There are a few certainties in life: death, taxes, major upsets in the NCAA Basketball tournament, and a lot of beer drinking at the Whiskey Goldmine. In the March Madness Beer Championship Tournament at Whiskey Goldmine, we have painstakingly drank beer after beer after beer to get down to the Elite 8 beers of the world. It was very difficult to consume this insane amount of beer but we’ve done it just for you; just so you can listen to us tell you what the best beers in the world are. We would write a longer article and tell you the Sweet 16 results but we’re pretty hungover from the utter debauchery running amuck in Atlantic City right now; fight weigh ins, deep stacked poker tables, throwing hot rocks at the craps table and open bar and free buffets with Macallan 12, prime rib, shrimp cocktail, Heinekens and pecan pie. It’s completely out of control and we’re just getting started. Click the link below to download the March Madness Bracket to see the Sweet 16 results and Elite 8 matchups. This is the road to the final four.
Click the link below for the March Madness Bracket!
There were some major upsets in round 2 of the March Madness Beer Championships as there is only two #1 seeds, two #2 seeds, two #3 seeds and two #4 seeds remaining in the tournament. Much like the NCAA Basketball tournament, there are Cinderella teams and major upsets in every round. Click the link below to see the March Madness round 2 results and the sweet 16 matchups! Check back for the Sweet 16 results, Elite 8 matchups, the Final Four and the eventual Beer champions. Results will roll out and coincide with the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament.
It was a spectacular day this past Saturday when the Mr. Beery’s Magic Bus Tour departed to Cigar City Brewing in Tampa for Hunahpu’s Day. Our mission: to drink great beer, enjoy the festivities, and of course to claim our trophy – the 2011 release of Cigar City Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout (Cigar City Brewing; Tampa, FL; Russian Imperial Stout; ABV: 11.5).
Upon arriving, we all took advantage of the festive atmosphere, which included live music and a tasty variety of cuisine, from local area restaurants, to compliment the beer. Creativity was the word of the day for beer, from Cigar City’s own Pilot Series Barleywine to some outstanding home brews like the Pinellas Urban Brewers Guild’s amazing Russian Imperial Stout and Special Hoperations’ superb Smoked Jalapeno Ale. There was an extensive lineup of guest brews on tap as well, including the highly regarded Funky Buddah Maple Bacon Coffee Porter (The Funky Buddah Lounge & Brewery; Boca Raton, FL; Porter; ABV: 6.3), which unfortunately kicked right before we arrived. But in the end, there was only one beer that mattered – Hunahpu.
Created from their Marshall Zhukov’s Imperial Stout, and aged on pasilla and ancho peppers as well as vanilla, cinnamon and cocoa nibs, Hunahpu is definitely something special. This imperial stout pours a jet black color, with big notes of expresso and sweet dark chocolate balanced by roasted malt, vanilla beans, and peppery spices. The flavors tend to be even more accentuated in the 2011 brewing than in 2010, with the vanilla beans and peppery spices really coming through to balance the sweet chocolate notes. I had a chance to speak with head brewer Wayne Wambles, and he had wanted to improve upon last year’s offering. Needless to say he’s succeeded, which is saying something considering that the 2010 Hunahpu is considered to be one of the world’s best beers.
CCB made bottles of Hunahpu available to the first 750 guests, with a four bottle limit per person. I was glad to be a part of this afternoon, and to take home my own supply of this incomparable stout.
Lastly, I’d like to give thanks to Cigar City Brewing for hosting this great event, Mark for arranging the Mr. Beery’s Magic Bus Tour, Sam for being a hip chaperone to our merry band of beer geeks, Gemma for staying behind to secure our purchases of Hunahpu, and my pal Brad, for riding shotgun with me and filming the day’s events for our video blog. Once the mad genius has finished editing, I’ll attach the video feed to this blog. Cheers!
Round 2 March Madness Matchups: 32 Beers Advance in the Bracket
By Matt Goldstein, Tim Rodgers, Pat Smith, Don Corino & Mike Magowan
In our first annual March Madness Beer Championship, the first round results are in. 32 Beers have advanced to round 2 and 32 beers were sent home with their bags packing. All styles of Ales, Lagers, Crafts, IPA’s, Stouts, Belgians and Pilsners are banging it out one taste test at a time. The round 2 matchups pit some big dogs against each other in an all out March Madness Bracket beer battle royal. Click the link below to see if your favorite beer made it through to the next round! Stay tuned for round 2 results to see out Sweet 16.
Hoppin Frog Barrel Aged Borris Oatmeal Imperial Stout the Show!
By Matt Goldstein & Kevin Hussey
The 2011 Beats, Brews & BBQ beer fest at the World Café Live in Philadelphia had over 35 brewers with more than 100 beers and tickets sold out months before the beer fest opened its doors. With more than 100 beers trying to stake their claim at the 2011 beerfest, our panel of tasters provides you with the top 10 craft beers that crushed the competition. Speaking of crushed, Hoppin Frogs Borris the Crusher stole the show!
Made from the 2008 Gold Medalist at the GABF, Borris the Crusher Oatmeal Imperial Stout, the barrel aged version is a masterpiece in cask matured stouts. Full bodied, robust, roasted and smoky, with notes of oak and vanilla, the Barrel Aged Borris is complex and full of character. 9.4% ABV, 60 IBU. Hoppin Frog Brewing. Akron, Ohio.
2. Weyerbacher Heresy Imperial Stout:
The Heresy is an old heathen oak aged imperial stout. Aged in bourbon oak barrels with a roasted flavor, the Heresy has notes of bourbon, oak, corn, vanilla, and coffee. 8.5% ABV, Weyerbacher Brewing. Easton, PA.
3. Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Style Ale:
The Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale, also known as an old ale, is brewed with 7 different types of malts. Ruby Red in color, with strong notes of hops, hints of smoke and peat, the Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale is a classic. 8.5% ABV, Founders Brewing Co. Michigan.
4. Victory Old Horizontal Barley Wine:
The Victory Barley Wine is rich in hops with a sweet flavor that balances very well. With imported 2 row hops malts and American whole flower hops, the Old Horizontal is perfectly balanced. 10.5% ABV. Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA.
5. Six Points Sehr Crisp Pilsner
With all the IPA’s and Imperial Stouts at every beer fest, the Six Point Sehr Crisp Pilsner was a refreshing session beer and strongly lived up to the Pilsner style. According to Beer Advocate, the Sehr Crisp Pilsner is a cross between a German Pilsner and a Bohemian Pilsner and blended with German hops. 5.4% ABV. Six Point Brewing Company. Brooklyn, NY.
6. Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye:
The Hop Rod Rye has been a staple of Bear Republic for years and years, winning three separate gold medals in craft beer competitions. The Racer 5 and Rocket Red are already legendary Bear Republic Brews, but the Hop Rod Rye is just as good. The Hop Rod Rye is an IPA with a heavy rye malt base, but also a spicy kick and bitterness that add a beautiful complexity to the hops. 8.0% ABV, 80 IBUs. Bear Republic Brewing Co. Healdsburg, CA.
7. Yards Chocolate Love Stout:
The Yards Chocolate Love Stout is a sweet and sultry full bodied chocolate stout with a beautiful roasted malt flavor. The Chocolate Love is brewed with oysters in a kettle. Oysters? WTF! 5.5% ABV. Yards Brewing Company, Philadelphia, PA.
Some of our tasters at the beer fest thought the Dorris Destroyer might have been better than Barrel Aged Borris and for good reason. This Double Imperial Oatmeal Stout is similar to the Borris but a little more tangy. Dry hopped and wort hopped, Dorris the Destroyer will smack you right in your mouth. 10.5% ABV, 70 IBUs. Hoppin Frog Brewing Co. Akron, Ohio.
9. Left Hand Fade to Black Volume 2 Baltic Porter:
The Left Hand Fade to Black Volume 2 is a flat lout smoke monster. Made with 2-Row malts, Smoked Munich (smoked with Hackberry) malts, Malted Rye, Cara Aroma, Chocolate, Carafa, Special II, Carafa III and Magnum and Northern Brewer hops, the medium to full bodied porter stood out from all other porters at the beer fest.
10. Dogfish Head Red & White Belgian Style Wit Ale:
The Red & White Belgian Style Wit Ale is an easy drinking Belgian ale “brewed with coriander and orange peel and fermented with Pinot Noir juice.” WOW! Dogfish Head will try anything. The Red & White Ale is then aged in Oak tanks. An Oak tank? That’s first we’ve heard of that. It certainly sounds better than being aged in a metal vat, but can’t possibly provide the character of an oak barrel. Either way, the Red & White is a fabulous Belgian Wit. 10.0% ABV, 35 IBU. Dogfish Head Brewing. Rehobeth Beach, DE.
Rogue’s winter beer smells and tastes like apple, spruce, pine, and hops. It’s a red ale (a.k.a. an American amber ale) but has double the hops of the normal Rogue red. Still, it’s balanced, and avoids being a one-note hop-bomb. Six percent ABV, light carbonation, medium body, almost nonexistent head.
Hood River, Oregon’s Full Sail brewery has been brewing Wassail since 1988, and it’s not a holiday ale that relies on spices for its winter vibe. It pours a dark mahogany color, with the creamy body and texture of a stout and an assertive hit of hops that IPA fans will enjoy. (On the flip side, this beer may be too hoppy for people who like mild-flavored brews.) We thought the strong malt and hops flavors were balanced enough that we’d drink this year-round if it were available. And with a high 7 percent ABV (alcohol by volume), it helps numb the pain of annoying relatives.
St. Paul-based Summit is known locally for its rock-solid and easy-drinking Extra Pale Ale, but the brewery really shines with its fussily perfect seasonal and limited-release brews. The aroma of Summit’s Winter Ale is chocolaty, and it tastes like satsumas, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It’s pleasantly sweet and mellow without being syrupy, and the spice flavors linger in the finish.
Safe and balanced, Anderson Valley Brewing Company’s Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale even has a nondenominational holiday name, so as not to offend. It’s mild—hell, it only scores six on the International Bittering Units scale, around what a can of macro American lager does—but that’s not to say it’s flavorless. You can taste a little bit of vanilla and some baking-spice flavors (maybe cinnamon and citrus peel?) that blend nicely with the mellow beer. Surprisingly, it packs a 6.9 percent ABV.
Flavored with roasty coffee and toffee but smooth-drinking, Magic Hat’s black lager is dark in color but light in body, and has a lower ABV than our other selections at 4.6 percent. It’s a nice change to find a black lager for a holiday beer, but given the Vermont-based brewery’s reputation for funky, unconventional brews it’s not too surprising.
The first thing you’ll notice about this San Francisco beer in a can is its killer label: an old-timey illustration of FDR by a garland-bedecked fireplace. The beer, which 21st Amendment says is based on an English-style strong ale, is dark and malty, lightly sweet, and restrained enough in its spicing (which includes cocoa nibs) to make you want another. The only real gripe we have is that the aftertaste seemed a tad ashy, but at 7.9 percent ABV, no one is going to notice for long.
High Alcohol and Rich Malt Heavy Christmas and Seasonal Brews
By Pat Smith, Kevin Hussey and Matt Goldstein
Winter ales actually date back to the times of the Pagans and were believed to be originally brewed and drank for celebration of the winter solstice. After the birth of Christ, winter ales and Christmas Ales were made each year to celebrate Christmas, especially in brewing monasteries. Monks don’t talk much and unfortunately they’re celibate, but hey, they make some damn good beer.
Port Brewing’s Santa’s Little Helper Russian Imperial Stout:
The Santa’s Little Helper is a must try for all beer lovers and maybe the best seasonal beer out there. Especially for malt lovers, Port Brewing’s Santa’s Little Helper Russian Imperial Stout puts the MALT in stout. It’s simply a phenomenal brew. With notes of chocolate, roasted malts and caramel, Santa’s Little Helper is one of our favorite stouts and we wish it was available year round. 9.5% ABV, Port Brewing. Pizza Port, CA.
Southern Tier Old Man Winter Ale:
The Old Man Winter Ale is an old ale style seasonal brew by Southern Tier Brewing. Our clear number 2 of the season, Southern Tier seems to bring it every time they make a beer. Reddish brown in color, and having beautiful notes of malts and barley with hints of light hops, the Old Man Winter Ale has a smooth but complex finish. 7.2% ABV, Southern Tier Brewing Co. Lakewood, NY.
Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome:
The Winter Welcome is Honey-amber-colored and creamy with a head of small bubbles. Having a floral aroma and delicious malt flavor, the Sam Smith winter welcome style seasonal ale is very drinkable with a great bite. 6.0% ABV, Sam Smith Old Brewery. Yorkshire, UK.
Lost Abbey Gift of the Magi:
Beer Advocate refers to this style as a Biere de Garde. The Lost Abbey Gift of the Magi is gold in color and actually bittered with the bark of Frankincense, and mixed with a small amount of Myrrh which is an herb that has roots in ancient winemaking as well. The Gift of the magi can also be considered a golden ale. 10.0% ABV, Lost Abbey Brewing. San Marcos, CA.
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale:
The Celebration Ale is rich and robust in malts with dry hops and won medals at numerous beer competitions, including gold. The Celebration Ale sets the bar for seasonal IPA’s. 6.80% ABV, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Chico, CA.
Weyerbacher Winter Ale:
Winner of multiple medals and deep in rich malts, the Weyerbacher Winter Ale has a roasty flavor with a dry finish. 5.6% ABV, Weyerbacher Brewing Company. Easton, PA.
Petrus Winter Ale:
The Petrus Winter Ale is a Dark Belgian Ale and dark brown in color. Not very thick for a seasonal winter brew but having notes of fruit and spice, The Petrus Winter Ale is slightly sour and complex. 6.5% ABV, Brouwerij Bavik. Belgium.
The Hoppin Frog Frosted Frog Christmas Ale:
Brewed with ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg, the Frosted Frog is a clear dark reddish brown color with a light spicy sweet scent almost like a spiced wafer cookie. With a beautiful heavy malt flavor, the spices in the finish and aftertaste work very well. With 12 IBU’s and 8.6% ABV, the Frosted Frog Christmas Ale is a Winter Warmer brewed by Hoppin Frog in Akron Ohio and pairs well with Pumpkin Pie and Turkey. http://www.hoppinfrog.com
The Sly Fox Christmas Ale:
The Sly Fox Christmas Ale is back for another year. After a successful run in 2008 & 2009, the Sly Fox brewery did not disappoint this year. With 16 IBU’s and 6.50% ABV, the 2010 Slyfox Christmas Ale has hints of peppermint, ginger, nutmeg and a semi-sour taste. Red in color, this Christmas ale has a great bite and aromatic hops. “If this one doesn’t get you into the Christmas spirit, you truly are a Scrooge.”
The 21st Amendment Fireside Chat Winter Spice Ale:
The Fireside Chat Ale is an ode to FDR’s depression era radio addresses which were like a “kick in the butt and a hug at the same time. At 45 IBU’s and 7.90% ABV, the Fireside Chat Ale is a ruby red color with a light Belgian nose. This winter ale has a smoky flavor and great kick. Made with pale, Munich, wheat and chocolate malts, balanced with magnum and Goldings hops and top fermenting yeast, the 21st Amendment Fireside Chat Winter Spiced Ale has spices and cocoa added. A is a solid winter ale.
The Schlafly Reserve Imperial Stout is barrel aged for several months in freshly emptied Jim Beam Bourbon casks. Barrel aged craft beer has been a major trend in micro brews over the last few years and rightfully so. Perhaps a little trendy, but the final product speaks for itself. For example: Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Black Pearl by Maui Brewing, 21st Amendment Ale, Hoppin Frog’s Barrel Aged Boris the Crusher and of course, the Schlafly Reserve Imperial Stout. The Schlafly Reserve is rich, malty, roasty, with notes of caramel, chocolate and tastes of oak, roasted barley and bourbon whiskey. The bourbon cask ageing adds an exceptional character and complexity. Even the scent has subtle notes of whiskey. The sweet corn aroma and flavor of bourbon goes great with the a slightly sweet stout.
With all the different flavors, the Schlafly Reserve is a great beer for the Fall season and a great beer for the big holiday dinners. It’s also an excellent beer for desserts and whiskey tasting.
Schlafly Reserve Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, ABV: 10% IBU: 75, St. Louis MO.
Thank the lord they finally started serving craft beer at Sixers games because the Philadelphia 76’ers are almost unwatchable. The Donnybrook was a life savor and one of the best stouts we’ve had in a while. This craft beer isn’t trying to do too much. It’s just simply a Guinness with a little more flavor and bite. That’s it! Pure genius. If it’s one thing that Guinness lacks its definitely flavor and bite. Wait, that was two things. The Victory Donnybrook has strong notes of coffee with light notes of malt and is made with imported German 2 Row malts and roasted barley. 3.7% ABV
Victory Storm King Imperial Stout:
The pour is a thick loud slow sludge. The scent is a light imperial stout. The taste is bitter, heavy malts with notes of coffee. The sip has a mellow bite with a good finish and the aftertaste lingers. The malt is a slightly sweet on the finish with good dry hops. The Storm King is made with American Whole Flower Hops & Imported 2 Row Malts. 9.1% ABV
Boulder Brewing Mojo IPA:
The Mojo is pale in color and has a strong scent of flowery hops and bitter floral flavor. It’s a hop heavy but refreshing ale, perfect with a burger. The heavy floral flavor and subtle malls get sweet with a hint of citrus towards the finish and then sweeter as the beer flattens a bit. The Boulder Brewing Mojo IPA is made with Pale, Caramel and Wheat Malts with Amarillo and Centennial Hops. The Mojo is a classic IPA. 6.8% ABV
Stoudt’s Gold Lager:
Stoudt Gold is a Munich style Helle session beer. The Gold Lager has a scent of fruit with a dry bite and notes of fruit in the flavor. It’s a very light bodied, refreshing drinkable beer as a session beer should be. The Stoudt’s Gold Lager won five medals at the Great American Beer Festival and another medal at the world cup. This lager is made with Perle, Hallertau and Saaz hops with Two Row, Munich and Vienna mats. 4.7% ABV
By Tim Rodgers, Don Corino, Pat Smith, Jeremy Tompson, Kevin Hussey, Matt Goldstein and Sommelier Tom Pittakas
The Best Pumpkin Ales of the Season
In honor of the Season, Whiskey Goldmine’s finest have compiled their list of favorite pumpkin ales. We’ve even thrown in our favorite yam beer. Yes, yams. Well, there might be only one yam beer so of course it’s our favorite, but if you like pumpkin pie, we’re pretty sure you’ll pumpkin beer.