcome | Ages 10 & under free, all others $5 per person

**Please keep in mind that Halloween night is the ONLY date that will be family friendly.  All other nights will be 18 & up with no exceptions.**

VIP Nights require that you purchase a ticket in advance and you can secure yours by clicking here.  A VIP ticket “includes shorter wait times, a Darker 48 pint glass, one drink token, and a Darker 48 shirt.” VIP tickets will be limited.

General Admission Nights are pay at the door and cash only. (NOTE: Ticket sales on general admission nights will stop before the haunted house closes; timing will vary, depending on the lines.)

All proceeds from the Darker 48 Haunted House will go to four local Hernando County nonprofit organizations: The ARC Nature Coast, NAMI Hernando, United Way Hernando and Children’s Advocacy Hernando.

Several of the Darker 48 event nights will also feature live music, costume contests and/or food trucks.  You can keep track of all information and updates on those happenings by following the Darker 48 event page on Facebook.

You are now armed with all the information needed to enter Darker 48: The Upside Down . . . but surviving the experience is totally up to you.  If you feel that you have what it takes to get to the other side, lock down a date with your friends, secure some tickets if necessary, and just have a great time as you help raise funds for the very worthy causes of local nonprofits.  Prost!

Bell’s Third Coast Old Ale Earns Some More Hardware in 2018

TCOA_WebPic_736X736Bell’s Brewery (Comstock, Michigan) is proud to announce that Third Coast Old Ale, a long-standing brewery favorite that has been adorned with four more medals earned at competition in 2018, is officially back for a limited time.

One of the oldest recipes in the Bell’s portfolio, Third Coast Old Ale is an American-style Barleywine that “starts with a rich, caramel base and finishes with a heavy hop bitterness.”  Weighing in at a respectable 10.2% ABV, Third Coast is “sharply intense” when fresh but is more than capable – for those with the patience – to “age gracefully, adding complexity and subtlety the longer it ages.”

Third Coast Old Ale may have debuted three decades ago, but this Specialty offering from Bell’s Brewery continues to prove that it can hold its own with all the youngsters out there by earning four medals at three different craft beer competitions in 2018: fresh Third Coast Old Ale earned gold medals at the Colorado State Fair, the World Expo of Beer in Frankenmuth, Michigan and at this year’s Indiana Brewer’s Cup; and a 2015 vintage of Third Coast took Best of Show at the World Expo of Beer in the competition’s aged beer category.

“This is the Cognac of the beer world, and if aged properly, can be enjoyed and appreciated for years to come. It is also a perfect digestif,” said Larry Bell, Bell’s President and Founder said.

 

“It is incredible that a recipe as old as this, is still setting the bar thirty years after its debut,” Bell said.

The 2018 batch of Third Coast Old Ale officially released in September and is scheduled to last through October.  You can expect to find this Specialty offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Michigan and throughout the rest of the brewery’s distribution territory.  Prost!

Vital Information for Third Coast Old Ale from Bell’s Brewery

Release – Limited/Specialty, September – October 2018
Style – American Barleywine
ABV – 10.2%
Fun Fact #1 – “’Third Coast’ refers to the Great Lakes region and the label artwork features a dune landscape reminiscent of the Great Lakes coastline.”
Fun Fact #2 – “With an ABV of 10.2%, Third Coast Old Ale was the muse for Bell’s Expedition Stout. Before Expedition, craft beer fans would travel with Third Coast Old Ale and send pictures of their bottles on travels back to the brewery. Bell later decided to brew a recipe that was better designed for travel and Expedition Stout was born.”
Suggested Food Pairings – “A big beer that will easily overpower most main dishes, [Third Coast Old Ale] pairs well with intensely sweet non-chocolate desserts or even a chocolate hazelnut torte along with cheeses like stilton, Gruyere or cheddar.”
Recommended Glassware – Snifter
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://www.bellsbeer.com/beer-finder

Avery Brewing Co. Introduces Out of Mind Coffee Stout to the Masses

OutOfMind_Can_and_GlassAvery Brewing Co. (Boulder, Colorado) has announced that Out of Mind Coffee Stout will begin its first official Limited Release in cans this month.

Previously only available as a draft-only rarity in Avery Brewing Co.’s taproom, Out of Mind is a “big, intense” American Dry Stout that is inspired by the brewery’s “favorite craft coffee barista, with quick wit, dry humor, and a good dose of abrasiveness.”  Starting with a malt base that utilizes “plenty of rich roasted barley”, the brewers at Avery then balance Out of Mind (6.5% ABV) out with “the bitterness of [dark-roasted coffee] to give this full-bodied stout a little extra something you’ve been looking for in a beer.”

Out of Mind will begin hitting shelves in October 2018 with plans to hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans at select craft beer retailers located in Alabama, Florida, Colorado and throughout the rest of Avery Brewing Co.’s distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Out of Mind Coffee Stout from Avery Brewing Co.

Release – Limited, October 2018
Style – American Dry Stout
ABV – 6.5%
Malts – Roasted Barley, Black, 2-Row, C-120 & Carapils
Hops – Bravo
Added Ingredients – Dark-roasted coffee
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans
Beer Finder – https://www.averybrewing.com/brew-finder

Boulevard Brewing Co. Looks to the Holidays, Releases Nutcracker Ale

Nutcracker-Diamond-BadgeBoulevard Brewing Co. (Kansas City, Missouri) has officially announced that its Nutcracker Ale will begin its Seasonal return in mid-October.

Brewed annually since 1995, Nutcracker Ale is a non-spiced Winter Warmer Ale that “leans heavily on Chinook hops for bold flavor and aroma.”  That “zesty” hop character is then rounded off with a “robust” malt base and “additions of golden brown sugar and dark brown sugar” to yield a complex and comforting Nutcracker Ale (7.8% ABV) that is at its best when shared with friends and family during the holiday season.

Nutcracker Ale hit the Kansas City area on October 15 and will make it to other regions soon.  You can expect to find this Seasonal offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at beer-friendly retailers, bars and restaurants located in Florida, Missouri and the other “regions that typically see Boulevard seasonal beers like Irish Ale and Bob’s ’47.”  Prost!

Vital Information for Nutcracker Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.

Release – Seasonal, available mid-October through the 2018 Holiday Season
Style – Winter Warmer
ABV – 7.8%
IBUs – 38
Malts – 2-Row Pale, Amber 50, Cara 300, Munich & Malted Wheat
Hops – Magnum, Chinook & Cascade; dry-hopped with Chinook
Added Ingredients – Golden brown sugar & dark brown sugar
Suggested Food Pairings – “braised beef roast with rosemary, aged cheddar, blueberry pie, bacon beer cheese soup, bread pudding”
Recommended Glassware – Pint Glass
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://www.boulevard.com/beer/beer-finder/

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

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!