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There’s A Little Barley in the Kettle.

The mom-to-be sipping a beer at San Diego's Small Bar.

We have some pretty cool news happening over here at the Blotter. There is a bit of barley in the kettle.

I decided to take our latest home brew out of conditioning today. I poured about 2 gallons into my party pig and took it over to see some friends. The Hop Chocolate (a Dark IPA) tasted really good – and everyone agreed. Unfortunately, our wonderful editor and the pulse of this blog, Jessica Reiser, could only take a sniff. How dare her? Oh the disrespect? Nay. There is a bit of barley in the kettle.

That’s right. If you haven’t got my weird hint, Jessica is pregnant. Its her first babe. Pretty exciting stuff.

Don’t feel bad that she missed out on a taste of the Hop Chocolate. Don’t fret that she will go without a breakfast beer for 9 months. Its all very good, she’s about to become a beer aroma expert.

So, if you see Jessica – shoot her a congrats. We will miss her wonderful enthusiasm for enjoying great beer, writing engaging stories and keeping the blog rolling. Luckily, she will continue to hold the weekly beat with her Beer Week column. I’m sure she will be back on the regular routine in September.

Like The Blotter? Tell Us, Show Us.

October 21, 2010 1 comment

Tell Us & Share Us - new tools to communicate with, or about, the Blotter

Over the past 11 months, our blog has seen incredible growth. Our message has grown from a tossed together cauldron of beer musings to a plentiful editorial resource for beer fanatics around the world. Its been amazing to get comments and messages from readers as close as Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood, all the way to Utrecht, Holland.

We continue to grow each week. As we have more readers, from a broader landscape, we are trying our best to provide you with a bounty of diverse article topics. But, its often difficult to know what works, and what does not.

To obtain better reader feedback, we have instituted a few devices. We are writing this article to plead with you to take an extra second and let us know what you think about the content, and more importantly, to let others know about the Blotter. Please check this out:

 

Ratings

 

We have added a simple 5 star rating system to the end of each article. Please give us a snapshot of your response to an article by selecting the quality and relevance of the content in each of our posts.

While we strive to serve a wide audience, we still need to know whether or not the content is at least interesting! If we bore you – let us know.

 

Like Us on Facebook

 

We have also added a Facebook “Like” button to the bottom of each post. Please use this to share articles of interest (or all articles!) with your friends on Facebook.

Remember that you have friends all around the world (because you are so awesome) and we try to provide guidance for all kinds of people. Sharing is caring.

 

Share Us On Twitter

 

Along with the Facebook button, a Retweet button can be found at the bottom of articles. You can tweet our articles out to your Twitter followers with the click of one button.

Luckily for us, our Twitter button lets us know how many people thought the article was worthy enough of sharing. If you like – let us know.

 

Don’t Forget RSS, Comments & E-Mail

 

These are all old devices but I think it bears reminder that they still work! Subscribe to our RSS feed to get Beer Blotter content delivered to your RSS reader, as its published. We hope that all of you can find a way to use our feed. Its an excellent and simple way to read the Blotter.

We love comments, seriously. I wish that we would get more. One promise that I can make to you all is that your comments will always be published (absent vicious obscenity)! If you ask us a question, I promise a response. So please, use this communication device.

Finally, we love our e-mail. In fact, now Beer Blotter writers each have a personal e-mail address! Its part of the first step to launching the new website, which is due out in the next 5 weeks.

You can reach our editor at Jess@beerblotter.com; our legal writer & commentator at Doug@beerblotter.com; our beer scientist at Timperial@beerblotter.com.

Please remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter – this is the gateway to all the up to date, on the spot, information that we collect.

Let us know what you are thinking! We love the conversation. Thanks for all the support!

 

300 Posts: 3 Big Moments in Beer Blotter History

October 4, 2010 2 comments

De Zon's organic bathrooms really left an imprint - and a lesson in hilarity.

On Friday, Beer Blotter offered its 300th post! Over less than a year has elapsed since we first went public on BeerBlotter.com. We have a had a blast so far, and we look forward to much more ahead.

In almost 11 months, we have managed to put up more than 300 stories (this article is #302). From our editor’s first beer review of Lazy Magnolia’s Jefferson Stout to Mark Leavens’ review of sandwich board art over at Atlantic Crossing – we have come a long way.

While we look forward to big changes over here, we wanted to take a look into the past and discuss the three biggest, and most memorable, moments in our short history. We have visited Belgium, Holland, France, Canada, San Diego, San Francisco, New Orleans, Cleveland, New York, Washington DC, Portland, Chicago and more – all in that 11 month period.

These three moments stick out the most:

 

#3  — Beer Blotter Spawns From the New Orleans Beer Arrival & A Chicago Surprise

 

If you have ever visited New Orleans, you are probably aware that its almost impossible to find a good beer. You are almost assured of being stuck drinking some fruity concoction of a massive amount of liquor. Not anymore.

We visited New Orleans in the beginning of last November with little knowledge of any beer scene. But, we stumbled our way through bar after bar and discovered that craft beer does exist. In fact, we were floored with what we found; hope for a good future was established.

While we were in New Orleans, our editor was surprised with a no notice flight up to Chicago. It was her first visit – and a great opportunity to see an amazing world of craft beer. We visited the Publican, drank Three Floyds at the Map Room, bought a bounty of beer at Binnys and took in a Browns v. Bears game, before returning to New Orleans.

Upon returning, we decided to launch this site. Beer Blotter was born over a pint of Lazy Magnolia Jefferson Stout and NOLA Hopitoulas at the Avenue Pub. From that moment – 300 articles followed.

 

#2 — The Crew Visits West Flanders

 

The entire crew decided to throw down and take an excursion to Belgium, back in March. We planned the trip for a period of 12 months, holding epic Belgian beer tastings once a week until we left. As part of the trip, we decided to visit Germany, France and Holland as well.

Every day was filled with splendor. From the iconic bottle shops, to the revolutionary brewers, Belgium brought us to our knees. We saw Cantillon in Brussels, visited Moeder Lambis during its opening week, drank gallons at De Molen, sorted through bottles at Paters Vaetje, and gifted a Pliny the Elder to Hane at De Gans.

But, nothing was more epic than a one day visit to West Flanders. I had caught a pretty vicious cold that had put me out of commission for a few days, but I refused to allow it to defeat my trip to Westvleteren to catch Westy 12. I sucked it up, chugged some orange juice, bought some nose spray (so i could taste again) and we took off for West Flanders.

When we arrived at the Saint Sixtus Abbey in Westvleteren – my cold cleared up. Whether this was an amazing intervention of the almighty himself or simply an incredulous recovery – we will never know. But, it all came together as my first Westy 12 was placed in front of me.

From there, we trucked on to St. Bernardus, visited a brewer’s cottage in Woesten, drove to France to sample Escambeq’s best (with a brewer who could not speak English), drank De Struisse’s finest in a living room at De Zon and enjoyed splendid wonders from the private collection of Alvinne’s owner. I’m unsure that this day could ever be eclipsed.

 

#1 — The Closing of Water Street Brewing & Alehouse

 

The number one moment is not a happy one. But, it certainly had a profound effect on me.

For days I labored over visiting my favorite beer spot before it would shut its doors, for the final time. In the end, I didn’t go. The horror was too much for me to handle.

If you never got a chance to read the hardest post I ever typed, take a gander now. For purposes of brevity, I will not relive the words that came to mind when I head that Water Street Brewing would close down. But if you were around me for those few days – you know it was always in my mind.

Bars come and go – that is for sure. Some bars leave way too early; that was the case with Water Street. Because of a legal spat that keeps the former Water Street brewing space vacant to this day (we just saw the space this past weekend and its still not even close to re-lease), Water Street was forced into early retirement.

But, like all great combatants, Water Street may rise again. Their Facebook page has provided snippets of hope to those of us who yearn to have Queen Nina pour us another IPA. Recently, Nina announced that Strange Brewfest would return this year! This was an amazingly welcoming sign that Water Street is still alive and kicking – somewhere.

 

300 More.

 

300 posts of Beer Blotter has brought us this far and we vow to keep it going. In the next month, we hope to have our new site running, filled with gobs of media and more user friendly resources.

Stick with us, please. We’ve enjoyed your company.

 

Did You Know We Moved on Facebook!? Like Our New Page!

September 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Check out the new digs.

Of course, its the modern age. The modern Facebook world is one which we avoided for some time. Damn you, Mark Zuckerberg!

We are not huge Facebook people, preferring the Twitter format. However, growth dictates change and after much delay we have decided to start a fan page. The new fan page can be found by following this link.

Check out the new fan page from time to time and comment on posts. We are still using the old profile for the time being, but we plan on switching over full-time in very near future.

The new Facebook page is just one of a number of changes that will be made over the next few months. November marks our one-year anniversary and we plan on launching a new, media heavy, site during a public party in Seattle.

We are currently trying to lock down the venue and will invite you all once we have it reserved. We will be serving lots of local beer and great local music. Please come and support the Blotter – for now just follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Its Alive! Success, Failure and Happiness in Brewing

August 18, 2010 2 comments

We made that guy. There's a lot more.

So, we promised a lot of new articles this week. I especially promised to have a Walking Man Brewing review up by today. But alas, there were some magical developments last night that prevented me from visiting the computer to do a write up.

As you might know, two of our Beer Blotter writers are brewing beers on a home system that they created a few months back.

The product is beginning to flow and we decided to drag you along for the ride. We also believe that our readers can be an excellent source for information on brewing and bettering your finished product. So please give it a read and chime in if you have any info to help us.

 

The Event & The Opportunity.

Last night, our famed kickball team was forced to forfeit a game after our editor was injured by a bit of excessive play on the other side. Luckily, both teams are forfeiting – and deservedly so for that team. Best of luck to our editor as she overcomes her mild head injury. Get better Jess!

Anyways, the early departure allowed us to return home to find our good friend Timperial Stout, home from a day of brewing Lazy Boy Brewing‘s Imperial IPA (cannot wait to try this!). Tim and I decided to unearth the fermentors that we deposited in the basement a few weeks back – and sample our first batch of beer.

 

The Concerns.

We had truly feared contamination after a troubling conclusion to our first brewing experience with the new half-barrel system that we built. Our chilling process was exacerbated, our yeast measurements were shoddy at best and our transfer process was forced to happen after-dark, causing all types of concerns.

We also had tons of problems keeping solids from entering the boil, which made the wort a bit earthy. We have since developed better techniques to prevent solid insurgence.

 

The Beer Recipe.

For our inaugural beer, we chose a nice solid, summery IPA. We wanted to keep the hop profile simple, yet tasty. We also selected a malt mix that focused on one type of pale malt, but a lot of it to reach an optimal range of 7% alcohol by volume. This beer includes crystal malt, cara-pils, and pale malt. The hop list includes Magnum, Cascade and an abundance of Amarillo.

 

The Result. Beer.

We racked the fermentor and slid a small portion of the beer down into a pitcher. The beer had stopped bubbling and fermenting several days prior, so we were concerned we were a bit late on racking. But I recently read an article that shows that leaving the beer on the yeast a bit longer has a marginal impact on the beer’s taste.

I take a whiff first – it smells like beer. Nothing incredible about the nose, but it smells a bit skunky, though not overwhelmingly so.

Then I take a sip, convinced that the smell was encouraging. First take: not bad, not at all. Second take: I actually enjoy this beer. I take another deep smell and a big sip, swishing the beer around my mouth. I am met with strong tones of sweetness, hefty bitterness and a deep fruity finish. I am a happy man.

 

The Measurements.

We took some measurements. Our original gravity was 1.066 and we finished at 1.012, exactly as we had set out to do. The ABV rang in at about 7.1%, again what we were looking to do. The color was a nice golden copper (probably a 7 on most charts) and the clarity was above average. The amount of unfiltered residue was minimal as well.

We were seriously surprised on the finished color and clarity, especially after we had termed the beer as “Pond Scum IPA” during the brewing process. The beer seemed to really clear up throughout fermentation.

 

The Remaining Dilemmas.

So, we are ready to drink the 8-9 gallons that we yielded (a poor yield, but we’ll get better). But the goal is to correct some of the common problems that many Seattle home brewers probably face:

 

(1) How do we chill the wort with a hose temperature of 78 degrees!?

Using an immersion chiller is difficult in Seattle. Our ground water is only about 78 degrees, which is higher than what we want to chill the beer to. This time, it took about 1.5 hours to get it chilled. Thats dangerous.

 

(2) How do we manage the yeast?

We are using recycled brewery liquid yeast (thanks to great friends). Because of this, we need to find a good way to (a) determine the amount of active yeast particles in the liquid and (b) figure out how much is needed for our batch.

 

We will continue to work and figure this stuff out – but Beer Blotter’s 1st Anniversary party is this November and we plan on brewing our own beer for the big extravaganza. So, any help from you brewer readers out there is greatly appreciated.

 

Deregulation Fear? Washington Brewers Oppose Initiative 1100

August 2, 2010 7 comments

the WBG is opposing Initiative 1100.

I want to take a quick moment and point to Seattle Beer News‘ latest article on Initiative 1100, the proposed bill to privatize liquor sales and deregulate alcohol sales in the State of Washington. We briefly discussed this in the past, posting an article from BreweryLaw.com.

The author at Seattle Beer News, Geoff Kaiser, wrote a think piece about the new proposition, considering the Washington Brewers Guild. The Guild recently released a presser openly opposing the proposed legislation, citing concerns that I-1100 is the greatest threat the Washington craft brewing industry has experienced in a decade.”

I first want to applaud Geoff for his very honest portrayal of the tug and pull he is experiencing on the issue. Truly, he is correct to say that there are many arguments to be made in support of, and in opposition to, Initiative 1100.

Chiefly, Washington brewers are focusing on the fear that an open marketplace allows massive beer sellers (Costco, Binnys, MillerCoors, etc.) free reign to cause disruption to the beer market in Washington.

Of course, the Guild is correct to state that passage of deregulation opens up the market and can cause disruption. But, as an open market fan, you certainly hope that opens opportunities to all people and businesses. The key in deregulation is to find your niche, become innovative and be more efficient. You have to beat the big guys – and Washington brewers can do that!

Anyways, we are not going to tell anyone how to vote. But, please read the Brewers Guild position, because you should see both the good and the bad of I-1100 before you decide to vote. Brewers know the business and their opinion should resonate well in the beer community. But, fear can be blinding.

BrewDog Hits New High, Low: The End of History is Here.

July 22, 2010 1 comment

The End of History allows you to make out with a chipmunk. Nice Work, BrewDog

Ever wanted to drink your beer directly from a taxidermied animal? I know I have. There’s nothing better than popping the cap off a nice squirrel and going lip to lip with it (ok, thats gross).

Well, that’s all a possibility now, thanks to BrewDog. BrewDog is the Scottish brewer who brought us Tactical Nuclear Penguin (ABV 32%) and Sink the Bismarck (ABV 41%), two of the strongest beers in the world.

BrewDog has been the recipients of massive applause – and silent disdain – from beer drinkers of the world. Some applaud their relentless experimentation and combative spirit. Others are simply sick of  the battle between BrewDog and German brewer Schorschbraeu.

Regardless of what you think about the battle, the crazy high ABV booze, or their creative approach to labeling and marketing – you have to be intrigued with the latest installment: The End of History.

The End of History is 55% alcohol. 55%. I had to say it again. But what is even more incredibly ridiculous is that the beer is bottled and then implemented within a limited edition of taxidermied animals, ranging from squirrels, chipmunks, and perhaps other rodent-like mammals. The bottle is also considered to be the most expensive beer in the world. A 12oz sauce will hit your check book a cool $765.00 (but hey – collectors item right?).

Really? You might ask that question. But, I have come to expect this from BrewDog. They are constantly testing the boundaries of beer consumerism, marketing laws, and human decency. The new grog has to be celebrated if not for the fact that they decided to invest a lot of money into making something that is so far out of the box that it can only be premised on insane passion.

Check out the bottles over at Geekology. Also, be sure to check out the video that they released on Vimeo, capturing the creation process behind The End of History (well, at least their rendition).

We have had the great pleasure of trying out Tactical Nuclear Penguin and Sink the Bismarck. Both of them were, well, interesting. We had a much better reaction to Bismark, which was masked well with extremely concentrated hop extract.

If you get the chance to try any of these beers – you cannot pass it up. It won’t be long before the TTB and other regulators put a stop to classifying these types of brews as “beer.” It also appears that this will be the last time they do the high-ABV beer thing. Read below for more information.

From the BrewDog press release:

The beer is the last high abv beer we are going to brew, the end point of our research into how far the can push the boundaries of extreme brewing, the end of beer.


This blond Belgian ale is infused with nettles from the Scottish Highlands and Fresh juniper berries. Only 12 bottles have been made and each comes with its own certificate and is presented in a stuffed stoat or grey squirrel. The striking packaging was created by a very talented taxidermist and all the animals used were road kill. This release is a limited run of 11 bottles, 7 stoats and 4 grey squirrels. Each ones comes with its own certificate of authenticity.

Tour de Fat is Coming to Seattle! Grab Your Funky Bike. Drink Beer.

Tour de Fat is a burial for your car!

Seattle Beer News posted a quick blurb about New Belgium‘s Tour de Fat today. I wanted to take a moment to echo the call to bike-o-maniacs in the area.

Tour de Fat is a celebration of bikes and beer, but its meant to call attention to a much larger concept. Years ago, New Belgium started Tour de Fat with the idea of ridding the earth of automobiles and replacing them with hip bikes. Of course, the disdain towards the automobile stems from several concerns, including depletion of natural resources, pollution, energy consumption and all around hatred for all things oil – at a time when the BP spill is in our minds.

New Belgium’s goal was simple: get people to trade in their car; we’ll give them a bike. This is the central theme behind Tour de Fat, which now has 12 stops across America.

This is from the site:

It’s when one fortunate soul hands over their car, title and keys to the Tour de Fat altar in exchange for a bike. Not just any bike, a New Belgium, fully-loaded, hand-crafted, Fort Collins-built commuter bike. There’s 13 Tour de Fat stops – surely one near you – and that’s 13 car/bike trade opportunities. It’s about weaning yourself off the petroleum teat. It’s about becoming a better, sexier person. It’s about rediscovering the cultural thrill of public transportation.

So, while Tour de Fat is a truly a party, celebrating funky and interesting bike contraptions and the enjoyment of beer – its also a burial for someone’s car. People wishing to be considered for the big trade-in, can find more information about it on their website.

This concept is of great interest to your writers at Beer Blotter. We recently traded in our car for bikes (and a little public transport of course). Its been one of the best decisions we ever made. It maximizes our beer consumption experiences, limits the risk that a catastrophic accident could happen, and keeps us in good shape. Consider the shift. At least, it saves you insurance and gas costs.

We hope to see you all at Tour de Fat. Its an amazing event, going down all day on July 31, 2010 at Gasworks Park in Seattle. The event concludes at 4 PM and will be followed by an after party at Brouwers Cafe, where you will no doubt get to drink some amazing New Belgium ales.

See you there!

Beer in Olympia!? Good Bets to Find a Good Beer

July 19, 2010 1 comment

The inside of the brewpub at Fish Brewing in Olympia, WA.

We just got back from an amazing trip to Portland over the weekend. The goal of our Portland trip was to venture out to venues which we still had yet to visit. We did just that – hitting places like Saraveza, Amnesia Brewing, Apex, Widmer Gasthaus, and even House Spirits (a distiller).

But, on our travel home, we decided that we had no reason to be home at any particular hour. With horrendous traffic ahead, we decided to venture off the highway and check out some venues in Olympia, WA and Tacoma, WA.

Though we have resided in the Seattle area for over three years, none of our members have visited Olympia or Tacoma for beer trips. With the exception of one brief visit to Tacoma’s Red Hot, none of us had even visited these towns!

So, we whipped out our handy iPhones and perused the ‘Places’ tab at Ratebeer.com. We decided on the two most intriguing options that we could find in each city. For Olympia: Fish Tales Brew Pub and Eastside Club Tavern. For Tacoma:  Jake’s Bistro & Bar and Parkway Tavern.

We hope to have some more extensive reviews of some of these venues in our 52 Weeks column, but for now lets shed some light on these establishments. Today we discuss Olympia – tomorrow, Tacoma.

 

Fish Tales Brew Pub (Fish Brewing & Leavenworth Ales)

 

Fish Brewing has always been on my target list. The organic ales produced by the Olympia brewer have never disappointed. But the most impressive beers comes from the brewer’s “reel ale” collection, which includes beers like Leviathan Barleywine and 10 Squared Imperial IPA.

Fish’s facilities are right across the street from its brewpub. The brewpub is located right down the block from Olympia’s east side row of bars and taverns.

The beer list contains each of Fish’s regular rotation beers, as well as one “reel ale” at a time. It also includes the brewery’s Leavenworth Ales and Spire Mountain Ciders.

During our visit, there were no “reel ale” options available – Boo. But we were able to grab a few different IPAs to enjoy with our lunch.

Fish Tales has a fairly impressive menu. Filled with several seafood options, at a reasonable price, there is something for everyone. My favorite item from the table: the Oyster Po Boy with Seafood Stew. The po boy was stuffed with about 8 lightly fried hama hama oysters, topped with mayo and all the fixins. The stew was made with the Trout Stout, filled with clams and shrimp.

All in all, Fish Tales is worth the visit. I sincerely hope you can get a chance to grab one their “reel ales.” They are all worth a  try.

 

Eastside Club Tavern

 

I did not know what to expect from this place. Its located in the short string of bars located on 4th St in downtown Olympia. Outside, there was a suspect group meandering amongst the alleys. But, the beer is always worth it and so we jumped on in.

Eastside is a massive place. It spans more than 3,000 square feet (guess), including a large “game” room filled with several pool tables, ping pong and foosball.

The bar area sprawls across the side of the bar. There are no food options (besides small snacks) and I do not recollect any liquor being served. But, the beer selection was amazing.

Eastside showcases 36 taps at one time, including cask and nitro taps. On tap during our time at the bar: Russian River Pliny the Elder, Anderson Valley Imperial IPA, Lagunitas Little Sumpin Wild, Double Mountain IRA, Lagunitas Undercover Shutdown and various others.

Beers are reasonably priced at $3.50 per 16oz pour. Rare beers, such as Pliny the Elder, were only $5.00 per 16oz pour. Happy Hour (4-7 PM) showcases $3 beers.

A few bonuses, include an amazing jukebox and growler fills. The bar back has a few TVs. Don’t forget to check out their bottle list, which houses several $5 22oz bombers!

Eastside is a must visit if in Olympia. Certainly, an excellent place to grab a good beer.

 

Beer Planning: A Backpacker’s Perspective

Shi Shi Beach: Beautiful images require wondrous beer.

Last weekend we embarked on what might be the greatest “hike-in” beach camp spot in all of the Northwest. Our trip to Shi Shi Beach in the Makah Indian Reservation (Neah Bay, WA) was beyond epic. Many a new terms were coined, wooden implements fashioned, pasty foods consumed, ocean plunges taken, driftwood bonfires lit and even a few articles of clothes smoked for that take home campfire flavor (see SmokedJorts.com).

But like many of you, I was stumped by how to perfectly plan for 50+ hours in no man’s land, sans cooler and additional space for my brethren – beer. Food was a stumble, but doable. Equipment seemed to fit without excess weight. Even multi-weather clothing seemed to be a cinch. But Beer – not exactly.

 

The Dilemmas of Beerpacking

 

Here are some of the dilemmas:

  • (1)  Weight –   The ratio for alcohol to weight in beer is grossly disproportional. For most of us, its part of the reason we love it so very much. It allows us to consume various types and flavors over a long period of time. But for the camper (not you, car campers!) its a pain in the ass.

 

  • (2)  Shape & Proportion –   Our common vessels are the bottle, growler, keg, party pig and can. Lets toss kegs, growlers and party pigs pretty quickly. Unless you have constructed some amazing carriage that allows multiple people to share the weight, a three mile hike up and down cliffs will not facilitate these receptacles. That leaves us with smaller vessels, such as cans  and bottles. Of course, bottles are glass and would need to be separated or wrapped to prevent breakage. Not enticing. This leaves the common can – but many of you are still weenies about drinking from a can. Get over it. I’ll discuss more below.

 

  • (3) Cooling –   I bet you aren’t going to carry your cooler three miles down the trail eh? Excited to have ice last for about 2 hours? There is no great solution to the cooling challenge. Ice packs add unnecessary weight for the duration that they last. Soft pack coolers are a decent try, if they fit in your pack.

 

A Good Set of Rules to Live By

 

So, I thought long and hard about these things. We did some things right – and some wrong. Lets discuss the goals:

  • (1)  Cut Weight & Volume Usage With Cans –  We all want to drink beer when camping. Liquor just can’t satisfy the mountain man inside. Here’s the solution: Get cans. Unless you have been living in a cave, you probably know that many of our nation’s finest brewers can their beer. Here are a few of the best:  Oskar Blues, Big Sky, 21st Amendment, Anderson Valley, New Belgium, 7 Seas, and soon to be – Fremont Brewing. Canned beer is great! Newer cans keep beer fresher, reduce transit costs and are better for the environment. Its the easiest to pack in and to pack out, reducing in size to easily recycle. This one is a no-brainer. Get yourself a few sixers of canned beer.

 

  • (2) Forget the Chilling Vessel – Use Nature –   I realize that this one might apply only us in the high north. In Washington state, all of our water is cold! Whether you are by the sea or in the mountains, a fresh supply of frigid water will await you. Hauling around any type  of chilling device, whether it be an ice pack or a soft cooler is probably a waste of space. It will not protect your treasured ale from the sun and humidity. Find a water source early in the trip and something to lodge your beer beneath the water’s surface to keep it from the sun’s heat and light. A good choice is that good old bear canister that you are most likely required to have in order to camp in the vast NW. Once the sun retreats, pull your canister, drink up, seal off food for the night and repeat the next day.

 

  • (3) Pace Yourself & Conserve –   Unfortunately, you need to leave your Saturday city drinking behind. Do not expect to have the same epic consumption schedule you typically fly through each weekend. Be a grown up and consume at a reasonable pace. Remember, nothing is worse than spending some time on an amazing beach and knowing that you are out of ale. Always keep a few in the cooler and educate your friends on properly preparing. Otherwise, they’ll be hounding you to pass one over.

 

Suggestions From Beer Blotter

 

If you decided to go can and on-site cool – here are some pointers:

  • (1) ABV is KingThink about ABV when you are planning. In our instance we wanted the best ABV to price ratio. The golden rule in my opinion was a perfect 1 : 1  of ABV % to 6 Pack price (i.e.  8% for $8). This led us directly to Oskar Blues Old Chub, which rings in right at the sacred 1 : 1 ratio (actually I paid $8.99, but close enough).  While you might be tempted to go for that Oskar Blues Ten Fidy, Gordon or Gubna, remember that a 6 pack might take you into the $20-$24.00 range. Yikes! Look for the 7%-8% grogs; they seem to have the best value.

 

  • (2) Flavor Should Match Your Surroundings –   Here is where I admit my first error. Beach camping requires a specific type of beer. Old Chub, a scotch ale with complete caramel maltiness was not our best choice. Instead, 21st Amendment’s Brew Free or Die was our best selection. The IPA matched all weather conditions, was refreshing, and still maintained an acceptable flavor at air temperature. Unfortunately, we had a small 6 pack supply. Remember to look out for Fremont Brewing’s potential IPA release soon in the future. Another great choice would absolutely be 7 Seas Ballz Deep Double IPA, which comes in 16oz cans at 8.4%!!!! Wish we could have found a few of those for the trip.

 

  • (3) Suffer the Weight, Not the Beer-less Moments –   Nothing is worse then getting to your site and knowing that you could have handled another 6 pack in your pack. You will want that 72oz of greatness! Pack as much as you can possibly muster without injuring yourself. Remember that the trek back will be a heck of a lot lighter!

 

From all of us at BeerBlotter.com – Have a hell of summer!

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