You Got Peanut Butter in my Chocolate (Stout)!

Mmmm…Chocolate!   Mmmm…Peanut Butter! 

Two great tastes that taste GREAT together – we’ve known that for a long time. But how often do you find them in a beer?  I have, a couple of times, but last night I had one that drove it right out of the ballpark! Spring House Brewing Co. was serving up Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout on nitro at the Taproom in Lancaster, PA, and it was outstanding!

Beer List at the Taproom

Photo Credit: Taproom by Spring House Brewing Co. Facebook

Served in an Imperial pint glass, this beer was pitch black with a dense and creamy, thick tan head. It’s made with local Wilbur chocolate and what was described as a peanut butter powder (perhaps dehydrated peanut butter?), and the aroma off the glass was like splitting open a fresh peanut butter egg.

The flavor was so well balanced – like the darkest chocolate cake blended with a savory peanut butter frosting. It has lingering chocolate flavor, blended with a light hop bitterness and subtle peanut butter sweetness that masks the 8% ABV, making for a perfectly drinkable pint (so good I could drink it again and again!)

I did a little searching, and learned of another beer with this profile on tap this month. BandWagon Brew Pub inChocolate Peanut Butter Stout Ithaca, NY currently has a Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout that is coming in at 6.8% ABV. Another one that is also currently obtainable is Peanut Butter Coffee Porter at 5.5% ABV from Willoughby Brewing Co. in Ohio. It would be fun to add these to my portfolio of consumed peanut butter beers.

I’m pretty sure I had the Peanut Butter Porter (5% ABV) while visiting Boston Beer Works in 2006, and I know I drank an Über Goober Oatmeal Stout (6.5% ABV) in 2009 at Short’s Brewing in Bellaire, MI. These were both pretty good, but the Porter went way too light on the peanut butter flavor, and Uber Goober had sour untertones of stale legumes.

In other peanut butter beer news, has anyone seen or had the Blue Moon Peanut Butter Blonde? Did they make it outside GABF? A beer blogger there made me laugh with her quote, “I only tried this because it had peanut butter in it. It had a huge peanut butter nose, which was super interesting. Then I made the mistake and tasted it: wheat, peanut butter lager-y grossness…”, but since she also didn’t like New Glarus Raspberry Tart, I’m not sure we’d have similar opinions.

If you’ve ever doubted that peanut butter and chocolate belong together in a beer, get yourself to Lancaster and try this out. If you’re feeling really adventurous, blend it with Planet Bean Coffee Stout (can you say cake and coffee?) I’ve been waiting for someone to brew a Peanut Butter Whoopie Pie Stout and name it “Carolyn’s Obsession”, but this may just fill that need without the personalization.

If brewer Matt Keasey doesn’t keep this on as a regular, I don’t know what I’ll do – I’m in love with this beer – and if he doesn’t enter it in GABF, he’s crazy!  It is by far the best peanut butter beer ever.

Advertisements

Loving Deuane

Let me take a moment to express my thanks to all of our friends and family for coming out to Bullfrog Brewery for the debut of Deuane (the beer), and also to Terry for making it and Cori for being such an excellent waitress during all of our shenanigans! I’m sitting here right now enjoying another glass, along with the lunch special – Deuane (the sandwich) along with a glass of Deuane.

So, yes, we’re loving Deuane. And we’re loving Terry for brewing this magnificent beer. Described as a double nitro IPA, Deuane is currently being served in a 14-oz tulip-shaped goblet. The beer is golden copper with a thick, foamy white head that lasts throughout consumption. There is a slight malt aroma, but it is otherwise heavily scented with sweet citrus from the dry hopping.

Spoken like the true wife of Deuane, I’m finding it to be sweet to the tongue, and slightly bitter. There is a total of  54 pounds of hops associated with the ale – 34 pounds in the boil, which were primarily Horizon (also Centennial and Amarillo.) Then it’s dry-hopped with Chinook, Centennial and Amarillo in three different additions. Yup – this is a real hop bomb! Served on nitrogen, Deuane is extremely smooth with a medium body and pleasant balance. It’s so citrusy and smooth, which makes it extremely drinkable for the DIPA fan.

Deuane is currently available by request on CO2 for growler fills (oops – I spoke too soon…it just kicked!), so I tried a glass of that, too. I’m actually preferring the version served on CO2 simply because it’s even more biting with citrus (although I’m not sure I could drink as much this way!) but I’m not sure a more common palate would enjoy it nearly as much. [Note to my dearest friends, I am not in any way suggesting you are common!]

Paired with the Deuane sandwich (special for the weekend) – grilled multi-grain bread, extra sharp cheddar cheese, ham, and a fennel and cumin mustard – Deuane/Deuane is such a treat!

Tapping Deuane

[No, Vickie – not poking Deuane. Tapping Deuane.]

It’s possible that you read my post that Deuane (the beer) was brewing at the Bullfrog. If things went as planned, today brewer Terry Hawbaker transferred Deuane to the clarification tank, where it will stay for about a week before going on nitro. 

So it looks like Deuane (the beer) will go on “officially” Friday, March 19 at 6 PM at the Bullfrog Brewery in Williamsport, PA. Of course, we will all be there to support Terry on his latest creation, and the beer’s namesake on his… well… his bitter and pretentious presence.

This beer is a Double IPA, made with over 40 pounds of hops in a 10 barrel batch, and has brewed out to about 8.5 barrels after the dry hopping. It weighs in somewhere between 9.5% and 10% ABV and is reported to be “tasty”!

If you plan to come out on Friday, give me a shout here or on Facebook!  Get to town early, and visit Bavarian Barbarian to try the new 2×4 IPA (bring your own growler to take some home.) If you plan to stay in the area, the Harmonious Wail CD release party (The Vegan Zombies Lament) will start at 9 PM at the Bullfrog. Or if you’re in the mood for something different, I recommend the $5. martinis at Barrel 135 from 10 – midnight!

Deuane is Brewing (at Bullfrog)

I played with that title a bit, and there’s really no way to say it without the possibility of misunderstanding, so I hope you’ll read the whole post to get the story. It was actually broken by MyBeerBuzz.com because, well, frankly, I’m not very good at keeping up with my blog. (I don’t think Bill sleeps.) But I was there when the history was made!

Background

So for those who have known Deuane for ten or more years, you probably remember the days of KClinger’s. We would drive down every other Wednesday night for blues and beers, and couldn’t wait for KClinger’s Publik House to open…that’s a long, sad story for another day. As members of the International Beer Taster’s Club, D and I had our mugs and passports, and he reached the 1000-different-beers mark sometime in 2001. At the 1000 mark, members received a beer brewed and named in their honor.

Sometime around 2002

It was just about that time that he was getting to know all about Black Rock Brewing Company in Wilkes-Barre, PA. More importantly, he was getting to know brewer Terry Hawbaker and Terry’s Beers! While some 1000-finishers allowed KClinger’s to get a beer brewed for them, and many times they contracted it through Rogue, Deuane had fallen in love with Terry’s beers and particularly a brew called Nuclear Nitro.

Without either one of them here to confirm the facts, I’m not going to try to describe Nuclear Nitro in any way, other than to say it was a smack-you-in-the-mouth-with-hops kind of beer. This was early in the 2000’s, before West Coast IPAs really showed up in the east, and no one was really doing anything that crazy. The important part of the story, however, is that D loved this beer so much, he asked KClinger’s to work with Terry and get this beer at the pub, brewed and named for him.

Both Terry and KClinger’s agreed, and the beer ended up on tap (CO2), on the hand-pull and on nitrogen. It was served at both KClinger’s locations under the name Deuane’s Hoppily Married IPA because, oh yeah, we we got married just before the beer came out and, well, you must admit – with the marriage of hops and our recent nuptuals – it’s a clever play on words. It was a beautiful beer served up any of the three ways (although the CO2 was almost too biting!)

Fast-forward to 2004… 

D trekked up to Wilkes-Barre to see Terry, and discovered he no longer worked for Black Rock. He left to be the brewer in – this is a quote from a Black Rock staff member – “that town with a totem pole.” Deuane, who is marked with the Bullfrog Brewery logo as his tattoo, immediately recognized that Williamsport was the town and now one of his favorite brewers would be found at one of his favorite brewpubs!

Bullfrog Brewery is located in the building that formerly housed Nippenose, an outdoor store that instilled my love for backpacking. And now it is one of my favorite places to go for a pint. A mutual love for the outdoors and craft brewed beers are the things that brought D and I together. This all kind of goes full circle, you see…

And now it’s 2010

The day after D’s 40th birthday, we trekked to Williamsport for lunch with my dad, friends visiting from Alabama, and Terry Hawbaker. It was there that Terry proposed the news reported by MyBeerBuzz.com:

Swirling around my mind is another new beer, dubbed Deuane, a more-than-ridiculously-hopped IPA weighing in around 10% abv and brewed with around (or over) 40# of hops… oh yeah it’s also going to be nitrogenated. Think Nuclear Nitro (from the Black Rock days) on steroids and LSD. I know I missed his B-day but I hope to brew it next week… should be around for the beginning of March…

And so it will be. I can’t wait! We’ve got Edgar IPA (which my father is sure Bullfrog named for his grandfather (a long-time Lycoming County resident) – even though it wasn’t) and now we’ll have Deuane. Friends who never even tasted Nuclear Nitro are already dreaming up descriptions for it. I just hope we all get to enjoy plenty of it, as it won’t be available for take-away. I see lots of road trips in our future!

Kerplunk in Bottles!

We stopped in at Spring House Brewing Co. this weekend as part of our South-central PA Chocolate Stout tour (which included Tröegs Scratch #27, Iron Hill Oompa Loompa and Spring House Kerplunk; our big miss was Stout’s, with a Valentine’s special of Fat Dog Stout brewed with chocolate and cherries and served on the hand pump.)

While getting our growler filled at Spring House, we asked if Kerplunk ever made its way into bottles. Well, tomorrow evening for a limited time, there will be 750mL bottles of Kerplunk! Get them while you can!

Celebrate St. Nicholas Day with a Samichlaus

Samichlaus 1993Tomorrow is December 6, and around our house, that means celebrating St. Nicholas Day, or as we call it, Samichlaus Brew Day!

I was introduced to Samichlaus in the late 90’s, but it was introduced to America in 1986 – six years after Hürlimann Brewery (Zurich, Switzerland) first bottled it.

Samichlaus once laid claim to the Guinness Book of Records title, “Strongest Beer in the World,” as it always  weighs in at 14% ABV or above.  It was so strong in alcohol and flavor that at one point, it came in bottles slightly smaller than 12 oz. It is brewed annually on December 6, and under Hürlimann it was lagered in a cave before bottling. 

Hürlimann Brewery was acquired by Feldschlösschen, also of Switzerland, who discontinued the beer in 1996, but later reached an agreement with the Eggenberg Castle Brewery (Austria), who reintroduced it with a 1989 brew distributed in 2000. Eggenberg Castle continues to honor the tradition, brewing Samichlaus on St. Nicholas Day and allowing it to ferment for 20 or more days, lagered approximately 10 months, then bottled.

You can learn more about Samichlaus from a couple of places on the web:

I’m looking forward to sharing  one of my last few bottles of the 1993 Samichlaus (acquired in Bloomsburg, PA) tomorrow with D. Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Monster Mash!

By now, most lovers of craft beer have heard plenty about the maker of Monster energy drink, Hansen Beverage Co., initiating a trademark dispute with Rock Art Brewery, ordering it to stop selling, advertising and promoting a beer called “The Vermonster.” Additionally, the large corporation wanted the tiny brewery to compensate it for attorneys’ fees.

If you haven’t read this (because now it’s old news), you can read about it all over the place or watch the Matt and ‘The Monster” video. And you can also find the declarations that Hansen backed off, including a time line and sincere thank you from brewer/owner Matt Nadeau (you may also be interested in his video calling for support to Trademark Reform where he talks relatively kindly about the actions of Hansen.)

My reason for posting is to share the hilarious Halloween costume a Vermonster vs. MonsterBurlington, VT family created to commemorate the occasion. I send thanks to Beth and Jim for entertaining me (even if laughing that hard after my surgery wasn’t such a good idea…), and hope they don’t mind me sharing it with the world!

Now that the attack on Rock Art is over, I’m hoping to return to drinking Hansen Natural Green Tea Soda and hopefully LOTS of Vermonster!

Mid State Trail Ale Debut at Elk Creek

Be among the first to try Elk Creek Café + Aleworks Mid State Trail Ale at the 40th Anniversary party for the Mid State Trail. 

On Sunday, July 12th, 2009 from 2:00PM to 4:00PM, the Mid State Trail Association is sponsoring a party in honor of the trail. All are invited to join the MSTA for this mixer and to share experiences on Pennsylvania’s wildest footpath.  A portion of the proceeds from each beer sold will be donated to the Mid State Trail Association.

Mid State Trail Ale is a Northern English Brown Ale, described by brewer Tim Yarrington as a beer with a profile designed for balance in a quote for the Summer 2009 MSTA newsletter, the ‘Brushwhacker’:

“The Northern English Brown Ale style is a rich yet approachable English style ale, brewed with English malt and Fuggle hops. The Mid State Trail Ale will be well balanced, with moderate alcohol content, making it a drinkable and satisfying beer.”

Brown Ales pair well with all types of foods, but I will highly recommend the tofu sautéed with spinach and caramelized onions, any trout dish available or Chicken Liver Toast. Also for sale that day will be the trail map and guide.

Make a day, or a weekend, of it – take a hike and go for the beer!  

The Mid State Trail System (MST) is Pennsylvania’s longest and wildest footpath, suitable for day-hiking and backpacking. It is now more than 300 miles in length, beginning at the Mason-Dixon Line near Artemas, and traveling through the Seven Mountains and Pennsylvania Wilds Regions to end in Tioga County. It travels through the Bald Eagle State Forest, including Harry John’s picnic area, Poe Paddy State Park or R.B. Winter State Park – all within 30 minutes drive of Millheim.

Pilgramage to Dark Lord Day 2009

After the fiasco of last year, I considered not attending the 2009 event, but it feels like with the new “golden ticket” program, Three Floyds may have a handle on the event today. Except that it’s pushing 7 AM Central, and they haven’t posted how many bottles a ticket holder can purchase yet – cash only, $15 – I’m thinking the ATM lines are going to be the ones to worry about this year!

I’m (voluntarily) stuck in Philadelphia, so I missed out on the pre-DLD festivities, but the text messages and Facebook updates sounded like everyone is having a great time.

Can’t wait to be there!

Sweet Stouts – Priming up for EBF

I’ve neglected to follow up on the rest of our NC trip, and already we’ve already finished up another…Extreme Beer Fest!

I started this post on Friday, and it just goes to show that drinking and blogging don’t mix, as I never finished writing about the sweet stouts that stood out on that day as terrific primers for the festival ahead.

We stopped in Willimantic, CT at the old post office, which is now Willimantic Brewing Company, for lunch. I totally enjoyed my first S.W.A.K. Stout (5.4% ABV) so much that instead of trying something new, I had another! This is described by the brewery as an unfiltered Black Ale mashed with seven malts, hopped with Saaz and “Sealed With A Kiss” of vanilla. It was outstanding!

When we arrived in Boston, we started out by sharing a growler of Captain Lawrence Espresso Stout before taking the T to Redbones for barbeque and their 24 taps, including a large selection of Sixpoint beers (I must admit I ate vegetarian and drank water from a mason jar, so I don’t have many comments on the ‘que or the beers based on the tiny sips I had…)

Our final stop for the night was Cambridge Brewing Company where I had the CaCow! Chocolate Milk Stout (6.4% ABV). Brewed with barley, oats and an addition of lactose, the description says CaCow! was additionally aged with cacao nibs from Taza Chocolate in Somerville, and house-made vanilla extract to balance the roast with a little extra sweetness. We had terrible service at CBC – pretty much ignored by the wait staff – but every beer at the table was delightful.

It was a great first night in Boston, with many, many great beers to follow!