Reason to Drink – Nov. 6th, 2014

Marooned Without a Compass Day. Seriously, look it up. It is a day, and that day is today!

I can’t help but find myself dreaming about being stranded on a desert island in the South Pacific. strandeddesertislandNot in the creepy, “Lost” kind of way, but more of the isolated, survivalist, “Cast Away” type of deal.

I imagine digging through those undelivered packages strewn across the beach. Of course, I would first try to find some companionship in the form of a sports ball with a bloody hand-print, but after that I would focus my efforts on finding those packages marked as “olive oil” or “yeast samples”. Yes, that is a sure sign of a decent beer trade.

Maybe I would find a shipment of the expensive Reserve Club from The Bruery. Maybe I would find a few shipments of homebrew that are headed for judging at a competition. Best yet, maybe I would find a box from one “Whalez Hunter” to another. That would certainly make being stranded a little easier to take.

Of course, I would have to hope that someone was shipping a solar-powered refrigerator too, because I am sure those beers would be less than optimal at tropical temperatures. Yeah, or something packed in dry ice would do (that guy didn’t really need that kidney, right?).

Besides being delicious, I could use the nutrients from the beer to sustain me until I had discovered the natural resources of the island. Also, it takes a few growing seasons to get hops to produce a nice yield…



Reason to Drink – October 30, 2014

Everyone is gearing up for Halloween parties this year. Rightly so, as Halloween did us a favor by landing on Friday night. But, for those of us that need a reason to celebrate on Thursday, October 30th, let me help you out: National Candy Corn Day.


There isn’t much evidence that this holiday was ever sanctioned on the National level, but card makers and writers have been celebrating this confection’s day for some time. The candy itself dates back to the 1880’s when George Renninger first created it for Philadelphia sweet’s maker, Wunderle Candy Company. The treat has evolved over time into the Halloween staple we know and love.

For pairing purposes, we could go the obvious route and pair with something with a corn adjunct, but my tastes prefer to pair the sweets with a nice big, full-bodied stout. In the last few weeks, Founders released a new batch of their awesome Breakfast Stout. Perhaps that coffee and oatmeal infusion of deliciousness would be the perfect choice. I will personally be giving this one a try this evening. What would you pair it with?



Photo credits:  Candy Corn from and Breakfast Stout from



Pints and Quarts Interviews Author Sean Lewis

Thursday, October 23rd for Pints and Quarts | Craft Beer Nation (Ep.020) we interview Sean Lewis, author of We Make Beer – Inside The Spirit And Artistry Of America’s Craft Brewers.  Newly published by St. Martin’s Press Sean writes of his exploration of the American Craft Beer landscape, imparting not only his own experiences diving into the technical aspects of brewing but the love and passion and camaraderie found among many brewers from small operations to the movers and shakers on the American Craft Beer scene.

We Make Beer


We’re excited to have this opportunity to speak with Sean about his experiences that lead to We Make Beer and to where his love of craft beer might take him next.

You can watch the Live Hangout On Air on our Google+ Event Page.  Feel free to comment right on our Event Page so we can share your thoughts with Sean Lewis live.
Pints and Quarts | Craft Beer Nation (Ep.020) Event Page

If you don’t have Google+ Account (and why don’t you?) you can also watch the live feed on our YouTube Channel.  And we will be able to see any comments you make on the YouTube page during the live show to share with the audience.

Live YouTube Feed:




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.



Live Spotlight Event with Sixpoint Brewing

The Craft Beer Nation Spotlight is back!  This time we are hosting a special Hangout on Air on Thursday, October 9th at 7:00pm Eastern.  We will be joined online by Shane Welch, President of Sixpoint Brewery.

Sixpoint is celebrating the release of SENSI Harvest, their new wet-hopped copper ale.  (Check out their videwordmark-bro documenting this farm-to-table-journey)  Craft Beer Nation Pints and Quarts Host Matthew Miller will be live at the new World Of Beer Charlottesville, VA as World Of Beer hosts a Tap Takeover featuring SENSEI Harvest and other outstanding Sixpoint Craft Ales. Craft Beer Nation will be broadcasting the Event on a Google+ Hangout On Air, which will be simulcast on our YouTube Channel and available on Twitter and Facebook.  We’ve been Sixpoint fans for a long time and are thrilled to be able to talk with Shane Welch about SENSI Harvest and Sixpoint Brewery as a whole.  And Shane will be sticking around online for our weekly Pints and Quarts Show right afterwards, also broadcast live.

WOB_CharlottesvilleAnd we are excited to be hosting live at the new Charlottesville, VA World of Beer.  Thursday, October 9th we will be on the air with our Spotlight Interview and our Pints And Quarts show:

7:00pm – 8:00pm: Spotlight with Shane Welch
8:30pm – 9:00pm: Pints and Quarts Ep 018 featuring Shane Welch

And for those of you who will be at Charlottesville, VA World of Beer be sure and stay after our events are done for WOB’s regular festivities.  There will be live music on their WOBStage every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

Where to watch and/or submit questions:
Google+ Event Page

YouTube Live Feed

Use the #AskSixpoint hashtag to submit any questions ahead of time or during the live event.

Facebook Event Page




Pints and Quarts Goes On Location

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Pints and Quarts | Craft Beer Nation (Ep.017) goes live on location at George Bowers Grocery in Staunton, Virginia on Thursday, October 2nd at 9:30PM Eastern. George Brewers Grocery is the best little sandwich and craft beer place in the Shenandoah Valley (and that is saying something). We will pair some sandwiches with beer, and talk about how […]

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.




Scotland Votes Yes or No by Way of Beer Orders

As the beer goes, so goes the country. At least that’s what the Scotland brewery Brewmeister is suggesting. We’ll find out tomorrow if Scotland’s citizens vote yes to becoming an independent country or no to leaving the United Kingdom. In the meantime, though, if you believe that less than a thousand Scottish craft beer drinkers represent the feelings of the entire country, then you already have tomorrow’s answer.

Want to be spoiled? The results were reported in this article,

Of course you could argue that craft beer drinkers are independent minded rapscallions by nature. Also, you could argue that no vote would be complete without the whiskey drinkers. It will be interesting to see if all of Scotland goes the way of Brewmeister’s customers.

(BTW it’s a little pleasure, but I love not having to put in my birth date for a Scottish beer site.)