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Rickard’s Lederhosen Oktoberfest-Style Lager

by Charles Wangersky October 20th, 2014| Beer
oktOne of the major events of the beer year is, of course, the Munich Oktoberfest, a week of getting drunk and more or less disorderly in public, complete with traditional German costumes and traditional German lager. Every beer drinker carries within him some image of Oktoberfest, usually of beer waitresses wearing traditional dirndls and carrying an impossible number of huge mugs of beer. Appearances would indicate that the standard mug is about a quart (legally, I suspect it has to be a liter), and that the mug is oversized because there is far more head on the beer than
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Narragansett Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout

by TK October 14th, 2014| Beer
IMG_20141005_090149_032It is important to note as you read this article that I am not from Rhode Island.  While I have visited "The Ocean State" many times, I can't say that I have an deep personal connection to the state.   So when I decided to review a beer that was described to me as a "unique collaboration between two Rhode Island staples", I came in with no expectations.  There were not childhood memories or sentimental warm and fuzzy emotions that were going to cloud the tasting of Narragansett Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout.  The beer was going to have to stand
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Variation On A Theme: Big Rock Honey Brown Lager

by Charles Wangersky October 13th, 2014| Beer
honey aleThe basics of beer are simple: barley malt, water, yeast. Everything else is flavorings, including the hops which we have more or less accepted as being a standard part of beer. But over the eons, beer has divided itself into a number of styles, including one called "American", which is a denatured version of the German brew called "pils". One of those variants is the brown ale, made famous, more or less, by Newcastle Nut Brown, and in general a lovely beer for the autumn when the nights are starting to get colder.

One of the more important distinctions is
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Harvester Brewing Gluten-Free Ales

by Charles Wangersky October 6th, 2014| Beer
gluten free beerEvery few weeks, the local beer and wine store has a few beers available for sampling. Quite apart from the prospect of free beer, enticing though that may be, this intrigues me because it offers a chance to try some brews that would not otherwise be something I'd pick up. With the quantities being so small -- a standard taste is about a shot glass -- I'm not going to be incapacitated, and I don't have to commit to even an entire bottle.

I had thought gluten-free was only a food fad, until it turned out that two of my
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End of the Evening? La Fin du Monde

by Charles Wangersky September 29th, 2014| Beer
fin du mondAs the summer draws to a close, the weather gets a little cooler, and our beers get a little darker, perhaps, a little stronger. And as we have done before, we turn to Unibrouwe in Quebec, this time for something to carry us across this threshold, to bridge the gap between the light beers of summer, and the heavy winter and festive ales. And most uncharacteristically, the obvious choice is something of a failure.

With a name like La Fin Du Monde, which translates as "The End of the World," you know right away you're in for something of an
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Your Mission If You Choose to Accept It: 603 Winni

by Charles Wangersky September 22nd, 2014| Beer
winni aleAs part of my recent vacation, I was granted the privilege of visiting PeKu Publications World Headquarters, the hub around which this web site, along with its many companions, spins. Ably supported by my editor, I actually met, face to face, with Michele, our fearless leader. Our travel situation resulted in the meeting, perforce, being over lunch; and alas, it was just too late for the PeKu cafeteria to be open. So instead, we adjourned to a neighboring pub, where I selected a beer which I could report on for your ongoing illumination.

If companies as large as Exxon Mobil
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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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