Endless Beer: Flying Dog “Heat Series” Carolina Reaper Peach IPA

Heat_CarolinaReaper_6pack

YOWZA! Apparently the folks at Flying dog take all of their series very seriously. The heat series seeks to provide a brew with serious heat to it without destroying the taste of the beer. Some “hot” or spicy beers provide the heat that is promised, but the flavor of actual beer is gone. These beers typically end up in our chili. However, this particular brew provides the heat that is promised while also giving the sweet and refreshing taste of a peach IPA. You will break a sweat while drinking this refreshing brew – weird…right? Good sipping beer and makes for great conversation at a party.

 

CarolineReaper_12oz_BottleTasting Notes

Appearance: Light golden with good carbonation. Light head with off-white color.

Aroma: Sweet, sweet peaches with a hint of vanilla and very subtle hop aroma.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and light – typical feel of an IPA.

Taste: First, a sweet taste of straight-up peach juice with just enough of a hoppy taste to let you know that it is an IPA. Immediately following the first sip as the suds go down, heat hits the back of your throat. The heat lingers throughout the entire drink, but the sweet peach flavor continues with every sip.

Overall: The heat of the beer is not as overwhelming as a typical spicy beer – it is much more balanced and does not burn your tongue as some hot sauces do. The heat stays with you throughout the drink, but it does not take away from the peach flavor of the overall brew. You’l break a sweat, but the other flavors keep you wanting more!

ES Rating: 4/5 suds

 

 

 

 

 

Endless Pairings:

Cheese: Sweet Honey Goat Cheese with Blueberry Preserves

Appetizer: Bavarian Pretzel with Cheese Sauce

Entree: Grilled Sirloin with Green Beans and Twice Baked Potato

Dessert: Blueberry & Peach Cobbler served with Vanilla Ice Cream

Cigar: Nat Sherman Timeless

Pop-Up Dinner: A Scenic Feast

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Pop-up dinners are a thing. Just when you think you’ve caught on to the latest trend, something else “pops up” to slap you in the face and tell you how much you suck at staying up to date with the cool kids. Generally, pop-up dinners are a way of having a fancy meal wherever the eff you want. Typically, pop-up dinners take place outdoors in a very scenic area. Think candlelight dinners on the beach, sunsets in the country, farm-side dinners on the horizon, etc. Pop-up dinners can be hosted by friends and family, or they can be hosted by restaurants. We found out about this concept by getting an invite from my sister to her boyfriend’s farm. The dinner was a true attempt of farm to table (like…table is on the farm).

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The beauty of pop-up dinners are that anybody can do it anywhere…in theory. You just have to make sure you have a means of getting the food cooked and serving it to your guests. However, the options are endless in terms of decor and menu. At the pop-up dinner we attended, it was right next to the actual harvest of the farm. The scenery was the farmhouse on one side, and on all other sides were crops and farm life ranging from leafy greens and tomato plants to chickens and goats. The tables were under a few white tents, with strands of lights set up and a country-themed decor. Aside from being one of the most humid and hot days of the year, the scene was perfect.

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One of my favorite parts of the concept of pop-up dinners is the menu. Hosts can craft the menu according to the setting. Whether it is a seafood while waterfront on a summer day, or fall harvest on the farm in the autumn, there are endless options in creating a menu that allows guests to appreciate the food in a different manner. At the farm in Maryland (Third Way Farm), The menu started with a charcuterie board followed by a salad made of all the crops harvested at Third Way Farm. The next course was a tomato gazpacho (from the farm) with berries, assorted melons, and spicy watermelon balls. Finally, the main course was a braised goat with the locally harvested vegetables from the farm followed by a bourbon honey ice cream over herbed peach galette.

The chefs at Laurrapin in Havre De Grace, MD came to the farm to cook the meal. While a lot of the food was brought over and then warmed, they tried to cook as much of the food as fresh as possible. They did a good job getting the food out hot for each guest and trying to incorporate the farm’s food into each course. The most challenging part of the pop up dinner is ensuring that you have the equipment necessary to serve your crowd. Planning is important for these kind of events but when done right, the reward is quite impressive! If you are bored of your regular restaurants and want to try something new and creative with some friends – pop-up dinners are a great way to jump into something hip and new!

Endless Simmer Beer Trade

Beer Trade: Try Something New

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Whoever said “let’s make America great again” doesn’t know about the American ingenuity of craft beer drinkers. One of the best things about craft beer is that we all love to share. We’ve mentioned the great beer exchange, but let us not forget about beer trades. Typically between two people, a beer trade will consist of a set of parameters and a deadline for each person to meet and ship out a selection of beers. Beer trades allow us beautiful beer people to not only partake in a diverse amount of beers that we may not otherwise purchase, but to also try beers that are well outside of your geographic bounds.

One of my co-workers would bring up which beers his brother sent him from California in exchange for some local beers from the Northeast. He would brag about the most recent batch of Pliny or a small microbrewery in San Diego. Finally, it hit me: my wife has a cousin in Seattle. After a few texts, we set up a trade of our own from PA to Seattle and back. Success.

Of course, I am not the founder of the beer trade. This has surely been going since the dawning of craft beer. When visiting in Tampa, I was given business cards of fellow beer lovers to arrange a trade. They went on about how they are a member of a network that posts the beers in their cellar and then offers are made. I’m sure there are a bunch of networks out there (in addition to just arranging through personal relationships), but what appears to be a more exclusive network is The Beer Exchange.

At the Beer Exchange, you are required to create an account before even perusing through the options. First things first, provide your cellar, or inventory. From there, you can post what you have for trade, what you want and what is not for trade (your means of bragging about beer to people who care). For those fantasy football fans – think of this as your waiver wire. Finally, you can manage who your friends are and provide feedback through star ratings as well as providing actual reviews. This is a social network for beer people. WIN.

Even reddit has a beer trade thread. Obviously since it is on reddit, it’s a big deal. I will be trying my hand at the online beer exchange, however I personally think the easiest way to go is to trade with your personal friends. Find a friend in a far away land and pony up the bill to trade some suds. Let’s make America great again…one beer at a time.

Burns My Bacon: Oreo Thins

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The skinny Oreo. Yes, you heard it right, Nabisco is giving in to the effed up health-conscious world to bring you “Oreo Thins.” Supposedly, Nabisco is not trying to offer a healthier option than their Crisco-filled counterparts, but they project sales to increase from offering this wafer-like substance formerly known as an Oreo. Yes, these are more sophisticated snacks “for adults” according to the Associated Press. Nabisco claims that adults don’t want to twist or dunk their Oreos. Instead, adults want to chomp down on some thin piece of cardboard that does not have nearly enough sugar-lard filling and claim that they are satisfied. I call BS.

Let’s be real. First off, since the dawning of the Oreo, debates among young and old centered around the question: to dunk or to twist? “I prefer to eat my Oreo dry, with less filling, and untwisted” – said nobody. Further, when given the choice between a regular Oreo and Double Stuffed, I am willing to bet that 9/10 people will choose the double-stuffed. I mean, I’ll take two double-stuffed Oreos, twist off precisely so that all of the cream is on one side, and then sandwich the two double-stuffed sides together. I am not alone. And yes, on most days, I am an adult.

Finally – let’s talk about the Oreo brand. Oreo makes their money off of the “twist vs. dunk” debate. Endless advertising highlights the debate – even including adults. I recall an ad with a father (adult) and his son (to be an adult some day) by which the father teaches his son “the proper way to eat an Oreo.” I believe he actually followed the twist and dunk technique. What a simpleton.

PHOTO: Associated Press

Top 10 Easter Basket “Stuffers”

Easter is upon us. Before your run out to your local CVS to scrounge up the last of the Cadbury Cream eggs (caramel is the best) and jelly beans, check out our list of what we consider the best Easter basket “stuffers.” Note: BEER goes quite well with that beer book ;-). Enjoy!

 

10. Snackeez

I saw someone walk by holding one of these and after the confusion, I was suddenly jealous. You can cram in your favorite snack in the same container as your favorite drink!

9. Cadbury Mini Eggs

CADBURY MINI EGGS Candy

Not much to be said here. I am convinced that they put crack in these.

8. Wandering Bear Cold Brew

For your coffee-loving partner, this cold brew offers up a tasty swig in a pretty cool container. Check it out.

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Endless Beer: The Forbidden Traveler

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ABV: 4.4 %

The brewery that brings us the Curious Traveler has unearthed new shandy ground with their Forbidden Traveler Apple Ale. Traveler aims to create a crisp wheat ale brewed with real apple. Contrary to its hard cider counterparts, the Forbidden Traveler looks to bring beer back into apple cider. The suds bring about mixed reviews. But no worries, we’re here to set it straight.

Flavor Profile:

Appearance:  Hazy yellow with a bit of an orange hue.

Aroma: Sweet apple cider with wheat malt scents and even a little bit of lemon and spice.

Taste: Apple flavor up front and throughout. A mix between apple cider and apple juice. Wheat malts come through from beginning to end, but are more subtle than the apple. While the apple stands out, the beer flavors are there.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and clean with a smooth finish. Lingering sweet aftertaste.

Overall: If you drink this expecting the flavor of a hard cider, you are going to be disappointed. If you drink it expecting the flavor of a wheat beer, you won’t get it. This is not for the faint-hearted, but for the adventurists out there. While the brew has a low ABV, the sweet apple flavor is in your face with a challenge to open up your mind to a new kind of beer – apple beer!

Endless Rating: 3 out of 5 suds

Endless Pairings:

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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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