A blog that explores the seemingly endless beer options available, and occasionally brings up your Mom.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


     In early February there is one thing a lot of single people have in common: They get awkward. The pressure of the BIG V starts to set in and they begin to question their independence. Maybe they call past lovers, or maybe they build up the confidence to ask out that special someone they’ve been meaning to (awkward). But whatever you do, your best bet is to just show off your knowledge of beer. If you give Mr. or Misses Potential a call before economy boost day Valentine’s Day, here are three conversation starter beers that can either make or break that date! (And if you’re not single, the following still applies).

Excelsior! Alphalpha (Available now, Limited batch, ABV 8.5%) One inoffensive conversation could be your love for supporting local businesses (because we all do it, right?) and with that you can talk about Ithaca Brewing Companies delicious Excelsior! Alphalpha. This “Double Honey Bitter” does a good job of supporting it’s own community by incorporating NYS grown Cascade hops, local alfalfa honey and pure Cayuga Lake water into the brew. And let’s not forget about the organic pilsner malt they use too, yum! Coming in a 22 oz bottle, this gift from the valley is the perfect drink to share with someone. The aroma of honey and orange hits you up front, with a pleasant grapefruit bitter flavor that finishes dry. For what is considered to be an Imperial/Double IPA, this beer is both drinkable and delectable. (And if you like it, date two could be a road trip?)

Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale (Year-round, ABV 8.7%) For the next beer, keep your confidence up by ordering this hop loving Black IPA. This ale will help you look, feel and speak better than you could have ever imagined you could. And if not, after splitting this they might not care either way. This Black IPA was originally Stone’s 11th Anniversary ale, but since they loved it (and themselves) so much, they decided to bring it back year round. This beer has one of the most intense hop aromas of any beer and blends great with the roasted malt that gives this ale it’s black color. An intense bitter hop mixes with flavors of pine, toffee and caramel. It’s smooth to the palette and finishes long and dry. As Stone describes this brew, it's Bittersweet!

Empire Aphrodisiac Ale (Limited batches, ABV 6.8%) If you can find it on tap, this herb infused beer will help you cut to the chase. From Syracuse, NY, this Golden Ale with the addition of local organic honey, fresh ginger, and dried lavender tips is sure to get your heart pumpin'! Legend says that the Picts, a group of Early Mediaeval people from what we consider now Scotland, would drink beers infused with herbs before battle and times of intimacy (similar, no?). This ale has a lusty aroma of sweet honey, sage and ginger. A sweet flavor with hints of honey, mint, ginger and pepper. A very complex blend with a decently dry finish, leaving you ready for another sip. Or a trip home?

     Regardless of how your evening may end it’s important to keep in mind that Valentines Day is not about being with someone. Like all Holidays, it’s about being able enjoy a few beers with the people you like the most, even if it’s with your own pet.

Next time, THE BIG V Chocolate and Beer Pairings (assuming this post helped).