• Video: The Best Spread to Pair With an Epic Super Bowl

    For those of your readers that follow @TailgatingIdeas on Twitter, you may remember back in December, Tailgating Ideas founder Dave Lamm was selected by Visa to participate in their #makeitepic campaign. The marketing campaign was designed to promote fan interaction with the Visa brand while coming up with ideas on how to make their own Super Bowl party epic. Dave was selected as one of the handful of bloggers and former NFL players to participate in the series and Dave’s role was, you guessed it, to talk about and promote tailgating.

    Earlier this week a batch of short, quick hitting videos were released including the one below. Keep an eye out at the 0:05 mark of the video. Dave comes in right after Hines Ward opens the video. Also, our newest contributor, Larry Gaian comes in at the 0:09 mark.

  • Beer Review: Black Diamond Winter Ale

    Black_Diamond_Winter_AleLast week I hosted a beer tasting that focused on holiday and seasonal brews. We had 18 beers to sample that evening and with only a few exceptions, I wasn’t disappointed with any of them. Over the next couple of weeks until Christmas I will pop open the beers that were sampled that night and review them for you to try. I would just use the notes that I took that night but I’ll be honest and tell you that after the first few they got more and more sloppy fading into non existent. To my defense we sampled several beers over 10% abv and I may have gone back for seconds a time or two. That being said let me dive into the first beer being Black Diamond Winter Ale brewed by Black Diamond Brewing in Concord, Calif.

    Appearance: This brew comes in a bottle and pours a brown almost dark red in color ale that when held up can be seen through. The head is light and off white in color fading quickly.

    Smell: The smell is light in hops with a powerful note of sweetness that isn’t found in most beers. This smell gets you ready for what is sure to be a holiday style brew.

    Availability: This beer is available in bottle only and not sure about the price because it was brought by one of my guests.

    Alcohol: 7.2% giving it a mild warming for your winter tailgate.

    Taste: No deception with the smell in this one. From the first sip, a light flavor of hops is pounded into submission from the blend of spice, fruit and caramel tasting sweetness. This beer although strong in holiday flavor isn’t so sweet that you need to run off to the dentist after drinking it. Rather it blends the satisfaction of a strong beer with the complexity of holiday beverage.

    Final Thought: I Just had a great thought! This beer is actually a diet beer… Hear me through. We all know that we are going to drink beer during the holiday season and most likely get tempted into diving into those Christmas treats. Think of this as a beer that can satisfy both urges. Now that’s a diet plan that I might actually be able to stick to! In all seriousness, this is a well crafted beer that presents itself nicely with refreshing holiday notes.

    Look for more of the holiday brew reviews to come up until Christmas. For another great source of seasonal brews, check out Beer Magazine’s Nov/Dec issue. Thanks again for all your suggestions and stay safe this holiday season.

  • Beer Review: Goose Island Christmas Ale 2009

    Welcome to December my friends. Not only does this mean that we need to break out the winter weather gear for our tailgates, but we also need to break out our cold weather beers!

    This month I will be focusing on Seasonal/Christmas beers that you can offer up at your next tailgate. For those wondering what the heck makes up a holiday brew, it tends to be a bit heavier with a focus on spice rather than hops. This time around I went with Goose Island Christmas Ale from the fine folks at Goose Island Beer Co. out of Chicago. A few years ago I went to Chicago before making a trip out to South Bend to take in tailgating Notre Dame Fighting Irish style. Since I enjoyed Goose Island then, I thought I would give their holiday brew a try.

    Appearance: The fact that this is a Christmas beer is clear from just looking at the label. It features the traditional Goose Island Goose sporting a Santa Claus hat. The color of this beer is very interesting. Not sure at first if it was a red or brown. I’m color blind so I will trust the folks at Goose Island and go with brown ale. When it is poured into a glass beer mug and held to the light it glows a ruby red.

    Smell: The smell is reserved in comparison to the color. Slight hints of holiday spices are noted with faint hints of hops aroma hiding deep within this one.

    Taste: This is very much a holiday beer that is flavored accordingly. It is smooth in flavor with notes of holiday spices including cinnamon and nutmeg. This beer offers flavors that go far beyond the normal beer but unlike normal craft brews it doesn’t overpower you with hops. There is an alcohol flavor noted in the aftertaste but not distracting from the general flavor.

    Alcohol: 5.7%

    Availability and Cost: This beer is only available in bottles. I found it in my local Bevmo and it cost me seven bucks for a 650 ml bottle.

    Final Thought: The fine folks of Goose Island Beer Co. put out many quality beers that I would recommend. This holiday edition Christmas Ale is no exception. It has enough flavor complexity to make it interesting and also make it a good cold weather brew. A portion of all the profits made from this brew go to a charity called the Chicago Christmas Ship that distributes Christmas trees to many disadvantaged families in Chicago. So, today I’m not just drinking, I’m doing charity work! I’ve noticed lately that several beers claim to give a portion of its proceeds to one charity or another. Your homework assignment this time is to find a beer that supports a local charity in your area and do some solid drinking, er, I mean charity work! This week I will be hosting a beer tasting that will focus on seasonal or holiday beers and will be offering up my suggestions for a tailgate beer that Santa would enjoy.

  • Beer Review: Hoptober Golden Ale

    Hoptober_Golden_AleA while back Dave wanted me to review Fat Tire. Being a typical disgruntled employee I told him to stick it and went on reviewing, and in this case, drinking what I wanted. Today I went to the beer aisle and as any of my longtime followers (both of you) know, we are supposed to select a new beer we’ve never tried before in order to expand our beer enjoying pleasure. Today I decided to compromise. New Belgium Brewing Company out of Fort Collins, Colorado puts out several beers other than Fat Tire. This seemed like the perfect way to satisfy my slave driving boss who makes me drink beer. Today’s beer selection from New Belgium Brewing is Hoptober Golden Ale.

    Appearance: Comes in a dark bottle with a picture of a bunch of perhaps naked people dancing around a bonfire… interesting. When poured into the suggested tulip glass, it appeared as a light golden ale with a thin white head that was short lived.

    Smell: The smell was subtle but with a base of hops that along with the name of the beer made me brace for a punch. Beyond the hop aroma was a backdrop of citrus.

    Taste: Different than I was expecting. With a name like Hoptober and a smell of hops, I figured I would be in store for a typical American IPA like experience. The taste was much more subtle than the smell and the power of the classic high hop ale never appeared. Rather than a strong willed “kick you in the butt” ale, I found myself drinking a classic American style beer with a bit of boldness added to it. The only presence of hops that really sticks to you is a light lingering after taste.

    Alcohol level: 6% by volume

    Cost and Availability: New Belgium Brewing Company is widely distributed and can be found just about anywhere. This six pack of bottles cost me 10 bucks! This may just be because I walked to the near by liquor store that always jacks up the prices but that seemed a bit high.

    Final Thought: I would classify Hoptober Golden Ale as a balanced beer. It has the smooth easy drinking of a domestic light but at the same time offers a different taste that may appeal to both the casual beer drinker and snob alike. To put it simply, you can bust this one out at your tailgate and get credit for imagination beyond the generic light while offering a beer that will be drinkable for even those with delicate taste buds. As far as the tailgate goes, this beer goes down fairly light allowing for more than one or two on a hot day. It offers a light enough flavor to go along with any tailgate foods being offered. Thanks again for the time and remember that the only thing better than a good new beer is a great designated driver.

  • Beer Review: Ruth by Hair of the Dog Brewing

    Hair_of_the_dog_RuthIf you are a beer drinker (if you’re reading this review I would bet you are) you may have from time to time woken up with that nasty thing we call a “hangover”. Hundreds of cures have been suggested and believe me, I’ve tried most of them. For me nothing seems to work as well as a little hair of the dog. This week a beer was given to me by a friend for review. As always with any free beer, it gets reviewed.

    This beer is brewed by the Hair of the Dog Brewing Company out of Portland, Oregon which has been brewing since 1993. Of the several beers that this brewery puts out, the one called Ruth will be reviewed today.

    Appearance: This American Pale Ale appears as a hazy gold when poured into a pint glass. The foam is mild and white and not long lasting.

    Smell: Ruth has a strong smell of citrus and a back drop of hops. This beer had a pleasant smell to it that is very inviting and had me looking forward to the taste.

    Taste: The first taste I have to admit was a bit surprising. A very strong bite of citrus dominated the initial flavor. If I had a bad hangover this might just make me feel worse. Crystal hops and smooth malt flavor hang in the back drop with a “kick you in the butt” flavor of grapefruit citrus up front. The unexpected citrus punch caused me to question this one at first. Not being one to give up on any beer, I dove back in and found a beer that I ended up enjoying. If you are a fan of dropping lemon in your beer, you may find this one ready to go without any further fruit needed.

    Alcohol: Ruth has a 4.5% which brings it in slightly above your domestic light.

    Cost and Availability: Are you ready? Since I got it for free (thanks Matt) I had no idea until after I wrote the review. According to Brewforia, this beer costs $2.37 a bottle! That is a 12 fluid ounce bottle……wow! Maybe you can find it cheaper but for me, that’s a bit expensive. Looks like I will be only drinking this beer when my cool buddy Matt comes over!

    Final thought: Ruth started out a bit strong mostly due to the surprise of the citrus punch. Have to admit that I soon found the once strong taste calming a bit and becoming pleasant. If you’re a fan of citrus backed beer, then this one is a must try. For the average beer drinker, the grapefruit punch and hop backing may prove to be a bit much. Ruth will most likely not be a tailgate crowd pleaser due to its sharp taste, but overall a good beer that I not only enjoyed but makes me want to search out the other beers that Hair of the Dog Brewing puts out. Of course with the price of this beer I suppose I will have to wait until generous friends kick it down to me.