From the HopPress: Joyeux Noël

From the HopPress: Joyeux Noël

My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, December 25th.

A very happy holiday to everyone. Hopefully you were on the “good list” and got or will get a wonderful present from someone today. It’s a cold one here in Vermont this morning; only about 6F at my house, but I am sure that there are colder places around. I am listening to the rest of my family waking up on this Christmas morning and coming down stairs to the smell of my wife, Candy, beginning to cook breakfast in the kitchen… the heavenly smell of bacon being predominant, of course, but the coffee is running a close second at the moment.

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From the HopPress: Joyeux Noël

From the HopPress: The History and Lore of Wassail

From the HopPress: The History and Lore of Wassail

My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, December 18th.

Most of us, no doubt, are familiar with the holiday style of beer called Wassail. There are many excellent examples and I have sampled a number of them. I have to admit that I look forward to the annual renewing of the “winter warmer” traditions as well as the beers and other libations that come along with it. Today I will look a bit beyond the Wassail drink itself to some of the history and traditions surrounding this ancient drink of the holidays.

My fellow HopPress writer, Steph Weber, wrote an article (Wassail! Wassail!), which appeared on Christmas Day last year, about how to make a traditional wassail. I have found that there are a variety of ingredients that can be added to a wassail. The one that Steph chose (from Alton Brown at the Food Network) looks like a very good one and I may give hers a try sometime. Like most recipes, you could easily take Steph’s/Alton’s and alter it significantly to suit your own needs and tastes. If you desire something different all together, simply searching the Internet for “wassail recipes” will bring you dozens of possibilities to explore on your own.

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From the HopPress: The History and Lore of Wassail

Ratebeer Rating #1101 – Redhook Eisbock 28

The “Commercial Description” for this beer reads…

Eisbock 28 is an ice processed winter warmer. This rich lager is aged for months at temperatures well below freezing and is a deep gold color and has a smooth and malty flavor with bittersweet complexities. This highly unique beer is unlike any other and to our knowledge Redhook is the only American Brewer currently brewing it. This traditional winter beer is very drinkable, even with its high alcohol content and is perfect before or after dinner.

I definitely enjoyed this one… you might want to find a friend to share this high ABV bomber with though…

Pours a pretty clear copper color with no head and almost no carbonation. Aroma is of brown sugar and caramel. Flavor is similar, but with the additional aspects of the hops. Some fruitiness present… perhaps some very mild citrus, grapes and/or apples. Definitely some dark fruit, raisins in particular. Lingering bitterness cuts a bit of the sweet. Warms as it goes down, Alcohol provides a mild burn in the yummy. I have had other eisbocks and this one has a bit more hops. Probably not to style, but I like it.

From the HopPress: Made in Vermont – The Spine of the Green Mountains

From the HopPress: Made in Vermont - The Spine of the Green Mountains

My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, December 4th.

This is the second in a series of articles which highlight the wonderful variety of breweries available to us Vermonters. As I have told you before, with 21 in-state breweries and less than 650,000 people in the entire state, Vermont has the very best ratio of breweries to people in the country. In my first article in this series – Made in Vermont: Burlington Region – I included a brief review of seven of the breweries in Vermont’s northwest corner. In today’s article I will focus on the more northern central region of the state and another six breweries which can be found within this region.

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Made in Vermont - The Spine of the Green Mountains