My new homebrew labels. What do you think?
A ruling last month in a lawsuit that an out-of-state beer importer brought against the New York State Liquor Authority has ended a major tax and fee exemption for small brewers in the state, which will cost them millions of dollars in previously-waived costs.
The lawsuit was filed by Massachusetts-based Shelton Brothers in the wake of the SLA’s rejection of a handful of Ridgeway beer labels in 2006 on the grounds that they would appeal to underage drinkers. The importer claimed First Amendment rights were violated by the Authority’s censorship of the labels, but then went one step further to also challenge the Constitutionality of the Authority’s label registration fees and excise taxes, which were levied for all out-of-state brewers and waived for small in-state brewers.
To resolve the lawsuit, the State Liquor Authority issued new rules [PDF] two weeks ago that lifted the 12-year old excise tax exemption, which applied to the first 200,000 barrels of beer brewed by in-state brewers. Since all but two in-state brewers brew less than that amount, nearly every drop of beer brewed by a New York craft brewery was previously not taxed by the state. It now will be, effective immediately, and retroactive to March 28th. In addition, the authority has re-imposed the $150 label registration fee that was previously waived on in-state batches of beer smaller than 1,500 barrels. Many of New York’s smallest brewers will be subject to this fee for the first time.
The Coolship has arrived! Beermail from Portland, Maine.
According to The Brew Kettle in Strongsville, Ohio, the White Rajah is a west coast style IPA full of citrus and tropical hop flavor with an assertive but smooth bitter finish. I’m very excited to review this one since it’s very highly rated on Beer Advocate, I love the style, and it’s very difficult to find outside of Ohio. The bottle says it has 6.8% ABV and 70 IBU. Let’s go ahead and crack it open.
Appearance- pours a clear bright copper/orange hue with a finger of white head that clings to the glass with every sip.
Smell- the first waft of this is very inviting and gets my taste buds salivating. Sweet tropical fruit notes like mango, passionfruit, and pineapple dominate, while a tinge of citrus hangs in the background. Based on the smell alone this beer definitely belongs in the world class IPA conversation.
Taste- has a solid malt backbone for the style, but that is obviously not what this beer is about. This is a hop forward beer with a soft bitterness from start to finish. Tropical and citrus flavors are widespread and intermingle nicely. Just as the bottle states the beer has an “assertive but smooth bitter finish”.
Mouthfeel- dry and medium bodied as expected for a west coast style IPA, good carbonation/plenty of bubbles, with a bit of oiliness from the hops.
Drinkability- very easy to drink. I wish I had more than one. This is very very good IPA and deserves it’s high ranking. Well done Ohio. I definitely will be looking forward to any more Brew Kettle beers that come my way.
Overall- A. This IPA is definitely in the world class IPA conversation. It’s easy to drink, smells fantastic, and has a soft yet assertive bitterness. Drink it!
It’s that time of the year again. The Christmas tree is decorated, A Charlie Brown Christmas is playing, cookies are in the oven, and baby…it’s starting to get cold outside. So what style of beer are you grabbing for after a long day of holiday shopping?
For me it is always something Belgian. The sweet and rich malt flavors and the fruit and spice aromas imparted by Belgian yeast are a perfect complement to the holiday season. Plus, many of them have and ABV of 10% or higher which always helps the stress of the holidays just melt away.
So here are some notes I took on a few Belgian and Belgian style beers from a recent tasting that will hopefully help you happily get through the holidays.
Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer Division- while pleasant and fun to sing/drink (especially with your grandmother) these beers are just never going to be holiday classics. I think they may be more appropriate some other time.
Mikkeller Not Just Another Wit- (7%) orange peel, coriander, hops. Dry and light malt backbone, orange honey color with a high ABV for style. Great beer…but I might save this one for Easter.
Toria Tripel- (8.5%) light straw color with light body, lemon and Belgian yeast aroma, very dry and drinkable…but it just does not have the malt backbone required for a holiday beer.
Maredsous Tripel- (10%) another tripel which for me just does not seem to be the Belgian style fit for the holidays due to its soft malt characteristics. Dry, citrusy, with golden color and light body. Alcohol definitely is noticeable and cloying. I only needed a little of this before I wanted to move on.
Leave some for Santa instead of milk Division- these are very good holiday beers and I’m sure Santa would be very grateful after all that milk…plus these should be shared with others anyways.
St. Bernardus Christmas- (10%) now this is what I’m talking about. Dark brown/black with caramel malts, candied sugar making their presence felt and rich fruit and spice aromas floating around. This one will definitely make your Christmas stress float away. A definite Christmas classic.
Gouden Carolus Cuvee Van De Keizer Blauw - (11%) This is a big beer and I’d just give Santa a little pour. Dark, alcoholic, and sweet with candi sugar and caramel. Opaque Dark Brown with dark fruits and spice wafting around. Smooth and silky mouthfeel. Definitely very good…but I could not drink a lot of it.
Mikkeller Santa’s Little Helper- (10.9%) Yes please…I’ll have another. Sharing many of the characteristics of the St. Bernardus and Golden Carolus…but with big chocolate roast and stout like characteristics to boot. Pours black and is very smooth and silky. A great holiday sipper.
Got me singing Fa la la la la along with Justin Bieber Division- these beers are amazing and established Belgian and holiday classics. If you have never had them, find them and put them in your family’s stockings. This is what people are talking about when speaking of great Belgian beer. They get me excited enough to sing loudly and spread holiday cheer.
St. Bernardus Abt 12- (10%) Dark brown with creamy head. Rich and malty with the aromas of the classic Belgian yeast and smooth mouthfeel. Go ahead and just get some.
Rochefort 10- (11.2%) For me this is the beer I want to drink on Christmas. It has everything I could possibly want from a holiday beer. Great dark brown color with red hues. Dark fruit aroma and flavor, goes down easy with just a slight alcoholic taste and a sublime mouthfeel.
The Abner is an Imperial IPA from Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro Bend, Vermont. Named after the brewer Shaun Hill’s great grandfather the Abner is described by the brewery as dutifully crafted from American malted barley, a plethora of American hops, our ale yeast and water from Abner’s well. It is unfiltered, naturally carbonated, and double dry hopped…aromatic and flowery, and bursting with notes of citrus and pine.
Ingredients: Pale and Caramel Malt; Dextrose; Chinook, Citra, Columbus, Simcoe, and Warrior hops; Ale Yeast, and our Well Water.
170 Theoretical IBUs
I was lucky enough to pick up a small growler of this at Hill Farmstead’s Harvest Festival Event.
Appearance- poured into a hill farmstead wine glass from 750 filled at the brewery’s harvest festival. Pours a cloudy tea color- amber yellow orange- can see bubbles floating to the top of the glass- small head leaves nice lacing
Smell- tropical fruits, pineapple, juicy…fantastic aromas pouring out of this
Taste- lot like the smell…bitter on the end…hits the lips full of tropical and citrus notes…pine…ends a bitter dry
Mouthfeel- crisp and dry nice light body…
Drinkability- all night long…i can’t imagine ever getting tired of this…if only it was not for the 8% ABV
Overall- A+. this is a world class imperial IPA. One of my favorite offerings from Hill Farmstead and that is really saying something. I can’t wait till i get a chance to have another glass.