Tag Archives: Beer

How Beer Became the Official Drink of St. Patrick’s Day

Ah, St. Patrick’s Day – a day filled with green, shamrocks, and, of course, beer! This holiday is all about celebrating the Irish heritage and culture, and one of the most popular ways to do so is by raising a glass of beer. Whether you’re Irish or not, there’s just something about St. Patrick’s Day that makes us want to indulge in a pint or two.

The tradition of drinking beer on St. Patrick’s Day is one that goes back centuries. In Ireland, it was common for people to attend church in the morning and then head to the local pub to celebrate the holiday with friends and family. There, they would raise a glass of their favorite Irish brew and enjoy the music and festivities. This tradition has continued to this day, and Irish pubs all over the world are packed with people looking to celebrate the holiday with a pint of beer.

Speaking of Irish beer, there are plenty of great options to choose from. Guinness, Murphy’s, Smithwick’s, and Harp are just a few of the most popular brands, and each one has its own unique flavor and character. Many of these beers are brewed using traditional methods and recipes, and they’re a great way to experience the taste of Ireland.

Of course, not everyone is a fan of traditional Irish beer, and that’s okay too! St. Patrick’s Day is a day to celebrate, and if you prefer a different type of beer, that’s perfectly fine. Many bars and breweries now offer special St. Patrick’s Day beers, including green beer, which has become a popular option in recent years.

While drinking beer on St. Patrick’s Day is a fun and festive tradition, it’s important to do so responsibly. Alcohol can impair judgment and coordination, and drinking too much can lead to accidents and other problems. If you plan on drinking on St. Patrick’s Day, make sure to do so in moderation, and never drink and drive.

One thing that’s great about the tradition of drinking beer on St. Patrick’s Day is that it brings people together. Whether you’re celebrating with friends, family, or even strangers at a local pub, there’s a sense of camaraderie and community that comes with raising a glass and toasting to the holiday. It’s a time to let loose, have some fun, and enjoy the company of those around you.

In conclusion, the tradition of drinking beer on St. Patrick’s Day is one that has stood the test of time. Whether you’re a fan of traditional Irish beer or prefer something different, there’s no denying the appeal of raising a glass to celebrate the holiday. Just remember to do so responsibly, and enjoy the day with friends, family, and anyone else who wants to join in on the fun. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Posted by on March 13, 2023 in Beer


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Lent and Beer, A Match Made in Heaven

Lent and Beer, A Match Made in Heaven

Lent, the period of fasting, prayer, and penance observed by Christians, has a rich history that goes back centuries. One of the lesser-known aspects of this tradition is the role that beer has played in Lenten observances.

Beer, as we know it today, has been around for thousands of years. It was a staple of the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians, and it played a significant role in many cultures, including medieval Europe. During the Middle Ages, beer was an essential part of the daily diet of Europeans, and it was often safer to drink than water, which was often contaminated.

In many parts of Europe, Lent is associated with fasting and abstinence. The Catholic Church traditionally forbids the consumption of meat on Fridays during Lent, and in some countries, such as Ireland, meat is also forbidden on Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. However, there has been some debate over the centuries about whether or not beer is an acceptable beverage during Lent.

One argument against beer during Lent is that it is a form of luxury that contradicts the spirit of self-denial that is at the heart of the Lenten observance. Some theologians have argued that beer is a food and should be treated as such, while others have pointed out that it contains alcohol, which is a form of intoxication and therefore violates the spirit of sobriety that is also important during Lent.

Despite these objections, beer has remained a popular part of Lenten observances in many parts of Europe. In fact, some monasteries have a long tradition of brewing their own beer, and the monks who live there often drink beer during Lent. One of the most famous examples of this is the Trappist brewery in Westvleteren, Belgium, which produces some of the world’s most sought-after beers. The monks who live there are known for their strict adherence to the principles of the Benedictine Rule, which emphasizes prayer, work, and hospitality. They believe that beer is a gift from God and that it should be enjoyed in moderation, as part of a balanced diet.

Beer has also played a role in some of the celebrations that take place during Lent. In Germany and Austria, for example, there is a tradition of holding beer festivals during Lent, known as Starkbierzeit or “strong beer season.” These festivals celebrate the strong, dark beers that are brewed specifically for Lent, and they often feature music, dancing, and other forms of entertainment.

In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day, which falls during Lent, is a major celebration that often involves drinking beer, particularly the country’s famous stout. While St. Patrick’s Day is not technically part of the Lenten observance, it is still a significant part of the religious and cultural traditions of Ireland, and beer has played a role in those traditions for centuries.

In conclusion, while there has been some debate over the centuries about the role of beer in Lenten observances, it is clear that beer has played a significant role in the religious and cultural traditions of many parts of Europe. From the monasteries that brew their own beer to the beer festivals that celebrate the strong, dark beers of Lent, beer has been a part of these traditions for centuries. Whether or not one chooses to include beer in their Lenten observance is a personal choice, but it is clear that for many people, beer is an important part of their religious and cultural heritage.

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Posted by on March 8, 2023 in Beer


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Triple your beer-drinking pleasure with Belgian Tripels

brewing-beer-medieval-lifeIf it weren’t for monks, many of the classic beer styles we now enjoy may not have been developed. In particular, Belgian monks from the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, a Roman Catholic contemplative order that believes monasteries should be self-sustaining. Because of this, monks took up many trades, brewing highly-coveted beer was among them.

A favorite style produced by monks – the tripel – was developed relatively recently at the Brouwerij der Trappisten van Westmalle or Westmalle Brewery in 1934. As a style, tripels are golden in color with aromas and flavors of apple, pear, citrus, or banana-like fruitiness, clove-like or peppery spice. Other characteristics of the style are its high alcohol (7-percent to 10-percent by volume) and its dry finish.

As early as the 6th century, monks were brewing beer. The story of the brewery at Westmalle Abbey begins in 1836 when monks began brewing beer at the Abbey. At that time, the beer was not intended to produce a profit, instead it was to be used only for the refreshment of the monks and their guests. Later, in 1856, the Abbey began selling a small portion of the beer to villagers at the gates to the monastery.

As demand grew the Abbey did, too. Expansions were undertaken in both 1865 and 1897. In those early years, the brewery produced mostly dark beers. Westmalle was best known for its dubbel, a strong dark ale that developed flavor by boiling the wort for eight to ten hours. The long boil was thought to develop the deep color and complex flavors.

Demand continues to rise and, in 1921, the Abbey decided to sell their beer to outside resellers. This necessitated another expansion that included that construction of a dedicated yeast room and a workshop. When completed in 1934, the new additions are celebrated by the introduction of a new style of beer; the tripel.

Because the palates of Belgians at that time were more attuned to darker, richer ales, the release of the golden-hued tripel was considered a radical move by a group that was known to be overwhelmingly traditional. But, as drinkers began tasting the fruity, high-alcohol brew, demand began to grow. For the next 20 years, the monks tinkered with the recipe until 1954 when Brother Thomas Sas dialed the formula in and created the tripel we know today.

So, important was it to the monks that the character of the tripel remain intact they instructed Jan Adriaensens, who has overseen brewing at Westmalle since 1982 he was to make no alterations. So, when the brewery decided to switch from square fermenters to the more modern conical style, he spent eight years experimenting on a smaller pilot system to ensure the beer would not be effected.

Though the tripel produced by Westmalle is the original and standard bearer for the style, other breweries have produced their own versions. Here are a few to look for at your local market.

New Belgium Trippel

Creamy and fruity with plenty of alcohol punch, this beer the Colorado and now North Carolina brewery reveals citrus, dark fruit and other spicy flavors.

Victory Golden Monkey

Easy drinking and refreshing despite its 9.5% ABV, this one will sneak up on you if you aren’t careful.

Wicked Barley Monks Menage

When this tasty Belgian-style tripel is on tap, it treats drinkers to a solid, boozy experience redolent with cracker, spice and pepper.










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Posted by on December 21, 2017 in Beer, Beer Styles


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3 new Bold City brews you must try at downtown tap room

bold_City_DTWhen I talked to Brian Miller, co-owner of Jacksonville’s first craft brewery, Bold City Brewing Company a few months ago about the just-opened downtown brewery and tap room, he told me that his vision was to rotate his brewers through the smaller brewery and let them exercise their creativity. This weekend we will get to reap the fruits of Jeremy Baker’s, one of the Bold City brewers, labors.

Beginning at 11:00 a.m. Friday, May 26, Baker’s first brew — The George and the Dragon Oatmeal Stout — will be on tap. Then at 2:00 p.m., The Jam ESB will become available and finally, at 5:00 p.m., The Pryed of Frank and Stein Rye IPA will flow.

Inspiration for the new brews lean heavily towards Baker’s British roots. The name for his stout is drawn from visits to family in England as he grew up.

“The legal drinking age is lower there,”  Baker said in an email from Bold City. “So the first time I could legitimately drink a beer at a bar was just down the hill from my Grandparent’s house. The pub was named The George and the Dragon and George.

The combination of that early drinking experience and the fact that his grandfather’s name is George provided the inspiration for his rich, chocolate forward oatmeal stout. IN keeping with the U.K. theme of the beer, Baker utilized British Phoenix hops in this 5% ABV work of art.

For his 5.5% ABV The Jam ESB, Baker again turned to his British heritage by trying to create a traditional Engish-style pale ale. In this brew he balanced English two-row, mild malts and a touch of crystal/caramel malts with a variety English of hops.

“My goal with this one was to emulate what you would get if you were in an English pub and asked for a pint of bitter,” Baker explained. “This is one of the first styles of beer I fell in love with as a young man.”

The Pryed of Frank and Stein, Baker’s third beer to be released is an English-style IPA brewed with rye that clocks in at 7% ABV and has an American twist — he aggressively hopped the brew with a combination of spicy and earthy hops from the U.S. and Europe. Perhaps most interesting is the highlighted use of experimental hop, HBC 682 said to have a mild and pleasant aroma with herbal, floral and spicy characteristics. In addition, both English and American pale malts were sourced along with distinctive rye malt.

“The ingredients came from all over,” Baker said. “To create a Frankenstein of a beer.”

With Jazz Fest and the opening of Daily’s Place downtown this weekend, you may want to get to Bold City early to stake out a place and try all three of these new additions to the Bold City line up.

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Posted by on May 25, 2017 in Beer, Beer Releases


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Miir introduces better, redesigned growler

blacknewgrowler_10c65d85-5517-449f-8d8d-8e3e4a50c908From time to time companies that have beer-centric products reach out to me and offer to send me samples. Whether these items are beer, accessories or books, I sometimes accept their offers when the product is of particular interest to me. That said, a few months ago I received an email from Jam Collective a public relations firm representing Miir Labs. The email introduced me to Miir’s recently updated growler.

Fast forward to this week when a box appeared on my front door step from Miir. Eagerly I opened the box to find that the beautiful matte black growler I had requested arrived.

The first thing I noticed about the growler was the construction. Made of 18/8 medical grade stainless steel, the growler was sturdy yet relatively light-weight – far lighter than a typical glass growler. Next I noticed the sturdy and convenient handle, perfect for easy pouring. Finally, the buckle seal on the mouth impressed me with how securely it held the lid closed. An added surprise was the lid lock that holds the lid open while either pouring or filling the growler. The handle, buckle closure and lid-lock are all new features over Miir’s previous product that they call the Heritage growler.

In comparison to more traditional growlers – of which I own many – the new Miir Growler has several advantages.

Wide Mouth

Anyone who has poured beer from a growler without a handle knows how awkward that can be. The mouth on most growlers is narrow causing beer to “chug” when it pours making it hard to pour beer without spills. The Miir growler has a two-inch opening that minimizes the chugging effect.

Large Handle

The typical glass growler has a tiny loop for a handle that usually can only accommodate a finger or two – that is, if it even has a handle, many do not. The Miir growler has a long, comfortable handle similar to what you would find on a pitcher. The handle makes it much easier to transport the growler and provides greater control when pouring to avoid spillage.

Buckle Closure 

Most growler have either a screw on lid or a swing-top – a looped wire that holds the lid in place – these types of closures can get lost in the case of the lid or bent in the case of the swing-top. In addition, the seal made by either of these types of closures can weaken over time allowing for carbonation to be lost or air to get in to the growler. In either case, the beer in the growler can easily be ruined. The Miir growler has a very solid buckle that hooks on to the lid and snaps in place for a tight air and leak-tight seal.

Lock Back Lid

Filling a growler with an attached lid can be a hassle. Often the lid gets in the way and the bartender has to hold it back. The Miir growler has a lid the swings back and then locks preventing it from swinging forward until intentionally moved.

In addition to these features, the Miir growler employs a double-walled vacuum insulation technology called Thermo 3D. This breakthrough insulation keeps cold liquids cold for more than 24 hours without refrigeration and hot liquids hot for 12 hours.

To test the growler, I filled it with ice water and left it sitting on my kitchen counter for a full 24 hours. When I returned, the growler had not sweat on the counter. As I picked it up I could hear that it still had ice in it. Before I opened it, I gave it a good shaking to see if it would leak. Not a drop came from the seal. When I finally did open the growler, the water inside was still ice cold after 24 hours.

Miir uses a crowd-funding model that helps determine the products to be produced. Prototypes are placed on Miir Labs, the company’s crowd-funding platform where they are discounted 25% for a limited time. If the product meets its pre-determined funding goal, it is manufactured and delivered to investors before going to retail.

Miir also guarantees a portion of every purchase is given to clean water and health initiatives worldwide. Customers can track the impact of their purchase via a “Give Code” included with each purchase. In the case of the growler, 5% of each sale goes to Splash in Kolkata, India. This initiative ensures clean water, clean hands and clean toilets for students in 10 schools.

The Miir growler holds 64 ounces (1/2 gallon) of fluid, is available in four colors (black, white, blue and stainless steel) and retails for $59 and can be purchased at:

Disclaimer: I received a growler from Miir to evaluate. I was under no obligation to write this review nor will I make a commission off any sales generated by the above link.

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Posted by on May 5, 2017 in Beer, Products


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