“But You Don’t Like Hoppy Beer”

"But You Don't Like Hoppy Beer"

There’s no stout in that glass…

Regardless of what beer style is your absolute favorite, for the most part we all know what we like, and don’t like. For me, my absolute favorite is that roasted malt flavor in a dark stout, with just a hint of chocolate and/or coffee, and more than likely bourbon barrel aged adding nuances of vanilla and oak. The velvety texture and full body. The smell as I bring it to my face….okay I got lost in a moment there. Sometimes though, that’s not available. Sometimes, I’m just in the mood for something else. Maybe it’s a lemony wit beer. Maybe it’s a funky farmhouse. And, sometimes it’s even an IPA.

“But you don’t like hoppy beers.”

Sigh.

That’s not a true statement, and I hate blanket statements like that. Any time I try a ‘hoppy beer’ and don’t like it, it doesn’t seem to matter what my reasoning is because all everyone thinks they know is that ‘I don’t like hoppy beers’. True, I absolutely adore stouts and porters, but I also really like IPAs. To say that I don’t like ‘hoppy beers’ isn’t accurate, I’m just a lot more particular with what I want my IPA to taste like.

I don’t like hoppy beers that taste bitter. I don’t want a hopped up stout that gives me bitter beer face, so sorry Stormking but you can go somewhere else. I don’t want an IPA that has a ‘malt backbone’ so go away Hopdevil. And I never, ever, want a beer with peppers or grapefruit in them so peace out Habanero and Grapefruit Sculpins. What I want from a ‘hoppy beer’ is citrus. I want it crunchy, juicy, and dank.

stone enjoy by 4/20

I want Bell’s Two Hearted. I want Great Lakes Chillwave. I want Deschutes Chasin Freshies. I want Dogfish Head Aprihop.

The moral of my story is this, each of us have our own palates and preferences. Some people really like those malty IPAs. Some people only drink sours and lambics. Some people hate stouts (gasp). There’s nothing wrong with liking a particular flavor combination, and at the same time disliking other ones. It’s important to explore beers to find out specifically what you love and hate about each beer so you can truly hone in on what you want in the future. There’s so much variety in the craft beer market that it is really hard to hate an entire style of beer. Use good descriptors of what you taste and avoid blanket statements like ‘hoppy beers’. Challenge yourself to up your vocabulary game. Do some research! And most of all, stop telling me that I don’t like hoppy beers.

Harrisburg Beer Week – 120+ Events

Harrisburg Beer Week - Drink LocalWith much anticipation, the count down to the first ever Harrisburg Beer Week is upon us! In just two weeks, a plethora of over 120+ craft beer events will hit the greater Harrisburg area over a 9 day period. Some events take place on a particular day. Other features run through the entire week.

What’s really great? It’s not just about the beer. The Harrisburg River Rescue & Emergency Services benefits from sponsorship, merchandise sales and various fundraising/ticketed events during #HBGBeerWeek. Craft Beer + A Good Cause = Warm & Fuzzies. Let’s all make a point to contribute to this incredible all-volunteer organization and inititative.

HBGBeerWeek - April 24 - May 2, 2015

You are welcome to review the entire list of what’s going on during #HBGBeerWeek:
Daily Events  |  Weeklong Specials

But here are some things I found most interesting. I especially like that there are events for all levels of craft beer imbibers whether you’re just starting out or are quite the expert. Something for everyone.

PAIRINGS

  • Wyndridge Farm Food & Beer Prix Fixe Menu – Apr 24 – May 2, Cafe Fresco Center City Harrisburg
  • Chimay & Cheese Pairing – Apr 24, 7pm, Wegman’s
  • Victory Brewing Co Beer Dinner – Apr 26, 6pm, The Mill in Hershey
  • Dutch Beer & Artisanal Chocolate Pairing – Apr 27, 7pm, Black Gryphon
  • St. Boniface Beer & Cheese Pairing – Apr 28, 5pm, Rubicon
  • Deschutes Beer & Food Pairing – Apr 29, 5pm, Sturges Speakeasy
  • Troegs Beer & Ice Cream Pairing – May 1, 6-9pm, Grain + Verse Bottlehouse
  • Wyndridge Farm Beer & Cider Pairing Dinner – May 1, 6pm, Noonan’s Tavern

FESTS! FESTS! FESTS!

EDUCATIONAL

  • Lager 101 with ABC + Sampling – Apr 27, 6-8pm, ABC Mechanicsburg
  • Beer Science – Apr 28, 1-4pm, Al’s of Hampden
  • Lancaster Brewing Co. Meet the Brewer – Apr 28, 5-7pm, LBC Harrisburg
  • Craft Beer 101 – Apr 29, 6-7:30pm, Cafe 1500
  • PA Women in Craft Beer Conference - May 1, 5-8pm, JPL
  • Learn to Homebrew - May 2, 9am-Noon, Al’s of Hampden

ENTERTAINMENT

NEW, UNUSUAL & RARE BREWS

  • 717 Collaboration Ale from Troegs, ABC & Pizza Boy. Made specially for Harrisburg Beer Week!
  • Evolution Brewing Double Barrel-Aged Brews – Apr 24, Brewhouse Grille
  • Imminent Liquidation V Bottle Share - Apr 25, 12-4pm, Grain + Verse Bottlehouse
  • Victory Brewing Co. Firkin – Apr 25, 5pm, Brewhouse Grille
  • Stouts & Stilettos Saison 28 Release Party (aka Tierney’s Birthday Beer) – Apr 28, 8:30pm, Zeroday Brewing Co.
    Note… this is an after-party for folks who have attended the FREE ‘Brewed in the Burg’ Documentary.
  • Great Lakes Brewing Co. Limited Releases – Apr 28, All Day, The Warwick Hotel
  • Evil Genius Randall Party – Apr 29, 7pm, Federal Taphouse Harrisburg
  • Draai Laag Brewing Co. & Meet the Brewer – Apr 30, 6pm, Black Gryphon
  • Moo-Duck Brewery Special Beer Release – Apr 30, 6:30-7:30pm, Moo-Duck Brewery
  • Arooga’s Double Wingstinguisher IPA Firkin – May 1, 5:30pm, Arooga’s Hershey
  • The Little Big Beer Fest (festival of high ABV beers and brews made just for this event) – May 2, 2-5pm, Abbey Bar at ABC Harrisburg

BE IN THE KNOW…
Be sure to sign up for the Harrisburg Beer Week email alerts. They will be sending one every day of HBW so you get a list of the events going on that day.

> SIGN UP NOW!


(Follow Me On: Twitter & Untapped: @dzyngrl | Instagram: @dzyngrl14)

Brewing Saison 28 with Zeroday Brewing

zeroday brewing logo
There’s no fancy way to say this. Brewing is hard work. I’ve watched people brew before, I’ve home brewed before, but I have never brewed on a professional system. At least not until now.

Zeroday Brewing is a brand new brewery that just opened in Midtown Harrisburg this past Wednesday. The owners, Brandalynn and Theo Armstrong, just happen to be best friends of mine. Theo, head brewer, and I have brewed my birthday saison together for the past few years, and they extended the offer to continue brewing this beer each year until we physically can’t brew it anymore.

Theo and I sat down and discussed what I wanted the beer to taste like this year. Sometimes it is more difficult than you think to really hammer down each nuance of what it is that you want. I wanted some farm house funk, but not a sour or tart beer. I wanted a citrusy hop flavor, but not grapefruit or orange, more lemony. I wanted it medium bodied. Theo listened and asked questions until we hammered down the recipe we wanted.

The idea behind my birthday saison is that the basic recipe for the beer remains the same, but each year a different variation is created for a unique brew. This year’s recipe will be a hoppy saison featuring Pacific Gem hops from New Zealand, and a bit of Zeus hops for aroma.

"It's fucking hard!"

A photo posted by Theo (@zerodaytheo) on

I arrived at the brewery on a Saturday morning, ready to commit the full day to making my birthday brew. A full day it what it took. After getting the water heated up, Theo pointed to a pile of grain sacks and said ‘there’s your beer, now brew it.’ I ground up all the grain myself, minus the first few bags so I could learn how. I hooked up hoses and nozzles and tubes and clamps. I stirred my wort. I shoveled heavy wet grains out of the mash tun. I measured and added hops. I hooked up more tubes and clamps. Seriously you guys, I brewed this beer myself the hard way.

You betta work! We put Tierney to work today, really brewing it the "hard" way. #TierneyGrainsOut

A video posted by Zeroday Brewing Co. (@zerodaybrewing) on

After grinding the grains around noon I was already exhausted, and I wasn’t even close to finished. To say that my muscles were sore the next day is an understatement. But, despite the physical pain it may have caused my weak arms, getting that tun shoveled out felt so rewarding. Cleaning up at the end of the day knowing that I just put all my day’s effort into making my own beer to share with you all felt amazing. It’s easy to take pride in a product that you personally created with every fiber of your being, sweat and all.

Soon I will go back to transfer Saison 28 from the fermenter to the brite tank. After that, we will keg it. Then, on April 28th, you can drink it. In conjunction with Harrisburg Beer Week, we will be releasing my Saison 28 around 7:30 pm at Zeroday Brewing Company, following the screening of Brewed in the Burg at the Midtown Cinema. I hope that if you can, you will join me for a pint and enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Please note that due to capacity restrictions, the release on 4/28 will have limited admission, and will require you to show a ticket stub from the Brewed in the Burg screening at the Midtown Cinema. After 4/28 Saison 28 will continue to be on draft while it lasts.

Chelsie’s Spring 2015 Craft Beer Picks

Chelsie's Spring 2015 Craft Beer PicksI thought the day would never come. A day where the winter freeze would subside and give way to warmer temperatures and spring flowers starting to poke up through the soil. It’s a blazing 61 degrees today and I jumped at the opportunity to get outside and soak up the sun.

Here are my Spring 2015 craft beer cravings:

Lawson’s: Sip of Sunshine IPA
First of all, let me just say “thank you” for putting this in a 16oz can. Great for outdoor excursions. It’s something new for Lawson’s Finest Liquids… distributing in a can. I’m so glad they did! The brew is full on hops. Floral. Citrus. Piney. All of the hops. This is a really great IPA. Is it the best in the world? No. But it is indeed quite tasty.  8% ABV

Read more about Chelsie’s adventure to Lawson’s Finest Liquids here.

Einstök Ölgerð: Icelandic White Ale
Smooth and malty. Orange peel and coriander notes. One of my go-to craft beer selections when the sky is clear, the sun is blazing and nothing but cool breezes. I first tried this refreshing ale after friends of mine brought it back for me direct from Iceland. I was pleasantly surprised last summer to find out I now can get it in a few stellar bottle shops in adjacent states. Road trip! 5.2% ABV

Intangible Ales: Future Primitive Farmhouse Ale
Full on funk in a bottle! Dare I say funkalicious? I dare. This complex farmhouse ale has notes of grapefruit, lemon, earth, floral and honey. Pairs nicely with a well-crafted charcuterie board. This is a corked and cage bottle, folks. Let’s get our pinkies out and drink it from a proper tulip glass. One of my favorite things to do… get a little fancy.  7.2% ABV

Tröegs: Cultivator Helles Bock
Not your typical Helles. I find this variation to be a nice balance between malty (bread) and juicy hops (floral). Much more flavorful than other helles beers I’ve tried. And, it has pretty respectable ABVs in my book. Be sure to get your hands on this seasonal brew if you can.  6.9% ABV  |  25 IBUs

Off Color: Apex Predator Farmhouse Ale
I have to admit that the label art drew me in and compelled me to try this brew. And, I was so glad I did. Funky, bubbly, with a slight tartness. I literally can’t get enough of it. So much so, my husband Derek is in the process of trying to clone it. He’s done two batch variations so far. And, I must say he’s getting close with his second batch!  6.8% ABV  |  35 IBUs


(Follow Me On: Twitter & Untapped: @dzyngrl | Instagram: @dzyngrl14)

Top 50 Breweries of 2014

Today the Brewer’s Association released more statistical information about the 2014 fiscal year, specifically the Top Breweries of 2014 based on sales. I’m feeling #PAproud for Yuengling, who are right there in that number one spot, even if many have personally written them off as ‘not craft beer’. Other PA proud craft breweries of note include Victory Brewing and, for the first time, Troegs Brewing Company. Check out the full list below:

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Prism Brewing Shady Blonde: 30 Second Beer Review

Prism Brewing Shady Blonde: 30 Second Beer Review

On a bleak Wednesday while watching Mr. Selfridge, I decided I needed to open a beer and brighten my day. The fridge is almost always full, but I wanted something new. Something spring-like. Something to shake the blahs out of an otherwise uneventful day. I decided upon Prism Brewing‘s Shady Blonde.

As soon as you open the bottle, it’s like a ray of sunshine comes out. Immediately your are hit with the scent of summer – fruit, flowers, and blue skies on the horizon. The aroma is overwhelming yet pleasant with firm scents of orange and a hint of clove. It pours a beautiful golden-orange color with a bit of cloudiness. The flavor is consistent with the aroma yet with a surprisingly bitter finish.

Prism Brewing Dirty Blonde: 30 Second Beer Review

Prism Brewing is located 10 miles outside of Philadelphia. Their logo is inspired by Pink Floyd and they only use whole, natural, and fresh ingredients in their flavorful ales. This isn’t my first Prism brew; I’ve seen them around a few brewfests before. If you see this brew, be sure to grab one and open a ray of sunshine.

Color: Golden Orange
Aroma: citrus, allspice
Taste: orange, bitter hop finish
Body: medium
About: Blonde Ale with blood oranges added, 4.5% ABV


 

Disclosure: I received a bottle of the beer mentioned above directly from Prism Brewing as part of their press kit. Stouts and Stilettos is not affiliated with Prism Brewing and received no compensation in exchange for promotion or review. 

Zeroday Brewing Co Announces April 8 Opening

zeroday brewing logo

Midtown Harrisburg, are you ready to rock? Today, the brand-new Zeroday Brewing Company announced they will finally officially open on April 8 2015. This road has been an arduous one for them, and we are all anticipating their big day.

To be coy in telling their story, they are truly living the dream. Theo Armstrong, head brewer, started as a home brewer like many before him. One day, while hanging out in their hot tub, he and his wife, Brandalynn Armstrong, began a discussion of taking his passion and skill for brewing and officially making it ‘a thing’. With encouragement from each other, family, friends, and the community, the Armstrongs began a two year journey from Alter Ego Brewing’s Indiegogo campaign, to Zeroday Brewing’s 80 seat tasting room and 400 barrel brewhouse with a grand opening date on the books.

The arduous portion began with a necessary name-change due to trademark issues, continued with delays in licensing, and then that dock workers’ strike that kept their brewhouse hanging out in the middle of the ocean for what seemed like forever. Add that on top of any normal stresses one may be experiencing when trying to open a business, and it really seemed like this day would never come. Their unwavering resiliency and dedication to their work, and each other, is what has helped build this brewery (along with lots of beer and even more rap music).

zeroday logo open graphic

Zeroday Brewing Company will launch with 4 flagship beers: First Born (dry stout), Cheap Date (American blonde), Wit’s End (Belgian wit), and Zeroday IPA. Also available currently is their house-made ginger beer for all your Moscow/Kentucky mule needs. They plan to serve light finger foods like local cheeses and meats. Please join us in welcoming them with open-arms not just to the Harrisburg community, but to the craft beer community as a whole on April 8th.

Craft Breweries Are Getting A Grown Up Look

It’s no secret that developing a strong brand personality, no matter what industry you are in, is smart and effective. Competition is fierce right now in the craft beer world and getting noticed in the very crowded shelf-space is essential. It’s survival of the fittest and at times, the best packaging design trumps beer quality. At the point of purchase, customers that have never tried your product have no idea what your beer tastes like. But, if they’re intrigued with your bottle or carrier design or make a connection with what they’re seeing, they may just take the leap of faith and give it a try. Sometimes psychological and emotional connections are far greater than the rating a beer gets on Untappd, Beer Advocate or other beer rating app or service.

Good design doesn’t have to be expensive but sometimes you get what you pay for. Brewery start ups often are pinching pennies – putting their money into getting their facility up and running. Busy getting their taprooms filled with customers. So I completely understand how logo designs and product packaging artwork gets pushed to the side or done on the cheap. Not all breweries do this but I see it more often than not. And, then there are the breweries that have been around for a long while. They are now to the point where they are re-assessing their image and have the money to make big changes to tighten up what it is they look like and sound like. They’ve reached a level of maturity and are ready to make a sophisticated mark with their branding efforts.

NEW BELGIUM BREWING CO.
I think one of my favorite craft beer re-design examples is from New Belgium Brewing Company. In early 2014, they launched new packaging artwork by Hatch Design (which are design rockstars in my book).

New Belgium Brewing Co. Packaging Re-Design(packaging photography from: http://www.underconsideration.com)

Even though the previous design had a hand-done look with the watercolor paintings, Hatch interpreted these works of art with a cleaner, simpler result. Less is more. Get rid of the minute details and bolster the impression. The bold san-serifed font is a welcomed site as well. So smart that they repeated the name of the brewery directly under the logo. Because at a distance, the logo is extremely hard to read. Maybe a logo design will be in the future?

> Read More About It

GREAT LAKES BREWING CO.
Great Lakes is in the process of going through a face lift. In December 2014, they announced a complete overhaul of their logo and that product packaging designs were imminent in 2015. Since then they have unveiled the new logo which has a much more sleeker, cleaner look. Gone are the hops and grain illustration. While the font weight was beefed up to have a bolder presence.

Great Lakes Brewing Co. Logo Redesign

The new packaging design will launch late May/early June and I absolutely can’t wait to see it. Especially since Great Lakes commissioned Darren Booth, illustrator-extraordinaire, to whirl his magical, collagey artistry over the bottle label and carrier surfaces. IT. WILL BE. BREATHTAKING.

> Read More About It

STAR HILL BREWERY
Oh, my heart be still. Guys and gals of Storyware, you totally nailed this!!! Like, it’s so good I want to give you all a big fat sloppy kiss. The hand-done lettering of the wordmark and the stamp quality of the icon make this an A+. So smart to play down the icon and let the name garner more attention. It’s now balanced in weight. Is much more contemporary in look/feel yet not so sleek that the brand looses its “craft” personality.

Star Hill Brewery Logo Redesign
Looking forward to what’s in store for their packaging design and website. Storyware will nail this all as well. I have no doubt. And, they are even going to make the website mobile-friendly. Thank you! A million “thank you”s.

> Read More About It


(Follow Me On: Twitter & Untapped: @dzyngrl | Instagram: @dzyngrl14)

Tell Us About Your First Time…

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These are a few of my favorite things...

The other night the Harrisburg Beer Week team, including myself, was invited to be on Breakfast Beers with Chachi & Jenna podcast. In discussion about all things beer week, and inevitably all things craft beer, we got into a conversation regarding your first craft beer and how you got into craft beer over other beverages.

This really got me thinking about that one beer that can change everything. For me, it was Victory Golden Monkey. Imagine drinking pitchers of Coors Lite forever and then discovering a tasty golden beverage that’s sweet, flavorful, and packs more of a punch than most beers. I didn’t even know that beer could have a flavor beyond ‘beer flavor.’ I didn’t know that local breweries existed. I never could have imagined that this one beverage would foster an unquenchable passion. It was a life-changing moment. 

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Found on my Facebook circa 2008. I've come a long way.

I won’t dare compare a beer to meeting your new born child or a career change to your dream job, but in a lot of ways it can be similar to your ‘first time’. The rush and thrill of something new and exciting. The way it makes you feel afterwards, your change in life perspective, the desire for more.

Or maybe that’s all just me? Either way, I want to know what beer was your first. Which beer was the one that changed your ways? What was it about that beer that made it so special, or unspecial? Tell me the story of YOUR first time.

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