Review: Beers of East Brother Beer Co.

Richmond, California, is a rough-and-tumble suburb north of San Francisco, and it’s also the home of the new(ish) East Brother Beer Co., which was founded with the goal of creating “familiar, classic styles with precision and a modern sensibility.” No grapefruit IPAs here: East Brother uses traditional ingredients to put its own (modest) spins on the classics of brewing.

Reviews of four of East Brother’s beers — the Wheat IPA was unavailable — follow. Look for them in East Brother’s taproom, at your local Bay Area watering hole, or in 16 oz. cans.

East Brother Red Lager – A bit on the bitter side for a lager (this one a Vienna-style number), with a bit of an herbal element to it. The finish is quite dry — again, particularly so considering this is a lager, not an ale — with notes of rhubarb, roasted nuts, and sunflower seeds. 4.6% abv. B

East Brother Oatmeal Stout – This is a brisk and quite solid rendition of oatmeal stout, mouth-filling but with enough carbonation to let the lighter elements — some berry fruit, a squeeze of citrus — shine past the core of roasted walnuts, dark chocolate, and coffee grounds. Surprisingly refreshing. 5.4% abv. A-

East Brother Bo Pils – A lovely “Bohemian style” pilsner, it’s got ample malt, a pleasantly light bitterness, and layers of fruit on top of all of it — lemon, lime, and pineapple — plus just a hint of oregano. Incredibly drinkable, the toasty, bready backbone soothes the palate as well as the soul. 5.0% abv. A

East Brother Red IPA – Another malt-forward brew, a clear departure from the typical IPA format, with nuttier elements up front, leading to a fruity, lively expressionality (not a word, but I can’t come up with anything better) on the palate. The finish sees some modest hoppiness — nothing any IPA fan will even shrug at — but ultimately the balance between malt and hops proves to be surprisingly deft. 6.8% abv. A-

prices $NA / eastbrotherbeer.com

Cocktail Recipes for National IPA Day 2017

National IPA Day

On August 3rd, we celebrate our love of hoppiness with National India Pale Ale Day. Rather than review a few, since we do that throughout the year, we decided to focus on cocktails using IPA as an ingredient. When beer is used in cocktails, it’s typically the bittering agent, particularly when it’s an IPA. You can also boil it down into a syrup if you don’t care about the alcohol content but do want the hops to come through.

We’re sharing a great lemon bar recipe which has an IPA ingredient as well. Cheers and enjoy!

Coupe de Ville
from Marie Claire online
6 oz. Hornitos Reposado tequila
6 oz. orange juice
3 oz. Triple Sec
2 oz. fresh lime juice
6 bottles of your favorite IPA

Mix together the tequila, orange juice, lime juice, and orange liqueur. After it’s mixed, pour in six cans of the beer and you are ready to share with friends.

Sidewalker

Sidewalker
courtesy of edamam.com
2 1/2 oz. Applejack or apple brandy
2 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 oz. real maple syrup
1 ½ tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 cup chilled IPA beer
1 1/2 oz. chilled club soda (we used DRY Rhubarb soda)
1 lemon wedge

Dry shake all ingredients except the club soda and IPA. Pour into your glass and add the club soda. Gently stir. Top off with the IPA, garnish with the lemon wedge and enjoy.

Ca-IPA-irinha
courtesy of Craftedpours.com
IPA
Cachaca
Agave Nectar
Lemon
Lime
Mint for cocktail and garnish

Muddle mint and add the remaining ingredients except for the IPA to incorporate the agave nectar into the liquids. Pour into a beer glass; add the beer and garnish with a mint sprig.Albatross

Albatross
This is a fun recipe from bxbeerdepot.blogspot.com
1 oz. Brockman’s Gin
1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 oz. hop muddled simple syrup
6 oz. Lagunitas IPA
rosemary sprig for garnish

To make the hop syrup:
1/4 oz. of dried aroma hops (such as Cascade, Citra, Simcoe—we used 007: Golden Hops)
1 oz. of simple syrup.

Muddle to combine and strain through a fine mesh filter.

For the cocktail:
Combine the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a shaker and shake with ice. Strain into a tulip glass and top with the IPA. Garnish with a Rosemary sprig.

Deuces Juice

Easier than a Sunday morning, Deuce’s Juice is the kind of breakfast beer cocktail that sneaks up on you. Deceptively sweet and savory, this brew matches the peppery flavors of a Belgian-style pale ale with a peppercorn punch and a bit of champagne to smooth things out. Topped with a bit of Aperol for a hint of citrusy bitterness, this juice is far from loose. The folks at Extra Crispy.com recommend paring it with chicken and waffles.

Deuce’s Juice
Courtesy of extracrispy.com
1 oz. Aperol
1 oz. tangergine juice
1 oz. champagne
6 oz. Bear Republic’s Apex IPA
Orange twist
A pinch of black peppercorns

Fill pint glass with ice. Add the first three ingredients, then top off with beer. Gently stir. Garnish with orange twist and crushed black peppercorns to get fancy.

Campari IPA
courtesy of bbcgoodfood.com
12 oz. Campari
10 oz. IPA
sparkling orange juice
orange peel

Take two rocks glasses and put two to three ice cubes in each one. Divide the Campari between the glasses and top with the IPA. Add a splash of sparkling orange juice (we used San Pellegrino sparkling blood orange) and rub a piece of orange peel around the rim of each glass before dropping into the drink.

Rebel Rhumba

Rebel Rumba
courtesy of Sam Adams
¼ oz. orgeat
¾ oz. lime juice
½ oz. Dry Curaçao
½ oz. dark rum
½ oz. white rum
3 oz. Sam Adam’s Rebel Juiced IPA

Combine all ingredients into a shaker and shake. Strain into wine glass, add ice, and garnish with fresh mango or pineapple and mint.

Wassail

Wassail gets its name from the Old Norse “ves heill” and Old English “was hál,” meaning “be fortunate,” which is how we feel when we drink it. Wassail is typically served at Christmas time. However this is a great drink for around the campfire or on the beach in the evening. You can make it up ahead of time and then let each person warm theirs over the fire in metal cups (be sure to use pot holders).

Wassail
courtesy of saveur.com
6 apples, cored
2 1/2 tbsp. light brown sugar
15 allspice berries
15 cloves
6 sticks cinnamon
1 cup Madeira wine (we used Rainwater variety)
1 cup Angry Orchard Summer Honey cider
2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tbsp. ground ginger
3 bottles Deschutes Pinedrops IPA
3 ½ cups Angry Orchard Crisp Apple cider
peels of two oranges

Heat oven to 350°. Place apples in baking dish; place light brown sugar in center of each apple. Pour 1 cup water in dish; bake 1 hour. Toast allspice berries, cloves, and cinnamon sticks in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high, 2 minutes. Add Madeira, both ciders, nutmeg, ginger, ale, and orange peels; boil. Reduce to medium; simmer 1 hour. Add apples and any liquid; cook 10 minutes.

IPA Lemon Bars

IPA Lemon Bars
recipe from thebeeroness.com
Crust:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
6 tbs unsalted butter
pinch salt

Filling:
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ cup flour
2 tbsp. corn starch
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup IPA beer
powdered sugar for dusting

In a food processor add the flour, powdered sugar, butter, and salt. Process until well combined.
Press into the bottom of a greased 8 X 8 pan (for a 9 x 13 pan, double the entire recipe).Chill for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350. Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool to about room temperature, about 15 minutes—this will help the crust and the filling to stay in two distinct layers.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, flour and corn starch. Add in the lemon juice and beer, stir until combined. Pour the filling over the cooled crust. Bake until the center has set, about 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before refrigerating. Chill for 2 to 3 hours before cutting. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Review: Samuel Adams Summer 2017 Releases

The summer seasonals from Samuel Adams are here. A whopping seven brews for 2017 are reviewed below.

Samuel Adams Summer Ale Lemon Wheat Ale (2017) – A repackage of this beer from 2013, this brew remains on the tough side, with crisp lemon counterbalanced by notes of cracked pepper and coriander. Virtually no bitterness is in the mix here; instead the malt does all the heavy lifting — which is perfect for hot weather but doesn’t have the backbone for much more. 5.3% abv. B

Samuel Adams Porch Rocker – This lemony spin on a radler, and the citrus does the heavy lifting here. The beer itself offers a whole lot of sweetness, with a lemon-lime edge to it, which gives it an almost soda-like complexion. That’s not the best impression, alas: The overall impact is one of a Mexican lager with one too many squeezes of lime in it. 4.5% abv. C

Samuel Adams Tropic of Yuzu – An ale brewed with spices and yuzu juice added. The spice makes more of an impression than the yuzu, with a kind of dusky coriander kick lingering alongside some notes of lime peel. Yuzu’s an awesome flavor, and it’s a bummer it doesn’t show through very clearly. 6.0% abv. B

Samuel Adams Hefeweizen – A surprisingly strong wheat beer, overloaded to bursting with orange peel and woody coriander. The palate is somewhat oily, which gives more weight to the pungent spiciness on the finish. A bit overwhelming for what ought to be a more refreshing and nuanced style. 5.4% abv. B-

Samuel Adams Golden Hour – A Helles lager, showing ample lemon peel, herbs, and — again — coriander, particularly on the finish. While it’s plenty malty, there’s enough acidity and just a hint of bitterness to lift it up a bit, giving the beer a nice balance, but one which ends up on the dusky side. 5.0% abv. B

Samuel Adams Berliner Weisse – Lots of lemon infuses this wheat beer, giving it a slightly sour character, particularly on the brisk finish, which hints more at lime. Up until then, it’s got a modest malt level, some hints of orange peel and cinnamon, and a clean and refreshing composition. 4.8% abv. B+

Samuel Adams Session IPA – Sam’s spin on a session IPA is a somewhat muddy affair, punched up with mushroom and earth, dulling what could be some more engaging notes at the core — lime peel, pine resin, and licorice. The finish sees some odd bubble gum notes emerging. 4.5% abv. B-

each about $8 per six-pack / samueladams.com

Review: New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Juicy Mandarina IPA and French Oak Saison

It’s a duo of new beers from New Belgium, both appearing in oversized 22 oz. bottles. Let’s dig in!

New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Juicy Mandarina IPA – A new entry into the Voodoo Ranger series from New Belgium, this beer isn’t dosed with mandarin oranges but rather features bitterness courtesy of German Mandarina Bavaria and Australian Galaxy hops. The Mandarina does work to give a slight citrus edge to the beer, as well as notes of lime zest — plus, oddly, a bit of dark chocolate character that comes along later in the game. Otherwise, the bracing bitterness gives this a classic IPA structure — though it drinks at a comparably low 6.5% abv. B+ / $7 per 22 oz bottle

New Belgium French Oak Saison – A lightly sour barrel-aged farmhouse ale, this brew packs lots of cherry flavor, a smattering of citrus, and some vanilla before the sourness kicks in with more gusto. Lightly woody on the finish, the beer is chewy and mouth-filling, with sour cherry lingering for the long haul — but going out crisp and clean, more so than expected. A bit one-note for a sour, but otherwise it’s a nice archetype of the style. 7.5% abv. B+ / $14 per 22 oz bottle

newbelgium.com

Review: Unibroue Ephemere Sureau

Canada’s Unibroue has a long-running series of beers called Ephemere, all wheat ales fermented with fruit added. The latest (#8) in the series is Sureau, which is made with elderberry and elderflowers.

The nose is fragrant and fruity — with blueberry notes and indistinct florals. On the palate, the beer is surprisingly dry — far from the sugary fruit bomb you might be expecting — with virtually no bitterness to speak of (it’s got just 6 IBUs). The elderflower is easily evident but doesn’t overwhelm the malt at the core of the beer, instead imbuing it with a bit of life in the form of some tartness, slightly citrus, slightly tropical, and a bit earthy at times, particularly on the finish.

Don’t like fruit-flavored beers? Never mind all that — give Sureau a try.

5.5% abv.

B+ / $5 per bottle / unibroue.com

Review: The Beers of MadTree Brewing Company

MadTree Brewing Company opened in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2013 and has seen rapid growth ever since. They recently expanded their operation and partnered with Cavalier Distributing to bring their beers to the rest of Ohio as well as Kentucky. With their beers set to reach a broader audience and a promising track record, it was time for a review of their core line of beers.

MadTree Lift Kölsch – Lift is a pleasant surprise. Despite having the lowest alcohol of MadTree’s year-round offerings, it is real beer with real beer flavor. It is light and refreshing, presenting the welcoming smells of wheat and lemon. The palate shows the cereal flavor of toasted malt along with a gentle hop crispness at the end. Perfect for a hot summer day. 4.7% abv. B

MadTree Psychopathy India Pale Ale – The can describes this beer well, noting its “floral, grassy, and citrus hop flavors.” The citrus comes forward more on the nose and the floral and grassy notes come to the fore in the palate. There are lots of different IPAs on the market these days, and MadTree has created one that stakes a claim and does not try to please everyone. It is surprisingly and pleasantly bitter considering that it clocks in at only 60 IBU. 6.9% abv. A-

MadTree Happy Amber Ale – Happy Amber was the first beer MadTree brewed, and it is a very enjoyable amber ale, showing a nice malt presence along with 30 IBU, which is high for the style. The result is a well-balanced beer that exhibits bready notes and caramel in both the nose and the taste. It finishes with a bitter, hoppy crispness I really enjoyed. I rather wish the beer was a bit more assertive in its use of malt and hops, but if it was, I might not look forward to a second can so soon after I finished the first. A dangerously drinkable amber. 6.0% abv. B+

MadTree PSA Pale Ale – PSA (Proper Session Ale) has a lot of character for a session beer. The nose presents orange and notes of pineapple. The flavors are a mix of pine and citrus coupled with a crisp, hoppy bitterness. The carbonation, as is common with session beers, is a bit high. This is a fine session beer, and one that deserves serious attention, particularly from IPA fans who steer clear of overwhelming DIPAs. 4.5% abv. B+

MadTree Sol Drifter Blonde Ale – Sol Drifter is a summer-season session beer brewed with strawberries. The nose is light and presents strawberry as well as slight notes of malt. The same subdued notes of strawberry and malt appear again in the palate, along with a little lemon, and the beer finishes quickly and cleanly. This is a refreshing beer, but not really an exciting one. 4.3% abv. B-

madtreebrewing.com

Review: Stone Enjoy By 07.04.17 Unfiltered IPA

You’ve got precious few days to source and enjoy this latest release in Stone’s “Enjoy By” series — this beer being an unfiltered double IPA that appears to have just about the same makeup as the last Unfiltered IPA release from Christmas 2016. That means you’re in for a ton of tropical fruit, peaches, and and molasses notes, followed by a significant bitterness. As with the 12.25.16 release, there’s less blatant hoppiness than you’d expect, which lets the finish linger with sweeter fruit, not tannic, piney notes. With all that said, I like it a bit less than the prior release (or at least, that’s how I feel today).

This is also the first time an Enjoy By beer has been released in cans, though you can still get it in oversize 22 oz. bottles, too.

9.4% abv.

A- / $8 per 22 oz. bottle / stonebrewing.com

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