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Hoppy Holidays! New, Returning, and Award Winning Beers
With an assortment of vibrantly colored leaves on the ground and a flurry or two in the air last evening I find that it’s a great time of year to sit back, relax, and enjoy a plethora of new, returning , and award winning beers.   Then again… for me any time of year is a great time to enjoy a beer!
First off, some new news from Leinekugel’s.  Leinenkugel’s has recently launched two brand new beer offerings.  The first is a new offering, for our Summer Shandy loving guests, is Leinenkugel’s Orange Shandy.  This new variety follows the shandy flavor profile of sweet, refreshing, and delicious.  The second new offering is Leinenkugel’s Hoppin Helles.  Helles is a german style lager and the word Helles essentially means light in German.   The “light” as a descriptor of this beer does not refer to the American low cal, but rather the light, golden color of the beer.  Traditionally Helles is similar to a Pilsner beer, but has a slightly sweeter and maltier character to the beer with a more subtle hop role than a true Pilsner.  Leinenkugel’s has taken this traditional German style and added a twist, 5 American hops!  While there is a slight bitterness to Hoppin Helles it is very well balanced and the use of Citra hops gives the beer a grapefruit and citrus aroma and hop flavor. Hoppin Helles will definitely appeal to both the casual beer drinker and the beer aficionado.
Also new from Blue Moon Brewing Company is the Graffiti series.  These new offerings are on the more flavorful end of the taste (and alcohol) spectrum, but delicious none the less.  The first year round offering for the series of beer is Pine in the Neck.  Pine in the Neck is a double IPA that is brewed with Juniper berries.  The name does give some insight into the flavor as the juniper berries (used to give gin its’ piney flavor) definitely lend their piney flavor to the bitterness of this brew while the malt sweetness helps to quell some of the bitterness. At 7.5% abv this beer is definitely a great way to unwind at the end of a stressful day, especially if your boss is a Pine in the Neck.
Returning after a long summer of hibernating is Leinenkugel’s Snowdrift  Vanilla Porter.  Snowdrift is a sweet, tasty, and warming beer for the cooler days of fall and the cold days of winter ahead.  It is a porter style beer that is fermented on actual vanilla (not extract).  The result is a beer that isn’t too heavy, has a malty chocolate flavor, and a hint of vanilla to add some sweetness.
wns4One month ago today the largest beer festival in the US took place, surprisingly named, The Great American Beer Festival.  This event is seen by many beer lovers as the “end all be all” of beer competitions. For this very reason many hundreds (745 breweries to be exact) of brewers flock to Denver from around the US to try and win a medal and put their brewery on the map!  While many of the winners are not available here in WI there are a few you can find at your local Festival Foods.
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