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Sponsored: Oskar Blues Explores the Perks of Having an In-House Coffee Roaster

Sponsored: Oskar Blues Explores the Perks of Having an In-House Coffee Roaster

(Photo courtesy Oskar Blues Brewery) Presented by Oskar Blues Brewery.

While coffee beers are increasingly common, few breweries use an in-house coffee roaster to source beans from family farms in Ethiopia.

“There’s only a finite amount of this coffee in the world,” says Matt Herren of Hotbox Roasters. The company was founded in 2015 by Oskar Blues Brewery founder Dale Katechis, after he bought and learned how to roast on a small roaster as a hobby behind the brewery in Longmont, Colorado.

Herren isn’t being hyperbolic. This particular bean is grown and harvested on a family farm near the community of Banko Gotiti, located in the southern district of Gedeb, Ethiopia. Bedhatu Jibicho, now in her 80s, has almost single handedly run the farm since the 1960s. Her three children (with degrees in forestry, social and environmental development and business management) have recently returned to grow the family business. So minimal is the quantity, Hotbox Roasters can’t even package the beans in its Crowler cans, which it sells through a subscription coffee service and in its […]

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Foreign Exchange: American Beer Styles, Brands Capture Attention of Drinkers Abroad

Foreign Exchange: American Beer Styles, Brands Capture Attention of Drinkers Abroad

(Illustration by Jeff Quinn) Ben Beinhardt has lived in Germany all his life, surrounded by hundreds of years of brewing tradition and some of the most iconic brands the world has known. He still fondly recalls his first Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock, made at a brewery that’s been around since 1877, and his excitement at drinking a beer steeped in Bavarian heritage. He also favors Augustiner-Bräu, which started brewing in 1328, and its Edelstoff and Lagerbier Hell brands.

But honestly, he wouldn’t mind an American IPA, either.

“I think it’d be great if we had new beers coming into the country and you get younger people to drink them,” says Beinhardt, 35, a resident of Stuttgart in the country’s southwest Baden-Württemberg state. “Developing a new beer culture in Germany would be tremendous and help our beer scene, but it would also take a lot of time and money.”

Maybe something like the $25 million Stone Brewing spent to open its production facility in Berlin? Beinhardt isn’t sure yet, but after a trip to the United States in 2014 […]

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Black Cloister Helles Angel

Black Cloister Helles Angel

Hell, yes, this is a damned good brew! Tasty, and light as Wynwood’s Ducati. Makes your mouth feel real fresh. Bottom fermented? You can bet your Beelzebub! Handy can packs perfect! Pop the top and dive into black beans and rice, purple slaw and fried okra, or if you’re on the go, a chicken sandwich, hold the chicken!

Charles Finkel is founder of Merchant du Vin and the Pike Brewing Co. Finkel is a pioneer in the marketing of beers in America. Golden ale with a foundation of great fermentation aromas. Unfiltered goodness and haze, though with minimal head. Flavors are all about helles style of German lager; malty body, hop foundation without interfering bitterness, clean all-around character and aftertaste. Helles is a session type of beer, and this one refreshes without the high carbonation and sweet, then acidic aftertaste of American light lagers. Highly quaffable. Best enjoyed a half or full liter at a time. Good helles makes my day, and my day is made. Thanks, Black Cloister.

Charlie Papazian is the author […]

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Urban Artifact Finn

Urban Artifact Finn

Learning about beer is one of the pleasures of drinking it. By reading the side of the can, I learned that Finn was the name of the helmet worn by Radbod, the ancient Frisian king. By drinking the beer I learned of a new taste discovery. Super nose! The color is spun gold with the slightest ruby tinge and a fleeting head. The beer is an elixir, a delicious cohabitation of sweet luscious malted barley, and sour, pheromone-infused Lactobacillus yeast. We enjoyed it with couscous topped with rare, fresh, Alaska sockeye salmon. The complexity of eating an earthy and spicy dish with the taste of the ocean, accompanied with Finn, makes me dream of Frisia overlooking the North Sea. It was a cold land where a leader, hot for freedom from religion, ruled with an iron helmet.

Charles Finkel is founder of Merchant du Vin and the Pike Brewing Co. Finkel is a pioneer in the marketing of beers in America. OK, I’m going to admit I don’t know what to expect of a […]

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Northern Monk Double Heathen

Northern Monk Double Heathen

Pull on a blindfold and inhale. This is a big, chunky beer right from the first sniff. Actually, that blindfold might come in handy if presentation is important to you. This is a murky beer with a disconcerting appearance, but once other senses kick in, the fog lifts. This full-bodied and warming beer is very quaffable for 10%. The IBUs are 70, but you’d never know it as it’s initially sweet, with a hint of caramel. Lemon, grapefruit and tangy pine are then delivered by a firm punch of hops that join with alcohol in the dry, gum-tingling finish.

Jeff Evans is author of the Good Bottled Beer Guide , The Book of Beer Knowledge , Beer Lover’s Britain and So You Want to Be a Beer Expert? More of his writing can be found at insidebeer.com. The brewery is based in an old flax mill in Leeds, a city that was once the industrial powerhouse of Yorkshire. It’s a modern concept with—borrowing the monastic habit—a refectory where visitors can drop by for a […]

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Blacks of Kinsale World’s End

Blacks of Kinsale World’s End

World’s End
Kinsale, County Cork , Ireland

Cocoa-bean husks and Madagascan vanilla pods are added to this beer’s imperial stout base. A beer labeled “chocolate vanilla stout” screams luxury—rich, silky creaminess, perhaps even a pudding in a glass. Well, this Irish beer doesn’t disappoint in flavor. It’s brimful of velvety milk chocolate and has a coffee note suggestive of espresso without being as bitter. Boldness continues into the dry finish, with deep chocolate and coffee eventually giving way to hop bitterness. Crucially, however, the body and texture are not too full and thick, which is a bonus for beer connoisseurs but perhaps a minor disappointment to those looking to enjoy this as a dessert in its own right.

Jeff Evans is author of the Good Bottled Beer Guide , The Book of Beer Knowledge , Beer Lover’s Britain and So You Want to Be a Beer Expert? More of his writing can be found at insidebeer.com. Husband-and-wife team Sam and Maudeline Black launched their brewery in 2013 as part of the fast-moving Irish […]

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Fierce Beer Night Shift

Fierce Beer Night Shift

Brewing a black IPA is like holding a peace summit between two warring nations. Both the hops and the roasted grains have their own agenda, and neither wants to lose. Night Shift is not as subtle as some examples of the style I have enjoyed, but, happily, the opposing flavors here do not clash. Instead, the bitter ashy grains that bring notes of coffee to the aroma, taste and finish work rather well with the pine, grapefruit and juicy orange of the hops. Crucially, while quite intense, it also slips down quite easily, thanks to the airy texture. Good job.

Jeff Evans is author of the Good Bottled Beer Guide , The Book of Beer Knowledge , Beer Lover’s Britain and So You Want to Be a Beer Expert? More of his writing can be found at insidebeer.com. Fierce is based in the far north of Scotland and produces beers made without compromise and packed with full-throated hop character. Launched in 2015, Fierce produces several interpretations of IPA. One is a genuinely pale Day […]

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Wicklow Wolf American Amber

Wicklow Wolf American Amber

The joy of a fine amber ale is the harmony between delicate caramel from the malt and fragrant fruitiness from the hops. This Irish beer is very well-made from that point of view and is loaded with flavor. The malt character is smooth and mellow, supporting orange and floral notes from the hops that waft around on the palate. Is it perhaps a touch too sweet? Maybe, but it’s a minor criticism that’s soon assuaged by the tangy hops in the dry, firmly bitter, robust finish, with lingering citrus peel and pine having the final say.

Jeff Evans is author of the Good Bottled Beer Guide , The Book of Beer Knowledge , Beer Lover’s Britain and So You Want to Be a Beer Expert? More of his writing can be found at insidebeer.com. The brewery in Bray is so named because the last wolf in Ireland was seen in the area, and the brewers happily link that to Humulus lupulus , the Latin tag for the hop plant. The beer has an entrancing […]

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Great Raft You, Me and Everyone We Know

Great Raft You, Me and Everyone We Know

You, Me and Everyone We Know
Shreveport , Louisiana

This American wild ale incorporates various strains of Brettanomyces and 600 pounds of Louisiana peaches. Pouring a hazy, sunny golden hue, a thin, off-white head quickly dissipates, leaving just a slight suggestion of foam around the sides of the glass. That said, the carbonation is just enough to tease the nose with hints of peach, chardonnay, a touch of wood and sour notes. Those tantalizing aromas don’t lie. With its tartness balanced just enough by Louisiana peaches, this beer is interesting on its own, but also can play a supporting role. I’d pair it with a rocker on a sunny front porch on the bayou, with nothing else scheduled except more of the same.

Lisa Morrison has been writing about beer for nearly 20 years. She also owns Belmont Station, a well-known bottle shop and taproom in Portland, Oregon. The satisfying hiss is what you hear, the hazy yellow liquid is what you see, but it’s the Brett that speaks first. “Farm!” it blurts, […]

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Orpheus Serpent Bite

Orpheus Serpent Bite

Serpent Bite
Atlanta , Georgia

This dry-hopped release combines the brewery’s love of hops and
sour beers. It was recently made a year-round offering. Sometimes “dry-hopped” and “sour” in the same beer description frightens me. I’ve had a few that miss the mark by being too much of one or the other, and with two strong, possibly competing components duking it out, your palate often suffers. But Orpheus charms your taste buds with a deftly balanced one-two punch of citrusy hoppiness and a lemony tartness. Not overly complex, this beer snakes its way between sour and hoppy without ever really being either, slithering in a touch of funkiness before ending on a delightfully dry finish.

Lisa Morrison has been writing about beer for nearly 20 years. She also owns Belmont Station, a well-known bottle shop and taproom in Portland, Oregon. Deep yellow and translucent, this beer raises a fine white foam. The aroma is an odd amalgam of pickles, wet stone and tropical fruit (you kinda had to be there). The broad acidity […]