Endless Beer: Top 10 Beers of Winter

Happy New Year, folks. Time to pretend that you’ll hold to those healthy resolutions and become a “better you.” I’m right there with you, as the fiance and I try out “clean eating” for a while. Except for beers — I will NOT stop drinking beers. Which is why I bring you our top ten winter beers of the season. Note that even though Christmas is behind us, those tasty Christmas brews are still available as well as the special winter seasonals. Get ’em while you can. Here ya go:

10. Sly Fox Christmas Ale

ABV: 5.5% (canned), 6.5% (bottled)

A leader in the beer canning industry, Sly Fox offers their annual Christmas ale. The ale is a very “spiced forward” brew with Cinnamon and Ginger at the forefront. Flavors of clove continue throughout, complementing a sweet malty flavor.

9. Victory Winter Cheers

ABV: 6.7%

For those of you that don’t enjoy a winter warmer or strongly spiced ale, the Winter Cheers is a tasty and sweet wheat that takes away some of the booze flavor associated with winter warmers.

Jubelale

8. Deschutes Brewery Jubelale

ABV: 6.7%

Jubelale includes the traditional Christmas spices, but then has a pleasant sweetness of caramel and toffee with fruity flavors of cherry and raisin. The award-winning brew is a solid warmer that gives you a nice warm feeling all the way down. A great brew for after a hard day’s work on the slopes.

 

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Endless Beer: 2014 Anchor Christmas Celebration Ale

 

The tradition continues! Anchor releases their 40th Anniversary edition of the Christmas Celebration Ale. Every year, Anchor Brewing tweaks the recipe to the traditional Christmas Ale. And of course…they add a new illustration of the tree to the collection. Generally, Anchor ensures a dark ale packed full of spices that remind us all of Christmas. This is my third year sipping this beverage and it has become a tradition for myself as well. Anchor keeps the recipe secret, but we know that it is made with a mix of strong malts, spices, and hops to be complemented by the dry hopping process. Anyway, here’s to beer traditions.

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Cookies Gone Wild! Top 10 Christmas Cookie Recipes

Christmas is around the corner. I know I’m counting down…yes…4 days of work left until break. Co-workers are coming in with their trays of Christmas cookies to share and we all poke around to see if our favorites are there and leave the lame ones to go stale. We spend hours upon hours creating tons of cookies to share with our friends and loved ones and there are always rejects left behind. What if tradition was thrown out the window and you could make any kind of Christmas cookies you wanted? Leave the plain butter cookies and the raisins and fruit filled cookies behind this year and try out our top ten Christmas cookies. Enjoy…

10. Peanut Butter Oreo Truffles

These are so easy and so tasty. You can through them in your Christmas tin and all of the sudden, these will be all your friends are talking about. You can make them in dark, milk, or white chocolate and can even add coloring to suit your season of choice.

RECIPE: Endless Simmer

Dark Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

9. Coconut Macaroons

My fiance makes bakery-quality macaroons. Seriously – best I ever had. But these take a very close second. Macaroons are not often thought of as a Christmas cookie, but they are too damn good not take a spot on the dessert table after Christmas dinner!

RECIPE: Barefeet in the Kitchen

8. Red Velvet Cookies

Red Velvet is not necessarily a “Christmas Seasonal,” but I think these will easily earn a place in the cookie tin. Especially with that cream cheese filling…

RECIPE: Amy Bites

7. Salted Caramel Clusters

Okay…they are not technically cookies. But they look so easy to make and even easier to eat.

RECIPE: The Small Things Blog

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Top 10 Foodie Gifts

Ah yes, Christmastime is here. Christmas music is playing at every department store in the nation, fathers and husbands are crankily rushing around to strings of lights, Christmas trees, and other gadgets that are used for one month out of the year, and yes- – we are all searching for gifts to please those special people in our lives. There are so many things to choose from. But what about for those of us who love food the most? What are you going to get them? A fruit of the month club? Another cookbook that will sit on the shelve to collect dust? NO! How about something that is different/unique but also enjoyable? Well, we’re here to help. Here are our 2014 suggestions:

First Nibs: Chocolate Subscription

10. Raaka Chocolate Subscription

Raaka now offers a subscription service that offers two limited edition bars and one of their “classics” sent directly to your doorstep. The limited edition bars are only available through subscription. We were in Bryant Park and got a chance to sample their Pinot Noir Salt and Pink Peppercorn bar which was very tasty. A neat idea for any chocolate lovers out there who also appreciate a twist on some original flavors.

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9. The Original Bacon Kit

If you don’t like bacon, you most likely hate America as well. This kit would be fun for ANYONE to try out themselves and pride themselves on serving their own bacon on Sunday morning.

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8. Handpresso Auto

You already know how I feel about this product. If you have an espresso lover in your life, I guarantee they will enjoy this. Fresh espresso in your car – what else is there to say? I mean, other than the fact that it also ensures your car will always be smelling like Starbucks!

7. Spiegelau Craft Beer Tasting Kit

Spiegelau is known for their high quality glass and practical designs, enhancing the flavors of the beverage poured into the glass. We’ve already tried the IPA, Stein, and Stout glass, but this kit gives the beer lover a glass to drink each beer they have in their fridge. I’ve been doing some in depth testing of the kit that Spiegelau sent us and I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by the way each glass enhances the aroma, flavor, and sometimes carbonation of the beer. If you know someone who loves beer, invest in two of these kits as a gift – they need to have enough glasses to share with you!

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Endless Beer: Sierra Nevada Wild Hop IPA

Sierra Nevada concludes their 2014 Harvest series with the Wild Hop IPA. Sierra Nevada went on a journey for the best wild hops around and crafted brews around what they found for these suds. The Neomexicanus “is the literal wild card” of the five bottle package with the hops’ unusual flavors. “Unusual” does not get the cravings going, but that’s why it is the wild card, right? Sierra Nevada introduces the brew with a teaser of melon, apricot, and citrus aromas in the beer coming from the hops.  Here’s what we thought:

6.5% ABV

Flavor Profile:

Appearance:  Hazy dark orange

Aroma: Heavy hops and subtle citrus and apricot.

Taste: Hop-forward flavor provide a pleasant bitterness for hopheads. Slight malty sweetness comes through complementing some citrus.

Mouthfeel: Dry finish with light aftertaste that does not linger.

Overall: This is a definite hophead pleaser. The hops begin and finish the beer nicely. First, the aroma hits hard with scents of being in a sweet hop garden. Then, we get some quick sweetness from the malts that are quickly cut by the pleasant hop bitterness of these WILD unusual hops.

ES Rating: 3.75/4 Suds!

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The Espresso Machine for Your Car: Handpresso Auto

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Mornings suck. What’s worse than waking up early in the morning last minute and realizing that you either didn’t set the coffee maker or don’t have time to make any? Stopping for some java on the way to work may run you the risk of arriving late, while going without it runs the risk of being a cranky curmudgeon. Well, what if I told you that instead, you could brew a nice jolt of caffeine right in your car? That’s right, Handpresso crafted an industrial-esque espresso machine that plugs into your 12-volt carjack and fits in your cup holder (with the power cord wrapped around the machine with a compartment even for the plug). Handpresso claims in 3 minutes, you can brew a fresh cup of espresso right in the comfort of your car. They sent us a machine to test and it’s my caffeinated pleasure to bring you the results.

The Handpresso Auto is designed in a way that looks like it was part of a jet engine and belongs in the newest sport version of your next Ferrari. It looks luxurious while also durable and easy to handle. I did not realize there were so many European languages until I got the manual for the machine, but luckily the device operates off of a few easy steps and you can follow along a numbered diagram. After plugging in the machine, you pour water into the reservoir until the last clear dot is darkened. Then, you place an E.S.E. Espresso pod on top of the spring-loaded platform and screw on the top of the machine. Next, simply press the power button and let it loudly work its pressurized magic. Once the machine beeps, you are free to invert the machine over your cup and press the coffee button. Once poured to your liking, press the “stop” button and enjoy.

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Endless Beer: Dogfish Head Beer Thousand

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10% ABV

Every beer has a story. Dogfish Head continues on with their music series to bring you Beer Thousand. This time, it is Guided by Voices’ turn. To celebrate the band’s 20th anniversary of their record BEE Thousand: the Beer Thousand. For Dogfish Head, the title is not just a clever play on words, but is also born of a delicious formula. This formula is: 10 grains, 10 hop varieties, and 10 ABV (10x10x10). If anything else, you have to give credit to the brewery for their creativity and precision in crafting a unique and high-powered lager. Here’s the verdict:

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