Posts Tagged With: Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Company

Hoppin’ Frog B.O.R.I.S. #100

Recently Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Company out of Akron, OH announced their limited release of B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher Oatmeal Imperial Stout batch #100. This batch is different from other batches of the beer. In celebration of the 100th production run of Hoppin’ Frog’s flagship beer, Head Brewer and Owner Fred Karm decided to play around with the base malt used in the beer.

Instead of the American malted barley that is typically used in B.O.R.I.S. Fred decided to use “the finest English Pale Ale malt” to celebrate batch #100. While changing the malt’s country of origin might not sound like much of a difference, bear in mind that each maltster uses their own unique methods for kilning, drying, and processing the grain. It should be of no surprise that English malts bear the weight of centuries of tradition and time-honored perfection of methodology. Most brewers would readily concede that an English Pale Malt will produce a different beer than an American or Canadian Pale Malt.

When I stopped by the brewery to pick up my bottle over the weekend, Fred Karm was present and he described the beer as being more sweet than the original and perhaps also lending some body to the beer as well. I also caught him make an off-hand remark to an employee about how they ought to try playing around with the base malts of some of their other beers. I like the sound of that…

With all of this said, it should be noted that this beer will still largely resemble the regular B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher. This is a good thing though, because the beer has won Gold at the Great American Beer Festival twice in the last four years.

The Review

The beer was meant to be a playful riff on the normal Russian Imperial Stout. As such, I poured it into a playful glass – a Parra Duvel tulip. This is actually my first time using the glass – what a nice way to christen it!

As with the regular B.O.R.I.S., batch #100 pours extremely thick and straight black like crude oil. A tall slow-to-rise head reaches to the edge of the glass and halts is ascent.

The beer is awash with aromas of bittersweet chocolate and ashy roasted coffee. There’s a slight notion of hard water minerals, and the beer is generally very smooth. Things begin to really shine once you take that first sip. Suddenly you are keenly aware of why this stout is called a Bodacious Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout. A wonderful helping of hops bring the IBUs to 60, which is IPA territory, but also very necessary for providing balance to all of the malty sweetness going on in this beer. There’s also a really big hit of roasted barley in the flavor – which adds bitterness as well, and a dry coating mouthfeel to the beer.

Speaking of sweetness, lots of rich sweet dark chocolate and gritty fudge really assert themselves as the beer warms. One might also detect flavors of dark bread and caramel. But again, the roast is huge here, bigger than I remembered from the regular B.O.R.I.S.

Batch #100 drinks very smoothly, with a silky texture that is in no small way due to the oats used. However, the English malts are also playing into this somewhat I bet. Overall I really enjoyed this beer, but that can be said of any B.O.R.I.S. variation out there. It’s not hard to do though when the base beer for all of the various incarnations is a world-class award winning stout. Buy Batch #100 while you can, because it’ll likely be a one-time deal! I look forward to seeing something even more unique come about when B.O.R.I.S. hits the batch #200 mark!

I bought my bottle at the brewery for $10.99. While releases like this often wind up being distributed somewhat if the beer doesn’t sell out at the brewery, Batch #100 doesn’t seem to be leaving the brewery. So get on down to Hoppin’ Frog and give this wonderful brew a whirl. You’ll likely get to meet Fred Karm. If you do so, shake the man’s hand and congratulate him on his recent Gold medal for B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher at Great American Beer Festival (GABF). If you’re into this type of thing, he’d also likely be willing to sign your bottle, and possibly give you a brief tour of the facility.

Finally, if you’re looking for cool beer to try or gift someone this season, Hoppin’ Frog also has a cooler stocked with tons of great beer. All of their normal offerings can be bought fresh from the source, as well as some seasonals and rarities:

  • Fresh Frog Raw Hop Pale Ale – their “wet hop” beer from the recent hop harvest
  • B.O.R.I.S. Royale – this is BORIS aged in Crown Royal Canadian whiskey barrels
  • Barrel-Aged B.O.R.I.S.  – a personal favorite
  • Barrel-Aged Naked Evil – a bourbon barrel aged barleywine aged on Belgian yeast. This beer won a Bronze medal at this year’s GABF in the wood-aged strong ale category.
  • Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale – a GABF Gold medal winner in 2010

No matter what Hoppin’ Frog has something to satisfy. If you buy a case (12x 22oz bombers) you get 10% off. They also sell a limited amount of merchandise as well, and recently this was on sale for 20% off. If you mention the discounted price to Fred I’m sure he’d honor that if you were looking to buy a T-shirt or something.

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Black Friday and Holiday Season Brews

So, today is Black Friday. One of the most horrendous and potentially rewarding days to shop all year. Whether you are looking to buy that special rare beer for your boyfriend or home-brewing cousin, or simply in need of a beer to ease off the tension of waiting in line in the cold at 4am only to discover the item you were in search of has sold out, I have the beer for you!

BLACK FRIDAY

I really don’t believe you’ll see much (if any) Black Friday-specific beer sales, but you never know. What I would expect is to possibly see a few bars offer deals today. If you have a favorite watering hole that serves up fresh craft beer, I highly encourage you to “like” them on Facebook or to follow them on Twitter to get up-to-the-minute details on specials for the day.

That said, for those in Northeast Ohio Hoppin’ Frog Brewery is selling two special beers today and tomorrow. They’ll be open from 10AM to 5PM both days.

  • The first beer is a returning holiday special: Barrel-Aged Frosted Frog Christmas Ale. The base beer is really spicy in all the ways that remind you of Christmas – ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Add several months in bourbon barrels and the beer mellows on the spice a bit, and gains oaken vanilla complexity and a bit of sweet whiskey heat. $12.99 for a 22oz bottle.
  • The other beer is a first-time brew: B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher Batch #100. While not extensively different from the regular brew, this batch was brewed with all English Pale Malt instead of American malt which is typically used. The English malt will add a sweeter flavor and fuller-bodied finish to an already award-winning beer (which won Gold at the Great American Beer Festival again this year). I am really excited for this myself. $10.99 for a 22oz bottle.

Both of these won’t last long, so it might be a smart idea to include a trip to the brewery amongst your holiday shopping throughout the weekend. I’ll be drinking my BORIS #100 soon after purchase, but both beers would also make fine gifts.

The next beer may not be quite as easy to track down, but as a gift idea, this beer is pretty cool: Thirsty Dog, also out of Akron, has produced a very limited quantity of 1.5 Liter bottles of their own Barrel-Aged 12 Dogs of Christmas. These bottles were hand numbered and signed by the brewers. Check with the brewery too, but last I heard they had some bottles left at Lizardville bar and bottle shop in Bedford Hts. I believe they were going for $40 a bottle – but consider that 1.5L is close to 50 ounces (4x 12oz bottles). Certainly a beer to share, but a cool gift idea or implement of holiday cheer at a party! If Lizardville is out, the store itself should suit your beer shopping needs anyway, as they sell a few hundred different beers there.

BEER GIFT IDEAS

Glassware: Every beer drinker likes a cool beer glass to drink out of, and these days it’s very easy to find some awesome glassware to suit anyone’s needs. I recommend having different glassware styles on hand to pair with the appropriate brew, and some people just like the cool or sophisticated look of an expensive glass. Maybe you just want to support a local brewer… there are many great reasons out there, and most glasses are relatively cheap, and are a functional and lasting gift. A few choice pieces:

  • Duvel

Duvel does a great job of providing awesome glassware to the world. The pictured tulip style glass can hold more than 12oz of beer with plenty of head space to spare. It’s an awesome way to focus the aroma of a Belgian style ale or your favorite pungent IPA. This time of year gift sets show up in many stores, seek them out. The “Parra” glass has quickly become very sought after, and offers the most unique artwork Duvel has to offer:

  • Lost Abbey


Their abbey-style tulip is one of the most jarringly impressive glasses out there. This can only be bought on site (in California) or online. With shipping a single glass costs roughly $12. Buy one before they run out (which happens often).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Founders

Recently their CBS beer (Canadian Breakfast Stout) caused quite a stir in the craft beer community when the much sought-after beer sold out in hours across the country. People waited in lines outside their local liquor stores just for a shot at buying a bottle. While the beer has all been sold, the brewery still has limited edition CBS snifters for sale. These sleek glasses will hold a sizable amount of your favorite brew, in my favorite fashion. Snifters really allow a beer to settle, open up aromatically, and focus all of the senses into a small area between the nose and the lips. At $8 this is a bargain. Sold on their website, along with a few other cool glasses to boot.

Finally, if you want something specific, just look for your favorite brewery’s website: most breweries offer a selection of pint glasses and other more unique pieces with their logo on it. The best option, where possible, is to gift not only the glass, but a beer to go with it. If you could give that special someone a bottle of CBS and its very own snifter that is a gift that would really stand out.

Gift sets:

I already showed you a Duvel gift set. These are convenient gift ideas that usually won’t break the wallet or force you to scour the city in search of multiple pieces of a gift that are not sold together. My one suggestion here: please look over the contents of the gift set. The thought may count for something, but no one wants to open a gift of beer, only to discover that it contains beers that the person doesn’t like. Some sets showcase many different styles by the brewery, and others contain 1, 2, or 4 bottles of the exact same beer. All of this should be taken into account.

The Trappist style brewers are known for their gift sets, and often have very fun glassware included, but more and more I am seeing American craft beer gift sets pop up during the holidays as well.

SEASONAL BEERS TO ENJOY OVER THE HOLIDAYS

Ohio Brewed:

  • Great Lakes Christmas Ale, Blackout Stout
  • Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs of Christmas
  • Hoppin’ Frog Frosted Frog Christmas Ale
  • Columbus Brewing Winter Warmer

Other terrific beer’s to seek out:

  • Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
  • Samuel Adams Black Lager
  • Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
  • Bells Expedition Stout, Hell Hath No Fury Ale
  • Dogfish Head Chicory Stout
  • Founders Breakfast Stout, Backwoods Bastard
  • Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean
  • Left Hand Fade to Black

Finally, if you’re so-inclined, many serious beer drinkers actually trade beer through UPS or FedEx with people on the other side of the country who get beer that doesn’t normally get sold in your home state. If you want to locate something with some serious oomph to it, I recommend these new and upcoming beer releases:

  • Firestone Walker 15th Anniversary Ale
  • Goose Island King Henry Barrel-Aged Barleywine
  • Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout
  • Pelican Mother of All Storms
  • Bruery Black Tuesday, Barrel-Aged Four Calling Birds

I could go on forever, so to shorten things up, please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or want more info on any of the suggestions I have made. Have fun shopping for beer this weekend. Stay safe, and try not to kill the idiot who’s going to steal that gift out of your hands at Walmart or Best Buy. Beer heals all.

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