Beer of the Week: The Notch Session Ale

Posted on May 10th, 2011

Notch American Session Ale 6 Pack

About the beer:

Craft beer is all about options. With the rise in popularity of higher alcohol craft beers some are turning their interests towards other options in the form of an up and coming category in the craft beer community – session beer. Awareness over the session style of brewing has risen over the last two years with many American breweries creating some tremendous crafted ales, all of which carrying significantly lower ABVs than the stereotypical craft ale.

The term “session” finds it’s origins in the UK and refers to the allowable drinking periods that were imposed on production workers during World War I. The licensed sessions were 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 to 11 p.m. Workers would find a beer that they could adequately quench their thirst with during these restrictive “sessions” that were imposed by the government without getting legally drunk.

With this groundswell of awareness and rich history to live up to, enter Notch Session Ale, an independently brewed ale which is the brain child of Notch brewer and founder Chris Lohring. In collaboration with his friends at Ipswich Ale Brewery of Ipswich, MA, Chris is brewing low-gravity American style session beers that pack immense amounts of robustness and flavor without heavy alcohol content.

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Beer of the Week: Victory’s Golden Monkey

Posted on January 18th, 2011

Victory Brewing Golden Monkey

About the beer:

Victory Brewing Company’s Golden Monkey is an American adaptation of the traditional Belgian-style strong ale now commonly found around the world. We’ve talked a lot about Belgian-style ales here at Beeriety and there are several themes that make this beer uniquely different than that of its predecessors from across the seas.

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Style Profile: Chili Beer

Posted on June 2nd, 2010

One of the more unusual styles to emerge from the craft beer scene is chili beer. There are all sorts of brews out there with different fruits and spices in them, but beer with chili peepers is not something you see everyday. Although it remains an unusual and rare style, its unique taste is something everyone should try once. Here’s a run down on this odd style.

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Style Profile: Russian Imperial Stout

Posted on February 25th, 2010

Russian Imperial Stout is one of the heaviest styles of beer around, often ranging from 7 to 10% ABV. Much like Baltic porters it’s named not for who made it but who it was made for. Russian imperial stouts were first brewed in the 18th century by brewers in Burton, England to be shipped to the court of Russian Empress Catherine the Great. Catherine apparently became quite smitten by stouts during a visit to England and demanded some be sent back to her when she returned home; unfortunately the first few batches did not survive the long trip to Russia. Catherine demanded that the English find some way to get her beloved porter to her, and being empress, she got what she wanted. To accomplish this goal the Barclay Perkins brewery crafted a stout to survive the trek much sweeter and stronger than anything available in England at the time and a new style was born.

Today, many years after Catherine’s passing, Russian imperial stouts continue to be brewed not just in England, but around the world. In particular the style has caught on among bold and adventuresome American craft brewers, who see the style as an opportunity to flex their brewing muscle and a chance to brew the heaviest, sweetest beer they can. Due to the styles popularity craft brewers in the US the term ‘imperial’ has come to signify any style that’s especially strong in flavor, alcohol or both. The double, or ‘imperial’ IPA is perhaps the most common example of this phenomenon

This style shares much in common with other heavy stouts and porters, like the Baltic porter. They are both sweet and strong, with bold flavors of dark chocolate, roasted coffee and toffee. That being said, there are some key differences between the two styles. The imperial stout tends be much sweeter than the Baltic porter, and it is usually not nearly as dry. Still, don’t feel bad if you have trouble telling the two apart, they are similar.

The are numerous absolutely delicious versions of this style from many different brewers. Perhaps the best known in America is Old Rasputin, from North Coast brewing. Other notable examples include Storm King from Victory and Ten Fidy from Oskar Blues. Rogue, Stone, and Samuel Smith also have great takes on the style as well.

What’s your favorite version? Next time you try it, let us know by tweeting your beer and adding the #mybeer hashtag.

How Yeast Affects Beer Flavor

Posted on February 24th, 2010

Yeast is a key ingredient in beer. It can account for 70% of a beer’s flavor and without it there’d be no alcohol. With these things in mind we thought it was a good idea to take a closer look at the stuff.

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