Romance is not dead. Not here at the CBB offices. In fact, I’m a little hungover from all the love floating around the office. The culprit? We’ve recently been receiving and devouring a variety of thoughtful gifts from breweries, publishers and industry friends. I have to assume these timely presents of craft swaggery are aimed at thawing our frozen, beer-filled hearts for Valentine’s Day (tomorrow). And you know? I think it’s working. Send more! Love needs constant feeding.
With amore in the air, I decided to dedicate this chapter of cool loot to my romance with getting free stuff in the mail. I really do love it. Yet, it should be noted, we are not a beer review site (or a book review site), but we do drink beer (and read books), so we’re always quite tickled when craft businesses send us some of their awesome products for us to squeeze. In this reoccurring column, I will highlight those generous businesses, focusing on the innovative packaging techniques and cool products. I’d like to thank these breweries and publishers for their magnanimity. Here goes…
Früli fruit beer, you exploded my heart
I love beer. Some say (Michelle Hill, specifically) that it’s my first and only love. I do not argue. Yet, I was surprised to find out about Früli fruit beer — a beer that’s maybe about love — or maybe it’s just about beer and strawberries. Sometimes its hard to tell the difference. Till recently, I had never been properly introduced to Früli, a strawberry beer from Belgian — a fresh blend of a white beer and strawberry juice. Then some Früli just showed up on my doorstep the other day (as it’s apt to do). I put it next to these pink flowers to (you know) signify romance:
This witbier warmed at least a few of my heart cockles, and I figured something similar would be a sweet gift for that beer lover in your life. Plus, you can make cocktails with it (maybe that’s a thing?). Here’s three delectable Früli cocktail recipes (don’t hurt yourself):
Fruburry Martini: Früli, black raspberry liqueur and vodka, garnished with fresh black raspberries and a lime twist.
Frulirita: Früli, tequila, triple sec and fresh lime juice, garnished with a lime wheel and a fresh strawberry, topped with orange zest sprinkles.
Frulijito: Früli, Melon rum, muddles with strawberries and fresh melons, garnished with a melon ball medley and mint skewer.
Rogue Hazelutely Choctabulous, the sweetest taboo
Our love for Rogue Ales and Spirits is no secret. If I had to marry a brewery (HAD TO!), it would probably be Rogue. Why? Could be that Pacific Northwest wildness. Maybe its that big heart (community, environment and employees). But it’s probably just because of those damn sexy beers it makes — stuff like Hazelutely Choctabulous — which is actually a fusion of two Rogue classics (Chocolate Stout and Hazelnut Brown Nectar). The result is a drunken dessert (personally, my favorite meal). The recipe is just one of those great Rogue Nation things. From the press release:
“For over a decade, our hardest-core fans and loyal pub patrons have been drinking this blend, which they say tastes like a nutty chocolate candy bar,” said Rogue President Brett Joyce. “We’re thrilled to share this secret menu item with the world.”
I would say go out and buy this for that romantic drinker in your life, but better yet, I’d just buy this for yourself. Dark and decadent, with a rich nutty flavor up front followed by a chocolate truffle finish, Hazelutely Choctabulous will be available in 22-ounce serigraphed bottles. Find Hazelutely Choctabulous near you using Rogue’s own Beer Finder tool. Below watch Brewmaster John Maier craft Rogue chocolate candy in a bottle.
The Beer Monopoly, a book about global beer conglomeration (rrrrr…)
Honestly, since I’ve picked up The Beer Monopoly, it’s been pretty darn hard to put down. If you’re into the actual business of beer (especially understanding how giant beer roll-ups have taken over the world), this book traces the business strategies of the world’s biggest brewing conglomerates, like AB-InBev, MillerCoors, Carlsberg, Heineken and beyond. I would just have to assume it would make a wonderful gift for any girly girl on your list. It’ll finally give you two something to talk about, right?
Dr. Ina Verstl and Ernst Faltermeier employed a career’s worthy of research and knowledge into writing this excellent title, and they’re not only great analysts but great writers. Here’s a little recap from the press release for The Beer Monopoly: How brewers bought and built for world domination:
In September 2015 the beer conglomerate AB-InBev launched a long-awaited takeover bid for SABMiller, the world’s number two brewer. This new book reveals the inside story of one of the largest corporate takeovers.
The Beer Monopoly: How brewers bought and built for world domination provides a fascinating insight into how the Belgian-Brazilian and South African brewers each spent billions of dollars on acquisitions around the world, taking on massive amounts of debt in the process in a sector investors previously considered unattractive.
The book also sketches portraits of the larger-than-life characters who built these firms: Graham Mackay at SAB, the Brazilian buy-out tycoon Jorge Paolo Lemann at AB-InBev, Alfred ‘Freddy’ Heineken at the eponymous Heineken Group, and Jacob and Carl Jacobsen, who founded Carlsberg in the 19th century.
The Beer Monopoly is a perfect case study of globalization where individual transactions seemed to follow the principles of the popular board game ‘Monopoly’: he who dominates a precisely demarcated territory is able to control the market.
Nothing says romance like the globalization of beer, so buy it now. It should be noted that The Beer Monopoly is published by BRAUWELT International, an independent trade journal founded in Germany in 1861 and also one of the leading brewing industry magazines with editions in five languages (English, Chinese, Russian, Spanish and German). Basically, these guys/gals know their shit.
SweetWater’s Grass Monkey, thawing my icy demeanor
There’s no denying Nick Nock’s sexy swagger. Just look at the gorgeous hair crowning the head brewer of SweetWater Brewing Co.’s magnificent dome. Nock and friends have been busy of late and not just with hair things. SweetWater plans to release four new beers alone to the market in February 2017: Grass Monkey (new spring seasonal), Old Man Johnson’s Farm (new Dank Tank), Mosaic IPA (the first bottle released from The Hatchery) and SweetWater’s 20th Anniversary Ale. Tucker Berta Sarkisian, SweetWater’s gracious “Talking Head,” sent along a couple of bottles of Grass Monkey, and it thawed my icy heart just enough (maybe) to make it to spring. Here’s the hot skinny:
Get sprung this spring with this funky monkey of a wheat ale. A big stash of Lemondrop hops were added to the kettle and the dry hop, delivering a big citrus blast. Lemongrass herbs were added for a refreshing twist and exotic aroma. The light malt bill lets the piney, grassy, lemony notes shine. Light in body with bright citrus notes, this is an extremely complex but very easy drinking brew. Available February-April on draft, in 12-ounce bottles and 12- and 16-ounce cans.
Gotta say, crushed those two bottles above immediately. If your Groundhog Day saw six more weeks of winter, then definitely grab some of this delicious wheat ale (then feel free to hole up till spring).
Beer FAQ, it FAQed me hard
Loves me the Beer FAQ. This book is just like what is sounds. It’s a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions summary of the beer world — summaries of styles, ingredients, drinking traditions, the business of brewing and way, way beyond. It’s one of those books you can just pick up and start thumbing through, pick a section and start reading. How do you match the right beer with the right glass? Chapter 16. What’s the big deal with Belgium beers? Page 62. What are the major types of hops and malts used? That’s right up front in Chapter 2. There’s so much! FAQ me press release (FAQ me hard!):
Beer FAQ features insight not only on how it’s made, but how it makes the journey from the brew house floor to the drinker’s glass. The book offers a touch of history, a bit of globetrotting, and a look at the companies and enterprising individuals leading the modern brewing renaissance. It also offers a nostalgic look at beer’s evolving role in pop culture – from advertising to television to movies – over the past century. After reading Beer FAQ, readers will have a better understanding of not just what kinds of beers to drink, but the best places to drink them and the best ways to enjoy them, from the ideal packaging to the proper drinking vessels.
Every beer enthusiast should own this book. Sit it on a table, throw it into your travel bag, put it in the bathroom — it’s a great brain engager for those moments when you’ve got time to kill with your questions about beer.