Samuel Adams Longshot Pack Now in Stores

posted on March 30, 2011 at 10:24 am by Ken Valley in Craft Beer

Samuel Adams Longshot Pack

Samuel Adams Longshot Pack

Samuel Adams has released the Longshot Pack, which are the commercial versions of the beers the winners of their annual homebrewing competition.  The competition is an homage to Sam Adams’ homebrewing roots. This year’s mix pack salutes Category 23 beers, or beers that don’t fit into a standard beer style. In the pack are two bottles each of:

  • Blackened Hops Ale
  • Honey B’s Lavender Ale
  • Friar Hop Ale

Check back soon for reviews of these interesting beers.

Have you had the Longshot 23 Pack from Sam Adams?  What did you think?

Visit to Peace Tree Brewing

posted on March 28, 2011 at 9:00 pm by Ken Valley in Craft Beer

Outside of Peace Tree Brewing

Outside of Peace Tree Brewing

Over the weekend, I was driving through south central Iowa, and decided to stop and visit Peace Tree Brewing in Knoxville, Iowa. Peace Tree burst into the Iowa beer scene last year and have made a splash. They have made several beers that fall outside the standard guidelines, and I applaud them for taking that initiative.

While at the brewery, I had a chance to sample the Black River Gumbo Stout from a tap using nitrogen. It was super smooth and had a great flavor. I also had a chance to try the beer that may make it onto shelves soon: the Blonde Fatale Golden Belgian Ale.

After we had a chance to sample some of the beer, my friends and I were taken back to the brewery. It was smaller than I thought considering how many locations the beers are, but I was glad to visit the brewery, and it made me appreciate more of what these brewers in Knoxville are doing.

Have you been to Peace Tree Brewing? What did you think?

New Belgium Le Terroir

posted on March 23, 2011 at 10:03 pm by Ken Valley in Beer Reviews,Craft Beer

New Belgium Le Terroir

New Belgium Le Terroir

A few days ago I had the chance to sample one of the new sour beers from New Belgium, Le Terroir. It is a dry-hopped (with peach/mango flavored Amarillo hops) sour ale that changes from batch to batch (sounds like homebrewing).

The beer had a nice citrus aroma, similar to a grapefruit or a lime. The taste had a hint of sour on the front of the tongue that became more pronounced toward the back of the tongue. It left a nice refreshing finish with a bit of lingering sweetness. The beer reminded me of grapefruit juice, and I thought there was a nice amount of sourness without being too overwhelming. I enjoyed this beer very much.

Have you tried Le Terroir? What was your take?

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day 2011!

posted on March 16, 2011 at 12:24 am by Ken Valley in Craft Beer

Sipping a Guinness in Ireland

Sipping a Guinness in Ireland (wearing green, I might add)

Since last year’s trip to Ireland, I’ve been excited to try some of my new Irish-ness this year on St. Patrick’s Day.  This year I plan to enjoy some time with friends, good food, and some Guinness.  Isn’t that what St. Patty’s Day is all about?  Also, don’t forget the good, better, and best beers to try tomorrow, and be safe!

Oh, and this is actually another milestone – Thoughts on Beer’s 150th post, so raise a glass and toast, “Sláinte!”

What are your plans?  Lots of Guinness and corned beef & cabbage?  Let us know what you do!

SF 2088 – One Year Later

posted on March 11, 2011 at 3:38 pm by Ken Valley in Craft Beer

A Couple of the Stronger Millstream Brews

A Couple of the Stronger Millstream Brews

Well, it’s been one year since the March 10, 2010 signing of SF 2088, which included a resolution to allow higher alcohol beers to be brewed by Iowa brewers.

So what’s changed?  In addition to brewers outside Iowa being able to more easily sell their high-gravity beers in the state, it has become much easier for the breweries in Iowa to brew these stronger beers, such as Double IPA‘s and the majority of Belgian-style beers.  This has allowed Iowa breweries to compete with those in other states, and will give Iowa breweries the chance to make almost any beer style they want without the state coming down on them for having stronger beers.

Although this isn’t an exhaustive list, here are several of the beers in the higher-proof category that came out in the past year (this doesn’t include all the beers local breweries and brewpubs created, such as Third Base Brewery and Rock Bottom Brewing):

Millstream Brewing:

  1. Doppelbock
  2. Weizenbock
  3. Triple Raspberry
  4. Hop 2 Double IPA

Peace Tree Brewing:

  1. Double IPA
  2. Imperial Stout

So, in the past year, the beer landscape in Iowa has become more diverse and flavorful.  Even the local Iowa City paper recently wrote about the changes in the state after the law was passed.

Now is a great time to be a beer lover in Iowa, and it will only get better from here.  Have you enjoyed the change in the beer scene in Iowa?  What other changes would you like to see?

Millstream Hop 2 Double IPA

posted on March 8, 2011 at 10:20 pm by Ken Valley in Beer Reviews,Craft Beer

Millstream Hop 2 Double IPA

Millstream Hop 2 Double IPA

Over the weekend, I had a chance to sample the latest Millstream offering, the Hop 2 Double IPA.

The Hop 2 poured a copper color, and had a floral scent with a bit of citrus.  With the first taste, the first thing I noticed was the medium body.  It had a citrus hop flavor with a slight hint of a earthy, noble hop with a strong malt balance.  It finished on the light side, with just a bit of lingering hop flavor.  It was a very balanced Double IPA.

Hop 2 didn’t list the alcohol percent, but even as a Double IPA, it didn’t have much of an alcohol warming, which was great.  Overall, Hop 2 was a nice beer that, with the lighter body, makes me want to have more then one.  So why don’t I?

Have you had the Hop 2?  What did you think?