Hoptober Golden Ale Returns

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Hoptober is back!

Hoptober is made up of Centennial, Cascade, Sterling, Willamette and Glacier hops, while pale and wheat malt are mashed with rye and oats. Its creative elements spark a bonfire of citrus notes, fruity cheers and a bold finale.

“The wide array of hops creates a series of flavors that slowly unfold on the palate,” said Bryan Simpson, New Belgium spokesperson. “This beer embodies the shift to fall with its bountiful taste and blend of ingredients.”

Ed Dopman, San Francisco Beer Ranger and champion of the 2009 Ultimate Beer Ranger Challenge, recommends pairing Hoptober with Italian fennel salami and Taleggio cheese on sourdough bread.

“The five hops used in Hoptober provide just enough bitterness to cut the buttery, meaty flavors of Italian fennel salami, Taleggio cheese and sourdough bread,” said Dopman. “The four malts used in brewing this golden ale also give just the right body to stand up to the autumn wind, while remaining delicate enough to quench one’s thirst after a bike ride.”

So good. So happy.

New Belgium Ranger: clear amber beauty

If you’re looking for a great beer this summer, check out Ranger IPA from New Belgium. It’s supposedly their answer to the demand for “more hops!” Whatever it is, it’s full of flavor with a nice hoppy bitterness that finishes light and smooth. It’s great cold and perfect for a bit of refreshment after a hot and humid summer day. As far as I’m concerned, New Belgium answered the hop call last fall with its seasonal Hoptober Golden Ale, which is absolutely my favorite beer of the moment by a good margin. Alas, it’s not available until the fall; until then, Ranger seems like it will fit the bill just fine.

Speaking of New Belgium, if you’re going to be in Chicago on September 12, 2010 and would like a partner for the Urban Assault Ride, leave a comment below or contact me by email. I’m in if you are.

Cost of beer living

NewImage.jpg I learned last week on the absolutely wonderful Chicago Architectural Foundation boat tour that Chicago was known in the 19th century as a really hard-drinking town. Our docent said something about Chicago having more bars per capita than in all of the states of the southern U.S. combined. So it’s no surprise that Chicago is a great place for drinking beer.

Today it’s also no surprise that it costs a lot to enjoy a tasty cold beverage in Chicago. The best example of this that I’ve seen recently is this: A beer tasting in Chicago costs $65; a beer tasting in Montana costs $25. Sure, the Chicago event features more than twice the number of beers, but really, how many different beers can you taste at one event?

When I moved here the interwebs told me that the cost of living would be 45% higher in Chicago than in Montana. To my dismay, I’m pretty sure the interwebs were right.