Bleeding heart valentine's Day beer

Valentine’s Day: A Beer For Bleeding Hearts

Second Self Beer Company’s seasonal release of “Bleeding Heart” for Valentine’s Day

For some, Valentine’s Day represents passionate emotions…and for others it is a lonely nightmare trapped between the echoes of lost love. Some will choose to celebrate in solitude, while others go all out making reservations for a romantic dinner. This Valentine’s Day, consider swapping wine for beer, especially when there’s a beer made especially for the holiday. Second Self provides Bleeding Heart beer as a compliment to either Valentine’s Day experience.

There are definite notes of cocoa and mocha both in the nose and on the tongue for Bleeding Heart beer. This festive amber ale is a balanced beer that can be paired with several kinds of dishes. Be that pasta, salmon, flank steak, the beer matches well. So if you are a beer lover and dining solo, with friends or a special someone, be sure to try Bleeding Heart or another amber ale. Be sure you have the best beer glasses to serve your Valentine’s day guests as well.

As a seasonal release, and in staying true to the fleeting nature of cupid’s arrows, Bleeding Heart is only available for a limited time. This year Second Self is releasing a canned version which is available for purchase at a handful of retail locations across the city. No matter your relationship with the Valentine’s Day holiday, a good beer is always worth having. Bleeding Heart is a nice companion for this time of year and is both shareable and good in isolation. Be sure and give it a try while you can!

beer-cheese-pairing

How to Pair Beer and Cheese

You don’t have to be an expert to host a beer and cheese pairing. Just knowing a few basics about beer and characteristics of cheeses is really all you need to know for to pair beer and cheese. Similar to wine, beer has a natural progression, so you’ll want to follow that from light to dark. If you start with a strong beer like IPA it can ruin the nuances of the other beers in your flight. The other thing to be careful of when trying to pair beer and cheese is to make sure not to have too many different kinds or the flavors get lost.

Pilsner – A Pilsner is mild and has floral notes. It pairs well with spicy items. So go for a spicy, peppery cheese like a spicy Havarti. That would bring out the best notes in the beer. Avoid cheddar though. Habanero Cheddar sounds great but may be too overpowering for the beer.

Wheat – This pairs nicely with a Chevre, slightly sweet goat cheese.

Brown Ale – What’s nice about this beer is that it is friendly with many cheeses. Try it with an aged Swiss or mild cheddar. Another cheese that would do well with it is a sheep’s milk cheese. Taste a couple cheeses and pick which one you like best for your beer and cheese pairing.

IPAs – IPAs or India Pale Ales are hoppy and have a strong flavor. Pair it with a blue cheese or a sharp cheddar. Since IPAs vary so much, you could put out two different cheeses for your beer and cheese pairing and let your guests try both. Some guests may like one better than the other.

Stout – Lastly you’ll be pairing a dark beer like a stout with your cheese. The coffee-like taste of a stout needs something a bit smokey to pair with. Gouda is probably one of the best cheeses you can pair with a stout.

Atlanta's Best Breweries

Must-Visit Atlanta Breweries

Georgia is still just one of a handful of states where brewers are not allowed to sell their beer directly to consumers. The good news is, that hasn’t stopped many breweries from opening up all around Atlanta. To get around these pesky blue laws, clever Atlanta breweries allow customers to buy a “glass” which comes with tasting tickets you can have before or after you tour the facility. Here are six breweries you will want to make sure you visit.

Jekyll Brewing
Live on the north side? You’re not overlooked. Head over to Jekyll Brewing in Alpharetta. There’s plenty to keep you occupied at Jekyll Brewing. Their space has plenty of games to play in between sipping on their fabulous selection of craft beers. One of the most popular is the ‘Merican Amber with caramel notes and spicy finish. Tip: Visit on Tuesdays for a special release that won’t ever be made again. Taproom is open Tuesday through Saturday.

Monday Night Brewing
With a slogan that “Weekends are Overrated” the folks at Monday Night Brewing stand firm with this ideal, with brewery tours on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 – 7:30. They do make an exception on Saturdays with tours from 1-4. IPA lovers shouldn’t miss the Eye Patch Ale. Make a full evening of it. Luckily you aren’t far from the West Midtown hot restaurants after your tour is over.

Orpheus
Orpheus has a magnificent location overlooking Piedmont Park and the Atlanta Beltline. They have a terrific selection of IPAs, and especially appealing to some is their selection of and Sours beers. Bring your dog as they are dog friendly. Tip: They also have a comedy night the first Wednesday of every month from 7:30-10:30 p.m. Tours are Thursday through Sundays.

Red Brick Brewing
The oldest craft brewer in the Georgia, Red Brick has been around for greater than 20 years. The brewery is located in West Midtown, so you can visit one of the trendy restaurants in this up and coming area after the tour. The brewery is open Wednesday –Friday from 5-8 pm and on Saturday (11 am – 5 pm), Sunday 1-4 pm. On Friday evenings there’s live music.

Three Taverns Brewery
Three Taverns’ Decatur space is cozy with lots of brick and wood ceilings. Unique to them is their take on Belgian style. Save a couple bucks: Ride your bike to the tasting room and get $2 off your tour. Plus tours are free on your birthday. Tours are Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and some Sundays.

Wild Heaven Brewery
You can visit one of the lovely Decatur restaurants after you visit the Wild Heaven Brewery. Their beer lineup includes Belgian style Golden Ale (Invocation) as well as Saison (White Blackbird). For something that is more mellow and light try the Emergency Drinking Beer Pilsner Session Ale. Open 5:30 – 8:30 Thursdays and Fridays and Saturdays 2-6pm. All ages welcome on Sunday afternoons 2-5pm.

Breweries of Ann Arbor

Craft beer may be a newer concept to some cities, but not in Michigan. The state boasts more than twenty breweries cranking out some fine craft beer. Ann Arbor, itself is home to about a quarter of these breweries.

WolverineBrewing

The interesting thing to note about many of these breweries is that they specialize in their own kinds of beer. At the Jolly Pumpkin (not it’s not all pumpkin beer, though that is quite tasty), it is sour beers. Receiving much popularity of late, these beers have somewhat of an acquired taste, but those that love them are huge fans.

At Wolverine’s, lager is the beer of choice, though the range is quite lovely no matter what your favorite type of beer is. One of the top picks is the Gulo Gulo their version of an India Pale Ale (IPA). Verano, the Mexican is quite pleasing (if only there was a taco truck in the parking lot).

michigan_craft_beers

Another Ann Arbor brewery, Original Gravity, opened in 2008, sells no bottles or cans. Instead, visitors can drink on site or take growlers or kegs to go.  Unlike some the previously mentioned breweries, this one has a variety of styles including IPAs, Ambers, Wheat and Porters. But our favorite was the unique ginger beer, with ginger being apparent but not overbearing in every sip.

If you are a lover of craft brews, you’ll want to put Michigan, but more specifically, Ann Arbor, on your list of spots to visit. There’s fine dining, live music venues and plenty of fun eclectic spots to satisfy someone who isn’t a craft beer groupie too!

 

father's day gift guide

Father’s Day: Bar and Kitchen Gifts

Father’s Day is just around the corner. It is June 17th, in fact. If you have a dad that is interested in coffee, beer, or cocktails then we’ve got some gifts we highly recommend. So take a look at some of these suggestions and order soon, so your gift arrives in time for Father’s Day.

Craft beer has come on the scene in a huge way. No longer are we limited to the boring domestic brews, but some really creative types of beers are available right now. So, does your dad love Pilsners, IPA’s, wheat beers? Perhaps he likes them all. The perfect gift for him is the Spiegelau beer set. It comes in a group of four glasses, perfect for every type of beer. If you know what his favorite brew is, stop by your local growler store and pick up some for him.

Maybe your dad is more of a cocktail drinker. No problem. We’ve got you covered there too. Check out these amazing martini glasses, that just makes us think of Madmen. Or how about this Bossa Nova Double Old Fashioned glass? There’s a full line of cocktail glasses available from Culinary Outfitters – view them all here.

Not only has there been a renaissance where beer is concerned, but coffee has had it’s own renaissance lately. Rather than pay the exorbitant fees at coffee shops, people are starting to do more home brewing. Check out the incredible line of coffee makers available.

In a hurry? Did you know we’ll even gift wrap the gift for you? Just tell us the message you’d like written in the card and we’ll handle that for you as well.

Show dad how thoughtful you can be and get him something he can use for years to come. Remember Father’s Day is Sunday, June 17, so don’t wait another minute putting off buying dad a terrific gift.

CO cinco de mayo

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo: we love to celebrate it but do we truly know what it is and why we celebrate it? Truth is, it is not Mexican Independence day as many often incorrectly believe it to be. Cindo de Mayo celebrates El Día de la Batalla de Puebla (The Day of the Battle of Puebla). It commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces on May 5, 1862.

Cinco de Mayo is much more celebrated in the US than in Mexico. What’s the best way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Embrace Mexican cuisine. And we don’t mean tacos and nachos. Did you know that Mexicans rarely eat nachos?

So what should you eat? A first choice should be chile rellenos. Chiles are stuffed with cheese, vegetables and meat. Another traditional Mexican item is mole sauce. Pronounced (mole-ey), the sauce made with over a dozen ingredients, is rather spicy and is usually served over enchiladas.

Another traditional dish is Molcajates, a mixture of meats, cheese and peppers served in a stone bowl. The stone bowl is actually called a molcajete, just like the meal itself. Molcajetes are usually supported by three short legs. There is usually a carved head of an animal on the edge of the bowl, which gives it the appearance of a short animal. Much like a cast iron skillet the molcajete “seasons” items cooked in it. Molcajetes also serve as a cooking dish, where items can be heated or cooked over an open flame and then served in the same dish.

What would Cinco de Mayo be without Mexican beer and Margaritas? If you are throwing a party make sure to stock up on these items. Make it even more fun with a piñata that everyone can take a swing at when they’ve had a couple libations.

Beer Growlers: Available at a Liquor Store Near You

If you are a beer aficionado, then you’ve no doubt heard of beer Growlers. Beer Growlers are ideal for those who want to get the best deal on purchasing their favorit craft beer. These large glass jugs that can be purchased at some liquor stores and filled with a variety of brews.Why buy a growler instead of your favorite six-pack of craft beer? The cost can be significantly lower. Instead of paying around $10  for a six-pack, a growler holds more pours for the same price. The growler itself can be purchased for a one-time nominal fee, usually around three or four dollars.

Growler vs. six or twelve packs:

  • Use the growler over and over again – no need to deal with any recycling
  • Growlers hold more than a six-pack, so it saves money
  • Easy storage – buy

Caring for your Beer Growler
Make sure to wash your Beer Growler out thoroughly before getting it refilled. Don’t use soap as it can be hard to get out of the growler and sometimes leaves a residue that will affect the taste of your next brew. Instead of soap, use hot water.

Many beer advocates recommend consuming the entire contents of your Growler in one sitting to get the best taste from the beer. However, if consumed within two to three days of opening, the taste should be unaffected. Growlers can be stored for up to two weeks if they remain unopened. Be sure it is in a cool, dark place as well. In addition, for optimal taste, serve your brews to your guests in the best glasses for optimal taste – Spiegelau beer glasses. Here’s a link to the Spiegelau connoisseur set. Cheers!

Father’s Day Barware Gifts

Father’s Day is fast approaching and will be here before you know it. We all seem to remember to do something nice for mom, but just seem to forget that Dad needs to be remembered as well. Besides a nice tie or coffee mug here are some gifts that most dads will appreciate this Father’s Day.


Perhaps your Dad appreciates a good Beer or Spirits of some sort. Riedel has got you covered whether that is Tequila, Sherry a Martini or something in between. These selections of crystal glasses come in sets of two and are available starting at under $20.

Is your pop strictly a beer lover? Then you’ll want to get him the beer connossiueur set from Spiegelau. The beer glasses come in a set of four: Wheat, Pilsner, Lager and Tulip. Believe it or not, the shape of a glass really does play an important role in the optimum taste of each type of beer according to Spiegelau. And apparently thin glass is important as well for promoting malty sweetness and hop bitterness to it’s fullest potential.


Of course, every good bartenders needs a good barware set, right? WMF has got you all set with what may just be the cutest set of bar tools you will ever see.  Every piece has a face on it – from the bear face on the strainer to the shark (with teeth) ice tongs. All the pieces have rounded handles, and a stainless steel finish. See the full barware set here.


With pool season in full swing, Dad will no doubt want a case to carry his brews up the pool or to the beach with him. Check out this tote available from Built. It’s perfect to take to the beach, park, or party, and keeps beverages cool up to four hours. This beer tote is as slim as a thin mint when not in use, but don’t be deceived by its size—it expands to fit the canned or bottled beverage of your choice.

Show dad how thoughtful you can be and get him something he can use for years to come. Remember Father’s Day is Sunday, June 17, so don’t wait another minute putting off buying dad a terrific gift.

The Beer Connoisseur’s Beer Glasses

Spiegelau is a maker of high end wine and beer glasses. The German-manufactured glasses are high quality, but durable, even dishwasher safe. Never heard of the Spiegelau brand before? They are THE glasses in which to enjoy your beer as any beer connoisseur will tell you.

The beer glasses come in a set of four: Wheat, Pilsner, Lager and Tulip. Believe it or not, the shape of a glass really does play an important role in the optimum taste of each type of beer according to Spiegelau. And apparently thin glass is important as well for promoting malty sweetness and hop bitterness to it’s fullest potential.

The beer glasses while quality, are very lightweight. It helps promote the attributes of the beer, for the best taste. It’s also great for us gals who don’t want to pick up heavy glasses but do appreciate a good beer. Wouldn’t it be great if more restaurants and bars would adopt this barware?

Both the wheat and pilsner beer glasses have a slimish shape with wider rims that bottom, which help to promote the aromas in both beers. However, the wheat glass is much larger than the pilsner, holding nearly 25 ounces. Besides the obvious lager beer, the lager beer glass is well-suited for IPAs too. The glass is similar to a pint glass except wider at the mouth than the base, to promote the hoppiness of the beer.

Belgian beers should be consumed at a higher temperature than other beers, so let it sit for a while before sipping on it. And that tulip shape – not quite beer glass, not quite wine glass, seems just perfect for a sipping beer, which Belgian beers tend to be.

These beer glasses are so lightweight and elegant compared to the heavy, clunky beer glasses found elsewhere. But don’t get us wrong, these glasses are quite masculine too. Order them in sets of two by the type of glass or order the Beer Connoisseur Set. Tip: Father’s Day is just around the corner. The set makes a terrific gift for Dads or any beer lover!