DARK BEER FOR YOUR HOLIDAY CHEER

By Josh Liddy

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The holidays are almost here! That means the cold weather is on its way as well. I don't know about you, but when it starts to get colder, I tend to gravitate towards stouts. More often than not, I tend to reach for the higher ABV ones as well. A nice, strong, stout goes perfectly with the cold weather. Here are some of my favorite stouts with high ABV that we offer at Colonial.

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North Coast Old Rasputin

The first stout I tried years ago, and I've been hooked ever since. Old Rasputin is brewed in the same vein as the 18th Century brewers in England who supplied Catherine the Great of Russia. This Russian Imperial stout sits at 9% ABV.  On the nose you get hints of chocolate and coffee that finishes on the palate, with a strong roasted malt flavor and a dry finish. Highly recommended!

North Coast Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Rasputin

I wanted to mention this one just because of how blown away I was by it. While original Old Rasputin is great, the barrel aged version just intensifies the awesomeness. At 11.9% ABV, this one has no burn at all. This is one of the smoothest barrel aged beers I've ever had and if you love the original as much as I do, you need to try this one.

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Stillwater Artisanal On Fleek

Stillwater does some awesome stuff, and this beer is no exception. On Fleek is a 13% ABV stout that's dangerously easy to drink. You get aromas of dark chocolate and vanilla, with the chocolate very prevalent on the palate. The finish starts sweet and ends with the dark chocolate bitterness. I will be enjoying a four pack of these this Christmas.

Prairie BOMB!

I haven't met a single person who doesn't love this beer. Prairie is becoming one of my favorite breweries, and this beer has some influence over that. Prairie Bomb is aged on coffee, cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, and chili peppers. I know what you're thinking--pepper in beer?! I am not a fan of pepper beers at all, but this one is perfectly balanced. The aroma includes everything which follows on the palate. The pepper comes out at the very end after the intense chocolate flavors. At 13% ABV, there is no burn from the alcohol. I highly recommend this beer to anyone who hasn't tried it.

This winter, I suggest picking up one of these beers for those cold nights. They're sure to warm you up. As always, you can follow us on UNTAPPD at Colonial Wine & Spirits to see what we have to offer and my personal UNTAPPD (jliddy09) to see what beers I've been trying lately.

A "NEAD" FOR MEAD

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By Dylan Whitsett

With shows like Game of Thrones and Vikings, and video games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, mead is a very popular beverage, with a lot of love given to it it many forms of media. It's only natural that we have seen increased interest in this ancient beverage.

Mead is one of the most ancient brews ever concocted by humans, and traces of it have been found in ruins of all the cradles of civilization. Europe, Japan, China, India, the Middle East, all the Americas, and of course, Africa.

The regional variants aside, all these meads have shared one very important ingredient: honey.

Here at Colonial, we have several types of mead, and I have some favorites. Dansk Mjod Viking Blod is a traditional mead from Denmark. It's made with hibiscus, which adds a pleasant floral and fruity aspect, and hops, which helps to cut down on sweetness.

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Another personal pick is Chaucer's Mead, which comes with mulling spices! A perfect winter time treat, this mead can be enjoyed at any temperature, from ice cold to as hot as a cup of tea. It all depends on your personal preference, and Chaucer's Mead is a nostalgic favorite of mine.

The Sap House Meadery is also very fun! Sap House makes several flavors: blueberry,  maple, vanilla bean, and dry traditional. Sap House has a flavor to fit your own "Mighty Mead Nead." 

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Check out this poster from Sap House Meadery that illustrates what exactly goes into each and every bottle of Mead that they make.

Click to expand. Image courtesy of Sap House Meadery.

OFF TO THE PUMPKIN PATCH!

By Josh Liddy

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It's that time of year again: pumpkin spiced candles, pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin pie, and my personal favorite – pumpkin beer! A quick history on pumpkin beers; in Colonial times, during the fall harvest, pumpkin and squash were used as a fermenting medium due to the scarcity of barley at time. There was a reignited interest in pumpkin beers in the early 1990's, which has given us the awesome beers we have today. I don't know about you, but I look forward to this time of the year, every year. I know as soon as those leaves start changing color, the pumpkin beers are right around the corner. Unfortunately, we will be getting a smaller selection than we have previously, but fear not! These are some of my favorite versions of the style.

Core Brewery – Pumpkin Pie v.2

So this is our only (packaged) local option for pumpkin beer, but it is one you need to try. There isn't much going on as far as aroma on this one, but on the palate, there is a nice balance of spices and a very mild hint of pumpkin. This is the perfect beer for someone who does not want an overly pumpkin, pumpkin beer. 

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Mother's Brewing Company – Mr. Pumpkin

Mother's never disappoints. I can't think of one beer they've done that i haven't liked and this is no exception. I had the pleasure of trying this year's version at Little Rocktoberfest and it is a must have pumpkin ale this season. The balance of malts, pumpkin, and spice is perfect. It isn't too sweet and finishes perfectly. The aroma is just like pumpkin pie in a glass! I think the brewers say it best on this one..."skip the pie for a pint." 

Schlafly Beer – Pumpkin Ale

If you talk to any of us in the store, I think this is going to be the unanimous favorite. If you want pumpkin pie in a bottle, look no further. This beer is sweet and full of seasonal spices, just like your grandma's homemade pumpkin pie. The aroma is mouthwatering and does not disappoint on the palate. And at 8% ABV this is more stout than most pumpkin beers but, as stated above, does not take away from the sweetness whatsoever. I HIGHLY suggest you pick up a six pack of this awesome beer.

Autumn is here and these beers are ready to be drank! Come by and pick up a six pack, and as always, you can follow us on UNTAPPD at Colonial Wine & Spirits to see what we have to offer and my personal UNTAPPD (jliddy09) to see what beers I've been trying lately.

HAPPY OKTOBERFEST

By Josh Liddy

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Glückliches Oktoberfest!

Hold on to your Lederhosen, Oktoberfest is here!  This year marks the 184th year of the festival in Munich, Germany. Oktoberfest began as a celebration of the union of soon-to-be-King Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810, but has continued on through the years. At Colonial, we'll celebrate all October long!

What is Oktoberfest without the beer? Marzen is the true name of Oktoberfest beers. A Marzen is a lager brewed in the month of March (März=March in German) to be consumed in October, during the festival. Colonial has an awesome selection of Oktoberfest Marzen beers, both from Germany and right here in the USA.


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Paulaner Oktoberfest Märzen

This beer was brewed 207 years ago for the royal wedding celebration that became Oktoberfest. If you go to Munich for the festival this year, Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen is one of the beers you can enjoy. On the palate, the malty-ness is accompanied by dark toffee notes. This is THE Oktberfest beer you need to have during your festivities.


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Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier

Another beer that you would find at Oktoberfest this year. This is a little higher ABV (6.3%) than most traditional Marzens, but it's as good as the rest! This rich, full bodied beer is perfect to have with your bratwurst.  


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Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen

Though this is a German beer, it's not one you would find at the Munich Oktoberfest. This has been everyone's favorite of the year so far, and I think the brewers describe it best: Rich, golden color. Slightly sweet, malty nose. Medium to big body and alcohol. Soft dryness from long maturation.


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Samuel Adams Octoberfest

First on our domestic Oktoberfest roster is this one from Sam Adams. Some might see the Sam Adams name and write it off, but don't be too hasty--this is a very decent beer. I was pleasantly surprised when I had it on draft the other night. Notes of caramel and toffee are very prevalent, and at 5.3% ABV it's easy drinking and pleasant. Like I said, don't judge it too quickly (like I did.)


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Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest

Another American craft titan, Sierra Nevada teams up with a German brewer each year to bring us their Oktoberfest. This year they chose Brauhaus Miltenberger. This beer has a rich, malty flavor that's balanced well with the German hops they use to produce it. It's a fest beer that is true to the style.


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Boulevard Brewing Bob's 47 Oktoberfest

Brewed in honor of Master Brewer Bob Werkowitch, this beer pours a dark amber; with rich, malty flavor, and hops added for balance to create a great American take on the classic style.

With all of these options, your Oktoberfest celebration should go off without a hitch! From the true Marzens that would be in your stein at Munich to the American versions in abundance right here at home – grab a six pack and some brats and celebrate like they do in the old world! As always, you can follow us on UNTAPPD at Colonial to see what we have to offer and my personal UNTAPPD (jliddy09) to see beers I've been trying lately.

NICE AND WEISSE

By Josh Liddy

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With fall coming quick, something attracts me to German wheat beers. Maybe it's memories of the wheat harvest on my grandparents' farm around this time of year. Maybe it's the color schemes on the packaging. Who knows?! What I do know is that I love weissbeirs. This is a list of German weissbeirs that I tend to gravitate towards this time of year.


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Konig Ludwig Weissbier

A royal beer from the kingdom of Bavaria, this is an awesome beer. On the nose, you get hints of banana and wheat; the palate follows with the addition of very strong notes of clove. This is a shining example of the style and very reasonably priced for such a great import.

Professor Fritz Briem 1809 Berliner Weisse

Now, this one is not a traditional weissbier, in the sense that it is not a plain (for lack of a better term) weissbier, but a tart beer. This is a perfect, traditional, Berliner weisse. This beer is very reminiscent of Champagne, very effervescent, and has the same tartness that comes along with that. Don't be intimidated by the terminology if you haven't tried this style before--this is a very easy drinking, accessible beer. 

Franziskaner Weissbeir

This beer is another staple wheat beer from Germany. If you've been to Germany, you've more than likely had Franziskaner. On the nose, citrus and wheat are very prevalent. Wheat and orange follow on the palate. This is one of the first German beers I tried and I was hooked! This will be a mainstay in my fridge this fall.


I can see myself with one of these beers, on the porch with the brisk autumn wind blowing through the orange and yellow leaves. If you're looking for something new to enjoy this fall, I recommend trying one of these. As always, you can follow us on UNTAPPD at Colonial Wine & Spirits to see what we have to offer and my personal UNTAPPD (jliddy09) to see what beers I've been trying lately.

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