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Craft Beer Initiative – Pros and Cons

Posted by Brandon On May - 10 - 2012

If you’ll recall in the prologue of the “Craft Beer Initiative” I told you about my personal resolution to exclusively, or just about, drink craft beer.  For the 2nd installment of this series I decided to compile with what I feel is a fairly comprehensive listing of the pros and cons to making the switch to craft beer at your tailgates. After that you’ll see some recommendations you can start with if you’ve chosen to give craft beer tailgating a try.  So without further ado:

Pros

Taste – While this is debatable for some, I feel there is absolutely no comparison when you look at the taste of craft beer vs. macro-brewed beer.  Sure there are some craft brews that miss the mark on the taste element, but there are many many more that far surpass what comes out from the big boys.  To see the passion that craft brewers put into their beer makes me appreciate it even more.

Diversity – This is pretty self explanatory.  While there are a lot of overlaps in the styles of craft brews, the flavor, attributes, and qualities within each vary greatly. My own experiences have shown me that when you take the labels out of the equation on macro-brewed American light lager, only the most sensitive palates could pick out specific brands.  The diversity of craft beer is one of my favorite things about the genre.  I can pair certain brews with specific foods, tailor what I drink to the season, and keep it “fresh” so I don’t get in a rut.

ABV – I almost feel like I shouldn’t include this here as it could easily count as a con, but most craft brews contain a higher alcohol content than the usual light lagers.  I think we’ve seen the problems that can arise when folks get a little too much in them, but when done responsibly it can make for a fun time.  A higher ABV may be one of the most important things to consider if you’re going to make the switch even part time.  A percentage point or 2 doesn’t sound like much, but I guarantee you it will feel like a world of difference when you’ve got a couple in you. (Always drink responsibly, if you’re going to overdo it please make sure you have a sober designated driver, and for pete sake please don’t get rowdy.)

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Video: TheBEERSgoneBAD Review Tailgate Beer

Posted by Dave On July - 31 - 2011

Many of you know Tailgate Beer by now. Others are still discovering it. I recently came across this video review of two guys who blog about beer and review them. Their blog, thebeersgonebad.wordpress.com, has a lot of other beer reviews on there but I was particularly interested in their review of Tailgate Beer’s Blacktop Blonde. Here is what they thought of Tailgate Beer after tasting it for the very first time on camera.

Battle of the “Swill”

Posted by Brandon On July - 23 - 2011

It seems like sports fans can’t go more than 5 minutes without seeing an advertisement for beer.  Luckily I find myself often amused by those ads and their catchy content.  Whether it’s Keith Stone, Nattyisms, or The Most Interesting Man in the World, the beer industry has found many ways to get us to buy their products.

As far as beer goes I have friends on both sides of the drinking spectrum.  Some shun the idea of drinking anything with a screw off cap, and totally avoid the big macro-brewed offerings.  Never would they ingest such swill.  Others take the opposite route, and refuse to drink anything that isn’t a “light” beer.  By this I mean, Bud Light, Miller Lite, Coors Light, and so on.

Personally I, and I am guessing many of you, tend to fall somewhere in the middle.  You love having a nice IPA or Porter, but you keep a case of the “cheap” stuff around because you have to work for a living and your spouse isn’t too keen on spending a weeks salary on your suds.  When it comes to beer buying for tailgating I take a pretty conservative approach. I almost always bring something from one of the big brewers, Anheuser-Busch InBev or MillerCoors.  What that brew is often depends on what is either in the fridge at home or what is cheapest when I do my tailgate shopping.

Since tailgating is a social event I wanted to find out what my usual tailgating friends were into.  Naturally there were a lot of “favorites” among the group, so I had to go another route.  After some quick discussion we determined that no one in our tailgating group was a true beer snob. Knowing this I decided to conduct a taste test with a variety of light beers.  Unfortunately the groups schedules didn’t line up, so we had to do it with 2 guys, me and my buddy Mike.

The tasting consisted of 8 different, although readily available, light beers. Those 8 were; Bud Light (my favorite of the bunch), Busch Light, Coors Light (Mike’s favorite), Keystone Light, MGD64, Michelob Ultra, Miller Lite, and finally Natural “Natty” Light. A small sample of each of these were poured into 16oz. opaque red cups, which were numbered 1-8. Each brew was to be scored on a scale of 1-10 in 3 categories; Taste, Refreshment, and Drinkability.  Neither person had knowledge of what order the beers were in prior to or during tasting.

Mike’s top 3 were:
1. Bud Light
2. Michelob Ultra
3. Keystone Light

My top 3 were:
1. Coors Light
2. Miller Lite
3. Tie between Keystone Light and MGD 64.

The complete results and scores of the test can be found here.

It may surprise you that neither one of us ranked our supposed favorite as the highest. Based on my initial research about tests of this nature I had seen that this was a fairly common result.  However it was surprising to me that we ranked the others favorite highest.  I was also surprised that some of the less expensive of these beers did as well as they did when compared to the more costly varieties.  For those of you who host very large parties where kegged beer is the norm, you may consider saving a little cash by getting one of the “cheaper” beers.  I seriously doubt that anyone would be able to tell the difference.  It should also be noted that the ultra-light offerings actually held their own during our test.  I know that the general consensus is that these are nothing more than water with a drop of alcohol, but I disagree.  They aren’t as filling, and when you don’t know you’re drinking one they don’t seem all that different.  Plus their lower alcohol content could go a long way on those super hot days, or when you plan to party for hours on end.

From this test we concluded that many of these beers, when shrouded in anonymity, fail to distinguish themselves from the others. I guess appealing catch phrases such as “beechwood aged”, and “triple hops brewed” have little bearing on the actual taste. Any special packaging gimmicks such as grooves in the neck of the bottle, specially lined cans, wide mouthed and vented cans, and color coded temperature indicators did little to influence the taste after we removed them from the equation.  The last conclusion we drew from the test was truly the most disappointing.  We fully expected to be surrounded by buxom bikini babes on a picturesque beach,  or, at the least, get to party with Lance Armstrong.  Sadly, much to our chagrin, neither happened.

Tailgate Beer In Cans Have Arrived

Posted by Dave On March - 30 - 2011

We have been a big fan of San Diego based craft brewery TailGate Beer for a while now. Not only because they put out great craft beer but they also fully embrace the tailgate party lifestyle. They understand tailgating and the integral role good beer plays. The brand name “Tailgate Beer” wasn’t arrived upon by a bunch of focus group idiots that thought it would be a great way to appeal to a target demographic. The name was derived because the founder of the brewery is a tailgater himself. It is this passion and understanding of the unique needs of tailgaters that pushed Wesley Keegan, the founder of Tailgate Beer, to put his craft beer in an aluminum can. With pleasure we are happy to announce that Tailgate Beer is now available in a can and it tastes just as good as if it was out of a bottle.

TailGate Beer In a can

Over a year ago our designated beer reviewer, Mike “the Beer Guy”, did a review on Blacktop Blonde. That particular brew was the first to be placed in cans. We had a chance to sample Tailgate Beer’s Blacktop Blonde in a can it was as expected, quite good.

Whether it is marketing and advertising or just plain old stereotyping, many of us hold onto the belief that beer tastes better out of a bottle compared to a can. Maybe it is because many cheaper, low quality beers are exclusively offered in cans and that it skews our perception of how good beer is supposed to be packaged. A quality craft beer can’t possibly taste good when it comes in the same metal can that could be holding Pabst Blue Ribbon or Keystone Light. That’s simply not true and I can assure you that Tailgate Beer in a can does not have a metallic taste or taste “cheap”.

The main reason for putting craft beer in a can is because Tailgate Beer is meant to be consumed outdoors and hopefully in the confines of a parking lot. Many lots around the country are moving away from allowing glass bottles. Qualcomm Stadium for example has a strict no glass policy and tailgaters that have a glass jar of salsa can receive tickets written by the patrolling police. Fears of broken glass popping tires or shards of glass cutting someone have prompted these glass bans. Even worse, a glass bottle could potentially be used as a weapon to hit someone over the head. It’s pretty difficult to hurt someone by hitting them with an empty aluminum can. That’s the reason why Tailgate Beer has chosen to put their beer in a can. To be the official beer of tailgating it needs to be packaged in a way that it is welcomed at all parking lots.

Another benefit of Tailgate Beer in a can is that it comes packaged with six cans in a cardboard box. Tailgate Beer does not sell their canned beer in those plastic six-pack holders that you need to cut with scissors in order to prevent wildlife from getting their heads stuck in them. The cardboard box is a lot like those boxes other beers come in when packaged in 12-packs or by the case.

Two benefits of Tailgate Beer coming in a cardboard box is the box can be recycled, thus cutting down on waste. The second benefit is that the box acts as a mini-cooler that helps to insulate the cans from getting warm. It stands to reason that a regular six-pack held together by the plastic rings would get warmer sitting out, exposed to the open air while the Tailgate Beer box would help keep the beers colder, longer. Of course the box does not substitute for putting the cans in an ice chest but if you are bringing the beer to the tailgate and your friend is there and has the cooler, your beers won’t be warm by the time you arrive.

Distribution of Tailgate Beer is initially focused on the West Coast and the Mid-West so be on the lookout for Tailgate Beer in stores in your area. For more information about Tailgate Beer visit: TailGateBeer.com.

Tailgate Beer In Cans

Posted by Dave On January - 18 - 2011

Over a year ago our designated beer review, Mike “the Beer Guy”, did a review on Jay’s Blacktop Blonde. That particular beer was the latest brew to come out of San Diego based craft brewery TailGate Beer. Blacktop Blonde received a good review from us here at TailgatingIdeas.com but as with most craft brews, they do not lend themselves very well to a tailgating parking lot that bans glass bottles. I personally received word earlier today from Wesley Keegan, the owner of TailGate Beer, that they are now offering Blacktop Blonde in a can.

TailGate Beer In a can

This news is huge because given the vast number of craft breweries in San Diego, Calif., TailGate Beer is the first craft brewery to offer their beer in a can. It just goes to show you that TailGate Beer really does understand the desires of tailgaters to have a quality beer without the potential hassle of a glass bottle.

If you happen to tailgate at a stadium that bans glass bottles, much like Qualcomm Stadium does, normally you have to shield yourself with a car door or the lift gate of your SUV and pour your craft beer out of the bottle and into a red cup. That’s a pain in the ass and you still have to find a way to dispose of the glass bottle so the police do not issue you a ticket. That is why many tailgaters opt to go with some Macro Brew in a can just because of the convenience factor. With this latest announcement from TailGate Beer, making that undesirable decision is a thing of the past.

TailGate Beer expects the first shipment of 12-ounce cans of Blacktop Blonde to arrive in San Diego and be available to tailgaters by the end of January. Distribution plans include an initial focus on the west coast and the Midwest. In March 2011, TailGate Beer expects to release their gold medal winning Hefeweizen in a can. Keep an eye out for TailGate Beer coming to a retailer near you. And if you do spot a six-pack at your favorite store, make sure to pick some up. Not only will you be drinking a quality beer but you’ll also be supporting a business that helps promote tailgating and the tailgate party lifestyle.

For more information regarding TailGate Beer and to locate a retailer, visit: TailGateBeer.com.

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About Me

TailgatingIdeas.com is a tailgating blog dedicated to bringing you the latest and most intriguing tailgating ideas out there. Whether it is the latest tailgating gear reviews, a great new recipe or a funny list to make you smile, our goal is to inform and entertain the avid and the casual tailgater alike.

Started in August 2007 by tailgating enthusiast Dave Lamm, TailgatingIdeas.com has evolved into an advocate for tailgaters rights and is not afraid to touch on controversial issues confronting those who frequent the tailgating parking lots.

To learn more about TailgatingIdeas.com and our team of writers, reviewers, cartoonists and contributors, please visit the About Us page.

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