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Let’s Not Go Green: Samuel Adams Irish Red Ale

by Charles Wangersky September 15th, 2014| Beer
sam adams iredOne of the bigger advantages of being on vacation is the chance to try new things. Another is visiting old, familiar haunts. This vacation has offered rather a lot of both, as I have been returning, for the first time in literally decades, to a place where my family spent a month each summer.

Much of what I find here is familiar; small-town American life has not changed in a long time. The changes are minor: telephone service is ubiquitous now, but cell service and internet are, if I am being generous, spotty. The same corner store is still on
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Almost Historical: Gritty’s “Maine’s Best IPA”

by Charles Wangersky September 8th, 2014| Beer
mbipaOne thing I have recently discovered about family gatherings is that the disparate tastes of various family members can lead you into areas of taste that you could not have found on your own. My recent vacation in the old family summer place has been a stellar example of that. For instance, were I normally to see something that billed itself as "Maine’s Best IPA", I would immediately pass it by, on the basis that such shameless self-promotion could not possibly have any true merit.

And that would be a real shame, in this case.

India Pale Ale, as I have
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Brew With a Darker Taste: Shed Mountain Ale

by Charles Wangersky September 1st, 2014| Beer
smaOne of the advantages, I suppose, of writing a beer column, is that source material can be handed to you even when, or especially when, you are on vacation. That is certainly one of the things that happened this past week, while my vacation was in full swing.

While my grandparents were reasonably well off, they also had seven children, so relatively little of their worldly goods ended up in the hands of any child or grandchild. However, there was a shared summer place, which remains more or less shared, on the coast of Maine. Suddenly having the chance, for
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An Understated Ale: Unibrouwe Blanche de Chambly

by Charles Wangersky August 25th, 2014| Beer
rsz_blanche_de_chamblyOur beer adventures continue this week, as they did last week, in Quebec, with a selection from the Summer Variety Pack available from Unibrouwe. This time, we're looking at the Blanche de Chambly, a white ale, according to the label. In fact, it is not white, but a very pale yellow; if your beer is white, something is probably wrong with it, perhaps you went to the wrong tap when you were filling your glass. It is possible that the term "white ale" is used to distinguish it from the many Pale Ales out there; as we'll
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A Summertime Shock: Unibrouwe Éphémère Cherry

by Charles Wangersky August 18th, 2014| Beer
rsz_ephemereAs the summer continues and the heat keeps on, we will once again venture far out of our home province. And Unibrouwe, the Quebec brewery now owned by Sapporo which we visited some three weeks ago, once again provides for our needs. Once again, we visit the summer sampler to see what the Belgian-style one-time craft brewery has for us.

This time, we will be trying the Éphémère Cherry. The name means, as you might guess, ephemeral, or temporary, and this is a very seasonal brew, as it can only be made when the cherries are fresh. And you can
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Surprising Craft-style Ale from a Big Brewery: Boston Pizza Anniversary

by Charles Wangersky August 11th, 2014| Beer
boston_pizza_anniversary_alePizza places are generally not very long-lived, so I suppose when you have managed to stay in business, and in fact expanded your franchise, for fifty years, you are entitled to a celebration. And it is only to be expected that for a pizza restaurant, that celebration should include beer. So it is by no means a surprise to find that Boston Pizza, who have been in the business of making pizza and things like it since 1964 (though not in Boston), have created a special brew that is now served only in their family restaurants.

So, when it came
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Less Hops, More Barley: Blonde de Chambly

by Charles Wangersky August 4th, 2014| Beer
blonde de chamblyIt has been three weeks, and here on the Wet Coast we're still not used to this bright light that has been in our skies every day. The temperature, for us, seems shockingly high, beer supplies are running low, and so we must turn to foreign fields for our refreshment needs.

One such source is Unibroue in Quebec. The name, to an English-speaking reader, no doubt suggests something that would be on someone's face, but to a speaker of French, it indicates a united or unified brewery. Unibroue was started in 1990, with the aim of bringing Belgian-style craft brews
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A Hoppy Beer for a Dry Day: Lawless IPA

by Charles Wangersky July 28th, 2014| Beer
ETNA PLUSSaturday was a surprisingly warm day this week, and the lawn needed attention, something it had gotten far too little of last year. I'm not saying I'll do any better this year, but I did get a head start on it this year, and so far I've been pretty good about the yard work. Of course, I have to fight the push mower to knock the rust off the blades as well as cutting at least some of the grass with it, and there is the beating my knees take as I try to uproot the hawkweed and dandelions. So
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Driftwood Pale Ale: Balm for a Hot Tiring Day

by Charles Wangersky July 21st, 2014| Beer
driftwoodThe north end of the West Coast has been suffering, if you want to call it that, through a long and unusual period of hot weather. Normally this doesn't affect me much, because my main job is working with computers, and it's important to keep computers cool after all. People can simply be told to deal with it, computers can't. Of course, it is a bit of a shock leaving work in the evening; and the weekend, and those days when I have to work from home, can be . . . interesting.

So today, as I write, was a
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Red Racer Pale Ale: Lots of Hops for a Hot Day

by Charles Wangersky July 14th, 2014| Beer
IMAG0003Central City Brewers and Distillers, 5% ABV

After John Frazzetta's farewell last week, I thought I should take a moment to introduce myself as the new beer reviewer. My family and I live in Canada, but of course I will be selecting beers to review that you can get in the States as well; no point in getting too insular, no matter how good I think Canadian beer is. I've done a lot of home brewing, which has resulted in a certain amount of analysis of "what exactly went wrong." I feel this might be useful for a
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Victory Brewing, Summer Love Ale

by J Frazzetta June 30th, 2014| Beer
DSCF6719Bottle/Tap: Bottle

Met a beer that was as tasty as can be, had a sip and I was jumping with glee, winter beers are leaving the shelves but, uh oh, those summer beers!

Oh well, Avid Reader, did you think I would do the whole song?  Given enough time I’m sure that I could have made an entire review based on that tune, and I’m hoping it is now stuck in your head.  The grills are going, the sun is getting high in the sky, which means that we are seeing plenty of light summer beers cropping up, and I’m
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Magic Hat, Dream Machine

by J Frazzetta June 23rd, 2014| Beer
DSCF6716Bottle/Tap: Bottle

It took me a while to appreciate an IPL brew, Avid Reader, but the journey has been interesting.  I’m still a little foggy on how they got started; no matter, since I’m starting to see them on shelves in more stores and I’m more apt to give them a chance.  Let me bring you in on the meaning: IPL stands for India Pale Lager, which means this brew has a little more body than your standard IPA and makes for a satisfying drink.

Pouring out the liquid into one of my favorite pint glasses, I noted that the color
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