Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday Fun Quiz

I won a House Party from Budweiser, and my party is this weekend. I am prepping for the party and trying to plan fun things to do. I got a bunch of free stuff for the party and vouchers for Budweiser products. I thought that it would be nice to do a quiz about Budweiser this week, since I am trying to brace myself for drinking Budweiser this weekend. I have been going over all of the "suggested games" that Budweiser sent me and thought I would steal one of their trivia questions. You can find the answer here.
How I won this Budweiser party escapes me honestly. I applied for it laughing because I thought they would see my blog, or read my questions about using the vouchers on Goose Island instead of Bud products. I never thought I would win, but I did. I even had to take a survey to say how familiar I am with the Bud family of products and if I drink them and if I recommend them to friends (which I answered no to). I am guessing that they are not desperate for hosts, because I know people who didn't win it. My only conclusion is that they want to change my beer-snobby mind by sending me free stuff... well played Budweiser... well played. We will see how it works out.
I have my vouchers, and I am going to the store Friday night. I got coupons for charcoal and sausages too. We got cool Frisbees, t-shirts, cups, beer coozies and $5 mail-in re-bates to give out to our guests. This is all under the auspices of promoting their limited edition patriotic cans. If you haven't seen the commercial, here it is.

I think that the patriotic can is cool looking, I will admit that. I am not sure why they are so excited about a limited edition can... but hey, I am getting free stuff so I can't complain.

Needless to say, this weekend's post will be all about our Budweiser party. Since I haven't had Budweiser in like 7 years, it will be interesting.

Don't forget to take this weeks quiz, answers will be given next Wednesday.

Monday, June 27, 2011

New York Beerience

 Last week I was on a business trip to New York City, and had the chance to have a couple beers while I was out there, not lucky enough to have an on-time return flight though.

At Brinkley's in NYC, I had Empire Cream Ale. I thought it was really tasty, with a mild bitterness that sort of mellowed out as the beer went on. It was a gorgeous color with a nice head and lacing on the glass. It was the perfect ending to a day of travel, and went great with my sweet potato gnocchi (yum!). I have to say that I will be keeping an eye out for this beer, but as of yet, it isn't being distributed to my liquor stores, or if it has I haven't seen it. You should check out the reviews on Beer Advocate for this beer. They also have a list of the top rated Cream Ales if you want to find one by you... we are lucky enough to have Spotted Cow close enough to us.
Empire Cream Ale

Shock Top

The second beer I enjoyed in NYC was Shock Top. I know that this beer is from California, but it was on tap EVERYWHERE we went, including the bar in LaGuardia where I had mine. I thought it was a nicely spiced Belgium style ale. It reminded me a lot of Blue Moon, which is on tap everywhere by me. I like Blue Moon enough to order it if I am out, but I wouldn't say it is my favorite beer. I think that Shock Top is the same caliber beer, a middle of the road beer that will appeal to the masses.Overall, I think it is okay. The Tapper with the Mohawk made me anticipate a much more wild flavor than I got. I wouldn't suggest you go out of your way to get this beer, but if it's that or another mass-distributed, mass-produced appeal to the masses beer, I would order it again.

Shock Top Tapper

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wednesday Post (on Thursday again)

I am getting so bad with this posting on time thing... BUT this time it wasn't my fault... I am blaming Mother Nature. Mother Nature sent a super nasty storm across the country and I was stranded in New York without my laptop, so that is why there was no post yesterday.
Alright, time for the quiz. No one (not a single person) emailed me an answer to the quiz this week, so I am assuming that means it was too difficult to look through old posts to find the answer, which was Solstice d'hiver(Winter Solstice) and it was terrible. SO, no one gets stickers... I feel like I am being really mean when I say that....
I am not sure if our palates are not cultivated enough to enjoy barley wine, or if that was a bad example of barley wine. According to Beer Advocate, it could be both, they describe the beer a little bit but have some suggestions for the best out there, and the one we tried isn't on the list. Barley wine is simply a strong beer that has a specific gravity (chemistry stuff that I don't understand at this point in time) and is in a specific range of alcohol content, between 8% and 12.5%. Each brewer makes their barley wine differently and I think that this difference could be the key. You see, we had a barley wine from Two Brothers that we really liked. It wasn't overly alcoholic in taste and unlike the Solstice d'hiver, it actually tasted like beer. My suggestion to you all is, try one of the barley wines that beer Advocate suggests... let me know how it is, and what you think. It could just be me :)
No quiz this week... not a punishment, just don't have the time for it today.
I would like to show you some pictures from my Father's day excursion to Indiana... My cousin and her wonderful husband made us a fantastic German and Polish feast. I also asked them to guest post for me on their recent trip to Germany.
Check out the centerpieces that my cousin made. Isnt' that the cutest use for recycled beer bottles? Have you ever done anything with recycled beer bottles or cans?

This is my super awesome grandpa with his beer.

This is my dad and my daughter.... what a cutie pie!


I know I said this blog wasn't about my daughter, but I love her and this is a super cool picture of her looking super cool. No, she didn't drink that beer, this was posed and at no point did she handle any alcohol.

It feels like Fathers' Day was weeks ago, not days ago!
I hope that you are all looking forward to this weekend's post. I will be talking abotu drinking beer in another state! And there will be pictures of beer!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hoppy Fathers' Day! (a day early I know)

So, I have to admit, I am terrible at keeping surprises... I hate waiting for things, I am incredibly impatient, and according to some family members have a hard time not being in control of a situation... that said, I gave Blake his Father's Day gifts last night, after I had to cajole him into accepting them ahead of time.
So how did he make out on this second "real" father's day? I would say pretty damn good! In shopping for Fathers' day gifts I discovered a couple of things;
a) I love shopping for beer
b) A two-year old in a liquor store is TROUBLE(the manger at Binny's Beverage Depot in McHenry, IL is super nice for carrying all my stuff for me, and again I am sorry)
c) We need a second fridge dedicated to beer storage
d) My husband is just as crazy for beer as me
So what did I get? I went to get one of Blake's favorite beers, Banana Bread Beer, but after discovering that they have been having trouble procuring said beer, we had to come up with a plan B. This meant precision shopping, not just grabbing random things and putting them in the basket that I had precariously held in the same arm as the independent toddler who wanted to shop for her daddy her way. After a small scene, and some help from my daughter and the manager this is what I finally left with:

Smoove Cherry Ale
Smoove Cherry Ale, suggested because I said Blake liked fruity things (in retrospect perhaps not the best adjective). We haven't tried this one yet, but I think it will be interesting.

Ranger IPA
Mothership Wit
The Folly Pack from New Belgium (actually a gift for myself, but you won't tell, right?). The Folly Pack includes, Fat Tire, Ranger IPA, Mothership Wit and Somersault. I hadn't had the ranger IPA or Mothership Wit before. I have to say that the Mothership Wit was very surprising in the depth of flavor, and I really enjoyed it. The ranger IPA was also very good, and I am not really a fan of IPA (as I have mentioned a gazillion times I am sure)

Delirium Nocturnum
My dear sweet daughter picked out Delirium Nocturnum (it was shiny and blue her two favorite colors) for her daddy. Not that I am complaining, as I do love Delirium. This will also be one drunk at a later date.

Golden Monkey
The last beer I got was Golden Monkey from Victory Brewery. Let me be honest here, I picked this beer because of the name, I got the Monkey/Beer idea from Ilana at Mommy Shorts, "The Guy's Guide to Fahters' Day" and her mentioning that guys love anything that involves monkeys and alcohol (I extended the list to include barely-clad women and fire/explosions, Blake included Kung-Fu). I saw this six pack and couldn't pass it up! Yes, we tried this one last night, and I thought it was very interesting. The spices were almost overwhelming, but you could still taste the hops. Blake thought it was a little too much going on, but appreciated that I was trying to cater to his man-ness with a monkey/beer combination.

This is where I wanted to post a picture of Blake enjoying one of his Fathers' Day gifts, but he is camera shy and uncooperative, so instead I had to find a stand-in. Yes, that is James Bond... I can dream can't I?
Daniel Craig/James Bond, My husband stand-in 
Well I hope that you all have a wonderful Fathers' Day! I'd like to say Happy Fathers' Day to my husband (yes again!), my dad, my grandpa and my Uncle Fred.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday Quiz

The answer to the beer quiz, “Which brewery is America's oldest operating commercial brewery?” is Yuengling Brewery. Established in 1829 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, Yuengling is the oldest still operating brewery in America. I hear it is really good beer that hasn’t been changed/watered-down/ruined over a hundred years of marketing to the American palate, unfortunately since they are only distributed on the east coast I can’t say I have tried it (note to anyone going to the east coast, bring me back a beer).
Next we have, Joseph Schlitz Brewery , established in 1848 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Schlitz is synonymous with cheap beer after they changed their recipe in the early 1970’s, but in 2008 the Schlitz Brewing Company brought back the original recipe to a huge amount of fan-fare, and not just from my dad! Sadly this too is a beer I haven’t had…mostly because I forget about it. Maybe I will buy a six-pack and share it with my pops on Fathers’ Day this Sunday. Schlitz has a very interesting history, and it has become a beloved institution of the Midwest.
Anhueser Busch Brewing Company was established in 1852 and has gone on to become one of the largest beer corporations in America. I could go on for hours about Anhueser-Busch, the history, the current goings-on, etc. But I won’t… and that goes the same for another Milwaukee institution, Miller Brewing Company. Miller was established in 1855 and is the other GIANT beer corporation in America.
So there you have it, the oldest operating commercial breweries in the United States. Love them, hate them, never tried them, you can’t deny that they have had a long history in the country, and have shaped the beers we drink today. The answers were split evenly across the board for all of the breweries.
For this week, I am thinking that I will try a suggestion that I got. It was suggested that I should make my quizzes about something on the blog, so the reader (you) don’t have to go pull up Google and type in the question. Now you have to look through old posts! HA!(evil-half- cackle) This week I will also be offering a very swanky prize!!! Brace yourself!!! Ready?!?! STICKERS!!! (this is where I am imagining you screaming with enthusiasm, like Oprah show enthusiasm, not the sort of bummed out face you are actually making).You heard it! I have finally dropped some cash on some Hoppy Beer Girl swag to hand out. The thing is, in order to verify that you have the correct answer and not someone impersonating you to get my awesome stickers, you will have to email me your answer… I know… more work… email me at with Weekly Beer Quiz in the subject line. Then you can give me your answer and any praise you want. I will send everyone with the correct email address a message next week to get info to send you cool stuff.
Have a good rest of your week! And prepare to have your mind blown by my Fathers’ Day beer plans! Well maybe not, but I think it is a good plan…
Oh and thank you to Amy for the suggestion

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Not forgotten

I just wanted to let you know that I didn't forget to do a blog post this weekend, we have been having some connectivity issues at home. We had two fantastic beers that I highly suggest you check out.
The first beer we had was Anchor Brewing's Steam Beer. It was a very interesting beer, not terribly different from what you are used to, but different enough to keep you interested. The history about how they brew the beer is very interesting. The color was something else all together. I highly suggest you go out today and try to find this beer.
The second beer was Two Brother's Weiss Beer. It was phenomenal, especially since barley wine usually makes me make faces because it is either too sour or too booze-y. Unfortunately this is a seasonal beer and isn't listed on the Two Brother's website, but I found a page with it on my second favorite beer website (mine is the first of course) Beer Advocate.
I will be back tomorrow with the weekly Wednesday post. If you haven't taken the quiz this week, you might want to... I am trying to think of prizes for correct answers! WOO! Unfortunately since we are having issues at home I wasn't able to upload pictures of the beer from this weekend, but trust me, they were interesting, pretty bottles and delicious beers.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

They Call it a Beer Revolution

... I don't care what they call it, it tastes good!
Last week's quiz, Which country has the highest beer consumption per capita in the world, had a 50/50 split between Germany and the Czech Republic, so whoever picked the Germans, sorry, you were wrong (shocked I know). The Czech Republic has the highest amount of beer consumed per capita of any country, as demonstrated by fancy graph on wikipedia. Surprisingly, Ireland comes in second and Germany is in third place, sort of ruins the idea behind the movie Beerfest, I know.

Please remember to take the weekly quiz/poll, I get really excited when I see people have taken it, and I think it is fun. But if you don't take it, I won't make it anymore...

This week is a little bit of American Beer history, enjoy!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Back into the swing of things

I am making an effort to be on schedule this week, we will see how it goes... A few things before we get to this week's beers. First, PLEASE send me suggestions for beers to try, beers to look for or just fun beer stuff. You can message me on Facebook, email me at or you can leave a comment, right here, on this blog. The second thing is really more of an interesting thing for you, even if you can't make it to the Beer School 101 in Crystal Lake, IL at Duke's Alehouse and Kitchen, you should check out the website for the monthly beer classes.
Okay, time to get down to brass tacks...
This week we had two beers from two of the biggest craft breweries in the nation, and yes, I know one is no longer considered a craft brewery after being purchased by Anheuser-Busch, and yes, I understand the controversy (and complaining) about the purchase. But my thought is, wait and see if anything changes for the worse before we get upset.
Demolition from Goose Island
First up, Demolition from Goose Island (I repeat, I am not swearing them off until there is a drop in quality).Alcohol by Volume: 7.2%. There is an interesting story behind this beer, it was developed as a thank you to the people who kept the Brewpub open as there was construction going on around them.
Color: Golden and clear
Taste: Nothing really knocks your socks off here. It is a good beer with a nice hops flavor while you can still taste the yeast, but nothing overpowers you.
Musings: I liked this one, I thought I could drink it all night without getting sick of it or having weird tastes in my mouth; though with 7.2% alcohol per volume it probably is a beer you shouldn't drink ALL night. It was a good quality ale that was good on its own (and good with cheesy beer dip). Blake wasn't very impressed with it, I think it is because he is sick, but that is just my opinion. I will definitely be having Demolition again. I think that if you don't want something that is too different or as my mom says, "weird beer", this is a good place to start exploring something different without leaving your comfort zone.

Theobroma by Dogfish Head

The second beer we tasted was Theobroma from Dogfish Head. 9.0% alcohol per volume. This is another one of the Ancient Ales from Dogfish Head that I am such a fan of (yes I know I am a nerd). You really need to read about this one whether or not you try it, which I think you should.This is a beer brewed with cocoa and ancho chiles, and is based off of a reciepe gleened from the chemical make-up from residue on Aztec pottery.
Color: Surprisingly red-gold rather than dark like you would expect for a chocolate beer
Taste: Like nothing you have ever tasted before! This beer tasted like Mexican hot chocolate, like a chocolate stout, and like a crisp spicy ale all at the same time.
Musings: This beer is an experience unto itself. I really liked it, even Blake liked it which is unusual as you may know by now. This beer has so much going on, but it isn't overpowering. Theobroma is easy to drink, and it is easy to imagine why this was the drink of the gods. I really think that you should try this beer, not just because I am a history nerd and there is such a rich history surrounding this, and not just because I am a beer dork and it is so far from what you have had before, but because it is an amazing beer-ience.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Happy Wednesday on Thursday...

I am a day late on everything this week! I only had a couple of suggestions for pairing food with beer, and they all involved cheese in some way. Not that there is anything wrong with it, I actually tried one of the recipes that I was sent, Cheesy Beer Dip.
            How about using beer as a marinade? I have marinated pork chops in black ale and cooked potatoes in lager, but one of my favorites is Cerveza Shrimp!

Medium, cleaned raw shrimp
1 bottle of hoppy beer (or cheap Mexican style beer aka Corona)
2 limes
4 cloves of garlic
2 tsp cumin
Black Pepper
Chipotle in Adobo sauce (optional)

Cut up the garlic and put half in large freezer bag with shrimp and the bottle of beer, add salt, pepper, cilantro, cumin and lime juice from one lime.

Let marinade for about 2 hours… more if you want.
With a dash of olive oil, start cooking the remainder of the garlic until soft, on low heat.
Drain some of the liquid (about half the liquid) and pour contents into hot sauté pan.( this is where you would add one  diced chipotle and a tsp of adobo sauce from the can into the mix)
Cook until shrimp is cooked through and serve with rice and sliced lime for garnish.

Here is the Recipe for Cheesy Beer Dip
Cheesy Beer Dip

2 pkgs(8oz) cream cheese
1 envelope dry Ranch dressing mix
1/3 cup beer
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

in large bowl, beat together cream cheese, beer and mix( you may add more beer if necessary to mix)
stir in cheese. serve with pretzels

Thank you Cathy for contributing your recipe!

This week’s quiz is an interesting tid-bit about global beer consumption, so Enjoy!

And please don't be afraid to email me abotu anything beer related

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