Happy National Beer Day!

NBDAs you’ve heard this morning, it’s National Beer Day.  Perhaps you’ve received a few text messages wishing you well on this wonderful (should be) national holiday…..  And perhaps you have anticipated these texts, as you do every year, and you have been relishing in the delight of replying to these well-wishers with a photo of yourself standing half naked on top of 5 wooden beer barrels while in one hand balancing a large silver tray of 42 beers stacked on each other and in the other you are chugging a 200 ounce limited edition white-whale of a beer (this run-on sentence was required for effect).  This is why Photoshop should always be taught in high school.

So why am I getting in trouble for sending these photos to people?  Because on this particular day in the year 1933, prohibition officially ended.  For 12 long and joyless years, America participated in the “Great Experiment.”  And as most of my 5th grade science experiments went, it blew up in everyone’s face.  When dealing with volcanoes, bigger is not always better.

So let’s raise a glass tonight, and remember that not too long ago enjoying a fine crafted beer was ILLEGAL.  Heavens to Betsy!  And on this day, people could officially enjoy a beautiful, delicious, amazing beer…guilt-free!

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New Beers to the Arkansas Market!

A metric ton of new beers will be flowing into Arkansas in the coming weeks, as the following brewers prepare to enter our market:

 Elk Valley

Elk Valley Brewing Co. – Midwest City, OK

Oklahoma’s newest brewery will hit Arkansas’ shelves this week! Brewed by Krebs Brewing Co., the first wave of Elk Valley beers include Elk Valley Pale Ale and Nemesis Imperial Stout. We had the opportunity to sample both a few months ago and were very impressed. The second batch will arrive next month with their seasonal Midnight Ryed (Black Rye IPA) and Sweet Revenge Imperial Milk Stout.

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Carson’s Brewery – Evansville, IN

2014 was a big year for Carsons Brewery, receiving awards at the Great American Beer Festival, World Beer Cup, and Indiana Brewer’s Cup. Carsons’ distinctive label art is sure to stand out in a crowded beer cooler. With offerings such as Brown Cow Brown Ale, Red Dawn Amber Wheat, RIPA Red India Pale Ale, and Harlot Honey Blonde, Carsons is certain to strike a chord with all Arkansas craft beer lovers.

Battered Boar

Battered Boar Brewing Company – Edmond, OK

Battered Boar prides itself on creativity, small batch production, and unrestrained passion for the craft. Offbeat tendencies fuel their imaginative concepts and processes to create concoctions such as Twins Bazil Twins, a Saison brewed with sweet Thai basil and fragrant Szechuan peppercorns (let that sink in for a minute…), as well as a Coconut Cream Stout that will hit the Arkansas market just in time for Spring.

903 brewers

903 Brewers – Sherman, TX

Hailing form the Lone Star state (we won’t hold that against them), we welcome 903 Brewers to Arkansas. Owner and Head Brewer, Jeremy Roberts and his wife, Natalie, began 903 in 2011 after years of perfecting his beer recipes. 903 Brewers is known for testing the limits of beer as we know it. With creations such as The Chosen One Coconut Ale and Sugar On Top IPA which features Citra hops and the addition of brown sugar, our palates have a wonderful surprise on the horizon.

Beer Review: Moylan’s Barrel Aged Imperial Stout

Beer Review: Moylan’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Ryan Sullivan’s Imperial Stout

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout

ABV: 10%

Drink if you like: Chocolate, espresso, vanilla, the star wars soundtrack.

Many years ago, in 2012, we reviewed Moylan’s Ryan Sullivan’s Imperial Stout.  If you haven’t been keeping up with the Arkansas craft beer scene, 2012 is the equivalent of 1985.  3 years ago is the equivalent of 30 years.  You think I’m kidding, but I ain’t be.  Back in 2012, Moylan’s had the best IPA in the state.  You couldn’t get anything hoppier and danker than Hopsickle.  Now we can fill our shopping carts with amazingly hoppy beers.  It’s a good time to be alive. As tribute to how far we’ve come, let’s revisit some of our old friends.  While most of us tickers are trying the newest stuff (we are said tickers) we must not forget the people who brought us craft beer love in the early days.  The people who saw Arkansas as a place where craft beer can make it…… I mean, look at us now!  Looks like we’ve made it after all! mtm-hat Now that we are in our totally awesome and cool teenager mode of state-wide craft beer geekness (DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO MA! I KNOW WHAT’S COOL!), we are given some more adult / complex beers.  Many of these are the oh-so-trendy barrel aged beers.  Wait…. Let me correct myself – barrel aged used to be trendy.  Now it’s like a right of passage for any brewer.

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Pairs well with darts and poker. And that weird guy in the reflection.

So our friend’s over at Moylan’s are all like “aight, we got this.”  They procure super fresh whiskey barrels and toss in their delicious Imperial Stout.  While the beer is in said barrel, some interesting things happen.  Among some of the sought-after traits are the whiskey flavors that are actually charred oak flavors that whiskey pulls out from the barrel.  Isn’t that funny? Moylan’s has given Arkansas a good 2013 vintage.  It’s a great deal, and can be used to say to other beer geeks “I was there 30 beer-geek years ago, before drinking Moylan’s was cool.”  Let’s take a taste drive shall we?

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Look at this thick head. Look at it!

 

Moylan’s barrel aged stout pours an eye-enchanting dark black/brown with a business-causal khaki foam colored head.  Lean in and you’ll find lots of chocolate, some whiskey heat touching your nose, and coffee.  The beer doesn’t have an excessive amount of heat, and hits a good balance of an Imperial Stout that wasn’t aged too too long.  You’ll still find easily identifiable dark bitter chocolate and coffee, but now you have another wonderful nice layer of vanilla and whiskey in your nose.  It’s not as big, bold and viscous as some geeks would want, but it sure can scratch that itch.  Especially when you are trying to destroy that guy nicknamed “Bulls-eye” in a dart game.  It’s highly quaffable and enjoyable for those who love layers of flavor.

We gave this beer 3.5 Diamonds
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Mead Review – Leaky Roof Meadery – The Berry Picker

Mead Review: Leaky Roof Meadery – The Berry Picker

Style: Mead (Melomel)

ABV: 6.5%

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We decided to step away from the craft beer for about 10 minutes to dive into the wonderful world of mead. Although uncommon around these parts, we, at Arkansas Beer Blog, are very familiar with the great flavors that mead can offer (as seen here in our previous review of Viking Blod.) This time, we focus our attention to our neighbors from the north, Leaky Roof Meadery in Buffalo, Missouri. Leaky Roof offers a wide selection of offerings and flavors, all of the mead variety. As many of you might know, mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water. As with craft beer, the end product is determined by additional ingredients, variations in the brewing process, and the imagination of these skilled mead makers.

We selected their berry melomel (fruit mead), The Berry Picker, to begin our trip down mead lane.

Berry PickerThe Berry Picker is packaged in a beautifully labeled pint can (extra points to Leaky Roof for throwing this in an awesome can). The Berry Picker pours light pink in color giving the indication that the four ladies on the label actually placed their freshly-picked berries directly in the can. This suggestion is further validated by the aromas of sweet berries and honey. The taste follows the same sweet course of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and mild honey and adds a sour apple tartness and bready finish to keep this from having too much top-end sweetness. The medium body and mild carbonation come together to make this a refreshing, easy-drinking, and enjoyable creation from our friends in Missouri.

Seek out this mead to add variety to your beer cellar and to your palate.

This beer is currently available at the following locations:

Poinsett Package – Harrisburg
Crossover Liquor – Fayetteville
Guess Who – Bentonville
Sodie’s – Fort Smith
Lake Liquor – Maumelle
Macadoodles – Springdale
Flying Saucer – Little Rock
Liquor World – Fayetteville
Springhill Wine & Spirits – North Little Rock
Premier Wine & Spirits – Fayetteville
Jack’s Package Store – Mountain Home
CJ Liquor – Gentry
107 Liquor – Sherwood
Walton Blvd. Wine & Spirits – Bentonville
On the Border Liquor – Fort Smith
South on Main – Little Rock
Spirits Fine Wines – Little Rock
Timberlane Wine & spirits – El Dorado
Fossil Cove Brewing – Fayetteville

Christmas in Arkansas

It’s Christmas time in Arkansas.  A time when aromas of gingerbread and cinnamon fill your home, beautiful light displays dazzle your senses, children act like spoiled brats, and finally, you realize that you can’t freaking stand your extended family.  Fear not, innocent victims, beer is here to help. Along with the wonderful flavors found in these holiday creations, comes a gentle, calming sensation that only comes with winter warmers and ABV thereof.

If there is anything we impart to you, it is this:  Beer is always a welcome gift.  Go out there and get everyone some beer…You’ll be the cool guy or girl this Christmas.  This wonderful Holiday cheer is but a package store away. Go forth and conquer this holiday season, bottle in hand.

Scaldis-noel-bomberScaldis Noel – A beer geek’s dream. Caramel, nutmeg, cinnamon and ripe peach are sure to put you in the spirit.st-bernardus-christmas-ale

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale – This festive bottle houses a Belgian Christmas treat, complete with rich dark fruit, brown sugar, caramel, and a bready malt backbone.

Evil Twin Lil’ B – Dark chocolate, nuts, dark roasted coffee and overly ripe dark fruit are a great companion for a cold winter night.

paa-xmas-bombPrairie Artisan Ales Christmas Bomb! – This is a tough one to track down. Christmas Bomb! contains all of the wonder of Bomb! with Christmas spices added. You will not be disappointed.

Green Flash Double Stout – This beer is like a double chocolate milkshake with extra cream. Well-hidden hops, licorice, and hints of cinnamon and brown sugar round out this beautifully constructed Stout.

wineicecreamGreen Flash West Coast IPA – Don’t forget the classic hoppy beer that could make for a fun “black and tan” with the above mentioned sibling!  This benchmark beer will flood your senses with waves of grapefruit, pine, tropical fruits and the fittingly appropriate Christmas tree.

Wine Ice Cream – Yes!  Arkansas is finally able to brag to our neighbors about the cool new thing – ice cream that makes you drunk.  I don’t know about you, but I plan on researching how to pair this ice cream with every single food item in my house.  Ask your local liquor store about this specialty item.

St. Bernardus ABT. 12 – We have to include this 5-diamond beer because any beer lover, or new-to-loving-beer explorer, will appreciate the deep complexity this give you: chocolate, plum, caramel, figs, candi sugar and more await this perfect gift for anyone who has more than 2 working taste buds.

 

 

Another Beer Class!

Hey guys – want to drink beer and learn about beer?  We have another class coming up!  December 18th – mark your calendars.  Want to sign up?  GO HERE NOW! http://uafs.edu/cll/lifestylessustainability

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Beer Review: Green Flash Soul Style IPA

Beer Review:Green Flash Soul Style IPA

Style – American IPA

ABV – 6.5%

IBU – 75

Drink with: friends, family, enemies and pets.

When cold weather hits, beer drinkers tend to move to darker, stronger beers like stouts, porters and barrel aged whale blood. Common sense says that these beers pair well with cold weather; and they do. They also pair well with your visiting in-laws, because getting drunk is more fun whilst people ask you what you are going to do with your life.  Our nationally popular beer style, IPA, steps out of the spotlight for a while, because these seasonal offerings are crowding the beer shelves. But I’m here to tell you, my hop head friends, that winter time is a great time for IPAs.

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Why is that? First off, hops are freakin’ awesome. You knew that. But what makes hops totally freakin’ awesome? Fresh hops. When are hops harvested? Depending on where you are, from August to October. If you are in New Zealand it’s the opposite of August to October.

You may notice the “fresh/wet hop” ales that have hit the shelves lately – they are wonderful. However, there is an amazing beer that is hitting the shelves now – and it’s an early Christmas for hop lovers. Green Flash Soul Style tastes so fresh it hurts. For those in the super beer geek world, or those who trade beer (yes we have a thriving beer trade market here in Arkansas), this will have you talking about the fruits of Green Flash working closely with Alpine Brewing.

Yes, this IPA packs some dank hops. It’s in our opinion one of the best IPAs available in Arkansas. Let’s learn a bit more about this Christmas surprise from the brewer’s website:

ssipa2About Soul Style:
Confident that the brewing team would develop an outstanding single IPA, the name “Soul Style” refers to the grace of the rarely seen, soul style surfer who leans way back on the board, making each difficult maneuver appear effortless. Soul Style is the Green Flash approach the art of crafting the perfect IPA. Citra, Simcoe and Cascade hops are layered to allow bright tropical citrus to mingle with waves of floral notes that break gently on the palate. Soul Style IPA is 6.5% ABV with 75 IBUs.

We live in an age where around 1,000 beers may have a description similar to that. So let’s just drink the beer, shall we?

Soul Style pours a light copper color with a nice tight soapy white head. My favorite part about drinking this beer is the nose – your nose will be absolutely devastated by the dank hops. You’ll find grapefruit, pungent and fruity marijuana-like notes, orange, citrus, and a handful of other notes in this wonderfully crafted hop profile. The taste is a delightful blast of apricot, mango and floral notes, followed with big pine resin and some slight alcohol burn. The malt profile is second or third fiddle to the hops in this beer; very indicative of the west coast style- and a style Green Flash is very comfortable cranking out. I can see how they have the analogy of the “soul style” surfing – going for a “you guys make this look easy” type of message. The mouth feel is very prickly and appropriate for this beer – you are left satisfied yet wanting more.

Please – don’t forget these poor poor IPAs this winter! If you are a hop head, you’re in for a heck of a treat!

We gave this beer 5 diamonds:
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