The Biggest Problem with Loving Beer

A couple weeks ago you guys helped me work through a problem I was having – picking a favorite beer. A friend of this site, Tom, wrote in the comments of the post that he hadn’t had one of his favorites in months because he’d rather experiment with new beers. After some thought I realized I hadn’t had many of my favorite beers in a long time as well. Why? I was too busy mixed up in the biggest problem with loving beer.

I’ll take one of everything, please.

I think we all have this deep, dark secret inside us that we want to try every beer ever made. We want to reach the end of Untappd and get some magical badge glorifying our great beer conquest. And we try, whether it’s a conscious decision or not. I do at least.

Long wall of taps

I’ll take one of everything.

Last week when I was in Chicago I found this place with 114 beers on tap. I had had about 50 of them before and the thought crossed my mind of attempting to try the remaining 64. I ended up sampling 14 over three different trips in 24 hours (don’t worry, they were all 4oz pours!). Back when I turned 21 my buddy and I tried to drink all 30 taps at a local establishment over three days. We did it. My liver didn’t appreciate it. This was pre-Untappd too and I’m sure the only badge I would have earned was a “You’re a Lush” badge. I probably hit Level III that weekend.

There are only so many beers you can consume in a day, week, month, lifetime. Let me tell you a cold, hard truth: Continue reading

Power Hour: Nitro Beers

Power Hour is a new segment where I will spend exactly one hour answering a question or writing about a topic. It can be on beer, writing, myself, anything. You can submit a question anytime by leaving it at the bottom of a post or sending it privately to me here.

Start the clock! It’s time for another Power Hour. In one hour I will answer a question/write about a topic and post it. Questions about what? Anything. I’ll stick to beer for the most part but I’m game to answer any questions you have on life, writing, video, etc.

What are Nitro Beers?

When kegged beer is poured from a tap it is carbonated on the spot through CO2. This is true for 99% of kegged beer (the typical beer you get off a tap at a bar). However, N2 or Nitrogated beer (Nitro beer) is starting to grow in popularity. Instead of CO2 the beer is carbonated with N2. The most famous Nitro beer is Guinness. Nitro beers are much creamier and have less of a bite to them. They coat your mouth leaving you wanting more. You can usually spot the Nitrogen taps by the downward-facing black plastic (I think plastic) nozzle the beer flows from instead of the angled metal tap head.

What I enjoy about Nitro beers is that they are different from your typical ales. They aren’t quite at the level of Sours in terms of weirdness but it’s always fun to try something different. Heck, trying a Nitro beer might make for a good Beer Mission if you’ve never had one before.

My Nitro Beer History

Nitro beers typically are Stouts, but they don’t have to be. Stouts tend to be creamier to begin with so why not accentuate that attribute? Who wants a creamy pale ale?

That’s what I thought until last week when I had my first non-stout Nitro beer, Nitro Pale Ale by Founders at Glass Half Full. It was amazing. I never thought a light, hoppy beer would taste good with the consistency of a liquidy milkshake. Go find some!

Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout is another great one to try. If it wasn’t for my deep love and history with Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout I’d have to say Left Hand’s Nitro Milk Stout is my favorite Stout (and may be beer). At a beer club I hosted a few months ago this beer was very well received, even by non-dark beer lovers.

Speaking of Duck-Rabbit, did you know that if you look at their logo you can see a duck AND a rabbit? I didn’t know that until today and my mind was blown!

Nitro beers are growing so that Left Hand is trying to trademark the term. IMO it’s a term describing the beer, like a style or brewing method therefore it should be free to use by all. But playing devil’s advocate I don’t think another brewery could come along and brew a 60 Minute IPA even if they brewed it the same way as Dogfish Head.

A couple Nitro beers to try would be Guinness (of course), Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout and Founder’s Nitro Pale Ale. I have heard great things about Left Hand’s Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout Nitro but haven’t had a chance to try it out yet.

To sum up, Nitro beers use N2 to carbonate their beers instead of CO2. They are not beers you drink while watching professional wrestling. Wasn’t there something to do with Nitro and pro wrestling some time ago? Was it a show? That would be a lot funnier if I knew the reference. There are some great Nitro beers to try and they aren’t all Stouts. Nitro beers are growing at a fast rate and don’t be surprised to see more and more of them. Go seek out some Nitro beers!

As always these Power Hours are written, formatted and posted in one hour. That means I’m going to leave out a bunch of information. That’s where I need you! Share what you know about Nitro beers. What Nitro beers have you had that were good? Which ones were bad? What Power Hour topics do you want to see in the future?

Thanks as always for reading! I deeply appreciate any comment, like, share that you give this post or anything here on Short On Beer. If you’d like to never miss a new post or update you can subscribe to the email list at the bottom of this page. Cheers!

For more information on Nitro beers, Craftbeer.com has a good, quick writeup here.

TWIB – Wine Bars and The Container Store

Parallel Wine Bistro

After a grueling workweek that included a 15+ hour post production marathon on Thursday, there was nothing more I wanted to do than unwind on Friday night. Mrs. Short On Beer and I met some friends up at Parallel Wine Bistro for dinner and drinks. Parallel has a large and regularly rotating craft beer bottle list despite being a wine bar. The beer prices mostly range from $6-8 and most are $2 off during their Happy Hour from 4:00-7:00PM.

One of the perks of knowing the bartender is getting the handwritten list of new beers not listed on the menu that even the servers didn’t know about (thanks, Liz!). The first beer I had was off this secret menu — Great Divide Rumble. Rumble is an oak-aged IPA. The oakiness took out most of the bitterness from the hops. This was quite interesting for an IPA. It was a good choice to go with the Brie and Manchego cheese plate.

I went back to the basics for my next beer with a Stone Pale Ale while I enjoyed my bistro burger and duck fat fries.

Seeing “duck” on the menu made me crave a Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout. Parallel does have it but I had a couple still stashed at home so I went with a Port City Porter since it had been awhile since I had had any Port City beers. They make some amazing beers…Optimal Wit, Monumental IPA, Downright Pilsner to name a few. Their porter doesn’t disappoint either. It’s perfect for dessert and gets better as it warms.

The last thing about Friday night I want to mention — here’s a shout out to CJ, our server, who will hopefully be a new Short On Beer reader.

The Container Store

The start of 2014 has me trying to organize everything. It’s not like it wasn’t organized before but I feel like it could be done better. So in the past week I’ve been to the Container Store more times than you probably have been your entire life. I’ll admit it, I kinda like the store. It’s way better than navigating through a crowded Bed Bath and Beyond or a HomeGoods. Don’t tell my wife.

Pre-reorganization had my beers on the floor of the pantry shoved all the way in the back on top of flattened empty 6-pack holders. I just can’t seem to throw away those holders just yet. A few beers would regularly get lost or forgotten about. On the plus side I found a Hardywood Bourbon Sidamo that I’ve been accidently aging for 5+ months. But as I reorganize I want the beers off the floor and in ideal grabbing placement. I am also without a dedicated beer fridge. Go ahead and subtract 3 beer blogger points from my score. So I’m constantly fighting for room in the main fridge for my beers.

I seem to keep 8+ beers at all times in the fridge even though I won’t go through them all that quickly. I need a variety… a couple stouts for after dinner, a couple IPAs for weekends, an ale for guests, a couple Belgians for dinner, and a couple randoms I didn’t like (right now it’s New Belgium Giddy Up) and I can’t seem to get rid of and don’t want to drink.

New Pantry Beer Storage Space

New Pantry Beer Storage Space

Give me some advice. How is your beer storage system setup? How much room do you take up in the main fridge? How many of what do you keep in there? Leave your advice in the comments section below.

That’s it for this week’s This Week in Beer. Make sure to sign up to receive email updates for new posts by entering your email address at the bottom of the page so you never miss anything! 

Growlers and Virginia

Growler

Pickup a growler at just about any brewery in Virginia

What’s better than draft beer? Draft beer at home. That’s what growlers do – allow people to take home draft beer from their favorite brewery. They come in different styles and sizes. Some have screw tops and some flip-tops. Each state has quirky laws when it comes to growlers. Some states it’s illegal to have a 64oz growler, certain states don’t allow growlers at all and some are awesome and allow you to fill up in bottle shops and grocery stores. I live in Virginia, a state somewhere between in the middle on growler leniency, and want to give a quick rundown on her growler laws.

In 2012, Senate Bill NO. 604 gave breweries the ability to sell beer “on-premise” (this word is important). Previously they were not able to sell their own beer unless they had a restaurant attached to it (aka brewpub). Before SB 604 they were only allowed to give free samples and sell bottled/canned beer for “off-premise” consumption. With the passing of SB 604, breweries can sell by the glass.

Why is that important? According to a Richmond.com article, growlers are considered glasses and it’s legal to bring your own glassware to a brewery (should I start doing that??? No more frozen false pint glasses…). Anything served in a glass is an on-premise sale. That’s where SB 604 comes in. Since a growler is a glass, it’s an on-premise sale therefore a brewery can now sell growlers.

A retailer, for example a grocery store like Whole Foods, can also sell growlers. However they need to have “on-premise” and “off-premise” licenses, which are harder to obtain. Depending on your local Whole Foods, they may have a wide variety of beers you can fill your growler with.

I long for the day when I can walk into my local grocery store and get a $10 growler of Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout. But at least I can drive over to Lost Rhino and pickup some New River Pale Ale.

3 Reasons I Love Beer

I love beer. Obviously, that’s why I have an entire blog dedicated to it. I want to share a few of those reasons with you.

1. Beer creates and enhances friendships

What epic story of yours starts with, “Me and my friend were sitting around the water cooler?” None. They start with, “My buddy and I were a six-pack in and…” or “So I was at this jam-packed bar and I spotted the girl of my dreams.”

Beer is an enabler – an enabler for you to do stupid things yes, but sometimes those stupid things result in a badass scar. Or sometimes it enables you to gain that courage to talk to the girl of your dreams which you end up marrying.

I’ve met some pretty cool people over the past seven months since I’ve started this blog and it wouldn’t have been possible without beer. (hey, make sure to follow me on Twitter!)

2. Beer relaxes you

After that long day of work, 2+ hour commute, you come home to dinner and milk. What? No! You come home to a bottle of your favorite Ale, Porter or IPA. Why? Milk doesn’t take your mind off work, the stresses in your life or screaming kids. Beer does though. Side note – don’t take your mind off your screaming kids for too long in case one of them accidently staples the other one’s fingers together. Continue reading