Have Some Breweries Effectively Defeated Can Rage?

It’s time, isn’t it? I mean I could understand it initially. Change brings out the deepest of insecurities and skepticism in people, especially when the thing that is changing is going in a direction of something that has for decades stood for inferiority and questionable quality.

When the initial wave of craft beer in cans began, there was a good amount of backlash from a sector of the craft beer community. But that didn’t deter those breweries from installing canning lines instead of bottling lines, and the trend (if you can call it that) shows no sign of slowing down.

According to CraftCans.com, 81 craft breweries were canning their beer in 2010. Today that number sits at well over 500 breweries which all together put over 2000 canned beers on US market shelves (and I suspect the numbers are even higher. CraftCan wasn’t up to date regards to breweries who can in Delaware and so maybe other states are under represented as well).

I’ve witnessed this growth myself watching the canned craft beer section at State Line Liquors, a small shelf pushed into a corner, grow into a much larger shelf that OK, is still pushed into a corner but you can no longer walk past it unaware of its presence.

Once breweries began to get their patrons over the stigma that beer in cans was inferior, in some way tasted like “canned beer”, or that a hop vine died every time a can was opened; it was inevitable that the convenience and portability of cans would be quickly embraced.

Let’s face it when it comes to the most accommodating friend who is always up for fun, cans are it. They can go places that bottles can’t go, are easier and safer to deal with than a pile of empty glass, and as I pointed out on a recent Facebook chat, they’re far superior based on their shear stackability alone.

These potential benefits weren’t lost on Lori Clough whose 3rd Wave Brewery although having a history of bottling their shelf products on a bottling line inherited when her and her partner Suellen Vickers acquired the old Evolution Brewing site, recently released their seasonal BeachBreaker Apricot Wheat in cans. “We are located close to the Delaware and Maryland resort beaches, lots of hotels and state parks. All of which do not allow (or discourage) glass bottles,” Lori said.

But Lori also commented that canning had other advantages, “As we researched the canning process, we decided to can one year round product and a few seasonals….Cans work so much better in carry in/carry out situations. The cans and the canning process has greatly improved over the last few years. More people tend to recycle cans. Cans protect the product much better than bottles. And last, lots of other breweries are canning, we don’t want to miss out!”

And Lori doesn’t have to look far to witness some of these other breweries that are canning. In fact, she doesn’t even have to look outside of the state.

Delaware’s Twin Lake Brewery has offered their only shelf product Greenville Pale Ale in a can from the very beginning, and Milford’s Mispillion River has canned all their beers except for occasional “brewery sales only” bottle releases. So what can we expect to see from 3rd Waving joining these beers in the future?

Lori told me that their pale ale ShoreBreak will be available in cans all year round and that along with BeachBreak Apricot you can expect two other seasonals, SunSet Peach Wheat and SunDancer White IPA in mid July and late August, respectively.

But if it was just these new, cool kids taking to cans, maybe this whole “craze” might go away but no, some of the more established breweries are also taking advantage of the aluminum resurgence. Sierra Nevada, Ballast Point, Avery, Victory, Cigar City, Brewer’s Art and Bells all now have offerings in cans and early this year it was announced that industry darling New Glarus had installed a canning line. Except they hadn’t. But then they had.

No, I feel that despite some stubborn naysayers who will continue to hold on to their glass as tightly as Rose did to Jack at the end of Titanic (until she finally…well, you know…), thanks to some breweries who were willing to go against initial skepticism, cans are here to stay and will only continue to grow in numbers on the shelves of your favorite beer stop.

As always I would like to thank Lori for taking some of her valuable time to talk to me.

THE FINAL SIP: “I dream of the day when I can walk out of the liquor store with a 30-pack of Arrogant Bastard in cans.” – Ed Morgan. Well maybe not a 30-pack but available at State Line Liquors for $38.99 a case of 16oz cans. (PHOTO: The Dogs of Beer)

Brew Dogs TV Show – Delaware Edition, Let’s Go Racing!

I thought I’d share some thoughts about the Delaware edition of the Brew Dog show because I actually thought the show was pretty cool for the most part, and well, I need content.  So here we go.

I’m going to assume you know Martin and James from Brew Dog in Scotland and I’m going to assume you have seen or know enough about the TV show Brew Dogs to understand the concept of the show.  If not, basically it’s two brewers from Scotland who come over here to the US and trick unsuspecting brewers into letting them do simple shit while brewing a beer, while all the time secretly going home and laughing about how they can’t believe they get people to let them do this stuff.  I’m not lying (I’m lying), it’s like Jack Ass meets Beer Hunter but it has more nudity than Jack Ass, but less than Beer Hunter.  So it’s right in between there somewhere.  Got it?  Good.

The first segment opens with the usual back and forth between James and Martin; blah blah blah, we’re in Delaware, Dogfish Head – you can probably guess.  There’s a short scene with Sam as they discuss beer, brewing, and their plans for this episode with the straight forward goal of brewing the fastest beer in under 10 days.

The plan then gets all convoluted as James decides they should brew the beer while traveling fast and Martin points out that in truth their speed record  is actually 72MPH while brewing on a train, because apparently we didn’t decided if “fastest” meant time or speed before the cameras started rolling.  Sam points out they are just miles from Dover Speedway, which would be a perfect place to break the land-speed-brewing record.  Because you know, why would Dover have a problem with two guys who normally drive on the opposite side of the car racing an over-sized truck with a bunch of brewing equipment around their track?  It’s Sam after all!  And besides, they couldn’t possibly do much more damage than Joey Logano already has.

What do you mean you can't drive?  I thought you were the DD?
What do you mean you can’t drive? I thought you were the DD?

For those of you unfamiliar with the track NASCAR trademarkingly refers to as “The Monster Mile (TM)“, it’s a 1 mile oval with no flat surface.  The straights bank at 9o, while the two turns work their way up to 24o.  So  you can’t just put brewing equipment in a truck and drive it around the track because of that annoying self-leveling thing that liquids insist on doing.  A fact the show’s fabricator seems somewhat perplexed on how to handle, but you know he’s already figured it out.

We then switch to The Green in Historic New Castle where the guys meet up with the 1st Regiment of Delaware, a group of colonial reenactors that are well known in the area.  Seeing a bunch of people in 18th century garb and firing period rifles may be unusual in some places, but in New Castle few people even notice. Just like no one flinches in NYC when they see a guy walking a llama down the street .

I have a photo that looks very similar to this!
I have a photo that looks very similar to this!

James and Martin talk with several members of the Regiment while they compare aged (2008) and un-aged bottles of DFH’s Palo Santo Marron, with some preferring the aged and some preferring the fresh.  After the interviews James and Martin literally get their “colonial on” as they throw on some period clothing, which apparently includes a red knitted Santa hat with the word LIBERTY stitched across it, and drill with the Regiment.

Not sure about the authenticity of James' hat.
Not sure about the authenticity of James’ hat.

The following segment opens immediately with Brew Dogs’ list of Top Five breweries in the state of Delaware, which I’ll address later in this post.  We then head to Hills Market Farms in Felton to get some honey from Ken Outten, President of the Delaware Beekeepers Association, to use in the beer.  I’m sure the guys thought this idea was theirs, but it’s Sam, and unless we’re making an Ancient Ale where the recipe excludes it, you know he’s putting some honey or maple syrup in that fashizzel.  After watching James freak out over bees (not horribly, only about a 3 on the scale of the way Steve on Ghost Hunters girls out over spiders) the guys collect their honey and head on.

In the next segment it’s time to pair some beers with a well known Delaware food favorite.  And since thousands of beach goers and UofD students have proven for years that any beer can be quaffed with Grotto’s pizza, and the only malt Thrasher’s wants you to have with their fries is the vinegar they put on them, we find ourselves outside of Fisher’s Popcorn in Rehoboth Beach,  where Martin proclaims he can pair beer with anything.  Opening originally in 1937  in Ocean City, MD, Fisher’s has become an institution at the Delaware shore having opened shops in Fenwick Island, Bethany and Rehoboth.  The segment starts with owner Will Hall giving them a quick lesson on how Fisher’s Popcorn is made, which leads to James looking like he’s never stirred anything with a wooden paddle before.  Odd for a brewer.

xxxxxx
Fisher’s Will Hall shows the guys how to make popcorn.

Will decides to up the challenge on the beer pairing and breaks out Fisher’s new flavor, a caramel and crab spice popcorn, which since much has been made about how crabs go with beer doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch, but maybe it will throw the Highlanders off.  Martin chooses Free Will’s C.O.B a coffe oatmeal brown ale, while James goes with the more local Victory Prima Pils, which wins the contest according to Will.  The guys then attempt a “hop popcorn”, which apparently wasn’t bad and paired well with a DFH 120 Minute IPA.

Back at the track the brewing rig is unveiled, a long bed 350 with a brewing system mounted in the back.  To compensate for the bank of the track, the system is mounted on a gimble system that allows the system to swing, thus maintaining its own level regardless of the level of the truck; think how the seat on a Ferris wheel works.  The truck is adorned with the number 07, which is a number of a truck that runs in the Camping World Truck Series owned by SS Green Light Racing.  Sam feels the need to add a bunch of stuff to the beer (shocking I know) and he brings things like Turnips, palo santo smoked Radishes, star Anise, Cardamom and Kala jeera.  Put the capitalized letters in the ingredients together to get his thought process.  Cleverness abounds.

It’s race day and time to brew this beer, but first it’s time to list the Top Five beer bars and again, I’ll comment on them later in the post.  This is the segment that the race plans are detailed, and I have to admit, it’s pretty neat.  While all the rests, holds, boils and such will be done as they circle the track, all the additions and transfers will be done pit crew style by pulling the truck into pit row for a stop .  They even show the device they’ll use to mash in the grains, which is a converted NASCAR gas can.  These guys really thought this through.  Nicely done.

Top Five craft beer bars.
Top Five craft beer bars.

It’s here that we learn that Martin and James will take turns driving the truck, while Sam sits on the sidelines because apparently, “Sam’s wife wouldn’t let him anywhere near that death trap.”  Sam’s wife is either a killjoy, or a very smart woman. Multiple drivers is unusual in NASCAR unless a driver gets hurt, but since NASCAR.COM lists 9 drivers having helmed the 07 this year, I guess we’re going to over look it today.

Martin takes the wheel and before you can say, “Gentleman, start your engines”, it’s “Boogity, Boogity, Boogity…Let’s go racin’!”

As the guys circle the track, the water comes up to mash temperature and Sam calls for the first pit stop.

A real NASCAR pit crew awaits as Sam calls for a mash in and driver switch.

The Mash in!
The Mash in!

After an hour of incident free racing (unusual for Dover), Sam calls for a second pit stop.  No tires, but a sparge and a prep to transfer the wort.

Sam squanders the chance to win over some Bud drinking NASCAR fans when he refers to himself as the “coach” of the team, instead of the more appropriate “crew chief”.  I’m sure his marketing department will be having a talk with him.

During the pit stop the drivers leave the car for the garage area to do some fast craft beer virgin interviews.

Martin is back in the driver seat (that man just WON’T RETIRE!) and the after a few more laps notices liquid leaking from the truck and pit to address a wort pump problem.

Due to the leakage, the wort is now too thin and Sam’s answer is to just add more honey than originally planned.  Of course.

James takes over but can’t get the line he wants through the curves, so while the wort boils he’s not making nearly the speed he needs to qualify.

Sam calls for another pit where the honey and Sam’s grocery bag are added.  Sam decides to turn the wheel back over to Martin, fearing that James is simply more of a road racer and can’t handle the Monster. Don’t feel bad James, neither can David Ragan.

Martin takes to the track like Kyle Busch and doesn’t take long to hit 74MPH after which it’s another pit stop to cool the wort and pitch the yeast.

Eric Williams Mispillion
Eric Williams Mispillion River

The guys then shame Sam into jumping into the truck with them and head out on the track one last time to see what they can do.  Martin hits it hard, and gradually works the truck up to 91MPH; to which James says their “all out” and Sam yells, “My wife’s going to kill me!”  I’m not sure Sam’s wife is going to like how she is being portrayed in this show.  But apparently she runs the team, like DeLana Harvick. Then sadly, with only several laps to go – they run out of gas.  And the show is over. Nah, just kidding.

Sam riding so totally not shotgun.
Sam riding so totally not shotgun.

A Kreston’s Commercial!!!

Finally, we’re back at the brewery with the beer that Sam referred to at the start of the show as “Super Sonic Saison”, where the rest of the show is the three amigos standing in front of the crowd talking about the beer, joking around, having the crowd say whether-or-not they like the beer (they always like the beer), some what I hope was edited for fun conversations because some of them caused me to raise an eyebrow, and Star Anise somehow being morphed into Sam’s Anus.  And if that isn’t a high note to leave on, I don’t know what is.

The cold out is a nice bit that really shows Sam’s geeky sense of humor as he, James and Martin are putting on their fire suits to get into the truck.  Sam and James are putting on blue suits while James is putting on a red one when Sam comments, “I don’t know if you get this on Scottish TV, but on Star Trek the person that wears red always dies.”  That’s right, he may have missed the chance at converting those NASCAR fans, but he wasn’t about to miss those Trekkies.

Argilla gets a nod in the Top Five.
Argilla gets a nod in the Top Five.

Ok, so that’s enough of a run down of the show, let’s get to the two lists!

TOP FIVE BREWERIES                                                      TOP FIVE BEER BARS

#5       3rd Wave Brewing                                                          Arena’s Deli and Bar
#4       Argilla Brewing                                                               Cantwell’s Tavern
#3       Mispillian River                                                                Two Stones Pub
#2       Fordham/Old Dominion                                               Henlopen City Oyster House
#1       Twin Lakes Brewing                                                        Pickled Pig Pub

As far as the breweries are concerned, I’m cool with this list.  I could take acceptation of the apparent need of everyone outside the DelMarVa area to treat Fordham and Old Dominion like conjoined twins because they share the same space, but in this case it allowed them to highlight six breweries instead of just five, so I won’t complain. It does leave me wondering however if Stewart’s and Iron Hill were considered.  Speaking of which, I’m not sure if it’s common practice, but I love that the host brewery was not on the list.  Not for any other reason than everyone knows Dogfish Head, and as I’ve told many people who live outside our state, we’re much more than just them.

As far as the order goes, I’m good with it although I have a felling that as I have more beers from Mispillian, I might be tempted to swap #2 and #3.  Just my opinion.  Twin Lakes at the top?  Love it.

The team from Twin Lakes!
The team from Twin Lakes!

The bar list I can’t comment about too much because I haven’t been to Arena’s or the Oyster House, but from what I’ve heard, they definitely deserve to be on it.  Cantwell’s is such a nice place that I’m glad to see them on the list, and since the guys that started Two Stones were originally part of the Pickled Pig Pub, it feels like a Delaware craft beer family reunion.  Missing?  Only because they ran out of room in my opinion, Ulysses Gastropub which has an excellent beer selection; and Jessop’s Tavern, which probably wasn’t considered because Justin’s beer focus is more slanted to Belgians.

Wow, that’s a lot of laps, I mean words.  Wave the checkered flag.

[Author’s note:  All images are Copywrite and Owned By Esquire TV and Brew Dogs, and are used under Fair Use]

THE SIX-PACK PROJECT: DELAWARE

6pp

Delaware.  Or as some people like to joke, DelaWHERE?  My own  little 2,490 square mile slice of craft beer USA that a lot of people just can’t seem to figure out.  A bizarre contour that allows me to visit three other states (NJ, MD, PA) by traveling only 20 minutes from where I live, but yet I could get to Max’s Taphouse in Baltimore to enjoy a DFH beer quicker than I could drive down to the brewpub in Rehobeth to drink one (and depending on traffic, some days I could make Blind Tiger in NYC faster as well).  The state that brought you George Thorogood,  Dallas Green,  “Sugar Ray” Leonard, Valerie Bertinelli, our current Vice-President Joe Biden (I leave you to decide if you should be thanking us for that), and more Du Ponts than you can fling a Teflon frying pan at.

I would tell people all the time that from a craft beer perspective, Delaware was a pretty great place to live.  Washington, Baltimore and NYC with all their breweries and craft beer bars are only day trips away.  Pennsylvania has a nice collection of brewers dotted over its south-east corner, all within a short distance.  But within the last 15 or so years, Delaware has been slowly building into to craft beer force of its own.  We now claim home to industry giant Dogfish Head, to Argilla Brewing, which head brewer Steve Powell started in a family pizza business with a 1.5 barrel system – to everything in between.

Oh, we’ve stumbled along the way.  Marty Haugh worked hard to get the laws changed in Delaware so that he could open up the state’s first microbrewery Rockford Brewing, only to see the business not take hold, and sadly eventually close.  Brandywine Brewing flourished for awhile, even opening a second location in the heart of Wilmington only to eventually fall by the way side.  Downtown Brewing came and went.

But as the resurgence of craft beer began, establishments did start to take a major foot hold.  Stewarts Brewing survived and still enjoys a healthy business today,  recently celebrating their 18th birthday.  Iron Hill started what would soon become a 9 location mini-chain in Newark.  Old Dominion and Fordham joined forces to become a major brewing entity in Dover.  Twin Lakes, Evolution and 16-Mile all opened and remain active.  And when Evolution stepped over the state line into Maryland, 3rd Wave filled the void it created, literally moving into Evolution’s old building.  And right now, Mispillion River and Smokestack Lightening are working hard at their start-up breweries.

Yes, I think from a craft beer perspective Delaware is a pretty nice place to live.  So when Bryan over at This Is Why I’m Drunk asked me to participate in his Six-Pack Project, I gladly accepted.  The format is very simple.   I’m tasked with creating a “Delaware Craft Beer” six-pack.  The beers should best represent Delaware brewing and her culture.  I can only select shelf product – meaning no keg-only beers.  The shelf product can be any form or size I wish.  Current seasonals are OK, but in general they’re discouraged.  Sound easy?  Let’s find out.

dfh90
PHOTO: The Dogs of Beer

FIRST – 90 Minute IPA, DOGFISH HEAD BREWERY

Ok, I know what you’re thinking “well of course he’s going to include DFH”.  Guilty, although I’m going with this beer for a reason.  Delaware is know as the “First State”, and Delawareans hold that description very dearly.  It was the first state to ratify the United States Constitution (which is where the nickname comes from), it was the first state to fly the Stars and Strips, held the first beauty contest, introduced the first Christmas Seals, passed the first Coastal Zone Act and (to my knowledge) the first state to tell another state to go F*@& itself (sorry PA, nothing but love for you).

So with that in mind, any discussion of Delaware beer should include  Shelter Pale Ale, as it was the first beer brewed by Sam Calagione at his Rehoboth Beach brewpub.  But sadly, DFH apparently  not longer bottles Shelter Pale Ale, which is fine because I want to talk about 90 Minute IPA anyway.  Although it seems a little backwards, 90M IPA proceeded it’s thirty minute shorter brother 60M IPA onto the market by two years, making it the first (there’s that word again) in what would be DFH’s continuously hopped series.   The concept that started it was simple, continually introduce hops throughout the 90 minute boil.  Oh, and just to keep the theme going, have it clock in at 90 IBUs and 9.0%ABV.  The fact that this beer has a mixture of hops continuously added to it for 90 minutes (plus dry hopping) would make one think that this thing is just hop water.  Don’t buy it.  Not for a second.  It is…ah, I don’t want to say it…hop forward, with notes of citrus and resin in the nose and flavor.  But there’s enough malt to balance everything out, and dangerously hide the 9% ABV.  I’ve always thought the continuously hopped beers had a smoothness to them.  A mouth feel on the palette that borders on creamy.  There’s a slight hop prick (which is about four notches below a burn) in the cheeks and a crisp, lingering finish.   An IPA lovers IPA .

responders
MASH UP: The Dogs of Beer

SECOND – RESPONDERS ALE, 16-MILE BREWERY

One of the beliefs the Brewer’s Association has about craft breweries is that “Craft brewers tend to be very involved in their communities through philanthropy, product donations, volunteerism, and sponsorship of events.

In this regard Delaware Craft Breweries (along with beer bars) excel.

– Fordam/Old Dominion partner every year for Hogs and Hops which last year raised $15,000 for the local FOP’s emergency relief fund.
Argilla Brewing partnered with BELVEDERE FIRE CO during their Fall Festival to help raise funds for the local fire company.
– Twin Lakes host The Wilmington Burger Battle which benefits the Emmanuel Dining Room a local program that feeds the needy.
– Two Stones Pub hosts the “Giving on Tap” which benefits the local Meals on Wheels program.

In that tradition I offer you Responders Ale.  Brewed by 16-Mile Brewery (which gets its name because it’s Georgetown location is 16 miles from anywhere in the county it resides in) an English styled ale with a touch of wheat that is clean and drinkable, with notes of hay and citrus.  I’m not going to lie, this beer isn’t going to blow you away with it’s light biscuit/cracker base and mild, but balance hops, but it’s nicely constructed, and has a very pleasant aftertaste.   In the spirit of the BA’s statement, $3 from every case and $5 from every keg of Responders Ale is donated to the National Fallen Fire Fighers Foundation.

Greenville
PHOTO: The Dogs of Beer

THIRD – GREENVILLE PALE ALE, TWIN LAKES BREWERY

With the Wilmington Blue Rocks minor league baseball team, The University of Delaware football team, and two major NASCAR events; Delawareans are no strangers to tailgating.  And although we may not be spoken in the same breath as Kansas City, Memphis, etc; we’re no slouches when it comes to the backyard cookout or barbecue either.

But as everyone knows, when you get your friends together for some grill/cookout type food, you should have a good beer to go with it.  Enter Greenville Pale Ale.  The beer, brewed with American 2-row along with cascade hops presents itself as a pretty straight forward pale ale, but has a slight spiciness that I think makes it an awesome food beer, whether you’re serving hotdogs, burgers, crabs, shrimp, or pulled pork.  It’s probably not going to go toe-to-toe with huge, deep BBQ sauces, but really, does it need to?  Sometimes you just need something to cleanse your palette with before your next bite of ribs or BBQ chicken.   I’ll admit, I’ve been drinking the crap out of this beer all summer.  Twin Lakes was also nice enough to package Greenville in the tailgate friendly can.  Bottle snob?  Get over it.

FOURTH – BEACH HOUSE GOLDEN PILSNER, OLD DOMINION BREWING COMPANY

DEpostcard
MASH UP: The Dogs of Beer

Ok, so I’m going to cross into Bryan’s “it’s OK, but I really wish you wouldn’t” territory.  But I think with good reason.  It’s summer as I write this, and in Delaware summer for many people means one thing – beaches.  Every weekend all summer long, thousands of people brave the congestion that is “beach traffic” to claim their own small spot on our sandy shores – whether it’s in Rehoboth, Bethany, Dewey or Lewes.  Many go for the sunshine and salt water, many go for the night life, and some just go for the Grotto Pizza (where Tracey slaved her summer, college youth away), Thrashers Fries and Snyders Candy.

And of course, everyone needs a good beach beer.  Why not Old Dominion Brewing’s Beach House Golden Pilsner?  A Bohemian style Pilsner, brewed with Tettanger, Perle, and Saaz hops, this beer has an awesome crispness in the back that is really the highlight.  The nose is subdued, with a slight touch of grassy hops and what comes across to me as honey.  The malt is there, light, almost bready.  Plainly said, this is a rock solid pilsner, and is a perfect beer for washing the beach heat out of your mouth.  It probably would also go well with a slice of Grotto’s pizza.

FIFTH – ROSIE PARKS OYSTER STOUT, FORDHAM BREWERY

If Stouts represented the Baldwin family of actors, than the oyster stouts would be the youngest (the first record of oysters used in the brewing a stout was until 1929) brother Stephen.   Good, serviceable, and for some reason someone that no one thinks of until they see him and go, “oh yeah”.  Many people cringe at this style and really shouldn’t.   When done properly oyster stouts are smoother, less dry than their well known brothers and are just a pleasure to drink.  And Fordham’s is done properly.

Rosie Parks (which is named after a legendary skipjack that once dredged for oysters on the Chesapeake Bay) is built on a grain bill of CaraMunich, Wheat, Chocolate, and Roast; and hopped with Bravo and Glacier.  Rosie is pure smooth drinking from front to back, with light chocolate and (even lighter) roasted notes, along with that kiss of mineral that comes from the added oyster shells.  The finish is clean and not bitter (24 IBUs) and the after taste is simply a slight roastiness.  This is one of my favorite styles of beer and I happen to know that it’s also a favorite of Michael Stiglitz, owner of Two Stones Pub.  So I think that puts me in good company.  The skipjack Rosie Parks is currently being renovated by the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.

Rosie
PHOTO: The Dogs of Beer

And that leaves me with one more.  Oh yeah, I could give you another DFH beer, but let’s be honest, if you ever get to my little state they will probably be on your list anyway (and to that end I recommend Theobroma, Hellhound on My Ale, Chateau Jiahu, and any of the continuously hopped beers, especially 120-Minute if you can find it).  So instead I’m going to suggest a beer that you might actually walk past, but definitely should not.

SIX – Old Dominion’s Double D IPA

double D
MASH UP: The Dogs of Beer

A while back, Old Dominion released a beer called GiGi’s Farmhouse Ale.  The beer was only distributed in 22oz bottles and as a nod of these size bottles being known as “bomber bottles”, OD’s label artwork payed homage to the old pin-up woman and bomber-nose paintings of World War Two.  Soon, Double D IPA and Morning Glory (an espresso stout) joined the line up.  The beers were so well received that OD released Double D and Morning Glory in 12oz six-packs, and later bottled GiGi’s in 12oz bottles to include it with the other two as part of a “Pin-up 12-pack”.  GiGi’s will be replaced in September with Candi, a Belgian Tripel.

Double D IPA is built on Pale, Munich and Chocolate Malts, and hopped with Zythos, Crystal, Citra and Bravo.  The beer has a light floral/grapefruit nose.  The taste is well balanced, with the hops slightly out front, but it’s probably close enough to be a photo finish.  The hops are again grapefruity, a touch of rind, and some pine that builds up after a bit.   The 90 IBUs gives you a light kiss at the end, but nothing harsh, or creepy.  Double D manages to hide it’s 10% ABV pretty well.  So mark her “D” for dangerous.

Double D is solidly constructed and a damn fine IPA.  If you get a chance to pass through our state, don’t miss the chance to pick her and her sisters up.  You’ll be glad you did.

I’d like to thank Bryan for asking me to be a participant in his Six-Pack Project.  It was a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing what everyone else has written about their respective states.  If you’re new to my blog, I hope you stick around.  I will be focusing on Dogfish Head beers all through August.  If not, thanks for stopping by anyway, and I encourage you to check out the rest of this month’s Six-Pack contributors:

As well as those who have contributed to the project already:

Time for another beer.

Brew Review – Twin Lake’s Oktoberfest and the Beauty of Finding Beer

Twin Lakes' Oktoberfest
Twin Lakes’ Oktoberfest

If you’re a beer lover who tends to buy more beer then they can drink in a given time frame, or you like to age beer, you most likely have a “beer fridge”.  And if you’re like me, your fridge is full sized and confined to some out of the way place in you home, either the laundry room or the garage.  And again, if you’re like me, you’ve come to grips with the fact that sometimes, in the interest of domestic harmony, things other than beer must go into your beer fridge.

You’ve probably had a similar experience, you’re standing in front of your open fridge with either the Thanksgiving day turkey that must defrost, or trays of side dishes your significant other has cooked for tomorrow’s Christmas dinner at her parents house.  Your eyes have input into your brain an exact 3D rendering of not only the object in your hands, but the layout of the contents in your fridge as well, and come to the sad conclusion that yes – it just won’t fit.

So there you are moving the beer around in your fridge so that the alien item will fit, slowly cussing to yourself that this exercise is totally running the zymological feng shui that you have established.  After all, every beer in your beer fridge is precisely in the spot it should be, correct?  So at the end of this reorganization you find that you’ve made room for everything, if only you could find a space for the two bomber bottles that you have in your hands.   Quickly you decide to use the only option available to you, you pull open the crisper drawer to place the over flow into to only to find – that it’s already full with beer.  What’s this?  You ask.  Beer?  Beer you’d forgotten about?  Beer that you probably put in there the last time you had to make room for something non-beer related!  How long has it been there?  What is it?

What follows, depending on what the beer it is and how long it’s been sitting forgotten in the crisper, can be described as nothing less than the feeling of a small child on Christmas day.  Found beer!  How great is that?  Well imagine how you’d feel if you were Delaware brewers Twin Lakes, when they got a call from a local distributor saying they found three 1/2 kegs of their Oktoberfest sitting in the warehouse cooler.  Of course, Twin Lakes was more than happy to share this find with its patrons.  Found beer!  Let’s taste!

THEM: Twin Lake’s Oktoberfest is pretty straight forward (why mess around with what works), the grain bill is built on American two row, Briess Ashburne and Bolander Munich malts.  Tattnanger is the solo player here, giving the beer its slight hop touch and balancing out the beer at 40 IBUs.  The beer is then fermented to 6%ABV using a Bohemian lager yeast.  Oktoberfest was first brewed for the Delaware Saengerbund, a local area German-American club, for their annual Oktoberfest celebration.

ME: Nothing surprising here.  Twin Lake’s Oktoberfest hits the style points pretty solidly, from the malt based aroma right down to the clean, spicey finish.  It starts off with a nice white head on top a cloudy, orange body; and a good amount of supporting carbonation. The spicy/grassy elements of the Tattnanger dives playfully in an out of what is otherwise a solid malt/caramel canvas. The finish is clean with hop elements as well as a slight linger of malt.  The 6%ABV is nonexistent in the profile, it’s an easy drinking beer.  I’m glad they found it.

Time for another beer…

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