Big Muddy Blueberry Blonde (6% ABV): This fruit beer brewed by Big Muddy Brewing Company in Illinois pours a clear, diluted copper with a thick off-white head. Blueberry Blonde stays true to its name with a powerful artificial blueberry pie aroma. The flavor was better than expected and not quite as “fake” – mostly sweet blueberries with light malt finish. I would have liked a bit more bitterness to balance out the sugary sweetness. I picked up this beer because of the label and the name, and I think it served its purpose as a fun, different brew; not something I would purchase again.
Two Roads Honeyspot Road White IPA (6% ABV): This American IPA brewed by Two Roads Brewing Company in Stratford, Connecticut pours a slightly hazy straw yellow with a bright white soapy head that fizzles out quickly after the first sip. Two Roads’ take on the white IPA is refreshing and more in line with a wheat beer than an IPA. The brewing process uses American ale yeast without the spices in order to achieve the unique, refreshing flavor. American Wheat hits your senses first with bread-notes, pungent grapefruit and minimal bitterness that quickly changes and finishes with a healthy dose of bitter hops to remind your taste buds that you’re drinking an IPA. Keep in mind that I was in dire need of a drink when I stumbled into The Crooked Knife – more below – but, Honeyspot Road White IPA is flavorful, with an undercurrent of wheat that nicely highlights the hops for an award-winning* drinking experience that I would recommend all summer long.
I ordered a pint of this beer at The Crooked Knife on W 14th Street in NYC (there are two locations). After a few hours of walking The High Line, Meatpacking and Chelsea, I randomly stumbled on this place in need of a place to sit down and sip on a cold brew. The outdoor seating drew me in, but the friendly staff, good service and drinks made for an enjoyable experience. Bonus, a pint cost $7, not bad for NYC.
* Two Roads Honeyspot Road White IPA is the 2013 Great International Beer Festival (GIBF) gold medal winner for American Wheat.
During a lazy night at home watching TV, I came across a cooking show, “Food Rush,” on the Live Well Network featuring host and chef Ryan Scott. The episode showcased some yummy beer inspired dishes including Beer and Cheddar Soup, Beer Braised Pork Shoulder, Clams and Beer and a Beer Float that I just had to share! The episode begins with a visit to ThirstyBear Brewing Company in San Francisco where Ryan samples some brews to inspire for his dishes. The recipes are true to the style of beer used, easy-to-follow and manageable for the average cook. I look forward to trying these recipes soon. Click here to watch the full episode.
Smuttynose Vunderbar Pilsner (4.9% ABV): This German-style pilsner brewed by Smuttynose Brewing Company located in Hampton, New Hampshire pours a hazy pale yellow with a two-finger white head that slowly thins. Grassy, sweet malt and zesty lemon come together for a subtle yet refreshing aroma. A malt foundation begins followed by sweet honey and grassy herbs with a slightly bitter finish. This is a decent beer, but not a great representation of the style. I was hoping for a traditional German pils with more depth, but I got an easy drinking beer that seemed a bit bland. I can only reminisce about my trip to Bavaria.
Memorial Day is finally here and I can’t wait to kick off the summer with family, friends, good food and most importantly good beer! I attend at least one BBQ every Memorial Day weekend and the grub is usually the same all around. I always have my fill of burgers and dogs, but it’s nice to see some other options. Mix things up this year by making German Potato Salad with Beer Dressing from Recipe 4 Living; it’s familiar yet something you won’t find in every backyard.
- 10 small red potatoes
- 12 slices bacon (This seems like a lot of bacon; I’ll probably only use 6 strips when I make this).
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1 cup beer
- 1/2 tsp. hot sauce
- 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
- Peel and cube potatoes and boil until tender; drain.
- Fry bacon until crisp and drain well to remove excess grease.
- Crumble bacon, and mix with onion, celery, and salt.
- Set aside.
- Stir butter and flour in a small saucepan to make a roux.
- Add mustard and sugar.
- Slowly stir in beer and hot sauce.
- Bring to boil, stirring constantly.
- Pour over potato mixture.
- Sprinkle with parsley.
- Toss lightly and let stand 1 hour.
- Add bacon mixture, toss gently.
Crispin Artisanal Reserve “Honey Crisp” (6.5% ABV): This natural hard apple cider brewed by Crispin Cider Company based in Colfax, California pours hazy lemonade-yellow with no head. Honey crisp is straight-forward tart and sweet apple on the nose. The flavor is similar to apple cider – it’s refreshing and tart with sweetness from the honey peeking through. This is one of my favorite ciders and I could easily see it becoming a summer staple.
If you want to know more about Crispin’s other ciders, read my review for Crispin Artisanal Reserve “The Saint.”
Crispin Artisanal Reserve “The Saint” (6.9% ABV): This natural hard apple cider brewed by Crispin Cider Company based in Colfax, California pours a cloudy pale yellow with no head. The Saint is brewed with maple syrup that is clearly defined in both the aroma and flavor. Mostly tart apples and sweet maple syrup on the nose with white wine essence. The maple syrup gives this cider a slightly heavy quality that takes away from the clean crispness I’ve come to enjoy when drinking a cider. You can also expect a notable yeastiness. The Saint is a world away from many other ciders on the market and has encouraged me to try the other flavors of the artisanal reserve offerings.
P.S. I prefer to drink to ciders over ice. If you don’t want to water your drink down, try these.