St. Boniface Brewing – Paideia Pale Ale – Pun intended

Paideia Pale Ale
St. Boniface Brewing Company (Ephrata, PA)

Style: American Pale Ale
Hops: Single Hop brewed with Citra
Malts: Blend of Malts
Availability:  Year Around Cans and Crowlers (Tap Room)
5% ABV, 55 IBUs
Glassware: Pint Glass

The name Paideia (pai·deia – (/pˈdə/;[1] Greek: παιδεία) is a Greek word to define the Culture and Education of a Society, Members of the polis. Which was valued for its effect on the body alongside the moral education which the Greeks believed; what was said to be a well-rounded Greek.  It “moulded” to the ideal of  kalos kagathos, “beautiful and good.”

The name is a perfect description for this well-rounded and beautifully brewed Pale Ale.

St. Boniface did an excellent job getting amazing flavors in the Paideia. This 5% ABV beer is definitely a successful brew that will make even hard core Hop Heads happy. It looks and tastes good.  Paideia, along with many other great beers St. Boniface is brewing, shows why they have had a steady growing brewery and the reason they came a long way from their small space in the old 1 Barrel brewery downtown Ephrata to their new 15 Barrel Brew House and Tap Room not very far from their old location.


Pour this from the can into a glass and with its wonderful golden color and nice frosty thick head this beer looks worthy of a beautiful Greek Goddess.


The Aroma has some biscuit malts and a nice pull of citrus with Clementine and nectarine notes and fruity hop from the Citra, it feels like a Greek Island summer.


It’s not too sweet and still has a very tropical fruit flavor that reminds me of Clementine and peach with a balanced back of biscuit and English Malts and bittersweet finish.


It is a good medium, between American and English Pale Ale. This beer was sure to change Dionysus mind and name beer as the new drink of the gods. Its light to medium body with a nice amount of carbonation makes it very drinkable.

Overall Impression:

As the name Paideia denotes. It’s a well-rounded beer of the polis that would certainly receive a hop wreath on its Odyssey.

St. Boniface offers Crowlers and Growlers pour so you can always enjoy their seasonal or one Offs.



photo by: Gil Melo




Craft Beer Nation Explores the Ale

FNH - FNH Ale Trilogy - YouTube - CBN

Every Friday evening Craft Beer Nation gathers together for a Hangout On Air on Google + that is also broadcast live on YouTube. Each Friday we explore a different style of Craft Beer.

We recently took a 3 week journey through the Craft Beer Ale, exploring, drinking, discussing, Pale Ales, India Pale Ales and Double/Imperial India Pale Ales.

We drank a lot of beers, and had some great roundtable discussions on the variations of these styles. Throughout the three weeks was a lot of discussion on Hops and all they bring to craft beer.

Here’s a breakdown of our Ale trip.


Beers drank/reviewed:
Matthew Miller – Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Charles Dunkley: – Bronx Brewery, Bronx Pale Ale
Lola Lariscy – Intuition Ale Works, Victory Pale Ale
Tom Snyder – Icelandic Pale Ale – Einstok Olger
Doug Nolan – 3 Floyds, Zombie Dust
Randy Gardner – DC Brau, The Public
Ricky Potts: Firestone Walker Pale 31
Jeffrey J. Davis – Alaskan Big Mountain Pale Ale


Beers drank/reviewed:
Randy Gardner – DC Brau / Oskar Blues – Smells Like Freedom
Matthew Miller – Rhinegeist – Truth IPA
Lola Lariscy – Veterans United – Hop Banshee
Gil Melo – Santa Fe Brewing – Happy Camper
Charles Dunkley – Sixpoint Bengali
Patrick Webster of Erie Better Beer Bureau – Bell’s Hopslam


Beers drank/reviewed:
Ricky Potts – Firestone Walker – Double Jack
Charles Dunkley – Rooster Fish – Hop Warrior
Jeffrey J. Davis – Odell Brewing – Myrcenary
Randy Gardner – Trillium – Upper Deck
Gil Melo – Founders Doom

Besides giving our impressions of the above craft ales we also dove into discussions about sub styles like the Black IPA. And what constitutes a Double or Imperial IPA. We also touched on Hype and its impact on pricing craft beers.

And of course we shared our love of the Hop itself and all of the wonders it can bring to a beer.  We had a great time and each learned something new, tried new beers and overall enjoyed our exploration of the Ale. Like most craft beer drinkers we also took quite a few beer pics during each episode.  You can find those on the Google+ Event pages (found in each episode article linked below.

Above are the full Friday Night Hangout Episodes for each style.  For snippets from each show you can click on the Sips and Clips Playlist link below.

Next we’re moving to the other side of the spectrum and will be spending a couple of shows exploring the Lager, beginning with the Pilsner.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the Ale, and on our upcoming Lager shows. And if you have a style of craft beer you’d like to have us dive into drop us a comment here or hit us up on one of our Social Media sites.

Related Articles

Friday Night Hangout – Pale Ale
Friday Night Hangout – India Pale Ale
Friday Night Hangout – Double/Imperial India Pale Ale

Craft Beer Nation YouTube Sips and Clips Playlist




Avery Brewing – Tweak

Beer Name: Batch No. 1 TWEAK (Formerly known as Meph Addict and Coffeestopholes)
Brewery: Avery Brewing Co.
Style: Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Coffee Stout
Availability: Rotating – 12oz Bottles
17.81% ABV, 107 IBUs

Glassware: Snifter

Tweak is Avery Mephistopheles Imperial Stout, with Avery adding 1.6 pounds of Ozo Coffee Co.’s Organic Isabelle Espresso to every barrel of beer . The brewery aged this beer for four months in bourbon barrels.

Appearance: Pours like 10,000 miles past due for an oil change 0W 20. The beer has a grappling hook and will not let go of the sides of the glass. Holds on for dear life. Like tears that won’t stop.
Aroma: Oak and Bourbon leaps out like Bruce Lee with a vengeance. Beautiful aromas of vanilla, oak, and bourbon. Playing joyfully on the playground with an already Imperial Stout.
Taste: Boozy, real boozy, but what did you expect from 17.81%? Yet, smooth. Doesn’t make sense right? Oh well, you don’t have to take my word for it.
Mouth feel: Coating and luxurious. Sin in a glass. Bourbon flavors exploding with all the characters you’d expect from a rich imperial stout. Deep roastinees, strong malt flavors, cloying (welcoming if you know what to expect). Homerun
Overall Impression: When I first met this Avery Tweak, I can remember that damn thing like yesterday. The way she drank reminded me of a brown stallion horse with skates on, you know. Smooth like a hot comb on nappy ass hair. Her aroma had me almost paralyzed, smelling like a glass of malt with extra bourbon. Sheen beaming like four carats, just blinding a drinker. Felt like I drank a whole case of Heady, my heart was beating so fast. Never knowing this moment would bring another love into this world. Funny how stuff comes together sometimes, you dig?

Okay, so the inspiration for all that was from Outkast (SpottieOttieDopalisciousAngel…look it up), but it is more than appropriate. WORTH THE PRICE!



The Boston Beer Company – Samuel Adams Utopias


From Sam Adams’ Website


Reviewer/Writer: Ricky Potts
Beer Name: Samuel Adams Utopias
Brewery: The Boston Beer Company
Style: Barley Wine
Availability: Limited
Hop Varieties: Hallertau Mittelfruh, Spalt Spalter and Tettnang Tettnager
Yeast Strains: Two proprietary types.
ABV: 29%
IBUs: 25
Glassware: Snifter

Trying this beer was special. The beer comes around every couple of years, and is fairly easy to find. But this year we were invited to share this beer with friends and did so on Christmas Day. My good friend Mickey runs Cellars Fine Wine & Spirits here in Phoenix, Arizona, and was open on Christmas Day. He was also open on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, but Christmas means a little more, in my opinion. When he invited us to share this bottle with him, I couldn’t tell him no. I mean… it’s Sam Adams Utopias. This is a bucket list beer, for sure.

If you do happen to find a bottle, look at spending $200+. Total Wine & More gets a case every two years, and charges $249 for it. At least the last time I saw a bottle sold at Total Wine, that is what it sold for. Plus, this is a beer you don’t want to drink all at once. The beer will age for many years to come, and more than a few ounces is plenty. It’s nearly 30% ABV, after all.

We didn’t finish the bottle on Christmas Day, and Mickey was gracious enough to gift me the remaining few ounces and the impressive bottle it came in. Oh, and he gave me the glassware, too. Just a great experience from start to finish.

Appearance: In the glass, it is seemingly thick with zero head, and a nice thick sticky lace. Oh, and Mickey served this in the appropriate glassware that The Boston Beer Company will provide when you buy a bottle of this beer. The glasses don’t come with the beer, but rather with a certificate you can mail in to claim your glasses.

Not sure if that will make the beer taste better… but it is a nice presentation.

Aroma: That is straight bourbon. I mean… wow. All I am smelling here is whiskey.

I also had the pleasure of sharing this beer with Sheryl. When we were smelling this beer, she said, “It kind of looks like maple syrup in the glass.” She’s right. It does. I didn’t realize they actually used maple syrup in the glass until after the fact.

Drinking this beer has been on my bucket list for a LONG time, and I’m honored that Mickey was willing to share with us. Cheers doesn’t even begin to explain it.

Taste: Holy. Crap. I’ve heard people say this beer isn’t good, that it is too boozy, but they are wrong. This shouldn’t be beer, but it is. So good. Almost puts me beyond words. Oh, and I got a second pour… so I shared it with friends.

Mouthfeel: For as much hype as this beer has, and as thick as it appears in the glass, the mouthfeel is thin, but so hot you can’t leave it in your mouth for long. I just want to swallow so I can enjoy the aftertaste. The finish just lingers for days.

Overall Impression: I only had a few ounces, but the flavor just blows me away. This is a sipping beer. Oh, it’s a sipping beer. I bet this would go well with a nice cigar. I wonder if Samuel Adams would be able to recommend a cigar to pair with this.

“This is the most complicated, complex liquid I have ever put in my mouth.” That’s the quote of the day. Mickey, I owe you big time, my friend. Wow. That is all. Is this the best beer I’ve ever had?

Cheers to you, Jim Koch!



Ommegang – Valar Morghulis

Valar Morghulis

Photo by Lola Lariscy. Clint taught me to build the fire.


Beer Name: Valar Morghulis
Brewery: Ommegang
Style: Abbey Dubbel
Hops: Apollo, Hallertau Spalt (Per the website)
Malts: Secret recipe
Availability: 750ml bomber and 1/6 barrel keg
ABV: 8.0%
Glassware: Snifter

It is not readily known amongst those of Westeros, but Valar Morghulis, in the Valyrian tongue, means “All Humans (and Occasionally Trolls) Must Drink.”

It is whispered in the woods of the North, by the followers of the old gods and the new, that there is a liquid. The drops coat one’s tongue with the tastes of dark fruit and sweet caramel. A shock of spice kicks the mouth like Arya’s horse when startled by the Hound. Much like Tyrion, the booziness makes itself known (particularly at the finish), but doesn’t overstay its welcome.

The complexion is darkened by malt, with a creamy, dense head. The carbonation isn’t abundant, and dissipates quickly, but in a beer this full, you want to get straight to the gold.

The aroma is like the best cologne I wish my boyfriend would wear. It’s malty, spicy-pungent and strong enough to raise [SPOILER] from the dead. I bet this would go fabulously with non-pasteurized cheese.

At 8% ABV, I should not drink this entire bottle tonight. However, the night is long, winter is here, and there be crazy snow zombies out there.



Phin & Matts Extraordinary Ale, Southern Tier

Phin and Matt's Logo

Beer Name: Phin & Matt’s Extraordinary Ale
Brewery: Southern Tier
Style: American Pale Ale
Availability: (bottle, year-round)
5.7% ABV, 37 IBUs

Glassware: Sam Adams

I can’t review this beer fairly. Why not? Because the first time I had this beer, I was sitting across from the beach, in a sun-lit, tranquil eatery. I had woken up that morning with one mission: to go to the beach on my own and have a perfect day. I did, and Phin & Matt’s was an integral part of that experience.

Of course, its appeal can’t all be nostalgic. If I’d had a bad beer that sunny day 6 years ago, it wouldn’t have been the great day it was. So that means this must be a pretty good beer.

Sitting at the crossroads between a red ale and an IPA, the 3 different malts blend together to create a light, caramel-tinged body for the 3 different hops. The hoppiness is subdued, and well-balanced within the beer. I couldn’t find the exact hops (or malts) used, but I get a floral smell and a subtle citrus taste. I’m thinking maybe Cascade and some of the other Cs.

This beer might have been the last of its kind, too. Apparently I caught this bottle right as Southern Tier is introducing their “re-imagined” version, PMX (shortened from…well… Phin & Matt’s Extraordinary). I’ll have to update my notes when I eventually have the new version.

If you’re in the mood for a big, bold beer, then this isn’t what you want. However, if you’re sitting outside, under a blue sky, this is what you might want on the table beside you.



Lola Drinks 3Beans

Sixpoint 3Beans

That’s breaking news, folks. I had Sixpoint Brewery‘s 3Beans for the first time, and it was lovely. Thanks go to Justin for sending it to me.

It’s a full-body, rich beer. It’s infused with the oak from the barrels it was aged in, giving it a woody, smoked flavor.

There isn’t a micro meter of space wasted in this beer. Every bit of it has flavor: cocoa, coffee, malt and a little hint of spiciness—almost like chili peppers. That probably comes from the beans.

The coloring is a medium brown. The head is creamy, smooth and khaki in color.

I would drink this beer any day, and be happy for it. I hope this isn’t my last time drinking this beer! Seekabrew says that I should have full distribution here. I’ve only seen one Sixpoint beer here ever, and that was the one I had Thursday night. Let’s hope I see 3 Beans here in the future.



Stone Brewing Hibiscusicity Review

Hibiscuscity (Randy (1)

Beer Name: Hibiscusicity
Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.
Style: Belgian-style ale
Hops: Magnum, Sterling
Special: Orange peel, Hibiscus flowers
Malts: Pale Malt, Wheat Malt
Availability: Nationwide
7.4% ABV
Glassware: Tulip

Appearance: Pours a bright amber with rich, pink overtones. More than likely from the Hibiscus flowers.

Aroma: Citrus, definitely citrus. They used orange peel and you get orange peel.

Taste: The orange peel and the Hibiscus play so well together! That said, this is not orange peel/citrus some people get from wheat beers, this is orange peel in it’s truest essence. The didn’t spare any here (sidenote: wonder what they did with that metric ton of leftover oranges they obviously used to get the peels). Although the oranges are present, the flowers definitely ain’t no pansies. They’re at the party and damn it they want you to know it. They deliver the taste equivalent of an aromatic punch to the snot box. This beer is well done.

Mouth feel: Very dry, but based on how this is drinking, it needed to be dry. Sweetness with all this aroma would have been a little overwhelming.

Overall Impression: This beer is VERY well done. I admit that I am a Stone fanboy, but normally that’s the case because I am a hop head. However, this beer is totally not a hop head’s delight. In fact, it is a welcomed departure from a ton of hops and in my opinion it definitely highlights brewing versatility in the Stone Brewery. Yep, going back to the store to get another bomber…or two.





October is nearly here and this year Craft Beer Nation is starting a new tradition we are calling #CBNOctoberChallenge

Our inaugural challenge is the #CBN31BeersOfOctober  an October Beer Photo Challenge.











Over on Google Plus is our Event Page where we will be posting pics and comments on all of the Pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers.  Every day in October Gil Melo and I will be drinking and posting our October Beer of the Day on the Event Page and tagging it with #CBN31BeersOfOctober

If you are on G+ come join the Event and share your #CBN31BeersOfOctober beers.  Or play along on Twitter or Instagram

We are really looking forward to seeing all of the different Pumpkin and Oktoberfest Beers that everyone can find.  And now I’m off to stare at my Pumpkin Beer collection to try and figure out which one will kick off the October for me.



Lola Gets a Trip to Zeta Brewery

The first order of business was to find out how it’s pronounced. Zeta like Xena, Warrior Princess? Zeta like Beta house?
Turned out it was Zeta like beta. I’d been saying it wrong.

That was okay, though. I had a very patient, helpful tour guide for my visit to Zeta Brewing at Jacksonville Beach, FL. In addition to giving me a linguistic lesson, the brewmaster, Chris Prevatt, walked me through his entire beer-making process, including listing the ingredients he uses.

He mills his own premium, whole kernel grains, using a variety of specialty grains; darker roast for darker beer, etc. He uses two-row for the malts, and the rice and wheat are flaked. Of course my ignorant self was thinking of flaky wheat as in breakfast cereal, but I’m sure that’s not what he meant.

My big question was about the hops, because a difference in hops can make me love or hate an IPA. He uses Cascade, Columbus, Summit, Williamette, and Fuggle (English style.) Specifically, in his IPAs, he uses citrus-flavored American hops such as Cascade, Williamette and Summit. In his lager he uses Fuggle, and in his porter, Fuggle and Williamette. According to this site, Williamette is known for its “aroma variety with a low alpha acid content,” and is used more for flavor than bittering. I am a fan of aroma and flavor, so I’m on board.

The tanks were seemingly taller than my apartment…grand, silver structures that could have been mistaken for Tin Man family homes. Each held so much glory and promise. He showed us which tank held which beer. He had tapped the lager and was about to mash another one, his 16th batch since the brewery opened in June.

The finishing touches on each batch go into the serving tanks – the chocolate coffee porter gets its fresh brewed coffee during that stage. He uses fresh local raspberries for the puree that’s added to the raspberry wheat. He uses local ingredients such as Ocala honey for the Florida lager and IPA. He utilizes Florida lemons, basil and thyme, and the produce he uses is organic. All around, he is very conscious of what goes into his product.

This gourmet mindset may have been leftover from his days as a chef. He experimented while home brewing for ten years, eventually going to the Siebel Institute of Chicago. He started off in Greensburg, PA at All Saints Brewing Company.

Zeta’s owners (Aaron Webb and Mark Vandeloo) stepped in at that point. They first opened the restaurant a year and half ago, but they approached Chris about moving down to Jacksonville and taking a chance on a new enterprise. He was thrilled at the chance, and the planning began last year.

Right now they are licensed as a brew pub, but they plan to expand into kegs, and then maybe growlers. They are building bigger tanks and putting in a 15-barrel fermenter, a 15-barrel bright tank, along with 2 more 7-barrel bright tanks. This is slated for November or December.

Currently, Zeta Brewing offers 6 staple beers with 2 rotations. The IPA is the best seller. The double IPA, which is called a Grassy Hopper, is brewed with a single Summit hop, and comes in at 8.6 ABV. It was one of my favorites of the 5 I tried that night. Chris said one of his favorite styles is IPA, but saying a beer drinker likes IPA is like saying a foodie likes food.

I recommend the American Garage IPA. The porter was lovely but not the heartiest porter I’ve had. The Private Rye was nice, but rye isn’t my favorite style. The lager was good, and there was a 5th beer that I can’t place right now. None of the beers got lower than a 4 in my opinion. It would be worth the gas and the miles on your car to make a special trip for this beer.

Outside of his own beer, he loves Cigar City, particularly Jai Alai. White Oak Jai Alai got a mention, too. I’ve heard good things about that brew. He also mentioned that he’s fond of Colorado brews.

The public will get to taste a whole lot more of his recipes when Zeta (the restaurant) holds a tap takeover starring Zeta (the beer) on October 2nd, 6 PM to 10 PM. They’re billing it as a grand re-opening, and Chris said that this would be his time to shine…his time to show everyone what he’s been doing behind the glass partition.
Instead of having 8 beers on tap, he is going to have 12, including a saison, a Belgian pale and other small batch brews. There will be prizes and music…and beer. Lots of good beer.