Jackmauh Tries It

Summer Beer Review Beers

Finally. Summer. The season that beer was made for. We’ve got the beers that were made for the season. Whether you’re enjoying one (or two) on the couch, the deck, the dock, the boat, the trail or the ballpark, there is no better time of year for a nice cold brew. Here are a few of our personal recommendations. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Today’s magical, burgeoning craft beer world offers more brews and flavors than we could ever hope to quaff in one summer. We do have other things to do, believe it or not. So be sure to do some exploring on your own, too… Here’s to summer!!

 

Victory Summer Love

Victory Summer Love beer

The crew at Victory nailed this one. A light and delightful summer ale. European noble hops provide a gentle and earthy hop profile, pleasantly balanced with clean, crisp German malt. A little grassy, a little citrusy, this beer is mellow and refreshing, like a sunny afternoon in the backyard. The addition of whole flower Simcoe and Citra hops adds a notable lemony zing at the end. Perfect for afternoon sipping at the beach or in the park.

Downingtown, PA 5.2%

Pairs with: Sumac-herbed chicken, pan-fried whitefish, fried clams, coleslaw, potato salad, garden salads and corn on the cob.

 

Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA

Racer 5 IPA

This brew has been winning gold medals since 1997, which in craft beer years is ancient history. Amber-gold, medium bodied, sporting a crisp, almost crunchy carbonation. Columbus and Cascade hops abound in each sip, repping the Pacific Northwest terroir. Pine and citrus notes dominate, dancing across a robust, grainy malt foundation. Touches of fruit, grass and caramel snap along from the sidelines. Refreshingly bitter and full-flavored, but not overpowering. Because summer is too short for anything less.

Healdsburg, CA 7.5%

Pairs with: Barbecue all day — chicken (get some char on there!), burgers, steak tips, sausage, wings, beef shish kebabs, grilled poblanos, as well as robust snacks like cheese fries, pizza and nachos.

 

Bent Water Thunder Funk IPA

Bent Water Thunder Funk IPA

Straight from the tanks of the newest brewery on Boston’s North Shore. Burnt orange in color, this malt-bomb IPA is loaded with jolly tropical fruit notes like mango, stewed orange, ripe pineapple and key lime. The big malt bill adds a toasty, honey-sweet booziness. Herbal and citrus notes flit around the edges of the aroma and flavor.

What sets this brew apart is a notable lack of bitterness to counter all that hop and malt sweetness. It’s unusual for an IPA, to be sure. Some will say the guys at Bent Water missed the mark here, but we argue that they have pioneered a new genre – the malt-forward IPA! Perfect for those who love big, IPA-sized flavor but don’t like bitter.

Cheers to these guys, we can’t wait to see what they do next!

Lynn, MA 7.3%

Pairs with: Chicken Salad, grilled cheese, lamb shish kebabs, grilled swordfish and tuna (especially served with chutney), fish tacos, pork chops, lamb chops, potato chips, sorbet, fruit salad.

Port Wipeout IPA

Port Wipeout IPA

An exemplary West Coast IPA. Dry, bitter, grassy, pithy, and a little floral. The nose is warm, fresh and green, like a sunny hill in Santa Barbara. Each citrusy sip is fresh like ocean spray in Monterey. You’ll catch hints of fruit popping up here and there, too. The brew finishes dry and light for such a full-flavored West Coast IPA. Sips almost like a brut Champagne, but with shaggy hair and sunglasses. Surf’s up!

San Marcos, CA 7.5%

Pairs with: Grilled or fried fish, roasted or barbecued game birds (duck, quail, cornish hen or pheasant), wings, sausage or kielbasa on a roll with grilled peppers and onions, pasta dishes dressed in an oil-based sauce, pizza and flatbreads, and quinoa salad.

 

Bass Ale

Bass Ale

Here we have a beer with true heritage. First brewed in England in 1777, Bass Ale lays claim to the world’s oldest trademark. That iconic red triangle has been featured in paintings by Picasso and Manet, and in James Joyce’s Ulysses. It was also served on the Titanic (talk about ice cold beer!). While the company’s ownership has changed hands and forms over the years, the recipe has survived.

This Old World brew greets the thirsty reveler with mellow caramel, vanilla, herbal and earthy notes. Noble hops and English malt keep it subtle and balanced, with a bit of toastiness. However we were surprised to discover hints of orange and even melon when we allowed it to open up a bit in a glass! All around an easy-to-like beer, right down the middle of the plate.

Staffordshire, England, 5.1%

Pairs with: Fried things — fish and chips, fried fish sandwiches, fried clams, crab cakes, falafel, samosas, as well as hot buttered lobster rolls (toast that bun!), roasted or barbecued chicken, roasted peanuts and buttered popcorn. Makes a great beer batter base too!

 

Boulevard Brewing Love Child #7

Boulevard Brewing Love Child

Because summer is about getting weird, wild and funky. The Love Child series features barrel-aged wild ales fermented with Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus. This latest rendition is tight, tannic and quite tart. We’re talking tart like biting into a lemon — one that was aged in an oak barrel alongside sour cherries, crabapples and wild blackberries, all of which come through in the sip. The big, feral tartness and wild fruit notes are backed by a faint but reliable woody yeast funk. A slight mustiness, fragrant cherries and fresh lemongrass come through on the nose.

This brew has a thin head that dissipates quickly, but it remains effervescent to the end, with a persistent strings of carbonation rising from the glass like prosecco. In fact, the mouthfeel and overall sipping experience is similar to bubbly — light, dry and crisp. Despite the definite fruit notes, there is very little sweetness here. The result is a fireworks display for your tastebuds. Pucker up.

Kansas City, Missouri, 8.2%

Pairs with: Panko crusted chicken, fish and chips, grilled catfish and swordfish, low-spice thai noodle dishes (especially ones prepared with lemongrass), chicken marsala, aged hard cheeses such as Manchego, Gruyere and Asiago, and cherry pie.

Port Brewing bottle cap

Bar Keeper's Friend Cleaning Demo

We have a new friend. It’s a metal cleaner called Bar Keeper’s Friend, and we want you to be friends too!

When you order any item from Craft & Caro that’s made of metal, we are going to include a packet of Bar Keeper’s Friend to help you to keep your new treasure beautiful.

It is with no small amount of consideration that we chose this particular cleaner. We feel aligned with it.

Like many of the brands we carry, Bar Keeper’s Friend is a tried and true American-made product with a long heritage. It has endured not because of slick advertising or corner-cutting, but because it does what it was designed to do, well and consistently.

Bar Keeper’s Friend has earned an organic following based on its performance. It has built a relationship with it’s consumers over years and years. That’s our kind of brand.

Sample packs of Bar Keeper's Friend

This champion of metal was accidentally invented in Indianapolis in 1882. A local chemist noticed his tarnished pots became shiny after cooking rhubarb in them. After some investigation he identified oxalic acid, naturally present in rhubarb, as the responsible compound.

In short time he formulated a recipe for an oxalic acid based powder cleaner. Bar Keeper’s Friend was born. The formula proved to be exceptional as a metal cleaner and polishing agent, safe for use on stainless steel.

The name was trademarked a few years later, after the cleaner gained popularity among local tavern owners who used it to polish the brass rails and tap boxes in their bars.

Old-timey bartender in a bar

Over the years it gained a cult following, as a myriad of other applications for it were discovered. (Check out the Bar Keeper’s Friend website for a long list of uses and their complete story.)

Bar Keeper’s Friend treats copper, brass, bronze, unfinished aluminum, stainless steel, chrome, porcelain, tile, formica, glass, acrylic, stovetops, boats, siding, grills, and more. (It is NOT for use on gold, silver, anodized aluminum, pewter or marble.)

We rounded up our lovingly tarnished Jacob Bromwell copper coasters, to demonstrate what it can do…

How To Polish With Bar Keeper’s Friend

Bar Keeper's Friend laid out for use

Bar Keeper’s Friend is easy to use. 

Wetting a micro-fiber cloth

First throw on some latex gloves to prevent possible skin irritation. Then wet a soft cloth. We recommend microfiber to prevent scratching your precious wares.

Pouring Bar Keeper's Friend onto cloth

Sprinkle some Bar Keeper’s friend onto the cloth.

Polishing a copper ashtray with Bar Keeper's Friend

Then start polishing. Buff in small circles, slowly moving around the item. A bit of elbow grease will help but time is the more important factor. You should notice a difference within 30 seconds. Keep buffing until the item is clean and shiny! It might take a few minutes, so be patient.

Copper Jacob Bromwell coaster polished with Bar Keeper's Friend

Doesn’t that look nice.

You can also make a more concentrated paste of equal parts water and Bar Keeper’s Friend. Use it the same way.

We even dropped our photographer Joe’s Jacob Bromwell money clip into a bowl of Bar Keeper’s Friend and water and it came out like new, no buffing required!

copper Jacob Bromwell Lexington money clip

Just be careful as you increase the concentration, since oxalic acid is mildly corrosive (that’s the idea). Make sure to rinse each item after polishing, to ensure no residue remains on the surface.

A copper Jacob Bromwell coaster being rinsed in a sink

And now the most satisfying moment of any “How-to” cleaning series, the Before and After Shot:

Bar Keeper's Demo-4

Bar Keeper's Demo-84

Cheers 🙂

Filed Under: Jackmauh Tries It
Spring Beer Review pt. 2

Readers loved our Spring Beer Review so much that we decided to pop another six for you! It was hard work but we survived. Here’s to Spring!

 

Professor Fritz Briem 1809 Berliner Weisse
1809 Berliner Weisse

1809 is a re-creation of the unusual Berliner-Weisse style — a refreshing, light-bodied, German wheat ale characterized by a lactic tartness. In fact the recipe includes Lactobacillus, the same bacterial culture used to make yogurt. Berliner Weisse known as a summer treat in many places, but we can’t wait that long.

Pour this hazy straw-colored ale into a tall glass. You’ll find ripe Meyer lemon, hay and fresh grass in the nose. It drinks like a light hefeweizen but with a zingy, lemon yogurt tartness. There’s a subtle creaminess in the mouthfeel that fans of this style find irresistibly satisfying. The wheat body provides soft backing notes of fruit and grain. A great refresher all spring and summer long, especially since this style tends to clock in between three and five percent!

(Pro tip: Can’t find it? Look for White Birch Brewing’s Berliner Weisse in a yellow can! Excellent American version of this brew.)

Freising, GER, 5%

 

Anchor Steam Beer

Anchor Steam Beer

Anchor Brewing’s Steam Beer is the defining example of Steam Beer, one of the only brews with American roots. First brewed in Gold Rush-era San Francisco, this approachable amber lager has the characteristics of an ale. Think of it as the mellow west coast cousin of Sam Adams Boston Lager. Northern Brewer hops, known for their herbal and woody aromas, provide a somewhat gritty but moderate hop profile. Pale and Caramel Malts balance the brew with a toffee sweetness. A strong carbonation keeps this medium-bodied beer light on its toes.

The nose presents hints of caramel and pine but ultimately this is a beer that simply smells like, well, beer! Rightly so. A less sophisticated style than most modern craft brews, Steam Beer was first produced to slake the thirst of tired miners and sailors. Do your part and pop one in the park. A great beer for any Opening Day!

San Francisco, CA, 4.9%

 

Brasserie de la Senne Taras Boulba

Brasserie de la Senne Taras Boulba

A gorgeously dry Belgian pale ale. This beer is hopped like an American pale but unmistakably refined like a true Belgian. The nose is fresh, damp, earthy and faintly floral, somewhere between jasmine flowers and roses. The sip is dry, bitter, almost champagne-y. Slight notes of orange peel and wheat flit by. The finish is tightly bitter, with traces of yeast and jasmine flower.

This would make an excellent alternative to some bubbly on a picnic, especially paired with roast chicken or pan-fried fish!

Brussels, BEL, 4.5%

 

Lord Hobo Brewing Hobo Life Session IPA

Lord Hobo Hobo Life Session IPA

Fresh like fiddleheads. Dank notes of raw sourdough consort with herbal and citrus hop aromas in the nose. A Citra dry-hop session provides juicy notes of grapefruit and key lime that pop on the palate, yet the brew remains light and effervescent. A pale biscuit maltiness with tinges of toasted caramel rounds out the sip. The flavor lightens towards the end, finishing clean. Definitely a session IPA but with more flavor than usual, because why not? Another great one for working up to full IPA hoppiness in weeks to come.

Woburn, MA, 4.5%

 

Alpine Brewing Duet IPA

Alpine Duet IPA

Speaking of which, here is an IPA to hit your stride with as the days get warmer. Big aromas of tropical fruits and flowers rise from the glass when you pour this purebred west coast IPA. Bursts of fresh-squeezed tropical fruit (we got grapefruit, mango, sour cherry and green apple!), spruce and even skunky cannabis greet the palate. A caramel malt backbone and bright lemony notes frame the sipping experience. Despite a full orchestra of flavors, this brew still finishes light and clean. All around a graceful and gratifying west coast IPA. Hell yeah.

Alpine, CA, 7%

 

Stone Enjoy By 4.20.16

Stone Enjoy By 4.20.16

Call it art, call it hubris, call it an affront to science. Whatever you call it, Stone’s Enjoy By series is always fun. Each release is a one-time brew of intense magnitude, “brewed specifically NOT to last,” according to Stone. Every super-hopped batch must be enjoyed fresh, hence its name. Enjoy By 4.20.16 is a “devastatingly dank” double IPA brewed with ten strains of luscious hops! Huge waves of ripe tropical fruit are peppered with a piney spice. The palate reels in ecstasy. A broad, honey-sweet malt body manages to balance the load. The brew remains just crisp and dry enough to be way more more drinkable than an Imperial IPA ought to be! Definitely a far out tribute to an already groovy day of the year. Cheers!

Escondido, CA, 9.4%

Group photo of spring beers

We picked out six of our favorite beers to pair with the delightful scents, sights and sounds of spring! Take a refreshing step out of the ordinary with these unique brews.

 

Saison Dupont

Saison Dupont botte and glass

THE quintessential Belgian farmhouse ale. Saison Dupont’s delicate balance of flavors makes this beer an ode to spring. A gorgeous bouquet of fresh earth, green grass and orange blossoms greets the nose. Take a moment to smell the cork. A faint, pleasant mustiness nods to a long winter of bottle conditioning, perhaps in an earthen cellar somewhere in the Belgian countryside.

Poured into a tulip glass, this rich, golden ale is a thing of beauty. Its faintly perfumed head is solid and rocky, like a meringue. The first sip is joy — crisp, dry and funky. Just like spring, as this ale warms up, bolder notes of fruit and earth unfold. A honeydew sweetness, notes of fresh hay and a gentle, yeasty bitterness add to the symphony. Perfect for that first warm afternoon, when the sun is strong but the breeze still serves up a chill.

Tourpes, Belgium, 6.5%

 

Monchshof Kellerbier

Half pint mug of Monchshof Kellerbier

A unique, unfiltered lager native to Franconia, Germany. Franconia is renowned for its sweet, mineral-rich water, perfect for brewing lagers like this one. A kellerbier (literally meaning “cellar beer”) is cask conditioned, or “cellared” for an especially long period. The dark amber brew is mellow, with low carbonation but a rich, full body for a lager. Most notable is its malt-forward flavor profile. A persistent, burnt-caramel sweetness is framed by notes of cocoa, toasted grain and even stewed orange. There’s definitely more going on here than your basic German lager.

Something about the flavor and mouthfeel recalls the pleasant coolness of a cave. This beer is chugable, a beautiful thirst-quencher after that first bike ride of the season, but it is perfectly suited for slow sipping too. Dig deep for those more nuanced flavors!

Kulmbach, Germany, 5.4%

 

Maine Beer Company Mo Pale Ale

Glass of Mo Pale Ale

We love Mo. This dazzling American Pale is clean, crisp and robust. It boasts a shining hop bouquet that rocks the tastebuds without overpowering them. It is floral, piney, citrusy and absolutely delicious. Each sip has a sparkling dryness akin to grapefruit pith. Couple those bursting hop aromas with a strong carbonation and you get a robust, almost spicy sipping experience. Try this one nice and cold!

Freeport, Maine, 6%

 

Peak Organic Fresh Cut Pilsner

Glass of Peak Organic Fresh Cut Pilsner with can

This dry-hopped American pilsner is tight. Crisp and light-bodied, it features a perfect balance of Citra, Chinook and Centennial hops on the front of the sip. The flavor alights briefly upon a honey-tangerine sweetness then finishes in a dry, herbal, almost perfumey bitterness, the way a pilsner should. It is a flirtatious taste of bigger hop flavors to come, as full-blown IPA weather approaches. A refreshing transition after a season of stouts, porters and spiced ales. Comes in cans, so you can pack some for that first hike.

Portland, Maine, 4.6%

 

Far from the Tree Nova Hopped Cider

Glass of Far From the Tree Nova Cider

Nova is a rewarding venture out of the ordinary. This clean, dry-hopped cider drinks almost like a sparkling white sangria. Massachusetts cider apples provide the juicy flavors of Granny Smiths, green grape and pineapple. Now add aromatic notes of Thai basil and sweetgrass from Mosaic, Galaxy and Simcoe hops. Hello springtime! A Prosecco-like dryness frames each sweet sip. Weighing in at a formidable 8% ABV, this extravagant cider is not to be taken lightly. Get out there and explore the new!

Salem, Massachusetts, 8%

 

Mystic Vinland #4

Glass of Mystic Vinland #4

The crew over at Mystic Brewing have this funky project called The Vinland Series. Instead of employing their house-developed yeast strains, they harvest wild yeasts from various New England crops and brew a special sour ale. First they used yeast collected from the skin of a Massachusetts plum. Then it was a Maine blueberry. Last year’s brew featured yeast borrowed from a Vermont raspberry. This year they’re keeping it weird with yeast from Massachusetts-grown barley.

The resulting brew is a tart, refreshing ale. The nose is dry and musky, with oddly pleasant traces of rotten stone fruit. The flavor starts off with a raspberry sourness that rings and fades. Feral yeast notes accompany traces of crab apple, purple grape and mandarin orange — the effect is a little bit like sipping a fruit and cheese plate! (On that note, let this one open up a bit in the glass before you sip.) The flavor mellows out towards the finish into a gentle, hay-like bitterness. A classy way to get weird, just in time for the onset of spring fever.

Chelsea, Massachusetts, 6%

Make your disposable razor last longer with The Strop!

There is always a way to evolve.

The Strop provides us with a simple step forward by renewing a bit of the past.

It’s actually a classic barbershop tool — that leather strip the barber runs his straight razor over (like in Charlie Chaplin films). Shave Face redesigned it with a special grade of denim, for use with disposable razor cartridges and safety razors. Run your blades along The Strop a few times after each shave and voila! Rejoice as those pricey cartridges last two months instead of two weeks.

You just evolved. And you haven’t even had your coffee yet.

We have all tried squeezing a few extra shaves out of a dull cartridge. You know that struggle. You grin and bear it, while you calculate how many days until you can justify popping on a new blade. A tinge of frustration arises as you try to convince yourself that this system is satisfying your needs.

We say nay! That is no way to live. Deliver yourself from the burning itch of compromise. Break the chains of the feudal shaving system. Take control, by learning to care for a possession you’ve been trained to neglect!

This isn’t just evolution, it’s revolution.

Turn the discardable into the sustainable. And why not do it in style? Raw denim, rich oiled leather and solid brass buttons make The Strop a handsome showpiece for your bathroom too.

Rugged materials, solid craftsmanship, smarter shaving. Love it.

It’s one more way Craft & Caro is helping to foster a smarter, richer daily existence.

Filed Under: Groom, Jackmauh Tries It