What is #FlagshipFebruary? It’s about trying great beers

Great Beers to Try or Remember for Flagship February

 

As more beers enter the crowded marketplace and beer shelves, it’s easy to get lost in all of the hazy IPA, fruited sours, and light beers, losing sight of some of the beers that blazed a trail for today’s local, regional, and national craft brewers.

Flagship February was thought up by Canadian beer author Stephen Beaumont and beer writer Jay Brooks. The pair began with a simple question: in a world of special releases and one-off limited beers, what about all those great beers that changed so many minds about craft beer?  The goal of #FlagshipFebruary, both the hashtag and the idea, is to encourage everyone who enjoys craft beer to stop and consider the great beers that may have been overlooked in favor of a limited, a seasonal, or just the latest and greatest.

This is a month for the beers that brought so many people into the world of good beer, and the good news is that they’re still as awesome as they used to be. And the best news is that if given the opportunity, they can continue to do change minds and open hearts to the world of great beer – all they need is a sympathetic ear for their story and an open-minded drinker.

 

Here are a few beers to try out for Flagship February and beyond:

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

 

 

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA: The beer that needed a new piece of equipment and a new hop to make it. When Sierra Nevada Brewing realized that the time-honored method for dry-hopping beer wasn’t the most efficient one, they designed a piece of equipment to revolutionize the process, and the Hop Torpedo and this beer were born! One of the first uses of the much-beloved Citra hop is this hoppy beast of a beer.

Allagash White Ale

 

Allagash White: The first beer that Allagash Brewing of Portland, Maine ever brewed – this homage to the classic wheat beers of Belgium was just the favorite of brewery owner Rob Tod. Rob began trying to sell this beer and he never knew just how far it would go. Now Allagash is a Top 50 craft brewer in the U.S. and Allagash has just re-entered the Florida market, so this beer should be available in beer stores, bars, and restaurants again!

Samuel Adams Boston Lager Bottle 2019

 

Samuel Adams Boston Lager: Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch used to travel the country looking for distributors for his Boston Lager with a briefcase full of ingredients in baby food jars to explain to distributors who were used to selling beers from Budweiser and Miller about using different ingredients from the light lagers everyone was used to. Simply seeing the beer poured from a bottle or tap let drinkers know that they were in for a different experience. Today, the beer tastes just as good as it did when Jim first sold it – only the beer landscape has changed.

Swamp Head Big Nose Can

 

Swamp Head Brewing Big Nose IPA: Gainesville’s first craft brewery built their reputation on the back of high-quality, innovative beer available anytime, but especially on an incredibly aromatic and hop-forward IPA called Big Nose. While the beer itself has not changed, many of the beers around it have. The good news is that Big Nose is still available anytime and anywhere Swamp Head’s beers are sold, and while the brewery has found a love of hazy IPAs, their anchor is still clear and malty with the same hop bite you remember.

New Belgium Brewing Fat Tire Amber Ale

 

New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale: Born from a love of Belgian beer after a fateful bike trip across Europe, it’s easy to forget that Fat Tire began in the founder’s basement and slowly grew in popularity until there was a fever pitch for the brewery to enter distribution in all 50 states. With so many Belgian-inspired beers in the market, it’s possible to forget this biscuity and slightly fruity amber ale that made New Belgium a household name. The great news is that Fat Tire is still available and still has the aroma and flavor that turned your head when you first tried it.

 

To find any of these great beers, head over to our Beer Finder to see where you can get your hands on these fine ales and lager!

 

What beer are you most excited about revisiting for Flagship February?

Try a few new beer pairings this holiday season

Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to try some new beer and food pairings to elevate the big flavors of the meal and to make the day even more memorable.

At many tables across the United States, beer is a part of Thanksgiving traditions – everything from a companion during football games to a beverage that will get nursed throughout the evening.  This year, we are taking a few of our favorite beers and looking for flavorful beer pairings to bring to dinner.  Many of these beers are classics of the American craft beer movement and have tried and true beer pairings that can bring a new level of harmony to the dinner table.  The goal of any beer pairing is to make the combination of the beer and food taste better than the sum of its parts.  Here are a few pairing to try this Turkey Day, if only a few or possibly a new beer for every course of the meal.

The Appetizer Course

 

Cheese course with Sierra Nevada Brewing’s Pale Ale (5.6% ABV): One of cheese’s favorite beers, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a classic combination for sharp cheeses and beyond.  The beer’s Cascade hops and healthy malt presence can team up to impress many cheeses on the first date.  Sharp cheddar and Pale Ale match well, but so does Pale Ale and a medium pepper jack.  Be careful not to get too hot on the cheese, as hoppy flavors can actually intensify capsaicin spice.  American cheese and Pale Ale will work as well.  Try to work your way around the cheese board with Pale Ale, and as long as the cheese does not get too nutty (like a gouda), too funky (like a bleu), or too spicy (like habanero jack), this classic American beer can meet and greet with flavor the way you do with visiting relatives this holiday season.

Swamp Head Brewery Wild Night Honey Cream Ale

 

Salad course with Swamp Head Brewery’s Wild Night Honey Cream Ale (5.0% ABV): One of the most versatile beers out there when it comes to food pairing, Gainesville’s Swamp Head Brewery’s Wild Night Honey Cream Ale is just the beer to help bring together the flavors in the salad course.  Whether you are serving an arugula salad with a light with some mozzarella cheese or  a romaine and radicchio salad with some candied pecans, Wild Night will make the dish… well… a bit wilder.  The sweetness of the honey can emphasize sweet flavors in the mix like apple chips or can cut flavors like earthy spinach.  Just be careful not to overpower the beer with salad dressing, and this beer will let its true colors shine.  For more flavor illumination, try this beer with a brie and fruit combination as well.

 

The Main Course

 

New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale

 

Fat Tire Belgian White Ale

Turkey course with New Belgium Brewing’s Fat Tire Amber Ale (5.2% ABV):  New Belgium Brewing’s Fat Tire Amber Ale has great pairing potential with turkey’s dark meat, its maltiness and mild bitterness along with caramel flavor from the malt will take on the turkey and match flavors with it.   Wrap the turkey in bacon, you say?  The mild roast from the beer touches on the cooked/ browned character and fat of the meats and the light carbonation in Fat Tire Amber can refresh the palate after each bite.

 

This year will also see a new Fat Tire – Fat Tire Belgian White Ale (5.2% ABV)- that will take on the light meat turkey, too.  Whether the brewery had Thanksgiving dinner in mind when they made this new beer, no one will know, but the dinner table is better for their decision to make Fat Tire Belgian White Ale. The light and juicy breast meat will fall in love with the light and sweet beer’s wheat bread notes along with mild citrus.  Add herbed stuffing to the bird and the wheat beer’s coriander and sweetness will elevate the whole dish to a higher, more flavorful plane of existence.

 

 

 

The Dessert Course

Infinite Ale Works West Floridian Belgian Quad

Dessert chocolate with Infinite Ale Works West Floridian Quadruple (10.9% ABV): Infinite Ale Works of Ocala has a lineup of beers that are “traditionally inspired and infinitely creative.”  The best example of these beers is their West Floridian Quadrupel Ale, which combines sweetness with big malty and some fruity aspects in a beer that screams for a quality dessert to pair with.  While not thick in body like an imperial stout or barleywine, West Floridian will bring layers of flavor to the party.  Chocolate pecan pie?  The beer will add fruit and dark malty flavors.  Chocolate tiramisu?  The beer will bring the fruit to the chocolate party and its lighter body will allow it to slide through the chocolate cliffs like a river of flavor.

Coppertail Brewing Night Swim Porter

 

Pumpkin dishes with Coppertail Brewing’s Night Swim Porter (6.2% ABV): Turn a pumpkin dessert into a parfait of flavors by adding a chocolatey porter like Coppertail Brewing’s Night Swim Porter to the mix.  Pumpkin pie or pumpkin cheesecakes are already decadent in their own right, so rather than trying to mix sweet pumpkin flavors with something like a pumpkin beer, by adding a roasty and chocolatey porter to this course, it creates a sweet chocolate pumpkin symphony.

 

While many classic beer books have something to say about the science of beer and food pairing, the practice of pairing can be a fun and enjoyable experience. Pairing beer and food with Thanksgiving dinner does not require an advanced degree in gastronomy or a master chef’s notebook, merely an adventurous spirit and a culinary curiosity.

Head on over to our Beer Finder and find one of these or another one of your next favorite beers, and have a happy and safe thanksgiving surrounded by great beer, great food, and great company.