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This Oklahoma Beer Is More Than Just … OK!

This Oklahoma Beer is More Than Just … OK!

It’s that time of the year … FOOTBALL SEASON!!!! And what goes great with football???? Why BEER of course.

To quote someone in the news this week, “I like beer!”. “I like beer a lot!” And now .. I have a new FAVORITE beer! It’s called Bomb!, and it’s from Prairie Artisan Ales out of Oklahoma.

This stout is so dang good. With the alcohol at 13%, it sure packs a punch too!

In the glass, the color is dark black with an auburn colored head. There is lots of chocolate and coffee bean on the nose. On the palate is a delightful mocha flavor with vanilla, some baking spices and an absolutely delightful hint of mild chili pepper on the finish. You would never know that the ABV is so high, as it’s not hot at all and doesn’t’ have that strong alcohol flavor on the palate that some high ABV beers do.

I literally can’t get enough of this beer. So … I went to my local Lucky Market to stock up on some more, and they were out! What???? They did, however, have some Prairie Artisan Ales Paradise Stout, so I bought them out.

Wow, Paradise is a great stout too! This also pours dark black and tastes of espresso, with some chocolate and nuttiness. This beer is brewed with coconut and vanilla. There is definitely a hint of each, but it’s not too much. This is a very well-balanced stout and a delight to drink!

While my favorite is still the Bomb!, I love the Paradise too. And you’d better believe that I’ll be seeking out all of the beers that Prairie Artisan Ales produce. The next time I’m driving through Oklahoma, I’ll be stopping in for a visit!!!!!

You can learn more about them here: https://prairieales.com

On The Road Again!

On The Road Again!

I love road trips! I especially enjoy road trips that include a fun new beverage experience. Now we all know that Florida isn’t known for its wine, but there are a lot of great craft breweries popping up in the Sunshine State! My husband and I hit a couple last weekend while on our latest road trip to the Jacksonville area. My favorite of the trip??? Aardwolf Brewing Company!

Housed in a really bitchin’ old building that used to be a railroad icehouse (located in the Jacksonville’s trendy San Marco neighborhood), the atmosphere is enough of a reason for a visit. The beer??? Oh yeah … more than an added bonus!

John started out with a glass of their White Russian Stout (which ended up being my favorite of the night) and I started in on some flights!

Okay, I need to admit right here and now that we tried a bunch of different beers that night. That’s the great thing about flights though, right??? You get to try a little of everything. Well, sadly not EVERYTHING, as they have a lot of choices.

The beers that I tried that I remember best include:

Hopped Be Thy Name – I’ve been really into IPAs lately, and this doesn’t disappoint. It’s a well-balanced Double IPA with lots of citrus along with a nice creamy mouth feel!

San Marco Sour – Along with the IPAs, I’ve also recently been getting a kick out of trying sour beers. It’s a new thing for me, but not for the world! Sour beer is actually the oldest type of beer in the history of beer! Before brewers completely understood the whole pasteurization and sterilization thing, pretty much all beer was somewhat sour. Add to that, nowadays most of the well-known beers are made with specific yeast strains, not the native yeasts of yesteryear! More and more people (both in the beer world and the wine world) are using native yeasts, which can make the beverages very interesting indeed. Aardwolf’s San Marco Sour is golden in color (in fact, it looks a lot like orange juice!) with a palate of tart unripe peach and pear. It’s sour, but not TOO sour. This beer is the perfect thirst quencher for a hot Florida day. To me, it’s the beer equivalent to a nice Sauvignon Blanc!

4 Year Anniversary Beer Rye Barley Wine – Okay, so I’m a wine pro not a beer pro, and this ISN’T wine, but it is really tasty! The color is dark amber and it tastes of caramel and toffee. I could definitely drink a lot of this, but at 9.7% ABV … I should probably be careful!

White Russian Stout – Oh wow, how I love this dang beer! I can’t get enough of it. We bought three Crowlers (32 oz. can, not to be confused with a Growler) to go, but I wish I could just install a tap in my house with a direct supply! It’s super creamy on the palate with roasted coffee, chocolate, and an almost sweet vanilla bean. It’s oh so rich, smooth & silky. I absolutely adore this beer, can you tell???

Although they have a fun outdoor patio at the entrance, we bellied up to the bar when we got there and the service was phenomenal.

The vibe is really cool here, they have really great beer, AND they’re dog friendly!!!!!! How great is that? They’re also kid friendly, so there are no excuses to not pay them a visit.

Check them out here: https://www.aardwolfbrewing.com

 

 

 

You Scream For Ice Cream? I Scream For Beer!

You Scream for Ice Cream? I Scream for Beer!

I may be a wine pro, but I also love beer! Another thing I like??? Ice cream! So how excited was I to find a beer and ice cream pairing????? Helloooo!!!

My husband and I (along with our three dogs) are traveling up North for a month to get out of the Florida Summer heat. We’re in a little RV with a fridge big enough for some beer and wine we buy along the way!

One of our first stops was in Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville is a great city! Surrounded by the Smoky Mountains it’s not only beautiful, but it’s also very fun and hip! Along with mountains, Asheville has many great breweries open to the public for tastings and/or a great place to enjoy a pint with friends.

One of those wineries is the Highland Brewing Company. Dog friendly on their roof top terrace, we headed up there with our menagerie and grabbed a pint. Later, we checked out the tasting room where they were having a beer and ice cream tasting. What??? Heck, we wanted to give it a try.

Along with The Hop Ice Cream Café’s yummy ice cream, they were pouring some beers!

The first pairing was Highland’s Gaelic Ale with The Hop’s Salted Caramel Ice Cream. The salted caramel balanced the hop flavor of the ale very nicely. The salt in this ice cream crunches in your teeth providing a really fun finish. This is good stuff! Although not my favorite pairing of the four, it WAS my favorite ice cream! In fact, we bought some “to go” for our tiny freezer in the RV.

The next pairing was Highland’s Daycation IPA with The Hops’ Grapefruit Sorbet. This was a fantastic pairing. The ruby red grapefruit flavor of the sorbet was a fantastic match with the pink grapefruit taste in the beer.

Next up was the Oatmeal Porter with Big Briar Raspberry Ice Cream. With lots of tobacco on the beer, the raspberry ice cream helped create smooth finish.

The final pairing was another great one. Black Mocha Stout with … you guessed it Black Mocha Stout Ice Cream! How could this NOT pair well? The pairing was best when we started with the ice cream and finished with the beer! So yummy!!!!

So … if you’re heading to the Asheville area and you like beer AND ice cream, you must check this out!!! You can find more info about Highland and The Hop Ice Cream Café here:

http://thehopicecreamcafe.com

https://highlandbrewing.com

A Breakfast Beer??? Yes!!!

I may be a wine educator, but I’m also a lover of good beer. I was born and raised in Wisconsin, so it’s pretty much a given that beer runs through my blood. While growing up there was always a plethora of beer flowing at most social functions to quench the thirst of me and my fellow Wisconsinites!

I have some favorite craft breweries from my homeland, but there are so many great beers being brewed in all parts of the USA. Colorado is one of the hot spots and is ranked third in the nation for number of craft breweries located there. My husband was raised in Denver, so we visit quite a bit and are always sure to try some of their fine brews while there.

One of my favorites in Colorado (Denver, in fact) is Great Divide Brewing Company. While watching NFL football today I cracked open a bottle of their Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout. Wow. Pouring it into the glass it looks black in color with a dark brown foamy head. On the nose is lots of strong coffee, some dark chocolate and cocoa, vanilla and roasted barley. The palate has burnt coffee, chocolate, oaky vanilla and some caramel notes. The alcohol is 9.5%, but it’s nice and smooth and I certainly couldn’t tell! This is one darned good beer! In fact, I’d call it excellent!

The brewery suggests pairing this ale with cinnamon donuts with crème anglaise. OH MY!!!!!! That sounds truly heavenly! Another pairing they suggest is Chorizo breakfast burrito! I agree with them when they say “you can now have Yeti with breakfast”!

So … if you need to cleanse your wine palate with a beer break, or if you just love great beer, try Great Divide Brewing Company. You can check out this stout and all of their beers here:  http://greatdivide.com

Chocolate – It’s All About The Stout!

Okay, okay, I know that this is a WINE blog, but I drank a beer today that was just so darned good that I had to tell you about it.

Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout is one heck of a beer! It is the most “chocolatey” stout I’ve ever had, and I mean that in a GOOD way. This beer is almost sweet, with a creamy mouthful and some vanilla and coffee flavors to add to the chocolate. It is well balanced and has a long finish. Some beer drinkers may think that it’s too much, but I really love it.

This stout is brewed with well water from the brewery’s original well, which was sunk back in 1758.  Samuel Smith brews in traditional coppers and uses stone Yorkshire Square vessels for fermentation.

Samuel Smith Brewery is located in North Yorkshire where my ancestors are from! Now maybe that makes me a little partial, but I don’t think that is the reason I enjoy this stout so much! I think it’s because they make some delicious beer. Who knows, perhaps some of my long lost relatives even help with the brewing!

To check out Samuel Smith Brewery’s website, click here:  http://www.samuelsmithsbrewery.co.uk/site/

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