Brewery Ommegang Adds Mother of Dragons to Game of Thrones Royal Reserve Collection

Mother-of-Dragons_SM-1024x1024Brewery Ommegang (Cooperstown, New York) and HBO Licensing & Retail have officially announced plans to unleash Mother of Dragons, a blend of Smoked Porter and Belgian Kriek, on September 28 as the third offering in their collaborative Royal Reserve Collection inspired by the award-winning drama Game of Thrones.

Created to honor Daenerys Targaryen and her motivation to take “what is hers with fire and blood”, Mother of Dragons blends Smoked Porter with Kriek to embody “the smoke and fire that Daenerys has unleashed on her opponents.”  This dynamic combination produces “a deep ruby-tinted mahogany” colored brew that offers “aromas of chocolate covered cherries . . . subtle smoke and roasted malt.”  This carries over into the flavor profile with “tart cherry up front leading to a center palate of semi-sweet chocolate then resolving to subtle smoke and mild sweetness.”  Mother of Dragons comes in at 6.5% ABV and offers a “luxuriously creamy and full” mouthfeel.

“Mother of Dragons represents in beer one of our favorite characters from Game of Thrones. Daenerys’s ascent from obscurity has been one of the most inspiring storylines of the show, and we’re thrilled to release a blend that embodies the character traits that have underpinned that rise,” said Doug Campbell, Brewery Ommegang president.

Mother of Dragons officially enters distribution on September 28 and will be available as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in 750ml bottles and on draft at select beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, New York and throughout the rest of Brewery Ommegang’s distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Mother of Dragons from Brewery Ommegang

Release – Limited/Game of Thrones Royal Reserve Collection; September 28, 2018
Style – Blend of Smoked Porter & Kriek 
ABV – 6.5%
Fun Fact – On this beer series: “The Royal Reserve Collection features four brand new beers in the brewery’s Game of Thrones-inspired series with HBO. All of the beers will be available on draft and in 750ml bottles. The series began in April with Hand of the Queen, a barleywine, and was followed in June by Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, a sour blonde blend. Following the release of Mother of Dragons, the final beer will be announced later this year.”
Suggested Food Pairings – “Pairs well with smoked gouda and charcuterie, braised meats, and rich desserts like flourless chocolate cake and cherry cheese cake”
Availability – 750ml bottles & draft
Beer Finder – http://ommegang.com/blog/beer-finder/

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Allagash Brewing Sends Two Lights Out to Shine for the Summer

allagashTwoLightsAllagash Brewing Company (Portland, Maine) has officially released Two Lights, “a beer that’s part lager, part bubbly champagne”, as its latest summer-themed Limited Release offering.

Born from Mariah Nelson’s – a member of Allagash’s administrative team – idea to brew a beer that merges the worlds of “cool lager” and “bubbly wine spritzer”, Two Lights is a beer-wine hybrid that is dosed with “the juice of freshly pressed sauvignon blanc grapes in the whirlpool” and then fermented with “both lager and champagne yeast for a tart, crisp, and dry profile.”  This ultimately results in a bright, easy-drinking Two Lights (6.7% ABV) that “has the subtle fruit profile of a lager and the snappy spritz of a freshly picked grape.”

“I submitted this idea to our pilot team hoping to create a beer that shared some of my favorite characteristics of champagne,” said Mariah Nelson, the Allagash employee behind Two Lights. “And to be honest, I just wanted a beer I could drink—instead of a wine spritzer—while mowing the lawn.”

 

“This beer is a perfect example of how we innovate at the brewery,” said Rob Tod, founder of Allagash. “Any employee can submit a beer idea to our pilot system. When that pilot gets enough support from employees and customers, it has the potential to go to our full distribution, just like Two Lights.”

Two Lights is rolling out now and will be available for a limited time.  You can expect to find this Limited Release available in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer establishments located in Georgia, Maine and throughout the rest of Allagash Brewing Company’s distribution footprint.  Prost!

Vital Information for Two Lights from Allagash Brewing Company

Release – Limited, July 2018
Style – Beer-Wine Hybrid
ABV – 6.7%
Malts – 2-Row Malted Barley Blend, Oat Malt & Rolled Oats
Hops – Amarillo, Simcoe & Nelson Sauvin
Yeast – Lager Yeast & Champagne Yeast
Added Ingredients – Sauvignon Blanc Must
Fun Fact – On the beer’s name: “The beer’s name has its origins in Maine. Two Lights state park is a Maine landmark located right on the coast of Cape Elizabeth.” 
Availability – 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Distribution – Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, California, Maryland, Virginia, DC, Chicagoland & Philadelphia
Beer Finder – https://www.allagash.com/locator/

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Tasting Notes: Super Cluster from Lagunitas Brewing Company

LagunitasSuperClusterPourFor this edition of Tasting Notes, we start the week with a Citra-saturated siesta made possible by a pour of Super Cluster from Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California).

Described as a “galactic blast from the glass”, Super Cluster is an “out-of-this-world” Pale Ale brewed with “2-Row Malted Barley, a helluva lotta hops – Citra, Citra, Citra, and some more Citra, . . . and . . . dry-hopped . . . with 100% Citra.” Clocking in at 8% ABV and 60 IBUs, Super Cluster promises to be a “Citra supernova in the sky, jettisoning lupulin lusciousness through the cosmos and across the universe of your palate.”

Super Cluster is out now and will be available through September.  You can expect to find this Limited Release available in 12-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select beer-focused retailers, bars and restaurants located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s distribution area.

Now that we have gone over the necessary background information, let’s bear witness to the Super Cluster by giving it the Tasting Notes treatment!

Tasting Notes for Super Cluster from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Appearance:  Super Cluster presents itself as an orange-tinted, deep golden colored brew that has right at a finger of luscious, bright white foam sitting on top.  Held to direct light, the color holds while taking on a bit of a glow.  The beer is pristine in clarity and displays a highly active carbonation level coursing within.  Retention is good, but the lacing has a tough time taking hold due to how slick the beer is on the glass.

Aroma:  Sticky, tropical hop goodness just billows from the glass as big waves of grapefruit collide with passionfruit and musky lychee.  Lemon and lime add some brightness to the hops while a bit of mango imparts a rounding touch of sweetness that helps point out the modest malt presence.  The profile closes with a dank hop character that is both resiny and floral.

Taste:  As expected, this beauty is all Citra hops . . . but they kind of creep up on you by opening oh-so softly with sweet tones of melon, lychee and mango.  That reserved introduction proves to be short-lived as sharp notes of grapefruit zest, pith and juice lash out and grab hold of the taste buds.  The citrus presence builds from there with a twist of lime and what can only be described as the sensation of chewing on the peel of a clementine.  To properly put the Lagunitas stamp on the experience, it closes with a super green, uber dank hop quality.

Mouthfeel:  Medium in body with a medium carbonation level, Super Cluster is sticky on the palate, allowing its drinker to fully experience those Citra hop oils.  Mostly bitter with a finessed touch of sweetness for balance, this beer actually dries out pretty quickly – semi-dry overall – and entices you to take sip after sip.  That 8% ABV is stealthy, but a building warmth in the throat eventually forces you to throttle down from gulp to sip mode.  The aftertaste is all grapefruit.

Final Thoughts:  You want Citra hops in all their tropical, citrusy glory? Well, that is exactly what Super Cluster delivers.  If you could not already recognize the presence of Citra hops in other beers, spend a little time with this offering and you definitely will moving forward because it is so Citra-centric that it will ingrain that hop profile into your sensory memory.  Despite coming across as hoppy AF, this monster somehow steers clear of becoming overwhelming or a chore to drink.  Super Cluster remains incredibly enjoyable and easy-drinking . . . so much so there is no wondering why Lagunitas only packaged this Limited Release in 12-packs.   It is truly one of the most proper Citra fixes you can get right now, and those 12 bottles will be gone in no time.  If you have a love for hops, you need this beer in your fridge.  Go get you some. Prost!

 

Starr Hill Brewery Introduces Jam Pack Variety Pack of 16 oz. Cans

JamPack-3Starr Hill Brewery (Crozet, Virginia) has officially announced the Seasonal release of Jam Pack, a summer-themed mixed variety pack that contains 16 oz. cans of Front Row Golden Ale, Grateful Pale Ale, The Love Wheat Beer and Northern Lights IPA.

Here to satisfy summer-induced thirst in a big way, the Jam Pack Can Variety Pack takes four of Starr Hill’s “most crushable flagship beers”, gives them the long-awaited upgrade to 16 oz. cans, and puts them in one convenient package.  The featured beers are as follows (descriptions sourced from the brewery’s website):

  • Front Row Golden Ale – This light and refreshing beer is the perfect balance of hop bitterness and a honey-like malt body. Lightly hopped with Cascade, the Honey malt and oats bring a bit of sweetness for a smooth mouthfeel and clean finish.  ABV – 4.9%  IBUs – 20
  • Grateful Pale Ale – A fresh spin on the American Pale Ale. This remastered recipe gives Grateful a fruitier hop aroma, more citrus hop flavor and a smoother, fuller body.  ABV – 4.7%  IBUs – 45
  • The Love Wheat Beer – The Love is an unfiltered wheat beer, also known as a Hefeweizen. It is distinguished by its extremely light body and fruity aroma, finished with spicy notes.  ABV – 5.1%  IBUs – 9
  • Northern Lights IPA – A newly enhanced version of a classic American-style India Pale Ale, Northern Lights is characterized by its full-flavored bitterness and poignant citrus-floral aroma. A perfect blend of barley and hops makes this a very balanced IPA.  ABV – 6.2%  IBUs – 55

The Jam Pack is available now and will be around throughout the rest of the summer.  You can find this Variety Pack of 16 oz. cans at select craft beer retailers located in Alabama, Virginia and throughout the rest of Starr Hill’s distribution footprint.  Prost!

Maui Brewing Company Puts Lilikoi Saison in Cans for the First Time

Lilikoi-can-webMaui Brewing Company (Kihei, Hawaii) has officially announced that Lilikoi Saison will be available in cans for a limited time beginning on Monday, July 16.

With a name derived from the Hawaiian word for the yellow passionfruit, Lilikoi is a tart Saison “brewed with Pilsner, Wheat, Flaked Oats, and Golden Naked Oats malt and local lilikoi.”  Clocking in at an easy-drinking 5.5% ABV and 15 IBUs, Lilikoi Saison offers a refreshingly tropical drinking experience that also holds a “pleasant acidity.”

“The Lilikoi Saison is a refreshing and tart beer thanks to the contribution of tropical flavors from ripe lilikoi and a charismatic fermentation. It pours golden with a haze that filters the bright light of a sunny day.”

 

–  Greg Knox, Maui Brewing Company’s QA/QC Manager

Previously only available on draft, Lilikoi Saison will be quenching thirsts during the summer of 2018 in a far more accessible format: 6-packs of 12 oz. cans.  Cans of Lilikoi Saison will debut at Maui Brewing’s Kihei location on July 16 and will enter distribution shortly after that date.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Hawaii and “in most markets where Maui Brewing Company craft beer can be found.”  Prost!

Vital Information for Lilikoi Saison from Maui Brewing Company

Release – Limited, cans debut July 16, 2018
Style – Saison
ABV – 5.5%
IBUs – 15
Malts – Pilsner, Wheat, Flaked Oats & Golden Naked Oats
Featured Hops – Amarillo
Added Ingredients – Passionfruit
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – https://mauibrewingco.com/find-our-beer/

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Jolly Pumpkin Collaborates with La Sirène Brewing on Costa dei Villa Saison

Costa+Dei+Villa+Bottle+-+100+dpiJolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales (Dexter, Michigan) has officially announced the Limited Release of Costa dei Villa, a Sour Hoppy Session Saison brewed in collaboration with Australia’s La Sirène Brewing.

When Costa from La Sirène Brewing turned up at the brewery for a little collaboration session, the folks at Jolly Pumpkin put his talents as a self-proclaimed “Farmhouse Free Styler” to work in the creation of Costa dei Villa.  Brewed with four different hop varieties, this Sour Hoppy Session Saison boasts “a light tart body, . . . mild bitterness, . . . aromas of citrus, kumquat and soft wheat” and a flavor profile that offers “notes of grapefruit pith, a touch of Meyer lemon, and Jolly funk.”  With a reduced ABV of 4.6%, the “extremely quaffable” Costa dei Villa promises to be “the perfect beer for gathering the cobbers and sparking up the barbie!”

Costa dei Villa is available now and will hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release available in 750ml bottles at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Michigan and throughout the rest of Jolly Pumpkin’s distribution footprint. Prost!

Vital Information for Costa dei Villa from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales & La Sirène Brewing

Release – Limited, late-June/July 2018
Style – Saison
ABV – 4.6%
IBUs – 25
Malts – Pilsner Malt, Pale Malt, Raw Wheat, Flaked Oats, & Vienna Malt
Hops – MI Cascade, Crystal, Galaxy, Vanguard & MI Chinook
Treatment – Aged in oak for 5 months
Availability – 750ml bottles

SweetWater Brewing Brings the Dankness with Release of 420 Strain G13 IPA

SweetWaterG13SweetWater Brewing Company (Atlanta, Georgia) has announced that 420 Strain G13 IPA, a cannabis-inspired brew dosed with terpenes and hemp-type flavor, has officially released as the brewery’s newest Year-Round offering.

Specifically brewed to offer “an olfactory experience that mimics . . . the legendary G13 cannabis strain”, 420 Strain G13 IPA is an “aromatic super-hybrid sticky” India Pale Ale that begins with a solid base of malts and “some of [SweetWater’s] dankest hops, Columbus and Simcoe, plus two dry hop additions.”  To complement the hops and further reinforce those dank aromatics, the brewers “found the perfect botanically-sourced, strain specific terpenes and married them with propriety natural hemp flavor.”  This incredibly heady recipe yields a “phenomenally delicious and drinkable” 420 Strain G13 IPA that boasts “a great body, good head and nice amount of haze at a pleasurable 6% ABV.”

420 Strain G13 IPA is steadily rolling out now as a draft-only offering.  This new Year-Round brew is available now at select bars and restaurants located in Georgia and will experience expanded availability throughout SweetWater’s distribution footprint as time goes on (click here to see release schedule)420 Strain G13 IPA is scheduled to hit shelves in 12 oz. bottles in September 2018.  Prost!

Vital Information for 420 Strain G13 IPA from SweetWater Brewing Company

Release – Year-Round, debuts July 2018
Style – American India Pale Ale
ABV – 6%
IBUs – 48
Hops – Columbus & Simcoe; dry-hopped with a double dose of Simcoe & Columbus
Malts – 2 Row Malt, Wheat & Flaked Oats
Added Ingredients – Botanically-sourced, strain specific terpenes & propriety natural hemp flavor
Availability – Draft-only; bottles follow in September 2018
Release Schedule – https://sweetwaterbrew.com/nowlegal/
Beer Finder – https://sweetwaterbrew.com/find-sweetwater/

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Cherry Jane Sour Ale Arrives as the Newest OneHitter from Lagunitas Brewing Company

CherryJane_12oz_Custom195x519_062818_00_JPFLagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California) has officially introduced Cherry Jane Sour Ale as the latest offering to emerge from the its 2018 OneHitter Series.

Here to serve as the perfect OneHitter to satisfy your summer-drinkin’ needs, Cherry Jane is a ruby-hued, sweet and tart Sour Ale that has been “brewed with an insane amount of Turkish Delight tart cherry juice (~60lbs. per barrel).” With the juice lending “a puckered up punch of cherry charm”, Lactobacillus bringing the sour and Brettanomyces supplying “that extra funky funk”, the complex Cherry Jane (5.5% ABV) ultimately comes together to strike a beautiful balance between its acidic, sweet and tart qualities.

Cherry Jane is already out in the wild and will hang around or as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this “HIIIIGHly Limited” offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s vast distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Cherry Jane from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Release – Limited/OneHitter Series, July 2018
Style – American Sour Ale
ABV – 5.5%
IBUs – 9
Added Ingredients – Turkish Delight cherry juice
Treatment – Fermented with Brettanomyces; soured with Lactobacillus
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://lagunitas.com/beer-finder

Cigar City Brewing & Upland Brewing Collaborate on Galactic Cluster IPA

Logo-3color-Pantone-CMYK-thumbCigar City Brewing (Tampa, Florida) has announced that Galactic Cluster, an American IPA with Guava and Peach brewed in collaboration with Upland Brewing Co. (Bloomington, Indiana), is officially available now as a Tasting Room Exclusive release.

Named after a cosmic structure that houses “hundreds or thousands of galaxies . . . congressed together in one thicket of the universe”, Galactic Cluster is a craft beer phenomenon that combines Cigar City and Upland Brewing’s talents to create an American India Pale Ale brewed with guava and peach and dry-hopped with Galaxy hops.  This results in a 6.5% ABV, 46 IBU Galactic Cluster that has “peach, kiwi, guava and clementine aromas meld and meet soft apple-like esters on the nose, while a palate of orange peel, lime leaf and vibrant peach and guava is supported by a cracker-like malt flavor and a smooth, full mouthfeel.”

Galactic Cluster is available now in the Tasting Room at Cigar City Brewing in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans ($15 each) and on draft.  A post on Cigar City’s Instagram page listed this offering as a “Tasting Room Exclusive”, so – at this time – there is no reason to believe that Galactic Cluster will see distribution.  The Bright Side: at least this gives you an excuse – as if you needed one – to go hang out at Cigar City Brewing.  Prost!

Vital Information for Galactic Cluster from Cigar City Brewing & Upland Brewing Co.

Release – Limited/Special Release; July 10, 2018
Style – American India Pale Ale
ABV – 6.5%
IBUs – 46
Featured Hops – Galaxy
Added Ingredients – Guava & Peach purée
Recommended Glassware – Spiegelau IPA Glass
Availability – 4-packs of 16 oz. cans & draft

Distribution – None, available exclusively in Cigar City Brewing’s Tasting Room

 

Tasting Notes: Stargazer White from Highland Brewing

HighlandStargazerPour_editedFor this installment of Tasting Notes, Tuesday has arrived and brought with it the inspiration – or excuse – to daydream while day-drinking a pour of Stargazer White from Highland Brewing (Asheville, North Carolina).

Named after the Stargazer Lily that blooms in mid-to-late summer, Highland Stargazer is a fresh take on the Witbier style that employs the use of grapefruit peel, candied ginger, and coriander in its recipe. The stylistic tweaks continue from there as Highland’s brewers reinforce the “spicy character of the Belgian ale yeast” with added spice notes from Saphir hops and locally sourced rye malt. Clocking in at a sessionable 4.8% ABV, the summer-appropriate Highland Stargazer is here to supply craft beer fans with “a bright and balanced white ale in a stellar can.”

Stargazer White is available now in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft.  You can expect to find this Seasonal offering at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and throughout the rest of Highland Brewing’s distribution footprint.

Now that we are all a little more familiar with this new Seasonal, let’s crack open these cans and get lost in fanciful thought with some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Stargazer White from Highland Brewing

Appearance: A careful pour produces a soft-yellow-colored brew that is capped with right at a finger of wispy, airy white foam.  When held to direct light, the yellow gains some vibrancy and intensity.  The beer is slightly cloudy but remains clear enough to display the exuberant carbonation presence streaming throughout.  Head retention is decent but falls quicker than expected to a thin cap that still retains the ability to leave wide streaks of lace behind on the glass whenever it is jostled.

Aroma:  The aromatics kickoff with a pronounced and distinct ginger presence that eventually settles down enough to allow earthy and spicy hop tones to come forward.  Citrusy coriander then builds from this and brings with it gentle notes of grapefruit and lemongrass.

Taste: The grains surprising get top billing here, starting things off with slightly sweet wheat and spicy rye.  The malts act as a solid foundation to carry the brighter, more assertive ginger and grapefruit notes that follow closely behind.  The hops then gently work their way in, offering complementary earthy, floral and spicy notes.  The experience closes beautifully with just a bit of bubble gum and musky coriander.

Mouthfeel:  Light side of medium in body with an effervescent carbonation level, Stargazer is all about being easy-drinking and refreshing.  The beer is wonderfully balanced across the board as the spices, hops and grains all know that this experience requires focus and teamwork.  The 4.8% ABV is not at all noticeable, upping the refreshment level even further.  Aftertaste is minimal, leaving just a slight trace of ginger behind.

Final Thoughts:  Just as the brewery hoped, Highland Stargazer comes together to be an updated, slightly exotic take on the Belgian Wit/White style.  The ginger adds a fun new dimension to the flavor and aromatics but does so without taking anything away from the style’s trademark wheat and coriander notes.  The addition of grapefruit peel rather than orange is also a nice touch that adds just a grace of balancing bitterness that the style often begs for.  There is not one ingredient added to this beer that ever considers getting aggressive, and that is no small feat when you are working with ingredients such as ginger, coriander and grapefruit peel.  Everything just knows its role, works for the greater good, and results in an ultra-refreshing brew that is absolutely perfect for summer sipping.  Speaking of sipping . . . we are going to get back to that and encourage you to pick up a sixer of Highland Stargazer so that you can do the same.  Prost!