Ben on Beer Episode 5 – Publix Knows The Way

In this episode, we chose a new format and had some technical difficulties.  It was an interesting show and we talked about the new grocery store in our small town that somehow provides the most diverse selection of craft beer within 50 miles.  We also discussed Oskar Blues and their new Brevard, NC brewery and restaurant.

Cheers!

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Ben on Beer Show 4

In this episode we continue to discuss the brewery of the month, Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, Colorado.  Their farm-to-plate philosophy includes raising cattle and growing hops right there on their farm in Longmont.  We tasted Deviant Dale’s IPA from there and discovered just how diverse one beer can be.

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End of Summer Drawing – Plastic Beer Steins

Hey Folks!  The end of summer is upon us, and I’ve been propositioned by a promotional products company to hold a drawing.  The lucky winner will receive a set of 10 PlastPlastic Beer Steinic Beer Steins absolutely free.  I imagine they’re an assortment of different types/shapes of mugs; I’m not sure.  We all could use something more to drink out of, whether it’s beer, water, kool-aid, or soda (not that I recommend anything other than beer and water).

So if you don’t have enough plastic mugs around the house, enter the drawing to win 10 new vessels.  Again, the actual product may vary from the photo in this post.

To enter, send an e-mail to steins@benonbeer.com with at least the text “2012” in the subject line.  Open to residents of the United States. The drawing will be done by computer on September 28 during the Ben on Beer show.  Duplicate entries won’t count.

The winner will be contacted for shipping information via e-mail after the drawing.  Good luck!

Ben on Beer Episode 3

In this episode we introduce the brewery of the month for August, Oskar Blues Brewing of Lyons, Colorado.  I also divulge everything I have learned recently about hops, the wonderful plant that gives craft beer its bitterness.

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Hoppy IPA Day!

I must admit I’d never heard of IPA Day until this year, but in my defense it’s not a national pastime yet.  Today is the 2nd Annual IPA Day according to the official site of the celebration, so get to your local craft beer retailer and pick some up!

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#mycraftbeerepiphany Newcastle Brown Ale

Some might not consider Newcastle Brown Ale to be craft beer, but it’s what did it for me. On my 21st birthday, my mom went to Colorado Springs to celebrate since I was in the Army and couldn’t make it home. I chose to go out to Red Hot & Blue for dinner, and that particular place was a brewpub. I ordered a beer as I explored my newfound legality, but whatever I ordered was simply too much for my palate. Heavy, dark, and hoppy is all I remember. A convert that night I was not.

Years later I found myself in a hole-in-the-wall pub in another area in Colorado Springs with a friend who was brought up in England.  He ordered me a Newcastle Brown Ale (Nukey) and I think I drank it from the bottle.  It wasn’t overbearing, and it didn’t smell like vomit.  It was served at a temperature somewhere in the 60s Fahrenheit, and it was so surprising that it wasn’t rancid.  I was hooked.

I still drink industrial beer every once in a while (on a hot day), but less and less often every year.  I just learned the other day that hop extract is in use more often now at the big breweries than real hops.  A beer made with hop extract, corn, and rice isn’t a beer at all, so I really should find a craft alternative to AB-InBev and MillerCoors, like the no-adjunct Bomb Lager (Helles) from Bomb Beer Company.

Ben on Beer Episode 2

Another Ben on Beer show down!  Not showdown, but…

In this episode, we tasted Victory Brewing Company’s Headwaters Pale Ale and talked about different beer glasses.  Some other things came up that can’t be linked to, but listen to/watch the show to find out!

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Ben on Beer Show #1

Here’s a reference to most of the stuff I talked about in The Ben on Beer Show number 1: Arrogant Bastard Ale can be found at arrogantbastard.com – ego beware. Reviews and ratings can be found at Beer Advocate. You can read my written overview of the brewing process at this blog post.

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My History

I suppose my first installment here should be about me and my history with beer. That would be the best way, in my opinion, to establish with the reader my level of experience. I assure you that I am neither a professional beer judge nor a commercial brewer. I’m simply a guy who has a great interest in beer and the business. I am also a budding home brewer and will be sharing my adventures here as well.

I didn’t really like beer as a teenager. No, honestly – the taste wasn’t something I would have craved. Of course, beer to a teenager was “anything you can get your hands on,” and the adults who obliged were definitely not connoisseurs. Whatever it was they gave us probably came from a 30-pack of cans – obviously meant for rapid consumption and inebriation. I doubt many high-schoolers have had much craft beer.

I’ll pause here to ensure the reader that I am in fact aware of the legal drinking age and I do respect it. However, the reality of teenage alcohol consumption cannot be ignored, and I was no different in that respect back in the 1990s. I learned a lot of valuable lessons and was fortunate enough not to have killed myself or generated a criminal record.

I, through an interesting series of events, found myself in the Army out in Colorado as an impressionable soldier, arm-twisted to go out to nightclubs with people whose company I typically would not have had. I gained an affinity for rum & cola somehow (it’s what my friends had), but I never developed the habit of keeping rum at home. My neighbor, with whom I never shared a beer while we were in the Army, had a Mr. Beer kit but never showed me anything about it. Being the person I was at the time, I didn’t really ask. Scott is now and has been a great friend and we talk beer every once in a while. Maybe one day we’ll get around to brewing something with raspberries – the flavor of the cosmos.

Shortly after the Army I met a friend, Mike, who introduced me to Newcastle Brown Ale during an after-work stop at a pub in a strip mall. I remember that we’d ridden bicycles to work that day. It was sometime in 2002, and I fell in love with the stuff. I was very surprised to find a beer from a place other than the mega-breweries that I could palate. I was elated, and wanted nothing else.

Then I found a plethora of other beers with the help of Mike, like John Courage, Smithwick’s, Fuller’s, and all the others no one else I’d ever known had ever heard of. An entirely new world opened up and it was just the beginning of my discoveries.

There’s a franchise scattered across the country called Old Chicago, which features a club one can join and earn points for trying all the different beers available. They call it the World Beer Tour. In my selfish drive to build a large list of beers I’ve had, I must have tried over a hundred just for the points. The tour showed me the sheer variety and complexity of beer, and often got me thinking about its origins and contents. Mike knew so much about what was available, but we never got around to discussing the content of it. At the time we would rather have just consumed.

A few years ago I somehow came across the Mr. Beer starter kit and decided to dive in (if Scott did it in the Army barracks, I certainly had a shot in my own house!) My success with Mr. Beer was such that I figured I could probably make larger batches, so I ordered some proper home brewing equipment and began producing five gallons at a time with extract kits.

I’d have to check my brewing log, but I think I put out 20 or more batches. I’m sure that’s nothing compared to the avid home brewer, but at my house it’s a feat. This summer I’d like to dust off my ale pails and have another go, but this time I want to get into all-grain brewing. I want to have absolute control over the quality and palatability of my beer. I’ll have no excuses for any bad part – whatever it is will be my own fault. I’ll document my brewing experiences here and give the world a chance to learn from what I’m doing or give me tips on how to improve. Whatever the case, we’ll all end up with better beer!

On this site I plan to post articles on many topics related to beer:

  • Home brewing adventures
  • My thoughts on different beers (reviews)
  • The science of beer
  • How-to’s and home brewing tips
  • Beer events
  • Brewery business stories and opinions

I hope I can keep up with this blog. If ever I stop posting and you wonder where I’ve gone, shoot an e-mail to benonbeer@gmail.com and ask what’s happened to me. I am often quite busy with life and writing here will be a challenge! You can also find me on Twitter @benonbeer, and you can subscribe to this blog by going here.

Cheers!

 

-ben