Beer is Beer, Right?

Maurice Amon

Since the boom in microbreweries in the early two-thousands, countless varieties of beer have been brewed and imagined! There are spicy beers, sweet beers, rich beers, meek beers, high and low gravity, common and unique beers.

Some go down with an “ooohhhh,” some go down with an “ahhhh,” some are tasty with chocolate, some pair nicely with ‘za. We all love meeting friends for a nice pint or two, and sometimes having one all alone – don’t you?

The two main types of beer are lagers and ales, this distinction is important – it’s knowledge avails. Lagers ferment on bottom, ales on the top, with a different selection of grain, yeast, and hop.

Ales are brewed in warm water, by the timeless tradition, and that’s how they’re distinctly ales, by definition. Often fruity in flavor, refreshing, and sweet, great things come when you ferment warm water with wheat!

Lagers ferment in a bath that’s kept cold, and that’s how it’s decided by what name they’re sold. Also brewed in cold water are pilsners and bocks, and they ferment for longer…don’t wait by the clock!

Whatever your fancy, whatever your whim, hold up your glass proudly, fill up to the brim! For now you know the difference ‘tween lagers and ales, may the knowledge help guide you down beer-laden trails

Since the microbrew BOOM in the early two-thousands,

Countless beer styles have been brewed and imagined!

Hop monsters, barrel-aged, spicy smoke freak beers,

Wine grape ales, barleywines; uncommon unique beers.

Some go down with ‘OOHS’, some go down with an “AHH,”

Some pair with fine cheeses, some cry out for ‘za.

We all love meeting friends for a nice pint or two,

and sometimes having one all alone – don’t you?

There’s two types of beer: lagers and ales,

The distinction’s important – the knowledge avails.

Lagers ferment on bottom, ales on the top,

With different yeasts joining malt, water, and hop.

Ales are brewed in warm water, by timeless tradition,

And that’s how they’re distinctly ales, by definition.

Often fruity in flavor, refreshing, and sweet,

Great things come when you ferment warm water with wheat!

Lagers ferment in a bath that’s kept cold,

That’s how we decide by what name they are sold.

Lagers include dunkels, pilsners, and bocks,

They ferment longer…don’t wait by the clock!

Whatever your fancy, whatever your whim,

Hold your glass proudly, filled to the brim!

You now know the difference ‘tween lagers and ales!

May the knowledge help guide you down beer-laden trails!

Brooklyn Brewery to Brew Superhero-Themed Beer for New York Comic-Con

Maurice AmonComic-Con is fast approaching in October to New York City and Brooklyn Brewery is ready to participate in the fun. Comic book artist Amy Reeder created the “Brooklyn Defender” which will serve as the official beer of both New York Comic-Con and Super Week. The beer comes as a collaboration between Brooklyn Brewery and event organizer ReedPOP.

Brooklyn Brewery was started by founder Steve Hindy who began with brewing beer in his apartment. Soon he incorporated his partner and Park Slope neighbor Tim Potter to the business and they both quit their jobs in order to focus on the brewery full time. Originally brewing through the Matt Brewing Company, the pair started their own distribution company in which they personally transported marketed their beers to bars and retailers to various bars in New York City. By 1996 they acquired a former matzo factory in Williamsburg Brooklyn and transformed the factory into a fully functioning brewery.

The beer will not be available solely at Brooklyn Brewery. It will make its debut on September 10th at a release party before moving on across the city to select bars and restaurant during Super Week October 3-12 and Comic Con October 9-12. Brooklyn Brewery has released a press release stating:

“This year’s Brooklyn Defender is an IPA as red as the setting sun, as brisk as a tornado and as refreshing as Amy Reeder’s ink style. We incorporated some German red malts that give the beer the slightest edge of roast and a suggestion of caramel, and the explosive Mosaic hop steps out front with the aromatics.”  

In terms of the Brooklyn Defender character, she matches the beer perfectly with her New York attitude which goes hand in hand with the beer’s unique flavor. As for the Brooklyn Defender herself, creator Amy Reeder says:

“The new Brooklyn Defender packs quite a punch,” Reeder says, whose previous work can be seen in issues of Supergirl, Batwoman and Rocket Girl. “She’s your neighborhood vigilante hero: everything about her screams ‘homemade’ and ‘homegrown.’ A boxing and wrestling champ in her own right, the Brooklyn Defender decided her skills were needed on the streets to defend beer and all those who stand behind it!”

This will be continued great marketing for Brooklyn Brewery as it is sure to expand their brand to a wider audience. Comic Con brings in fans from around the country and the world to participate in the latest releases.  This is sure to be a treat for comic and beer fans alike.

(Tech Times)


Untappd, Beer Advocate, and Beer Menus

Maurice Amon beer techTechnology has reached into every part of modern life, it seems, and the world of beer is no exception.  There are countless apps, sites, and online communities surrounding the craft beer scene.  Some are great, practically essential to me – others, not so much.  There are three that are very popular, at least here in the northeast – Untappd, Beer Advocate, and Beer Menus.  Each has a specific purpose, something that sets it apart from the rest of the herd.  This is a quick rundown for the initiated.  Get ready to create some accounts!


I use Untappd all the time.  This app and website has a list of every beer ever produced.  You use the app to ‘check in’ beers that you drink.  You can rate them, take a picture, and write a description.  It serves as a catalogue of the beers you’ve tried, what you thought of them, and beers you want to try.  What’s more, you can become friends with other beer enthusiasts and see what they’re drinking.  I often find myself commenting and liking the check-ins of friends.  The app is very, very well built, and has a lot of functionality – too much to go into in full.  If you use no other technology for your beer hobby, make it Untappd.

Beer Advocate

Beer Advocate is a magazine and website devoted to beer.  Where it really shines is it’s online community of beer nerds.  And these are beer nerds.  People come here for a higher quality and more in-depth discussion about beer.  They have an advanced rating algorithm, with users expected to rate beers on a variety of factors individually, adding up to an overall rating.  The forums are very active, and full of great info and advice…as well as some of the negativity so often found on the internet.  I use Beer Advocate as a casual resource when I want to know more about a beer or see what the real beer nerds are talking about, but I don’t get too involved in the forum.

Beer Menus

This website is very simply about delivering listings of what beers are being sold where.  Users can edit beer lists, or owners of bars & beer stores can update their own lists.  There is check-in functionality, but the site is relatively shoddy.  Here in Long Island, however, most establishments maintain accounts.  The best feature of the site is being able to search for a specific beer in the area.  I hope that one day this feature will be available on Untappd – one less login to worry about.

Flights & Pints

maurice amon beer flightOne of my favorite pastimes is craft beer exploration.  It’s sometimes unfortunate that when you list beer as a hobby, it also means one of your hobbies is getting drunk.  And when you’re into the kinds of beers like – imperial stouts, double IPAs, Belgian quads – it’s easy to lose track of the night!

So, when I set out for an evening of beer exploration, the responsible choice is to order a flight.  For the uninitiated, a flight is a collection of small glasses, each filled with a different beer.  Typically there are four glasses, anywhere from 4oz to 8oz, served on a slat of wood with round holes to keep the glasses in place.

There are just so many advantages to ordering flights, even beyond keeping your alcohol intake in check.  First, it’s a great way to try many beers in one sitting.  If you’re planning on having four pints with some friends, that pretty much equals to sixteen beers, if the bar has enough beers on tap!  Beyond that, it can also be fun to select beers that will complement or contrast with one another.  For instance, trying four IPAs with different prominent hop varieties would be a great way to understand the effect hops has on aroma and flavor.  Ordering a flight can also be a magical experience when ordered with a food with varied flavors – a meat and cheese plate is the classic example.  Choosing a few beers that you think will pair with the house cheeses, then playing around with combinations can often make for some outstanding flavor combinations.

But there’s a flip-side to ordering a flight.  Great beer tasters will tell you that you only need 2oz of beer in order to understand it’s profile fully.  For the average person, and me, that can be a little more difficult.  Sometimes when I’m tasting a flight, because there’s so little liquid in the glass, I focus too hard on the qualities of the beer.  What happens is that I often judge it more harshly than if I was leisurely sipping from an imperial pint.  Take Finback Brewery’s new Smoked Porter.  In a flight glass, I thought the flavor was tinny and flat.  But, less than a week later, I was given a pint and LOVED it.

Can someone truly understand a beer after only 4oz?  If so, what hope do we have for making even a dent in the many brands and offerings out there in the craft beer world?  Thus is just one of the beer-drinker’s dilemma 🙂