Friday, December 30, 2011

The Samuel Adams Infinium: The true ‘Champagne of Beers’


Moët who? School Champagne sippers with this one!

What do you get when the largest American craft brewer in the U.S. collaborates with the oldest brewery in the world? Champagne! Well, not quite. It is technically a fantastic beer called Infinium, but the average imbiber would easily confuse the two.
I couldn't wait!
The story goes like this: The great minds of the Boston-based Samuel Adams and Germany’s Weihenstephan Brewery—founded in 1040—accepted the challenge of creating a beer that emulated the tasting characteristics of champagne. The only catch was they had to follow the strict guidelines of Reinheitsgebot—the German beer purity law established in 1516 that states beer can only be brewed with water, hops, malt and yeast. After two years of experimentation with numerous varieties of the essential quartet, Samuel Adams and Weihenstephan released Infinium just in time for the Holidays of 2010 to rave reviews. Now, the second installment has hit the shelves and it’s flying off them. Presented in a sexy 750ml bottle complete with the corked top, the Infinium pours the same inventive concoction: a golden hued, fruity, effervescent potion with a slight tartness and dry finish set at a potent 10.3 percent alcohol by volume.
So if you didn’t get the chance to deck the halls with this bad boy, for just under $20, Infinium will be perfect to pop off the New Year...if there are any left! 

Happy New Year, Folks!

Ale Sharpton

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dogfish Head Brews Gluten-Free Beer Called Tweason’ale



Delaware-based brewery delivers a New Year’s surprise for gluten-free dieters

Hey Fellow Sippers!
I just got word about a new brew from Dogfish Head Craft Ales Brewery, you know, the guys out of Delaware who had that beer show and continues to be one of the microbreweries that have been kicking a lot of ass especially in 2011? Sam Calagione, the breweries founder and president, was happy to announce a new 4-pack of gluten-free cold ones called Tweason’ale packing an abundance of flavors like strawberry, molasses and a touch of buckwheat honey. Calagione said, “It seems as if lots of folks who have gluten-tolerance issues are pining for an interesting beer. While there are a few well-made examples that mirror traditional beer styles, there aren’t any off-centered offerings.”
To add, the Tweason’ale has a little more alcohol punch at 6 percent ABV. Nice!
Believe me, there is a demand out there. I have a few friends who asked me about the availability of gluten-free beers they could drink due to their restricted diets of no wheat, rye and barley—basically the essential grains to traditionally prepared ales and lagers. (Dogfish substituted those grains with a mild sorghum base.) I did taste a couple existing versions that were found in select specialty brew shops, but I honestly was never blown away by the taste. This new one from Dogfish, who is world renowned for making some pretty tasty, complex and inventive suds  throughout the years, might be the answer. I will let you know if I ever get a chance to sip one when they come out in late January of 2012.
Hoppy Holidays!
Ale

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tim Tebow now has beer honoring him called 'Tebrew'!

The one perfect marriage that will always withstand the test of time is beer and sports, but who knows how long the mania created by Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow will last? Well Bonfire Brewing out of Eagle, Colorado ingeniously decided to show admiration for the proudly pious field general the best way they know how: by brewing a barleywine called Tebrew: The Sunday Sipper
Yep, the Bonfire crew, a quintet of Coloradans (Andy Jessen, Matt Wirtz, Amanda Hensley, Ken Hoeve, and Phil Jessen) are set to unleash a potent beast that is already making headlines nationwide without pouring their first 10 oz. serving!  (I mean, hey, they made it on this site didn't they?) Well it makes sense. Tebow is simply the man not only in Denver for his now legendary number of 4th quarter comebacks, but for thousands of others globally who are inspired by his lifelong dedication to Christ thanks to his parents --missionaries who birthed him in the Philippines prior to raising him in Florida. 
Adding to their fleet of about 19 brews including a few variations of wheat ales, IPAs, porters (I want to try the Tent Pole Porter S.E.) and others, Bonfire adds The Sunday Sipper as a barleywine. Barleywines are one of the most strongest beer styles ranging from about 8 to 12 percent alcohol by volume which are typically full-bodied, hoppy, earthy, and chewy, hopefully balanced with some sweet notes of tasty things like toffee. Oh, and it favors some properties of wine to some degree. More accessible versions of barleywine include the Victory Old Horizontal, Bell's Third Coast Ale and Denver's own Great Divide Old Ruffian
Ultimately, have a few glasses of a barleywine and you couldn't sack a bag of groceries, let alone a scrambling quarterback. 
Anyway, to complete their Tebow admiration, Bonfire's logo emulates the pigskin slinger's signature kneel (popularly called "Tebowing") with a silhouette doing the pose, complete with a mug of brew in hand. Funny!
There is no doubt taps will be, well, tapped out in no time when this brew hits the local bars. Unfortunately for cats like me who live a few thousand miles away, we will just have to hear how good it is. Bonfire says they are only brewing 150 gallons with about five of those gallons being served at the nearby Vali Big Beers Festival, which sounds pretty damn awesome, sipping beer out there in the Rockies and all. 
So what if the God-fearing Tebow disapproves of his name being associated with alcohol? Well according to Bonfire, "He may not [approve], as we've heard he isn't a beer drinker, but we're all hoping to toast a victory this weekend! Hope it helps send good vibes their way."
The only thing different about Bonfire's Tebrew is that it can be dangerous for all four quarters of a game, so prepare your defense accordingly!
Cheers!
Ale

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Video: "I Am the Most 'Drunk' Man in the World"

Take note during Holiday parties!

I have seen people toss their cookies, fight, stumble out of clubs or simply pass out from sipping too much of that "devil's nectar" some call it, but this dude right here? He wins, hands down. I have something super cool coming up on this site, but for now, it's time to take a ten-minute break and check this cat out. Opening front doors are a bitch I guess. Sheeesh! I won't have what he's having. 
Be careful out there, brew heads.
Happy and safe Holidays!
Ale



Friday, December 9, 2011

Leaving Las Vegas

The Rí Rá Irish Pub in Vegas kicked major arse!
Man, oh man, what a damn whirlwind the first week of December has been! 
The 500-lb. St. Patrick with
a Guinness in hand!
I hit up Las Vegas for the first four days of the month (which helped temporarily get my mind off of things with the recent passing of my mom); since I have been back, Atlanta is just as nuts as expected. Although I enjoyed the festive Holiday party with my fellow automotive journalists, saw a media screening of The Sitter and was blown away by basically a Cirque De Soleil production on horseback, the Cavalia Odysseo (which was absolutely incredible and an awesome date idea to guarantee a pleasurable evening after), I kept reflecting on my cool time in Sin City. 
Besides my stay at the posh Mandarin Oriental Hotel thanks to Lexus drinking Squatter's Hop Rising which I discussed here, I had one helluva time at the Rí Rá Irish Pub. Its gorgeous, Victorian-themed hardwood decor made this authentic pub even more prominent in the swanky Shoppes at Mandalay Place. Everything from the furnishings to the beer, music, recipes, floors, 500-lb. St. Patrick statue and even their personable staff have pretty much been shipped from Ireland to this 8,000 square-foot Vegas hot spot. (The 11 other  Rá locations throughout the U.S. also boast similar authentic fixtures.)
 The Kilcooly rocked!
I certainly enjoyed wolfing down the Whiskey Garlic Mussels, Salmon with Mashed Potatoes and, man oh man, The Kilcooly: deli turkey, smoked bacon, melted cheddar cheese, fresh sliced apples, cranberry mayo and grilled sourdough. This thing was so damn good and I was so excited to find out the Atlanta location serves this killer sandwich as well! 
I washed these delectable vittles down with a nice variety of cold...excuse me, cool ones including the smooth Porterhouse Oyster Stout out of Dublin (4.8 percent) that Manager Mark McElkerney insisted I try (and for good reason!), along with a golden ale from Sin City Brewery, and the Joseph James Red Fox Imperial Stout at 9.3 percent. For the latter,  I wished for a bit more body, texture and head coming from this one but it was my first beer to try from that Nevada-based brewery so I was happy and I am looking forward to trying others. 
Last up was the creamy Foynes Original Irish Coffee that originated in the West Ireland small town it's named after. That was the perfect happy ending, let me tell ya.
Bottom line, you have to come here when in Vegas for an awesome beer sipping, virtually chilling-in-Ireland experience. I have to give a special shout out to the super cool Rí Rá owner David Kelly, along with his partners Ciaran Sheehan and Jay Luther. They are greatly responsible for preserving the rich tradition of consuming beer (especially Ireland's!).
The Guinness Store was full of swag.
(www.mandalaybay.com)
Oh yeah, when I reluctantly left Rí Rá, the only Guinness store in North America was right next door. As you well know, Guinness makes some bitchin' swag and I decided to snatch up some branded beach sandals and a dog tag chain complete with a bottle opener that was sold in their 1,500 square-foot location. They also carried everything from towels to candles, ties, boxers, artwork and cool fur-lined winter hats, but I had to chill and save some loot for the Stone IPA a bar was selling across the hall. I ordered it to go so that I could sip it on the free Mandalay tram that took me back to the Strip. You gotta love that! Take notes American malls!
I'll miss ya, Vegas!
Ale

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cruisin' For A Brewsin': Operation Vegas!

My first brew in Vegas:
Utah's Squatters Hop Rising Double India Pale Ale
Man, this past week has been the hardest in my whole life, dealing with my mother's passing and all. But it would have been a whole lot more trying if it wasn't for the overwhelming amount of support I have received from family, friends, colleagues and you, my fellow sippers in the beer world. Thank you again for all the shout outs, texts, emails and calls to comfort me. It will be a tough road from now on, but I will keep on Cruisin'. Love you guys. 
Speaking of "cruisin'", as you can tell in the title of this post, I am in Sin City. I was strongly considering not taking this business trip after saying my formal goodbye to Ma Dukes last night during her awesome service, but she would've kicked my ass if I didn't get my ass on that plane so here I am. After checking into the Mandarin Hotel on "the Strip" (which is really, really nice), I started to get my walk on. As soon as I stepped out, traffic was blocked off by cops to make way for NASCAR hot rods doing donuts in the middle of a main intersection in front of hundreds of onlookers. It was pretty cool (and loud as hell) with all of the city lights in the background, but I kept my eyes on the prize: finding a quality brew to sip on back at my hotel room. 
The selection at a few mainstream gift shops that sold the suds were pretty basic with the macros running the shelves, but then I spotted a bomber of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale for $3.99. I almost grabbed that always consistent "go-to" brew until my eyes caught a single of the Squatters Hop Rising Double IPA out of one of my favorite regions of the U.S., Salt Lake City, Utah four driving hours or so away. (Actually, as many of you know, I have a love affair with Park City especially, but Salt Lake is cool too.) Brewed at a well-balanced potency of 9 percent ABV and 75 IBUs, I have been an enthusiast of this IPA and its wonderful brewery as a whole (I featured Squatters and Wasatch here), so I was happy to see this favorite for 2.49 a bottle. I grabbed two. 
Oh yeah, and after my buy, I noticed some crazy ass mints. Check 'em out. Excuse the language on these things but hey, only in Vegas, right? 
On Saturday, I am looking forward to hitting up  - Mandalay Bay who I shouted out in a past post here
Overall, this should be a fun, yet necessary trip to get my mind off of things going on back home. 
Thanks again for your support with everything. It will not be forgotten.
Cheers!
Ale