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The Hops: A Moose Walks into a Bar

At first, Brian Sekafetz thought the Moose Lodge was a place where old men drank beer. However, since becoming a member in 1996, he has learned it is about more than drinks with buddies. So much more, in fact, it gives him goosebumps to talk about it. From caring for 220 underprivileged children at the […]

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The Hops: Pabst Blue Ribbon

For me, summer is synonymous with lawn mowing and lawnmower lager. As a kid, my summer breaks were spent playing basketball in the driveway and mowing lawns up and down my block. I mowed a neighbor’s lawn just about every day. The heat was oppressive and sometimes the grass was ankle-deep and littered with (doomed) […]

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The Hops: Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA & New Belgium Ranger IPA

Much like buffalo wings and fixed-gear bicycles, IPA has a mystique I cannot understand. Everyone loves it but I have no clue why. When I asked John’s Grocery bier guy Joe Hotek to explain it, he shrugged his shoulders. Is it the invigorating and refreshing citrus? The strong, bitter bite? Hotek mentioned its very minor […]

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The Hops: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale – Chico, CA

Serving temperature: 50-54º F Alcohol content: 5.6 percent ABV. Food pairings: Bill Manley, a product development manager at Sierra Nevada, told me the chefs at the brewery’s restaurant commonly pair Pale Ale with grilled meat, mushrooms and fresh garden vegetables. For cheese pairings he suggested Colby and Edam. Where to buy:It is almost universally available […]

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The Hops: Paulaner Brewery’s Salvator

Like a good Catholic and Bavarian, I imagine the Pope will relax with a brew or two after Saint Patrick’s Day Mass—and I guarantee he will not be drinking Guinness. Instead, he will probably kick back a couple bottles of the beer of the month: Paulaner Salvator. Sometime around the seventeenth century, it was decided […]

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The Hops: Duvel's Maredsous Brune 8

Ironically, a beer once brewed by celibate monks is an ideal beer for Valentines Day: Maredsous Brune 8.

Though it is now contract-brewed by Duvel, Maredsous Brune 8 is still a showcase of Benedictine abstinence. It is a dubbel that can be served in a tulip glass or chalice. The color is very deep brown. Three fingers of slightly tinted, thick head will settle to a thin lacing. It smells a little wine-like, but thankfully it is all beer with scents of yeast, caramel, toffee, fig, plum, apple, red grapes, brown sugar, spice and molasses. The taste is surprisingly dark and roasted with flavors of caramel, toffee, brown sugar and molasses. An earthy hop bite lingers on the cheeks and tongue after each sip and black pepper spice eventually emerges. The dark fruits, especially the red grape flavor, sneak in as the beer warms, but they are not as prominent as they are in the smell. […]

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The Hops: Millstream Brewery's Back Road Stout

Politically speaking, Rick Santorum and I are a couple universes apart. However, to my amazement we apparently have one thing in common: an appreciation for good beer. Last month Santorum made a campaign stop at the Millstream Brewing Company in Amana and enjoyed a pint of Back Road Stout–an excellent oatmeal stout I coincidentally decided to make January’s beer of the month. […]

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The Hops: Breckenridge Christmas Ale

It is once again time for celebratory holiday beers and winter warmers. While some are sub-par and gratuitous (another excuse to add a truckload of hops to a handful of malts), others gain such praise that they are brewed year-round. Some are even worthy of cellaring and comparing with previous holiday vintages. […]

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The Hops: Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde & Trois Pistoles

Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde & Trois Pistoles Though Canada’s Thanksgiving tradition may be a little different, our hockey-loving neighbors to the north brew the ideal beer pairings for a US-style Turkey Day. Tripel is excellent with turkey and La Fin du Monde, brewed by Unibroue in Chambly, Quebec, is a perfect choice for Thanksgiving […]

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The Hops: Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen

October is my favorite month. Sweatshirt weather, colorful foliage, Big Ten football and Halloween spookiness. It cannot be beat. The evening air is tinged with the campfire-like smoke of wood-burning stoves and far-off burn piles in the country, giving the month its own aroma. Whenever I catch that scent, I think of cool October evenings […]

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