Living the Dream

Beer dream
Have you ever asked someone how they were doing, to which they replied, “living the dream”? It’s usually preceded by a sigh and delivered with a generous portion of sarcasm.

But what would “living the dream” actually look like, specifically in terms of a job or career? Depending on who you ask, it could be just about anything.

The saying goes, “love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” If you love taking care of others, become a doctor or a nurse. If you love shaping minds, become a teacher.

But what if you love beer? Solution: Professional Beer Taster. Yes, that exists.

Check out this article from vinepair.com that highlights a unique opportunity to live the beer drinker’s dream.

120 Minute IPA by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

120 minutes isn’t very long when you think about it. 2 hours of your life is merely a blip on the radar, barely enough time to do anything truly significant. Maybe that’s what makes Dogfish Head’s 120 minute IPA so special–in one age-able bottle, they’ve managed to make the highest ABV IPA on the market, all while retaining a rich and hoppy flavor unlike no other. It can even help to calm rage on the golf course…

Barrel Aging

barrelWhen it comes to craft beer, brewers are always out to uncover the next great idea. It doesn’t take much online research to find out how they are bringing some of their wild ideas to life. One style, we believe, that will always be a staple in the craft industry is barrel-aged (BA) beer. In this 101, we’ll break down what barrel aging is and some of the styles of beer that are ideal for barrel aging.

Barrel aging beer is exactly what it sounds like. Whether you’re a home brewer or a craft brewer, you can take various styles of a base beer and place them in previously used liquor barrels. Some of the more popular barrels used are bourbon barrels, whiskey barrels, rum barrels, and as of recent, wine barrels.

When a distiller has emptied a barrel of liquor, a brewer may be able to purchase the barrel from them and use that barrel to age their beer in. The longer the base sits in the barrel, the more liquor character the beer will receive. Barrel aging beers really brings out the beauty in a beer by combining all of the flavors of the beer with the smoothness of the liquor. If you’ve ever consumed a base beer side by side with its barrel-aged version, you will likely agree that the BA version, most of the time, creates a smoother, more complex version of the original. BA beers are also higher in ABV (10%+), which makes them even more of a sipper. BA beers are the craft beer drinker’s version of a whiskey connoisseur’s nightcap in front of a blazing fire.

BA Beer

Although many brewers are barrel aging pretty much every style out there, there are a few styles that really stand out: stouts, porters, barleywines, strong ales, Belgian quads, and sometimes sours. We are adding sours to this, but that comes with a bit of explanation. Sours are great when barrel aged, but the BA sours that stand out are the ones that are fermented in oak barrels or wine barrels. The objective behind good sours are the tart and funk characters, and aging them in liquor usually weakens those characters. Aging them in oak barrels or wine barrels really keeps the funk in the style while adding a few additional character notes to it. Although it’s not usually a style we hunt down, we won’t say no to picking one up off the shelves from time to time.

barrelsBeers with fresh ingredients, such as Pale Ales, IPAs, and Wheat beers, are not good for barrel aging.  Especially in the case of IPA’s, fresh hops should truly be enjoyed fresh.  Letting those age, except in the case of a very high ABV IPA, will diminish the hoppiness and cheat you out of the full effect of their flavor.

Here is a list of some of the breweries that, we believe, have some of the best barrel aging programs in the biz:

Founders
Bells
Avery
Jackie O’s
Hoppin’ Frog
The Bruery

So the next time you are out on a beer run, be sure to give some BA beers a try. It won’t take long before you’re hooked. BA beers are a bit more expensive, but trust us, you won’t regret it. If you’re a stout, barleywine, or porter fan, then we highly suggest dropping a few extra bucks on a BA version. You’ll understand what the hype is all about.

Cheers,
The Hopostles

White Whale Exclusive: Black Note Stout by Bell’s Brewery

Every once in a while, you have the privilege to try a beer that surprises you, despite the high expectations that the countless numbers of beers you’ve tried before have set for you. It’s bold, it’s rich, it’s smooth, and it’s boozy. It’s our White Whale Exclusive #3, and Bell’s Black Note Stout has nothing to prove. With a reputation that precedes it and a rating that speaks for itself, watch us try to put into words what is truly a work of art…

Epic Night

Have you ever sampled so many craft beers in one night that you could actually hear your liver begging for mercy? I have, and here’s the story about it…

Beer bottles

It wasn’t intended to be referred to as “Epic Night” when it was being planned for, but once my 6 buddies and I were gathered around the picnic table at my house with a warm, August breeze blowing in our faces, it soon became a night that we still talk about to this day.  Summer was drawing to a close, and we had collectively accumulated several beers that we wanted to sample as a group.  Well, it started out as several, but as my fellow Hopostle and I did a quick once-over of who had brought what, we found that it was gonna be a bit harder than we initially thought it would be to put those 35 beers into any kind of order that would make sense.

Yes–35 different craft brews.  IPA’s, stouts, porters, pilsners…heck, we even tried a beer made with marionberries and infused with honey. Spread out over the course of 4 or 5 hours and shared between 7 guys, it works out to about 5 beers per guy.  Not crazy, at least not in a dedicated craft brewer’s world.  What was crazy was trying to take notes about each one for our Green Elm Society’s minutes, in addition to checking each beer in with a comment on my favorite social drinking app, Untappd.  That, paired with being the person who also took on the responsibility of opening each new brew and pouring some for each person, became such a ridiculous task that I literally left off writing in the middle of a word and allowed myself to just kick back and relax.

bonfire beerSitting around a bonfire as a group while the final beer was being passed around is how the evening concluded, and I’m happy to report that I felt great the next day.  I’m sure my liver would beg to differ, as would the garbage man that would have to heave those trash bags into the truck. It truly was an epic night to remember, but it will not likely ever be repeated again.  And even this craft beer fanatic is ok with that…

BEEResponsible,
the Hopostles

Cherry Wit by Sibling Revelry

Kids, like craft beer, are unique in more ways than one. For this week’s tasting, we thought it would be fun to combine our families together to see what kind of chaos could be created with 9 children. The resulting noise was as we should have expected, driving us to kick the kids out of the area so we could drink in peace and quiet. Sibling Revelry’s Cherry Wit was the drink of choice, and was the perfect summer drink to accompany what started all the noise in the first place…

 

Platform Beer Company

Zima by Coors Brewing Company

Ah, the shower beer. As the hot water cascades down upon you, nothing completes the experience in quite the same way as a cold beer does. We know what you’re thinking…is that really what all the extra ledges in the shower were meant for? The answer is yes, despite the fact that the woman in the household has cluttered it up with a whole bunch of other junk like soap and extra shampoo. This week, we’ll sample a Zima by Coors Brewing Company in what is perhaps our strangest venue yet, showing off our love for throwback malt beverages that require candy garnishes to make them taste better. Sound weird? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet…

The Perfect Pair

food and drinkThe San Antonio News Express recently published an article that featured what some are calling the perfect marriage between food and beer.

Independence Brewing Company and Tacos of Texas, both based in central Texas, collaborated to create Revolución Saison Ale. The beer was designed to be a compliment to the carnitas and other savory ingredients found in the tacos.

Yeah, we’re drooling too.

We’d love to hear from you guys! Please share some of your favorite beer and food pairings in the comments section.

And be sure to check out the full article from the San Antonio News Express here.

Don’t Tell Mike by Hoof Hearted Brewery

Family has always been important to the Hopostles. To have a successful, healthy family life, trusting one another is key. Being first cousins, we have grown up together and have grown closer over the past 10 years. But even in the tightest relationships, secrets can be kept. Vladimir Lenin once said “Trust is good, but control is better.” Having said that, this week’s video features the newest Hoof Hearted release, with one twist; there’s no Mike (for obvious reasons). Zack welcomes a very special guest drinker for this special beer. Enjoy the video, but whatever you do, please Don’t Tell Mike!