#StoutDay 2014 with S&S and The Sturges Speakeasy

by: Tierney

international stout day

International Stout Day is approaching and of course we’re ready to celebrate. Mark your calendars for November 6th and an epic party at The Sturges Speakeasy! We’re planning on having lots of stouts on tap, giveaways thanks to Wilsbach Distributing, half price drafts from 5-7 and more. Be sure to RSVP to our Facebook event for the latest updates.

The stout day taplist to include:

Elysian Dragonstooth
Deschutes Obsidian *nitro*
Elysian Dark O The Moon
Evolution Rise Up Stout
Weyerbacher Heresy
Spring House Big Gruesome

Quick rundown:

When: Thursday November 6th at 5pm
Where: The Sturges Speakeasy 400 Forster St Harrisburg
What: International Stout Day aka an excuse to come to the dark side for the day (as if you needed one). Check out how we’ve celebrated in the past.

Pumpkin Beers – What We Love and Hate

by: Tierney

 

pizza boy pumpkin

Over the past few years it’s been interesting to explore how pumpkin beers have evolved. One of the main reasons I fell in love with craft beer is for the variety of flavors, and pumpkin was definitely a huge drawing point to my early palate. Some of the first ones I ever sampled are pioneers at this point such as Southern Tier Pumking and Smuttynose. Pumpkin beers aren’t just ales anymore either with pumpkin porters and stouts emerging. There are even pumpkin sours and lambics to try if you’re game for something strange.

To say that ‘you don’t like pumpkin beers’ really isn’t a statement one can make anymore with the plethora of varieties on the market. When you tell me that you don’t like pumpkin beers, all I hear is that you had one before that tasted a way you didn’t like and now you’re not willing to try any others. It’s just like the people who say they don’t like IPAs or don’t like stouts. There are some great pumpkin beers available and we want you to give them a second chance.

Pumpkin Beers 2014- What We Love and HateSo, this will not be a ranking list. I repeat, this is not a ranking list. If I have to read one more post about ‘the best pumpkin beers ranked’ or ‘top 10 pumpkin beers’ I might have to quit the internet. People have been asking what pumpkin beers we think are the best and have we had this or that one, so, we put our heads together to give you a list, unranked, of what we like. Everyone’s tastes are different, which we found quickly when discussing our favorites. Without further ado, here are each of our pumpkin beer recommendations, without rank or bullshit.

Tierney loves:

  • Elysian Punkuccino: “it’s like a pumpkin spice latte for grown ups. The aromas is strong with cinnamon and coffee, and the flavor is to die for. I can’t get enough.”
  • Terrapin Imperial Pumpkin Pie Porter: “once again, this is a great combination of pumpkin spice flavor, cinnamon, and sweet pumpkin flavor mixed with the roasted accents of a wonderful porter. Hunt it down and get you one”
  • Pizza Boy Brewing Punkin Disorderly: “I wish there was more of this beer for you to try, but it’s already gone. Al and Terry do a fantastic job of capturing the pure essence of a pumpkin beern on this one with hints of marshmallow and coconut right next to that gourdy almost sweet potato flavor.”

Chelsie loves:

  • Dogfish Head Punkin Ale: “The one and only. It’s a classic. I mean who doesn’t like pumpkin pie in a bottle? Not too spicy. Not too sweet. Nice ABVs: 7%”
  • Elysian Punkuccino: “What Tierney said. It’s so freaking good. This is coming from a girl who generally doesn’t dig a coffee flavored beer.”
  • Springhouse Brewing BRAAIIINS!: “Ok. So if DFH Punkin Ale is pumpkin pie in a bottle, this is pumpkin pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. Sugary sweet. And, I have one hell of a sweet tooth.”

Colleen loves: 

  • Southern Tier Warlock: “It’s different. There aren’t many pumpkin flavored imperial stouts out there! Souther Tier’s Pumpking is one of the beers that made me LOVE pumpkin beers, but Warlock makes other pumpkin beers seem not nearly good enough.”
  • Sam Adams Fat Jack: “This was a total surprise. They call it a “double” pumpkin beer which just sounded silly to me. But, it really tastes great! It’s got a great smokiness to it that is perfect for the cooler temperatures this time of year.”

BUT we’ve decided that we hate the following:

  • Elysian Hanzel & Gretel. Tierney says “it tastes like salt water mixed with ginger that you threw up. It’s easily one of the worst beers I’ve ever had”. Colleen said “oh god…yeah…vomit. That’s all I can think about with that one”
  • Crown Valley Imperial Pumpkin Stout. While Tierney kinda like it, Chelsie says “There’s way too much going on flavor-wise. Spice, Coffee, Boozy, Sweet, Hoppy, Chocolate. Biscuity. Vanilla. Not my preference.”

The Cats of Craft Beer

by: Tierney

pusheen fall

Craft beer and cats probably aren’t two things that you associate with one-another. Dogs seem to be the preferred pet of choice in the scene with dog named beers and breweries. When’s the last time you walked in a brewery and picked up collar with a bottle opener on it for your cat? You haven’t, because they don’t exist (please prove me wrong!), and they should. Beer cats are out there people! Does no one remember Monster, Brooklyn Brewery’s resident tour guide and host? He was beloved by so many, may he rest in peace.

Chelsie and I both have a beer kitties in our life. My lovely tortie-cat Simcoe is known to be a guest contributor by laying on my keyboard until she gets her way. Chelsie has Bella, Jasmine and Sophie, three little ladies who like to hang out in empty beer cases.

I took to Twitter one evening, a little grumpy about the lack of craft beer kitty gear and found even more hop kitties are out there. Tired Hands and Forgotten Boardwalk both hopped in too with great office kitties.

Do you have a hop kitty? A crafty little feline? Let us know, and we’ll add them to the post. CRAFT BEER CATS UNITE!

#DrinkLocal – A Visit to Sunny Brae Hops Farm

by: Colleen

sunny brae hops

Here at Stouts & Stilettos we truly believe in the idea of #DrinkLocal, but here’s a question for you – how ‘local’ is your beer if it’s made down the street, but the hops are being shipped in all the way from the West Coast? Luckily there are people in our area who are working to bring hop farming to Central PA. I met up with Adam Dellinger, owner of Sunny Brae Hops to learn more about what he is doing.

Adam has a masters degree in soil science. Did you even know that was a thing? Well, it is, and it’s pretty interesting! He wanted to use this background to grow something more interesting than vegetables. Grapes were one option, but being a fan of beer he decided to try out hops!

#DrinkLocal - a visit to Sunny Brae Hops Farm

Right now, Adam is growing about a quarter of an acre of hops. Two-thirds of them are Cascade while the other third are Centennial. While I visited in a time that wasn’t optimal for harvesting, Adam pulled a few hops off the branches for me to check out. It was such a beautiful scent that stuck on my fingers. I just wanted to breathe in that incredible aroma! Adam also informed me that hops are sometimes used in aromatherapy because they are said to be calming. I believe it! I want to rub them all over my pillow when I go to sleep.

While he isn’t selling his product quite yet, Adam is getting his product into the hands of some local brewers to see what they can do with it. Recently The Brewery at Hershey used Sunny Brae Hops to wet hop a firkin of their Hip Hop Hooray which was tapped by Al’s of Hampden. Adam also gave me a taste of a homebrew he did with his friend Karl Larson. I have to say it was pretty freaking cool to sip on a fresh, aromatic brew while standing in the field where the hops were grown!

#DrinkLocal - A Visit to Sunny Brae Hops Farm in Central PAIn the next year or two Adam is hoping to expand his hop field and add another acre. Just like grapevines, it takes a bit of time for the plants to be fully functioning. The roots have to grow and give the plants much needed nutrients. The first harvest only yielded about 10% of the plants capability. So with the addition of new plants the maturation of these, a few years from now Sunny Brae Hops will be able to produce a lot more.

Visiting Adam’s farm was very cool. I’m excited for what he is doing! This is a whole different side of the craft beer making process that many haven’t explored or even thought about, so it’s so interested to see what Adam is doing.

Want to try some of these fresh hops yourself? Sunny Brae Hops will be used in an upcoming Full Moon Firkin event at Troegs so keep an eye out for that!

happy hop bines

#Hoptail Recipe: the Mason Dixon Shandy

by: Tierney

image

While I love mimosas as much as the next person sometimes I like to switch it up a bit. Last summer, I got creative and decided to take a beer twist on the classic mimosa, then throw in some extra goodies. I’m not a great mixologist but I do know what tastes good together. With the help of my favorite bartender Erin, who made this magically proportionate, The Mason Dixon Shandy was born! It’s a crisp and refreshing hoptail perfect with your breakfast or on a hot day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle hefeweizen
  • 1 oz peach schnapps or peach vodka
  • 2-3 oz Orange juice

Combine peach booze and orange juice in glass. Top off with hefeweizen of your choice, we used Troegs Dreamweaver. Put in mouth!

Craft Beer Gear: Upcycled Beer Signs

by: Chelsie

For the past 10 years, my husband Derek and I have been turning our passion for craft beer into art. Not only am I a designer and artist but I am also somewhat of a hoarder. Well not really -I just like to save things from going into the trash that could be repurposed and reused, especially things that are beautifully designed, like craft beer packaging. I mean, some of the artwork is incredibly stunning. The colors. The typography. The illustrations. Not to mention the vast range of art styles that are represented. Each brewery’s brand identity is unique.

Derek came up with the idea to save these works of art that we hesitated to throw in the recycle bin. He’s really the master craftsman. He taught me how to build the frames and do the overall assembly so we can work together on our little hobby. And, I help identify which pieces of artwork people would most likely hang on their walls. > View How Each is Made (below)

The upcycled beer signs are great gift ideas for those hard to shop for folks. They can be used to decorate for the holidays – I have pumpkin beers listed and Christmas themed artwork as well. Of course, the man cave or basement bar wouldn’t be complete without some craft beer art.

SIX-PACK HOLDERS
We use the long side of the holder which has the most art square footage on the packaging.

Upcycled Beer Signs from 6 Packs

FOUR-PACK HOLDERS
Since these are smaller pieces of artwork, we mount and shadow box either a bottle cap, real dried hop leaf, top of a cork or other element from the packaging above the four pack.

Upcycled Beer Signs from 4 Packs, Caps & Corks

ALUMINUM CANS
The artwork on the cans is carefully cut out and then flattened. These are interesting because they have a slight reflective quality adding a bit of intrigue and dimension.

Upcycled Beer Signs from Beer Cans

BREWERY-SPECIFIC
You can search our eBay Store by brewery or really any keyword such as IPA, Pumpkin, Lager, etc.


We have over 350 different upcycled beer signs from a variety of breweries.
:: BROWSE ALL THE BEER SIGNS


HOW THEY’RE MADE
Each piece is totally custom-made when ordered. We start with lightly used beer packaging, whether that be a six pack holder, aluminum can, bottle cap, etc. We select packaging that has the best imprint and is free of damage. Then we hand cut high quality, black mat board to hold the packaging artwork in place.

The next step is to build the frame. Each is made inhouse to a finished size of 9.5″ x 11.5″. The frame is smooth and square with a matte black finish for a modern look. We get the custom-cut glass front from a local shop in Carlisle, PA.

Each piece has a sealed back to protect the artwork from being damaged. A wall hanger is affixed to the back of the frame so your upcycled beer sign is ready to be displayed when it arrives at your door.


 

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

1st Annual Hoptoberfest with Hop Hedz Gear

by: Tierney

1st Annual Hoptoberfest with Hop Hedz Gear

 

At Stouts and Stilettos we are huge supporters of all things craft beer, including gear. Hop Hedz Gear is a local beer gear company owned and operated by our good friend Bart, a true craft beer entrepreneur extraordinaire. He’s doing everything from beertography for us, beer label art for Pizza Boy Brewing, and even producing craft beer shirts. Read up on my exclusive interview with Bart over at SaraBozich.com

This weekend, get you some awesome shirts and meet the man himself at Al’s of Hampden for their Hoptoberfest t-shirt party. Plus, $2 Pizza Boy beers as well as free pizza and wings to sweeten the deal. There will be classic tanks and tees for men and women as well as the exclusive Hoptoberfest design below.

Here’s the quick rundown:

hop hedz gear hoptoberfest design

 

Recap: Homebrew Harvest Fundraiser 2014

by: Chelsie

Chelsie at Homebrew Harvest

This past Sunday I spent a beautiful fall afternoon at the first annual Homebrew Harvest held at the Vineyard & Brewery at Hershey. I was there to help setup the event, check-in homebrewers as they arrived and assist my husband, Derek, pour his two brew creations: ‘Lime Seeing Red’ Saison and Citra Session IPA.

I was blown away by the 47 entries not just because there were so many beers but they were all so very good. And, the efforts of all helped raise $$$ for the Four Diamonds Fund.

JUDGES CHOICE

  • FIRST PLACE
    Kristen Richards from Sons of Alchemy Brewing
    “Identity Crisis” (Pumpkin Brown Ale)
  • SECOND PLACE
    Jon Briggs
    “Tainted Cherry: A True Shocker” (Oaked Sour Cherry Berliner Weiss)
  • THIRD PLACE
    Tim Myers
    “Jalapeno Lime Kolsh” (Kolsch/Vegetable Beer)

TASTER’S CHOICE

  • FIRST PLACE
    Jenn Fetter
    “Honey Badger IPA” (IPA)
  • SECOND PLACE
    Fransico Ramirez
    “South of the Border” (Mexican Chocolate Porter)
  • THIRD PLACE
    Brandon Moore & Doug Kensey
    “Black EyePA” (Black IPA)

PS – Did you notice that the first place prize in both categories went to women homebrewers? YES!!!

OUR JUDGES…

  • Ryan of The Vineyard and Brewery at Hershey
  • Dean Pierce of Pierce Brewing Company
  • Scott of Halligan Homebrew
  • Tony from the Black Gryphon Dining & Spirits
  • Steph from Beer Busters Podcast
  • Steve from Heavy Soul Brewing Company

A FEW PICS FROM THE DAY

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> Check out more great event photos courtesy Beer Busters Podcast

Thanks to Dean Pierce of Pierce brewing and The Brewery at Hershey for organizing such a great event.


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

Things To Do: Pumpkinfest at Arooga’s Downtown

by: Tierney

Aroogas Pumpkinfest 2014 Beer ListDo you love pumpkin beers as much as we do? Then Pumpkinfest is the event for your. With over 28 pumpkin beers on tap at one time, Pumpkinfest is guaranteed to have a beer for everyone. Pick your favorite and perfectly pair with the featured pumpkin wing sauce (one of our favorites) and get wild with a pumpkin bomb shot. Anything goes! Sampler flights of 5 will be available – side by side post to come maybe?

Looking to try a new pumpkin beers this year? We recommend you don’t miss Elysian Punkuccino (think pumpkin spice latte beer) and The Gourdfather, Evolution Jacque Au Lantern, Brewery at Hershey Flash Gourd’n, and Heavy Seas Greater Pumpkin to get you started.

Here’s the quick rundown:

 

Pennsylvania Breweries Win 12 Medals at GABF 2014

by: Tierney

GABF 2014 PA Medal Winners - Drink Beer From Here

Drink Beer From Here!

While we have yet to attend the Great American Beer Fest, we are certainly #PAproud and excited to announce that PA breweries have won a total of 11 medals this year at GABF. Also, Fegley’s Brew Works and Iron HIll Brewing are tied for most medals at 2 each. Check out the list of award-winning PA breweries below:

  • Iron Hill Brewing
    • Rye Beer – Silver – Rye of the Tiger
    • English-Style IPA – Bronze – Burton IPA
  • Yards Brewing
    • Historical Beer – Bronze – Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce
  • Troeg’s Brewing Co.
    • Bock – Gold – Trogenator
  • Triumph Brewing
    • Bock – Bronze – Winterbock
  • Earth-Bread
    • Baltic Style Porter – Gold – Perkuno’s Hammer
  • Fegley’s Brew Works
    • German Style Sour – Bronze – Beliner Weiss
    • Old Ale or Strong Ale – Gold – Arctic Alchemy
  • Barren Hill Tavern and Brewery
    • Belgian & French Style Ale – Bronze – Barren Hill Biere de Extra
  • Victory Brewing Co
    • Belgian Style Tripel – Gold – Golden Monkey
  • Four Seasons Brewing Co
    • Oatmeal Stout – Silver – Dark Side of the Pint
  • Sly Fox Brewing
    • Belgian & French Style Ale – Gold – Grisette

GABF 2014 fun facts – this year had the most entries to date with 5,507 from 1,309 different breweries, all 50 states were represented, American Style IPA is the most entered category with 279 entries, and this year 3 new categories were added (Belgian-Style Fruit Beer, Historical Beer, and Kuyt Beer).

 

updated to include a missing entry at 6:07 pm

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