Author Archive | Real Beer

Gift Idea: Crowbar Opener

Its time to pry into your next cold one! This novelty bottle opener is not only the perfect fit into your bar accessories, it is also a fully functional mini crowbar! One of our favorite bar tools, this bottle opener makes a great surprise for your handy man! Made of stainless steel with a baked enamel coating.

Crowbar Opener

Available online from Home Wet Bar.

Beer Christmas Trees

When searching for a beer bottle Christmas tree, we came across a number of beautiful trees celebrating the holidays with beer, so we’ll be sharing some of them throughout the season. This one uses all Molson bottles.

Molson Christmas Tree

If you’ve decorated your tree or home for the holiday season with beer-related decorations, please send us a photo of it to editor (@) realbeer (dot) com and we’ll share it with everyone here.

Pike Auld Acquaintance

As Jack Frost approaches each year, King Gambrinus, dressed as Santa, introduces special ales meant especially for drinking with old friends that gather for good cheer. According to the Brewers Association, who represent over 1400 microbreweries nationally, seasonal beer, and especially holiday beer, has become the most popular style of craft beer, outselling pale ale, wheat beer and other classic styles.

Pike Auld Acquaintance

Pike first brewed Auld Acquaintance in 1990 and it was an immediate hit with customers. At the time, most American’s were not familiar with seasonal beers. Each year Pike brews a limited amount, bottled in 22oz. bottles and on draft. Brewed as a perfect complement to holiday meals, the alcohol is a restrained 5% by volume with an original gravity of 1.052. In addition to generous batches of Yakima Valley Magnum, Willamette and East Kent Goldings hops, Auld Acquaintance is subtly seasoned with orange peel, coriander, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Our goal, then and now, is to brew a luxurious beer to be enjoyed with splendid winter fare, like hearty soups, cheeses, turkey, hams and joints of meat. Pike Auld Acquaintance is now available at better stores, restaurants and, of course, at our own Pike Pub.

While this tradition is fairly new to American beer-bibers, the custom of brewing flavorful, spiced beer dates back well over a thousand years to what is now England. When the Vikings arrived, the Britons drank primarily megithin (mead), a brew of honey with spices (the origin of our word for medicine); cider from crab apples; perry from pears, and wine from grapes. Though there is evidence of cerevista (a beverage made from cereal) being brewed, it was a little known part of British life until the recipes for ales, the technique for cultivating and malting barley, and the art of brewing, were imported from the Middle East by the monasteries. The church did an exceptional job of promoting ale as an elixir superior to all other drinks. The Danes and Norwegians, at odds with the church about most things, agreed with them about their delicious strong malt liquor. Over a period of a couple of hundred years, the Danish word “Øl” (oyl) became the English word “Ale,” a name for the drink as well as the festival where it was served. The Jüle or Yule winter festival had a long tradition before the Vikings and the monks. Jüle, introduced by the Celts, in honor of the sun god, promised a period of warmth and plenty. As Britons converted to Christianity, the Jüle (Xmas) Ale became the most popular winter festival. Before the Norman Conquest the Scandinavians were uninvited guests at Christmas parties throughout the land. As time passed, many of them converted and turned their lives around. While the tradition of holiday beers nearly became extinct in The British Isles, Jüle Øl from Norway and Weinachts Bock from Bavaria never completely died out; but it is in America that the style grew dramatically to become an important part of every beer lover’s calendar.

Deschutes Jubelale

Sunday’s Holiday Beer of the Day comes to us from Bend, Oregon, and is their 21st annual holiday beer with a different label. Deschutes Jubelale for 2008 is 6.7% abv and 60 IBUs.

But did you know that Jubelale was the first beer ever bottled by Deschutes Brewery? Every year, fall’s crisp, cool air signals the imminent arrival of winter. Thoughts of snow, friends and family, the holidays, and — Jubelale. Brewed with dark crystal malt creating a luscious holiday note with bountiful hops to excite your taste buds— it’s easy to see why Jubelale is the perfect complement to the season.

Every year Deschutes Brewery selects a Northwest artist to create an image evocative of the season’s festive atmosphere. In 2008, Pam Jersey Bird, who lives in Sisters, painted a winding, abstract river running through the open spaces of Central Oregon’s desert, surrounded by fluttering snowfall.

Deschutes Jubelale

“Because Jubelale is ‘A Festive Winter Ale,’ I wanted to portray a scene that was lively and colorful but also captured Central Oregon’s snowy climate,” says Pam Jersey Bird. “I decided to focus on the river that is the namesake of the brewery and also inspired the name of our town. Emphasizing the curve of the bank, I added snowflakes and ice crystals, which surround the blue moving waters of the Deschutes River.” More of Pam’s work can be viewed at her website.

Full Sail Wassail

Today’s “Holiday Beer of the Day” comes from Mt. Hood, Oregon, just north of Portland in a beautiful part of the state. One of the earliest Christmas beers, Full Sail’s Wassail Ale has been around now for twenty years.

A few unmistakable signs tell us when winter has arrived in Hood River. The waterfalls in the Gorge start kicking out the jams. The snow report for the backcountry regains its hold over us. And the Wassail starts flowing once again. And that means friends and family will surely be close behind.

Full Sail Wassail

“Historically, brewers craft small batches of darker beers, generously adding extra hops and malts to make exceptionally robust tasty ales to celebrate the season and as a way of sharing the bounty of the season with their customers. We carry on this tradition with Wassail. Choosing our ingredients for Wassail is like taking time to choose the perfect gift. Each year we carefully select the best hops and malts to brew this special beer. This year’s Wassail is brewed with a range of caramel malts and dark chocolate malts giving it a deep mahogany color and a full malty body. We used a blend of European noble hops and Pacific Northwest aroma hops for a pleasantly hoppy finish creating a deliciously balanced beer that appeals to both hop and malt lovers alike. In other words, a Christmas miracle! It’s our gift from the brewery to our loyal beer patrons – it’s our way of giving thanks. We have brewed Wassail every holiday season since 1988 and it’s now as much a part of the festivities as sharing a roaring fire with our closest family and friends,” recalled Jamie Emmerson, Full Sail’s Executive Brewmaster.

The packaging features a vintage postcard of the scenic Hood River Valley dusted with snow. In the spirit of tradition, a snow-covered douglas-fir tree looms in the foreground and Mt. Hood rises majestically in the background. Wassail makes the ideal gift for the beer enthusiasts in your life, and is the perfect accompaniment to the desserts and flavorful dishes that the holidays bring. Look for Wassail six packs at your favorite store, or on draught at your local restaurant or pub. Wassail will be widely available October through December.

Wassail was recently awarded another gold medal, and was rated “Exceptional” at the 2008 World Beer Championships (WBC). Wassail previously won a platinum medal and a “superlative” rating at the 2005 WBC, a gold medal at the 2007, 2006 and 2004 WBC, and three silver medals in 1999, 2000 and 2001.