Oct 31, 2011

Intreasting.....Micro Brew Incubator???

Just found this article on FB. Intreasting concept, I'll be watching these guys and thier progress pretty closely I think!

(click the link to read the article...)

Magic Hat founder launches craft brew incubator

Oct 30, 2011

Beer for Thanksgiving Dinner...

Although we still have a few weeks before the big feast, it’s never too early to starting thinking about what beer you should enjoy with your Thanksgiving dinner. Beer was almost certainly a major part of the very first Thanksgiving dinner as well. It has become almost common knowledge, that one of the reasons the Pilgrims stopped on Cape Cod and didn’t proceed further south as originally planned was because their supplies were severally lacking, “especially our beer” as we noted in one Pilgrim journal. There wasn’t likely an ample supply of wine in the new world until possibly years after they first landed, when in fact, one of the first structures constructed by the colony was a small brewery to supply beer to the settlement (some, made with Birch sap). So it makes sense we would celebrate the Thanksgiving Dinner with a beer or two. So here are a few suggestions and guidelines to consider when selecting a beer(s) to go with your meal.

Now, I always like to enjoy a beer as a sort of Aperitif, a sort of appetizer, something to kind of kick start your taste buds and get them ready for the impending chow down. However, you also don’t want to destroy your taste buds with something over powering, or so potent you will want to nap before the dinner is even served. I prefer something light, but a little more flavorful. A Sam Adams Boston Lager is just about perfect for this. Or maybe a nice Brown Ale, such as Sierra Nevada Tumbler. Even a nice crisp Pilsner works great as a nice pre-meal libation.

I know most families don’t normally have a hors d’voeruvre course of their meal, but if yours does, for this portion, try waking up your taste buds a little more with something more flavorful, but still not too heavy. I would suggest something on the hoppy side, but not quite an IPA. That might be too much this early in the meal. A hoppy Pale Ale, such as the one from Sierra Nevada works well, or, if I could give a shout out to a local brewery, San Tan Brewing's Devil Ale is a great option for anyone in Arizona.

One of my all time favorites!
Now, for the main course. To go with the traditional Thanksgiving fare, I would suggest a stronger (in both flavor and alcohol) brew. Belgian style Ales work perfect for this. Their complex flavor profiles, smooth drinkability and higher ABV fill all my needs for the main course. Belgian Triples are about as good as Belgian beers get if you ask me, so I like to drink them with this course. The greatest of these, actually being from Canada, in Unibroue’s La Fin De Monde, or a Westmalle Triple works great. Search out some of the great Belgian style breweries such as Ommegang or, my favorite, Allagash, and examine their line ups to find something that will work with your meal.

Now, dessert! This for me is sort of like the all star line up for beers. This is when you can select beers that really flex their muscle. When you think of strong beers, you think Stouts right away. However, this is a special occasion, so don’t just reach for any ol’ stout, however appealing they might be. Step it up a bit with a hearty, strong imperial stout. Ten Fidy or Old Rasputin comes to my mind immediately. Also, the great stouts from Great Divides Yeti series are among my favorites. Be it their standard Yeti, or one for Oak Aged variants with coffee, or chocolate, these will work well.

Now, why not end your feasting with a Digestif! This is when you should pick something strong enough to break through the beating your taste buds have already taking up to this point. They will want to rest, relax, and take a nap (as most of us do) so they aren’t going to be at their best. You need something that has enough flavor to ignore all this, and when someone asks me what style of beer I feel is strong, hoppy yet balances, and packs a punch, well, Barelywines are what you need to know! And when someone asks me for my favorite Barelywine, well, Bigfoot is my standard answer, and not only because of my fascination with all things cryptozooalogical, it’s also because it is a great example of this style. However, there are a lot of great barelywines to choose from. Stones Old Guardian, Avery’s Hog Heaven, and Anchor’s Old Foghorn come to mind. This is also a good time to take a chance and try something a little crazy that you normally wouldn’t try. Dogfish Heads 120 Minute or World Wide Stout might be a good fit as well, but be careful, after 4 or 5 courses with a beer, something that is 15 or 20% ABV might be a little much for a lot of people, especially if you have a long ride home.

So, there are my suggestions for beers to try with your Thanksgiving Feast. Don’t worry about anyone sitting around the table that might say “your going to have BEER with Thanksgiving Dinner?” like it’s a bad thing. I’ve learned long ago to not get upset, or even care about such statements. If it is going to add to your enjoyment of your meal, why not do it, and why feel bad about it? After all, as mentioned at the top of this post, beer was on the Pilgrims table, while accepted staples, such as turkey however, was very likely not, most likely they had duck, maybe goose. Wine was not on their table either, but people don’t seem to have issues having some wine with dinner. So just tell those people you want to appreciate a more tradition meal!

So, have a few beers, and enjoy your meal even more, and more importantly, enjoy your time with friends and family!

Bottoms up my friends!

Oct 28, 2011

The Watering Hole, in Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods, Chandler AZ
 This is a post that has been a long time coming! It sounds strange, but one of my favorite drinking spots in the state of Arizona, is right in the middle of a grocery store! Our local Whole Foods Market has a very welcome little corner set aside for anyone that has had enough food shopping, and wants to rest, and have a great beer or two. Why more grocery stores don’t have something like this is just beyond me. Now, I’ve been going to this very same Whole Foods since it opened a few years ago because they have one of the best bottle selections in the state. It may not be the largest beer selection around (it is quite large however), but the quality of their selection is amazing. More than enough for anyone looking for something more than the standard big 3 to not only enjoy, but to savor.

Menu Board
They had a small “tapas” section of the store from the start, with a few tap handles that served a couple great beers, normally stuff they had in their bottle section, but recently, they have expanded to 31 tap handles, added some comfy booths, more tables, and a couple of flat screens. You can purchase food from one of the prepared meal sections close by, and come to the Watering Hole, and get a beer to go with it. The food at the market is quite good, with everything from a Smoke House section (itself has 4 or 5 beers on tap) offering smoked meats and BBQ, to a sushi section, and a few others (try their brick oven pizza, its great!)

Seating Area
Now, to say the beer selection at the Watering Hole is good, is like saying I am lacking a little hair on my head (for those of you that don’ t know me, I am a completely bald (and proud of it) man). These are 31 great taps! Normally 4 or 5 of Dogfish Heads offerings can always be found. I was there this afternoon, and they had Punkin Ale, Sah’Tea, Burton Baton, and one of the IPA’s (I forget if it was 60 or 90 Minute). It is mainly American Craft Beers on tap; however, they normally have a great selection of offerings from across the pond as well. Piraate, Heffe, Framboise and the like can normally be found as well.

James the Beer Guy behind the bar
If you are new to beer, the selection may be a little over whelming, so it’s best to ask for advice, rather than just stick with something safe you may recognize. James Swann, the beer buyer and resident “beer guy” is not only very knowable, and willing to offer up suggestions, he is also a very friendly guy, that not only willing to share his vast knowledge, but more than willing to stop by your table and chat about what you are drinking, as well as make some suggestions of something they might have that is similar in their extensive bottle section. He has, on more than one occasion, talked me into buying something I normally wouldn’t have bought, only to find out that it was a great, more than enjoyable beer! If James isn’t not around, or available, I have found that anyone behind the bar is more than willing and able to throw you some impressive beer knowledge, and seem to welcome some conversation regarding whatever beer they have on tap, as well as some they don’t.

Nitro Sawtooth Pub Ale
A beautiful Glass of "Ten Fidy"

On my last visit (just this afternoon) I enjoyed a Brainless on Cherries from Epic Brewing, and a Burton Baton from Dogfish Head. Both of which are great beers, and two I have never had before. The Mrs. enjoyed a Ten Fidy from Oskar Blues brewing, which, if you ask me, is hands down the greatest beer available in can. It’s a rich, smooth, strong Imperial Stout that should satisfy the cravings of even the most finicky of beer snobs! Our friend Daniell had an enjoyable Nitro Sawtooth Pub Ale.

So, if you find yourself in Chandler area in the east valley, make your way to Ray and 101, and stop into Whole Foods for a couple of great beers, and some great beer conversation. When you are there, ask for James, and ask him to recommend something, you will not be disappointed!

Bottoms up my friends!

Oct 24, 2011

A few great beer and running apps...

The other day I was looking through my phone, trying to find an effective app that would make it easier for me to track the beers I've tried. I am still looking at which one works best for me, when I do, I will be sure to write about it, but in the mean time, found this article on Draft Magazine's Web Site, I thought some of you might find these app's useful. Just click the link below to go to open it up.

8 Beer and Running Apps

Bottoms up!

Beer and Running!

Glassware for your Beer.....

All shapes and sizes
I’ve mentioned I would be doing something on this for a while now, and I figured it was time to finally put this together. Since I’ve already done a piece on tasting a beer, and pouring one, I figured choosing glassware should be the logical next step, if not the very first step in experiencing your beer. This is something that is near and dear to me, since I have a collection of well over 100 glasses, most of which are displayed (thanks to my lovely, VERY understanding wife) in our home. So, obviously, beer glasses are sort of a special thing for me.

I have a lot of people chuckle when they hear someone reference a beer glass as having any sort of effect on the flavor of a beer. However, the importance of the glass should not be over looked. Just like wine, every style of beer has a style of glass that best suits that style. Now, is it necessary to have the exact style glass to enjoy your beer? Of course not. However, I would argue ANY glass at all is better than drinking a beer out of the bottle, unless, the reason you are drinking that beer is to quench your thirst, or looking past the taste of the beer in order to reap some other purpose, i.e. getting drunk, social acceptance etc. With a minimal investment, you can get 4 or 5 beer glasses that will serve most functions, and take you beer drinking experience to that next level. Here are some of the more popular and easy to find styles that you should consider to help get the most out of your beer.

The Standard Pint
Shaker or Pint Glass.

The Brewpub standard and generally excepted American “Beer Glass”. While not ideal for really any style, it’s good for most. The reason pubs prefer this glass, is mostly for its ease to manufacture, and ease of storage. Works well as a general beer glass, especially for most of the light American Lagers. It has a very large mouth that does allow you to take in some of the aroma while drinking, and taking very large gulps in the process.

Pilsner (or Pokal)

The elegant Pilsner glass
The Pilsner Glass is probably one of the most beautiful, elegant ways to enjoy a beer. Its long slender form (normally holing 12 oz) makes for a great vessel to observe beer. Showcasing the beers clarity and carbonation, allowing the volatiles in the beer ample opportunity to be released, charging the flavor quite well. Best if used with lighter colored beers, such as, obviously Pilsners, Witbier, Red Ales, as well as Light Lagers.

The Beer Snifter

This is my favorite style of beer glass; to me it works well for a lot of styles. The very same shape as your grandpa’s brandy snifter, just bigger, often holding upwards of 22oz. They normally appear to hold much more, however, but they are only meant to be filled about a third of the way to the top. The large bulb shape is perfect for capturing and holding volatiles and aroma of the beer, and as we know, aroma has an enormous effect on how we taste the beer. Not to mention, it is also a great looking glass! This style works well especially for Barelywines, since they have a strong nose. Also works for most Double/Imperial style Ales, like Stouts and IPA’s.

The classic Beer Mug.

The classic, albeit somewhat boring mug
Much like the Shaker, or Pint Glass, this is a very general style, and doesn’t work great for really any style, but well for most. You will normally see darker Ales in this style, like Porters and Stouts. Plus, the handle makes it easy to hold on to, allowing for more quantity, making this a great mug when drinking prodigious amounts of beer is the plan, like at Oktoberfest!

The feminine "tulip" glass
The Tulip Glass

By far the most feminine style of all the beer glasses, this is also a very worthy glass for any beer glass collection. Nothing more than a smaller longer stemmed version of the Thistle Glass (or, here in the States, we call it a “Hurricane or Pina Colada Glass, used in Europe to serve Scotch Ales) this style of glass works great, for larger, full flavored styles, as well as Lambic’s and many fruit flavored beers. Also works well for stronger IPA’s. While I know a lot of men would feel less then macho drinking a beer out of this glass, it is a great glass for capturing volatiles, it is also a great glass for displaying rich, foaming head on a beer, so men, be open minded and try this one. This is a great “beer porn” glass when you want to display beer, or capture it in photos.

The Weizen Glass

A very "Kardashian" style glass!
Another of the more popular glass styles found in America, this is another elegant glass. They vary in size, but are often capable of holding a large amount of beer, and displaying that beer most effectively. Its long slender, curvy shape, and thin glass walls are perfect for showing off the clarity and carbonation of the beer, much like the Pilsner glass, however, unlike the Pilsner, the bulb shape at the top trap and hold aroma and volatiles very effectively. Making this not only a beautiful beer glass, but a very versatile one as well.

Sturdy, yet elegant
Goblet or Chalice

This chucky, sturdy yet eye catching style is almost strictly for Belgian Ales, and most specifically the Trappist Ales. These glasses are normally very stout in build, with a long, thick stem, and wide open mouth. Great for catching all those complex aroma’s those monks have in their beers, as well as displaying the thick, porous head most of them have. Its wide mouth make for easy “gulping” making this a very efficient delivery system for your Chimay, Orval or any of the great Trappist ales. A lot of the Abby’s will actually score the inside of the bottom of the glass, which adds surface area, giving the CO2 something to grip on to, creating a great head, and allowing for great head retention as well.

Oversize Wine Glass.

So, if you don’t have any of the glasses already mentioned something most of us having in the house is a large, bulb style wine glass. Beer in a wine glass you ask? I ask, why not? Both are complex, aromatic beverages that want you to look at them, and smell them in order to appreciate every aspect of them. The wine glass is a great general beer glass that offers many of the advantages of the glasses listed above. These glasses work best for a lot of the stronger Belgian Ales, as well as many of the American Double/ Imperial styles, even some Barelywines, but work well for so many others.

The all look better with something in them!

So, look around, a lot, if not most of these styles are available just about anywhere. So pick up a few, and experiment with them, trying different style beers in different style glasses, and see what works best for you. Again, there are no rules, just guidelines. If a barelywine tastes better to you in a pilsner, than it does in a snifter, then by all means, drink it from a Pilsner. Don’t let anyone tell you what works best for you, they can only tell you want is the generally accepted practice. So, play around, enjoy yourself, and try something new. Remember, its beer, its suppose to be fun!

Bottoms up my friends!

Oct 19, 2011

History of Beer Timeline....

I found this on Craftbeer.com, written by Stan Hieronymus. Its a pretty intreasting overview of some of the highlights of the history of beer. I found it kind of intreasting, hope you do to.

1800 BC (Circa)

"Hymn to Ninkasi"
 A "Hymn to Ninkasi," the Sumerian goddess of beer, is inscribed on a tablet, about 4,000 years after men first leave evidence of brewing activity.


Saint Arnold
 Saint Arnold of Metz is born, one of dozens of patron saints to beer, brewers and hop-pickers. He helps end a plague by convincing people to drink beer rather than impure water.


The Reinheitsgebot, instituted in Bavaria, is a beer "purity law" that remains today in revised form. The original laws permits beer to be made only with barley, hops and water, later acknowledging yeast and permitting wheat.


Heinrich Knaust writes the first extensive book on brewing in Germany, describing in detail about 150 different beers. He calls the "noble Hamburg beer the queen of all other wheat beers."


Wayside Inn
 The tavern that will become known as the Wayside Inn after being immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Tales of a Wayside Inn opens in Sudbury, Massachusetts. Nearly 300 years later it's oldest continuously operating inn in the United States.


A storage vat at the Horse Shoe Brewery in London containing more than 300,000 gallons of porter collapses, knocking down brewery walls and flooding immediate area. Eight people are killed, "by drowning, injury, poisoning by porter fumes, or drunkenness."


Prohibition, in the form of the 18th amendment, outlaws the sale of alcohol in the United States. Key dates to remember:

The 18th Amendment is ratified on January 16, 1919 and goes into effect January 16, 1920.

On March 23, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt signs into law legislation permitting the sale of 3.2% a beer.

On December 5, 1933, the 21st Amendment repeals the 18th Amendment.

HMS Menestheus

Because it is not practical to ship beer, the HMS Menestheus, a British mine-laying ship, is converted into a floating brewery to supply beer to British and Allied troops in the Asian theater during World War II.


Micheal Jackson
The late Michael Jackson, "The Beer Hunter", drinks his first beer at the Castle Hill Hotel in Huddersfield, Yorkshire. Twenty years later he writes The World Guide to Beer, one of the inspirations for a "beer revolution."

Cascade hops

Development of Cascade hops begins in Corvallis, Oregon, in 1956. The hop is released to brewers in 1972 and becomes a hallmark aroma and flavor for beer from American small-batch brewers.


Hilton Harvest House in Boulder, Colorado, hosts a modest 20 breweries serving only 35 beers for the first Great American Beer Festival. Today the annual event features more than 2,000 beers.


Astronaut-homebrewer Bill Readdy blasts into space aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery carrying an unofficial package, a bag containing Cascades hops. Spinnakers Brewpub in Victoria, B.C., later makes a beer brewed with the hops that circled the earth 128 times.


Jack McDougall of New Jersey wins the first US Beerdrinker of the Year competition sponsored by Wynkoop Brewing in Denver. McDougall is an original member of the Bar Tourists of America, a loosely organized group that held its first tour in 1978.


Smithsonian Magazine states: "The best beers in the world today are being made in the US."

Oct 14, 2011

Yet even more Beer Quotes....

Hope you all enjoy, have a great weekend!
Bottoms up!

"The easiest way to spot a wanker in a pub is to look around and find who's drinking a Corona with a slice of lemon in the neck."

-Warwick Franks

Hemingway having a beer
"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."

-Ernest Hemingway

"You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on."

-Dean Martin

"...there is only one game at the heart of America and that is baseball, and only one beverage to be found sloshing at the depths of our national soul and that is beer."

-Peter Richmond

"Beer needs baseball, and baseball needs beer - it has always been thus."

-Peter Richmond

"I'm going to buy a boat... do a little travelling, and I'm going to be drinking beer!"

-John Welsh, Brooklyn bus driver who won $30 million in the New York lottery

"Who does not love beer, wine, women and song remains a fool his whole life long."

-Carl Worner

Beer is not a good cocktail-party drink, especially in a home where you don't know where the bathroom is.

Billy Carter

Trappist Monk
 "In de hemel is gee daarom drinken wij hee (In heaven there is no beer so we drink it here)."

-- Trappist Monk Proverb

"There can't be good living where there is not good drinking."

-- Benjamin Franklin

"Here's to beer, so amber and pure. Not as sweet as a woman's lips, But a damn sight more sincere."

-- Old Irish Toast

"A beer in the hand is worth two in the case."

-- Walter Breidenstein

A great Craft Beer Story...

A must read, a great story about the craft beer community coming together in Vermont! One more reason to love craft beer!

(just click the link below to read the story)

Craft Beer; A Flood of Support

Beers lined up at "The Alchemist in Vt

Oct 13, 2011

Dogfish Head in the news....

Ran accross this peice this morning about Dogfish Head. One of my favorite breweries. That make a couple of my all time favorites, mainly Palo Santo! I may need to write about them a little more soon! Enjoy...(click the link to open the story)

Dogfish Head in the news....

Oct 11, 2011

Tasting a beer......

This is NOT tasting a beer!
There is huge difference between just drinking a beer, and tasting a beer. To drink a beer, you simple open a bottle, and drink, maybe pouring into a glass, maybe not. However, if you are just drinking the beer, you are missing out on SO much. Just opening a beer, and drinking it out of the can or bottle, is sort of like renting a beach hut on a tropical beach, and spending the entire time you are there, sitting inside, watching TV, with all the windows closed and shades drawn. Sure, it’s a great place to watch TV, but you would be missing so much!

So, this is my suggestion if you want to do more than just drink your beer, this is what I do to "experience" my beer. First things first, make sure it is quite, and you will not be distracted for at least 15 to 30 minutes (easier said than done for those of us with kids I know) but it will help to not have distractions. I wouldn’t recommended doing this in a bar or restaurant either. Not only will you get some looks, it hard to concentrate when you are in public, and the big game is on. Then, you have to select your beer, and the appropriate glassware, because it does make a difference (more on glassware on a later date). Once you have your beer and glass selected, and perfectly poured, you can start your evaluation.

All Styles have thier own "look" to them.

First thing you do, is look at the beer, and not just a passing glance, study it. Raise it in front of you (but not up to direct light, this can obscure the appearance a bit). Look at the head, is it made up of small tight bubbles, or more porous, thick ones? Look at the carbonation dancing along the edge up towards the top of the glass. Just note, not all beer styles look the same. Some may appear cloudy, with sediment (floaties) in them. This is not a defect, some styles call for this. Make sure you know a little about the style of beer you are trying, so you will know what is expected, and what can be considered defective.

"lacing" results from agitation

Once you have had a good look at your beer, give it a little agitation. Swirl the beer around a little in the glass, till the head thickens a bit. This will work to enhance some of the aromatics of the beer, and loosens the carbonation and stimulates the head, and helps retain it.

Take a good sniff
Next, take in the bouquet of the beer. I know, the word bouquet is about as manly as spending the afternoon watching the Lifetime Network, but we need to talk about it. The bouquet (will it help if we call it the aroma, or the nose?) will make the first impression you have of what to expect in the flavor of the beer, and is a vital component of how you interpret the taste. After you agitate the beer, bring the glass up to your nose as close as you are comfortable (you will see wine folks literally stick their nose right down into the glass, this is actually very helpful) and take two short sniffs. You will see a lot of people take a long, drawn out sniff, this is fine, but you can sort of “overload” your system, or in this case, your olfactory senses. Two quick sniffs will give you enough to really experience the beer, without taking in too much, and risk drawing out some of the lesser notes.

Next, the best part, the taste. OK, so this might be considered bad manners, but your first sip, you want to sort of “slurp” the beer. What this does, is sort of sprays the inside of your mouth, most importantly, your tongue and flavor receptors, and gives them an even coating, allowing a more balanced taste. Do not swallow the beer immediately either. Allow the beer to explore and swim around your mouth for a bit. Breathe out through your nose while the beer is still in your mouth. This sounds odd, but trust me, it helps, and you will be amazed. Note the way the beer feels in your mouth (called, oddly enough, Mouthfeel). Notice the body, the intensity of the flavors, and try to see if you can isolate some of the individual flavor component, and what they are, do you taste fruit? If so, what kind, orange, banana, plum? Can you taste the sweetness of the malt, or the smokey, chocolaty flavor of them? This takes practice, but with time, it gets easier and easier, and beside, practicing is so much fun!

Also, let the beer sit a little bit, and let it warm, and keep sipping it as it does. Note how the flavor changes, and intensifies the more the beer warms. This can help you identify the optimum temperature in which that beer works for you.

Everyone enjoys a good beer tasting (or summit)
I also recommended taking notes, nothing to detailed, but some quick words that will help you remember the experience. The most important thing of all to remember is, have fun with it. Don’t take it too seriously; this should be fun, maybe educational, and nothing more. There is no wrong way to describe a beer. I like to write a quick review of a beer, then go on Beer Advocate and read all the reviews of that same beer, and see how they differ, or how they are alike. Don’t ever think what you tasted is wrong however, it is your interpretation of that beer, it’s not a test.

So, I suggest grabbing a beer, a glass, and a pen and paper, and enjoy yourself for a bit. Or do it with friends, and do a group tasting, and compare notes. Again, there is no wrong way to do it; these are just suggestions on getting the most from the tasting experience.

Bottoms up my friends,

Oct 9, 2011

Beer for our Troops!

USCGC Unimak, the boat my dad served on
Now days, it seems we are constantly being hit up or propositioned to help out people in need of support. We can’t walk out of a supermarket without being asked to buy Boy Scout popcorn (which I did buy some yesterday by the way), Girl Scout cookies, or asked to put change in a jar to help this person or that, or getting called during dinner to give to this cause or that cause. It’s hard; most of us don’t have enough money to contribute to every cause or event we would like, so we have to pick and choose carefully who gets our support. Many of us find a cause that is close to our hearts, that has some sort of personal connections to us, and concentrate most of our time, energy and money on that cause. Be it breast cancer, the environment, helping special needs children etc. One cause that I seem to be drawn to is helping support the veterans and families of our military. Never having served myself, I am a huge fan of Naval and Military Aviation history, and I do come from a Navy / Coast Guard family. My dad, a lot of my uncle’s, and grandfather, even my father in law all proudly served in the Navy and Coast Guard. I just feel organizations like "Wounded Warrior Project" do great work, for very deserving people.

How does this relate to beer? Well, I sort of stumbled onto this by accident. I have heard of some breweries making special brew’s that portions or all of the proceeds go to helping these causes. A friend of mine told me about "50 Back" beer over the summer, and since then, I’ve been keeping an eye out for a beer in my area (she is in Mass, I am in Arizona). I hadn’t really searched to long, or honestly, all too hard for one as of yet, but it was something I was thinking about. The other night, I was at Whole Foods, and noticed a Christmas Brew in the sale bin. I saw a great label on a beer; and it was marked at only $4.99 (anyone that has ever shopped for beer at Whole Foods will know this is a bargain!). Christmas beer is among my favorite seasonal style of beer, so I snatched it up. A few nights later, my wife and I opened it up, and I poured us each a glass. I was checking out the label, when I noticed that the label stated that the profits of this product go to support Veterans groups of Iraq and Afghanistan. I was pleasantly surprised. This one almost literally fell into my lap, and I couldn’t have been happier about it.

However, I was even more pleasantly surprised when I tasted it! This was a great beer; it had a great spicy nose to it. It was a very balanced, enjoyable beer. With a generous dose of both hops and malt, and a great mix of spices, it is a great Christmas beer! It’s listed as an American Brown Ale, however, it does drink a little heavier than a standard brown ale, and has a slightly sour, Belgian funk to it, that for me, made it very interesting. I was surprised, and a little disappointed to see it score only a B- on Beer Advocate, since this does drink and taste like a very well crafted, balanced beer to me.

Some High and Mighty Brews
I did a little looking into the beer, and I learned it is made by High and Mighty Brewing Company; the beer itself is brewed at Paper City Brewery), in Holyoke Mass. I am not familiar with this company at all, so I can’t offer up any info on them, however, I can tell you they do have a very enjoyable, albeit limited website. Seems like a fun company, that I would like to learn more about, and try some more of their product.

So please, seek this beer out, or 50 Back, and enjoy them, often, they are very good beers, that go to a great cause. I do ask a favor, if anyone out there reads this, and knows of other beers that contribute to veterans organizations, or any other organizations that are near and dear to your heart, please drop me a line, and let me know about them, I would love to learn more, and try more of these beers. What better way to help a good cause, then by doing something we love to do on a regular basis.