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Archive for August, 2012

American vs. English IPAs

Your homework this week: to memorize this chart.

Welcome to week four of Beer School! You’ve made it halfway through the course, so with only two weeks remaining, we toast to you, Pint Jockeys. In today’s lesson, we’ll take a look at the difference between the American and English interpretations of a worldwide favorite – the Indian Pale Ale.

But first, a little moniker history. Back in the early 18th century, the British exported pale ales to their troops in India. In an effort to preserve the beer during its long ocean journey, brewers added extra hops and, ipso facto, created a brand new and now very popular type of beer called, fittingly, the India Pale Ale, or IPA.

Of course, we Americans put our own spin on things and have thus appropriated the English favorite. The main difference between American and British IPAs? The hop content and quantity. We hop up our IPAs significantly more than the British, resulting in a beer with greater bitterness and an extra kick. Contrarily, English IPAs have a “light on mouth feel,” according to Oregon Live. And while American IPAs contain “hops with a big herbal and/or citric character,” Winning-Homebrew.com says English IPAs have “moderate to moderately-high hop aroma with notes of floral, earthy or fruity English hop.”

Pop quiz time! We’ve learned about lagers, amber ales, blonde ales and now Indian Pale Ales. So tell us, which style of craft beer do you think rakes in the most sales in the US? You guessed it! According to one of our favorite blogs, Beervana, American IPAs account for 19.4% of US craft beer sales, which is more than any other single style of beer. While that may not have come as shock to us hopheads, Beervana says 2011 was the first year IPAs surpassed all other types!

Ready for your homework? (PS, we were just kidding about the homework above.) Why don’t you grab your favorite American and English IPAs – we like Saint Arnold Elissa IPA (American) and Fuller’s IPA (English) – and drink up. Then, leave a comment below or on our Facebook page letting us know which you prefer and why. Bonus points of you tell us where you did your tasting.

Don’t procrastinate! Do your homework soon. Our beer school minimester is almost over, and with just two more weeks of beer school lessons, graduation is on the horizon.  What better way to cap off the course than by drinking more beer (and on someone else’s dime)? Join us for a graduation celebration at the September 20th Pint Jockeys tasting events in Victoria, Beaumont and Texas City! As always, we’ll post more details on the tastings here on the blog as we get them. In the meantime, make sure you’ve done all six weeks’ worth of homework, because the Pint Jockeys may give away prizes to our straight-A students!

Cheers ‘til next time, compadres!

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Saint Arnold Oktoberfest

With only a month ‘til Oktoberfest celebrations begin sweeping the world (we’re looking forward to Galveston’s event in late October), we thought we’d spend this Texas Tuesday highlighting one of our favorite fall seasonals brewed right here in Texas– Saint Arnold Oktoberfest.

Oktoberfest is “a full bodied, malty and slightly sweet beer celebrating the autumn harvest,” according to Saint Arnold. The red-amber colored ale boasts a hefty 6% ABV content that will keep you feeling warm on a crisp fall night. Drink at 40˚ Fahrenheit for optimum taste and serve with hearty fall favorites like roasted turkey or spicy sausage for a well-rounded meal.

As a bonus, we thought we’d share a little Oktoberfest trivia for your Texas Tuesday. The yearly celebration was originally created to honor the legendary wedding of Crown Prince Leopold and his wife, Therese. As the story goes, this type of beer was brewed especially for their two week-long wedding. The prince and princess had so much fun during their nuptials, they declared that beginning in September of the subsequent year, their marriage would be celebrated annually with a two week, beer-filled party. And thus, Oktoberfest was born.

So raise your glass and toast to Leopold and Therese. We hate to think what a world without Oktoberfest (the craft beer and the party) would look like.

Cheers, Pint Jockeys!

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Amber vs. Amber (Ale vs. Lager)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With only one day left in the week (TGI Thursday), it’s time for another beer school lesson. Did you already forget what we studied the past two weeks? As a reminder, we started by going over the general differences between ales and lagers, and last week we dug a little deeper with our study of pale ales versus pale lagers. So, it’s only appropriate that today we take class one step further by comparing amber ales and amber lagers.

According to the Beer Judge Certification Program (with a name like that, who wouldn’t consider them a trusted source?), amber ale is, fittingly, “amber to coppery brown in color” and usually clear, “although dry-hopped versions may be slightly hazy.” The malts may be sweet, often with a caramel flavor, and yet maintain a nice balance with the hops. Interestingly, BJCP says, this style of beer is known as “Red Ale” in other parts of the country, especially on the west coast, where the brew was first concocted. Some of our favorite amber ales include Fat Tire Amber Ale, Saint Arnold Amber Ale, Rogue American Amber Ale and Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale.

Amber lagers, BJCP says, are “a vaguely defined style of lager much favored by US lager brewers. They are darker in color, anywhere from amber to copper hued, and generally more fully flavored than a standard pale lager.” With more caramel malt flavor than in amber ales, amber lagers “are frequently hoppier than the true Vienna lager styles on which they are loosely based.” You’re surely familiar with one of our favorite amber lagers, ZiegenBock Amber (we’ve featured it on the blog before). Some other favorites include Rahr & Sons Texas Red, Magic Hat Spring Vinyl and Negra Modelo.

Another difference between amber lagers and ales? The Alcohol by Volume. The ABV in amber lagers is less (at 4% – 5%) than that in amber ales (4.5% – 6%). While there’s only a slight difference in ABV between the two, grab an ale if you’re looking for a little more kick.

Now, it’s time for a pop quiz! If you’ve been to a beer tasting before (one of Pint Jockeys’, perhaps?) or read any of our past blog posts, you’ve undoubtedly heard the terms “hoppy” and “malty.” Can you tell us what each of those flavors mean? *Cue Jeopardy music…* Don’t know? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you. Beers with a lot of malts have bready, sweet, floury, chocolate and coffee flavors. Hoppy beers are more bitter, often containing hints of grapefruit, resin and pine. And now you know.

Your homework assignment this week, should you choose to accept (and why wouldn’t you?): Grab a buddy and taste test each type of beer. Afterward, leave a brief description of what you taste in the comments below. Describe the color, aroma and flavor differences in an amber lager and amber ale, and share with us your overall impressions of each. For extra credit, let us know which brand you tried (and where).

Cheers, Pint Jockeys!

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Rahr & Sons Gravel Road

It’s a fact: we Texans know a thing or two about wide open spaces. Whether you live in the big city, the suburbs or a beach town, there’s always something relaxing about taking a trip to the country, where wheat fields, cow pastures and gravel roads abound. So, what better way to enjoy the last of the lazy summer days than with a beer that pays tribute to the laidback country lifestyle, and the roads you must travel to get there: Rahr & Sons Gravel Road.

According to Rahr’s website, Gravel Road is a German-Style Sticke Altbier with an amber hue and medium carbonation. At 7.25% ABV, it also has a great balance between strong malt and hops.

Gravel Road is best served at 52˚ Fahrenheit and pairs well with hearty Texas favorites, including steak, burgers and roast beef and with classic Southern sides, like mac and cheese.

Only available while the weather’s hot, grab a six-pack of the brew while it’s still available!

Cheers Pint Jockeys!

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Breaking it down: blonde ales vs. pale lagers

 

 

 

 

Welcome back to class, Pint Jockeys! Before we begin, we want to know if you did last week’s homework. If you DID do the homework, then you know that last week we learned the difference between ales and lagers, so be sure to tell us in the comments which type of beer you prefer, and why. Brownie points if you tell us where you sampled your brews.

Last week’s lesson was easy enough, right? Well this week we’re getting down to the nitty gritty and focusing on the similarities and differences between pale lagers and blonde ales. Grab some paper, a pen and a pint glass and let’s get started.

First, the pale lager. According to Tastings.com, this beer is “generally light to medium-bodied with a light to medium hop impression and a clean, crisp malt character.” Pale lagers are often brewed with rice or corn instead of malt (some say this substitution compromises flavor), so, when it comes to pale lagers, the higher the ABV, the better the taste and mouthfeel. Interestingly, the pale lager is the best selling beer made in America; macro and microbreweries crank out millions of barrels of this type of beer a year. Shift Pale Ale and Kona’s Longboard Island Lager are a few of our favorite craft brews because they’re crisp, citrusy and hoppy. Another reason we love a good pale lager? It’s perfect for cooking and grilling. (You know we can’t resist a good beer-infused recipe!)

Blonde ales (a type of pale ale) are similar in color to pale lagers, although the blonde ale is slightly hoppier and “usually an all-malt brew, well attenuated with a lightly malty palate,” according to BeerAdvocate.com. The American Blonde Ale has a “subdued fruitiness” and a “hop character of the noble variety or similar, leaving a light to medium bitterness.” We like it because it’s easy to drink, no muss no fuss. One of our favorite pale ales is also Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s most popular beer, called, fittingly enough, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Southern Star’s Bombshell Blonde and Widmer Brothers’ Citra Blonder are also favorites. And, not to be outdone by the pale lager, the blonde ale is also suitable for grilling!

So what do you think? Do blondes have more fun or is the pale lager already a staple in your refrigerator? Guess you’ll have to sip and decide!

Your homework this week is as follows: With good company and at your leisure, sample two blonde ales and two pale lagers. Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page letting us know which type of beer and which brand you prefer. Extra credit goes to anyone who tweets or Facebooks us a picture of you doing your homework (make friends with the bartender and ask him to snap a shot).

Until next week, cheers to you, Pint Jockeys!

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Get ready for a Divine Lineup!

Happy humpday, Pint jockeys! Not only are you half way through the week, you’re another day closer to the August tasting events. And therefore, another day closer to getting a taste of the sought-after Divine Reserve #12 from Saint Arnold Brewing Company. That’s right, DR #12 will be featured at ALL THREE tasting events, so head out to the Del Papa Distributing Center near you and enjoy!

  • Saint Arnold Divine Reserve 12 – The public is invited to get a taste of the highly-coveted, limited-edition Divine Reserve #12. Inspired by David Rogers’ victorious entry in the 2011 Big Batch Brew Bash, this Old Ale features a spicy malt and hop flavor and a high alcohol content. While the brewer suggests aging the beer for one to five years, allowing it to reach its full flavorful potential, the Pint Jockeys couldn’t wait to offer a taste. Now, beer fans can fulfill the urge to try the beer and allow their own personal stash to sit on the shelf a bit longer.

All three locations will all get a taste of the recently brewed Saint Arnold’s Oktoberfest Ale.

  • Saint Arnold Oktoberfest – A full bodied, malty and slightly sweet beer celebrating the autumn harvest.  This rich beer has a round malt flavor and an above average alcohol content perfect for a cool fall evening.

Looking for even more Saint Arnold? Well, if you live near Texas City, you’re in luck because we’re bringing a bit of the Houston brewery to you. In addition to DR12 and Oktoberfest, James Cunningham, Regional Manager for Saint Arnold, will be on hand serving up five of the brewery’s year round offerings. Join us and sample:

  • Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower – A true German-style Kölsch. It’s crisp and refreshing, yet has a sweet malty body that is balanced by a complex, citrus hop character. Multiple additions of German Hallertauer hops are used to achieve this delicate flavor. Special Kölsch yeast (an ale yeast that ferments at lager temperatures) gives the beer its slightly fruity, clean flavor.
  • Saint Arnold Weedwacker – Weedwacker is Saint Arnold’s only unfiltered year-round beer. Fermented with Bavarian Hefeweizen yeast, it is light and refreshing but has a spicy clove note and banana esters. While it has a close relation to Lawnmower, it tastes completely different. Expect to see some yeast at the bottom of the bottle.
  • Saint Arnold Santo –Saint Arnold calls Santo a “black Kölsch,” which means it is brewed using a Kölsch recipe with the addition of Munich and black malt. It is light bodied and floral with a distinct dark malt flavor. It is a dark yet refreshing beer which pairs perfectly with a plate of enchiladas.
  • Saint Arnold Elissa IPA – A traditional India Pale Ale, the Elissa IPA is very hoppy with a properly balanced malty body. The brew has a wonderful bitterness, and dry-hopping in the fermenter gives the brew a pleasant floral, hoppy nose.
  • Saint Arnold Endeavour – This double IPA has a deep amber color with a light, creamy head. The nose starts off with a touch of citrus then turns decidedly into peaches. The flavor is characterized as a creamy malt, resulting from the pale 2 row, caramel malts and Saint Arnold yeast. The hop bitter starts low then builds to a crescendo, but always maintains a balance even in its big finish.

If Texas City is too much of a hike, no need to worry. Event goers in Victoria and Beaumont will be treated to a varied lineup, stacked with delicious fall seasonals from Rahr & Sons, Shock Top and Sierra Nevada.

  • Sierra Nevada Tumbler – Resembling the changing (and tumbling) leaves of fall, the Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale is gracefully smooth.  Its warm character comes from malt roasting at the peak of its flavor.
  • Rahr and Sons Gravel Road – A tribute to the laidback country lifestyle, this German-Style Sticke Altbier has an amber hue and medium carbonation with great balance between strong malt and hops.
  • Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat – Traditional Belgian-style wheat ale brewed with ripe pumpkins and a variety of autumnal spices, including nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.  It’s the perfect way to spice up any fall celebration.

Now that you’ve read up on all the brews, we trust you’ll arrive informed and extra thirsty. Tastings are free and run 5-7p.m. For more information, please visit our Facebook page and RSVP for the event.

See you all there!

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Saint Arnold Summer Pils

Happy Texas Tuesday, Pint Jockeys! Over on our Facebook page, we asked what craft beer you’d like featured this Texas Tuesday and you answered. The Pint Jockeys voted to revisit a summer staple, so today we’re highlighting Saint Arnold Summer Pils. According to the Saint Arnold website, the beer is “a true bohemian-style pilsner.” It’s “brewed with fine German malt and a copious quantity of “noble” hops imported from the Czech Republic.” Its delicate, sweet malt taste is complemented by an abundant hop aroma and flavor.

Refreshing on a hot summer day, serve Summer Pils at 36° Fahrenheit with lamb, pizza or Mexican food for a delicious meal.

 

 

Check out this enticing video Saint Arnold put together in honor of the brew!

Come back to the blog tomorrow when we share all the deets of Thursday’s Pint Jockeys tastings in Texas City, Victoria and Beaumont. And on Friday, we’ll be back with another Beer School for you. Which reminds us, have you done last week’s homework yet? Leave a comment here or on our Facebook page with your favorite type of beer – ale or lager – and where you tried it.

‘Til tomorrow, cheers, Pint Jockeys!

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