First brewed at least 5,000 years ago, beer is one of the oldest and most universally consumed alcoholic drinks. It is usually made from cereals, most frequently malted barley, but other ingredients can be used, such as wheat, corn, or rice. In the majority of cases, hops are added to the process (originally as a preservative), although in centuries past other flavorings were used. Today, a whole host of flavored beers exist, ranging from conventional ingredients such as fruit to crazier additions including bacon, donuts, and rocky mountain oysters (aka bull testicles). The most popular beer style, however, is the easy-drinking pale lager style. It used to be thought that beer in cans was inferior quality to beer in bottles, and that there was a safety worry over the use of aluminum, but that is no longer the case. Cans are perfectly safe and sales of canned beers are growing while bottles are on the decline.

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Review: Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy

By Christopher Null | April 20, 2008 |

Continuing on the summer theme here at Drinkhacker we turn to this unique summer beer, a pre-mixed shandy! Leinie’s Summer Shandy is a Weiss beer mixed with lemonade (or at least, per the bottle, “with natural lemonade flavor”), and it doesn’t take long to find both flavors in the bottle. The beer side is very…

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Review: Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale 25th Expedition

By Christopher Null | March 17, 2008 |

One doesn’t hear the term “barleywine” much outside of Tolkein novels, but Sierra Nevada is bringing us one here in 2008. Looks like a review is in order of this Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale, 25th Expedition. To clarify, barleywine is a styleof very strong ale noted for its high alcohol content (hence the “wine” moniker).…

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Cool Tool: Bass Black & Tan Brolly

By Christopher Null | March 15, 2008 |

The good folks at Bass have designed one of the neatest pieces of barware I’ve seen since the muddler became a hit: Called the brolly (British slang for an umbrella), it’s a little gizmo designed specifically for making Black & Tans. (Black & Tan is pint glass half full of pale ale (typically Bass), with…

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Review: Gordon Biersch Dunkelweizen (with Dan Gordon)

By Christopher Null | March 13, 2008 |

Dan Gordon (pictured), proprietor of Gordon Biersch, stopped by today with his latest brew, a real rarity in America (or anywhere else, for that matter). Dunkelweizen is a dark wheat beer. The brewing process is basically the same as Hefeweizen, but Dunkelweizen uses 40% dark malted wheat in the malt blend, along with 3% caramelized…

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Review: Gordon Biersch Pilsner

By Christopher Null | March 5, 2008 |

This golden lager is a crisp and classic brew, but thicker in mouthfeel than most lager-type beers. It’s got some real weight to it, which makes it pair well with food that has a little spice in it. Czech and German in ancestry, I found it fit perfectly with a seasoned pork chop and asparagus,…

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Review: Hook & Ladder Golden Ale, Backdraft Brown, and Lighter

By Christopher Null | February 10, 2008 |

Across the northeastern U.S. you’ll find bars serving Hook & Ladder beer, products brewed by a company with roots in the firefighting biz: The founders are two brothers, one of whom is a volunteer fireman. The beers aren’t widely distributed west of Virginia, but if you should find one, you’re in for a treat. I…

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Review: Kona Brewing Co. Longboard Island Lager (2008)

By Christopher Null | January 15, 2008 |

Longboard Lager really is made in Hawaii. The Kona Brewing Company churns out 190,000 gallons of beer a year, in fact, with a staff of six people. It’s amazing, then, that Kona beers seem to be so easy to find here in the States, at least on the west coast. Longboard is the company’s flagship…

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Review: Peak Organic Amber Ale, Nut Brown Ale, and Pale Ale

By Christopher Null | January 13, 2008 |

Organic beer: OK, I’m in! Peak Organic brews three beers out of its Portland, Maine headquarters, using organic barley and hops and, of course, 100% organic water. Can you taste the difference? Well, depends on what you compare it to. I tried all three of Peak’s beers. Here are some comments. Peak Organic Amber Ale…

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Review: Leinenkugel’s Apple Spice Beer

By Christopher Null | January 3, 2008 |

Apple and spice in the beer? You bet. Leinenkugel’s Apple Spice seasonal brew is loaded with apple and cinnamon to the point where it tastes more like a cider than a beer. I found it incredibly sweet and difficult to drink much more than half a bottle, but the ladies seem to be bigger fans…

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Review: Samuel Adams Utopias (2007 Release)

By Christopher Null | January 2, 2008 |

With an alcohol level of 27%, served at room temperature, and not carbonated, Samuel Adams’ Utopias is not your father’s can of Pabst Blue Ribbon. With 8,000 bottles produced — some fetching up to $600 (though a still-insane $175 is a little more standard) — it’s definitely not PBR, no. So, what is it? Utopias…

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