Georgia’s Tucker Brewing Company just took home Great American Beer Festival Gold in the Light Lager category. In an American landscape of nearly 10,000 breweries, that’s not an easy feat.
American craft beer is in a bit of a “lager renaissance” of sorts it’s finally normal [again] to see a lager on tap at a brewery. Hell, just a few years ago in Georgia folks were all but drowning in a sea of IPAs and stouts, but now – the Peach State is home to at least three lager-focused breweries. We’d like to extend a personal thank you that no one has tried to make a milk lager. (Yet.)
Tucker Brewing’s Lager, aka Tucker Lager, is barely four years old. The brewery’s appropriately named head brewmaster Tucker Eagleson (purely coincidental) was brewing at Heavy Seas in Baltimore, Maryland when he stumbled across the head brewer job at Tucker Brewing on ProBrewer. His name naturally got his foot in the door.
One of the conditions of getting the job was that Eagleson had to have at least two lager recipes ready for the brewery’s upcoming Tucktoberfest that year. Within weeks of landing in Georgia, he had a märzen and Honeysuckle Helles Lager, that would eventually be Tucker Lager ready to go.
The märzen is seasonal, but Lager immediately became year-round. “The recipes for either beer never really changed after the fest,” Eagleson says. It was just a series of [a thousand] different tweaks and sensory panels to improve the beer,” he adds.
Light Lager may sound like a common beer, but it’s unforgiving if you don’t know what you’re doing. A stout or porter might hide imperfections or off-flavors, but a lager is like changing clothes in the front yard. You see everything.
Here in 2021, Eagleson figured it might be time to enter it in GABF, which still held the competition despite canceling the public festival for the second year in a row. Last Saturday morning, Eagleson woke up to a text from brewery co-founder Ashley Hubbard that out of 137 category entries, Tucker Lager won gold. “It took a second for it to set in,” he says.
It’s actually the first gold medal for a lager in Georgia in more than 30 years. A medal that’s well deserved. The all-German hop and malt lager is about as clean and crisp of a beer as you’ll find anywhere.
Taking home gold for a light lager on your first try is no easy feat I say to him. Eagleson smiles and simply replies. “I’ll drink to that.”
Left Hand Brewing’s Milk Stout is a beer of pure beauty. One of the best milk stouts in the U.S. if you ask us.
Over the last month the Longmont, Colorado-based brewery has been slowly revealing the contents of a 2nd edition of the brewery’s 12-pack dubbed “The Milk Box.” The variety pack is a milk stout lover’s dream.
In November of 2020, the brewery announced the launch of the variety pack, which contained the ridiculously good Peanut Butter Milk Stout, Bittersweet Imperial Coffee Milk Stout, Raspberry, and Chai Milk Stout.
The Left Hand Milk Box is making a second appearance this fall with a new cast of characters.
As of right now, the pack will contain Smore’s Milk Stout, Mint Chocolate Milk Stout, as well as Mole Milk Stout.
What’s the 4th? We are guessing Left Hand Double Milk Stout. An imperial edition of the venerable year-round Milk Stout. This edition is a big 10.5% alcohol by volume. According to the label – “Double Down! Decadent notes of milk chocolate, roasted coffee, brown sugar, and vanilla cream.”
Like we said. It’s just a guess. Either way, Double Milk Stout is something we look forward to drinking. Soon.
We missed Orpheus Brewing’s Year Six celebration. The pandemic took care of that.
The anniversaries before this virus mess, I sat down with brewery founder Jason Pellet and we chatted about the previous year of running a brewery, beer trends, greek mythology, and music. We both play instruments so it’s easy to geek out, especially when it comes to classical music.
Maybe this year we can sit down again to do a little day drinking and do it all again. In the meantime, Orpheus Brewing celebrates their 7th year this weekend. In true Orpheus fashion they aren’t releasing just one anniversary beer. They are dropping 7 (or more.) Crazy long names intact.
Here is the full list of release we got Orpheus to divulge. Cliff notes version – look out for a barrel-aged dopplebock, barrel-aged barleywine, a few wild ales, plus some barrel-aged imperial stouts. Fall is coming. It’s time to put the seltzers down.
An 8-bottle set is available now to purchase on Oznr. We are assuming individual bottles will be available at the party day-of.
That said – here’s the release lineup. The beers are all pretty big… Each link opens in a new window.
Zephyr Punch – Native Wild Ale. 75% spontaneous beer, & 25% native culture saison. A blend with Brick Store Pub.
Barrel-Aged City in the Trees – Long boil Dopplebock, aged in bourbon barrels. 11% ABV
Room a Thousand Years Wide – Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine. 13% ABV
Stillness Feels the Air and Shudders – Whiskey Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, aged 2-3 years. 13.2%
Darkness has no Alibi – Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, with oats, molasses, spices. 12.9% ABV
Constructing Eternity out of Discount Ruins – Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout w/ coffee & vanilla. 13%
The Brief Infinity We Built – Spontaneous wild ale with Georgia Peaches. 5%
Extant Riches Burning So We Venerate the Ashes – Barrel Aged Imperial Stout with bananas, cinnamon, vanilla. 13%
Stouts All the Way Down, Vol 16. – Barrel Aged Imperial Stout with honey roasted peanuts & strawberries. 13%
Orpheus Year Seven festivities run September 3rd – 6th.
Just when you thought you’ve seen pumpkin everything as fall rolls around, just wait. Bud Light Pumpkin Spice Hard Seltzer hits shelves September 6th.
This hard seltzer mimics Starbucks infamous “PSL,” featuring flavors of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. If that’s not enough, this seasonal flavor is joined by Toasted Marshmallow, Maple Pear, and previously released Apple Crisp. Each dressed in a flannel laden fall variety pack.
This summer, Bud Light debuted a Red, White, & Blue “Retro Summer” seltzer variety pack with Cherry Limeade, Blue Raspberry, and Summer Ice. All three were fairly sweet, but the Blue Raspberry was the clear winner there.
In the past few weeks we have seen some weird Frankenstein-like beverage announcements, including Hard Mtn Dew, brewed with the help of Boston Beer Company, and Flamin’ Hot Mtn Dew, a non-alcoholic, spicy, mostly likely gut slaughtering soda debuting online today.
Bud Light Pumpkin Spice Hard Seltzer and all its fall buddies are 5% alcohol by volume, 100 calories per can.
Whether or not you want to drink drink it in public is up to you.
Bell’s Brewery’s widely popular seasonal Oberon will have extra life as the weather cools down. The Michigan based brewery has been barrel-aging the wheat ale to create something much stronger than the summer sipper/ Meet Bell’s Uberon.
The brewery describes Uberon as their “classic wheat ale with a shot of bourbon dropped into it.” Something you can store away for a winter night when you’re missing the warmer days of Oberon and summer.
Bell’s Uberon is a whopping 11.3% alcohol by volume, which is nearly double Oberon’s 5.8% ABV. Shipping in 12-ounce bottles to distributors by the end of August.
Debut: Late August 2021
On our first trip to the Scott’s Addition area of Richmond, Virginia, we found lots of breweries. Our day drinking curveball, and one of the most memorable experiences actually came thanks to Elle & Will Correll, who own Buskey Cider.
Buskey Cider is some of the best cider we’ve had on the east coast. We’ve had a few years of samples to decide that. Each cider is small batch, crisp, and downright inspired. During the pandemic, Will gave up his salary to cover his employees as the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown bars and breweries. It’s not directly to the rest of this story, but it’s worth saying.
As 2020 rolled around we lost touch with Buskey. Hell pretty much everyone. Then as the the temperatures threatened 100 degrees, Will reached out again with new Buskey Cider news. This time is wasn’t a traditional release, but something a little different – boozy soft serve.
Here in 2021 our alcoholic attention span is that of a chipmunk. Just look at the growth of hard seltzers, RTD cocktails, freeze pops, and whatever has yet to come. It’s not that we DON’T want to drink. We just want new ways to GET drunk. (Or safely imbibe for the lawyers out there.)
Will tells me that week by week, folks are coming back into the Buskey taproom, feeling free to do things they used to do, like it’s 2019 all over again. “I wanted something new, to engage people in a new way,” Will says. “I wanted to give folks some kind of reward. It’s been a tough year.” That’s where the Buskey Soft Serve was born.
Co-owners and husband and wife team Will and Elle invested in a Below Zero soft serve machine. The idea was making a “cider sorbet” of sorts, incorporating a few seasonal ciders in order to beat the heat. Basically, buy it and figure it out.
After the first weekend, you can safely say they figured it out. Buskey chose their seasonal Watermelon Basil for the inaugural cone. The first weekend, they sold them as fast the Below Zero machine would churn them out. Nearly 500 cones in all.
“We wanted to amplify the idea that this was ours,” Will says. “That’s why we chose the Watermelon Basil,” he adds. “It turned out better than expect, downright refreshing.”
The only downside is that the machine requires a good bit of cleaning and maintenance, plus staff training. It goes beyond cleaning glassware and faucets. Apparently there was a full-on training video to go along with the new equipment.
Each cone is about 5% alcohol by volume and non-dairy. After Watermelon Basil came Tart Cherry, and now bright pink Dragonfruit Açai. The working theory is to release new cider soft serve flavors opposite of the bi-weekly cider releases.
Will’s desire to energize people wanting to explore again is working. Buskey Cider has always been a fun break from the Scott’s Addition Beer Trail, and if the Correll’s have anything to do with it, it’s going to be one the most interesting stops along the way.
Just watch out for the brain freeze.
Bell’s Double Two Hearted Ale makes another return to shelves in July 2021.
For years, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale overtook Russian River Pliny the Elder as #1 India Pale Ale in America, according to Zymurgy Magazine, published by the American Homebrewer’s Association. Elder had the spot for seven years straight. Two Hearted Ale has both “classic” and “epic” statuses in our book.
In the past, you might have been lucky to come across Bell’s Double Two Hearted Ale on draft. It’s a hoppier and definitely boozier edition of its famous predecessor, to the tune of 11% alcohol by volume. If you’re a fan of Two Hearted Ale, this bigger edition really delivers.
Expect 12-ounce bottles and draft of Double Two Hearted Ale to starting hitting shelves within the week.
Style: Imperial IPA
Availability: 12oz Bottles (New), Draft.
Debut (Bottles): July 2019
Latest Return: July 2021
PIC: Beer Street Journal