Aprihop

There’s something very cool about people asking me to broaden my horizons beyond the Great Lakes… I get to taste beer that is more widely available, and talk about them with you! While I make no secret that my craft-beer-loving heart belongs in Michigan, I do enjoy several craft breweries around the world, that I probably don’t mention enough. 

Enter… Dogfish HeadAprihop

I know, I know… it’s not like it’s a huge SHOCK that this hop-head enjoys brews from this Delaware Brewery. Since it’s inception in 1995, Dogfish Head has brewed several beers that have passed through my lips. They rarely disappoint.

Here’s the thing — I hear about a beer called Aprihop that’s pronounced like “Apricot” and my fear (as I asked the friendly bartender pushing it onto me) “Is this one of those ‘AAAAHH! APRICOT EXPLODING IN MY MOUTH’ beers?” I imagined my nose and mouth being attacked by apricots.

That didn’t happen. 

And that’s what’s SO hoppin’ cool about this week’s beer-of-the-week: Aprihop. Yes, the name may scream apricot… but the flavor… Mmm-MMM… the flavor. Those clever Dogfish Head brewers created a masterpiece of flavor — the hops are the star, with the apricots playing a supporting role. As it should be, IMHO. Aprihop, get this, actually tastes like beer. A good IPA — without the intense bitterness that turn some beer-lovers off. The notes of apricot are in the finish, sweetly and subtly balancing out the hops. This beer goes down very easily. At 7% ABV, it’s not something I would personally drink all day, but I have consumed two in one sitting, and felt groovy. 

Who should drink this craft beer? I honestly believe Aprihop is a beer for just about anyone. Dogfish Head claims Aprihop is the fruit beer for people who hate fruity beer. I would have to agree. I would also suggest sharing Aprihop with someone who may not be a huge fan of IPAs; have them give it a swirl! Could open a whole new world for beer lovers who have shied away from IPAs in the past. 

Dogfish Head is widely available in the following markets March-May: AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, SC, TX, VA, VT, WA – — hit up the Fish Finder to see exactly where you can find Aprihop in your neck of the woods. 

CHEERS! 

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If you have a suggestion for a beer I MUST try in the coming weeks, please email me: MommaNeedsABeer {at} gmail {dot} com with the subject Beer of the Week. Although I adore having access to many delicious Michigan beers, I’d love to expand my palate to beers with broader availability. If I choose to feature your beer, I will send you a MNAB magnet and mention you on here as well as facebook and twitter, if you’re into such things. 

 

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Spring me a BEER!

I had the opportunity to chat about spring beers on eightWest this week. Here’s the segment, in case you missed it!

It is a great time to be a beer lover, with Founders KBS being released last week in Founders’ tap-room, and at various brew-pub release parties, and Bell’s Oberon being released this week. These much-loved beers are like the robins of the beer world: positive signs that spring is here… or… coming soon to a yard near me?!

Oberon, made by Bell’s brewing in Kalamazoo is a wheat beer with a light citrus flavor. Some choose to enhance the citrus notes with an orange garnish, which is almost as synonymous as the Oberon sun itself. When Oberon is released, it’s typically around the first day of spring… and, as the sun logo implies, it’s best enjoyed outdoors.

Right here in Grand Rapids, Harmony Brewing also released a spring beer. Flower Power is one of the first collaborative beers Harmony released just after they opened a couple years ago. Flower Power is a Green Tea Chamomile Pale Ale. YUM! Harmony traditionally releases Flower Power every year on the spring equinox. This beer, even though it pours a beautiful dark amber color, tastes very light, with a few floral notes sneaking up on you to balance it out.

With spring on the horizon, everyone is anxious to get out of the house — whether that’s in your backyard or on the deck of your lakeshore cottage, you’ll want a good portable beer that won’t knock you down. Cans are becoming much more of a staple these days. They are better for the environment and easier to carry, especially if you go somewhere with a glass-free policy.

As an IPA lover, I’ve been a big fan of Founders All-Day IPA… and it will remain a staple in my fridge and cooler. However, I’ve fallen madly in love with Grand Rabbits from Black Rocks brewery out of Marquette in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Grand Rabbits is a cream ale that pours out like liquid sunshine. The flavor is light, and with low alcohol and calories, it’s easy to drink as your cares melt away on the beach, or around a fire-pit in your backyard.

I also highly recommend finding a stainless steel growler. I love mine from Greenbush out of Sawyer, MI (a must-stop for any Michigan-beer lover heading to or from Chicago). Even though the growler carries a Greenbush logo, most breweries chose to be collaborative over competitive and will not bat an eyelash filling a growler from another brewery. Stainless steel growlers will keep your beer fresher longer, are lighter to carry, and won’t break. You’ll see more breweries with this style of growler soon.

What’s your favorite spring beer? Maybe if we all start drinking like it’s spring, it will melt the rest of this white stuff a little faster.

CHEERS!Michigan Spring Beers

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Beer of the Week = Bell’s Oberon + bonus recipe!

One of the first signs of spring around these parts… is the release of Bell’s Oberon Wheat Ale. Oberon in the Snow

I doubt I need to give this beloved spring favorite much of an introduction. 

Starting today, you can find Bell’s Oberon in stores, and in many of the bars within Bell’s distribution footprint. Enjoy this 5.8% ABV wheat ale with an orange, or without, to each their own. I prefer to drink it outside, myself. So I snapped a wishful thinking photo outside at my picnic table today. Yes, that is snow in the background. 

Since it is still a good time to crank up the oven and bake indoors, I thought I’d share a recipe to warm and brighten up your tummies. 

You can substitute beer for the water ingredient in most recipes. I enjoy it in soups and stews, but in cake recipes, beer really does fluff it up and make it moist. The alcohol is minimal, and does cook out, so all ages can enjoy.

Oberon Orange-Ginger Cupcakes
Yield: 18-24 cupcakes

Oberon Ginger CupcakeCake:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 2/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp ginger, zested
2 Tbsp orange juice
1 cup Bell’s Oberon beer

Frosting:
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp ginger, zested
2 Tbsp orange, zested

Directions:
• Preheat oven to 350°F.
• Sift together flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt in a bowl.
 Set aside.
• Cream butter for 1 minute with a mixer or hand blender. Add sugar and cream together with butter.
• Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down after each addition.
• Add vanilla, ginger and orange zest and mix until combined.
• Alternate adding the Oberon to the flour and butter mixtures until fully incorporated.
• Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
• Fill cupcake liners 1/2 full.
• Bake 17-20 mins, or until golden, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
 Transfer cupcakes onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:
• Cream together butter and cream cheese with a mixer or hand blender.
• Mix in sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until all sugar has been incorporated.
• Stir in half the ginger and orange zest.
• Pipe or spread frosting onto cupcakes, top with fresh ginger and/or orange zest, if desired.
• Enjoy!

Tune into eightWest tomorrow on WOODTV8 where I will be sharing these cupcakes, as well as many other Michigan spring beers. 

CHEERS! 

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