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Don ’t Float the Ma ins tre a m

P. 4

Wax On

P. 5

Malt Tru ths

P. 6

Beer Brine Your Holid a y s


Anchor Brewing

Off Tap. is a bimonthly publication of ABC Fine Wine & Spirits. Copyright 2015 ABC Liquors, Inc. All rights reserved. Not all products are available in all stores. If the product you’re looking for isn’t available, ask us to order it for you! Meghan Guarino Editor Allie Smallwood Contributing Editor


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Photos courtesy of SweetWater Brewing

DON’T FLOAT the Mainstream

The lazy characters of SweetWater’s iconic motto

the effort, expanding into some of the projects

drift across everything SweetWater does. Every

the brewery team takes on to keep waterways

can, bottle, truck design and t-shirt has “Don’t

and parks around Atlanta clean. “We also

Float the Mainstream” emblazoned across it,

have the Water Keeper program that we raise

usually with the brewery’s mascot, the rainbow

money for the local water keeper to clean up the

trout, close by.

Chattahoochee,” he said. “We try to do our part.”

The motto, set by founder Freddy Bensch during

From packaging to distribution to spent grain,


SweetWater makes a concerted effort to create

SweetWater Blue is a unique, light-bodied ale

a greener, more sustainable lifestyle. This

with a hint of fresh blueberries. It begins with

the early days of the brewery, serves more of a purpose than to simply welcome the team and their patrons to a laidback atmosphere. Sure, the tie-dye patterns and outdoor scenes readily invite nature lovers and beer aficionados into the open doors of the brewery, but the combination of the motto and the team behind the brews stands for something more important: sustainability and conservation.

dedication to the environment gives credence to brewery’s motto.

an appealing blueberry aroma and finished as a surprisingly thirst-quenching ale.

– Brewery notes

And though the style and laidback atmosphere is evident on cans and in the brewery itself, it is missing not only in the brewery’s passion for sustainability, but in the beers produced there.

SWEETWATER IPA This mammoth India pale ale is loaded with intense hop character and subjected to an extensive dry-hopping process. Our IPA is unfiltered, leaving all the natural flavors intact.

– Brewery notes

hops, body and complexity. There is nothing

college. After graduation, Freddy Bensch and

“lazy” about these beers. “We work hard and play

co-founder Kevin McNeary found their way to

hard,” Medlin said. “We work hard to make great,

California for a more in-depth beer education,

consistent beer.”

leading them to bounce from West Coast brewery to West Coast brewery, gaining hop knowledge

The brewery’s flagship beer, SweetWater 420,

and stylistic techniques from a number of beer

boasts the boldness of a typical West Coast style

professionals. Soon the pair scraped enough

beer, brewed with generous amounts of Cascade

money together to open their own brewery, and a

and Centennial hops. This extra pale ale clocks

memorable trip to Atlanta during the 1996 Summer

in at 5.7% ABV and has a label adorned with the

Olympics sold Freddy and Kevin on the location

rainbow trout and a couple of buddies fishing. 420

of SweetWater Brewery. (Kevin has since left

stands as a representation of SweetWater’s roots,

SweetWater to embark on other glorious brewery

right down to the beer’s name—it was brewed for

projects. Rest assured, he is still a great friend of

the first time on April 20, 1997, just two beers and


four months after SweetWater Brewing Company

From Colorado to California to Georgia, the love of the outdoors never left Freddy and Kevin. In fact, a creek near the company’s first location in Atlanta lent its name to the brewery. And because of their constant belief in and love of the environment, the brewery aims to make the world a little bit greener in all that they do. “We partner with the Georgia Conservancy on some projects,” brewmaster Mark Medlin said of

SWEETWATER FESTIVE ALE A strong ale brewed with generous amounts of rich malt, coupled with a hint of cinnamon and mace to keep you warm and toasty all winter long.

– Brewery notes

first opened its doors. In addition to 420 and a series of limited and seasonal brews, SweetWater currently brews five other year-round beers, including SweetWater Blue and Hop Hash Double IPA, both as bold and robust as the 420. You can find SweetWater beers in ABC locations around the state.

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start in Colorado, working their way through


Instead, SweetWater makes beers full of flavor,

SWEETWATER HOP HASH DOUBLE IPA We scraped all the hash out of the

Yakima hop pelletizers we could get our

sticky fingers on to concoct the dankest

double IPA out there. The pure hop lupulin, aka “hash” (the resiny stuff), meshes

seamlessly with the 2-row, pilsner and wheat malts, allowing it to deliver a pungent punch to the palate.

– Brewery notes

December/January 2016

The duo behind SweetWater Brewery got their

Technically speaking, there is no real reason to cover the caps of your beer in wax. And when I say “technically speaking,”

How to remove that dang wax cap you just put on your beer:

what I really mean is that from a scientific standpoint, waxing the caps of your bottles serves no purpose in the development of a beer’s flavors unless you do not want them to develop at all. M E G H AN G U AR IN O

There has been little research on the subject, but what research has been done suggests that waxing the tops of beer bottles


seals the cap so tightly that no oxidation occurs, preserving the beer’s current flavors, body and aromas. Little oxidation occurs with a crown cap. This small amount of oxidation is the cause of

Like I said, the wax cap looks cool. It’s all about presentation. And when you’re doing it for someone else’s holiday gift, it’s no sweat off your back when it comes

the changing flavors in beer you age.

time to open a bottle for drinking… That said, a waxed cap looks cool, even if it is hard to get off, and it is something you can easily do at home with any beer bottle in your collection. If you’re planning a beer-studded basket for your craft-loving friends this holiday season, try waxing a few

Unless that someone is you and you’re stuck doing the dirty work your so-called

gift bottles for a personal touch on a usual present. Here’s how.

“pal” handed over as a gift. Here’s hoping

1. Get the goods. Stock up on your favorite beers that are

the beer is at least one you like. And if

good now. Not the brews you want to age if the rumors are true about the wax removing any chance of oxidation. 2. Get the wax. Either snag a bag of bottling wax or grab

that’s the case, here are a few tips to unwaxing your sealed bottle.

hot glue sticks and crayons from your kids’ art supply stash. If you’re smuggling the crayons and hot glue sticks, keep in mind this ratio: 3 mini hot glue sticks to 1 crayon.

• Take the wax off before you chill the bottle. You’ll thank me later.

3. Get to work. Strip the labels from the crayons and break up your ingredients into smaller pieces. Heat them in a container you don’t mind ruining, like a cleaned out soup or soda can.

• Heat the wax around the cap and use

4. When I dip, you dip, we dip. Practice your dipping technique

a knife to slice through the softened

to get the look you want. Dip and twist for a clean line, or dip and quickly set aside so the wax drips down the sides like a limited Terrapin brew. Truly, beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

seal. Peel away to expose the cap while the wax is still pliable.

• Use a wine key. Those things are like Swiss army knives. There are a lot of tools in one to help you work your way through the wax.

• If you love your friends, add a short string around the neck of the bottle before you wax, leaving a tail sticking out, just like those little Babybel cheese rounds. A quick pull of the string and you’re a step ahead of the wax removal process.

62°+ 62°+ 62°+ 62°

WARM 59-62 degrees

Belgian Quads

English Pale Ale


beer geek-dom few ascend.

Each and every style of beer falls into a bracket Sour Ales

correlated with the temperature at which it’s to Baltic Porters

Scotch Ales

temperature at which it should be enjoyed. Weird, Trappist Ales

Amber Ale

designed to be sipped slowly, so that each stage


textures. Lower alcohol beers are usually served as refreshment first and foremost, but of course can still

Belgian Ale



spice, malt and hops that only warmth can coax out. Cream Ale


notes of a brew that would harmoniously echo

Berliner Weisse

wasn’t accurate.

Climb the ladder this winter and geek out with this handy guide to serving temps.

American Lagers



40° 40°

VERY COLD 32-39 degrees


45° 40°

the flavors of the meal if the temperature


45° 45°

craft beer and food; one would entirely miss key


45° 45°

This is especially important to note when pairing


45° 45°

Craft beer is chock full of flavors, complexity, fruit,

India Pale Ale

45° 45°

contain beautiful bouquets and vast flavor profiles.

American Pale Ales

54° 54°

COLD 45-54 degrees

Belgian Ales

54° 54°

of enjoyment is one of new flavors, aromas and


55° 54°

the colder you want it, right? Well, strong beers are

Strong Ales

55° 55°

though, because the higher the alcohol in spirits,

CELLAR TEMP 55-58 degrees

55° 55°

robust flavor. The higher the ABV, the warmer the


55° 55°

be served; strength as in ABV, not strength as in

Bière de Garde

58° 58°

of serving temps. The strength of the beer is usually

Old Ale

58° 58°

Abbey Dubbel

Brown Ale

58° 58°

The serving temperature of beer is a ladder of craft

Barley Wines

58° 58°


Imperial Stouts

62° 59°


WARMER 62+ degrees

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Dark, Spiced Winter Ales




Wheat Beers

39° 32°

Low Alcohol Cider

COLDER 40-45 degrees

December/January 2016

MALT TRUTHS: Your beer is probably TOO COLD


The combination of words may change

primary flavors coming from the addition of

As soon as the brine has cooled and your

from family to family, but it is universally

the tart and citrusy cranberry. Be aware that

turkey is ready to go, slice the tangelos and set

acknowledged by children everywhere that it

if you choose a beer that tastes differently

them aside. If you would like to baste the turkey

takes one simple phrase to set up the most

from Kvasir, you may want to adjust certain

with citrus and/or flavors from your brine as it

classic of dinnertime wars: “Eat your steamed

ingredients. For example, many people find

cooks later, slice only four tangelos and save

vegetables.” Now you are welcome to insert

that an IPA brings out the saltier and spicier

two, setting them aside with a small portion of

“carrots,” “broccoli” or “peas” as experience

flavors in food which means that you would be

brine in a separate container. For easy handling

suits, but whether uttered over weekday

wise to add different herbs and spices to the

and transport from fridge to counter, I put the

dinner, a restaurant outing or the monumental

brine if you have your heart set on using that

turkey into an oven bag and set the bag into

I-slaved-over-the-stove-all-day-feast, you

particular style of beer.

a roasting pan with high sides that kept the bag

knew the battlefield was set as soon as the

from rolling and spilling. Once you have the

word “steamed” clattered loudly over the good

Beer Brined Citrus Turkey

turkey situated, pour the brine into the bag

china. As an adult preparing to create your own

1 Turkey, completely thawed and rinsed (my

and top with the tangelo slices.

decadent spread this holiday season, I suggest

small turkey weighed in at 6.04 lbs)

going with a preparation method that avoids

3 quarts Water

The turkey should remain in the brine for 16-18

those childhood scars and asserts yourself as

1 quart Beer (32 ounces)

hours, but you can adjust the time according

the grown-up carnivore that you have grown to

Note: A bomber can range from 22-25 fluid

to your cooking schedule. When you are ready

be—and what could be more grown-up than

ounces and a six pack will usually add up

to roast the turkey, remove it from the brine

incorporating craft beer into the cooking of

to 72 ounces, but you should always check

and thoroughly rinse, then thoroughly dry—

a holiday meal with a good old-fashioned

your bottle or packaging to be sure.

otherwise, leaving water on the skin will end up

beer brine?

6 Tangelos (or other citrus fruit)

steaming the turkey. (And who wants steamed

2 cups Salt

turkey? Save it for the vegetables.) Cook your

Though similar to marinating, brining is

1 cup Brown sugar

turkey as you normally would, but if you have

different in that turkey is soaked for 16-18

½ tbsp Cinnamon

decided to baste the turkey with the brine and

hours in a heavily salted concoction of herbs,

½ tbsp Ground clove

tangelos you set aside, pause an hour into

spices and in this instance, beer. Add a little

1 tbsp Nutmeg

roasting and slice your tangelos in half so that

science, toss around the word “osmosis,” and

2 tsp Ground pepper

you can squeeze them over the turkey after you

you get a process in which moisture is drawn

1 Oven bag

have brushed a layer of brine over the skin.

into the meat resulting in a tender and juicy

1 Roasting pan I found that basting the turkey with brine and

turkey that has been enhanced by your chosen ingredients and tenderized by the addition


tangelo juice made the outer meat taste sweet

of beer.

In a large pot combine the salt, sugar and

with warm flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg,

spices with three quarts of water, stirring

lightening the sugary base that had cooked the

I decided to create a brine recipe that would

occasionally as it warms. When the mixture

skin crispy. The meat underneath picked up a

make my holiday turkey an all-in-one meal.

begins to boil, take it off the stove and allow it

lot of the cranberry beer’s zest while retaining

Typically I only use warm spices on pork, but

to fully cool before adding the beer. Make sure

some of the semi-sweetness of the tangelos

with the heavy salt content present in the brine

that the brine is completely cool before pouring

that sat in the brine alongside the turkey.

that would be applied to the turkey, my taste

it into the oven bag with the turkey because hot

Although they were unusual flavors for

buds gravitated toward citrus and sugar in the

liquid will begin to cook the meat prematurely.

a holiday turkey, the moist and tender meat

hope that it would balance the saltiness that

Placing the brine briefly in the fridge or freezer

had all the fixings of family gathering without

would inevitably be drawn into the meat. The

will help to speed the cooling process as well

the actual dishes: cinnamon and nutmeg,

citrus in this recipe was provided by sliced

as give you time to clean and truss your turkey

pumpkin pie, cranberry-orange sauce and

tangelos and Dogfish Head Kvasir, a beer

if you so desire.

a cold glass of beer.

created using an Old World recipe with the

December/January 2016


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Anchor Brewing Every year for the last 40 years, Anchor Brewing

2 015 C h r i s t m a s A le

decorated. The tree is native to the Himalayas and

has released a Christmas ale that is a liquid

common in many decorated San Franciscan

embodiment of the holiday spirit. This year,

homes, an easy choice for the Anchor team as

the 41st year, is no exception.

they spotted the tree less than a block from the brewery’s front door.

With a tradition as expected as Christmas itself, the San Francisco-based brewery known for their

Celebrate the holidays and the New Year with

Steam Beer revises their Christmas Ale recipe.

a beer fit for the occasion. Made in the spirit of

And though the ingredients are known only to the

the season, Anchor Christmas Ale is as festive

brewers themselves, this beer is always a dark,

and decorative as it is delicious.

spiced ale with rich aromas and a balanced body. As with the annually tweaked recipe, the tree on the label is also different every year, though drawn by the same, faithful artist. In years past, the label held such arboreal beauties as the Sequoia in 1976, the Douglas Fir in 1977, the Paper Birch in 1991 and even the Coconut Palm in 1995. This year’s depiction is of a Deodar Cedar, a full, lush evergreen with drooping boughs begging to be

Off Tap.: December/January 2016  

Off Tap. is a bimonthly beer publication of ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Florida's largest family-owned wine and spirits retailer.

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