Review: Omission Gluten-Free Pale Ale, Widmer Brothers

Omission Pale Ale
Widmer Brothers Brewing Co. — Portland, OR

  • Style:  Gluten-free Pale Ale
  • Bitterness:  33 IBU
  • Malts:  Pale, Caramel 10, Dark Munich, Carapils
  • Hops:  Cascade, Citra
  • ABV:  5.8%  
  • Sampled:  12 oz. bottle (provided by brewery)

Description:  "Bold and hoppy, Omission Pale Ale is a hop-forward American Pale Ale, brewed to showcase the Cascade hop profile. Amber in color, Omission Pale Ale’s floral aroma is complimented by caramel malt body, making for a delicious craft beer." — Widmer Brothers Brewing Co.

Random thoughts:  I'm tasting this as part of my series on gluten-free beer.  Widmer's Omission gluten-free beers are made with a proprietary process that removes the gluten during the brewing process. I originally tasted both Omission beers as part of a launch event in April.

The tasting:  Copper in color with an off white head that dissipates fairly slowly. It's clear with a fair amount of light sedimentation floating in suspension. Aroma of sweet caramel, with citrus and pine. Flavor is very similar to aroma with the addition of bready malt. The caramel is prominent in both aroma and flavor. Omission Pale Ale is medium bodied and softly carbonated. While it's not overly bitter, the grapefruit hop bitterness lingers in the finish. Mild alcohol is noticeable in the middle. 

Rating:  3 star.  Good.  I would drink this again if someone give it to me.  First and foremost, this tastes like a "normal" beer. That's actually a huge accomplishment! It doesn't have the weird off-putting flavor present in most sorghum-based beers. I could easily see myself drinking this again. Since I'm not celiac, I wouldn't actively seek it out, though. However, it's a fine Pale Ale that stands up well to it's gluten-based brethren.

Rating (if I was Celiac):  4 star.  Really Good!  I want this again!  If I was celiac, I'd literally be stockpiling this beer in preparation for the zombie apocalypse or some other unforeseen event. If  subjected to nothing but regular gluten-free beer, this would seem like a gift from heaven.

Have you tasted Omission Pale Ale? What's your favorite gluten-free beer?

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Beer Run: Summer Seasonal Brews

Every few months, I usually assemble and review a handful of seasonal beers. With just a few days left until the unofficial end of summer, I thought I'd recap the summer brews I formally reviewed this season. Click to see the full review. I’ve tasted others, but didn’t get around to writing about them. Lazy blogger, I know…

Have you tasted any of these?  What are your favorite summer beers?  Let me know, and I’ll try to add them to my tasting list for next summer.  

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Review: Porch Rocker, Samuel Adams

Porch Rocker
The Boston Beer Co. — Boston, MA

  • Style:  Radler
  • Bitterness:  8 IBU
  • ABV:  5.5%  
  • Malts:  2-Row Pale malt blend
  • Hops:  Hallertau Mittelfrueh Noble
  • Sampled:  12 oz. bottle

Description:  "Perfect for any summer day, Samuel Adams® Porch Rocker™ was inspired by traditional Bavarian Radlers that mix beer with German-style lemonade. Our bright and citrusy Radler is a Helles beer with a fresh-squeezed lemon taste, effervescent sweetness, and slightly tart, refreshing finish. A light malt character and hint of hops balance out this satisfying summer brew." — Samuel Adams

Random thoughts:  We broke 100° F a few weeks ago, so I stayed cool with the help of air conditioning and summer seasonal beers. Radlers (or shandies) are a blend of beer and lemonade (or lemon soda). Instead of mixing my own, I'm sampling Porch Rocker, Sam Adams' new summer seasonal. I recently tasted and profiled Leinengukel's Summer Shandy.

The tasting:  Light golden in color with a white head that dissipates fairly quickly into a ring of bubbles. It's clear with plenty of effervescence floating through the glass. Aroma of bread and strong lemony citrus. Flavor starts with lemon, which is quite prominent. In the middle, bread/ biscuit malt emerge, along with mild herbal and spicy hops. Both the lemon aroma and and flavor have an artificial taste. They're strong and remind me of a lemon soda. Hop bitterness and alcohol aren't noticeable. Porch Rocker is light bodied with lively carbonation. It finishes with a mild citrus rind flavor.

Rating:  2 star.  Drinkable, but not sure I want to.  I wasn't a fan of the lemon flavor. The next time I want a Radler / Shandy, I think I'll mix my own.

Have you tasted Sam Adams' Porch Rocker? Do you like Shandies? What beer do you use and how much lemonade do you use?

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Review: Purple Haze, Abita Brewing

Purple Haze
Abita Brewing Co. — Abita Springs, LA

  • Style:  Lager w/ Fruit
  • Bitterness:  13 IBU
  • ABV:  4.2%  
  • Malts:  Pilsner and wheat
  • Hops:  Vanguard
  • Calories:  128 per 12 oz.
  • Sampled:  12 oz. bottle

Description:  "Purple Haze® is a lager brewed with real raspberries added after filtration. It is brewed with pilsner and wheat malts and Vanguard hops. The berries add a fruity aroma, tartly sweet taste and a subtle purple color and may see fruit pulp in the beer.  This beer is best served with salads or light fruit desserts, such as soufflés or chiffon cakes. Many people enjoy it with chocolate desserts. Purple Haze® pairs well with certain cheeses, such as ripened Brie or any dessert made with mascarpone. It’s also great paired with entrees prepared with fruit, especially citrus. Consider enjoying Purple Haze® alone at the end of your meal as dessert." — Abita Brewing Co.

Random thoughts:  I'm drinking Purple Haze as part of my series on summer seasonals. A raspberry wheat brew is the quintessential summer fruit beer, in my opinion. Purple Haze is a bit unusual because it's a lager. Most fruit beers are ales.

The tasting:  Golden orange, hazy, with a faint purple hue. It’s a well named beer! Its head of fine white bubbles dissipates fairly slowly. Aroma of bread and raspberry. While faint in the nose, the raspberry is prominent in flavor. It doesn’t overwhelm and is at the “right” level for my tastes. The flavor of tangy wheat emerges in middle.  Hop bitterness is low and allows the tart raspberry to shine through. Sweetness is very subtle and alcohol is not noticeable in aroma and flavor. Purple Haze is light bodied, moderately carbonated, and finishes with wheat and raspberry.    

Rating:   4 star.  Really Good! I want this again!  This is a simple beer—and that’s a good thing.  When you have a great combination like raspberry and wheat, there’s no need to over complicate. If you’re looking for a simple, but good beer with real fruit flavor, check out Purple Haze. It’s available year round.

Have you tasted Abita Purple Haze?

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Review: St. Lupulin, Odell Brewing

St. Lupulin
Odell Brewing Co. — Fort Collins, CO

  • Style:  Pale Ale
  • Bitterness:  46 IBU
  • ABV:  6.5%  
  • Malts:  Not specified
  • Hops:  Not specified
  • Sampled:  12 oz. bottle

Description:  "A mystical legend echoes in our brewhouse – that of St. Lupulin (loop-you-lin) the archetypal hophead. He devoted endless summers to endless rows of hops, tending to the flowers and the beloved resin within – lupulin. Extraordinary oils in this yellow resin provide this dry-hopped extra pale ale with an undeniably pleasing floral aroma and clean, crisp finish. One sip of this seasonal summer ale and you too, will believe." — Odell Brewing Co.

Random thoughts:  St. Lupulin is Odell's summer seasonal. Odell doesn't distribute in Oregon, but Oregonians recently had the opportunity to taste this beer at the Oregon Brewers Festival.  I'm a big fan of Odell's label artwork. The St. Lupulin label shows hops bines, which can grow up to 50 feet high. They're an amazing sight! Last summer, I visited Goschie Farms during hop harvest and made a short video that shows the hop harvesting and sorting process. Check it out.

The tasting:  Golden orange in color, hazy, with a white head that dissipates very slowly leaving plenty of lacing on the glass. Aroma of caramel, pine, with bright grapefruit citrus. Flavor mirrors the aroma. Alcohol is present in the middle. Hop bitterness is pronounced, but does not go over the top. St. Lupulin is medium bodied, moderately carbonated, and has a slick mouth feel. It finishes dry with lingering notes of bitter pine.

Rating:   4 star.  Really Good! I want this again!  As the name implies, this beer is all about the hops. However, unlike many beers that showcase hops, it's very well balanced. It has plenty of hop aromatics and flavors, but lacks the tongue scraping bitterness. I expect Odell achieved this through generous late boil hop additions and perhaps some dry-hopping. If you're looking for a hoppy (but balanced) beer, search for St. Lupulin before he disappears for the year!

Have you tasted Odell's St. Lupulin?

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Review: Mexican Logger, Ska Brewing

Mexican Logger
Ska Brewing Co. — Durango, CO

  • Style:  Mexican Lager
  • Bitterness:  18 IBU
  • ABV:  4.2%  
  • Malts:  Not specified
  • Hops:  Saaz
  • Sampled:  12 oz. bottle 

Description:  "Some beers work a littler harder than others for your enjoyment. This one chops down trees all day for it. The perfect Mexican Lager. Light and refreshing, it really hits the spot after a long day of brutal chainsaw work." — Ska Brewing Co.

Random thoughts:  Back in March, I profiled Ska's Modus Hoperandi. A reader suggested I try Mexican Logger, Ska's summer seasonal. Ska doesn't distribute in Oregon, so I picked this up during a recent trip to Arizona. The label you see in the picture above was not the beer's original label artwork. There was a bit of controversy about its political correctness, and it was redesigned. For more details, click here.

The tasting:  Light gold in color, clear, with a white head that dissipates fairly quickly. Aroma of bready malt with grassy and spicy hops. The flavor mirrors the aroma. Overall, it's simple and clean with no off flavors. Hop bitterness is very low and alcohol isn't noticeable in aroma or flavor.  Mexican Logger is light bodied, softly carbonated, and finishes dry. It's quite refreshing—you might find yourself drinking a few of these on a hot summer day.  

Rating:   4 star.  Really Good! I want this again!  As part of my homebrewing "research," I've learned that making a good clean lager is not easy to do because there is nowhere for flaws to hide. In a heavily hopped, high ABV, or flavored beer, flaws (off-flavors) can be easily masked. Not so with this style. I've gained a new found appreciation for the light lagers (the non macro variety). If Mexican Logger is available in your area, try it before it disappears for the season!

Have you tasted Ska's Mexican Logger?

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Budweiser's Project 12 Small Batch Beers

The craft beer market segment has been rapidly growing over the past decade. It's a lucrative business and the big guys want a piece of the action. Miller-Coors owns the Blue Moon and Leinenkugel brands. Anheuser-Busch InBev owns Shock Top, Goose Island, and even 32.2% of Craft Brew Alliance (parent company of Widmer Brothers, Redhook and Kona Brewing). Craft beer geeks are likely to argue that Blue Moon, Leinenkugel, and Shock Top are not true craft beers, but that's a discussion for another day.

Anheuser-Busch recently launched "Project 12". Budweiser is brewed in 12 cites across the US. Each of the AB brewmasters was asked to create a variation of Budweiser. The resulting brews were narrowed down to six beers (labels shown in this post). Based on consumer feedback, Budweiser will release the top three as part of a limited edition sampler pack this fall.

While "Small Batch" is a relative term, Budweiser seems to be borrowing a play from the craft brewer playbook. It's a smart move. After all, if you can't beat 'em, might as well join 'em! However, this has me wondering who the Budweiser marketing folks are targeting with Project 12. Are they wooing existing Bud consumers, casual craft beer drinkers, or craft beer geeks?

My guess is they're going after macro and casual craft beer drinkers. I highly doubt craft beer geeks will be interested in Project 12—and I expect AB is fully aware of this. However, since craft beer geeks are a relatively small part of the market, they aren't needed to make this a successful experiment.

What do you think about Project 12? Are you likely to try any of these beers?  I think Batch 23185, a light-amber all-malt bourbon cask lager aged on bourbon staves and vanilla beans, looks the most intriguing.  However, if none of these look appealing to you, you can always try the Budweiser & Clamato Chelada.  Yum....

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Samuel Adams' Facelift

Samuel Adams is getting a facelift.  As part of their Q2 Earnings Conference Call on August 1, Boston Beer executives discussed their plans to update branding and packaging for the venerable Sam Adams beer line.

Early in the call, Jim Koch, Boston Beer Chairman revealed, “…As we enter the third quarter, we are updating the packaging for all Sam Adams styles and have introduced the next evolution of our brand communication which builds on our previous messaging.

Towards the end of conference, Martin Roper, President and CEO added, “We are in the process of completing a complete packaging redesign, which given the number of SKUs we have is a major investment in rollout plus as Jim mentioned in his prepared comments, we’ve just rolled out new creative that we are standing behind. So I think from a brand perspective, we feel good that we have great beers, that we have great brand position that some of what we're seeing is the dynamics of the route to market right now.

In recent memory, Widmer Brothers, Redhook (both owned by Craft Brew Alliance), and Pyramid Brewing also revamped branding. As the craft beer market continues to expand, branding is increasingly important as breweries attempt to distinguish themselves in a crowded market. 

The new Samuel Adams' designs are now making their way onto shelves. Below is a sneak peak at some of the new labels, as well as the old versions. In the new designs, Mr. Adams is featured prominently and a vibrant color palette is used. They also utilize different typefaces for the beers' names. While I like the look of the individual labels, they appear less cohesive from an overall branding perspective, in my opinion. What do you think of Sam Adams’ new look? 

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Homebrew #13: Bourbon Barrel Brown Ale

I've tasted quite a few barrel-aged beers since I started this blog. The original contents of the barrel (spirits or wine) penetrate the oak to add depth, complexity, and flavor to beer. Most craft brewers dabble with barrel aging, while others have extensive barrel-aging programs.

As a homebrewer, I've wanted to make a barrel-aged beer. However, there's a problem. Most oak barrels hold 55 gallons. That's a heck of a lot of beer if you brewing 5 gallons of beer at a time! So what do to? Simple, partner with other brewers to fill the barrel. Remember the scene from "Witness" where Harrison Ford and the Amish built a barn in an afternoon? Well, this was just like that, except replace the barn with beer, add a few propane burners and wort chillers, and you're there! So maybe it wasn't like Witnessbut it's a great movie, so watch it again if you haven't seen it lately.

Back to the beer... Mainbrew, one of my local homebrew stores obtained a few used Bourbon Barrels from Big Bottom Whiskey in Hillsboro, OR.  Through the magic of social networking, some local homebrewers and I decided to get together to fill that barrel.  We all agreed that a brown ale would be mighty tasty so Doug from Mainbrew developed a single recipe for each of us to brew independently: 

  • Style:  Imperial Brown Ale
  • Type:  All Grain
  • Boil Volume:  6.5 gallons
  • Batch Size: 5.0 gallons
  • Boil Time:  60 min.
  • Est. Stats:
    • Target OG: 1.083
    • Target FG: 1.024
    • ABV:  7.7%
    • IBUs:  39
    • SRM:  22.5
  • Efficiency:  70%
  • Grains: 
    • 6.5 lbs. Maris Otter Pale Malt
    • 6.5 lbs. Breiss 2-Row Pale Malt
    • 2.0 lbs. Munich Malt
    • 8.0 oz. Brown Malt
    • 8.0 oz. Carastan 30/37L
    • 8.0 oz. Special Roast
    • 8.0 oz. Honey Malt
    • 6.0 oz. Melanoiden Malt
    • 4.0 oz. Chocolate Malt
    • 1.0 oz. Roasted Barley
  • Hops:
    • 1.0 oz. Perle  8.0% alpha acid (60 min)
    • 1.0 oz. Willamette   5.5% alpha acid (15 min) 
    • 1.0 oz. Perle  8.0% alpha acid (10 min)
    • 1.0 oz. Willamette   5.5% alpha acid (0 min) 
  • Mash:  22.11 quarts (1.25 qt / lb) water @ 171.9° and hold for 60 min @ 154.0°F
  • Sparge:  15.09 quarts of 170°F water over 60 min
  • Yeast:  London Ale (WLP0013)
  • Ferment:  
    • Primary: 14 days @ 68°F.
    • Secondary:  7 days @ 70°F.
  • Bottle:  3.17 oz. corn sugar for 10 days at  70°F (2.0 CO2 volumes)

Brew Log:
Jun 14:  Made a yeast starter using my homemade stir plate. This is the 2nd time I've used it and I'm really happy with it so far. It does a great job and was a fun DIY project. I'll have to write about it one of these days.

Jun 17:   Brew day. I'm still figuring out the idiosyncrasies of my all-grain brewing system. This time, my mash tun did a great job of holding constant temperature, which ranged from just 154-156°F. Here are my gravity readings:

  • 1st runnings: 1.086
  • Combined pre-boil: 1.063
  • Post-boil: 1.079  

For the boil, I decided to use leftover hops from my freezer, so I substituted Liberty and Crystal for Perle. Since my 5 gallons will commingle with 50 gallons of other people's beer, I doubt the variation in hops will make much of a difference. I pitched my yeast starter at 76°F at 7:45 pm. About 4 hours later, I had airlock activity. I love the quick onset of fermentationone of the benefits of yeast starters!

Jul 20:  Racked to secondary. We're transferring the beer into the barrel on Sunday, so I want to take if off the yeast. I intended to do this sooner, but I got lazy. The picture below shows how it looks now. I took a quick uncarbonated taste and was VERY pleased! It has a light roast flavor with vanillaand even bourbon. I was really surprised that it already had a bourbon-like flavoreven before it went into the barrel!

Jul 22:  Today, I met up with the other homebrewers. From outside appearances, this barrel won't win any beauty contests, but it smells amazingplenty of bourbon and oak! As we slowly racked our carboys into the barrel, we had an informal bottle share. I brought my Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Imperial Stout and Citra Pale Ale. These are two of my favorite homebrews and the others seemed to enjoy them as well. So it looks like we'll leave the beer in the barrel for about three months or so. I can't wait to taste it!

Aug 17:  Got some bad news today. The beer got infected! We're not sure what happened, but I guess it isn't too surprising since nine people contributed to the barrel. All it takes is one sanitation lapse by one brewer. In addition, the barrel wasn't properly vented and it appears there was a bit of a beer explosion. Oh well, it was a good try!

Aug 22:  It appears only a small amount of the beer was lost in the "beer-plosion" and most contibutors want to salvage the contents. So it looks like I'll get to taste it.

Sep 9:  So it seems that the beer went sour—and in a very good way! I can't wait to taste it.

Sep 23:  I finally picked up my 5 gallons of beer today and tasted it. It's incredible! It has a toasted malt flavor, bourbon oakiness, and a not-so-subtle sour twang! I'm not sure what infected this beer—my guess is lacto and some brett strain. Whatever it is, it's tasty! It reminds me a of New Belgium's Clutch, but better. It's more sour. I hope to bottle it this week! FG = 1.007.

Sep 30:  Bottled it today with 3.2 oz. of corn sugar.

Oct 15:  1st carbonated taste! I heard a small fiz when I popped it open, but there's almost zero head retention. Hope this improves with some more time in the bottle. Other than that, it tastes great. I love the bourbon and sour flavors!

Dec 18:  Time has fixed my carbonation (lack of) problems. There's now a decent head on the beer and it's lasting for a few minutes.

More updates coming soon....

Have you aged a homebrew in an oak barrel? What style of beer, and how did it turn out?

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Bike to Hopworks' BiKETOBEERFEST on 8/11

Hopworks Urban Brewery will host the 4th Annual BiKETOBEERFEST this coming Saturday, August 11. Think of it as THE beer fest for bicycle lovers. If you're looking for an event the whole family can enjoy, this is the one. I attended last year, and highly recommend it!

To get an idea of what you can expect, here's my recap from last year. If you've never witnessed the infamous "Huffy Toss," don't miss the video below!

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Bikes, Beer & Live Music Event Benefits Bicycle Transportation Alliance and Friends of Trees

Nothing sums up the culture and spirit of Portland like local craft beer, bikes and live music.  And all of those are coming together at Hopworks Urban Brewery’s (HUB) BiKETOBEERFEST on Saturday, August 11.

BiKETOBEERFEST is a family-friendly, bike-in Oktoberfest celebrating Portland’s bike culture. The event features 15 organic Hopworks beers, local bands, bicycle-themed entertainment, bike builder demonstrations, BMX stunt riders and the famous “Huffy Huck” bike toss competition.

Bands scheduled to appear include The Builders and The Butchers, Casey Neill & the Norway Rats and Fault Lines.

BikeToBeerFest is taking place at Hopworks Urban Brewery, located at 2944 SE Powell Blvd. and runs from 2 to 10 p.m.  HUB is closing the parking lot and encouraging everyone to ride their bikes to the event. For more information, please see

Elysian's 12 Beers of the Apocalypse: The Final Four

According to the Mayan calendar, the world will come to an end on December 21, 2012. Based on this possibility, the brewers at Seattle-based Elysian Brewing posed an interesting question. What twelve beers would you brew (and drink) if you knew they would be your last? The answer to this question is being revealed as part of Elysian's year-long 12 Beers of the Apocalypse Series which launched in January.

I recently attended the 34th Annual National Homebrewers Conference in Seattle. During the event, I went to the "Weird Ingredients are Everywhere" seminar led by Dick Cantwell, Elysian's President and Head Brewer. Dick told us stories about all the strange ingredients he's brewed with at Elysian. It was my favorite seminar of the entire conference. Anyway, he also gave us a sneak preview of the upcoming releases in the 12 Beers of the Apocalypse Series.  Without further adieu, here they are.

  • BLIGHT Pumpkin Ale, September 21
  • MORTIS Sour Persimmon Ale, October 21
  • OMEN Belgian Stout, November 21
  • DOOM Plum Raisin Pale, December 21

The release dates shown above have NOT been confirmed by Elysian. The low quality picture below is a shot of the labels as they were projected on the screen.

As this series proves, Dick and his crew at Elysian are the masters of brewing with weird ingredients. Cheers to Elysian for bringing us an exciting year of beers! I can't wait to get my hands on MORTIS Sour Persimmon Ale! Might I humbly request that Elysian release DOOM on December 20?  After all, if the Mayans are right, at least we'd have an extra day to sample the final installment...

10/25 update:  The final label for DOOM was recently released. It will be a Golden Treacle Pale and not a Plum Raisin Pale as I initially mentioned above.

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Michael Symon Pairs Pyramid Beer with Food

If you've ever watched Food Network, you've heard of Michael Symon. He's an Iron Chef and James Beard Foundation Award winner. Recently, he joined with Pyramid Breweries to bring us some food and beer pairings.

Most of us know beer tastes great with food. But did you know it can be used as an ingredient? Using Pyramid Hefeweizen, Apricot Ale, and Outburst Imperial IPA, Symon created three recipes perfect for summer. Click on the links below for the full recipes. Each includes a video demonstration of Michael preparing the dish. I think the Apricot Ale Pork Tacos look particularly intriguing!

What's your favorite recipe that uses beer as an ingredient? 

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Photo courtesy of Pyramid Breweries

Symon Says: Summer Starts with Pyramid Beer Paired Perfectly With Food

Renowned Celebrity Chef Michael Symon offers tips on how to pair beer with food

PORTLAND, OR — Food celebrity and culinary star Michael Symon – known for his award-winning recipes and restaurants– has teamed up with Pyramid Breweries to create three exclusive beer pairing recipes, just in time for summer. Symon worked closely with a cicerone for Pyramid Breweries to build the recipes complementing Pyramid’s signature brews. The program, dubbed “Symon Says,” celebrates great food and beer pairings around social occasions.

Symon, best known for his Food Network appearances, Iron Chef America role and several others, has a love for craft beer that shows. A James Beard Foundation Award winner, Symon has masterfully developed recipes that focus on bringing flavors together to create a unique beer and food experience.

According to Symon, great pairings start with the ingredients. “With food and beer pairings, ingredients are key. When I first sat down with the Pyramid brewing team, we examined the ingredients in its Hefeweizen, Outburst Imperial IPA and Apricot Ale brews and discussed how that translates to food. For example, an unfiltered wheat ale like Pyramid Hefeweizen brings out the flavors of the meat in a great burger. When we created the recipes, ingredients were top of mind,” Michael Symon said.

Symon’s new recipes feature some of Pyramid’s most iconic and popular brews, including Pyramid Hefeweizen (5.2% ABV), Pyramid Outburst Imperial IPA (8.5% ABV), and Pyramid Apricot Ale (5.1% ABV). Each beer takes on a life of its own in Symon’s recipes. 

“One of the things that makes Michael Symon perfect for Pyramid is his appreciation for real, authentic flavors and bringing people together,” said Ryan Pappe, Lead Brewer of Pyramid Breweries, Portland. “Pyramid beer is much the same. Bringing our beers to life through Symon’s creativity is just another way we can pair the universal love of food with the universal love of authentic, craft beer.”

Whether you’re entertaining for a small crew or planning a backyard bash, consider trying one of these Michael Symon recipes for your next summer gathering:

  • Outburst Bratwurst with Bacon & Onion Chutney featuring Pyramid Outburst Imperial IPA. Beer, bacon and brats… not much more is needed for a savory, flavorful experience. Perfect for entertaining friends, the Outburst Bratwurst will quickly become a favorite that will have guests begging for more time and again.  Symon says: Try cooking your brats 75 percent of the way through, and finish them off in a beer bath of warmed Pyramid Outburst Imperial IPA. The brats continue cooking, while absorbing the incredible taste of the beer.  Remember, beer is delicious to drink, but it’s also great to cook with. The key: when cooking with beer, use something you like to drink!
  • Apricot Ale Pork Tacos are infused with Pyramid Apricot Ale. This tenderized, slow-cooked pork with Pyramid’s Gold Medal Award Winning Apricot Ale is the definition of a true crowd pleaser. The secret behind this dish? The pork is braised in Pyramid Apricot Ale. Just remember, when braising, keep your meat 75 percent covered; do not fully submerge it in the liquid.  Symon says: Nothing goes better with pork than stone fruit flavors – and apricot is tops. Remember to crack open another Pyramid Apricot Ale as you devour these tacos!
  • The Lola Burger features Pyramid Hefeweizen. Symon’s definition of a perfect summer afternoon includes firing up the grill with his buddies for this tasty burger, paired with a refreshing Pyramid Hefeweizen. Follow the simple steps, add fresh lemons to a cold Pyramid Hefeweizen, and sit back and enjoy with friends!  Symon says: to make a great burger extra delicious, you need 20-25 percent fat. Try a combination of sirloin, short rib and brisket, and grind coarsely. Don’t pack your burger too tight. Tip: put a thumbprint in the middle of the meat patty, creating a dimple. This helps to prevent the burger from shrinking during cooking.

Consumers interested in trying the Michael Symon food pairing recipes can visit  for full details, ingredients and videos. A mail-in-rebate offer also is available at retail or by downloading an online form. Visit Pyramid Breweries for more information or join the conversation at or

Stone Brewing's New 4-Packs

Stone Brewing Co. is preparing to release new 4-packs of Ruination IPA, Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale, and for the first time in 12 oz. bottles—Sublimely Self Righteous Ale (Imperial Black IPA). The new 4-packs are expected to reach distributors by end of August. Existing six-packs of Ruination and Oaked AB will be discontinued after supplies run out.

Retail pricing for the 4-pack should be around $11, similar to six-pack pricing for Stone IPA and Stone Pale Ale. The pricing model of aligning specialty 4-packs to “regular” six-packs is also used by Widmer Brothers for its Series 924 brews. 

On a related tangent…  If you do the math, the price per ounce for beer is almost always lower in 12 oz. bottles than for 22 oz. bombers. So why would a brewery release a new size that results in a lower price? I expect the answer is increased revenue through expanded distribution and increased volume. I think many folks (including me) prefer to drink beer in 12 oz. bottles (or cans) instead of 22 oz. bombers. Ninkasi and Hopworks Urban Brewery have adopted similar playbooks. 

Cheers to Stone! I pay less per ounce and get my preferred bottle size. As a consumer of good beer, I love this development!

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