Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My new favorite mug

I wanted to post a thank you to my wife for putting together the coolest coffee mug for me as a Christmas present! Now I really can drink at work! >:)

If you're interested in one you can contact her at her company website and she'd be happy to sell them to you! For those times when you'd much rather have a beer but require coffee, this mug is for you. :)

Thanks again Jen! You're the greatest!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Judging a Beer by its Label

Appreciating the nectar of the gods from the outside of the bottle

Hi all! I’m Jen, Shaun’s wife (aka the beer widow). My appreciation for beer starts with the design of the label and packaging. But of course, that’s my day job too.

I attended a graphic design conference a couple of weeks ago sponsored by AIGA Seattle. One of the seminars had my name on it: “Judging a Beer by its Label.” Well, my name wasn’t on it, but I really had to go to this one.
Elmer de la Cruz and Jay Hilburn, graphic designers at Hornall Anderson Design Works in Seattle, walked us through the history of Widmer Brothers’ label and package design and gave us some tasting tips and *samples*.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Founders Porter - Dark, Rich, and Sassy (not quite sexy)

Mark sent me a great haul this time out and I'm moving through them to get them all up. Mark knows porters are my favorite style. They have a soft spot in my heart. It was the first style that really expanded my beer taste thanks to those pioneers at Anchor Brewing.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Founders Harvest Ale - Wet Hopped for Your Pleasure

This is the next beer in the latest batch from Mark. Founder's Harvest Ale. A Wet hopped Ale and one of their specials that only comes out once per year. Wet hopping is using fresh picked hops that have not been dried or ground up and formed in to plugs or pellets that you may see in your homebrew store. The hops have more moisture in them and are less bitter as their flavors have not been concentrated in the drying and processing that typically happens. They do tend to lend more terroir, to borrow a wine term.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dark Horse Brewing Tres Blueberry Stout - Like Grandma Used to Make!

This is one of the latest Mark has sent me from one of his favorite Midwestern Breweries. Dark Horse Brewing. I still have to dig in to the two Founders beers sitting in the fridge. Fear not Mark, I can't wait to get to them. As always thanks buddy for an amazing selection of stuff we can't up here in PACNW. Specifically Mark has provided me a rare gift of Dark Horse Brewing's Tres Blueberry Stout. Sounds yummy and intriguing.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Arrowton New Zealand - Arrow Brewing

When you visit New Zealand (not if) you'll be compelled to visit Queenstown in the South Island. It is a small resort town that is Aspen Colorado for Extreme Sports. The town has bungee jumping, jet boating, and hang gliding coming out of it pores. It's a fun little town on a scenic lake with majestic mountains all around. We received a tip from our hotel front desk woman to check out a small craft brewer in the next town over Arrowtown. So being in an adventure seeking mood we couldn't resist...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hallertau Brewery and Restaurant - Auckland NZ

Our first stop in New Zealand was Auckland, their largest city. Outside of Auckland off the beaten path to the Northwest is Hallertau Brew Bar and Restaurant.  It's a beautiful place with a mix of rustic and upscale decor that make it feel fancy but cozy and comfortable at the same time. As if it's the local watering hole by day for you and your buddies to hang out. At night it transforms in to a classy restaurant with amazing food your date would be head over heels for. And they make beer!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mikkeller Czechet Pilsner

Based on the messages I've been receiving from Shaun lately, he's had a fun time in Seattle trying some barrel aged beers at a recent organized event and at an informal tasting among friends.  Meanwhile, back here in Chicago, I've been trying my share of delicious brews myself ranging across many varieties. I recently wrote about Mikkeller whose beers I've tried recently and become fond of.  They're now on my "will try anything they brew unless it's brewed with mayo" list, and I just came across the Czechet Pilsner they brew in Belgium.  I love pils as one of my most cherished styles of beer, but they can be very ordinary.  Just pick up a macrobrew.  If Mikkeller brewed the pils and it's brewed in Belgium, the possibilities are endless. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Founders Newaygo County Cherry

As you are aware, I can't say enough good things about Founders Brewing.  We get a decent amount of their product in Chicago and I sure wish we got a whole lot more.  So, when a friend tipped me off that Whole Foods' flagship Lincoln Park store - the one with 20 taps around the store and you can take your beer shopping with you - had a "brandy" barreled cherry beer from Founders, I had to make a special detour.  The Newaygo County Cherry is what they call it.  Not brandy, it's actually a bourbon barreled version of Founders' Cerise cherry beer, which is a summer release available in bottles where you can get Founders.  A web search confirms that this beer is generally understood to be bourbon barreled.