VIDEO: 65 Unique Ways to Open a Bottle of Beer

Have you ever found yourself in the situation where you have beer, but no way to open it? Of course you have.. who hasn’t? A few weeks back, I found myself stuck in this exact situation. I checked into a hotel with a six pack, but didn’t realize until later that I didn’t have a bottle opener with me. Of course, I wasn’t about to let that stop me. Due to my chronic case of laziness, I wasn’t about to make another trip to the store. With some quick thinking and a little bit of engineering, I was able to get it open using the headboard and a towel.

The video below shows some very unique ways that one group of guys opened their beer (and also wasted a ton of beer in the process).
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Win up to $25,000 in the Kegerator.com Kickoff Pick’em League

Kegerator Kickoff Pick'em League

We are very excited to announce the first annual Kegerator.com Kickoff Pick’em league! This public pick’em league is 100% free and gives you the opportunity to win all sorts of prizes, as well as $25,000!

How it works:

Sign up for the pick’em league by following this link.

Every week, before the games start, you will log into your account and enter who you think will win the match-up. The top three players of the week will be entered into a monthly drawing for a chance to win a mini-kegerator. At the end of the season, all of the top weekly winners throughout the entire season will be placed into a random drawing for the MVP prize package.

The beauty of this contest, is no matter when you join the league, you still have an opportunity to win the grand prize! Do you have what it takes to win?

Winners will be notified by email. Prizes are as follows:
  • Monthly: There will be one winner each month. The contestant with the most points accumulated in the weekly contest will be entered into a drawing for a Mini-Kegerator every month.
  • Postseason MVP: There will be one postseason winner. The top 3 point earners for each week, throughout the entire season, will be placed in a random draw for the following: Dual Tap Home Brew Keg, Home Brew Kit, Beer Glasses (set of 4)
  • Grand Prize: There will be one grand prize winner. Each week the top point earner will be asked to pick the half time and final score of the 2 Monday night teams. If someone picks the exact scores, they will win $25,000!

4 Types of Healthy Beer (And the Benefits of Drinking Them)

Healthy Beer

The average American male drinks approximately 23 gallons of beer per year, which creates a national demand of approximately 200 million barrels. Of course, since you’re on a beer blog right now reading this, it’s probably a safe bet that you drink a slightly higher than average amount of beer per year.

No matter how much you drink, there’s no denying that beer’s popularity continues to soar high. As such, so has the desire to drink a beer that won’t adversely affect your health. Past studies have suggested that the moderate consumption of beer can have some health benefits associated with it. While the term moderation may be defined differently by different people, the truth of the matter is that there are some beers out there that are “healthier” than others.

With the recent announcement that Australian scientists have created a beer with electrolytes, it got us thinking. What are the healthiest beers out there? After doing some digging around, here are four types of healthy beers and their alleged health benefits.

Heart-Friendly Beer

Beer has long been known to benefit heart health. In fact, a study from 2012 found that “moderate consumption of beer is associated with lower cardiovascular risk.” Researchers concluded that the natural antioxidants, known as phenols, found in many types of beer is behind the reason why heart function improved in the participants of the study.

The highest phenol concentrations are available in brews like Yuengling Light Lager, Abita Purple Haze and Left Hand Good Juju. Yuengling provides full flavor while staying light on calories. A typical glass of Yuengling Light Lager contains approximately 99 calories, and still contains those healthy phenol benefits.

Additionally, Abita includes real raspberries to its brew, which reduces the bitter taste of some ales. The berries also add extra antioxidants to your drink, which one would presume adds to the amount of heart health benefits. Left Hand Good Juju is made with fresh ginger – a superfood that is good for the heart. Good Juju is also light on calories, but doesn’t skimp on flavor.

Gluten-Free Beer

For many Americans, staying healthy means following a diet free from grains, commonly referred to as a gluten-free diet. This is especially important for the estimated two million Americans that suffer from Celiac disease. The easiest way to treat this devastating gastrointestinal disease is to avoid gluten at every turn.

The good news is that gluten-free beers have been steadily growing in popularity over the last few years. However, depending on where you live, gluten-free beer can be somewhat tricky to find. Call your local craft beer store and inquire about their selection of gluten-free beers. Depending on whether or not they have the beer you’re looking for, it’s possible that they can special order it for you.

One delicious example of a gluten-free beer is from Lakefront Brewery, which produces a popular pale gold beer called New Grist. This beer is brewed from rice and gluten-free yeast grown on molasses. It was also the first beer to have its label approved as gluten-free.

Dogfish Head also has a popular gluten-free beer called Tweason’ale. Instead of barley, Dogfish uses a sorghum syrup base with touches of strawberries, molasses and buckwheat honey. While it’s only a seasonal brew, it’s worth a try if you come across it. Another excellent gluten-free beer is Bard’s Original Sorghum Malt Beer. Created with sorghum syrup instead of grain syrup, this beer resembles a traditional wheat ale and rivals the originals in both taste and scent.

Brain-Healthy Beer

In a happy turn of events, researchers in Boston have discovered that drinking beer may actually boost your brain health. According to a study with 3,660 participants, those that were light to moderate drinkers — less than 14 drinks per week — tended to have fewer strokes than non-drinkers. Researchers believe that this is due to alcohol having the ability to thin your blood, thus helping prevent the formation of blood clots. While more research is needed to show the extent to which beer helps, researchers did state that excessive drinking may cause atrophy of the brain. As the saying goes, everything in moderation, no matter how tasty it may be.

In addition, light consumption of beer may also help improve your mental health as well. Drinking beer in moderation is believed to help decrease anxiety and depression. Look for beers that contain plenty of nutrients like protein, Vitamin B, iron, niacin, riboflavin and magnesium. Most beers already carry these powerful ingredients along with others that help to boost your emotional state.

Of course, other studies have shown that alcoholism and excessive drinking may actually lead to depression and other related mental-illnesses, so make sure you drink responsibly. Drink with a friend who can hold you accountable to the amount of drinks you consume and encourage you to make healthy choices.

Hangover-Free Beer

Technically, this type of beer isn’t out on the market yet, at least not that we know of. But, scientists in Australia recently announced that they have added electrolytes to beer in the quest to create a hangover free beer.

Researchers claim that by adding electrolytes and reducing the amount of alcohol in beer, it will help keep you hydrated, thus ensuring that you will not get a hangover the next day. In the study, researchers from Griffith University added electrolytes to two popular, but unnamed, beers. One of which was light (2.3% ABV), and the other is something they call “full” strength (4.8% ABV). They gave the augmented beer to participants that just had a rigorous exercise, in attempt to see which type of beer would help them recover their fluids. They found that the light beer with added electrolytes was found to be the “most effective at re-hydrating” participants.

As promising as this all sounds, it must be noted that only seven people participated in this study. And those seven people were only tested on four separate occasions. Despite the obvious limitations of this research, it’s also the first study of its kind. There’s no denying that far more research is needed to confirm whether electrolytes in your beer will prevent a hangover or not.

Healthy Beer and You

It’s important to remember that despite any potential health benefits your beer may offer, there are healthier things you can put into your body. If you’re looking to lose weight, beer may not be the best thing to consume. If you just took medicine, beer may not be the best thing to consume. Despite what we want to believe, beer is not a superfood and should not be treated as such.

While all beers tend to contain at least some health benefits, some styles will provide more benefits than others. If I had to choose the healthiest type of beer, I would lean towards gluten-free. But I’m not a doctor, and this the above list of healthy beer is not a substitute for medical advice. The key thing to remember when it comes to beer, or any type of alcohol, is to drink in moderation and do so responsibly.

Have you tried any of the “health beers” we listed above? Let us know your thoughts on them in the comments below.

Click here to enter the Kegerator.com Pick'em League

Touring Tastebuds: 10 Famous Brewery Tours in America

America has a lot to offer when it comes to great brews. Small, independent microbreweries and large-scale production houses all welcome visitors to tour their facilities and learn about the process that goes into making their beer. On these brewery tours, you will be given a unique opportunity to try new brews and explore the world of beer-making.

General Tips for Taking a Brewery Tour

Before you embark on your tour, there’s a few general rules that you should follow while you’re there. First off, don’t wear any open-toed shoes, or you’ll probably be denied access to the fun parts of the tour. Also, and this should be common sense, don’t touch anything or wander away from the rest of the group. This is for your own safety, as well as the integrity of the equipment. Don’t be that guy. And finally, listen to the tour guide. He’s telling you about his passion and giving you the opportunity to learn about the beer they are making for you to enjoy. Take it in, ask a lot of questions, learn as much as you can, then sit back and enjoy your tasty sample.

So, in no particular order, here is our list of the best brewery tours in America.

1. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company   (Chico, CA)

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

At the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, California, you can enjoy a variety of craft brews while touring this popular brewery. The tour takes you through all the stages of brewing beer. See and smell fresh hops and witness the fermentation process. After the tour, enjoy samples of famous beers sold by the brewery. If you are hungry for more, stop by the restaurant for a hearty meal. If you do, be sure to ask about pairing different beers with the restaurant dishes to find a brew that complements your menu choice.

2. Saint Arnold Brewing Company   (Houston, TX)

Saint Arnold Brewing Co.

To tour the oldest craft brewery in Texas, you’d have to travel down to Houston and visit Saint Arnold Brewing Company. Since 1994, Saint Arnold has been brewing their beer in Houston, making them the first microbrewery in the Bayou City. Over the last couple of decades, the Saint Arnold Brewery has managed to create a passionate following of beer enthusiasts. For $8 a person, you can tour the Saint Arnold brewery six days a week, plus receive a free souvenir tasting glass with every admission. While the Saturday tour lasts longer, it’s also more crowded. We would recommend going during the week, as you will have a better opportunity to tour the facility and talk with the brew crew. Be sure to get there early, as the brewery is known to hit its capacity pretty quickly.

3. Samuel Adams Brewery   (Boston, MA)

Samuel Adams Brewery

Founded in 1984, Samuel Adams Brewery exists because flavorful beer was hard to come by at that time. The success of the brewery was all due to a family beer recipe that dated back to the 1870′s, plus a lot of hard work from the great-great grandson of the man that came up with the recipe. Almost thirty years later, that same recipe, what we now know as Samuel Adams Boston Lager, is sold all over America and over twenty countries. There is simply no “Best Brewery Tour List” that does not contain Samuel Adams. Tours of the brewery start every 45 minutes, Monday through Saturday. Unless you have a large group, Samuel Adams Brewery does not take reservations. Because of this, it is wise to show up very early, especially on Saturdays. During your brewery tour, you’ll learn all about the craft brewing process, the history of Samuel Adams and taste a couple of their brews. This is a must-see brewery tour for every beer geek.

4. Live Oak Brewing Company   (Austin, TX)

Live Oak Brewery

Located in the heart of Texas, Live Oak Brewing Company is a small microbrewery located in Austin, TX. This brewery is unlike all others on this list, because they utilize an “old-world style of brewing” that you hardly find in the United States today. Founded by two homebrewers in Austin, Live Oak Brewing creates some very tasty beer, in very limited quantities. Brewery tours can be somewhat tricky to get into, but absolutely worth the effort if you can pull it off. In order to get in on this free tour, you gotta keep a close eye on their website. They will announce when their upcoming tours are, and then post a “reservation link” at 8am the Thursday before the tour date. If you can’t get in for a tour, they do offer a free ‘virtual tour’ on their website.

5. Deschutes Brewery   (Bend, OR)

Deschutes Brewery

Founded in 1988 as a tiny brew pub in downtown Bend, Oregon, the Deschutes Brewery has since grown into one of the most popular craft brewers in America. Five years after opening the brew pub, Deschutes moved into a large brewery along the Deschutes River in order to meet the high demand for their brew. Brewery tours are free and depart on the hour, every hour between 1-4pm. However, it’s wise to get there early because only fifteen people are allowed to go on each guided tour. This means that only sixty people a day will get to walk through and fully experience the brewery. Don’t fret if you can’t get in, as beer tastings still happen whether you make it into the brewery tour or not. You also have the opportunity to waste a lot of time – and money – in their gift shop.

6. Stone Brewing Co.   (Escondido, CA)

Stone Brewing Company

While visiting the Golden State, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t stop by Stone Brewing Company in Escondido. Famous for its bold, hoppy beers, this brewery is easily one of the most unique tours you can take. But make sure you get there early, as the tours usually sell out rather quickly and are limited to only 25 people at a time. Tours only cost $3 for adults and come with a free tasting glass and four 4oz beers of your choice. There’s a wide range of public tour times that stretch over all seven days of the week. But, if you’re looking for the full ‘Stone experience’, you would be better served booking a private tour through their website. The outdoor garden, featuring waterfalls, vegetation and rock formations, creates a unique atmosphere to relax and enjoy a great-tasting brew!

7. Magic Hat Brewing Co.   (South Burlington, VT)

Magic Hat Brewing Co.

In the cozy little town of South Burlington, Vermont, the Magic Hat Brewing Co. has been attracting beer enthusiasts with its creative brews and fun ambiance since 1994. Tours of the “Artifactory” are free and no reservations are required, but the hours may vary depending on whether it’s summer or winter, so be sure to check out their website. At the bar, you have the option to choose from 48 brews on tap, including their year-round favorites, rotating seasonal brews and maybe even a few experimental brews.

8. New Belgium Brewing Company   (Fort Collins, CO)

New Belgium Brewing Company

If you ever find yourself in Fort Collins, Colorado, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t stop by and visit the New Belgium Brewing Company. Officially launched in 1991, this brewery has become so popular that they now distribute in 34 states, and they recently confirmed that they’ll be distributing in Ohio soon. If you want to take a brewery tour, you’re going to need to book it far in advance. To do this, just log onto their website and check out their tour calender. Brewery tours happen Tuesday through Saturday and depart every half hour starting at 11am, with the last one departing at 4:30pm. The tours are free, open to all ages and generally last about 90 minutes. During your tour you will be able to sample the tasty beer.

9. Brooklyn Brewery   (Brooklyn, NY)

Brooklyn Brewery

Since its founding in the late eighties, the Brooklyn Brewery has been brewing some of the most flavorful beer in the Big Apple. In fact, over the last couple of decades, beer enthusiasts across America have discovered how tasty their beer really is, which is why the Brooklyn Brewery now distributes its beer in over 25 states, as well as 20 countries. The brewery offers tours every day of the week except Fridays, however if you plan on dropping by Monday-Thursday, you will need to make a reservation online and pay $8 to get in. On the weekends, the brewery is open to the public with no admission fee, with tours starting on the hour throughout most of the day. No trip to NYC is complete, without checking out this brewery.

10. Dogfish Head Brewery   (Milton, DE)

Dogfish Head Brewery

Founded in 1995, the Dogfish Head Brewery is a wildly popular brewery in Milton, Deleware that was once deemed “America’s most interesting and adventurous small brewery” by one of the world’s most respected beer writers. To take a guided tour of this brewery, you need to reserve your tickets online. They allow walk-ins, but only if there are spots available. They offer tours every half hour from Tuesday to Saturday. The tour times range based on the day, but Dogfish offers tours from 11am-4pm during those days.

We realize that everybody reading this is going to have a brewery that they think should be on the list. The truth is, there are a ton of great brewery tours out there, and if you’re given the opportunity to tour a facility that is not on this list, then you should jump at it.

Brewery tours are increasingly popular as more and more breweries cater to visitors and tourists. Easy access, free tours and on-site dining opportunities entice visitors to linger and explore. Of course, many beer fans end the day by stocking up on their favorite brews or buying a souvenir t-shirt. No matter how you celebrate your brewery trip, just enjoy yourself while you’re there.

Recommended Reading:

10 Types of Beer Glasses to Complement Your Beer

Every beer geek I know has their own collection of pint glasses sitting at their house. Whether they stole them from bars they’ve visited over the years or bought them online, their collection of pint glasses is always growing. But, there are many types of beer glasses besides the pint. And even then, there are a couple different styles of pint glasses. While it may be the most popular beer glass in America today, the pint wasn’t always the chosen one.

There is a wide variety of beer glassware available for you to choose from, and they each have their own unique characteristics. In fact, some glassware is designed specifically to help preserve the foam head of your beer, while others are designed to help enhance the colors of your brew. It’s important to remember that it’s more than just a glass that holds your beer; it’s a delivery mechanism that brings out the unique flavors, colors and aroma of your favorite beer. The type of glass you use has the ability to make or break your overall experience.

Let’s take a look at the most common types of beer glasses, and what they mean for you and your favorite beer.

Pint Glasses

Pint Glass

While there are multiple kinds of pint glasses, the American pint glass is probably the most common glass for beer, in the United States at least. This is the glass that you will likely be served in a bar or restaurant. The American Pint Glass, sometimes called a Shaker glass, has a simple and somewhat skinny cylindrical shape that gets wider as it goes up. This type of pint glass typically holds 16 oz. and is common to use with most type of beers, including ales, IPAs, stouts and lagers.

The English pint glass, also commonly referred to as an Imperial or Nonic glass, is shaped much like the American pint, but has a slight lip near the top. The English pint also holds 20 oz. and is usually preferred for drinking English ales and lagers.

This type of glassware is cheap to manufacture, cheap to buy and easy to drink out of. Bars love to stock the pint glass because they’re easy to clean and simple to stack. All of which is probably why it’s the go-to glassware for most beer enthusiasts.

Beer Mugs

Beer Mug

The beer mug is my personal favorite, because it’s incredibly robust, easy to use and holds a lot of beer. Common in England, Germany and the United States, this type of beer glass comes in all sizes. Its main characteristic is its wide cylindrical shape with a handle on the side. The thick glass walls helps insulate your brew to keep it cool, while the handle helps prevent your hands from inadvertently warming up your beer (or dropping it when you’ve had too many).

Sometimes beer mugs will have dimples throughout the glass. While most believe this is merely for decorative purposes, others argue that the dimples help a drinker appreciate the overall color and clarity of their beer. No matter what you believe, there’s no denying the popularity of this beer glass. They’re easy to use, strong enough to toast your friends in a hearty manner, and it holds plenty of beer!

Beer Steins

Beer Stein

The beer stein is very similar to the mug. In fact, so common that these two types of beer glasses are often confused as the same, but they are not. While they have the same shape, steins come equipped with a hinged lid and a lever for your thumb to open said lid easily. Additionally, steins are traditionally made out of a wider variety of materials, including porcelain, stoneware, pewter, silver and wood.

’Stein’ is an abbreviated form of Steinzeugkrug, the German word for stoneware jug or tankard. Historically, steins were preferred because it was widely believed the lids were more sanitary and would ultimately prevent the bubonic plague. In fact, in the early 16th century many communities throughout Europe had passed laws requiring food and beverage containers have lids.

While beer steins are still commonly used today, they are mostly regarded as ornamental or souvenir glassware amongst the majority of beer drinkers. Most people prefer the convenience of a pint glass, over the traditions of a stein.

Goblets & Chalices

Beer Goblet

Goblets are one of the larger, more extravagant types of glassware that beer drinkers come across. Unlike pint glasses that hold a specified amount of liquid, goblets can be found in a variety of sizes. Goblets can be described as having a long thick stem, with a bowl sitting on top. Chalices are another common name for goblets, as they have the same shape. Chalices usually have thicker glass walls and may be heavier. You may find some goblets and chalices even have a gold or silver rim. This is merely decorative and serves no real purpose in terms of improving the quality of beer.

Goblets and chalices are great choices for heavy, malty beers, such as Belgian ales and german bocks. This type of glassware has a wide opening that assists a beer drinker in analyzing the overall flavor profile and aromas.

Pilsner Glasses

Pilsner Glass

This type of beer glass is tall and skinny with little-to-no curvatures as it goes up. The pilsner glass is designed and used primarily for lighter beers, such as pilsners, of course.

Typically, there are a variety of sizes of pilsner glasses, but for the most part they all hold slightly less beer than a pint glass. The slender design allows drinkers to appreciate the colors and carbonation bubbles within their beer. The slightly wider top of the glass also helps retain the foam head of your beer, and bring out its true flavor profile and aromas.

This type of beer glass is incredibly popular amongst Americans and Europeans, with its popularity only growing as the years go on. They’re not only fun to drink out of, but they enhance your ability to appreciate the true taste of your beer. The only downside, is that they typically hold less beer than other types of beer glasses.

Weizen Glasses

Weizen Glass

Weizen glasses are often confused with pilsner glasses, due to their similar shape and size. The main difference between these two styles, is that the Weizen glasses have more curvature to them. Starting with a strong, narrow base, the glass has a distinctive curve to it as it goes up. This type of beer glass is much taller than a pint glass, and usually holds at least ½ a liter of beer.

Another important characteristic, weizen glasses are designed for and primarily used for wheat beers (Weizenbier). The curved lip at the top of the glass helps trap and encourage a thick foam head, allowing for you to appreciate the full aroma and flavor that comes along with wheat beers. However, be wary of the fruit that is usually served on the rim of wheat beers, especially at bars, as the acidity and juice of the fruit could destroy the foam head.

Snifters

Snifter Glass

This type of beer glassware is somewhat rare to find out in public. However, don’t let that stop you from trying it out. You may have already heard of the snifter glass, as it is usually used for tasting cognac and brandy, but many people don’t realize that it’s also great at enriching the aromatics of beer. The unique shape of the glass allows you to swirl your beer around, stirring up the volatiles which helps bring out the full aroma of your brew.

This type of glass looks kinda like the offspring of a wine glass and a goblet. It’s small with a thin stem and footer, but the large bowl on top holds plenty of liquid. Despite how much it can hold, with this type of glass you probably don’t want to fill it all the way up to the rim, as it’s typically reserved for beers with strong flavors and aromas. If you fill it up to the rim it may prohibit you from enjoying the full experience. This type of beer glass is typically used for stronger beers, such as Double IPAs and Belgian ales, and is a favorite amongst beer enthusiasts.

Tulip & Thistle Glasses

Tulip Glass

Another fun beer glass to try out is the Tulip. Designed to trap and maintain the foam head, the tulip glass helps enhance the flavor and aromatics of hoppy and malty brews. Much like the goblets and snifters, this beer glass has a small stem and footer with a unique, tulip-like bowl on top. The top rim curves outward, forming a lip that helps ensnare the foam head.

The thistle glass resembles a stretched-out version of the tulip. It has the same stumpy stem, with a bulb-like bowl, but it’s slightly taller and has less curves around the lip. The thistle glass is typically reserved and designed for Scottish Ales, as the “thistle” is Scotland’s official flower. Much like the snifter, the tulip glass is commonly used for stronger brews, such as Double IPAs, Belgian ales and barleywines. The bulb-like bowl allows you to generously swirl around your beer, releasing the full aromas. This is another type of beer glass that is a popular amongst beer geeks.

Stange Glasses

Strange Glass

The stange glass (or stangen glass) is also commonly referred to as a strange glass, stick glass, pole glass or rod glass. This type of beer glass is named this not because it’s a weird looking glass, but because “stange” is the German word for rod… and that’s exactly what it resembles. The stange glass is tall and slender, much like a “Tom Collins” glass. It’s easily the most boring looking beer glass on this list, but its use can be traced back for decades. No beer glass list is complete without the stange.

The shape of this glass is generally the same, but the size can vary. Generally, this type of beer glass will hold around 6.5 ounces, but it seems that in recent times larger versions are making their way out onto the market. This glassware is typically reserved for delicate beers, such as German Kölsch, to help intensify the flavors and aromas. The main benefit of this type of beer glass is that it has a firmer concentration of the important volatiles within the beer, allowing you to get a real sense of its flavor.

Tasting & Sampler Glasses

Beer Tasting Glass

The tasting glass, also called a sampler glass, can be found in all shapes and sizes. We add it to our list of beer glasses, because they are commonly found throughout brewery tours and pubs. Not to mention, every beer geek I know has their own special collection of tasting glasses at their home.

Taster glasses typically hold a fraction of the amount of a pint glass, ranging from 2.5 to 6 ounces of beer. They’re purposely designed this way so you can sample a beer, without becoming intoxicated. Taster glasses are also handy for sampling a couple of draft beers at your local pub, without committing yourself to the full pint. Or, if you and your buddies buy a rare, expensive brew, taster glasses are a great way to split it up and allow everyone to experience the full flavor.

What’s your favorite type of beer glass?

As you can see, there is a wide variety of beer glasses out there. Every single one of them are designed to enhance the over all experience you get from your favorite style of beer. To answer the most obvious question — Yes, the type of glass you drink your beer out of, does play a role in the overall experience you have. Despite your awesome pint glass collection, we hope that the above list has encouraged you to expand your collection to other styles of glassware. Even if you only debut your snifter once a year, just having it makes your collection all the more impressive.

So, which type of beer glass is your favorite? Let’s hear it in the comments below.

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Great American Beer Festival 2013 Tickets: SOLD OUT IN 5 MINUTES!

UPDATE: Well, that didn’t last long. I tried buying my tickets four minutes after they went on sale, and I was already having problems doing so. I took a look at the #GABF hashtag on Twitter, and discovered that there were many others complaining about the same issues. Others were saying that it sold out in under five minutes… Oh well, maybe next year.


The time is here, and as usual, it’s not going to last for long — Tickets for the 32nd annual Great American Beer Festival 2013 are now on sale. We are very excited about this years event!

Over the course of three days, October 10-12, you will have the chance to taste beers from 600 breweries around the United States, all in one place. Widely regarded as the number one beer festival in the United States, the Great American Beer Festival is definitely a can’t-miss event for every beer enthusiast.

Come out and celebrate the delicious creations of America’s top breweries. Stick around for one of the most influential beer competitions in not just America, but the entire world. For more information and other goodies, be sure to check out the official website for the festival.

Great American Beer Festival 2013

Times:

  • Thursday, October 10:   5:30–10p.m.
  • Friday, October 11:   5:30–10p.m.
  • Saturday, October 12:   12–4p.m.

Location:

Colorado Convention Center
700 14th Street
Denver, Colorado

Tickets Include:

Every ticket to the Great American Beer Festival includes the following:

  • One Commemorative tasting cup and program
  • An unlimited amount of one ounce beer samples (close to 3,000 options to choose from)
  • Festival guide to help you map out and find your way through the convention center
  • Exclusive access to over thirty educational seminars. (limited seating availability)

Even though there are approximately 50,000 tickets available to the general public, this is an incredibly popular beer event and will sell out within minutes. Last year’s festival sold out within thirty minutes. If you’re still reading this, you may be missing out on an opportunity to get tickets. Share this post with all of your friends, and go buy your tickets now.

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An Introduction to the Confusing World of Beer Styles

A “beer style” or “style of beer” is typically a term used to categorize beers by considering a variety of factors. Common factors include the appearance, flavor, ingredients, origin, history, and production method. One of the first official styling structures was created by Michael Jackson, the writer not the pop star, in his 1977 book The World Guide to Beer. His work was advanced by Fred Eckhardt in 1989 with the publication of The Essentials of Beer Style.

Types of Beer

Unfortunately, there is no universally agreed-upon list of beer styles which can make it difficult to unequivocally identify certain types of beer. Along with the popular publications of Jackson and Eckhardt, other commonly used style guidelines are based upon popular beer competitions. They include the World Beer Cup, CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program), and the Brewing Industry International Awards.

Styling by Location

The first way to determine the style of the beer is by looking at its origin. The geographic origin of a beer plays a significant role in determining what ingredients are used, what the original flavor profile is, and may affect the brewing process. For example, there is a noticeable difference between an American, English, and Belgian IPA. The same is true for all types of beers.

Styling By Ingredients & Brewing Process

Another popular way to determine the style of a beer is by focusing on the ingredients and the brewing process. Any number of ingredient combinations can churn out a different beer based upon the brewing process. Similar to styling by location, styling by ingredients in the brewing process can be difficult as well. It has become even more complicated with the introduction of hybrid beers.

A Breakdown of Common Beer Styles

With all this in mind, there are still a handful of different types of beer which are readily agreed upon. Here is a quick look at the most common styles found in the United States (from light to dark)

1. Pilsner

The pilsner is not only the most popular styles of beer in the world, it’s also the youngest. It is a light, clean and simple pale lager. Usually a light to golden yellow, the pilsner features a strong hoppy flavor that is both fragrant and slightly bitter.

2. Wheat Beer

Wheat beers are actually similar to some of the first brewed beers. They are a mixture of barley and wheat grains and have very little hops presence. They are typically cloudy in appearance and the range of flavors is significant depending on the type of wheat used. Traditionally, this style of beer accounts for many popular summer and spring seasonal brews.

3. Brown Ale

The brown ale typically has a dark brown or amber color. Historically, it is an extremely old style of beer whose history can be traced back to un-hot ales. They typically have a higher malt level which gives them an earthier and less bitter flavor. Brown ales may also have a slightly sweet flavor.

4. Pale Ale

The pale ale is one of the most popular beer styles in the world. Made by a warm fermentation method and pale malt, this style has a wide range of flavor and strength. In the UK, a pale ale has a strong malty flavor whereas in the United States it has more hops.

5. India Pale Ale

The India Pale Ale, also commonly referred to as an IPA, comes from the 1700’s when English troops lived in India. Additional hops were added to their typical beer to keep it from spoiling before their ship reached Indian shores. This style is known to have a strong hoppy flavor with a slightly bitter taste. The color of an IPA can range from a light golden yellow to a darker red amber.

6. Bocks

A bock beer is stronger than your average beer. This popular beer style has a robust malt flavor. The bock originates from German monasteries where it was used as sustenance during Lenten fasts, but is now commonly brewed all around the world.

7. Porter

Orginally brewed in London in the 18th century, the porter is a very dark style of beer. A porter includes roasted malts or roasted barley, and are typically mild beers with hints of chocolate and toffee.

8. Stouts

Stouts are always 100% opaque and are consistently the darkest beers. The head of a stout beer is extremely thick and usually brown. They have a controversial history, however it is widely believed that the stout style originally derived from porters. They feature a heavily roasted flavor and often contain hints of chocolate, licorice, molasses, or coffee.

What’s your favorite type of beer? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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3 Things to Remember When Storing Draft Beer

Draft Beer

As we all probably know, draft beer is a brew that is dispensed from a cask or, in modern times, a kegerator. Because yeast and carbon dioxide influence its characteristics, knowing the right temperature and pressure plays a crucial role in the overall quality and flavor of your beer. Casks and kegs mediate these variables and cause the resulting draft beer to differ from beer consumed from a can or bottle.

Certainly, there are a number of qualifications that must be met for a beer to qualify as draft beer, and the success of each batch depends on the quality of the keg. Here’s three things to take into account when you buy and store your draught beer.

Temperature

Temperature, for example, is a crucial determinant of the taste of draft beer. The majority of the time, the beer inside your keg has not been pasteurized, so it’s important to keep it cold. From the moment you get it from the distributor until it’s empty, it’s important to maintain the proper temperature or you will sacrifice the quality of the beer.

When its temperature is to high, foam dominates the beverage because the higher temperature liberates carbon dioxide too quickly. This will cause your beer to foam more than it should, leading to a loss in flavor. Conversely, draft beer that is too cold retains carbonation, causing the beer to taste flat because the true flavor cannot escape.

The optimal temperature to store and serve your draft beer is right at 38°, especially for ales. You can go slightly lower without sacrificing the quality of the beer, but it’s not recommended to go above that temperature. Any reputable kegerator system should be able to maintain the proper temperatures in order to avoid these problems.

Pressure

Furthermore, a great draft beer depends on pressure, just as much as it does temperature. If the beer is kept at a pressure that is too high or too low, the over all taste and characteristics of the beer will be detrimentally altered. If the pressure is too low, the first few pours coming out of the keg will have excessive amounts of foam, and then gradually the rest of the pours will produce beer that tastes flat. On the flip side, too much pressure will cause the beer to come out of the keg at a faster pace than normal, and eventually produce beer that has too much foam.

Generally, the pressure regulator on your kegerator should stay at a consistent 10-12 PSI for American ales and lagers. Unfortunately, the proper amount of pressure may differ slightly between the various brands, styles and types of beer. Because of this, it would be wise for you to call the distributor from which you got your keg and ask what they would recommend.

Keg of Beer

Let It Settle Before Tapping

When you get your keg, try to be gentle with it. Try to limit how much you shake or roll it around. It’s always wise to let it sit idle for a few hours before tapping it. We all know what happens when you shake a can of beer and then immediately open it. The same principles apply to a keg, as it does a can.

Once you get in your keg set up in your kegerator, we would recommend letting it sit for at least an hour or two before drinking from it. This should be plenty of time to let it settle a bit. However, depending on how long it took you to get from the distributor to the kegerator, you may need to give it more time to chill a little long to reach the proper temperatures.

Takeaways

When it comes to draft beer, the flavor profile of beer is very much dependent on temperature and pressure. These two factors work together to retain the beer’s intended taste and aroma. Although there is an optimal temperature range that retains the qualities of draft beer, this may vary somewhat when you take the type of brew into account. It’s important to find the optimal temperature and pressure for your beer of choice prior to serving, and the distributor of that beer may prove to be an invaluable source of information.

What storage tips for draft beer would you add to this list? We’d like to hear your successes and failures in the comments below?

The Perfect Pour: Tricks & Tips for Pouring the Best Tasting Beer

Pouring the perfect beer is a bit of an art, and it’s certainly not as simple as it looks. Think of those commercials where the bartender turns and angles the beer glass as he pours. That’s exactly what you need to do in order to achieve the perfect pour. If you’re currently just holding the glass under the tap as you pour, it is time to learn something new.

3 Tricks to Pouring the Perfect Beer

The Perfect Beer

Here’s a brief summary of our three favorite tricks to pouring the perfect beer.

  • Start with a clean glass:
    While this should be common sense, many people don’t seem to realize how a dirty glass can actually ruin your your beer. Oil residues, dust or blemishes not only look bad, but they may also impede the flavors within the beer.
  • Hold your glass at a 45° angle:
    When you turn the tap on, make sure you’re holding the glass at a 45° angle. Once you turn the tap on and the beer is flowing, make sure the stream of beer always hits the slope in the middle of your glass. Hold your glass at this position until is is approximately half-full.
  • Slowly tilt your glass to 90°:
    This is arguably the most important step. After the glass is approximately half-full, slowly tilt it up to a 90° angle as the beer fills the glass. This last motion will create the perfect amount of head. To create the perfect pour, it’s essential to have a little bit of a head in every beer. We recommend no more than an inch of foam head.

Once you have the basic pour mastered, try adding a few more moves. First, hold the glass about 4-6 inches away from the faucet or tap. Never put the faucet inside the glass as you pour. Second, when you tilt your beer from 45 to 90 degrees, add a quarter-turn twist. This gives your pour an extra bit of finesse. Lastly, to make the beer look more appealing, practice stopping your pour just as the foam reaches the rim of the glass.

Why Foam Head is Essential for a Perfect Pour

This is a common debate amongst beer lovers – how much foam head should your beer have?

The general rule of thumb that we like to follow, is to keep about an inch of foam at the top of each beer. This is for a variety of reasons. Not only does a little bit of foam look better, but it helps circulate plenty of aromatics that allows you to taste the full flavor of the beer, as it was intended to be tasted.

Additionally, a small layer of foam will help keep your beer fresh. The oxygen in the air can actually start to breakdown your beer, leaving it tasting somewhat stale. The foam head provides an extra layer of protection against that oxygen, leaving you with a fresher tasting beer. On top of that, the proper amount of foam head will release carbon dioxide. This will leave you without that bloated feeling when you’re done with your beer.

How Kegerators Help Achieve The Perfect Pour

EdgeStar Kegerator

Kegerators have multiple advantages over the plain beer keg. Not only do they keep your beer cool for several months, they also contain a mounted faucet to aid in pouring. If you are familiar with tapping kegs, and then trying to simultaneously hold both the glass and the tap steady, then you will surely appreciate the ease of a kegerator faucet. Getting a perfect pour from a traditional beer keg is possible, it’s just significantly more difficult.

A kegerator like the EdgeStar kit comes with everything necessary to create the perfect pours, excluding the keg of beer, of course. The faucet is at just the right height to allow you to twist, turn and tilt your glass, without the worry of spilling a drop. If you are pouring from a kegerator, we would advise to go the extra step and use real beer glasses, instead of cheap plastic cups.

Learning how to pour the perfect beer takes a bit of practice, but the payoff is well worth the effort. Mastering the art of tilting and maneuvering a beer glass until it fills just to the brim is one of those skills that separate true beer enthusiasts from amateurs. Give your beer pouring a few practice rounds, then invite your friends over and show off your style.

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