Breckenridge Autumn Ale

The Breckenridge Autumn Ale has become one of my favorite Fall beers. Autumn seems to be the time of year when you want something to warm you up a bit, something with a little extra flavor. But I feel like a lot of the seasonal beers that come out in September and October are a little over the top – sometimes too sweet, other times too malty. The Breckenridge Autumn, however, is just right. The more complete name of the beer is the After Rakin’ Autumn Ale, which along with the colors on the label, drew me in right away because of how strongly it evoked Fall. I’ll admit – the packaging sold me. But this beer is tasty. Breckenridge mix German lager malty-ness with American ale cleanness. The two styles combined result in a beer with subtleties, and that seems appropriate for the season. It’s cooler outside, and you can smell a hint of leaves on the air. The Breckenridge Autumn Ale is the beer equivalent of that feeling. The brewery describes the ale: “Brewed with Munich malts and a delicate blend of Bavarian hops, it’s a full-bodied treat with a nutty-sweet middle, a warming alcohol level and notes of toasted grains.” But I think the subtitle on the bottle says it best: “Warms the soul. Soothes the spirit.” Enjoy this one outside if it’s leaf-color-season where you live, or if it isn’t. Pick it up soon though – it’s only available in September and...

Brother Thelonious

I’m a big Thelonious Monk fan so when I saw a beer made in his honor, I had to get it right away. It’s called Brother Thelonious, and it’s a “Belgian Style Abbey Ale” made by North Coast Brewing. This beer has a caramel tang to it with some hints of molasses, and a really nice creaminess. When you pour it, you get a sizable amount of head, which I think is a good signal that you should take your time to appreciate it. I recommend sipping this one to Monk’s Dream or, since it was brewed in California, Thelonious Alone in San Francisco might be appropriate. Another reason to drink Brother Thelonious: North Coast Brewing makes a gift to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in support of Jazz education for every bottle...

Anchor Porter

I don’t normally think of porters as summer-time beers, but it’s cloudy and rainy here today, and nothing beats a good porter on a gloomy afternoon. My favorite is San Francisco’s Anchor Porter. I like porters in the same way I like coffee: solid, and without any gimmicky flavors. Just like I want coffee to taste like strong coffee, and not hazelnut, I want my porter to taste like porter, and not like mocha or oatmeal. Don’t get me wrong – the Anchor Porter does have all the overtones of caramel and chocolate that you expect alongside those malts, but they aren’t overwhelming. That’s because the Anchor is crafted and well-balanced. Dark, creamy, smooth, and just about perfect. If it’s foggy your way, I recommend the Anchor...

New Belgium Ranger IPA

I just discovered it’s American Craft Beer Week! So to celebrate (well it’s a good excuse anyway), I’ve been drinking some New Belgium – more specifically the Ranger IPA. Apparently that makes me a beer ranger. Anyway, what I like about this beer is how it combines the citrus / floral / fruity flavors of three different hops with the dark caramel of malts. The Ranger IPA is definitely my favorite of all the New Belgium beers, and I highly recommend...

Founders All Day IPA

I write about music all the time, so I thought it might be a nice change of pace to talk about one of my other passions: beer.  While I try to take all things in moderation, I do consider myself a connoisseur of IPAs, pilsners, stouts, and other brews.  My love for all things ale might stem from my proximity to the beer capital of the USA, or maybe I just have a taste for the tang of hops.  Either way, I like beer so it seems appropriate to share some suggestions.  Maybe you’ll discover one you like too. One of my current favorites is Founders Brewing Co.’s All Day IPA. I love hops.  I don’t know why, but the hoppier, the better. The flavor is phenomenal, and that’s why I like beer: the taste. And while I enjoy inebriation as much as the next guy, I don’t drink to get drunk.  In fact, I prefer the opposite.  If I don’t get lit right way, then I can enjoy the beer longer, and appreciate all the complexities more. That’s why Founders All Day IPA might be the perfect beer.  It has the hoppyness and aroma of an IPA, but an alcohol level of 4.7%, which makes it extra drinkable, hence the name: you can drink it all day. Now I’m not saying you should drink all day, and I’m not admitting to doing that myself.  But hypothetically, if we were to imbibe for an entire afternoon – and it would be our little secret – this would be my beer of choice. Founders says the All Day IPA “keeps...
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