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Former editor in chief of an award winning publication, avid outdoorsman, love hiking, kayaking, fishing, biking, visiting state parks, published writer, avid drinker, certified bartender, beer rater and I ran a bar tending school, and blogger writing under title of the Man Can Critic 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Beck's Oktoberfest Lager

I went golfing for the first time in a couple months at White Birch Golf Course in Barnesville, PA. I've golfed there before and typically enjoy it. Its an easy course but still a lot of fun. Today, however, was not as great as usual. It was really crowded to my surprise and the greens were just aerated. So to salvage my day off I figured I would have a Beck's Oktoberfest Lager and write about it. Beck's is owned by Anheuser-Busch so it is not easy to find much information put out by the company but I will put as much information as I can find in the review.
I had this beer in a pint glass and my first taste was at 56.7 degrees. I enjoyed this beer with a turkey sandwich with honey mustard on wheat. The head was large at about 1 1/2". The head was foamy with a light brown appearance and it dissipated quickly. The lacing for both head and body were good. The carbonation was little with a normal clarity and an amber body color. The taste was burnt with a floral aroma. It had a slight bitterness at start a smooth middle and then the finish brought back some of the bitterness. The flavor was light with an average finish length and a dry mouth feel with a back tongue hit. Overall it was an enjoyable beer that differed from the other Oktoberfest that I have recently sampled. The other two had more of a sweetness to them and this one had more bitterness. Overall I would rank this one in the middle of all the Oktoberfest that I have had. Thanks for reading and as always drink responsibly.

Pairings (from 2008 Anheuser-Busch press release): Beck’s Oktoberfest perfectly complements traditional German foods such as sausage and bratwurst, or other fall favorites such as stews or hearty chili. It can also be used for marinades or sauces, and to add extra flavor to stews. Beck’s Oktoberfest also works wonderfully as part of fall-themed recipes such as German Stuffed Pork Roast with Beer Mustard Sauce, Colorful Fall Harvest Stew, and Gorgonzola Mustard and Brushing Sauce.

ABV: 5%
Cost: $10.99 (Weis, Pottsville Mix six pack)
Serve Temp: 45-50 degrees
Glassware: Pint Glass

Nutritional Information from myfitnesspal.com

Beck's - Oktoberfest Beer

Calories155Sodium0 mg
Total Fat0 gPotassium0 mg
Saturated0 gTotal Carbs9 g
Polyunsaturated0 gDietary Fiber0 g
Monounsaturated0 gSugars0 g
Trans0 gProtein2 g
Cholesterol0 mg  
Vitamin A0%Calcium0%
Vitamin C0%Iron0%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

8/24/13 Victory Festbier

I had a couple days off in a row I went to Gettysburg, PA and while I was down there I stopped of at Wegmans in Mechanicsburg. This is by far the greatest grocery store I have ever been in and the thing that really sets it apart is the beer selection. The selection is on par with places that just sell beer but the prices are fairly close to other grocery store prices. I got a make your on six pack for $11.99. The beers I got in the six pack were Bell's Oberon Ale, Victory Festbier, Founders Porter, Brooklyn Brewing Company Oktoberfest, Southern Tier 2X Stout, and Rogue Hazlenut Brown Nectar. What really sets Wegmans apart though is the ability to see almost every beer they have in stock and the prices of these beers from your home on their website. This idea seems so simple and I wonder every day why other stores don't do the same.

To continue on my tradition of doing seasonal beers for fall I decided to have Victory Festbier while I was drafting my Fantasy Football Team.I had this beer in a pint glass with a bottle temperature at 47.3 degrees and a first taste temperature at 53.5 degrees. The pour was nice and the head came out at an average 3/4" head that was off-white and fizzy. The head and body lacing were fair with little to no carbonation. The head dissipated quickly and had an aroma of broth, pine and grain with a taste of sherry. The flavor was light with a watery mouth feel and a middle tongue hit. This was my first Oktoberfest of the year so I don't want to judge to quickly but it was unique in taste. Only the season will tell how it ends up ranking.Thanks for reading and as always drink responsibly.

Cost: $11.99 in create your own six pack from Wegmans
Ideal serving Temperature: 45-50 degrees

Information from myfitnesspal.com

Victory Brewing Co - Festbier

Calories170Sodium0 mg
Total Fat0 gPotassium0 mg
Saturated0 gTotal Carbs17 g
Polyunsaturated0 gDietary Fiber0 g
Monounsaturated0 gSugars0 g
Trans0 gProtein0 g
Cholesterol0 mg
Vitamin A0%Calcium0%
Vitamin C0%Iron0%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


Märzen / Oktoberfest

Friendship and camaraderie: the two keys to any festive event. And then there’s the beer. It should be full-bodied, yet infinitely smooth. Seductively malty, with a kiss of the hops for balance. This is our Festbier. Painstakingly crafted from German malts, decoction brewed for full flavor and carefully aged for depth of character. Gather with your friends for a festive moment of Victory!


Malt: imported 2 row Vienna and Munich German malts
Hops: whole flower German hops
ABV: 5.6%


Subtly sweet with a delicate malt nose, our Festbier gains its impressive body from our use of all imported German malts and decoction brewing process.

Food Pairings

spicy Latin dishes, pizzas and burgers


Fall seasonal in 12 oz. bottles and on draft

Thursday, August 22, 2013

8/22/13 Stegmaier Pumpkin Ale

So its been an interesting week. On Monday I went up to Dorko's in Mount Carmel for team trivia. My trivia team the RZA didn't fair so well starting behind and never really catching up but still the night had some real bright spots. Both me and fellow teammate Jason Burgess won the between round question and I hit for $250 on a scratch off. I also answered the question put out for a t shirt correctly and ended up winning that. All in all a pretty good night and any night playing trivia is better than a night not.

This week I stopped by Weis in Pottsville to restock the beer fridge and start sampling some of the fall season brews. I prefer to first focus in on the more local fairs so I picked up a six pack of Stegmaier Pumpkin Ale produced by the Lion Brewing Company in Wilkes Barre, PA.

In 1974 Stegmaier was acquired by the Lion Brewing Company when Stegmaier closed its doors. Lion began making Stegmaier's Gold Medal, Porter and Light. Under the Stegmaier name Lion Brewing company also produces a craft series which includes an IPA, white ale and pale ale. They also have three other seasonal beers which are Oktoberfest, Summer Stock Pils, and Winter Warmer.

On this night I had this Pumpkin Ale in a pint glass. The bottle temperature was 41 degrees amd I had my first taste at 47.4 degrees. The head size was small at about 1/2" with a fizzy off white head appearance. The head lacing was almost non existent and the head dissipated pretty quickly. The carbonation was little with a normal clarity and a gold color. The taste was a cinnamon pumpkin with a honey wheat aroma. The flavor was light with an average finish length and a creamy mouth feel. The tongue hit was towards the back and the body lacing was virtually none. Overall though it is not a bad representation of a pumpkin ale and at its price point it can't be beat. Its ABV is low for the style and for someone just getting into craft beers, this is a great one. You can put forth a small amount of money and get something off the beaten path and that is something rare and worth trying. So thanks for reading and as always drink responsibly.
Cost: $7.29 for a six pack (Weis Pottsville, PA)
ABV: 5.50%
Glassware: Pint
Pairing: Desert, poultry
Serving Temp: 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit

Nutritional Information from myfitnesspal.com

Stegmaier - Pumpkin Ale

Calories135Sodium0 mg
Total Fat0 gPotassium0 mg
Saturated0 gTotal Carbs0 g
Polyunsaturated0 gDietary Fiber0 g
Monounsaturated0 gSugars0 g
Trans0 gProtein0 g
Cholesterol0 mg  
Vitamin A0%Calcium0%
Vitamin C0%Iron0%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

8/14/13 Susquehanna Brewing Company Pils-Noir

I figured it has been a long time since I last posted and it was about time that I started writing again. This time my goal is to write once a week and not to over do it. I am going to focus on new beers that I try and like and want to share with people who read this blog. 
So in getting back to blogging I figured I would write about Susquehanna Brewing Companies Pils-Noir. I got a variety pack from Weis in Pottsville about a week ago and have tried both the Pils-Noir and the Goldencold Lager. My wife and I both liked the Pils-Noir so I figured I would write about that.

I figured I would add a little something new this time when I wrote this entry. Hopefully from now on I will add a little history about the company. This brewer is another Pennsylvania brewery which I love because it is somewhere close to me so I have the opportunity to visit it. Here are some facts about the brewery that I found interesting and on their web site. Charles Stegmaier along with his father-in-law, George Baer, founded the Baer and Stegmaier Brewing Co. of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in 1857. On February 14, 1898, the company was renamed the Susquehanna Brewing Co. he Susquehanna Brewing Co. operated until 1920, when it closed its door due to prohibition. On November 10, 2010, Ed Maier, Mark Nobile, and Ed’s son J. Fred, formed the Susquehanna Brewing Co., Pittston, Pa. Here is their mission and vision statements which I thought were pretty cool. Their mission statement is Susquehanna Brewing Company delivers prosperity and enjoyment to our Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) customers and consumers through our quality, craft beers made locally in an environmentally responsible fashion. Their Vision statement is To have Susquehanna Brewing Company brew some of the most sought after craft beers in Pennsylvania with a reputation that extends nation-wide, make our Pittston brewery a ‘must-see’ place of pride in our community, and enhance the stature of NEPA.

I had the Pils-Noir in a pilsener glass at a nice 55.3 degree temperature. I paired it with steak, a baked potato, and some broccoli which it went very nicely with. Neither the flavor of the dish nor the beer over powered the other. The beer had a nice pour that produced about a 3" frothy light brown head. The head lacing was good and the head dissipated slowly. It had a medium carbonation with normal clarity and a ruby color. The beer exuded a floral aroma with hints of biscuit and grain. The taste as near as a I can describe was buttery with a hint of bourbon.  The first time I had it I remember a more smokey flavor but this time it had very little in the way of smokiness. I will say that the first time I had it it was at a temperature closer to 32 degrees. However, I thought it had a more easy going taste at the warmer temperature. It was very smooth and went down very easily. The flavor was light and the finish length was average with a watery mouth feel. The beer hit the tongue towards the back and it had good body lacing. Overall I thought it was a really great beer that I will definitely enjoy having again shortly provided my wife does not have the last one. Thanks for reading and as always drink responsibly.

Cost of beer: $17.99 for variety 12 pack (Goldencold Lager, Pils-Noir, and 6th Generation Stock Ale, and Hopfive IPA)
Food Pairings: German Cuisine
Glassware: Flute, Pilsner
Tour Information: Susquehanna Brewing Company offers a  free tour (Handicap-accessible) Friday at 5:00 p.m. and Saturday at 2:00 p.m. They also welcome groups by scheduled appointment. 

brewing company

Information from the Susquehanna Brewing Company Website
We are pleased to share our innovative black Pilsner, Pils-Noir. Made from Pearl (Winter) barley, malted for us by Munton’s, CaraMalt and Crystal malts, prepared using our unique, husk-free milling process. We then naturally darken the beer using the classic Czech technique of decoction mashing. Hopped with Oregon Willamette, Mt. Hood and Washington hops, and finished with noble Czech Saaz for a fine aroma.
33 IBU’S 4.9% ABV