Can Red Stripe Light Take a Piece of the Light Beer Market?
By Matt Goldstein
If you haven’t watched the sunset in Montego Bay sipping a Red Stripe lager, relaxing with a plate of jerked chicken or Ackee and salt fish, well, you have some more living to do in this life. In Jamaica, there is a way of life that can only be experienced, not described. It’s just a soul and style of the people. They know how to eat, drink, make rum, brew beer and smoke weed. Diageo global spirits is now moving production of Jamaica’s Red Stripe Lager to the United States. City Brewing in Western PA will take over production and brew the bulk of production for the U.S.. If this move makes Red Stripe Light more available throughout the U.S., we at Whiskey Goldmine feel that it is a great opportunity to make a move into the premium light beer market, currently controlled by Amstel Light, Corona Light and Heinekin Light. We feel Yuengling Light Lager has the same opportunity right now and they are clearly making a push.
For Red Stripe Lager however, this might not be the best time to try to expand in a market where craft beer is exploding. Average, slightly premium lagers such as Red Stripe might be marginalized and pushed out over time. Diageo Global Spirits also currently owns Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, JeB, Windsor, Buchanan’s and Bushmills whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Jose Cuervo, Tanqueray and Guinness. That’s not peanuts.
The Boston Beer Company is suing the San Francisco based Anchor Brewing over a non-compete clause. Anchor Brewing has recently hired former Boston Beer Company Executive Judd Hausner. Although difficult to enforce, non-compete clauses can cause an array of legal problems for the hiring company and new employee. Part of the Sam Adams complaint is that Hausner has vast knowledge of Boston Beer Company plans and strategy. Guess what, we at Whiskey Goldmine don’t really care as long as both companies continue making beer, so let’s have it.
It was not that I was surprised that there was a brewery in such a small town, it was that the beer being made at Auburn Alehouse was as good if not better than other brew pubs in more brew prolific towns. Auburn California is usually known, by the people who don’t live there, as the stop on the way to Tahoe from Sacramento. It’s a small quaint town with a country feel. It wasn’t the place I was expecting to find an amazing brewery on my short weekend trip.
The Northern California brewery and restaurant has a broad and impressive range of beers on tap. Including but not limited to, an Oatmeal Stout, a sessionable Brown, Pilsner, Lager, Oktoberfest and enough hop centric beers that would put a smile on any hop heads face.
The Auburn Alehouse has only been open a handful of years and has taken home more than a few awards. Which includes a Bronze medal for their Gold Country Pilsner at the Great American Beer Festival in 2010. Their Fools Gold is a “Pale Ale with a Punch” , a hoppy pale ale at 7.8% ABV 50 BU’s, it is not a typical Pale Ale which I thought was brilliant and insightful. It was also served on Nitro while I was in town which also is not typical of a small town shop. Gold Digger is a clean crisp IPA at 6.7% ABV 70 BU’s it is an amazing beer brewed with Magnum, Simcoe and Chinook hop varieties, with a late addition of Dry hops. The fact that this small town brewery even had an Imperial IPA was the first thing I noticed when I walked in. The PU-240, named after the Isotope essential for nuclear grade weapons is their “Weapons Grade Ale”. At 8.0% ABV 100BU’s, this hop bomb Imperial IPA has just enough Alcohol to complement the huge hop flavor. Brewed with Summit and Galena hops then double Dry-hopped with Simcoe, Columbus and Nugget hop varieties. I highlite the hoppy beers cause those are my favorite styles but every beer I tasted, and I tasted them all, was top notch and deserving of a review.
The Auburn Alehouse ties the brewery and restaurant together seamlessly with its shinny 10-barrel brewing system peering over the restaurant and bar through its tall glass walls like Optimus Prime for beer geeks ready to come alive when a patrons beer is low. On the wall above the bar are a few dozen growlers from other breweries around the country that have been collected by employees and loyal patrons who want to share their beer explorations with the brewery and town. Also with an outside patio, great food and occasional live music this beautiful rustic brick and mortar walled brewery is a place I wish was closer to home.
With the growth of the craft beer industry it is becoming more common for small breweries to produce not just beer with more flavor than the macro-brew aluminum can, but actually produce great beer. This quality over quantity production is a reflection of the craft beer movement right now and brewers knowing that with the right ingredients, care and knowledge they can make just as good of beers as anyone else, anywhere else. This competition forces innovation and is great for craft beers palate.
If you find yourself in the Auburn California area or on your way to Tahoe on I-80 make sure you stop by the Auburn Alehouse for lunch and stock up on some 22′s or a growler for the road. If you bring them a growler from your town maybe they’ll trade ya.
Support your local brewery and search out someone else’s local brewery and give it a try.
The Vortex Bottle, Cold Activiation and the Chalice Can
By Tim Rodgers, Forward by Matt Goldstein
Maybe you think it’s too easy to pick on Miller Lite, Coors Light and Budweiser because they are horrible beers, but “Honeybadger don’t give a shit!” We’re picking on Molson and Stellah Artois because they deserve it and because it’s easy. These marketing gimmicks were not only completely useless and a waste of time, some of them actually worked because Americans are ridiculously stupid. But hey, can we fault these brewers for making a buck? Yup! We sure can. Check out the dumbest gimmicks in the history of beer.
1. The Miller Lite “Vortex” Bottle
Especially with wine and spirits, introducing oxygen into the drink brings out more flavor so the idea here is the same with the beer by funneling through the bottleneck. (It’s Miller Lite; not a fine Bourdeaux.)
2. The Coors Lite “Vented Wide Mouth Can”
The wide mouth of the can accompanied by small indendation in the upper right hand corner of the mouth is supposed allow more oxygen in to “heighten” the flavor of your Coors Light. Engineering at its finest, (I’m suprised we haven’t been able to land on Mars as of yet.)
3. The Keystone Light “Specially Lined Can”
The inside of the “Special” can has a thin plastic coating to protect the beer interacting with the aluminum to protect the flavor of the beer. (Does anyone notice any problem with that statement?)
4. Molson M “Microcarbonated Beer”
According to Karine Brunelle, brewer with Molson Coors, “The injection of smaller CO2 bubbles makes it possible to preserve not only the taste of the hops but also the delicate flavours generated by the yeast during fermentation.” Also, according to Molson the smaller CO2 bubbles won’t make chicks as bloated drinking their beer. (First of all, I haven’t been able to taste a hop in any Molsen-Coors product in decades, furthermore, until I see the science this gimmick is just as just as worthwhile as the others.
5. Coors Light “2 Stage Cold Activation”
Coors has dawned upon us the marvels of science and wizardry with the “2 stage cold activation” labels. I cannot believe we have gone decades of refrigeration without being able to tell when are beer is cold. And for crying out loud, its not like we’re drinking a Belguim Trappist ale here where we need to be slightly under room temperature.
6. Miller Lite “Taste Protector Lid”
First Miller Lite wants more air in, next they want to keep air out. Nobody… I mean nobody (except the billions of people who mysteriously drink miller lite) wants that taste protected. If anyhting, if the taste goes unprotected when I drink Miller Lite, I’ll take my chances.
7. Bud Light “Etch-It” Bottle
If you need to warn everyone not to drink this by drawing a Skull & Crossbones on your bottle, then perhaps this is a good idea. Otherwise, don’t worry, if you drink the warm one with a cigarette put out inside, then you might have just done better.
8. Stella Artois “Chalice Can”
Because there is a picture of Stella Artois’ signature chalice glass painted on the side of my aluminum can me think that I am not drinking Belgium Bud out of a can?
9. Budweiser “Flavor Lock Crown”
Special cap that apparently locks the flavor out
10. Labatt’s Ice
Fractional freezing can be used as a simple method to increase the alcohol concentration in beer a process sometimes called freeze distillation. Freeze distillation of alcoholic beverages is illegal in many countries, as it can concentrate poisonous compounds, for example fusel alcohols, in the original fermented beverage to unhealthy levels. Perhaps that brain damage ice beer drinkers suffered as a result of fractional freezing would sway someone to purchase Vortex bottles. By the way freeze distillation has nothing to do with how cold your beer is by the way.
Since my favorite NFL squad was on the road this week, I celebrated Oktoberfest under the ominous glow of the Red Zone channel in high definition. I was feeling the pressure to rate for the masses a cornucopia of this years Oktoberfest brews, but after each beer went down my gullet coincidentally, the pressure began to subside.
What did emerge however, was the disappointing realization that each of my favorite American craft beer maker was missing the mark on the Oktoberfest style. Oktoberfest beer has become a proud tradition and signifies the best time of the year of the fall, harvest festivals, and yes I’m going to throw this in….football!!
What all the websites will tell you (and our last year’s ratings already alluded to) is that Oktoberfest began in Munich as a public party for the royal wedding of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxony on October 12, 1811.
But why are Marzen beers brewed in March and drank in October? March is the end of the winter, and nothing has grown since the fall of the previous year. Therefore, folks in Germany used the various remaining wheats, malts, and barleys that were leftover from the winter and brewed one last batch of robust beer. Since these brews ended up so unique and flavorful, the Marzen beer signified a tradition worth keeping around and tapping in the fall!
So now we are here 200 years later, and I am getting paid to drink and rate Oktoberfest beers. Pass me another bratwurst! The first thing that I noticed, was that each American beer was this unusually unnatural vivid orange color. I suspected that there is artificial coloring going on there with each one. In contrast with each German Oktoberfest I sampled, those beers seemed to have more natural colors of amber and copper.
Secondly, the American Oktoberfest beers are dominated by mostly all malt notes and no hint of bitters whatsoever. Many of the American beers weren’t subtle at all about the kind of malt flavors, Victory for example, was way too heavy on the coffee notes. The German styles balanced a nice robust malt with subtle bitterness, more true to the German style.
Lastly, some of the American crafters couldn’t help themselves by sneaking in overt hoppiness into the brew. I definitely appreciate the hoppy pale ales and IPA’s, and the United States is leading in this regard, but this is Germany’s tradition and their style so for once, ease up on the hops.
So in sum, my recommendation to the American crafter beer makers is to stop trying to be so cute, and stick to the fundamentals when it comes to Oktoberfest beers.
Oktoberfest, it’s that time of year again. If the Germans know anything about beer, than they sure know something about meats. For those of you that live in the Philadelphia area or even New york/New Jersey for that matter I encourage you to visit Illg’s Meats in Bucks County Pennsylvania. You can even pick up some of Illg’s delicasies at the Apple Valley Farm stand in the Reading Terminal in Center City Philadelphia.
According to the Illg family, “Ernst came to America in 1952 and settled in the Brewerytown section of Philadelphia, at 29th and Master Streets; a good neighborhood for lunch meats and sausage. German, Irish, Polish and Jewish people. They liked our meats. So business exploded. And all we had was a little rowhouse-in front, the store; in the middle, the icebox; in back, the sausage kitchen; upstairs, the family. So we moved to Chalfont. We took over a store from a butcher who was American but with German parents, so he had a few German items. We just put our items out, and all of a sudden we didn’t know where all these people were coming from. It’s not just people from Germany like these meats, you know. It’s people from Poland, from Russia, from all over Europe. We even make Hungarian sausage. We’re Germans, but we make it. And we make it good.”
I grew up eating the lunch meat, brats, sauerkraut, and butcher cuts from the Chalfont store. But comfort food has kind of been my go-to cuisine and nothing takes me back to my childhood better than some basic ole’ fashioned Wiener Schnitzel.
Basically, its merely a fried breaded veal cutlet served with a lemon wedge.
The Winer Schnitzel Recipe:
1 lb of fresh veal cutlets from Illg’s Meats tenderized and pounded flat
1 cup of UNSEASONED bread crumbs
1 cup of flour
Splash of milk
2 tablespoons fresh parsley flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste
3 tablespoons of butter
First pound out your veal cutlets. Next, mix some fresh ground pepper into your flour and set aside.
Beat your eggs with the milk and set aside. Mix your parsley with the bread crumbs. Next you will be breading your cutlets by dipping each cutlet into your flour mixture assuring that the entire piece is coated and shake off any excess flour. Next dip it into the beaten eggs, and finally dip the cutlet into the bread crumb mixture. Repeat this process for each piece. Heat your cooking oil in a large skillet. Once hot, add the butter until that melts and begin frying your breaded cutlets until golden brown on each side.
Once each side is fried set aside on a paper towel to drain any excess oil. Squeeze a lemon wedge on your Schnitzel and serve with a lemon wedge and parsley garnish.
Really, Wiener Schnitzel is an Austrian dish, but culturally, its close enough. It is also tradition to serve your Wiener Schnitzel with parsley herb potato wedges and a parsley garnish. I would pair this bad boy with this years Whiskey Goldmine Oktoberfest Champion Spaten Oktoberfest!
The Illgs Store by the way, is at 365 Folly Road, Chalfont, PA is open from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM Tuesday through Friday and from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Saturday. “Tell people to call (215-343-0670) before they come, and I will give them directions,” says Ernst Illg.
Oktoberfest Beers: A 200 Year German Brewing Tradition
By Team Goldmine
The German Tradition of Oktoberfest started in Munich Germany in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of the Crown Prince of Bavaria. An Oktoberfest beer, or Marzen style lager is brewed in March and stored cold through the spring and summer, and finally tapped in October. Compared to a regular German style lager, the Oktoberfest bier is brewed with more malts and higher alcohol content in order to survive the long spring/summer storage. One of our favorite styles, the Oktoberfest Marzen Lager is usually darker, full bodied, with more flavor than a traditional lager. Below is a list of the Top 10 Oktoberfest beers of 2011!
1. Spaten Oktoberfest Marzen- -Germany. 5.9% ABV
Crisp, well balanced, excellent head, natural amber color, balance is subtle in rich malts & bitters. Crisp pleasant finish. Our 2011 Oktoberfest Champion!
2. Hacker Pschorr Original Oktoberfest—Germany. 5.80% ABV
Golden Brown color, great wheat aroma, smooth but crisp, excellent mouthfeel interesting malt tones, tastes of malts and notes of honey. Finish is slightly flat.
3. Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen—Germany. 6.00% ABV
Pours a rich copper color, perfect carbonation settles to rich head. Bitter, malty, complex and dry. Achieves perfect balance of maltiness & bitterness.
Great for being out of a can! Settles to a cloudy light orange/amber color with a rich head that sticks to glass. Out of the American Oktoberfest brews, this is the quintessential German Oktoberfest style.
5. Ayinger Oktoberfest Marzen—Germany. 5.80% ABV
Malty, Crisp, Dry with Light Hops. Hints of Coffee and very well balanced. Our 2010 Oktoberfest champion.
6. Stoudts Oktoberfest—Pennsylvania. 5.00% ABV
Pours a dark copper cloudy cover with light head and toffee malt notes. Sweet, citrusy and malty. More noticeable hoppiness than others, smooth finish & balance.
7. Great Lakes Oktoberfest –Ohio. 6.5% ABV
Made with Harrington 2 Row Malts and Hallertau U.S. German style Hops, here is another flat out stud from Great Lakes. This brewery has the lock on lagers.
8. Hofbrau Oktoberfestbier—Germany. 6.30% ABV
Robust, crisp, sweet and dry. Made with ale yeasts and ours an unusually light golden color. Frothy head, light on the malt characteristics, but the wheat bitter balance is nice.
9. Flying Dog Dogtoberfest Marzen—Maryland 5.30% ABV
Made with German Perle and Hallertau Malts, and brewed with 100% German ingredients. A medium and solid crisp lager.
10. Flying Fish Oktoberfish—New Jersey 5.50% ABV
Pours an orange to light copper with thin carbonation. Malty, crips, with a sour aftertaste. Flavor dissapates rather quickly. Hints of coffee in the malts. Finishes crisp.
11. Victory Festbier—Pennsylvania. 5.60% ABV
12. Becks Oktoberfest—Germany. 5.00% ABV
13. Sam Adams Oktoberfest—Massachusetts. 5.30% ABV
14. Saranac Oktoberfest—New York. 5.40% ABV
15. Brooklyn Oktoberfest–New York. 5.50% ABV.
Oktoberfest officially begins on September 18 and goes through the first weekend of October. This year the traditional German brewers did what they due best, taking 4 of the top 5 spots in our 2011 rankings. Our esteemed panel consisted of 5 judges, one being a craft beer sommelier. Please note: these rankings are based upon the beers available in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area. We searched 7-8 locations and tasted every Oktoberfest beer available.
Saturday, August, 20, 2011, from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Hop Heads and Malt Maniacs rejoice! An exclusive one-night event, Philadelphia’s original “HopScotch” returns to Khyber Pass Pub to showcase rare hoppy India Pale Ales, American Pale Ales, and Double India Pale Ales alongside highly sought-after Scotch Ales and Wee Heavies. Whether for Hops or for Scotch, guests will be able to determine their preference in a standoff between Malty Scotch Ales and Hoppy IPAs!
Oskar Blues Old Chub
Belhaven Wee Heavy
Bear Republic Heritage
Brasserie D’achouffe McChouffe
Founders Dirty Bastard
The Hoppy Ales
Founders Devil Dancer
Russian River Blind Pig
Flying Dog Centennial Single Hop Imperial IPA
Cask Bear Republic Racer 5
Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel Corne Du Diable
Ballast Point Even Keel
Russian River Pliny the Elder
Cask Blue Point No Apologies Imperial IPA
Khyber Pass Pub is a historic Old City bar handcrafted in 1876, and recently named by ‘Philadelphia Magazine’ as Best of Philly 2011 Revival. The menu features an extensive selection of craft beers, authentic Louisiana specialties, Southern barbecue, and tasty vegan and vegetarian options. Open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Happy Hour runs weekdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.!
The Colossus of Rhodes is known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. And an American strong ale from the Baltimore area brewery DuClaw is a wonder of the extreme beer world. DuClaw Colossus (DuClaw Brewing Co.; Bel Air, MD; American Strong Ale; ABV: 21.0) is a beer of gigantic proportions. This dark amber ale immerses you right off the bat with big notes of sweet caramel in both the aromatic nose and initial taste. The candy like feel is complimented by apple, cinnamon spices, and honey with a hint of piny hops at the end.
Since Colossus is aged like a wine or brandy to allow its flavors to mature and alcohol to mellow, the alcohol content is deceptively hidden and there’s no burn at the finish that’s characteristic of other ales in its weight class.
For many years I have considered Samuel Adams Utopias to be the best extreme beer of 20% or more, but the wonderfully complex and silky smooth Colossus can definitely give this acclaimed ale a run for its money.
Had a chance to try another exceptional beer from Colorado brewery Oskar Blues while having dinner at Libby’s. An Imperial red ale, it features the hoppy character of an Imperial IPA with the smoothness of an amber ale.
Oskar Blues G’Knight:
(Oskar Blues Grill & Brewery; Lyon, CO; Imperial Red Ale; ABV: 8.7) is named for the late Gordon Knight, a fire-fighting helicopter pilot and local brewer who helped found the Colorado breweries Twisted Pine, Wolf Tongue, and Estes Park during the 1990s. Knight was killed in the line of duty in 2002. The beer in fact was originally named Gordon Knight, but was renamed after a trademark infringement suit filed by Gordon Biersch Brewery (sic).
The dry hopped G’Knight is a fitting tribute to Knight, with a deep amber color and hearty notes of citrus and piny hops complimented by sweet caramel malt and honey. G’Knight is a very satisfying and well balanced ale, and the alcohol content of nearly 9% is nicely toned down. It paired well with the Crispy Soft Shell Crab Po Boy that I had as the main course.
My friend Jack and I hit Shamrock Pub last night to check out several beers that were featured during Monday’s Harpoon Tiny Tap Takeover. I’ve been a fan of the Boston based brewery for some time, so it was a great opportunity to try some offerings that aren’t normally seen in the SRQ area.
Harpoon Belgian Pale Ale; Harpoon Brewery; Boston, MA; Belgian Pale Ale; ABV: 5.8. This Belgian pale ale (beer on right in left hand side picture) is brewed and conditioned according to the brewery’s IPA specifications, but is also fermented with Belgian golden ale yeast. Golden amber in color, it has subtle notes of Belgian spices and caramel malt backed by Amarillo hops with a crisp clean finish. The floral character of this ale balances nicely with the Belgian influence from the yeast and spices.
Harpoon Rich & Dan’s Rye IPA; Harpoon Brewery; Boston, MA; India Pale Ale; ABV: 6.9). This beer (beer on left in left hand side picture), is #37 in the brewery’s 100 Barrel Series. A blend of a rye beer and an IPA, Rich & Dan’s Rye IPA pours a light copper color, with notes of rye and citrus fruit such as grapefruit up front, complimented by caramel, peppery spices, and piny hops on the back end. Quite smooth throughout with a dry finish.
Harpoon Munich Dark; Harpoon Brewery; Boston, MA; Munich Dunkel Lager; ABV: 5.6. Brewed with Harpoon’s house ale yeast, this dunkel is inspired by a centuries’ old Bavarian recipe. Dark brown in color, it has ample notes of sweet caramel malt and yeast balanced by chocolate, molasses, and dark fruit with a smoky bitterness at the finish. A fine example of this beer style.
Harpoon Leviathan Imperial Rye; Harpoon Brewery; Boston, MA; Rye Beer; ABV: 8.9. My favorite of the four on tap. From Harpoon’s Leviathan Series, this superb imperial rye beer is black burgundy in color with appreciable notes of spicy rye and breaded malt complimented by caramel, sweet honey, and grassy hops with a noticeable hint of alcohol in the backbone. As silky smooth as it is complex, Leviathan Imperial Rye has an almost barley wine like character to it.
We chatted with owner Derek Anderson for a bit, and he had a nice surprise for us by putting Evil Twin Yin (Evil Twin Brewing; Valby, Denmark; Russian Imperial Stout; ABV: 10.0) on tap. On tap recently at Willards Tap House in Largo, Shamrock is the first pub that I’ve seen to have it here locally. Evil Twin derives its name from Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, who founded the brewery and happens to be the twin brother of Mikkeller founder Mikkel Jarnit-Bjergsø. Yin is jet black in color, with substantial notes of sweet chocolate and roasted malt balanced by dark fruit and a hint of smokiness on the back end. There’s a boozy character to Yin from the considerable alcohol presence, but it blends in nicely with the rich, full-bodied texture of this delicious imperial stout. Looking forward to trying Evil Twin Yang (Evil Twin Brewing; Valby, Denmark, Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 10.0) sometime in the future.