It feels like every week there’s another quirky beer holiday to remember, from Beer Can Appreciation Day in January to yesterday National IPA Day. Today is International Beer Day! Even if it sounds like a recently created holiday, we’re happy to use it as an excuse to build a to-go beer flight. Started in 2007 in Santa Cruz, California, International Beer Day is, as explained by its website, “a day for beer lovers everywhere to raise a toast to our brewers and bartenders, and rejoice in the greatness of beer!” Indeed. Celebrating the passing of another work week? International Beer Day! Trying to forget the nightmare that is our political situation? International Beer Day! Want to drink beers brewed outside the United States? Oh yeah — it’s International Beer Day! The last angle is the one Peaks & Pints is taking. We’re offering a to-go beer flight of international beers — a flight we call Peaks and Pints Pilot Program: International Beer Day On the Fly.
Peaks and Pints Pilot Program: International Beer Day On the Fly
BELGIUM: Brewed in West Flanders region of Belgium since 1821, Brouerij Rodenbach ages their beer in one of 294 oak casks (“foeders”) for a minimum of 2 years, before master brewer Rudi Ghequire crafts his Flemish red brown sour ales. Don’t let the fact that this is Rodenbach’s “entry-level” beer deter you—while it’s the most approachable and accessible of the bunch, it’s certainly not light on flavor or experience. A blend of 75% young ale and 25% two-year-old ale aged in oak foeders, it pours a hazy brown color, with mahogany-red glimmers. The flavor is an evenly balanced delicate blend of sweet malt, black cherries, orange, and a light acetic sourness.
8% ABV, 34 IBU
NETHERLANDS: Abbey Maria Toevlucht was established in 1900 in the quiet countryside outside the village of Zundert, Netherlands, near the Belgian border. De Kievit Trappist Brewery, built in one of the abbey’s historical farm buildings, began selling beer in 2013. The lapwing weathervane on the roof inspired the name of the brewery, and remains in place still: Brouwerij De Kievit — “The Lapwing Brewery” — also uses the beautiful crested northern lapwing in their logo. The brewery’s Zundert Trappist 8 Ale shows clear chestnut-brown color, a bouquet of herbal spice, and layered, fruity depth wrapped around caramel malt. Dry, complex, bottle-conditioned; Zundert evolves with each taste and defines a new chapter in the book of excellent Trappist ales.
5.8% ABV, 25 IBU
GERMANY: About 25 kilometers from the Oktoberfest grounds in Munich, lays a little town called Aying, home to the beloved Ayinger Brewery (Brauerei Aying). This 135-year-old brewery has a deep family history, and remained almost completely unchanged until a new, updated brewery was built in 1999 in order to keep up with the growing market. Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen features a pronounced sweetness of caramel and caramelized pumpkin on the palate. Hearty, and even a bit creamy as it warms, the lager features a touch of bitter hops and fresh straw upfront before veering into a long malty finish. However, the beer dries out nicely to avoid a sticky or cloying aftertaste. This beer pairs beautifully with our pretzel bread sticks and side of beer mustard. Gemütlichkeit is, of course, free as always.
5.2% ABV, 28 IBU
SCOTLAND: John Johnstone founded Belhaven Brewery in Dunbar in 1719. Belhaven means “beautiful bay,” named after the stunning coastal location in East Lothian on which it resides. The home of Scottish brewing, Belhaven brews with local Scottish barley, water from its brewery well, its own unique Belhaven yeast and the choicest of hops from around the world. Belhaven’s Scottish Ale is a solid beer with a nutty, sweet flavor and a touch of oak in the aroma. Because the can has a nitrogen widget, this scotch ale has an extraordinary long-lasting head, which also gives it a very smooth and rounded mouthfeel.
5% ABV, 31 IBU
ENGLAND: Truly one of the best brown ales in the world; this is the cast and mold for lots of brewers trying to come up with a nut brown ale. Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale’s aroma is subdued overall, showing only malted barley-related aromas of light caramel, soft red apple and a gentle walnut component. The flavor is a study in drinkability, as nothing about it dominates the palate. Toasty and robust, hints of almond and cocoa powder overwhelm the palate and a touch of burnt coffee lingers after every sip. By the way, nothing goes better with this brew than one of Peaks and Pints’ warm chocolate chip cookies.
SWEDEN: In 2005, Mikael Dugge Engström opened Dugges Ale & Porterbryggeri (Porter Brewery) in Landvetter outside Gothenburg, Sweden. Today, Dugges Bryggeri is on the top one hundred brewers in the world list, which isn’t a surprise since they brew some absolutely phenomenal, world-class beers including Smooth, an imperial stout that Engström let rest on two different types of Swedish High Coast Whisky oak barrels. A few of the barrels were peaty and the others, you guessed it, smooth. It hits the nose with chocolate, booze, malt, wood, and caramel. On the tongue, expect a decent amount of malt, subtle caramel notes, a good shot of whiskey, a fair amount of chocolate with mild peat and oak on the finish.