Monday, May 30, 2011

Hoppy Memorial Day!!

I know I am a little late with this week’s beer tasting, but it’s a holiday weekend, so I got a little distracted. I am still looking for more recipes or food pairings, so don’t be afraid to send them to me, The two beers that we sampled this week were very different in flavor, style, color and just about everything else! The only two things I could think of to tie them together was that they pair well with food and they are both a distinctive style of beer.

Lambic is unlike any other beer that you may have had before. It is very much like a cider, or a fruit wine, but has a sour aftertaste that isn’t at all unpleasant. Lambic is a beer that is unique to a certain region of Belgium, like Champagne is to the Champagne region of France. I recommend reading more on this very interesting, and tasty beer.

Color: Red, like Raspberry Crystal Light
Taste: The Raspberry Lambic, not surprisingly, tasted like raspberries. It was very light and crisp and sweet, with a sour after taste that was not out of place, but seemed to add to the experience
Musings: Never having a Lambic before, and not really knowing what it was all about, we were very surprised to have something so, well for lack of a better term, “un-beer-like”. It didn’t taste like beer in the least. It was very good, and I could see serving it over ice cream or with a chocolaty dessert like you would a bottle of Ice Wine or a fine dessert wine. I actually had to look up Lambic to make sure it was actually a beer, and not a section of the store that was misplaced. I recommend trying this one. It is a step out of the ordinary and a delicious step at that.

Hennepin 7.7 Alcohol/Volume, a Saison from Ommegang brewery in Cooperstown, NY
A brewery that I absolutely am in love with, but am still getting to know, Ommegang specializes in Belgian style beers and has some Seasonal brews that will floor you. We have had the Rare Vos from Ommegang before and thought that it was very good, and then there is their Biere De Mars…. I can’t even begin to describe the orgy of flavors in my mouth, the desire to never see the bottom of my glass, the sheer joy of tasting Biere de Mars by Ommegang….
Needless to say, I was looking forward to trying Hennepin, a Saison named after a Belgian explorer.
Color: Golden and sunny
Hennepin by Ommegang
Taste: A light and crisp beer that makes you want to open the windows and sit outside and enjoy a summer evening (sadly it was rainy and cold for us). Full of light hints of season herbs with a clean ending.
Musings: Saisons are farm house style ales, meant to be unique in flavor and style. I really have enjoyed everyone I have tried, and this one is no different. I highly recommend that you try Hennepin from Ommegang, and if you find a bottle of Biere De Mars, send it my way…. For more info on Saisons and good ones check this out. Since we are talking about pairing beer with food, I would recommend that you pair Hennepin with anything off the grill, some summer veggies or some grilled chicken would go great. There is never anything wrong with a good beer and a good burger either.

Hope you all are having a safe and fun holiday!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Happy Wednesday!

This was designed by Mark, who did my logo as well.
So last week we had a poll rather than a quiz. The question was what sort of Hoppy Beer Girl stuff would you be interested in? We had an overwhelming win for Hoppy Beer Girl Pilsner glasses, followed closely by coasters and T-shirts, then Stickers. Apparently no one wants key chains... Fair enough. I am looking at getting some of the aforementioned items made, some will be give aways for quizzes, and I am contemplating making the pilsners and offering them for sale, as they are terribly expensive to have made. Tell me what you think. Did you see the contact me section at the bottom of the page? It's new... try it. I would love to hear from you.

This week is devoted to beer and food (what a wonderful pair!). You may have gone to a beer and food pairing, I know that bars around us offer bacon and beer tastings. You may cook with beer, you may just drink beer when you cook. Send me some of your favorite pairings for beer. Let me know what you like to cook with beer. I will share a few recipes next Wednesday, so help me out. If you don't have it, or don't want to scroll to the bottom of the page, you can email me at or find me on Facebook and message me.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Brewery Tour at Two Brothers Brewery

I guess I had some catching up to do since we haven't had a real tasting in two weeks... So I guess I made up for it today. We went to Two Brothers Brewery in Warrenville, IL today to take advantage of their (free!) brewery tour and tasting. You can get the specifics here.

Monarch White

We arrived too late for the 1:00 tour, but too early for the 2:30 tour so we took a seat in the Tap House and ordered two giant soft pretzels (delish!) and a couple of beers. I had the seasonal Monarch White beer, which is a light and earthy white beer with a gorgeous light color. The first word that came to mind when I sipped it was scrumptious. Blake ordered the Ebel's Weiss, which had strong notes of vanilla and banana, and was very tasty as well.

Having another 40 minutes to go before the tour, we ordered a second round. I had the award winning Domaine DuPage, which is a darker ale, with a very rich taste. It was perfectly balanced with a roasty malt flavor and a nice hoppy ending. My counterpart ordered the seasonal brew, Dog Days, which was "damn good".

Domaine DuPage

The nice part about the tour at Two Brothers (besides it being free) was that we didn't have to make a reservation like some breweries require. The tour was entertaining and informative, with a short history of the story of the brothers of Two Brothers and how they got into the craft beer business. The tour took about 45 minutes and was ended by everyone being given 3 vouchers for 3 samplings in the Tap House.

 For our samples, we each chose a different beer, allowing us to sample all of the Two Brother Beers on the menu for the day. I can honestly say that we didn't try one that we didn't like, love, or want to order another. The Caine and Ebel  Red Rye was smooth and tasty; the Resistance IPA wasn't overpowering but balanced and flavorful. North Wind Stout  was what every stout should hope to become when they grow up. The Long Haul Seasonal Ale was hoppy upfront but then smoothed out to a classy delicious brew, that like it's name, could be something you would drink for the long haul. The Bitter End American Ale  was probably the most surprising to me, as it wasn't trying to shock your taste buds with the hops flavor, but was smooth and easy to drink. Then there was Prairie Path Golden Ale which had an unassuming smell and first note, then the flavors of the Midwest, of summer, of golden wheat, of sunshine hit you like a heavy weight. I know that we thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon at two brothers and hope that you are all within their distribution area (which is limited) so that you can try some of these magnificent beers.
Two Brothers Sampling
I hope that you enjoyed and celebrated National Craft beer week.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday Quiz and New fun stuff

So last week's quiz question was, The Code of Hammurabi, the first written law codes, stated that any drinking establishment that was caught watering down their beer was to receive the following punishment. The correct answer is Death.

The Babylonians are credited with many of the "firsts" in western civilization, including the first set of written laws. King Hammurabi is credited with unifying the laws and having them committed to tablets. Several of the laws were regulations on beer, since water was not always a safe thing in ancient (and in some modern) times. Beer was a way to get hydration and nutrition in a safe (and fun) way.

As you may have noticed, I have a logo (yay!), thanks to Mark at
Other new stuff, a new quiz this week :) Now let me put this out there, if you aren't interested in the weekly poll/quiz please let me know. I am open to suggestions...
This week we have a poll, because your opinions matter, enjoy!
Oh and don't forget to support your local craft brewers this week for National Craft Beer Week!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

National Craft Beer Week

Again this week there was no beer night. However, I did get to spend several days drinking beer with my family. To really appreciate beer is not always to sit and contemplate the taste in your mouth. Let’s be honest sometimes you need to set aside your pontificating and just drink beer for the alcohol. This happens to be the point of all the beer consumed over the past 4 days. Beer can be that comfort food that helps you feel temporarily better, the warmth that reminds you of the arms you wish you were being held in, beer is versatile and yet familiar. Sometimes you just need a beer.
On a brighter note, next week is National Craft beer week. Cities (and some hip towns) are having beer celebrations that highlight local American craft beers.  To see what’s going on near you, click here. We are not sure where we are going to celebrate yet, but we have several options close to us. We are already having fun picking out Chicago area brews for our beer night to honor National Craft beer week!
I hope that you all celebrate American Craft beer week (responsibly of course) by checking out some local breweries. You might be surprised at who is brewing right in your backyard. Try going on a brewery tour, or take a pint (or two) from a local brewery to a park and picnic. Have some friends over and sample different American craft beers, you may be surprised at the diversity in taste. You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy craft beer; actually local craft beer might be less expensive than you would think.
Have a happy beer week!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday Quiz

I do apologize for no beer tasting this past weekend. There will hopefully be one this weekend, but I cannot promise it for sure.We had some family stuff come up.
The answer to last weeks’ quiz is, Lagers require colder temperatures to ferment. They do often use different yeasts as some of you thought, but the different yeasts are more for flavor, while the colder temperature is the main component for a lager versus ale. You can check out the history of Ale and the history of Lager, it is very interesting, well at least to me. 75% of you answered that Lagers require colder temps, so good job!
This week’s quiz combines my two favorite subjects again, beer and history.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wednesday Quiz

Sixty Six percent had the correct answer to the quiz last week, the earliest brewers were women, and this trend continued until beer started to become commercialized. Beer was one of the few ways women could make a decent living, a.k.a not selling themselves. So thank you beer for helping women! Much like making cheese or butter back in the day, beer making was an artisanal craft, much like it is becoming again today in America.

This week’s quiz is what I think a very important thing to know. The difference between how a lager is made and how ale is made changes the way the beer is flavored, the way it tastes. There is of course ways the brewers can get around this and not all ales taste like ales and not all lagers taste like lagers. Good luck, I look forward to seeing what you all think.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

High hopes and less than astounding results...

What a week this past week has been! Full of ups and downs, and honestly one that I am looking forward to putting behind me completely. That said, beer night was not something that I was going to give up this week. I have started reading a very interesting book called, “Tasting Beer” that has me excited to continue my beer explorations and  increase my knowledge, and hopefully eventually enter the world of home brewing. I HIGHLY recommend checking out “Tasting Beer” by Randy Mosher. It so far has given me an amusing recap of the history of beer, and helped alleviate my guilt for not having all the proper beer lingo down. I look forward to finishing it and checking out Mosher’s other book, “Radical Brewing”.
So, down to brass tacks, this week we have two more American Craft beers, both of which were out of our comfort zone flavor-wise as we generally prefer less bitter beers of a Belgian style. But what’s life going to give you if you don’t try something new?
From Clown Shoes Brewery’s Brown Angel Double Brown Ale 7.0% alc./vol. According to the description, “This is NOT your old school brown, but rather a sexy American interpretation.” Brewed in Ipswich(what a fun word!), MA.

Color: dark brown
Taste: rich and full of a roasted malt flavor
Musings: I thought that this brown ale was rather tasty, though my counterpart did not like it. It was darker than I anticipated, and had a very strong roasted malt flavor that was almost overpowering. If you don’t like bitter beers, this is not going to be for you. The last beer that we had from Clown Shoes was their Clementine beer, and it was astoundingly good. We had high hopes for Brown Angel, and we were left feeling not terribly impressed. I do have to say that we both had a bad week, so our mood may have affected our tastes. By no means was this a bad beer, I think I just prefer something less bitter and with more flavor notes.

Grand Teton Brewing Company, Victor, Idaho gives us Persephone Pilsner 8.75 alc./vol. The brewery recommends drinking this beer fresh rather than storing for an extended amount of time. Persephone was released February 1, 2011, and our beer came with a tag explaining the beer, and stating that it was brewed on January 12, 2011.
Color: Golden
Taste: A cross between a pilsner and an APA. Very strong hop flavor up front that slowly ebbed to a pilsner taste            
Musings: I thought that this was an interesting beer. It was neither a pilsner as we know it, nor was it a true pale ale. It’s hoppiness really takes center stage but it is then rounded out with a cleaner pilsner flavor. I thought that this was a good beer, my beer companion was not terribly impressed.  I think that this one had a good balance to it. I can’t say it was my favorite lager, but I would order it again.

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