Pilsners.

The crisp, clean lager you should have been drinking all summer. Good news, it’s good all year too.

Listen, I love Pilsners. I feel like you hear a lot of brewers say the same, but fewer mainstream craft beer drinkers share the sentiment. Why is that? Maybe it’s because when I say Pilsner, you automatically think…Bud Light, right? Well that’s totally reasonable because for a long time, this has been the pilsner reference point for many people. BUT, now we’re living in a world of amazingly flavorful beers, and it’s not just IPAs that are getting the creatives juices, well-brewed pilsners are climbing to the top and your choices are limitless (beer aisles are my proof).

So, why pilsners? Honestly, they’re extremely drinkable and they’re great for summer (which is why I have one open right now). If it’s been a long day and I need to kick back and crack a beer, or I’m day-drinking on the lake, or maybe just back-yard hanging with some friends, I want a pilsner In. My. Hand. And that first sip?…oh man, if it’s a good one, it’s kind of transcendent.

Not sure if you knew this, but good pilsners are not easy to brew. It takes hard work and a lot of awareness/expertise on the brewer’s part. Not to mention, high-quality ingredients are essential here because hops take more of a backseat allowing other elements to shine. To me this style is about balance. Pilsners should have a full flavor, but also feel extremely drinkable, like you can throw a few back. There should be a little bite from the hoppy bitterness, but that’s offset by the lightly sweet, toasty, biscuit-like flavors from the malt. These beers are going to taste clean – that means you’re not going to get too many fruity flavors, like you might with an ale.

Pilsners & Food: Pair these guys with food too! A lighter bodied beer, in taste and color, Pilsners pair well with food that won’t over power its flavor. Think sushi, fresh summer salads, light pasta dishes. Pilsners also complement mildly spicy foods, quelling some of the serious heat and heightening other flavors in the food. Don’t forget about cheese too; we’re looking at goat cheese and mild brie.

Quick side note: Pilsners are a German style originally brewed in the Czech Republic in 1842. They’re part of the lager family (vs the ale family) and there are two main types: German Pilsners (drier and more bitter) and Bohemian Pilsners (a bit sweeter, more malty, less bitter). Now you can impress your friends and drop some knowledge.

Pils to try:

  • At the store: Jack’s Abby: Sunny Ridge Pilsner (my fave) – Post Shift is also tasty, Troegs: Sunshine Pilsner, Victory Brewing: Prima Pilsner, Lagunitas: Pils, Brooklyn Brewery: Pilsner
  • On Tap: Roc Brewing: SmashPilsner (seasonal), Genny Brewing: Pilsner, Young Lion: Pilsner

Now that I’ve shared my very opinionated thoughts, what do you think? Already a pilsner convert? What’s your go to brew?

GIVEAWAY!

It’s GIVEAWAY time!

Give us your thoughts and we’ll give you… some free concert tickets. Nope, we’re not kidding.

We have some tickets to an Avett Brothers concert on Saturday, September 2 that we’re excited to give away. There are two VIP tickets that include admission to The Headliner Lounge, a parking pass, and awesome seats, plus we’ve got some lawn tickets we’re giving away too. Why? Well, really, why not? The summer is far from over and we want to make sure you’re rounding it out with some good fun and awesome music, all with a refreshing beer in hand (obviously).

So now that we’ve got your total attention, what do you even have to do to get these tickets? Just leave a comment and let us know your thoughts on this:

What’s the beer your summer activities can’t go without?

Just by commenting, you’ll be entered into a drawing for the tickets we just talked about👆. This giveaway will only be live for the next week (7/31-8/6), so if you snooze you will lose…

Oh, and none of this would have been possible if it weren’t for our friends at Young Lion Brewing (newly opened in Canandaigua) who so graciously donated these amazing tickets. They’re worth checking out, if you haven’t stopped in already.

We look forward to learning about the beers that are fueling your summer fun. Cheers!

 

P.S. We’ll be posting similar post/questions on IG and FB throughout the week for other opportunities to comment, although we’ll only enter you once. Feel free to share this with your friends! They’ll want to know about this one.

Women Who Beertend

Julie Rossette, beertender at Swiftwater Brewing, talks about her foray into beer, her love for beertending, and her spirit beer. Read on for her perspective.

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Women Who Beertend: Emily Nortz, Roc Brewing Co.

Emily Nortz slings beer at Roc Brewing Co. on the weekends and during the summer months when she’s off from teaching. Her positive energy behind the bar is palpable and we like her perspective on craft beer. Read on for her story.

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Women Who Beertend: Ashley Johnson, Three Heads Brewing

Ashley Johnson is That Girl from Three Heads (at least her Instagram profile says so). She holds her own behind the bar and as a rep for the brewery, bringing Three Heads beers to bars near you. Read on for more of her story.

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Women Who Beertend: Jacquelyn Parry, Stoneyard American Craft Beer Hall & Grill

Our friend and fellow Beer Gal, Keelan Walsh (server and beer geek at Stoneyard Brewing), got real with Jacquelyn Parry (pictured), the badass beertender over at Stoneyard American Craft Beer Hall & Grill, to learn her story and what fuels her passion for beer. Read more

Women Who Beertend – Stories, Beers, Passion

For this year’s Real Beer Week, we’re featuring local women who beertend (aka, the bartenders at your local brewery or beer bar). As the most immediate face of each brewery, these women work hard alongside their fellow barkeeps to provide you with excellent service and a memorable experience. There’s an art to beertending and each of the women we interviewed embody what it means to be a great beertender. They’re attentive, knowledgeable, positive, passionate, and fun. They’re more than half the reason you keep coming back for more.

Over the next few days, we’ll post four conversations with women beertenders here in Rochester. You’ll have even more of a reason to stop in each of these breweries after you read their stories. Cheers!

Featured women beertenders:

  1. Jacquelyn Parry, Stoneyard American Craft Beer Hall & Grill
  2. Ashley Johnson, Three Heads Brewing
  3. Julie Rossette, Swiftwater Brewing
  4. Emily Nortz, Roc Brewing Co.

Passport and a Pint Glass, Please.

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Now I usually live by the motto: “Beer before liquor, never been sicker. Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.” But I made an exception this past weekend for my Finger Lakes Beer Passport—and I must say, it went exceptionally well drinking at breweries then topping it off with a few wineries.

If you haven’t heard of this yet, don’t fear! You’ve still got plenty of time to purchase one. Even better, they’ve extended the duration from March to the entire 2016 calendar year. For $20, you’ll get $475 dollars worth of discounts at breweries all across the Finger Lakes region. There’s no way you’ll ever take advantage of the full $475 (but props if you do make it to all 52 breweries!). Simply get to the handful of great places in ROC and you’ll get your money’s worth.

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Now that was my passport plug and I don’t even work for them! Back to my weekend, we started in Montour Falls at Heavily Brewing Co. then worked our way up the east side of Seneca Lake, stopping at Rooster Fish Brewing, Grist Iron Brewing, and Two Goats Brewing. Here’s the skinny on my biggest winners from the weekend.

  1. Heavily Brewing | Winter Seasonal:

The buy one flight get one free passport special allowed us to try all of this brewery’s beers on tap. The winter seasonal was so tasty I saved just a bit of it to drink for last. Overall, Heavily offers an excellent atmosphere consisting of two floors with foosball, darts, pool, drinking card games, comfy couches, and bands on the weekend. The building is actually an old barn complete with a silo for that good ‘ole farm feel.

 

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Rooster Fish | Buckwheat Honey Saison:

Although these guys did not offer any discounts through the passport, their beer was worth every penny. My favorite was this saison, jam-packed with local honey and a smooth, yet distinct finish. Situated in the homey town of Watkins Glen, it’s the perfect place to stop in for a tasting or full drink (or two or three).

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The Beer Gals Gift Guide

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beer gals holiday gift guide

 

Get that beer-loving friend the goods they need to elevate their enjoyment of beer. From trendy bottle openers to brew kits, the Beer Gals gift guide will inspire your inner beer geek. Enjoy.

1.Beer truffles? Yep, it’s a thing. These flavorful chocolates pack some impressive flavors that come from the well known beers they’re made with. Share them with friends or eat them all yourself. Start munching here.

2. This company is no joke and they’re saving the world from lukewarm beverages one insulated water bottle at a time. Their growler is no different and will keep your beer cold for up to 24 hours so no matter where you head you’ll be able to sip a cold one when you get there. Plus, you’ll feel good about your purchase with their 5% back program. Buy yours here.

3. BrewBracket is a beer tasting party in a box (that comes directly from their website, there’s really no better way to phrase it.) These blind tasting kits include the full set up for a tasting at home with friends. If all goes well you could end up finding your perfect pint. Taste here.

4. The number of NY breweries is growing by leaps and bounds. Track your progress with this beer cap map. It’s conspicuous presence on your wall also acts as a conversation starter. Get going here.

5. It’s toward the end of the night and you’re friends convince you to open that special beer you’ve been saving. Of course you can’t finish it and all of your waiting is for nothing…or is it? With this little gadget, your open beers will stay fresh for dayz. Save them here.

6. The Mighty Magnetic Bottle Opener will be your next party’s best friend. Watch your guest’s amazement as they open their beers and the mighty magnet catches each cap. As one reviewer said, “It does exactly what you’d expect it too.” I’m in, thanks for that solid review. Start opening here.

7. You love your beer and it’s time to take a crack at brewing up your own? Love2Brew has got you covered. They have a wide variety of options so if you’re feeling Belgian triple you’re all set and if you’re inner hop is calling, you’re covered with several IPA options as well. Get Brewing.

How Social Should Craft Beer Be?

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I’m sure many of you already know of and use the app Untappd, but for those who either aren’t aware of it, aren’t using it, or both, high-five/hats off/curtsy to you. However, I’m a fair and honest person. First I’ll talk about its pros…

According the official website, “Untappd is a mobile social check-in and discovery network specifically for beer enthusiasts. We provide breweries with a unique platform and suite of tools to connect directly with and analyze those who matter most, the consumers.”1

Breweries, distributors, bars, and others in the beer market chain can use the app to advertise, engage with their drinkers, and analyze performance trends. As a copywriter who has worked in advertising and for many agencies who have beer clients, I can definitely see how advantageous these features can be.

But for once, I’d like to remove my marketer lenses and think about this app as your average consumer; like a real person.

BeerAdvocate.com says, (and my former Beer & Wine Tasting Professor at Syracuse University would agree,) “When analyzing a beer, you can’t just swill it down, burp, and say ‘it’s great’ or ‘it’s crap.’”2 There are steps to be followed to get the most out of your beer. I’ve summed them up below:

  1. Look: Pause and marvel at its greatness.
  2. Agitate: Swirl you glass to pull out aromas and slight nuances as well as loosen and stimulate carbonation.
  3. Smell: 90-95% of what you experience is through this special sense, so you’ll want to breathe in through your nose, then with your mouth open, followed by your mouth only.
  4. Taste: Sip, but don’t swallow right away. Let the beer move throughout your entire mouth and over every taste bud. Absorb the mouthfeel and consistency. Exhale to release stimulations and detect any sweetness, salty flavors, acids, and general bitterness.

And now for my favorite personal addition of a fifth step:

  1. Share: By “share,” I mean face-to-face sharing of your tasting with the great people you’re having this amazing experience with. Rather than rudely hopping on your phone to check-in to your beer, rate your beer, describe your beer, take a picture of your beer, or potentially earn some random badge for drinking your beer, remember to simply exchange your comments right there. In-person. With whomever you’re drinking with and…ENJOY IT. Enjoy the moment.

This is a blog post and just my opinion, but I believe that brewers have worked hard to make their perfect little masterpieces and deserve the respect of your full attention. Their enormous amount of time and labor went toward making a great beer to be shared with great friends via live human interaction.

Even more telling, there have been numerous studies on the psychosocial benefits of moderate alcohol consumption amongst peers, including enhanced moods in natural and experimental settings, leisure enhancement, reduced stress, and increased sociability and social cohesion. 3 Seriously, why would you want to do anything that could take away from these benefits?!

So next time you decide to step away from the real world for the several minutes it takes to check-in, think about the people around you, the brewers, and the benefits you’re checking out of. You’re really only hurting your own experience.

Sources

1 https://untappd.com/business

2 http://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/101/taste/

3 http://lifeprocessprogram.com/lp-blog/library/psychosocial-benefits-of-moderate-alcohol-consumption/