Posts Tagged ‘beer school’

Join the Pint Jockeys Thursday, September 20 from 5 – 7 pm for a free tasting event highlighting new, rare and seasonal craft beers from the Del Papa Distributing portfolio.

The Beaumont and Victoria events will welcome Brooklyn’s Sixpoint Brewery to Texas by featuring several of its most popular beers. The Beaumont and Victoria event will also offer attendees a taste of fall favorites from Buffalo Bill, Rahr & Sons and Southern Star.

The Texas City tasting will feature an all-Southern Star lineup and beer lovers will also get to hear from special guest Dave Fougeron, founder and head brewer for Southern Star Brewing Company.

As always, the events take place at each city’s Del Papa Distribution Center are free and open to the public ages 21 and older.

Don’t forget, we’re giving away Pint Jockeys pint glasses as part of our beer school graduation celebration. See you there!

Del Papa Distribution Center
Hospitality Room
410 I-10 South
Beaumont, TX 77707

Del Papa Distribution Center
Hospitality Room
3907 E. Rio Grande
Victoria, TX 77807

Del Papa Distribution Center
Hospitality Room
1220 I-45
Texas City, TX 77591

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Märzen (aka Oktoberfest)







Welcome to the last installment of our beer school series! We’re wrapping up our six-week course with a lesson featuring a lager style we can’t wait to drink each year, Märzen. You may know the style by the more popular name “Oktoberfest,” so we’ll use the two titles interchangeably throughout.

A “distinctly German” lager, a good Oktoberfest is all about the malt, according to About.com. The “base malt should be a good two row Pilsner, with up to 20% Vienna or Munich.” Hopping should be light, resulting in a brew that BeerAdvocate.com describes as “full-bodied, rich and toasty” and “typically dark copper in color with a medium to high alcohol content.” It’s a versatile beer and pairs well with poultry, seafood, game and meaty Bavarian dishes.

The traditional name “Märzen” comes from “March,” the month in which the lager is brewed. The first Märzen was concocted in 1872 by a brewer pining for the popular Vienna-style beer served at Oktoberfest in years prior. The brewer’s recipe was so well-liked, Märzen became the unofficial beer style of Oktoberfest, even adopting the popular two-week festival’s name!

Just can’t find the time or money to get to Germany for the yearly festivities? Worry not. Cities all around the world host their own versions of the famous festival every year. Head to Galveston this October 26-27 for the island’s celebration, featuring a hefty German dinner and lots of libations. If you can’t wait that long to get your hands on Märzen, we suggest trying one of our favorites – Widmer Okto Festival Ale, Saint Arnold Oktoberfest or Rahr & Sons Oktoberfest – at your local watering hole.

There’s no homework this week (after all, it is the last day of school) except to enjoy the weekend with the craft brew of your choice.  If you didn’t already have a preferred style, we trust that during the previous six weeks, you’ve had the opportunity to read about and try your share of different varieties, and have since found a few new favorites!

Visit the blog next Tuesday when we’ll post our September 20 tasting information. You won’t wanna miss this one; it doubles as a graduation party, complete with Pint Jockeys pint glasses for completing our beer school course!

Have a great weekend and as always, cheers, Pint Jockeys!

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Stouts & Porters






Labor Day is behind us and NFL season has officially begun, which means we’re looking for a heavier, heartier, more aggressive beer to fill our mugs this fall. So, for this week’s beer school lesson, we find ourselves revisiting the stout and the porter, two of our favorite ales.

Stouts and porters are both dark ales with rich, full flavors. In other words, they’ll make you feel something. Stouts, whose name denotes its very strength and weight, are rich, full and go down smooth. High in flavor and grain content, About.com says you may taste hints of coffee, chocolate, licorice and molasses. Porters are a little smokier and red-brown to black in color. The real difference between stouts and porters, according to the site, “has traditionally been gravity,” or the amount of fermentable and unfermentable substances as compared to the amount of water found in the brew.

Revived in the late 20th century by microbreweries all around the country, stouts and porters are, as you know, an American craft favorite. But, you might not know that while the styles originated and were wildly popular across the pond in the late 18th century, they don’t account for much of the British beer market today. Use that in your Thursday night bar trivia games.

All of this talk about deliciously rich brew leaves us thirsty (and hungry, but we’re always hungry). So, our weekly homework challenge-that’s-not-really-a-challenge-because-it’s-just-a-reason-to-drink-beer is to visit the local microbrewery in your area and taste their signature stout or porter. Then, in the comments or on Facebook, let us know where you went and the name of the beer you tried. Bonus points if you’re able to try a few of our favorites – Saint Arnold Pumpkinator, Rahr & Sons To Thee Snowmageddon or Southern Star Buried Hatchet.

As always, Pint Jockeys, happy sipping!

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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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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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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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This week: Ales vs. Lagers






With August in full swing, we’re starting to hear a lot of chatter about “back to school” season, and it’s inspired us to share a few of our very own lessons with you.  While we recognize that official school days are a thing of the past for many of you, we’ve decided to introduce a different kind of school. One that’s sure to turn you into the most well-educated guy or gal at the pub. Without further ado, welcome to Beer School, Pint Jockeys!

That’s right, for the next few weeks, Beer School is in session. On the blackboard this week? Understanding the difference between ales and lagers. This may seem elementary to most, but sometimes, it’s good to get back to basics.

According to Tastings.com, “the simple difference between a lager and an ale is that the yeast employed for fermentation of a lager works at a cooler temperature and sinks to the bottom of the fermentation vessel, while ale yeasts work at higher temperatures and rise to the top of the vessel. Hence lagers are ‘bottom fermented’ beers.” Additionally, lagers often take several months to brew, while ales can be brewed in as little as seven days. And, given its yeast content, lagers should be served at a much cooler temperature than ales.

There are many different types of lagers, many with which you’re probably familiar. Common lagers include amber lager (popular in the U.S.); bock; dark lager (or dunkel); doppelbock; esibock; “light” and reduced calorie lager; Munich helles; malt liquor; pale lager (“the standard in international beer”); pilsner; and Vienna-style lager. Among our favorite pale and Helles lagers are Rahr and Sons Blonde, Kona Longboard, and Rogue Irish Lager.

Although ales have been around for centuries, many consider it an “experimental” beer. Because of its shorter brewing cycle, brewers tend to throw in additional ingredients (called adjuncts) to their recipes. Ales also contain a higher count of hops, malt and roasted malts than lagers, giving the ale “a more prominent malty taste and bitterness,” according to BeerTutor.com. A few of our favorites? Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Magic Hat Elder Betty, and, just in time for fall, Shock Top’s Pumpkin Wheat (be sure to check back Friday when we’ll have a great recipe for you which may or may not include cooking with Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat).

Which brings us to your homework. Go out and sample both types of beer, making note of the differences. Come back here and let us know which you prefer – lager or ale — in the comments below. Doing homework has never been so fun!

‘Til Friday, class dismissed, Pint Jockeys!

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