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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Endless Pairings: European Beer Dinner

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Thankfully, beer pairing dinners are becoming increasingly popular in my area. And lucky for you, you get to hear about it. Now, we can all embrace the fact that beer pairs just as well with food as wine does! Sands Bethlehem and St. James Gate hosted a European Beer Dinner. The dinner paired imported European beers with four courses of fall flavored gourmet style meals. Similar to the wine pairing, representatives introduced each beer to discuss the characteristics of the beer and where it comes form. The chef also circulated during the event and was willing to answer questions.

The pairings were not what I expected for each meal, but each complemented the meal nicely. In speaking with the chef, he explained that he tasted each suggested beer first, then he decided what kind of meal to pair it with. Meanwhile, in our DIY pairing, we were thinking about what the beer would taste like, then finding something to complement the beer. For a true beer pairing, the beer should really complete each meal and bring out the flavors of the meal. We determined our favorite meal, favorite beer, and favorite pairing. Check it out.

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Endless Beer: Ommegang Three Philosophers

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Ommegang famously brings us the Game of Thrones series beers, but also offers other varietals that pack their own punch. Speaking of fame, one of Ommegang’s more well known brews is the Three Philosophers. Weighing in at 9.7% ABV, the Three Philosophers promises to relax if nothing else. Three Philosophers was born when Ommegang asked homebrewers what the “perfect brew” would taste like. The answer was flavors of caramel, chocolate, and cherry. Ommegang messed with various variations until the reached a mixture of 98% ale and 2% kriek (lambic). Here are our tasting notes:

ABV: 9.7%

Poured into tulip glass.

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The ES Summit: Top 10 Beers and Booze for Politics

The tides are shifting in American politics. A new party is in control and our President is willing to work with them to make a better America. Blah blah blah. Yet another cycle has completed and we now have another lame duck president. BUT WAIT. Obama and US Senator Mitch McConnell are going to solve all of our problems with a Bourbon Summit. Now that’s something we can get behind. A little Kentucky booze may be just what our leaders need to get things done. This got us thinking…what would an ES summit look like? Other than the usual gallivanting around, bitching and moaning about irrelevant things, and gorging ourselves with food, we would pick the best beer and booze to offer for the occasion. If it were up to us, here’s what the Obama-McConnell summit would consist of:

10) Flying Dog Raging Bitch

What better to drink while BITCHING and moaning about the great problems of the world (or what to have for dinner)? Raging Bitch is an in your face IPA with a nice sweetness that makes it very drinkable at a high ABV.

Arrogant Bastard Ale

9) Arrogant Bastard Ale

Need I say more? Not only does the name sum up just about every one of your very proud “ES’ers, but it also sums up the jerks in Congress. What’s more? The brew is one of the highest ranked in the United States with complex flavors that will also kick your ass.

Knob Creek® Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

8) Knob Creek

A little bourbon never hurt nobody. Knob Creek is about that level where you stop drinking whiskey with coke and actually start enjoying the sweet and oak-aged flavors of bourbon.

7) Titos Vodka

What’s more American than an all-American made vodka? We have to be at least a little patriotic, right? Plus, this is some of the smoothest Vodka we’ve ever had! Try it with water and lemon…just be careful – you won’t taste the whiskey.

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Cookies and…Beer? Flying Dog Holiday Collection

image1 (3)What’s the best drink to have with cookies? BEER. Why not, people? The holidays are coming; we’re celebrating getting fat and doing it with our families and friends. To support our mission, Flying Dog created The Holiday Collection: Four Otterbein’s Cookie Inspired Craft Beers.  While I was hoping that the kit would come with Berger Cookies, the Otterbein’s cookies did not disappoint.  But what about having them with beer? Well, luckily I’m here to do the hard work of tasting and drinking each beer and cookie. After our DIY beer pairing, we continued on with dessert, complements of Flying Dog. We judged the beers, the cookies, and then the pairing. Here we go!

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