Renowned electronica DJ producer turned craft brewer Brian Strumke started Stillwater Artisanal in 2004. Brewing in his backyard for years, he took a different approach using non-traditional ingredients and unconventional methods to create new interpretations of existing beer styles. This quickly earned him the title of “Best New Brewer” in 2011 by Ratebeer.com. One of the original “gypsy brewers,” in one year he was able to brew 50 Stillwater beers in over 12 countries. Calling Baltimore home, Stillwater HQ serves as a gallery, restaurant, full service bar and even a bottle shop.
Nu-Tropic is an IPA brewed with mango and passion fruit.
Pour: Hazy with a light golden hue and lots of carbonation.
Head: A think frothy head forms at the top of the glass and hangs around. A web of laces forms as the head fades away.
Nose: Light fruit notes with a mild hop aromas. Some wheat as well but mostly hops and fruit notes.
Palate: Light bodied, the passion fruit shows over the mango. The fruit gives way to a mild hoppiness but not as much as I thought. Finish is clean with a slight minerality.
Overall: Yum! It sounds like brewers will be sending more fruit IPA this year and this has me excited for more. A summer IPA with hops that some session ales come up a little short on with mango and passion fruit to make it refreshing and adding some crush-ability. Pair with spicy ribs or burgers and hot dogs, just in time for grill season!
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.5 Out Of 5 Pints
Chris and John Trogner have been working hard to get Central Pennsylvania on the brewing map. Since 1997, these two Mechanicsburg natives have been handcrafting world-class beers that combine traditional English brewing techniques with eclectic American brewing style. Best known for their Mad Elf, the Sunshine Pils is a classic German style Pilsner and 3 time medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival, including a Gold medal in 2012.
ABV: 4.5% IBU’s: 45
Pour: A golden hue, very clear and clean looking with lots of carbonation.
Head: A thin white head forms and disappears quickly, leaving lacing around the glass.
Nose: Notes of wheat and malt with very light fruit notes. Green apples and maybe a little lemon too.
Plate: Light bodied and airy. Very easy drink with just hints of wheat and a clean crisp finish.
Overall: A solid Pilsner, light and easy to drink while still having flavor behind it. Try it for yourself and see why this has been a flagship in Troegs line up for years. This would play nice with bratwurst, cheddar cheese or lemon short bread with fresh fruit.
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out Of 5 Pints
Its official. Cigar City Brewing has made its way to NJ!
After years of waiting, the Tampa cult brewery will be available year-round starting with their Jai Alai IPA. Founded in 2009, Cigar City has won numerous awards and has grown from producing around 1,000 barrels a year, to over 65,000 last year. They also formed a partnership with Oskar Blues, which means even more markets should be seeing this IPA in the coming months.
Jai Alai IPA has won numerous awards, including the 2010 Best Florida Beer – Championship Gold Medal.
ABV: 7.5% IBU’s: 70
Pour: A nice golden color, hazy without much carbonation.
Head: A small one finger head, frothy and off-white in color. Fades quickly leaving moderate lacing.
Nose: Crisp pine notes with papaya and other tropical fruits.
Palate: Sticky at first. Medium-bodied with light fruits and hints of wheat. Finishes clean with subtle hops.
Overall: This was a great IPA and the perfect beer to get people excited for Cigar City. We’re looking forward to more releases in the coming months. Pairs well with empanadas, BBQ Ribs or spicy dishes.
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Pints
Since 1996, Adam Firestone and David Walker have been producing amazing beers in California’s Central Coast. The Paso Robles brewery has won Best Mid-Size Brewery at four of the last five World Beer Cups. Renowned for crafting iconic pale ales and pioneering barrel-aged beers, they have a portfolio of nearly two dozen year round & seasonal brews.
Krieky Bones is part of Firestone’s Barrel Works line and is sold in 375ml bottles. It begins as a Flanders Red, then aged in oak with sour cherries during the secondary fermentation.
Pour: A beautiful deep crimson color, slight hazy with lots of carbonation swirling up.
Head: A small cream colored head forms, stays thin and lingers for a bit.
Nose: Stacked with cherry notes, with hints of wheat in background. You can smell the tartness.
Palate: Tart, almost lip puckering. Light-bodied with candied berry notes and sour cherries. Almost no acidity on the finish keeps it clean and really lets the sourness take over.
Overall: Wow, this is great stuff. Sour Ales are everywhere, but not all have that deep tartness that coats your tongue. This brew was tart but still had great flavor and balance, the cherry notes really pulled it all together. This would play with a light summer salad, gumbo and of course cherry pie!
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Pints
The O’Fallon Brewery was founded by Fran and Tony Caradonna, in 2000. In January they ordered their brewing equipment and sold their first keg on May 6, 2000. The Caradonnas did all the brewing and selling for the first two years, brewing only one style (O’Fallon Gold), selling only kegs and delivering locally. Over the next several years they continued to grow their brands and distribution area. In May 2011 they sold the brewery to Jim Gorczyca, but Fran continues to play a part of day to day operations as the Brewery’s General Manager. Their Grape Escape is a Berliner Weisse brewed with red wine grapes.
ABV: 4.1% IBU’s: 5
Pour: Light, almost rose gold color.
Head: An off-white two finger head forms with mild carbonation, while the head dissipates quickly.
Nose: Light, notes of wheat mostly. Hints of grapes and tart fruits fill out the back.
Palate: Slightly tart but not aggressive, stays light all the way through. Minor grape notes but wheat is the dominant flavor. No acidity on the finish.
Overall: Much lighter than expected, and not as sour as other Berliner Weisses we’ve had recently. As a fan of sour beers, I love that breweries have been pumping out gose, Berliner weisses and many other types of sour ales. While this may not be beer for someone looking for a lip puckering gose, this would be great intro into the world of sour ales. A nice pairing with grilled peaches, spicy fish fillets or cheesecake.
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out Of 5 Pints
JP’s (James Page) Brewing Company, is brewed by the Steven’s Point Brewery in Stephen’s Point, Wisconsin. These “Adventurous brews with a twist” currently consist of 5 craft canned beers, all fairly unique in style. The Casper White Stout is no exception. Throw your expectations out the window. We know Stouts are supposed to be dark, but what fun is that? Really. Casper White Stout is a white buffalo standing out from the herd – a diamond in the rough, white chocolate – you get it.
ABV: 6.1 %
Pour: Pours a hazy golden/yellow. Slightly cloudy.
Head: Foamy white, thin head.
Nose: White chocolate, butterscotch, vanilla wafer.
Palate: Rich and buttery, smooth mouthfeel. I got lots of chocolate covered bananas, and white chocolate, with some sweet notes of sugar cookie, milk chocolate, and cookies & cream. Some solid pilsen malt notes as well.
Overall: I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one. It looks nothing like a stout, but they managed to get some of the body and mouthfeel of a stout. The label reads “natural flavor added”…I’m guessing that has something to do with the Overall, not a bad pour. Recommended if you would like to try something a little different. A nice alternative to a traditional stout.
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out Of 5 Pints
The Einstök Brewery is located 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle, in the fishing port of Akureyri, Iceland. Water flows from rain and prehistoric glaciers down the Hlíðarfjall Mountain, delivering the purest water on earth, the perfect foundation for brewing deliciously refreshing handcrafted ales. Led by Brewmaster Baldur Karason, previously with Carlsburg and Lowenbrau, Baldur completed the brewing program at the world renowned Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh. One of the brewery’s most well-known offerings is their White Ale.
Pour: A light yellowish with a hazy hue and slight carbonation.
Head: A small off-white head forms in the glass before quickly disappearing, leaving minimal lacing.
Nose: Light malt notes, hints of lemon and wheat dominate the nose.
Palate: Light and airy. Notes of lemon zest, orange peel, coriander and wheat bounce off each other. Not much of a hop presence but hints of mineraility leave a clean finish.
Overall: I like when brewers take the unfiltered route. The small amount of sediment left behind adds texture and earthy flavor. The flavor is smooth and doesn’t have a mass produced feel while being refreshing. Must be that pure Icelandic glacier water! A nice pairing with steamed mussels and chorizo, herb crusted cheeses and fresh berry medley.
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Out of 5 Pints