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Best Christmas Beers 2011: Ridgeway Brewing’s Lump of Coal Dark Holiday Stout!

Ridgeway Brewing Lump of Coal Stout Best Christmas Beers 2011: Ridgeway Brewing’s Lump of Coal Dark Holiday Stout!By Matt Goldstein

Have you been bad this season?  If so, Santa might be punishing you with coal under the Christmas tree.  I know what you’re thinking, “What does this Jewish guy Goldstein know about Christmas?”  Fear not my friends, I got connections.  You best believe I got some Christmas gifts on the way.  On another note, a good kind of coal this holiday season is coal that comes in the form of a beer.  The Ridgeway Brewing Lump of Coal Dark Holiday Stout is a classic wintery stout perfect for any holiday celebration.  Making over 19 Christmas Ales, Ridgeway Brewing out of England is one of the world’s leading holiday beer makers.  Black in color with a brown bubbly head, the Lump of Coal Stout is a malty stout with subtle crispness.  Thin in body for a stout, the malty and coffee notes make a pretty flavorful stout.  Not full of all those Christmas spices in most craft beers, the Lump of Coal is simply a solid stout.  Malty, smoky and bitter, we would definitely try this stout again.

Ridgeway Lump of Coal

Country of Origin:  England

Brewery:  Ridgeway

Beer Style:  Stout, Winter/Holiday Beer

Alcohol By Volume:  8.0%

Format:  500 ml bottles, 50L kegs

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2011 U.S. Open Beer Championships: The Top 10 Oatmeal Stouts

sam smith oatmeal stout 2011 U.S. Open Beer Championships: The Top 10 Oatmeal StoutsFrom BeerInfo.com, forward by Jeremy Thomspon

The Porter style was originally created in the UK by blending three ales (Old Ale, Mild, Bitter).  The resulting brew is dark in color with rich, nutty flavors that highlight the roasted malts.  The Stout (originally Stout Porter) takes this even further offering darker, richer notes.  Some brewers have chosen to add chocolate or coffee to these brews resulting in delicious, full-bodied brews.

1. Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout – Samuel Smith Old Brewery – England
2. Shipwrecked Stout, Maui Brewing – Hawaii
3. Alaskan Stout – Alaskan Brewing  – Alaska
4. Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout, Anderson Valley Brewing – California
5. Clustard’s Last Stout – Montana Brewing – Montana
6. Starry Night Stout – Grand Canyon Brewing, Arizona
7. The Poet – New Holland Brewing – Michigan
8. Schlafly Oatmeal Stout – Saint Louis Brewery – Missouri
9. Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout – Breckenridge Brewery – Colorado
10.  Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout – Rogue Ales, Oregon

Porter/Stout

The Porter style was originally created in the UK by blending three ales (Old Ale, Mild, Bitter).  The resulting brew is dark in color with rich, nutty flavors that highlight the roasted malts.  The Stout (originally Stout Porter) takes this even further offering darker, richer notes.  Some brewers have chosen to add chocolate or coffee to these brews resulting in delicious, full-bodied brews.

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The Top 10 Beers from Philly Beer Week 2011: Ballast Point, Dogfishhead, Nebraska Brewing, Russian River, Fegley’s Brew Works and more…

ballast point victory at sea imperial porter 232x300 The Top 10 Beers from Philly Beer Week 2011: Ballast Point, Dogfishhead, Nebraska Brewing, Russian River, Fegleys Brew Works and more…The Best Craft Beer from the Best Craft Beer City

By Pat Smith, Matt Goldstein & Sommelier Tom Pittakas

For Philly Beer Week, our staff hit eight events and about 30 different bars overall in celebration of craft beer in one of the best beer cities in the world, Philadelphia.  From IPA’s to imperial Stouts, dopplebocks and fruit beers, Philly Beer Week had a profusion of many styles by the best breweries in the world.  Below is our top 10 beers of the 2011 Philly Beer Week.  Pick up a few these beautiful brews and let us know your thoughts.           

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1. Ballast Point Victory at Sea Barrel Aged Espresso Vanilla Imperial Porter:

An American Porter with 10.0% ABV, the Ballast Point Victory at Sea is a deep dark beer with notes of mocha, chocolate, vanilla and complex full bodied smooth porter.  This is simply one of the best porters in the world and Ballast Point continues to prove it’s one of the best breweries in the world.  This is an absolute must for dark beer lovers.  Served at the Khyber Pass Pub.

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hitachino espresso stout 142x300 The Top 10 Beers from Philly Beer Week 2011: Ballast Point, Dogfishhead, Nebraska Brewing, Russian River, Fegleys Brew Works and more…2. Hitachino Espresso Imperial Stout

From the Kiuchi Brewery in Japan, the Hitachino Espresso Stout stands at 7.50% ABV with great malts and crisp finish.  It’s rare finding a stout this flavorful and crisp at the same time.  Dark black in color with dark head, the Hitachino is a classic imperial stout and proves that the Japanese can brew a hell of a beer.  Served at the Side Car Bar. 

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3. Dogfish Head Festina Peche BerlinerWeisse

The Festina Peche is fermented with peaches that hints of a sour beer.  Not made like traditional sour beers, this fruit beer is crafted with very ripe peaches to get it’s sour flavor.  Very crisp and refreshing, the Dogfish Head Festina Peche is the perfect summer beer.  Not too sour without many hops at all, the Festina Peche is about 4.5% ABV.  Purchased at Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting. 

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fegleys hopsolutely triple ipa poster1 252x300 The Top 10 Beers from Philly Beer Week 2011: Ballast Point, Dogfishhead, Nebraska Brewing, Russian River, Fegleys Brew Works and more…4. Fegley’s Hopsulutely Triple IPA

The Fegley’s Brewery is getting a lot of buzz in the Philadelphia area and proving to be one of the best brewers in the city area.  Considering this is one of the best craft beer cities in the U.S., Fegley’s is of course creating some great crafts.  The Hopsolutely Triple IPA is made with Cascade, CTZ, Summit, Amarillo and Chinook hops, then dry hopped with Chinook and Amarillo.  At 100 IBU’s, this triple IPA is still balanced enough to challenge the best IPA’s in the country.  We challenge you to try it out.  Allentown and Bethlehem are making a real name for themselves and deservedly so.  11.0% ABV.  Purchased at Whole Foods in Plymouth meeting. 

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5. Nebraska Samarican Brown Ale

At 5.3% ABV, this American Brown Ale is slightly sweet, slightly malty, crisp and well balanced.  Overall one of the best brown ales you will find.  The Nebraska Brewing “cornhusker juice” was in major demand throughout Philly Beer week, especially the oak aged Black Betty Imperial Stout.  Colorado isn’t the only Midwest state making excellent craft beer.  Served at the Sidecar Bar.        

Pliney the elder 1 300x300 The Top 10 Beers from Philly Beer Week 2011: Ballast Point, Dogfishhead, Nebraska Brewing, Russian River, Fegleys Brew Works and more…6.  Russian River’s Pliney the Elder

8.0% ABV.  American Double IPA.  Purchased in a growler from the Hulmeville Inn.

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7. Port Ole Viscosity Whiskey Barrel Aged

12% ABV by Port Brewing.  Served at the Resurrection Ale House. 

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8. Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel

5.0% ABV Ayinger Brewing from Germany.  Served at Eulogy Belgian Tavern.

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Ballast Point logo The Top 10 Beers from Philly Beer Week 2011: Ballast Point, Dogfishhead, Nebraska Brewing, Russian River, Fegleys Brew Works and more…9. Ballast Point Navigator Dopplebock

8.9% ABV barrel aged by Ballast Point.  Served at the Khyber Pass Pub. 

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10. Yards CB4 Belgian IPA

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11. Ballast Point Sculpin on Cask

Check out this review of the Sculpin on Cask by Billy’s Beer Blog.

12. Nebraska Black Betty Russian Imperial Stout

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A Quantum Leap: The Bruery Marrón Acidifié & Cigar City Bhor Imperial Stout

The Bruery Marron Acidifie cigar city 300x253 A Quantum Leap: The Bruery Marrón Acidifié & Cigar City Bhor Imperial StoutCourtesy of Billy’s Beer Blog

By Bill Zavorskas

Niels Henrik David Bohr (1885-1962) was a Nobel Prize winning Danish physicist who made significant contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum mechanics. Additionally, he was one of the physicists that worked on the Manhattan Project. In his honor, Danish brewer Mikkeller has collaborated with Cigar City on a beer that’s truly the bomb.

Cigar City Bohr (Cigar City Brewing; Tampa, FL; Imperial Stout; ABV: 10.0) is an astronomical effort from Cigar City and the gypsy brewery. Jet black in color, Bohr has rich notes of coffee, roasted malt, and raisins complimented by sweet dark chocolate and spices. Velvety smooth and well balanced, this imperial stout is quite enjoyable from start to finish. The dessert like character of Bohr will appeal to both aficionados of fine liquor and disciples of imperial stouts.

While I don’t have a degree in physics, I know a great beer. I strongly urge you to give Bohr a try.

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CigarCityBrewing 300x201 A Quantum Leap: The Bruery Marrón Acidifié & Cigar City Bhor Imperial StoutStopped by Mr. Beery’s over the weekend and was glad to see a collaboration ale between The Bruery and Cigar City was on tap. As the story goes, both breweries came up with the recipe over pints at the Falling Rock Tap House in Denver during the 2009 Great American Beer Festival.

The Bruery Marrón Acidifié (The Bruery; Placentia, CA; Imperial Oud Bruin; ABV: 8.5) is a magnificent sour ale. Dark amber in color, Marrón Acidifié has pronounced notes of cranberries and tart fruit such as cherries balanced by balsamic vinegar, roasted malt, and spices with nice dry finish. There’s a fine woody backbone from the barrel aging, and it gives this imperial oud bruin a smooth red wine character throughout. A couple of more snifters was enough to convince me that Marrón Acidifié is one of the best sour ales that I have ever had.

Many thanks to The Bruery and Cigar City for crafting this superb beer.

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The Founders Imperial Stout

Founders Imperial Stout 300x218 The Founders Imperial StoutAnother World Class Beer from Founders Brewing

By Matt Goldstein

The Founders Imperial Stout is brewed with ten varieties of malted barley and hops are pushed to about 90 IBUs.  The Founders Imperial Stout is dark, malty, chocolaty, sticky, dry and bitter with notes of coffee.  It’s a perfect Imperial Stout.  The dry and bitter but drinkable style imperial stout is often unmatched.  We think the Imperial Stout is actually much better than the Founders Breakfast Stout, which isn’t peanuts.  All we can really say is wow!  I know, I know, all we write is Founders this, Founders that.  Even our staff gets annoyed by it.  Guess what?  We don’t care.  It’s not our fault Founders keeps putting a masterpiece in every bottle.  Just drink a beer and shut up!  If you have the chance, the Founders Imperial Stout is an absolute must. 

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Flying Fish Exit 13 Foreign Stout: Another Exit Worth Trying

flying fish exit 13 chocolate stout 272x300 Flying Fish Exit 13 Foreign Stout: Another Exit Worth TryingCourtesy of Billy’s Beer Blog

By Bill Zavorskas

For those of us who have traveled down the New Jersey Turnpike, the best thing about Exit 13 is the IKEA in Elizabeth. Fortunately there’s an Exit 13 that has something to offer besides stylish, sometimes easy to assemble Scandinavian furniture.  Flying Fish Exit 13 (Flying Fish Brewing Co.; Cherry Hill, NJ; Foreign Stout; ABV: 7.5), named for the exit that provides access to Newark International Airport and the Port of Elizabeth, is a delicious, very well balanced foreign stout. Jet black in color, Exit 13 has rich notes of dark milk chocolate and roasted malt complimented by vanilla spices and floral hops with a dry smoky finish. The chocolate and coffee backbone gives Exit 13 a nice warming effect, and it makes an excellent dessert beer.

You’ll enjoy journeying down this Exit 13.

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The March Madness Beer Champion: Founders Breakfast Stout!

founders breakfaststout 111111 The March Madness Beer Champion: Founders Breakfast Stout!2011March Madness Beer Champion Founders Breakfast Stout

By Team Goldmine

From starting with 500 beers to 64 to 1 final champion, Founders Breakfast Stout has won the March Madness Beer Championship Bracket tournament for Whiskey Goldmine.  Almost getting knocked out in the Final Four to Pliny the Elder Double IPA, Founders Breakfast Stout emerged to challenge Stone IPA for the March Madness Championship.  Although close, Founders Breakfast Stout won the championship convincingly.  This is not the first contest that Founders has won for Whiskey Goldmine and probably won’t be the last.  The beers in the March Madness Beer Championship were judged on style, flavor, taste and finish by an esteemed panel of tasters.  Our tasters included multiple sommeliers, award winning chefs, craft beer professionals and craft beer enthusiasts.  There has been a lot of controversy behind the scenes of Whiskey Goldmine throughout the tournament and even some back and forth fighting during the Final Four.  But hey, real champions rise to the occasion no matter the odds.  The will be more on the Breakfast Stout in the coming days.

Whiskey Goldmine would like to congratulate our 2011 Champion, Founders Breakfast Stout.  Clearly this is the most prestigious award in modern history.  Move over Nobel and Oscar, this is the Whiskey Goldmine. 

For more on the Founders Breakfast Stout Click the Link Here! 

The March Madness Beer Championship Bracket

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March Madness Beer Championship Game: Founders Imperial Breakfast Stout VS. Stone IPA

STONE IPA 238x300 March Madness Beer Championship Game: Founders Imperial Breakfast Stout VS. Stone IPABeer Bracket March Madness Tournament Championship Game

By Team Goldmine

It’s been a grueling battle of serious beer drinking by team Goldmine.  But hey, that’s what we do best, drink.  The Final Four pit some big dogs against each other and Stone IPA laid the smack down on Ayinger Celebrator Dopplebock.  Founders Breakfast Stout and Pliny the Elder went into overtime and the Founders Breakfast Stout shooting guard hit a runner in the lane at the buzzer in a classic March Madness ending.  Yup, the scoring was that close and it could have gone either way.  Real champions rise to the occasion and now Stone IPA and Founders Breakfast Stout square off for our March Madness Beer Championship!  The beers are judged on style, color, taste, flavor, finish and aftertaste and The Founders Breakfast Stout and Stone IPA will go head to head in the 2011 March Madness Beer Championship game.  Who will take home beers biggest prize?  Yup, I just said it, the biggest prize in all of beer.  Clearly it’s this tournament.  Click the link below to see the March Madness Beer Championship Bracket.

founders breakfaststout 11111 March Madness Beer Championship Game: Founders Imperial Breakfast Stout VS. Stone IPA

 

2011 March Madness Championship Game

 

 

 

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Bell’s Greatest Show on Tap: Cask Conditioned HopSlam, Batch 9000, Hell Hath No Fury, Henry McGill’s Spiced Stout

bells brewey Bell’s Greatest Show on Tap: Cask Conditioned HopSlam, Batch 9000, Hell Hath No Fury, Henry McGill’s Spiced StoutA Bell’s Brewery Review Courtesy of Billys Beer Blog

By Bill Zavorskas

What an incredible time we all had at Saturday’s Mr. Beery’s Bell’s Beer Circus. Lots of fun and games, from mechanical shark riding to the HopSlam toss (yours truly won a Bell’s gift basket in the latter). Bell’s rep Cindi Curtis and her merry band of clowns were on hand to keep everyone entertained, as well as lending a hand to ringmaster Mark & the gang. And of course there was beer…21 Bell’s brews on tap, including several not normally available in the Sunshine State.

There was even a Bell’s Firkin Cask Conditioned HopSlam (Bell’s Brewery; Kalamazoo, MI; Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 10.0) that was out of this world. The non carbonated version of this hop bomb really brings out the big notes of citrusy hops, especially the grapefruit, along with the sweet malt and honey.

bells batch 9000 300x295 Bell’s Greatest Show on Tap: Cask Conditioned HopSlam, Batch 9000, Hell Hath No Fury, Henry McGill’s Spiced StoutAdditionally, I had a chance to sample a few offerings for the first time, with several of them truly standing out.

Bell’s Batch 9000; Bell’s Brewery; Kalamazoo, MI; Imperial Stout; ABV: 12.5. A full bodied imperial stout. Jet black in color with subtle notes of caramel malt and dark fruit giving way to a huge bourbon presence on the back end. Wow!

Bell’s Batch 10000; Bell’s Brewery; Kalamazoo, MI; American Strong Ale; ABV: 9.2. Along with the cask conditioned HopSlam, this was my favorite beer of the day. This chocolate colored ale has big notes of black cherry and caramel malt with a nice bite of dry citrus hops at the finish.

Bell’s Hell Hath No Fury; Bell’s Brewery; Kalamazoo, MI; Dubbel; ABV: 7.5. This dark abbey ale has rich notes of Belgian yeast and dark fruit complimented by spicy cloves and a roasted malt backbone. A very smooth and well balanced beer.

Bell’s Henry McGill’s Spiced Stout; Bell’s Brewery; Kalamazoo, MI; Spiced Stout; ABV: 7.5. This wonderfully eclectic stout is dark chocolate in color with appreciable notes of ginger and nutmeg balanced by roasted malt at the end.

Many thanks to Mark and Cindi for hosting The Mr. Beery’s Bell’s Beer Circus. It was truly The Greatest Show on Tap!

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The March Madness Beer Championship Final Four: Founders Breakfast Stout, Pliny the Elder, Stone IPA and Ayinger Celebrator

chrisitan laettner final four 300x219 The March Madness Beer Championship Final Four:  Founders Breakfast Stout, Pliny the Elder, Stone IPA and Ayinger CelebratorElite 8 Results: The Big Dogs in Craft Beer Lay the Smack Down in Multiple Beer Competitions

By Team Goldmine

After four rounds of all out beer competitions, beer trials, and taste testing, the Goldmine Team has selected our Final Four:  Founders Breakfast Stout, Pliny the Elder, Stone IPA and Ayinger Celebrator.  The crazy thing is that we thought two of these beers might actually go down in the first round, but hey, that’s just March Madness.  Over the next few days we’ll feature each of the Final Four Beers and hype up the biggest showdown in beer bracket and beer competition in history.  Yup, I said it.  Do you really think the Washington Post and the Great American Beer Fest are more important than us?  Of course they are, let’s not get crazy now.  Thanks for the compliment though.  Click the link to see the March Madness Beer Championship Bracket. 

 

The March Madness Beer Championship Bracket Final Four

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