Beer Genius

inventFire. The wheel. Vaccines. Electricity. Internal combustion engines. The internet.

And now…the Beer ATM. Another one of man’s greatest achievements.

While traditional cash ATM’s dispense liquid assets, the Beer ATM pours out liquid goodness. With its wall of 24 taps, Randolph Beer in NYC has created a revolutionary way to serve it’s customers more efficiently.

You simply load your “ATM” card at the bar, head to the tap wall and swipe your card, select your beer and beer size (anywhere from 1 to 12 oz), and voila. No more annoying lines. No more struggle to get the bartender’s attention. No more pressure to order a full glass when all you want is a quick taster.

The concept is quite simple, yet genius.

We’d love to hear from you! Do you have any ideas for an invention that could drastically change or improve the way we consume or experience beer? Share your ideas in the comments section, and we’ll give you some honest feedback!

Be sure to check out the full article about the Beer ATM at vinepair.com.

Charred Walls of the Damned by Burnt Hickory Brewing

In the pantheon of great beer names, Charred Walls of the Damned has to be somewhere near the top. It sounds scary, mysterious, and like a horror movie all wrapped up into one. Maybe that’s what the heavy metal band that chose it wanted, but as it turns out, it’s a pretty awesome beer as well. We had heard that this vintage batch had a few tainted bottles, and so with that in mind, we were hoping for the best.  Watch us try this barrel aged quad by Burnt Hickory Brewing to see if the beer is as cool as its moniker…

Dark Lord by 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

A special occasion, specifically our favorite golf outing of the year, requires a special beer to celebrate accordingly. We played a ton of golf, laughed so hard it hurt, and enjoyed a lot of great beers. Few, however, were as special as Dark Lord by 3 Floyds, a yearly molasses bomb provided by our guest drinker, Marc Janca. Watch as we took a moment during the busy weekend to add yet another chapter of memories to the Legendary Hurricane Cup…

The Countdown

Have you ever started your daily countdown to summer as soon as September 1 rolls around on the calendar? I do every year, and here’s the story about it…

Countdown clock

As a school teacher, I’ve got countdowns for everything–days left before giving the big test, days left before Christmas break, units left to teach in the book–you name it, I know how much further we’ve got to go til something is done.  But no countdown is noticed and talked about more than the one I have on the whiteboard in my classroom from Day 1 of school–the “days to go” countdown.  Everyone knows what that one is referring to, and even though seeing it on the first day of school with a big number in front of it is something that both the teachers and my students get a good laugh about, the laughs slowly give way to repeated looks and warm tingling feelings as the number diminishes a little more each day.

Sure, the biggest part of those feelings is always gonna be tied to the 3 months off of school, but being a craft beer enthusiast that appreciates many styles of beers, another lesser reason is the flooding of the beer market with a style known as the shandy.  A shandy, simply put, is beer mixed with lemonade, ginger ale, or ginger beer.  Turned off by that thought?  Don’t be.  My guess is that you’ve either never tried one at all, or that you haven’t tried a good one.  That being said, let me save you the trouble of wasting time with the poor ones before you land on the holy grail.  Zack and I have done our share of “looking for the good ones”, and have found the best one out there.  I know…it’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta drink it.

Turbo ShandyIt’s called Barrel Aged Turbo Shandy by Hoppin’ Frog Brewery in Akron, OH, and it’s the epitome of refreshment when the warm summer months roll around in your neck of the woods.  This version happens to be aged in bourbon whiskey barrels, giving that delicious beer and lemonade combo a nice little kick in the pants.  You’ll discover a concoction that at one time seemed so weird, but quickly turned into something you wished for a bigger bottle to contain.  Hoppin’ Frog makes a non-barrel aged turbo Shandy and a tequila barrel-aged Shandy as well, and although they’re tasty in their own right, they can’t help but take a backseat to the much more southern, bourbon-sipping cousin driving the wheel in your wildest dreams.

Think I’m overrated in my obsession over this summer drink?  Think again.  Better yet, prove me wrong and start your own countdown to when you’re gonna take our word for it and try one yourself.  But beware…tough habits, much like the pursuit of a good shandy, are gonna be hard to break once the summer comes to an end…

BEEResponsible,
the Hopostles

Konkey Dong by Hoof Hearted Brewery

Remember the old pixelated graphics on those video game systems that you thought were so realistic? The all-day marathons of playing that new video game until your mom put an end to it and sent you outside? The controllers that only had a couple buttons and required an untangling from time to time instead of 6 new batteries? The games were simple, the characters were memorable, and you were convinced it couldn’t get any better. With that in mind, join us as we sample Konkey Dong by Hoof Hearted Brewery in an effort to put a smile on your face and a few good memories in your head…

Hoppin’ Frog Brewery

HF4
Address:
1680 E Waterloo Rd.

                Akron, OH 44306

Phone:  (234) 525-3764

Website:  www.hoppinfrog.com

Flagship Beers:  B.O.R.I.S. the Oatmeal Crusher, Outta Kilter Scotch-Style Red Ale, Gangster Frog IPA, Silk Porter, Infusion A Coffee Porter

Seasonal Beers:  Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale, Frosted Frog Christmas Ale, Turbo Shandy, Oktoberfest Froggy Style Lager, Killa Vanilla Extraordinary IPA

Other Notable Beers:  D.O.R.I.S. the Destroyer Double Oatmeal Imperial Stout, Rocky Mountain B.O.R.I.S. and D.O.R.I.S, T.O.R.I.S. the Tyrant Triple Oatmeal Imperial Stout, Teeny Tiny Test Batch IPA

The Down Low:  There’s nothing particularly great about a frog.  Think about it…they’re slimy, they’ve got eyes that seem too big for their head, they spend most of their lives in the mud, and their legs can usually be found on the buffet menu of some of the sketchier Chinese restaurants in town.  And yet, there’s something about seeing that weird creature on a bomber of beer that gets us excited every time we’re out shopping for something new.  Because what’s inside that bottle is anything but something you don’t want to touch…

hoppin-frog-borisIt all starts with B.O.R.I.S. the Oatmeal Crusher, an Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout that serves as the backbone for a brewery that pumps out perhaps more great stouts than any other that we’ve ever seen.  They have variations that are whiskey barrel aged, coffee bean-infused, and brewed with darker and richer malts.  If you’re willing to drop a little more dough, they even have one that’s been aged in Pappy Van Winkle barrels (just don’t let them see your jaw hit the floor when you see the $55 price tag).  The B.O.R.I.S. gave way to the D.O.R.I.S., a Double Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout, and then following the passage of the higher ABV law in Ohio last year, the Triple Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout known as T.O.R.I.S.  Think you’ve had a heavy stout before?  Think again.  Pour yourself a glass of this stuff and get your bread knife ready, cause you’re about to have a second helping of dinner.

Hoppin’ Frog has only been around since 2006, and yet their presence in the craft beer industry is widespread enough to have landed them in 15 foreign countries and 19 states.  They’ve got awards aplenty, racking them up by means of 22 different brews that cover all the beer bases.  Founder Fred Karm never seems to run out of new ideas when it comes to making another awesome beer that immediately stacks up next to the best stouts on the shelf, simultaneously convincing you that $15 for 22 ounces is a bargain indeed.

The food menu in the tasting room isn’t large, but it is tasty.  Appetizers, sausage and cheese plates, and specialties like pork belly pair perfectly with their array of beers, and let’s face it…you aren’t going for the food anyway.  If you are, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

HF3

Tuesday evenings at the tasting room are special nights, offering patrons a chance to try their favorite Hoppin’ Frog beers infused with everything from Skittles to Reese’s Puffs to bacon to Twinkies, and everything else in between.  Many weekends at the brewery are opportunities to purchase their new releases in bottles, or to at least try them on draft if bottles aren’t available.  That is, if you can find the place…just punch in the address in your GPS and smile at where it takes you.  And the best part is that there’s always something new to try, no matter how many times you return.  Their beer menu for vintage beer purchases seems to have no boundaries, and you never know what you’ll be leaving with (i.e. an 8 year old bottle of cellar aged B.O.R.I.S.??  We’re guilty of that purchase ourselves).

Take our word for it.  Hoppin’ Frog beer is truly something to behold, and even something better to consume.  It’s one of our 5 favorite breweries of all time, and with an accolade list as long as the beer menu itself, we’re clearly not the only ones that hold them in such high regard.  Who knows?  Maybe you’ll never look at a frog the same way again…

BEEResponsible,

the Hopostles

Black Rajah by The Brew Kettle

The most common form of skin cancer is melanoma, and besides claiming close to 10,000 lives per year, it has claimed the life of one of our uncles, as well as Zack’s own father. Join us we travel to a memorial plaque located on a nearby golf course in his honor, paying tribute to him in hopes of bringing more awareness to the fight that is ongoing towards finding a cure. Because black is the color associated with this form of cancer, we’ll be sampling a black IPA called Black Rajah from the Brew Kettle in Strongsville, Ohio. May his smile and hearty laugh live on for years to come…

Raising the (beer) bar

Beer barThink about your favorite local watering hole. The sights. The sounds. The crowd. The brews.

What about it keeps you coming back? Is it that warm welcome you get from the regulars when you stroll in like Norm from “Cheers”? Is it knowing that there will be at least a few unique beers on tap you haven’t tasted? Maybe it’s something you can’t even explain.

The booming craft beer industry brings with it a new type of customer. The new target market is not just a consumer, but a connoisseur. They are looking for an experience, not just another pint.  And the beer is just the beginning. The pressure is on for beer bars to differentiate themselves and provide the type of environment that will draw a crowd, and keep them coming back.

This trend hasn’t gone unnoticed. GQ.com recently published an article that addresses “How to Tell a Great Beer Bar From a Lame One”. Check it out here.

We’d like to hear from you! Tell us about your favorite local hangout and what draws you there…

White Whale Exclusive: Dinner by Maine Brewing Company

White whales like Moby Dick are seldom seen, and when they are, obsessive men by the likes of Captain Ahab are hellbent on slaying them for pure vengeance, personal satisfaction, and eternal glory.  A beer by the name of Dinner, made by Maine Brewing Company, has been a white whale of ours for a long time, and after much spear-sharpening and widespread searching, we’ve finally managed to come face to face with a brew that’s given us the slip for the last time.  Join us as we sample our first beer in a new series called “White Whale Exclusive,” a distinction that will only be given to those brews that we deem truly worthy of a title that is synonymous with rare and special…

Bottles vs. Cans

bottles vs cans
If you’re the typical macro beer drinker, we’re going to guess that most of the time, you don’t really care what your beer is served in. A wider mouth-opening, a sleeker design, or a new label might be all the excitement you’re hoping for.  But what about craft beer? Does it really make a difference?

The can vs. bottle debate has been going on for decades. So what’s better? When is it better to can, and when is it better to bottle? There are many contributing factors that come into play, so we’d like to shed some light on some of them:

1. UV light – Ultraviolet light, also known as UV lighting, is really bad for a beer’s compound structure. If beer is exposed to UV light for an extended amount of time, it can spoil. Cans prevent UV light from entering, helping the beer stay fresher, longer.

2. Storage – Cans are obviously easier to store and they take up less space. Stacking is made easier with cans, and beer-filled cans are actually lighter than bottles, making it more affordable for breweries to ship canned beers.

3. Outdoor use – For those that enjoy taking their brews to the beach, park, campground, etc. (that permits alcohol use), glass is, for the most part, prohibited while cans are not. Cans are also much better for the environment than bottles…not that we condone littering.

4. Temperature – If memory serves well from Chemistry class back in high school, remember that metals heat and cool faster than glass. With this in mind, there is a downside to aluminum cans. Although they chill faster, they also get warmer faster. Glass can hold in the coolness of a beer longer than a can. So if you’re the type who likes their beer colder for a longer time, we suggest pouring the canned beer into a glass, unless you’re outdoors–then you’re outta luck. Better drink quick!

beer bottle

5. Sealing capabilities – When beers are canned, they’re sealed with nitrogen, (bringing back more Chemistry) making it impossible for air to escape. Bottled beers, although sealed with a cap, may tend to leak depending on how strong the seal is between the cap and the bottle.  This is where the wax-sealed bottle comes from–it’s just about the only way to truly seal a bottle in order to prevent leakage.

6. Taste – We’ve all had those beers that give off a metallic taste or a bottled taste before. Normally, that has nothing to do with the beer itself. It’s been said that the taste you get is where your nose is at the time of drinking. Think about it. When you drink beer from a can, where is your nose? Cans tend to give beers a bit more punch than a bottled beer, most likely due to the nitrogen in the canning process. Again, to get the best taste from a beer, pour it into the proper glassware (see our previous Beer 101 post). That will give you the best experience.

So what’s our personal preference? Well, by nature, we’ll always sway toward the best experience possible in beer. To us, it depends on what style of beer we drink. As far as IPA’s, our best experiences have been in both bottle and cans, but cans tend to give IPA’s that extra oomph or crispness that we love. Not everything we drink should come in cans, though. Personally, we think it would be really strange to be drinking a rare, bourbon barrel aged stout in a can. KBS in a can? It sounds cheap. There’s something awesome about purchasing a bomber or a 750mL bottle of a BA stout. Would you rather buy a $300 bottle of wine in a box or a bottle? Appearance does count sometimes.

The debate will continue to go on as long as beer is being made. If you’re like us and want the best experience possible when drinking a beer, remember to think about style and glassware. Considering those two factors will make a world of difference.

BEEResponsible,
the Hopostles