Another Remastered Starr Hill Beer

Tickle the Tastebuds - Beers & Breweries

A Fresh Take on Grateful Pale Ale

Starr_Hill_GratefulThe description of this Starr Hill Brewery flagship beer has changed. The official description once stated, "Grateful is a Session IPA, a fresh spin on the American Pale Ale tradition. A strong citrusy, resinous aroma from the American hops leads into a light body with subtle malt flavor."

On a mission to improve their beers, Starr Hill has modified Grateful Pale Ale to be truer to the pale ale style. The new version hits the malt-hop balance. The delightfully clear, golden ale presents with a touch of citrusy hops on the nose and blends the bready notes of malts with a lemony hop taste. Besides having a taste that an experienced beer drinker can appreciate, it's friendly to someone just getting used to the stronger taste of hops.

"This one's much more in balance, got a little more malt body to stand up to that large hop profile," Brewmaster Robbie O'Cain says. "The big story here is the malt backbone." 

The description of the "remastered" pale ale describes the technicality of the changes: "To remaster Grateful Pale Ale, Carafoam and Torrefied wheat were added to the malt bill for a fuller mouthfeel. A revamped hop bill features Cascade, Mosaic, Centennial and Falconer's Flight in the kettle and dry-hop, replacing Chinook, Topaz and Columbus. The new hop varieties, in particular Mosaic and Centennial, bring out more fruit and citrus notes in the beer. The enhanced aroma and flavor are due in large part to the hop bursting technique utilized in other recent pale ale releases from Starr Hill."

Adds O'Cain, "We didn't want to throw out the soul of Grateful ... For a fresh spin on a classic, try Grateful Pale Ale."

Look for the "new" Starr Hill beer in bottles and on tap – and soon in the Summer Jam Can Variety Pack.

Now that's something to be grateful for.


SAVOR Ticket Giveaway

Tickle the Tastebuds - Beers & Breweries

If you're near D.C., you're in luck!

SAVOR_smSAVOR Diamond Tickets Hidden Around D.C., Granting Access to Premier Beer & Food Pairing Event

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience, the Brewers Association (BA) announced its first-ever diamond ticket giveaway. From May 15-19, five pairs of SAVOR tickets will be hidden in three locations around D.C., each holding a connection to the event's diamond year.

Upon locating the tickets, the five winners will be able to attend the premier craft beer and food pairing event as guests of the BA, where they will have the opportunity to meet and mingle with the luminaries behind their favorite craft beer selections and dine on samplings of sweet and savory small plates.

Hints for Diamond Ticket Seekers:

  • A Philadelphia native, this D.C. hot spot perfects the classic combination of beer and (wood-fired) pizza.
  • Beer and meat lovers visit this spot for the porkstrami sandwich and handcrafted charcuterie.
  • D.C. natives head here, in the Shaw neighborhood, to dine on their craft favorites and Italian-influenced cuisine.

One winner, in addition to attending SAVOR, will find that their ticket also comes with a free night's stay at the Renaissance Washington, D.C. Downtown Hotel, located just blocks away from the event. All winners are encouraged to share their findings on social media using #DiamondTicket and #SAVORCraftBeer.

For more information on the event, including the full menu and brewery list, visit the SAVOR website. Join the conversation using #SAVORCraftBeer.


Ardent's 2017 Growth Announcement

Tickle the Tastebuds - Beers & Breweries

ardent_beer_dinner_settingThe news may not be apparent to the casual observer, like an ale experiencing secondary fermentation in the bottle or cask. But it's big.

Ardent Craft Ales has announced the purchase of their brewery building and property located in the Scott's Addition neighborhood of Richmond – yes, the same property where you've been enjoying their beers since they opened this location in June 2014.

The Ardent team bought the 1940s storage and warehouse building from local developer Scott Coleman of Crossroads Development, who originally partnered with the brewery in 2013 to renovate the property. The sale allows Ardent to proceed with a brewery expansion to support wider distribution, which is expected to begin later this year.

"We are active members of the Scott's Addition community and deeply committed its history and future. Our decision signifies our intent to remain here long-term and to engage in the neighborhood in a more meaningful way," said Tom Sullivan, co-owner and director of operations at Ardent.  

The sale of Ardent's 25,875 square foot property includes the 9,100 square foot taproom and brewery building and a 2,000 square foot of beer garden.


Starr Hill's Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout

Tickle the Tastebuds - Beers & Breweries

Starr Hill Double BassIt's Valentine's Day in a bottle. And if you don't have a significant other who will appreciate this rich, chocolatey Starr Hill stout, then just treat yourself!

A part of Starr Hill's All Access program, Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout is available January through March. The deep brown ale smells smooth (don't ask me how smooth smells – pick up a bottle and see for yourself). The nose presents a touch of coffee, malts and alcohol.

The taste pops immediately with chocolate, followed up by a bittersweet chocolate caressing of the tongue. The initial flavors give way to vanilla undertone and malty goodness. The mouthfeel is full and smooth, with just enough tingle.

And at 7.8% ABV, the beer offers an immediate relaxing effect without sedating you.

Double Bass is brewed with a malt bill of Maris Otter, chocolate, crystal and Carafa II plus golden oats to give it the smooth body. Hops are appropriately subtle: Apollo (assumedly for the bittering effect of dark chocolate) and British hops East Kent and Goldings. Flavor adjuncts are cocoa power, cocoa nibs, vanilla beans and lactose.

Virginia-based Starr Hill Brewery recommends several pairings for this beer: hoisin-glazed baby back ribs, aged goat cheese or gouda, or a raspberry chocolate tart. I'd love to pair this with a creamy cheesecake, to provide complements in the richness and gratifying contrasts in the flavors.

Starr Hill Brewery currently distributes in Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington D.C. (use the beer finder for more specifics). Or stop by the brewery at 5391 Three Notched Road in Crozet, Virginia. 


Hardywood's Membership Club

Tickle the Tastebuds - Beers & Breweries

Family_Tree_Guaranteed_BeersOccasionally, I'll receive news that I don't want to share. You know, like the favorite fishing hole or solitary waterfall hike – those secrets that are better when few know about them. When it comes to beer news that others really should know, though, I let professional integrity overcome selfish intent. (Damn integrity!)

Such is the case with Hardywood's Family Tree Beer Club. At noon on Jan. 18, 2017, limited membership enrollment opens that allows you to get the best of the Hardywood beers – without waiting in the wee-cold hours of the morning, in long lines, while wondering if you've come early enough!

Hardywood Family Tree membership includes:

  • 4 curated seasonal packages, each containing 3 bottles sought-after Hardywood beers and an exclusive member gift
  • Titanium membership card/bottle opener, designed by Richmond’s Machine Era
  • Members-only events
  • Limited beers bottled exclusively for members
  • Merchandise discounts at the brewery
  • Additional surprises

To make the score even better:

Packages will be available for pick-up at the Richmond brewery in February, May, August and November. Packages may be picked up by a proxy for those who are out of the area. Over the course of the year, packages are guaranteed to include Ruse, Foolery, Trickery, Cassowary, Gingerbread Stout and Kentucky Christmas Morning. The first package, available Feb. 4, will include the membership card, two bottles of Kentucky Christmas Morning and one bottle of Ruse.

So set your alarm for noon on Jan. 18! (Or perhaps I should say, set your alarm for 12:01 p.m., to ensure that I get in first!)

For further details and sign-up, visit the Hardywood Family Tree web page.


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