America’s First Trappist ale @ Max Burger Longmeadow

by Brian Mitchell, Corporate Beverage Director for Max Restaurant Group

When a club has only eight members in the entire world, you can call it exclusive.  Well one club of eight has just added a new member.  The St. Joseph’s Abbey of Spencer Massachusetts, has launched a new brewery which is to become the ninth brewery in the world to be allowed to make Trappist Ales.  (This is the same abbey that makes the Trappist Preserves label of jams.)

An order of Cistercian monks descended from an order begun in 1098 in France, the modern day monks are carrying on the tradition of generations before them by making beer and brewing an integral part of the “business” of the monastery.  By definition, all Trappist beers must be made under the watch of monks within the grounds of a Trappist abbey, and proceeds must go back into the running and operational benefits of the abbey.  At one time there were nearly 200 Trappist breweries, but today there are only eight, or now nine.beer-on-table

The first beer brewed by the Spencer Brewery is the Spencer American Trappist Ale, and Max Burger in Longmeadow, Mass, has been fortunate enough to get a couple of the first cases.  We will be offering these, while they last, in the 11.2 oz bottle size.  At 6.5% abv, this is a classic Belgian ale with a slightly cloudy soft golden color, medium-body and , bright and crisp on the palate and a smooth finish with just a touch of hops.

The Spencer beers are produced under the guidance of the Chimay Brewery (one of the other nine Trappist Breweries), from which advisers from Belgium have traveled to the US in order to get the new brewery up and running.

Spencer-Trappist-Ale-960x866-500x451

The word is that we will also be able to get some of the first kegs available from the new brewery by the end of the month and we will update then when we know more accurately what and when.  Suffice it to say, though, that we are very excited to be participating in this point in beer history.  Come in and be a part of it as well.

Click here to visit the brewery website

Victory Brewing Dinner @ Max’s Oyster Bar Feb 6th

6IBi8qfTU8_djN_g2JRRId2nlXorjY74UiIWwkGJr-_R96PwnfHduweUpf0F2JSTr4XwxPQUiuplX-yOkAxmwPyF0GLWJUG33kryM-rBl5yUsyQynQz0YyjvJw=s0-d-e1-ftCraft beer is one of the great pleasures in life, and when you put it together with a great meal, can you claim Victory?  Without a doubt!

Take a break from the winter chill and claim your victory on February 6th with a great selection of Victory Brewing craft beers paired with the exceptional cuisine of Max’s Oyster Bar Chef Scott Miller.  We love doing beer dinners and when we can pair up with a great selection of our favorite beers, it makes it just that much better…

VICTORY BREWING CO.

CRAFT BEER DINNER

Thursday February 6th, 2014

6:30 PM  RECEPTION

Victory Prima Pils
Spiced Hamachi Rolls | Grilled Pineapple | Shiso
Lemongrass Braised Short Rib “Fritters” | Ginger Beer Gastrique
Grilled Clam Flatbread | Fennel | Preserve Lemon

Victory Helios Farmhouse Ale
Melville Cheese & Roasted Cauliflower Gratin Pickled Onion | Sriracha Caviar | Mustard Greens

Victory Mad Kings Weiss
Cornmeal Fried Cod
Okra | Green Tabasco Aioli | Pork & Collards

Victory Hop Ranch Imperial IPA
Shrimp Meatballs
Curry | Eggplant | Yogurt | Cilantro

Victory V 12 Belgian Ale
Rellenos
Confit Chicken | Smoked Bean Puree | Chorizo Vinaigrette

Victory Dirt Wolf Double IPA
Smoked Beef Brisket
Dumplings | Pho Broth | Hoisen Side Car

Victory Old Horizontal Barley Wine
Blood Orange Panna Cotta
Yuzu Gelee | Pomegranate | Lemon Shortbread

Click here to visit Max’s Oyster Bar Website

Stone Beer Dinner February 4 @ Trumbull Kitchen

It is with great pleasure that we announce our next beer dinner with our friends at Stone Brewing.  Since 1996, Stone has become one of the most iconic and well-loved breweries in the United States.  Known for making firmly hopped beers with just a hint of attitude, we really enjoy these beers and know you do to. Join us on February 4th, and break the winter cold with some hand crafted brews from the great state of California, along with some tasty treats from Chef Chris Torla.  Word has it that Jeff Nelson will be on hand to expound on the virtues of the beers and answer any questions you may have – he is always full of great things to say and definitely knows his Stones.  When was the last time you were Stoned??

Stone
 

Stone Beer Dinner
February 4, 2014

Happy 30 minutes, pre-dinner reception in the loft
Enjoy By 2-14-14
Burnt ends with Stone porter BBQ sauce
Smoked Pit ham and onion jam sliders
Charcuterie Sampler
Lamb pancetta wrapped asparagus

Matt’s Saison
Manchego and Hoja Santa Cheese Plate
Quince paste, CT honeycomb, porter crackers

Stone IPA
Indian Chicken Korma
Boneless chicken breast, pistachio yogurt sauce, aromatic basmati salad

Arrogant Bastard
Crisped Maryland Crab Cake
Blood orange marmalade, local apples, smoked jalapeno

Sublimely Self Righteous
Cocoa Braised Beef Short Ribs
White cheddar polenta, garlic kale

Cost on this is $75 per person (excluding tax & gratuity)

Seating is very limited (we are not just saying that – the loft at TK only holds 26 seats)

please call TK to reserve your seat 860-493-7412

Click here to visit the TK website 

MBWH Brewery of the Month: Oskar Blues from Colorado

Oskar-Blues-at-Burgerby Brian Mitchell, Corporate Beverage Director, Max Restaurant Group

Each Month Max Burger West Hartford has a brewery that we like to focus on and pay a little extra attention to.  There are so many great craft breweries in the United States, at this point, that we feel it is important to support this effort and recognize the great brewers in and out of CT.  For the month of September, we have chosen Oskar Blues Brewery from Longmont, Colorado, as our feature.oskar

Why Oskar Blues??

The make great beer.  At affordable prices.  Only in cans (and kegs, which are big cans). They have a lot of fun doing it. We have a lot of fun drinking it.

Founded in 1997, by Dale Katechis, who now owns several related breweries and brew pubs, Oskar Blues made a statement by being the first craft brewery to “bottle” their brews in cans, rather than bottles.  They are basically credited with starting what has become a national trend in brewing by using lighter weight, recyclable aluminium cans, kind of the way a lot of older styled brands were consumed.  They also like to do things like Mountain Bike and Hike, and since cans are lighter than glass these beers are often found along for the ride.

2012_7_13_oskarblues_fullline

 

Oskar Blues makes 6 different styles of beer:

  • Dales Pale Ale (the first, 6.5%abv and lighter than an IPA),
  • Old Chub Scotch Ale (8%abv and made with a variety of malts that lean toward the heavier side),
  • G’Knight, a fuller style of beer that is brewed in honor of Gordon Knight, a Colorado firefighter who lost his life in 2002 (8.7%abv),
  • Ten FIDY and Imperial Stout at about 10%abv, this is the seasonal’s seasonal as it is big and hearty
  • Mama’s Little Yella Pils, which is a smaller batched Pilsner style made with German malts and Bavarian hops (5.3%abv)
  • Gubna an Imperial IPA that is dry hopped and and comes in at 100 IBUs and 10%abv

Max Burger West Hartford will be featuring a selection of Oskar Blues Brews throughout the entire month of September, plus on the third Wednesday of the month, we have a very special keg that will be tapped at 5pm.  Join us in person to taste and enjoy this great beer and all the others from Oskar Blues all month long in West Hartford.

Beer on Tap This Week (and Next) @ Max’s Oyster Bar West Hartford

At Max’s Oyster Bar in West Hartford Center, we have a great selection of rotating draft beers.  We try to keep the options changing in order to give our guests the best and freshest choices around.  We do have our standards that are always on tap: Brewtus Maximus, Guinness Stout, etc., but the other lines are dedicated to regional and national craft brews, ranging in style from lighter lagers and session ales to fuller bodied porters and stouts, with all kinds of styles in between.  Check out what we have coming up in the next few days and weeks…

Line #1 – IPA / PA – first up: Dogfish Head Test Batch 61 IPA; then Stone 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung IPA; then Maine Brewing Company MO (Madeline & Oliver) Pale Ale

Line #2 – Seasonal – first up: Two Roads Saison; followed by The Cambridge House Copper Hill Kolsch; then Backeast Bachtoberfest

Line #3 – Pils – on line: Victory Prima Pils

Line #4 – the Limited / Local – going first: Sierra Nevada Ovila Abbey Quad; then Stone Enjoy by 9/13/13 IPA; followed by Thomas Hooker Brewing Liberator Doppelbock

Line #5 – Fruit / Wheat – first selection: Founders Rubeus; followed by Brooklyn Brewery Companion; and then Stone Coconut IPA; and finally Allagash White

For those who really need to know (and we are in that camp) here is some background info on these beers…

Stone 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung IPA
Stone Brewing Co. California, United States
American Double / Imperial IPA | 9.50% ABV
Notes:
Inspired by new experimental German hops, our brewing team is celebrating our 17th Jahrestag by taking palates on an unconventional tour of Deutschland by way of Southern California. In doing so, we used a grain bill comprised exclusively of pilsner malts and German hops with crazy awesome names: Herkules, Hersbrucker, Magnum, Merkur, Opal, Smaragd & Strisselspalt. Dry-hopping with Sterling, a U.S. hop with Saaz parentage, lends a bit of familiarity, but be forewarned, this is a unique beer that takes the IPA–a style we’ve already pushed far beyond it’s previous limits over the years–to interesting new territory.

Cambridge Brew House Copper Hill Kolsch
Cambridge Brew House (Granby, CT)
2005 Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal Winner!
2005 & 2006 Great International Beer Festival Gold Medal Winner!
German Style Light Ale. Smooth, easy drinking with subtle noble hop character. 4.8%ABV

Ovila® Abbey Quad with Plums
Rich, dark, and infused with the complex sweetness of abbey-grown plums.
Ovila Abbey Quad is heady with aromas of caramel, rich malt, and dark fruit balanced by the spiciness and delicate fruity notes of a traditional Belgian yeast. This complex beer is a collaboration between Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and the monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux. It features sugar plums grown on the grounds of the Abbey and harvested by the monks in Vina. We hope you enjoy this collaboration ale.
Quadrupel (Quad) | 10.20% ABV

Two Roads Workers Comp Saison
Stratford, CT 4.8 % ABV
A traditional farmhouse ale made with a very expressive yeast strain that contributes an array of tropical fruit, spice flavors and aromatics. Brewed with a variety of harvest grains including barley, wheat, oats and rye as was likely the case with farmhouse brewers of yore. The result is a complex, refreshing and distinctive example of this esoteric style. Intensely fruity (passion fruit, pineapple, mango, lychee), slightly spicy (clove, white pepper)

Maine Brewing Company MO
Our first run at an American Pale Ale. Flavors and aromas of zesty citrus, passionfruit, and pine present themselves throughout. A very subtle malt sweetness for balance, but this is intended to finish dry
Freeport, ME- 6 % ABV
http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/maine-beer-mo/167472/

Dogfish Head 61 Minute
6.5 % ABV
Whenever Dogfish Head President Sam Calagione and his neighborhood friends gather for drinks, they give each other a big ol’ man-hug and order a round of 60 Minute IPA. A few years ago, Sam also ordered a glass of his favorite red wine and poured a little into each pint of 60 Minute. They all dug the combination of fruity complexity and pungent hoppiness, and the blend became a beloved tradition.Sixty-One captures that tradition in a bottle and marries two Dogfish Head innovations: beer/wine hybrids — which Dogfish has focused on for well over a decade with beers like Midas Touch and Raison D’être — and continually-hopped IPAs. The name Sixty-One is a reminder that this beer is Dogfish Head’s best-selling 60 Minute IPA plus one new ingredient: syrah grape must from California. The label, painted by Sam, is a twist on a typical watercolor. Rather than using water, Sam mixed the green pigment with beer and the red pigment with wine. And because Sixty-One pairs so well with chocolate, he painted the browns on the label with melted chocolate

Stone R & R Coconut IPA
7.7 % ABV
http://www.stonebrewing.com/collab/rr/
Originally dreamt up by homebrewers Robert Masterson and Ryan Reschan, who earned themselves the top prize in our 2013 American Homebrewers Association homebrewing contest, this innovative beer marks a refreshing sea change for IPA lovers everywhere. It was brewed with 280 pounds of coconut and an unusual blend of hop varieties, including a few from faraway lands or just brand spankin’ new, and is guaranteed to taste like no IPA that’s gone before. Prepare yourself for a tropical breeze of a brew that will lull you to a place of tranquil contentment for a little R & R.

Thomas Hooker Liberator Doppelbock
Style: Doppelbock Lager
ABV: 8.5%
Available: Year Round
Hopped with German and Czech hops and fermented with Bavarian lager yeast, this traditional doppelbock blends an extensive amount of select dark malts to achieve its rich and creamy character. Rich and filling, this brew is a malt lovers dream.
Ingredients
◦Malts: Bohemian Pilsner, Munich, Vienna, Caramel Munich, Carafoam, Chocolate, Roasted Barley
◦Hops: German Select, Czech Saaz
Stone Enjoy BY IPA …9/13/13
9.4% ABV
You have in your hands a devastatingly fresh double IPA. While freshness is a key component of many beers- especially big, citrusy, floral IPAs- we’ve taken it further, a lot further, in this IPA. You see, we specifically brewed it NOT to last. We’ve not only gone to extensive lengths to ensure that you’re getting this beer in your hands within an extraordinarily short window, we made sure that the Enjoy By date isn’t randomly etched in tiny text somewhere on the bottle, to be overlooked by all but the most attentive of retailers and beer fans. Instead, we’ve sent a clear message with the name of the beer itself that there is no better time than right now to enjoy this IPA.

Allagash White
Our interpretation of a traditional Belgian wheat beer. Brewed with a generous portion of wheat and spiced with coriander and Curacao orange peel, this beer is fruity, refreshing and slightly cloudy in appearance.
Description: Belgian Style Wheat
ABV: 5.0%
Profile: Light, Crisp, Fruity, Spicy
Serving Temperature: 38°-50°F

Backeast Brewing Bachtoberfest
Back East Brewery and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra are releasing Bachtoberfest, an Oktoberfest-style seasonal beer produced by Back East Brewery. Beginning the week of August 26th, Bachtoberfest will be available on tap at many great restaurants throughout the Greater Hartford and New Haven markets, including several restaurants in downtown Hartford
Bachtoberfest also will be available for purchase at the Hartford Symphony’s 70th Anniversary Opening Night performances at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts October 11 and 12. Beginning August 28th, Bachtoberfest will be available for purchase in half-gallon growlers in the tasting room at Back East Brewery in Bloomfield, CT. Back East will be donating a portion of the proceeds from each growler sold to the Hartford Symphony Orchestra in support of their artistic, educational, and community programs.
Back East Brewery Co-Founder Tony Karlowicz says, “It is an integral part of our mission as a local brewery to support this vibrant community. The Hartford Symphony’s 70 year dedication to the arts speaks for itself and we are thrilled to partner with them for this special edition beer.
Back East Brewing Company is a small, craft brewery located in Bloomfield, CT. Founded by cousins Tony Karlowicz and Edward Fabrycki, Jr., Back East opened in July 2012 and is now distributed on draft and in cans throughout Greater Hartford and New Haven. For more information on Back East Brewery, please visit www.backeastbrewing.com
Marking its 70th Anniversary Season in 2013–2014, The Hartford Symphony Orchestra (HSO) is Connecticut’s premier musical organization. The Hartford Symphony is the second largest orchestra in New England and is widely recognized as one of America’s leading regional orchestras. Under the musical direction of Carolyn Kuan, the HSO presents more than 100 concerts to over 120,000 people each year. For more information on the HSO, please visit www.hartfordsymphony.org.

Max Burger WH Brewery of the Month: Sixpoint Brewery, Brooklyn, NY

Sixpoint-BreweryThere are few people who would not agree that the beers from Sixpoint Brewery, located in Brooklyn, are some of the tastiest craft brews being made on the East Coast these days.

Originally founded in 2004, by two college room-mates, Sixpoint has only been distributing its brews outside the local area for a few years now, and canning product only since 2011.  But, the styles and quality they have developed in that short period of time has put them on the map with top line brewers in the US.

This month (August), Sixpoint Brewery is the featured brewery of the month at Max Burger West Hartford.  All month long you will find at least one if not multiple beers on tap from Sixpoint.  Plus, on the 17th, the guys from Sixpoint have promised us a special cask that will be tapped just at Max Burger and when its gone, its gone.

One of the things that makes Sixpoint so interesting is that they make a lot of beer; not just in volume but in selection.  It seems as though they love to experiment and keep things moving.  By building a loyal base of fans with an ever-changing collection of Ales, Sixpoint essentially always has something for everyone available. In fact, one of their series is called the Mad Scientist Series which has a rotating selection of smaller production brews.

Check out the Sixpoint website for the latest news and availability.  

This is one of the things that we love about this brewery, there is always something great coming from them, either seasonally or as part of one of their more limited series and is why we have picked them to feature this month.  Come in to Max Burger West Hartford all month long as see what the latest offering is from Sixpoint.  We are sure you will enjoy it!

Seven Reasons to Visit Max Burger Today – IPA Day

by Brian Mitchell, Corporate Beverage Director Max Restaurant Group

Today is IPA Day!  And to celebrate one of the most iconic beer styles, Max Burger in West Hartford is pouring seven IPA styles from seven of our favorite breweries.  On draft until they are gone, we have gotten a selection of local and national products that are recognized for their top quality and individual style.  See the range below, but first a quick history of IPA…

I.P.A. (or India Pale Ale, to your and me) – The Historical Angle

Ales have been produced in England and other regions of Europe for over 600 years, and by the 17th and 18th centuries, several things began to happen to influence the traditional styles of beer being produced.  With more advances toward the industrial revolution machinery and technology began to modify the roasting process, making it larger (more commercially scaled) and the raw resources changes from primarily wood ovens to larger coal or coke fired).  This allowed for greater control of the roasting process and lighter, or paler, malts began to be produced and used for brewing.  This led to paler styles of beer than had previously been made, hence the names Pale Ale was used for these brews.

Also, the British Empire was expanding its boundaries and domains, which now included the far east and India.  Shipping beer to these outposts created a situation where preservation of the products was key.  By using hops in greater and greater quantities, British brewers discovered that they could maintain the stability of the beer over long sea voyages, plus it made the bees taste really good, as well.  The highly hopped pale ales were often designated for shipment to India and so the name India Pale Ales was soon coined and stuck.

Today we know the style to be relatively mild from a malt point, but highly hopped for both aromatics and bittering.  Just about any respectable brewery makes a version (or two or three) of IPA, including the now regularly found Imperial IPA, which usually have an even elevated level of hop.  Enjoyed by many, the IPA has become well known and in high demand, so that we even see single variety hopped beers being produced, almost similar to the single vineyard expression of wines.  Enjoy one of these seven brews on tap today at Max Burger West Hartford…

Gandhi-Bot1 – Gandhi-Bot Double IPA – New England Brewing Company (Woodbridge, CT) – produced with three varieties of American hops, this is a CT State favorite and is usually found in limited release on draft.  We are big fans of beers from NEBCO, and are very pleased to have this in the line-up today.

Victory Hop Devil

 

2 – Hop Devil IPA – Victory Brewing Company (Downington, PA) – a big styled IPA utilizing American hop varieties for the robust but balanced style that Victory is known for.  Coming in at 6.7% abv, it is right in the middle of what you can expect from an IPA.

Ballast Sculpin

 

3 – Sculpin IPA – Ballast Point (San Diego, CA) – one of the harder to get beers from this 15+ year old brewery, the Sculpin just arrived and is a bit more Pale than most, but still packs a bit of a punch at 7% abv, just like the tasty fish it is named after.  This is a real treat.

Back east imperial IPA

 

4 – Imperial IPA – Back East Brewing (Bloomfield, CT) – local it is with this top of the line Imperial style from local brewers Tony, Ed and Mike.  The Back East style is out of the premium range and comes in at a hefty 9.5% abv, but maintains a balance and freshness throughout.  Great drinking beer, just need to watch the intake levels (a bit).

Green flash le freak

 

5 – Le Freak IPA – Green Flash Brewing (San Diego, CA) –  obviously a great place for brewing beer, San Diego’s other great brewery is Green Flash.  The Le Freak IPA is an award winning style that merges the Belgian Tripple style with an American Imperial IPA style.  Nearly at the top of the register at 9.2%, it is a beauty of a beer.

 

Sierra Blindfold6 – Blindfold Black IPA – Sierra Nevada Brewing (Chico, CA) – the classic northern California Pale Ale brewer makes a statement with the Blindfold IPA, a brew that almost doesn’t exist.  Very limited availability on this keg, this is a beer that should be on everyone’s must-try list.

 

six point galaxy7 – Spice of Life Series: Galaxy IPA –  Six Point Brewing (Brooklyn, NY) – this series celebrates the HOP, by brewing and releasing with a single variety each month.  The 2013-2014 releases get kicked off this month with the Galaxy hop from New Zealand and Australia.  Big, fruity expression of hops in this brew.  Quite lush and tasty for the style.  Six point delivers with this one.

Max’s Tavern Pours Tree House Brewing Tornado IPA (LIMITED!!!)

by Brian Mitchell, Corporate Beverage Director, Max Restaurant Group

Max’s Tavern is Springfield is turning a new leaf of sorts and will be featuring a very special and limited brew this weekend.  We have one log of the Tree House Brewing Torando IPA, a beer that was born during the June 2011 Springfield tornado (click here to read the brewery’s account of that fateful day).  Tree House Brewing Co. is located off-the-beaten-path in Brimfield, mass, and due to recent zoning issues, may or may not be continuing producing the highly regarded brews they have become known for over the past year.

Brewery description of the Tree House Tornado IPAtree house brewing

“Tornado” – An extremely liberally hopped APA.  Tornado was crafted during the unfortunate events surrounding the June 1st, 2011 Brimfield Tornado.  We created the beer in honor of the circumstances as we experienced them and luckily escaped the path by 1/2 mile.  Tornado is loaded with notes of pine, tropical fruit, and citrus.  At 5.6% alcohol, it’s super refreshing.

We are very fortunate to have secured one of the handful of remaining kegs and will be tapping it at 5 pm on Saturday, July 20.  Typically there are only about 45 pours from a log, so when the beer is gone, its gone, maybe forever, but not forgotten…much like the tornado it is named for.

Join us at Max’s Tavern in Springfield at the Basketball Hall of Fame to get a taste of this special brew.  Call 413-746-6299 for additional details.

Max Burger WH Brewery of the Month: Hooker (Bloomfield, CT)

Max Burger CircleEach month Max Burger of West Hartford selects a brewery to feature and showcase special beers and drink nights around.  For the month of July, the select Brewery of the Month is Thomas Hooker Brewery of Bloomfield, CT.  The Max Restaurant Group has a close working relationship with the Hooker staff as they brew the Brewtus Maximus American Pale Ale, which is the house beer at the Max Group and the Pale Ale selection in the Hooker beer line-up.

hooker logoAside from Brewtus Maximus, Thomas Hooker beers will be on feature all month.  Plus, there will be a special evening on Wednesday July 17, featuring small batch variations on some of Hooker’s regular beers, including a Rauch style Helles.  The guys from Hooker came over to Max Burger last week and smoked some malts in the smoker at the restaurant.  They have used this custom smoked malt as an ingredient in this very limited production version of the Munich Helles Rauch Bier, which is a “lighter” style smoked lager beer perfect for summer and smoked/grilled meats.

Here is how the brewery describes the beer – Munich dark, pilsen and vienna malts blended with special grains smoked right on site at Max Burger. This light style lager has a smokey flavor with a bready finish. This sessionable lager is sure to please a variety of palates.  ABV 5%

The concept for this style and the quality of the Hooker products can be attributed to the two brewers at the company.  These are two young but experienced brewers that have recently joined forces at Hooker and are making huge strides in quality and taste improvements.  They have a smaller brew system for making variations on their regular line plus some test batches.  The future is bright for Thomas Hooker Brewery and their brewmaster, Stephen Andrews, and his assistant Sean Piels (see their bio’s below).

SpinsterAnother Hooker beer that you will find on draft throughout the month at Max Burger is the Hooker Spinster XPA – the Spinster name comes from the fact that this is a single hop varietal Ale, hence the Spinster…Single…get it?  Tasty though, not mean and nasty.

Here is what they says about this one…

Dry Hopped Spinster XPA (cask conditioned)- We took our newest creation, the Spinster XPA, and dry hopped with Mosaic and Citra hops. The unfiltered XPA’s citrus aroma from late addition Summit hops blends with the Mosaic’s mango and lemon notes as well as the Citra’s tropical tones. ABV 4.8%

Meet the Brewers…

Stephen Andrews – Head Brewer

A graduate of Chicago’s World Brewing Academy International Diploma in Brewing Technology Program at Siebel Institute of Technology and Doemen’s Academy in Munich, Germany, Stephen also has a degree from the London based Institute of Brewing and Distilling. While studying and training as a brewer, Stephen’s travels have brought him to Bavaria, Austria, Belgium, England and an expansive tour of Germany. During his time in Germany, he trained in authentic German styles using a 7 barrel Steinecker brewing system. Back in the states, this Simsbury local joined the Thomas Hooker team in early 2011, where he has brought a wealth of creativity and brewing knowledge.

Sean Piel – Brewer

A graduate of Brewlab School of British Brewing Technology, Sean first found his passion for beer home brewing with his father at a young age. After attending Brewlab, Sean traveled to Belgium, Scotland and Ireland. Sean ended up spending time living in England and Germany to learn about different breweries, techniques of brewing and different beers. He rounded out his stay in Europe with a year long internship at Stoettner Brewing Company in Pfaffenburg, Germany. Upon his return to his native Connecticut, Sean came on board as a brewer at Thomas Hooker Brewing Company in the end of 2012.

 

Beer Education: Summer Styles

Now that the days are good and long and our guests are enjoying the patio dining, warm temps and lighter dining options, it’s time to put aside the Porters and Stouts and enjoy some of the refreshing beer options for summer.  But what are summer beers?  Is there a definitive “summer brew” style like the all-powerful IPA style?  The answer, like all things in the beverage world, is a bit yes and a bit no.

Summer Beers are part of the large array of ‘seasonals’ produced by American brewers and we probably have Sam Adams to thank for making the seasonal “craft” brew category what it is today (Sam Adams Summer Ale is currently in rotation on draft at many Max locations, including Max’s Tavern in Springfield).  20 years ago there were really not many options for brewery specific summer beers, you just moved to a lighter style of beer, often by another brewer.  Now we have loads of options and the breweries do what ever they can t get you to stay with their brand, but are all summer beers made the same?  Doubtful.

Kölsch, Wheats and Fruited beers are probably the closest to true or classic warm weather styles, although there are many folks that would add other styles to this mix.  But let’s focus on these, as they can represent some of the best beer drinking during the warm months.

KÖLSCH – this style of beer comes from Koln, Germany, and is traditionally served icy cold in smaller, 8oz glasses to keep it cold-to-the-last-drop.  American brewers are recreating this style that is essentially an ale that has been lagered (cold stored to create a smooth, creamy texture).  Look for Flying Dog Tire Biter, Harpoon Summer (currently on draft at Max A Mia in Avon), Cpt Lawrence Kölsch, or for an authentic German style get the Reisdorff Kölsch (Max Burger Longmeadow).

 

 

WHEAT BEERS – a widely used grain, especially in southern Belgium and Germany, where the lightness and freshness of these beers, as well as their affinity for fruit, make them delightful for warm weather.  Arguably the best are the Hefeweizen styles from Germany, such as Schneider (Trumbull Kitchen) and Weihenstephaner (Max Burger Longmeadow), but great American examples can be found as well, such as Allagash (Max’s Oyster Bar), Victory Summer Love (in rotation at Max Burger West Hartford), Harpoon UFO (Max Downtown), and Southern Tier Hop Sun Wheat.

FRUITED BEERS – maybe not everybody’s cup of tea (so to speak) but fruit beers are very popular and sell like crazy this time of year.  The tradition comes down from Europe, especially Belgium, where many ingredients, not just fruit were added to beer to mask what was probably poor quality.  Over time these techniques and styles were perfected so the best are the Lambic styles from Belgium.  American brewers have been making delicious fruit beers in a variety of style for years, as well.  Look for Magic Hat #9, Hooker Watermelon, or Harpoon’s UFO Raspberry and 21st Amendment Watermelon (in the can at Max Burger Longmeadow).  Traditional Lambic from Lindemans are still popular, as well.

A side category to the fruited beers is the Shandy, which is a mix of beer and lemonade – usually 50/50.  This is a light, refreshing style that is low alcohol and easy to drink in the warm weather.  Pale Ales (such as Brewtus Maximus) are great here.  You can also add Ginger Beer to the mix instead of lemonade.  This is called a Gaff, or Shandy-Gaff, and is quite tasty if you like ginger.  Each of these beer drinks are available at any Max location, year round.

Southern Tier LIVE Pale Ale now at Trumbull Kitchen and Max Burger WH

Bottle conditioned ale is always a great choice as the inclusion of living yeast cells does any number of things to the beer over time – primarily adding complexity to the aromas and flavors.  This beer is called LIVE because those little yeasty guys are added to the bottle just before capping and they continue to make the beer so much more interesting as time goes by.  

This is a relatively new additional to the year-round selections from Southern Tier, a brewery that I have come to enjoy more and more as I taste through their products.  We have added this lovely Pale Ale to the lines at Max Burger West Hartford and Trumbull Kitchen this week, and will keep it rotating in from time to time at our other spots.  It just tastes great, is not heavy or full in style and is about as interesting as it gets.

Southern Tier Brewery operates out of Lakewood, NY, and has been making beers since 2002.  We rotate their beers through our lines on a regular basis.  You can check out their website at this link:  http://www.stbcbeer.com/

Cheers, Brian Mitchell

Found on Draft at Max Burger: Relic Hounds Tooth Dark Mild

Since opening, our Max Burger locations (either in West Hartford Center or Longmeadow) have dedicated a tremendous amount of thought to beer.  Finding and selecting just the right brew to run.  Making sure the styles do not get too similar, or that we keep the fan favorites around.  One thing that this attention to detail has given us is the ability and desire to find the unique, local brews.

In West Hartford we have developed a relationship with Mark Sigman, owner of Relic Brewing in Southington, Ct.  Mark is a craft brewer in every sense of the word, essentially brewing small batches out of his garage to get started.  To date, Mark and Max Burger have joined forces regularly to bring Central Connecticut some of the unique and finely crafted brews that are the hall-mark of Relic Brewing.  The latest addition to the line-up is the Hounds Tooth Dark Mild English Ale.

An old school English style which is traditionally malty and dark but lower in alcohol. This one is 5%abv, which is on the higher end for the style. Its brewed with traditional English malts, hops and yeasts including various types of chocolate malts, and dark crystal which combine to give some burnt raisin, caramel and hints of roasty chocolate. Some fuggles hops lend some spicy earthiness.

Delicious, smooth but still a unique small batch brew, this is perfect for cold weather sipping.  Limited time only.

 

New Batches of Brewtus Maximus Pale Ale

A double batch of Bretwus Maximus was created this morning starting at 4am.  We will have these in house in about three weeks – fresh as can be.  The smell of the hops as they are going in the kettle is delightfully spicy, herbal and fruity all together,  Mixed with the sweet, malty aromas of the grain – and you have beer heaven.

Click here to see a short video: Brewtus Maximus