Monday, November 18, 2013

That's news to me...

Grand Rapids wins 2013 Beer City U.S.A. I found this news today while doing some entree-net related beer research. This is six month old news, did I mention it has been a busy year? I'm not sure what happen to Portland  in this year's poll, but Asheville came in third behind Kalamazoo Michigan. Looks like Sally and I need to add Grand Rapids to our "places to visit" list. Maybe we should visit Kalamazoo too?

Beer reviews will return soon, as soon as I quit loosing my review notes.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

"Coldest Beer in U.S.A."

This sign is outside of a, now closed, bar near my current home in Strawberry Plains, Tn. The bar was named Joann's when Sally and I moved here and we visited it one afternoon. They, supposedly, had Yuengling on tap, but the cooler had "gone out." They supposedly had Heineken but it was stored in the same malfunctioning cooler. I think we both had a Miller Lite and went home. 

When Joann's closed, the bar reopened, named Knuckle Bones or Lucky Bones or some such. Then, presumably, the management changed again and the name was changed to the Wolves Den. There are a few more of these road houses out here in Straw Plains, The Oak Lounge and B&M Lounge. I intend to visit them before we move out of town.

I can't really call the local beer culture "cultural decline" because a lack of progress doesn't signal a decline. Where Sally and I are moving, the Muscle Shoals Alabama community, there's no beer culture as we are accustomed to in East Tennessee. Here's a brief outline of the discrepancy of available beers in the Shoals.

Beer Brands available in Knox Co. Tn. not available in Muscle Shoals, Al. 

Depot Street Brewing, Jonesborough, Tn.
Foothills Brewing, Winston - Salem, N.C.
Greenman Brewing, Asheville, N.C.
Highland Brewing, Asheville, N.C.
New Belgium Brewing, Ft. Collins, Co.
Old Hickory Brewing, Hickory, N.C.
Saw Works Brewing, Knoxville, Tn.
Schlafly Brewing, St. Louis, Mo.
Smokey Mnt. Brewing, Knoxville, Tn.
Thomas Creek Brewing, Greenville, S.C.

Beer Brands available in the Shoals which are not available in Knox Co, Tn.

Blue Pants Brewing, Madison, Al.
Founders Brewing, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Good People Brewing, Birmingham, Al.
Left Hand Brewing, Longmont, Co. 
Rammer Jammer Beer Co., Birmingham, Al.

This is not an exact list and there are many more brands that will not be available in the Shoals. There is some crossover between the two beer communities. Thank the beer gods for Yazoo and Oskar Blues, brands that are available in both locations. It is difficult for me to believe that New Belgium is not available in Al. But, I strongly suspect that this will change in 2014. Left Hand Brews are occasionally available in East Tn. Lastly, The Shoals is, roughly, a two hour drive to Nashville, Tn. Sally and I will be making the occasional weekend journey to this more culturally advanced community.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Revisiting Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager

When I visited Asheville recently there were still a few cans of Sierra Nevada Summerfest on the shelves at Bruisn' Ales. I was told that Sierra Nevada had sent plenty of Summerfest to Asheville in preparation for the opening of their brewery there next year. I purchased four cans of Summerfest so I can prepare for the opening of the new brewery.  

The Summerfest pour produces a clear gold, moderately carbonated brew that looks like a white wine. Summerfest simply smells like beer and the first sip tastes of traditional, American style,  Pils but with much more hops in the aftertaste.      

I now realize that Summerfest is Sierra Nevada's tribute to traditional American beers.  The subtle hops aftertaste is probably  truer to the old style beers than their watered down offspring of today. It was great to find some Summerfest in Oct. This is one of my favorite beers which, for me, is the craft brew definition of  the traditional American Pils. 

 Despite all my praise of the American Pils style, Sierra Nevada is classified as a Lager and, I would think, easily fits into the California Common style. The mouthfeel resembles a heavier Lager style rather than a light Pils style beer.

Grade:  When I wrote about Summerfest two years ago I gave it a grade of 5 out of 5 pints, it wouldn't be fair to give it any other grade this time.