Beers I want for Christmas..

If I were to send Santa a beer list this year, I’d put the following:

Sam Adams Utopia: Even Santa would scoff at the price of this beer ($120 24 oz bottle), but boy it sure would be interesting to try – article here.

Samichlaus Bier: A Swiss Lager brewed once a year, aged for a year in a cold secondary fermentation. After reading the following article on how this beer was made, it made me want to try it more! – article here. (available at Merchants Dearborn.. hint hint).

Jolly Pumpkin Noel de Calabaza: Ok, I have to admit, I couldn’t wait for Santa on this one – I have one aging in my garage now. I went to the brewery and sampled some of this. I can’t wait to open it! – review here (I’ve heard these are in Ann Arbor, and I saw them in Toledo – Andersons).

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine: This is probably fairly common, but I haven’t had it in a year, so I thought I would throw it on the list. Last year Ashley’s in Ann Arbor had it on tap for a bit. – review here

Stone Russian Imperial Stout: I don’t think I’ve seen this anywhere, but to round out my list with a heavy beer, I thought I would pick one I haven’t tried yet. Sounds amazing. – review here

Honestly Santa, I’d settle for just about anything. Just head to a fine beer store and ask the clerk to help you pick out a really good mix of beers, and I’d be happy. Don’t forget some salty snacks for my stocking!

What beers are on your list to Santa?

The Blizzard of 07…What will you be drinking?

10 to 12 inches of snow by the end of the day today. Perfect weather for sitting back  drinking one of your favorite craft beers. (Or brewing a beer in the garage, which it looks like we might be doing today.) 

Right now I’ m not actually drinking a beer. Instead I am drinking what’s left of a wassail punch I made for a party last night. A concoction of cranberry, apple and lemon juice, brandy, and red wine,  warmed in a slowcooker for four-six hours with a muslin bag full of cloves and cinnamon sticks, garnished with orange slices.

Later I’ll be trying my first 2007 Anchor Brewing Company Christmas Ale. They make a unique Christmas beer every year. No two batches are the same.

What will you be drinking today?

Come for the Tour Stay for the Beer

Last Saturday(12/8/07) was a day to celebrate the 11th anniversary of one of the most unique breweries in the state of Michigan, Arcadia Brewing Co. It was our first visit to the brewery and initially we were only going for the Michigan Brewer’s Guild membership tour between 1pm -3pm. Once we got there we came to the conclusion that we would need to stay longer than planned. Luckily we found a walking distance hotel and someone to feed our 2 cats which the brewer and our tour guide, Bryan Wiggs seemed to get a kick out of.

The day started off with a tour of the brewery. They have a Paul Austin brewery which is meant to give the beer an English feel reflecting on 250 years of brewing history. They have a 25 barrel system and open fermenters and use nothing but English malts, Northwest American hops and Ringwood yeast. They also “burtonize” their water which hardens the water in order to get to be more like the waters of Burton-on-Trent. This gives their beer a real English feel. Their dedication to brewing in this uniquely English style has paid off. This year they won a silver in the Barley Wine Style category with their Cereal Killer Barley Wine at the Great American Beer Festival. I got to try this beer later and it was excellent. They have won many other medals at the World Cup and won praises in Scotland’s Tradition Ale Festival by being named one of the finest cask ales served at their 1997 festival.

After the tour we had to leave in order to allow them to get prepared for the Anniversary party. So we went down to a local beer bar called Griffin bar and grille. They have a funny little slogan there,”Good for what ales you”. They back it up with 31 taps plus 2 hand-pulls. The hand-pulls they had on Saturday were Arcadia Scotch Ale and Bell’s Two Hearted. It had an old time pub feel andwas almost as good as having a Bells’ cask. I heard they sometimes serve something called Amberon which a combination Bell’s Oberon and a Bell’s Amber in a hand-pull tap. I have to come back when that is on tap.

We then went to the Arcadia 11th anniversary party. They went all out with their employees dressed in kilts, an address to the haggis, bagpipes and a Celtic band(Fonn Mor). A great sounding fun band. If you ever get a chance you should check them out. The highlight of the evening was the release of a 2 new beers every hour. My wife and I would split each of these beers so we could hang out without over doing it and if you drink only what is released you will only have a pint an hour. The highlights were the Hop Rocket a triple I.P.A. and Cereal Killer Barley Wine. They also had a Cherry Cocoa Loco which is a chocolate stout that seemed pretty light on the cherries but I really like the regular Cocoa Loco so I’d prefer no cherries anyway. The best part is, we had a good showing from the MI Craft Beer group so we had a lot of great people to hang out with.

On a final note we ran into Bill Metzger. Bill is the publisher of Brewing News. This area(MI) is covered by the Great Lakes Brewing News. It is a great paper for info on what is happening in the world of beer but I read it for the articles. These papers are available in all areas of the country and they are a great help when planning your vacation…that is if you vacation like us and want to check out the local breweries. Saturday, Bill and was outto have fun but he is often at events like this to sell products from the Brewing News web site. One of my favorites is the “Make Beer Not War” t-shirt.

The Beer Store – Canada

I saw this picture today on Awesomeology. The picture has been around for years, but it made me think of my younger days. We would pile in a car, with the sole destination of crossing the bridge into Canada and hitting The Beer Store. At the time, the $ exchange rate was much better, so we were getting a heck of a deal on the beer we’d bring back.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit one of these, they are pretty amazing. You walk back into a walk in cooler like grocery store. There are aisles and stacks of just beer.

For kicks, I Googled “The Beer Store Canada” and found their website. I was quite impressed. They have a huge selection of beers to browse, and a slick store locater tool. I haven’t visited Canada in several years, partially because I’ve heard it takes a while to get across the border, but it sure would be fun to check out the ol’ Beer Store again. Great to see they are still around. Wonder if they’d consider venturing the business to the States?! In the mean time… who’s up for a road trip? 🙂

Happy Repeal Day!

Police seize illegal barrels of alcoholOctober 28th, 1919, the Volstead Act was passed through Congress. At the time, prohibition was the solution that would put an end to drunkenness, poverty, criminal activity and mental illness.

For 13 long years (beginning January 16th 1920), it was constitutionally banned to manufacture, sell or transport alcohol in the United States.

Long story short, as you can imagine, the plan didn’t work. People drank more, and organized crime increased dramatically.

In 1932, Franklin Roosevelt ran for president. One of his platforms was to repeal prohibition. He was elected and proposed his repeal in March of 1933.

On December 5th, 1933 the 21st amendment was ratified, lifting the ban on alcohol throughout the United States. The modified amendment put the decision in the hands of individual states, to create their own laws.

So, if you needed a reason to have a beer tonight, raise your glass and thank Mr. Roosevelt for putting an end to prohibition, which really helped to set a precedence for the many freedoms we enjoy in this wonderful country of ours.