If you’re a relative newcomer to craft beer, you might have wondered why some kinds of beers come in “normal”-looking pint glasses, and others are…different. Snifters. Tulips. Mini snifters. Flutes. Vases. And so forth.
Our beer menus contain an infographic which type of beer is served in each different glass. But our servers will occasionally get confused looks when a sour or extra-hoppy beer is delivered in a tulip. We’re not passing judgement on you in any sense by implying that you should drink out of a fancy-looking chalice or goblet. It’s just that not every beer belongs in the same container.
The knowledgeable people at CraftBeer.com have put together a set of graphics that offer a useful primer in glassware for the craft beer drinker. [Click here to read.]
A few takeaways:
- The shape of the glass is important for the containment of foam and concentration of the various aromas and flavors that vary by the style of beer.
- Ideally, the only craft beer you should be drinking out of a “regular” pint glass – a.k.a. a Nonic pint – is something dark (a stout or porter) or something bitter and hoppy (pale ale or IPA).
- The tulip is great anything tart, sour, hoppy or fruity – it signals a bold flavor, pretty much.
- If your glass is cold, something is wrong. Beer glasses of any shape should be stored at room temperature. Anything colder will negatively impact the flavor – no matter what the bartender pulling mass-produced beer into a frosted mug tells you.
We're counting down the days, hours and minutes until the Wood & Wild Festival, taking place Oct. 22 at every HopCat. In anticipation, we're checking in with our expert beer managers for suggestions about amazing things to try at each of our locations. Today we hear from HopCat Grand Rapids beverage guru Rick Martinez, who suggests a few "unicorns" - beers so epic and legendary they defy comprehension - that will be available at the GR event:
•2015 Perrin Brewing Company No Rules:
Perrin’s No Rules Vietnamese Porter ranks in the top 0.0016% out of 60,000 beers in the world. This 15% Imperial Porter was made with coconut and turbinado sugar then laid down and aged in bourbon barrels for several months.
• Speciation Artisan Ales Black Currant Incipient:
Speciation has been one of the top-rated breweries in the world since jumping onto the scene this year; the Black Currant Incipient proves why. This Golden Sour’s brewed with pilsner malt, oats, and wheat with loads of black currant added to dominant the flavor.
• Odd Side Ales Double Oaked Hipster Brunch Stout:
A new twist on a local legend, Hipster Brunch. There are so few of these barrels in existence, very few will ever see it on tap…except for us, of course. We always get the best for you.
•2016 Arclight Brewing Company Soursmith Cherry:
Soursmith Kriek Cherry won the gold medal at the 2016 Festival of Barrel Aged Beers in the Wild/Sour Beer (Fruit) category.
• Witch's Hat Brewing Company Bourbon Barrel Cookies and Cream Night Fury:
While all of the beers on our W&W list are rare, this may be the rarest. It's seldom seen outside of their tap room.
Unicorn: a beer so rare, the only ones to try it are your “friend of a friend…of a friend…who knew a guy who tried it once." Now all those beers are here under one roof as we gear up . Taste the legend this weekend at Wood & Wild 2017 - HCD (all day Sun., Oct. 22). Here are a few highlights hand-selected by HopCat Detroit's Beer Program Manager, Justin Hamilton:
• Perrin Brewing Company Malted Milk Ball Imperial Porter - Perrin hasn't released it in several years and it’s one of their most revered beers, scoring a 4.4 on Beer Advocate. I'm also a big fan of Whoppers (the candy…but also the sandwich), so if this tastes as much like the candy as they say it does, then the wait has been worth it.
• Odd Side Ales Nightman Leaveth - Who can resist a great "It's Always Sunny..." reference? Coupled with the fact that it’s an Imperial Rye Milk Stout aged in Rye Whiskey barrels with Vanilla Beans, I’m dying to get this one pouring. It’s 11% though, so be careful. Savor it.
As we continue the countdown to our Wood & Wild Festival -- taking place Oct. 22 at every HopCat location -- we're checking in with our expert beer managers for suggestions about beers to try at each of our restaurants. Here, HopCat Kalamazoo's Craig Stage suggests a few "unicorns" (beers so epic and legendary they defy comprehension) that will be featured at Wood & Wild - HCKZ:
Greyline Brewing Co. - Shugga Milk:
At under 10% it isn't the world's strongest Bourbon-Barrel-Aged Stout, but sometimes that's in your best interest. Silky vanilla, chocolate, a full body from a dose of oats, and some bourbony vanilla goodness, and you've got a new favorite beer.
Odd Side Ales - Sweet Potato Souffle Rye Ale:
This bad boy won Gold at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival. Picture eating a nice, cinnamony pumpkin bisque with a dusting of nutmeg and a nice hint of rye. Top it off with a big ol' dollop of whipped cream. Now make that a beer.
One Well Brewing - Bourbon Barrel Aged Wizard Potion:
One of Kalamazoo's brightest breweries is in the house! Clocking in at 12%, Bourbon-Barrel-Aged Wizard Potion has everything we love about barrel-aged beers; a touch of booze, plenty of chocolate, some vanilla, some coffee…I’m in heaven.
Brewery Vivant - Escoffier:
Originally released in 2012 as a collaboration with New Belgium Brewing, expect everything you love about sour beer - some sharp tartness that tapers and dries away, with plenty of funk, some citrus, and fruit flavor.
Clown Shoes Beer - Bluegrass Billionaire:
Life in liquid form. A monster 12.5% Bourbon-Barrel-Aged Barleywine, Bluegrass Billionaire has dark fruit, brown sugar, vanilla, and a healthy dose of bourbon to cover your mouth like eating a little spoonful of molasses.
We're counting down the days, hours and minutes until the Wood & Wild Festival, taking place Oct. 22 at every HopCat location. In anticipation, we're checking in with our beer experts for suggestions about beers to try at each of our restaurants. Here, HopCat Minneapolis' beer program manager, Jordan Goetz, recommends a few "unicorns" (beers so legendary they defy comprehension) that will be featured at the MPLS Wood & Wild event:
Lakes & Legends Brewing Company Barrel-Aged Blueberry Silky - Minneapolis, MN - 8% ABV:
A barrel-aged American stout made from local Blueberries. This is the first time Lakes & Legends has brewed a fruit-infused bourbon barrel-aged stout. A new beginning for some great Minnesota beers.
Surly Brewing Company Frisson - Minneapolis, MN - 7% ABV:
An experimental lager with black currants and champagne; A HopCat exclusive, this will be the first time this beer has ever made its way out of the Surly tap room. Surly’s been known to release out of the ordinary beers in the past, but this one is something else!
B. Nektar Dragons are Real - Ferndale, MI - 14% ABV:
Their original zombie killer has taken an extreme twist by partnering with New Holland Brewing to create a one time batch of Dragon’s Milk Barrel-Aged mead infused with chipotle peppers and cacao nibs. We’re the only ones in all Minnesota to get this beer so come find out if dragons are real!
Lagunitas Brewing Co High-West-Ified - Petaluma, CA - 12% ABV:
When it comes to the craft beer scene, a beer’s perceived value is derived in part from its quality and its exclusiveness. When we talk about Lagunitas’ High West-ified, we’re dealing with a whole lot of both. Not only is it an incredibly smooth and full-favored imperial coffee stout, but it’s no longer being produced. Drink it while you can, because once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Our tap list for Wood and Wild Festival - HCLN (Sunday, 10/22) can be daunting (in a good way). We asked our Beer Manager, Lucas, for his list of can't-miss beers that will be tapped throughout the day. Here are his suggestions:
Lagunitas - Fusion 46 is a Rum Barrel Aged Brown Shugga’ (American Strong Ale). This is the ONLY keg of this beer to be distributed into Nebraska. Once it gone it is gone and we may never see this beer again.
North Coast - XIX Old Rasputin. This is LAST YEARS batch of their most beloved beer (a Russian Imperial Stout). It has been in our cooler waiting to be tapped since November 2016. We are super excited to see how this taste.
Brickway - Epic Blackout Stout. It’s one of the biggest beers to come out of Nebraska, and they took it even further by barrel aging it. Come taste a big n’ bold local beer.
White Elm is no stranger to Barrel Aging Beer. Some say, they are one of the best new brewers in town. We would have to agree. We got a hold of a Rum Barrel Aged Coffee Stout from Kolby himself. If you like Rum in your coffee, you will love this beer.
As we continue the countdown to our Wood & Wild Festival -- taking place Oct. 22 at every HopCat location -- we're checking in with our expert beer managers for suggestions about beers to try at each of our restaurants. Here, HopCat Louisville's Chase Myers suggests a few "unicorns" (beers so epic and legendary they defy comprehension) that will be featured at Louisville's W&W event:
Avery Nuttiest Professor is sure to be a huge hit: a big, bold, and rich bourbon barrel aged imperial stout with peanuts. Standing in at 15%, this one will be for sure a crowd favorite. [More info via Untappd]
Gueuzerie Tilquin's Oude Gueuze Tilquin à L'Ancienne is a classic gueuze that should be on the top of anyone's list who is big into traditional Belgian gueuzes. You also don't see this on tap too often. [More info via Untappd]
Sun King is a fairly new brewery to Kentucky, originally coming from Indianapolis. We will be tapping Patio Smasher from their King's Reserve lineup. Patio Smasher is an American Sour Ale that has been aged in red wine barrels with peaches. With all the other big and rich beers we will have, this one will for sure be a nice change of pace. [More info via Untappd]
We're counting down the days, hours and minutes until the Wood & Wild Festival, taking place Oct. 22 at every HopCat location. In anticipation, we're checking in with our expert beer managers for suggestions about beers to try at each of our restaurants. Here, HopCat East Lansing's Kevin Stuible recommends a few "unicorns" (beers so legendary they defy comprehension) that will be featured at the EL Wood & Wild celebration:
Cascade Brewing Co. - The Vine - Cascade Brewery has been a pioneer of the sour beer industry since 2006, making world-class sours, rated a 99/100 on BeerAdvocate. [More info via Untappd]
Perrin Brewing Co. - Malted Milk Ball - A stellar imperial porter encapsulating the essence of a malted milk ball. [More info via Untappd]
High Water Brewing - Central Valley Breakfast Sour - The perfect sour to start your Wood & Wild adventure, this "California Lambic" is brewed as an homage to traditional Belgian lambics, and has grapefruit juice, and pear & lychee puree. [More info via Untappd]
Blake's Hard Cider Company - El Chapo - An imperial, tequila-barrel aged spin on Blake's favorite El Chavo, El Chapo is as spicy as its drug lord namesake. If you want to spice up your Wood & Wild experience, look no further. [More info via Untappd]
Oskar Blues - Barrel Aged Ten Fidy - “Aged through four seasons and from a blend of the top bourbons around, this Ten FIDY has morphed into a monster of cranked up flavor,” said head of brewing operations Tim Matthews. “Espresso, burnt sugar, rich chocolate, and caramel notes are now combined with the vanilla, oak, and bourbon flavors and all have been smoothed out during maturation.” [More info via Untappd]
The Wood & Wild Festival is so close we can almost taste it. The event - happening Sunday, Oct. 22 at all HopCats - puts a spotlight on barrel-aged and sour beers. The lists can be daunting, so we're checking with our beer experts at each location about the can't-miss beers that will be tapped throughout the day. Below are some suggestions from Doug Wise, beer program manager at HopCat Chicago, whose full tap list is available here.
Moody Tongue Bourbon Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter - Moody Tongue is one of the best breweries in Chicago, and this limited brew has me daydreaming. Baltic porters are not so common, and feature malt complexity with the smoothness of lager yeast. Everything I have read so far about this beer suggests a harmony of coffee, roasted malt, vanilla, and oak. [More info via Untappd]
Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout 2015 - Hailing from Grand Rapids, Founders is one of our oldest partners. I've come to be pretty familiar with KBS, a yearly limited release, during my time with HopCat, but I've never had it aged two years, and I'm excited to see how it has evolved over time. [More info via Untappd]
As we continue the countdown to our Wood & Wild Festival -- taking place Oct. 22 at every HopCat location -- we're checking in with our expert beer managers for suggestions about beers to try at each of our restaurants. Here, HopCat Ann Arbor's Marty Rivard suggests a couple of "unicorns" (beers so epic and legendary they defy comprehension) that will be featured at A2's Wood & Wild event: