These strong, high-gravity ales can be found across a dynamic range of depths and flavors, all a little daunting and intense in their own ways. Bittersweet, sometimes syrupy barleywines aren't for everyone, but a taste here and there can greatly expand your preconceived notions of beer. Here are a few tasting notes from my recent explorations of the style.
The best way to a beer lover's heart might be through a rare, delicious brew, but here are a few other gift ideas for lager lovers and ale aficionados. Be sure to watch shipping dates and order any online gifts soon!
Serious Eats sat down with Samuel Adams' founder and brewer Jim Koch to talkabout their new collaboration beer, their place in the craft brewing scene, and much more.
Among my fellow beer nerds, it's not the need for long sleeves that makes it autumn. It's not the burnished leaves or the candy corn. The real reason to be excited for the coming of fall is the arrival of autumn seasonal beers. Here's a sampler of this year's pumpkin brews.
I set out this year to try some of America's best märzens. These beers are just the ticket for getting you into a fall mood. They're rich and crisp, reminiscent of cool fall breezes and rustling autumn leaves. Check out our recommendations—but also keep in mind that freshness is king. If your local brewery makes a märzen, check it out now. If they've got one on tap, order a steinful straightaway.
For Sauvignon Blanc from France, you gotta know an AOC or two. We sampled some Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé to get you on your way.
For many of us on the East Coast, Smuttynose beer is a standby. Dave Yarrington and his crew make dependably delicious beers in a number of different styles. I'm thrilled to welcome Dave to Serious Eats—he's got some wise things to say about craft beer and some exciting news about some possible new large-format beer releases!
I've been a fan of Surly Brewing Co. ever since my friend Lee of Hoptopia gave me one of his precious cans of Furious, an intensely brisk IPA with some rich Scottish malt thrown into the mix. (Thanks, Lee.) Who's behind this awesome Minnesota beer? A rock star. Literally.
If you haven't tasted a traditional Kriek or Framboise before, you're in for a surprise. They're funky and acidic, with hints of shoe leather and wet dog. These days, you'll frequently see fruit beers with added sweeteners and fruit juices—lots of folks love them, but we encourage you to try the real thing sometime. Traditionally sour fruit lambics may not be beers for beginners, but they're a palate-expanding experience we highly recommend.
Matt Steinberg has been pretty busy the past few months getting his fledgling brewery running, but he took a minute to check in with us and tell us how it's going over at New Jersey's newest microbrewery.
While we're not really all that interested in who can make the sourest beer imaginable, we're thrilled at all the great, creative fruit beers coming out of American breweries. Some of these delectable examples are juicy, zippy, and full of real fruit flavor; others are funky and horsey, quite challenging for the beginner—and sometimes thrilling to the nerdiest among us. These aren't beers for chugging in front of a game; they're complex sips that demand your full attention. We consider ourselves very lucky to have gotten a taste.
Hefeweizen is a wheat beer, but for lovers of serious beer, what makes it exciting is the yeast. (Hefe actually means yeast in German, so this shouldn't be a huge surprise.) The special ale yeasts that are used to make traditional German Hefeweizen produce crazy flavors and aromas during fermentation—you can taste cloves and banana, spice and smoke, even traces of vanilla and bubblegum.
Among beer nerds, few brewmasters are more revered than Tomme Arthur, the magician behind the crazy-sour, oak-aged, fruit-spiked, microorganism-inoculated beers of Lost Abbey. A taste of one of his beers will expand your palate (and quite possibly blow your mind.) Thanks for answering our questions, Tomme!
Ever wonder who decides what beers go on the menu at your favorite restaurant or watering hole? We did too, and then we met David Flaherty and found out all about it. (We also found out about his first time...drinking craft beer, that is.)
We rounded up 24 specially-released-for-summer beers, but more are showing up in the stores every day. The best of the bunch are refreshing, flavorful and fun. Good summer beers aren't just light beers to keep you company while you're mowing the lawn; they're food-friendly options to pair with curry and sushi, barbecue and burritos.
If you live in the New York area, you may have spotted Captain Lawrence beers on tap at restaurants around town. We highly recommend you give them a try—next thing you know it, you may find yourself on the Metro-North train at an ungodly hour making your way the brewery for a special limited-edition beer release. We caught up with Captain Lawrence's owner and head brewer Scott Vaccaro for the latest in our brewmaster interview series.
We continue our IPA explorations in the state of Washington. If you have a chance to visit The Evergreen State, be sure to seek out IPA on tap—many of the great ones never see a bottle. Keep reading to see if any Washington beers get included in our new Serious Beer Best IPAs list.
If you were recently diagnosed with celiac disease, you may be wondering if your last beer was...well, your last. If you're a host to guests who can't eat wheat or barley, you may be curious about what sorghum beer tastes like. And if you're a restaurant, store, or bar owner, you may wonder if any gluten-free beer could be worth having in stock. We tried every gluten-free beer we could get our hands on, and the news is good: plenty of them are tasty and drinkable. While none of these are our new favorite brews, they're far better than we feared.
In 1993, Dan Carey left a job with Anheuser-Busch to start his own brewing company, New Glarus Brewing Company, with his wife, Deb. Since then, Carey's beers (including some unusual spontaneously-fermented fruit beers) have won countless awards and garnered attention from beer lovers around the globe. We're so glad that Dan had a minute to chat with Serious Eats.