Sugar & Spice: An Intro to Beer Spices

Posted on August 20th, 2010

The history of spices in beer is as old and varied as beer itself. Despite the fact that hops have become the predominant spicing agent used in most contemporary styles, that was not always the case.  In areas where hops are not native or easily grown the role of hops was frequently played by another bitter and/or mildly anti-septic plant, such as marigold, burdock, juniper, or heather. In fact, during the Middle Ages, a substance known as gruit (a mash-up of various herbs and spices) was used to provide the same preservative and flavoring benefits that hops can provide. As recently as the Renaissance, spicing beer was still fairly common all across Europe. Grains of Paradise (a peppery member of the ginger family) was particularly popular and was most likely used to cover over the stale or sour flavors of beer that had been improperly made or stored.

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Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Posted on May 4th, 2010

Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, the yearly holiday which celebrates all things Mexican. The festival dates back to May 5, 1862 when Mexican Republic forces defeated the invading French military at the Battle of Puebla, despite being vastly outnumbered. Although the holiday is not currently celebrated through much of Mexico, it remains as popular as ever in the United States and other parts of the world. Along with Mexican food, a great way to honor Mexico tomorrow is to enjoy some tasty Mexican brews.

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Valentine’s Day for the Beer Lover

Posted on February 11th, 2010

Although traditional gifts like chocolate and flowers usually dominate the gift giving on Valentine’s Day, there are plenty of creative ways you can incorporate beer into your gifts for the beer lover in your life.

Chocolate ales – A box of chocolates are the gift probably most closely associated with V Day. A great companion to chocolate candy is of course chocolate ale. There are lots of great chocolate flavored beers out there. Young’s Double Chocolate Stout is a personal favorite. It’s brewed to be velvety smooth and silky with a light but rich dose of chocolate taste. Another great one to try by an American brewer is Rogue’s Chocolate stout. While not nearly as smooth in taste as Young’s, it has the chocolate aromas and flavors to make this one a must try

Floral beers – Flowers are another great gift on February 14th. Roses and tulips look and smell terrific, especially in this cold time of year. Fortunately there are plenty of beers with distinctly floral aromas  courtesy of their hops that will go along great with any bunch of your favorite flowers. Most pale ales and IPAs will have floral notes to them, but for my money no ale captures that fresh floral hop aroma better than Brooklyn Brewery’s East India Pale Ale. The best part is that this beer tastes just as good as it smells. Lagunitas IPA and its stronger cousin Lagunitas Maximus Double IPA also have a distinctly floral aroma to them thanks to their massive amounts of Cascade hops.

AleSmith’s My Bloody Valentine – If the whole Valentine’s Day thing isn’t your thing, perhaps this beer is more your speed. It’s a delicious ale with a distinct blood red color and an alcohol percentage of 6.66% ABV. After a few of these you won’t care if it’s Valentine’s Day or Arbor Day. Be sure to drink with caution.

What do you get for the beer loving Valentine in your life? Hit us up in the comments or on twitter to let us know you thoughts.

10 Perfect Beers For The Holidays

Posted on December 22nd, 2009

With Christmas coming up on Friday, now is the time to get into the holiday spirit. We here at Beeriety think enjoying the right beer with loved ones can be a great way to make the most of these festive times. We previously showed you how to pair the right beer with Christmas dinner, now we’re sharing 10 of our favorite beers specifically made for the holidays:

Yule Tide – This holiday tripel from Clipper City has a touch of nutmeg in it for a few festive flavors.

Affligem Noel – This is a classic example of the “Noel beer” mini-style made by many Belgian brewers. It’s medium in body with sweet, malty flavors and a touch of winter spices like nutmeg and cinnamon.

Delirium Tremens Noel – Another great version of “Noel beer.” It’s similar to Affligem’s version but has a brighter, less sweet taste thanks to Delierum’s house blend of yeast.

Bell’s Christmas Ale – This nutmeg and cinnamon brew is great treat at the end of the year from one of Michigan’s best brewers.

Anchor Christmas – Anchor is the first craft brewer in America, so it’s fitting that they are also one of the first American brewers to produce a yearly Christmas beer. These are rich and nutty but much lighter than the Belgian Noel beers.

Santa’s Private Reserve – From Rogue Brewing in Oregon, leave this for Santa instead of Eggnog.

Sam Adams Old Fezziwig – This winter ale is named after a jolly character from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It has been known to make yours truly a bit jolly from time to time too.

Sam Adams Holiday Porter – Another great winter beer from Sam Adams. Like Old Fezziwig, it’s only available in their holiday mix pack, which is a must buy during the holiday season.

He’brew Messiah – If Christmas isn’t your thing, try this delicious kosher beer from some great New York City brewers.

Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout – This mighty stout is as big and powerful as the infamous indomitable snowman it’s named after.

Sam Smith Winter Welcome– Like Anchor Christmas ale, this one has been around awhile and is really worth seeking out for any serious beer lover. It’s lighter in body than most others on this list but just as sweet. In many ways, it reminds me of a barleywine with low hops – just a big, malty delight.

Merry Christmas!

Pairing Beer with Christmas Dinner

Posted on December 17th, 2009

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For many, Christmas dinner is one of most anticipated meals of the year. Full of good food and good company, this meal can be the highlight of the winter. Although wine is the beverage most often served with this meal, beer pairs well with many of the most common items on a Christmas menu.

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