We begin a series on Abita beers with Satsuma Harvest Wit. We’ll be doing four Abita beers over the next four weeks.
This is an update from a story we brought you several weeks ago about a beer from Michigan. Drinks Americas Holdings, Ltd announced that on July 4th it started brewing and filling kegs for the launch of Kid Rock’s “AMERICAN BADASS BEER COMPANY”. Kid Rock plans to launch kegs of his new AMERICAN BADASS BEER American Style Lager at Detroit’s Comerica Park in time for concert dates July 17th and 18th. AMERICAN BADASS BEER will be available at kiosks within the park during the concerts.
After these shows, a newly formed sales team will begin meeting with and selecting distributors and filling orders in the Michigan market. J. Patrick Kenny, CEO of Drinks Americas, said, “ We will launch AMERICAN BADASS BEER in Michigan starting with Comerica Park and then rolling out to the balance of the Michigan market.
Satsuma Harvest Wit
- Abita is located north of New Orleans, in the town of Abita Springs, Louisanna.
- Abitia first began brewing beer in 1986. That year, the company produced 1,500 barrels of beer. Today, they brew over 80,000 barrels of beer annually and 5,000 barrels of root beer annually, which puts that in the larger craft beer area.
- In fact, they are the 31st largest brewery in the country right now and the 17th largest craft brewer.
- We are going to get into more of the history over the next few weeks, but let’s talk about this weeks beer first.
- It weighs in at 5.1% abv and is made with the satsuma fruit.
- The satsuma fruit is a citrus fruit, something along the line of an organe or a tangerine.
- Pour – Almost Coors lite in color. A little bit of haze, but really not much to speak of. The head is a crisp white, that does seem to stick around for at least a few seconds.
- Smell – Citrusy, but not bitter citrusy, almost organe or tangerine. That would be the Satsuma fruit I suppose. Some spices, corriander, but very light.
- Taste – First taste I get is of bitter orange rind. A little bit of the lighter wheat comes through as well. Mouthfeel is medium with a tone of carbonation.
- Overall, it is an intersting beer. I can see this being a very good quenching beer, and after tasting this I would like to actually like to try the Satsuma fruit.
OK, next week will be another Abita, although to be honest I am not sure which one.
Another week focusing on Pittsburgh. We had some more beer lying around so we recorded another show.
This weeks news story comes from Spirit Airlines and some angry flight attendants. It appears that the new aprons that they have to wear have a Bud Light logo on them. The group of angry flight attendants says that the ads are not only “demeaning” but raise safety concerns, as flight attendants are obligated to enforce federal regulations regarding intoxicated passengers. Spirit says that the new aprons are the latest revenue-generating tactic in its onboard advertising initiative, called Mile High Media, launched in September. Spirit has introduced introduced Hertz ads on ticket jackets and cups, ads on napkins. I think they should start turning the planes into NASCAR style planes with tones of ads on them as well.
Pittsburgh Beers Part 2
- Alright, since we have some time and two more beers left from the beers that we bought earlier, we figured we would do a few more Pittsburgh beers tonight.
- These are two more beers from two of the breweries that we talked about last week, Penn Brewery and Church Brewworks.
- We will start with the Church Brewworks this week and their Celestial Gold, a German style pilsner weighing in at 4.1% abv. As we mentioned last week, Church is actually a brewpub in an old Church, with the brew kettle on the altar. Possibly a little sacrilegious, but hey, it is good beer. In addition, this is going to be a tough beer to get outside of the Pittsburgh area, but if you are in the area you can stop by and either get bottles or pick up a growler of the stuff on premise.
- The second brewery this week is the Penn Brewery and their Penn Wiezen, a Hefewiezen weighing in at 5.0% abv.
Well next week it is back to our amber series. We will be looking at a beer from Rogue Ales Brewery and American Amber Ale. So tune in and listen.
A repeat already, after only seventy-two episodes? Well yes because this is a good beer. We finish up our second wheat beer series the same way we finished up our first, with Gumballhead.
Recently 100 college presidents got together and said that the legal drinking age should be lowered to 18. Their argument is that by making drinking legal it would take away some of the appeal and would then in turn curb binge drinking. Now of course this has caused a very large debate.
At Your Next Beer we’ve always been clear, don’t enjoy the beers we talk about and drive, ever. Similarly, if you aren’t twenty-one don’t drink at all.
Three Flyod’s Gumballhead
- So now wait a minute, didn’t we do this beer already, about a year ago? Actually it was a little more than a year ago, on Episode 12.
- This beer is only distributed in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia , Wisconsin. To you all, I say make some friends in those states.
- Three Floyds is located in Munster, Indiana and has been open since 1996.
- One of the things that has changed about this beer in the last year is it now comes in 12 ounce bottles as opposed to a single 22 ounce bottle. I am a big fan of this change because a 12 ounce bottle is a lot easier to finish for one person.
- The beer weighs in at 4.8% which makes it a good middle of the road beer. A little stronger than your light beers but not as potent as your barley wines.
- The pour is a hazy gold, maybe a little like straw in color for all you farmers out there. It has a light white head that leaves in a hurry as well.
- You smell hops right away with this beer, but once you get your nose in there you smell some biscuits as well.
- The taste is much like the smell, with the hops up front but balanced well by the biscuity wheat and malt.
- Overall, I think this is too hoppy to be a good wheat beer, but if you’re looking for not a wheat beer, you are in for a treat. If you taste this for what it is, a good lighter drinking beer, with some wheat characteristics, then you should enjoy it.
Not sure on direction for next week, if we can get a hold of it, we will be tasting the new American Ale from Budweiser, however if we can’t, who knows!
Another American Wheat beer, this week we roll up the coast of Lake Michigan and look at Bell’s Oberon.
Ames, Iowa is installing a rubber sidewalk at a spot near the Iowa State University campus. This spot is where beer distributors unload hundreds of kegs for bars in the area. When these loaded kegs hit the ground, they have been damaging the concrete and the keg. City officials have decided to install sidewalk pavers that a California company makes using shredded recycled tires instead of concrete. Because we hear at YNB always are on the leading edge of green technology, the sidewalk is using up about 675 tires that otherwise would end up in a landfill.
- Bell’s Brewery, located in Kalamazoo, Michigain, was originally founded as Kalamazoo Brewing Company in 1983 as a home brewing supply shop by owner Larry Bell.
- In 1985 they made the jump from store to actual brewery, and today have two facilities, one located at the site of the original store and another a short distance away which is aimed at more heavy production.
- One of the things about Bell’s, and the major reason we haven’t talked much about it for that matter, is that it isn’t easy to get a hold of. You can only get it in Michigain, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, Florida, Virgina, Iowa, and now once again, Illinois. If you aren’t in one of those states…make friends with someone who is!
- Tonight’s beer, Oberon, is probably one of Bell’s most popular beers, although it is a seasonal beer and typically only available from March thru October
- Weighing in at around 5.8 percent ABV, this is on the high end of the alcohol scale for an American Wheat.
- This beer pours with a very nice white head that takes a while to disapate, and while it does it allows some of the aromas out.
- You have a sweetness from the wheat malt with just a little bit of citrus, sort of orange in aroma, from the hops and a nice yeasty presence as well.
- The flavor is more of the malt flavor but although the hop presence wasn’t strong in the aroma, it is here in the taste.
Next week we are going to be doing a YNB first, we are going to revisit a beer and take another look at it. The lucky beer, Three Flyods Brewing Companies Gumballhead.
Another week another American Wheat Beer. This week it is 312 Urban Wheat from Goose Island Beer Company.
Pabst Brewing is bring back the one, the only, Schlitz. It is coming back with the original formula, after introducing a new formula several years ago and getting a “New Coke” kind of reaction. There is a waiting list in some Wisconsin area stores, and they are only allowing set amounts per person. Basically, they are trying to take advantage of the nostalgic beer market that the younger generation is getting into. Well at any rate, look for it in your local stores and bars soon.
When American brewers started to brew these beers, they were worried about the possibility of yeast contamination, so they didn’t like to have more than one strain in the brewery. The German Hefe’s however required that unique strain of yeast that gave the beer its bubblegum, banana, and clove taste.
So American brewers balanced out the lack of taste from the yeast by including more hops and acutally bittering the beer a little bit more, although it still remained a fairly light product.
312 Urban Wheat
- We have talked more than our fair share about this company on Your Next Beer, so I am not going to go into the history too much. Just remember that it was founded by John Hall in 1988 and has been a big guy on the Chicago brewing scene just about ever since.
- This weeks beer, the 312 Urban Wheat, is actually named after the 312 area code, which is in the Chicago area. It has one of the more interesting tap handles that I have seen, an old telephone receiver.
- Weighing in at 4.2% ABV, this beer used to be a seasonal release but has gained so much popularity that it is now a year round release.
- It pours cloudy and and pale gold, which is what you expect from an unfiltered wheat ale.
- The aroma is along the lines of a light bready smell, with a little bit of citrus and just a little bit of banana as well.
- The drinkability of this beer is really high, it has a really light taste that has a little bit of a citrus taste, with a little bit of malt as well. Like I said though, overall, pretty light stuff. Great for a hot summer day.
Well next week, if I can get it, we are going to be talking about a wonderful Bell’s Beer, Oberon. As you may remember from last week, this beer is just coming back to the Chicago market, so hopefully Jim will get to taste it again.
A new series this week. We’re looking at American Hefeweizens. We looked at Hefeweizens before, but this time we are focusing on American versions. Specifically this show is about Widmer Hefeweizen.
Well I must admit that this weeks news story is a bit of a local one for those in Chicago. Bell’s Brewery, out of Kalamazoo, Michigan is coming back to the Chicago market after a two year absence. The rights to distribute Bells was held by one company who sold those rights to a different company. Bells didn’t like that other company, claiming they didn’t do anything to help their beer brand, but could not get out of the sold contract. So, instead they just left town, even though it accounted for 10 percent of their business.
- Typically speaking, these beers will be a rather pale or light gold in color with a longer than normal lasting head.
- These will be a lowly hopped beer for the most part and there may be some different malt character from the higher content of wheat present.
- These beers, following their German cousins are unfiltered for the most part which will give them a nice hazy appearance.
- This weeks beer comes from a brewery that I don’t think that we have mentioned much on this show, and that is Widmer Brothers out of Portland Oregon.
- Founded in 1985 by Kurt and Rob Widmer they are considered one of the pioneers in the craft world in the Pacific Northwest.
- Jim was actually lucky enough just a few months ago to visit the Widmer facility in Oregon and I have to say it is a very nice facility. Not only is it rather new but they are also expanding with new fermentation tanks to increase their output.
- Tonight’s beer, Widmer Hefeweizen, weighs in at 4.7% ABV, but is not, as the name suggests, a hefeweizen, lacking the yeasty quality’s of true German versions.
- I beleive that the this beer acutally accounts for around 70 percent of the product sold by Widmer, and is far and away considered their flagship beer.
- The pour is an orange color, that is quite hazy as well.
- This beer reminds you it is from the West Coast with it’s hop presence. Although it isn’t there at first, you can taste it on the finish and the bittering stays around for a while.
- If you are expecting the clove and banana with this, you will be disappointed because it isn’t there.
Next week we head to Chicago for one of my favorite lighter beers, 312 Urban Wheat from Goose Island.
In this episode we look at our pinnacle Hefeweizen Gumballhead. It’s brewed by Three Floyds and if you can get it buy it immediately.
Also, Kurt, the lead singer of Spotus left us a mesage asking us to cover Dreamweaver Wheat from Troegs in PA, however since it isn’t widely distributed, we are going to skip that for now. However, we do want your suggestions on what Pale Ales to cover. Be a helpful hand and make our lives easy so we don’t have to come up with ideas. Just leave a comment to this post
Just in time for summer, the often mention Rustico has gotten in a little hot water with the state of Virgina for making beer Popsicles. Apparently you have to serve the beer as soon as it is poured in the state of VA, which makes freezing it on a stick kind of tough.
- Made at Three Flyods Brewing Company in Munster, Indiana which is a rather small but well thought of brewery. It opened in 1996 in Hammond Indiana, but made the move to the new place in 2000 to increase capacity for their tasty beers.
- Distribution is small, only ten states; Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia , Wisconsin
- As for the beer, it is classified as an American Pale Wheat Ale, which is a little off from the hefeweizen class that we have been looking at, but we will call it close enough. It’s only about 4.8% abv and is not available year round.
- The taste, well is a little bit different than the past few that we have had here. It is a lot more hoppy, or bitter, in my opinion, which is something that you usually do not get in a wheat beer. However that being said, you also still have the banana aroma and some of the spice characteristics that we have seen the last few weeks.
Well that wraps up our wheat series, although we may revisit it at some point in the future. Next week we are moving on to American Pale Ales, which is going to be a few more shows that normal. We will be starting with Michelob Pale Ale and working our way up from there. Or as Jim goes cross country to impress a girl, we may have to take the week off. Stay tuned.