Monday, December 24, 2012

House of Shandy Tenacious Traveler

 New to the beer market are the offerings from The House Of Shandy Beer Company. "Shandy" is and old school concoction invented by the Brits who mixed various common Lemon or Lime beverages with their favorite libation ALE! The Addition of citrus to the ale lent a light refreshing quality to the beer thus making it even more appealing during those warm English summers. A traditional Shandy is comprised of half Ale and half Lemonade, but in early versions you would even find Ginger Beer or Ginger Ale.  The Tenacious Traveler pours cloudy yellow in color with a rich white head. You definitely get the lemon citrus and ginger aroma on the nose. Travelers thick mouth feel is likely derived from the use of clover honey, which also adds to its sweetness. Strong notes of ginger and tart lemon all complement the beers overall character. The honey adds to its flavor but does not overpower and allows for a crisp finish. This is a completely sessionable beer at 4.4% ABV.  The addition of ginger and honey is what sets this shandy apart from other versions. Overall, I did enjoy this beer and will be looking for more offerings from The House Of Shandy Beer Co. Cheers!

For more info on the Traveler visit: House Of Shandy

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Beck's Sapphire

 This is our first sampling of Beck's latest release "Sapphire". Named after the German hops it's brewed with,  Sapphire pours the traditional golden color with a light white head. I found nothing particularity unique about this beer, it's pretty null of any noticeable aroma. It's a typical mild German pilsner. Quite smooth, as the label says, and there are some buttery sweet notes to it's flavor. It's appeal to those drinkers who might be swayed from the domestic giant beers, would be the absence of any harsh bitterness commonly found in the stereotypical Eastern European import as well as it's 6% ABV rating. Sapphire will hit the American marked at a  slightly higher retail price then its well established brethren, which could effect it's long term success. I must admit that the black bottle and the silver and black graphics are quite appealing,  With the influx of great high-end imports riding into the American beer market on the coattails of the ever-growing craft beer business, only time will tell if North American beer drinkers will embrace Sapphire. Cheers!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Newcastle Winter IPA

The Caledonian Brewery Company LTD, famous makers of "Newcastle Brown Ale", continue their quest to capture a piece of the ever-growing craft beer market with the release of  "Winter IPA". A few years back Newcastle released "Newcastle Summer Ale" their first seasonal offering here in the states. That beer didn't  really capture the essence of summer, and was in my opinion merely a "light" version of Brown Ale. Earlier this year we were treated to "Werewolf", an Irish Red Ale with a roasty malt backbone and a mild hop finish. These beers are all part of what Newcastle calls their "limited editions". They're exclusively brewed in small batches utilizing Newcastle's open-fired copper kettles at the Caledonian Brewery. 

 Newcastle Winter IPA pours copper in color with a bubbly off-white, quickly dissipating head. There was no real discernible aroma, and for an IPA (English or not) is the proverbial "kiss-of-death" to American Hop Heads.  As I ventured on in my tasting I discovered a nice roasty Irish malt flavor with hints of spices and a mild sweetness. Contrary to the brewers intent this IPA was practically void of any hop character in it's flavor or aroma. There was a fair amount of bitterness, but that I believe was associated with the roasted malt and or the fire kettle brewing.

 The ABV is low at 5.2%, which adds to its one saving-grace, drinkability. Winter IPA isn't a bad beer by any stretch of the imagination. A good Winter Ale? Yes! An IPA? well.. not-so much.  Cheers!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hangar 24 to Release Cans

Hangar 24 Craft Brewery is First Southern California Craft Brewery
to Both Can and Bottle Beer
Top 100 Craft Brewery Makes 12-Ounce Cans Available Starting Today

REDLANDS, CALIF. – Dec. 11, 2012 – Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, one of the top 100 craft brewers in the country, has become the first Southern California craft brewery to both can and bottle beer with the release of 12-ounce cans of Helles Lager and Orange Wheat. Hangar 24’s new line of 12-ounce cans are currently available in its tasting room and will distribute to on and off-premise locations in California starting on Dec. 17. The craft brewer is also completing its latest facility expansion to increase production and renovate its tasting room, among other enhancements.

“Aluminum cans will never replace our bottles, but we wanted to give our fans a new way to enjoy Hangar 24,” said Hangar 24 Owner and Master Brewer Ben Cook. “Our new line of aluminum cans gives everyone the option to enjoy Hangar 24 in places where glass is not ideal.”

Along with the portability and durability that aluminum cans provide aluminum is also environmentally friendly and protects the beer from light and oxygen, both of which can alter a beer’s flavor.

In addition to adding aluminum cans to its lineup, Hangar 24 is simultaneously completing the latest expansion to its brewing facility in Redlands, CA. This expansion increases the annual brewing capacity to 35,000 barrels enabling the California craft brewery to keep up with the strong demand.

“The additional improvements that we made at the brewery will allow us to increase our production to meet the higher demand for years to come and to offer all of our fans an improved tasting room experience,” said Cook.

Hangar 24’s expanded brewing facility includes three new fermenting tanks, as well as a truck loading dock, space for a new bottling line to be installed next summer, a lab for testing new recipes and renovated office space. Hangar 24 will also move the current cold box to the new space to accommodate the 500 sq. ft. tasting room expansion and remodel, which will create more room for beer sampling and growler fills.  

Hangar 24 is available throughout Southern California and its famed Central Coast. For a full list of on- and off-premise locations carrying Hangar 24 craft beer, please visit

About Hangar 24
Hangar 24 Craft Brewery began with a true passion for good beer, the absolute love of flying and the pure enjoyment of being around great friends. Owner and master Brewer Ben Cook and his buddies used to meet at Hangar 24 after an afternoon of flying to trade stories, talk aviation, play music and share a few cold ones that Ben just finished brewing at home. These days, the location where these fine beers are brewed has changed, but the quality time spent enjoying a delicious, handcrafted beer and conversation is the same as ever. Hangar 24 Craft Brewery employs more than 50 team members and its distribution is now spanned throughout Southern California with its addition of another company, Hangar 24 Craft Distribution. Its annual capacity now stands at approximately 35,000 and its Brewery and Distribution Center together employ nearly 100 people.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Del Norte Brewing Shuts Down

 Del Norte Brewing, from Denver, CO. announced via facebook that they would be closing their doors. Del Norte prided itself  on being "the first and only brewery in the United States to brew only authentic Mexican-style lager beers". Founded in 2007 their portfolio consisted of four beers brewed in what they called the "Latin American / Tropical Lager" tradition. In that short time Del Norte grew from a small 11bbl brewery to one that was available in Alaska, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Texas and Wyoming.
In Celebration of  Lager Day we say thanks to Del Norte for being part of the "Better Beer" community.

From Facebook, dated Dec 5, 2012.....

 "Friends and Fans - After 5 years of brewing our award-winning beers, Del Norte Brewing Co. has made the difficult business decision to wrap up operations. We want to thank all of you for your support and encouragement. We look forward to enjoying the great beers made by our fellow brewers and growing the friendships we've developed through Del Norte. Salud!"

Founders Brewing Co. Imperial Stout

 Founders Brewing Co. of Grand Rapids, MI. has announced the release of  "Imperial Stout". This high octane I.S. is scheduled for release Jan 1, 2013 and has a short window of availability, which will end in Feb. This 2010 World Beer Cup medal winner is brewed with 10 different varieties if malt and scores 10% ABV with 90 IBU's. I would start checking with your local Founders retailer now so as not to be left out in the cold. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Arcadia Ales Hop Rocket

 Coming soon to a better beer beer location near you (okay so you might have to go to Michigan) Arcadia Ales " Hop Rocket".  This seasonal Imperial IPA boasts flavor notes of grapefruit, lemon peel, spruce, cellared mushrooms (what the hell are those?). Somehow they balance that "all-over-board" hop extravaganza with a malt selection equally as intriguing by adding notes of caramel, toffee and freshly-baked biscuits. This is a big ale, checking like a Double IPA should, at 9% ABV and 111 IBU's. Please don't call this one a "Winter Warmer". Cheers!

Visit these guys at: Arcadia Ales