National Beer Day

For us Norhteasterners, there’s nothing quite like the days getting longer and the sunshine bringing the temperature outside up a few degrees. Luckily for us, one of the most important national days happens to coincide with our great thaw, and that day is National Beer Day! Now if you’re like me, you may celebrate National Beer Day several times a week. But since today is the official day to celebrate, I thought we’d take a peek at a few of best fitting beer styles for the Spring.
 
Wheat Beer, also known as Heffeweizen and Wittbier

This beer style is primarily known for wheat being it’s chief grain, hence the name. Light and cloudy, examples of this beer range from popular brands like Blue Moon to more regional classics like Allagash White. Many breweries have a wheat beer on their roster, so take a stroll down the beer aisle of your Price Chopper or Market 32 and pick one out. They pair incredibly well with grilled fish tacos, teriyaki chicken skewers and thai food.

 
Kolsch

A classic style from Germany, it’s an easy drinking golden beer that’s refreshing without being boring. The perfect style to pick-up during a warm spring afternoon, you can find a Kolsch on the roster of many American breweries. Try Canoe Paddler from Leinenkugels or Sweet Spot from Harpoon, both great Kolsch style beers. They pair nicely with most seasonal dishes, but do especially well with pizza and salads featuring goat cheese and pears.

 
Saison

Haling from Belgium, this style of beer is known for it’s yeasty and sometimes spicy character and amber color. They’re often referred to as farmhouse ales, and they’re the perfect complex flavor profile for our northeaster spring. Luckily, we’re proud to be neighbors to a world class brewery who happens to make one of the finest examples of farmhouse ales. Located in Cooperstown, NY, Ommegang has an oustanding roster of beers, and one of their oringal and best know beers is Hennepin. Pair Saison’s with brie cheese, lemong-pepper chicken wings, and of course, mussels and frites.

Celebrate National Beer Day!

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Beer and Chocolate Pairings

Brandon Carbonare

Calling all beer fans and foodies! Valentine’s Day is around the corner and although we love the traditional heart-shaped box of chocolates and bouquet of roses, why not up your tradition to a Valentine’s Day Experience? We’re talking about beer and chocolate pairings – that’s right, beer and chocolate. Interested? Read all about some of our favorite pairings.

First up, Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA. This beer has a very unique brewing process, by boiling over 60 different hops for a full hour a pungent, citrusy, and grassy flavor is born. All without being overly bitter. This hop-forward golden amber India pale ale provides piney and citrusy notes with a crisp mouthfeel and slightly lingering bitterness. You can find it year-round, measuring in at 6% ABV with an IBU of 60. With a beer like this, you’ll want to pair it with a spicy or salty dark Chocolate. Elements of spice and salt both pair nicely with the contrasting crispness from the IPA and mellow together with the finishing subtle bitterness of both the beer and the chocolate.  There really is no going wrong with this combo and would make for a perfect after dinner treat.

Our 2nd round is for the pilsner lovers out there. Let’s take a look at Pilsner Urquell! First brewed by Josef Groll in 1842, Pilsner Urquell was the world’s FIRST golden pilsner lager, changing the world of beer forever. Pilsner Urquell’s signature flavor balances sweetness from the triple-decocted malt, and bitterness from our Saaz hops. The thick head of dense, wet foam adds smoothness and seals in flavor and aroma. With a refreshing crispness from natural carbonation, then subtle caramel tones and a clean finish with a pleasing hoppy bitterness. This Czech beer rates a 4.4% ABV and IBU of 40 – pairing perfectly with a medium body dark chocolate. Our chocolate of choice for this beer is dark chocolate truffles. These decadent poppable pearls deliver a uniquely smooth and rich gourmet taste, and there is no going wrong with a smooth dark chocolate center covered in a delicate dark chocolate shell.

Next up we’re going local, to the capital region’s own Brown’s Brewery. Engaging, dark, and bold, Brown’s Oatmeal Stout is an ever-popular ode to the classic English Stout, earning Brown’s the prestigious gold medal at the World Beer Cup. An approachable, easy to drink, rich, and silky-smooth glass of pure delicious indulgence. Coming in at 5.25% ABV and an IBU of 20, this stout pairs with something a little different – coffee flavored dark chocolate. The bold flavors of the stout work perfectly with the just as bold flavor of the coffee beans in the chocolate bar. Give this pairing a go if you’re a true coffee lover.

Staying with the spirit of local, our next beer hailing from Cooperstown, we have Ommegang Three Philosophers. Rich and complex, this tour de force is a glorious blend of elegant Belgian-style quadruple ale and authentic Belgian kriek, its malty depth and gentle sweetness enhanced by sparkling carbonation and a serendipitous touch of cherry. This Beer packs a punch at 9.7% ABV and an IBU of 21. For this beer, we recommend being adventurous. Try some unique varieties of dark chocolate, flavors of cinnamon, cayenne, oatmilk, and more all work with this versatile brew.  These pairings can be customized to give you a unique experience every time and allowing Ommegang’s unique beer to really shine.

Now on to our final pairing, we take a look at Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde, a Top fermented Blonde Belgian triple, coming in at 9% ABV and an IBU of 19. Unibroue’s Flagship, this beer is medium bodied with a pleasant, lingering warm finish, a fine, sustained, and slow effervescence and a white, creamy, generous head. Brighten up your pairing and your day with orange or citrusy dark chocolate. Delicious velvety chocolate with a hint of orange for a bright and citrusy accompaniment works beautifully with this wonderful beer, you can’t go wrong with the warmth of a Belgian triple and orange chocolate, a match made perfect.

While we may have reached the end of today’s pairings, that doesn’t mean there aren’t more out there. Let us know on social media if you try any of these suggestions or just let us know know if you have a recommendation that would be a great combination. Thanks for sticking around and joining us on our pairing adventure.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Happy Octoberfest!

In 1810, Munich, Germany held its very first Oktoberfest festival. Originally a celebration of the marriage between King Louis I and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, the annual party has made its way across the world. Now, in the United States, each year we highlight seasonal beers, foods, and activities all in the spirit of Oktoberfest. Here are some of our favorites!

Pretzels: Soft pretzels are a prized possession at Oktoberfest. In 610 A.D., as the story goes, Italian monks made the first pretzels from leftover bread-dough scraps. The twisted knot shape was meant to symbolize arms folded in prayer, and in Europe they became considered a holy food with healing powers. This explains its presence at such a large European gathering. Eventually pretzels made their way to America and we fell in love with them, especially with a Dark Lager, IPA, Brown Ale, or even German Märzen beer! Check out the video below for our Bavarian Soft Pretzels recipe.

German Märzen / Oktoberfest Beer: Speaking of German Märzen, what exactly is it? It’s essentially the beer of Oktoberfest and the style that breweries in the United States refer to as Octoberfest. For a great-tasting take try Samuel Adams Octoberfest. For a tasty, authentic food pairing outside of soft pretzels try Beer Mustard Crusted Pork Loin, Pork Schnitzel, or German Potato Soup!

Würstl or Sausages: Whether it’s Bratwurst, Weisswurst, or any of the many other varieties, sausage is a major player in German and Oktoberfest cuisine. Of course, most often served with a generous amount of mustard and sauerkraut. If you’re looking for the perfect beer to pair with your sausage, a good tip is mildly spiced sausages work well with sweet malt flavors and light hops, compared to the spicier varieties which pair with darker and heavier brews.

Desserts: No festival is complete without dessert. At a typical Oktoberfest celebration, Strudels and Kuchen, the German word for cake, are appropriate. In America, seasonal pies are also fitting for the occasion. All excellent while paired with a nice Märzen!

Pumpkin Beer: Although it’s more American than German Oktoberfest, everything is pumpkin in the fall, including the beer. It’s a signature seasonal flavor that truly brings the essence of October to your tastebuds. We carry a number of different options in our beer aisle. Looking to enjoy pumpkin beer with a meal? We recommend slow-cooked meats, chicken and waffles, or chili. Maybe some pecan or apple pie for dessert. YUM!

Oktoberfest has taken off since the original festival in Munich. It’s inspired many across America and given us a number of awesome seasonal flavors. We love celebrating this annual tradition and hope you join us by trying one of these delicious food and beer pairings. For everything you need to enjoy your own Octoberfest visit your local store, or shop with us online!

 

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