2 Free VIP Tix – PBS39 Brewfest

Want to win 2 VIP Tickets to this Saturday’s 2nd Annual Microbrew Festival at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown?  Of course you do!  Valued at $100, these tickets will get you and a friend in an hour before everyone else (1pm), and provide you with 16oz commemorative pint glasses, a 4oz tasting mug, and tons of great beer over the 4 hours!

Just show us your best promotion of our newly launched Mobile Beer Finder – here’s the link:  http://m.gatewaybeers.com/#/

Your promotion can be a Facebook posting, Blog entry, listing on your website… heck, even a simple Tweet could do the trick!   Send your submission to info@gatewaybeers.com by Midnight Thursday.  Winner must be able to claim the tickets in the King of Prussia area on Friday.

Get to it!!!

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Super Beer Bowl

Football and beer … the two will forever be married.   And while the New York and New England regions have plenty of great local craft beer selections to choose from for the game, we decided to step it up a notch this year for our Super Bowl recommendations & rankings, and help you stay “local” (and “loyal”) to your team’s market this Sunday.

The Roster & Rankings

The general rules of thumb used below are that the top 3 breweries for each team have to be within an hour of the stadium (2 hours for the more rural areas), and they must be producing at least 10 varieties of beer each year. 

The Combined Rankings are done based on a combination of the football team’s record this year, and the breweries’ combined average beer ratings on Beer Advocate.  Let us know if we got it right for your favorite team/city!

Arizona Cardinals    Combined Ranking: 29

It’s stinkin’ HOT in Arizona, so you need a solid variety of good beer year-round.  While there’s not a ton of packaged/bottled selections from the following three, they sure have solid beer nonetheless… 

First Half:   Papago Brewing   Second Half:  Four Peaks Brewing Co.   (OT: SanTan Brewing Co.)

Atlanta Falcons   Combined Ranking: 6

Thanks to pioneering craft beer bars like Brick Store Pub, hot-lanta is quickly becoming a hot-bed of great craft beer, too!  Give some love to these 3…

First Half:  SweetWater Brewing Co.  Second Half:  Terrapin Beer  (OT: 5 Seasons Brewing Co.)

Baltimore Ravens   Combined Ranking: 11

Another burgeoning beer scene – from refined selections to big bruisers – proving that in Baltimore, it’s not just about the Defense anymore!

First Half:  Stillwater Artisinal Ales   Second Half: Flying Dog  (OT: Heavy Seas/Clipper City)

Buffalo Bills   Combined Ranking: 32

Home of the other football companion – the chicken wing -the Buffalo area doesn’t have household beer names, but they do bring some respectable choices… unfortunately, not strong enough to bring up the Combined Ranking out of the basement.

First Half:  Rohrbach Brewing Co.   Second Half: CB’s Brewing Co.  (OT: Flying Bison Brewing)

Carolina Panthers   Combined Ranking: 10

Central NC is tough, as most of the breweries in NC are spread wide across the state, but we’ve decided to go with the following “locals” …

First Half:  Foothills Brewing Co.   Second Half:  NoDa Brewing   (OT: The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery)

Chicago Beers Bears  Combined Ranking: 21

(believe it or not, that WAS an actual typo above)  With a long history of great pizza and great football comes the expectation of great beer…

First Half:  Goose Island   Second Half:  Half Acre   (OT: Revolution Brewing Co.)

Cincinnati Bengals   Combined Ranking: 18

Cincinnati’s football team AND beer scene both appear to be rising from the ashes – the former slightly faster than the latter, though …

First Half: Mt. Carmel Brewing Co.  Second Half: Christian Moerlein Brewing Co.   (OT: Columbus Brewing Co. ) 

Cleveland Browns   Combined Ranking: 27

The team may be lackluster, and the uniforms might be boring, but they sure do have some great beer in the Cleveland area…

First Half: Great Lakes Brewing Co.  Second Half: Fat Heads Brewery  (OT: Willoughby Brewing)

Dallas Cowboys  Combined Ranking: 30

Y’all might have a rich football tradition down there, but damn if it ain’t time to start makin’ some good beer.  At least there are a few good beer bars now who serve up the world’s best…

First Half:  Franconia Brewing Co.   Second Half:  Rahr & Sons Brewing Co.  (OT: Shiner/Spoetzl Brewery)

Denver Broncos  Combined Ranking: 13

The Broncos had a really nice run this year, as did these great breweries…  How long ’til someone makes a Tebow-inspired beer? (oh wait, no they di-ant!)

First Half:  Oskar Blues  Second Half: Avery Brewing Co.  (OT: Great Divide)

Detroit Lions   Combined Ranking: 14

Solid work by the Lions this year in making the playoffs at 10-6, and while most of the big MI brewers are far away from Detroit Rock City, these 3 are nothing to ignore…

First Half:  Jolly Pumpkin  Second Half: Kuhnhenn Brewing   (OT: Arbor Brewing Co. )

Green Bay Packers   Combined Ranking: 2

Tough finish for the Pack this year – at least you have Titletown and Hinterland to drown your sorrows and/or relive last year’s glory… a great team plus solid WI beer propels them to a #2 ranking this year!!

First Half: Titletown Brewing Co.  Second Half: Hinterland Brewery  (OT: Red Eye Brewing Co. )

Houston Texans   Combined Ranking: 9

So Houston beats Dallas this year in both football record and beer quality (but not necessarily quantity).  Respect the South Tex!  Now if only Austin would get a team…

First Half:  Southern Star Brewing Co.  Second Half: Saint Arnold Brewing Co.  (OT: Hmmm… there aren’t 3 that fit our easy qualifications???)

Indianapolis Colts   Combined Ranking: 16

While the football got sketchy this year without Peyton, at least Indy can proudly host the Super Bowl with one of the absolute BEST beer lineups in the country … 

First Half: Sun King   Second Half: Thr3e Wise Men  (OT: Brugge Brasserie) … p.s. this was the hardest city to pick just 3 from! 


Jacksonville Jaguars   Combined Ranking: 20

Some really nice looking brewpubs seem to be getting started in the Jacksonville area (much like Tampa below) … maybe that’ll take the fans’ minds off of the team’s 5-11 year?

First Half:  Swamp Head Brewery & Tasting Room  Second Half: Intuition Alewerks (OT: Seven Bridges Grille & Breweryeditor’s note: Brewer’s Pizza looks like they might be up from the practice squad for next year!


Kansas City Chiefs   Combined Ranking: 28

With such great BBQ and rabid football fans, it’s only fitting that KC have a solid beer scene, too… Just take the Boulevard to 23rd Street, and you’ll be in a Free State of mind.

First Half:  Boulevard Brewing  Second Half: Free State Brewing  (OT: 23rd Street Brewery )

Miami Dolphins   Combined Ranking: 23

Avoid the cheese-soaked, neon club scene, with their velvet ropes and $400 bottles of $40 booze.  This is football, man, so hit these places instead for your Super Bowl fix…

First Half:  Tequesta Brewing Co.  Second Half: The Funky Buddha  (OT: Titanic Brewing Co. )

Minnesota Vikings   Combined Ranking: 17

The Minneapolis area may be frozen over this time of year, but you have some truly phenomenal beer to distract you from the the cold, and the faltering franchise. 

First Half:  Surly Brewing Co.  Second Half: Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery (OT: Barley John’s Brew Pub )

New England Patriots   Combined Ranking: 1

Oh, how sweet it is these days to be a Boston/New England sports fan who enjoys craft beer… We are jealous of your #1 combined ranking this year.  (Jerks!)

First Half:  Cambridge Brewing  Second Half: Jack’s Abby  (OT: Pretty Things)

New Orleans Saints   Combined Ranking: 19

While the Saints sure have come a long way in recent years, it’s about time the LA beer scene caught up with them.  Only 1 brewery in the state w/more than 10 beers… Seriously?!?

First Half:  New Orleans Lager & Ale Brewing Co.  Second Half: Crescent City Brewhouse  (OT: Abita)

New York (football) Giants   Combined Ranking: 5

For the Giants, we chose the Western side of metro NYC, with North Jersey & West Chester county breweries to represent the beer.  Can this #5 underdog pull it off again??

First Half: Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.  Second Half: High Point/Ramstein  (OT: Climax Brewing)

New York J-e-t-s   Combined Ranking: 7

For the Jets, we chose the city and East side (Long Island) area breweries to represent their beer.  B-E-E-R, BEER-BEER-BEER!

First Half:  Southampton Publick House  Second Half: Sixpoint  (OT: Brooklyn Brewery)

Oakland Raiders   Combined Ranking:  26

Plenty of solid breweries around the Oakland/Berkeley area, which is pretty much how you can sum up this franchise’s history.

First Half: Jupiter  Second Half: Drake’s Brewing Co.  (OT: Triple Rock Brewery & Alehouse)

Philadelphia Eagles   Combined Ranking: 8

The Philly beer scene is large and in charge … too bad the Eagles came up small this year.  But then again, do Philly phans really expect anything more? 

First Half: Iron Hill Brewery  Second Half: Victory  (OT: Sly Fox)

Pittsburgh Steelers   Combined Ranking: 4

Looks like the Western side of the state beats the Eastern side in football and overall ranking this year, but Philly still has the edge in beer … even if just by a sud. 

First Half:  Rivertowne Pourhouse  Second Half: East End Brewing Co.  (OT: Voodoo Brewing Co. )

San Diego Chargers   Combined Ranking: 3

With world-class weather, world-class breweries, and year-round beaches, do you really need a world-class football team, too?   #Iwanttogotothere

First Half: AleSmith  Second Half:  The Lost Abbey  (OT: Stone Brewing Co. ) … it just feels wrong to not include Alpine, Ballast Point, Port Brewing, Green Flash… (sigh)


San Francisco 49ers   Combined Ranking: 15

What a year for the 49ers – combine that with an awesome beer scene in/around the city, and you’ll want to leave your heart there, too!

First Half: Speakeasy Ales & Lagers   Second Half:  Anchor Brewing Co.  (OT: Marin Brewing Co.)

Seattle Seahawks   Combined Ranking: 22

Can a Seahawk enjoy a Black Raven?  These and other questions can be explored at the TONS of great breweries scattered around the Seattle area… this list is simply a fraction:

First Half: Black Raven Brewing   Second Half: Big Time Brewery & Alehouse  (OT: Freemont Brewing )

St. Louis Rams   Combined Ranking: 31

There may be another brewery in St. Louis garnering all the attention this Super Bowl (a $1.2B contract w/the NFL will do that), but these guys actually spend their money on the BEER!  Here, we, go…

First Half:  Urban Chestnut  Second Half:  Schlafly Tap Room  (OT: Square One Brewery)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers   Combined Ranking: 12

The Bucs may have dropped the ball this year, but the Breweries delivered!  In a former wasteland of craft beer, these breweries are proving that the Tampa/St. Pete area is now a ‘stone-cold-lock’ for a craft beer destination…

First Half:  Cigar City  Second Half: Peg’s Cantina  (OT:  Saint Somewhere )

Tennessee Titans   Combined Ranking: 24

Music city acquired the Titans in ’98, a full 6 years after Bosco’s opened the first post-prohibition brewery in the state (there’s the answer to the chicken-and-egg question for TN).  Since then, there’s been some nice craft beer growth to satiate the more discerning Nashville crowd.

First Half: Bosco’s Restaurant & Brewing Co.  Second Half:  Yazoo Brewing Co.   (OT: Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery )

Washington Redskins   Combined Ranking: 25

Not a good year for the Skins, and the beer selection remains spotty (politicians are obviously drinking something stronger – duh).  Nice opportunity here for some enterprising homebrewers?

First Half: Williamsburg AleWerks  Second Half: Mad Fox Brewing Co.  (OT: DC Brau Brewing Co.)

So there it is folks, but for additional beer recommendations be sure to check out our Beer Selector …  We’d welcome your opinions on whether we got it right (who’d we miss?), and more importantly, what are YOU enjoying for this year’s Super Bowl?

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Double IPA

ImageAs select parts of the country eagerly await the release of Bell’s HopSlam, we thought it might be time we got around to doing a write-up on this relatively new – yet wildly popular – style of beer … the Imperial IPA / Double IPA. 

Brief History Lesson

The Imperial IPA is one of the newer styles of beer to be recognized by groups such as the Brewer’s Association and Beer Judge Certification Program.  The first generally recognized examples were all developed out West, as brewers such as Vinny Cilurzo of Blind Pig (now Russian River) began to push the envelope of their standard IPAs around 1994.  Rogue debuted their I2PA in 1996, and Stone joined the party with their first DIPA in 1998.  From there, it’s been a firestorm of production, as nearly every microbrewery in the United States seems to have at least one (although it’s already becoming anti-establishment-cool NOT to have one… go figure). 

What to Expect

Double IPAs are intensely hoppy and bitter – but with a robust malt backbone to hold it up and balance it out.  It should be fresh, clean, and relatively easily drinkable for a beer with a full mouthfeel and high ABV.   You may perceive everything from pine trees, to mango, pineapple, coconut, oranges, grapefruit, and even lemon peel.   A really good Double IPA should elicit a second look at the glass, raised eyebrows, and a “wow”.

Below is the Gateway Beers profile of the typical characteristics you can expect to find in a Double IPA…

Food Pairings

For food pairings, don’t be intimidated by the strong hoppy character – just stick with robust, flavorful combinations that won’t get drowned out.  For cheese, go with a sharp or aged, moldy cheese – Stilton comes to mind, as would just about any other blue cheese.  For a lunch, consider a Cuban sandwich for all of its strong flavors and mustard spice.  Pork would be our go-to meat of choice.  Grill up some marbled, thick-cut chops with a spicy peach chutney, and you’re golden.  For fish, most crawfish recipies would be great as well, as would spicy tuna rolls for the more discerning palate.  With chicken, you can keep it fairly simple with some spicey dry-rubbed wings… no better football watching companion than a plate of those with a good Double IPA.  Dessert gets a little trickier, but consider trying some carrot cake with thick icing, or even a crème brulée – the fattiness will hold its end of the bargain.   



As with many high gravity, flavorful beers, the Double IPA should be enjoyed at a warmer temperature than your Miller Lite… somewhere in the 45-55º range is usually best.   Many bars will serve the style in either a tulip glass or pint glass, but we like the snifter, too. 

Top Recommendations

There are a TON of DIPAs on the market now … as an example, Southeastern PA has access to over 120 varieties throughout a typical year – and that doesn’t even include the local brewpubs! 

While there’s always a lot of buzz over “the Plinys” (Russian River’s Pliny the Younger and Pliny the Elder) – and rightfully so – they are limited releases which are not generally available to the majority of the country.  So below are our Top 5 easier-to-find recommendations to look for …

Bell’s Hopslam, 10% ABV (Kalamazoo, MI) … only available late Jan. thru early Feb.

Stone Ruination, 7.7% ABV (Escondido, CA)

Dogfish Head 90 Minute, 9% (Milton, DE)

Weyerbacher Double Simcoe, 9% (Easton, PA)

Port Brewing Mongo, 8.5% ( San Marcos, CA)

For further recommendations and insight, check out the American Double / Imperial IPA page on the Gateway Beers website. 


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Imperial Stout

Welcome to Winter!  It’s about time to start seeking out the heartier, more robust flavors of Winter beers – and we can think of no style better suited for the season than the various versions of Imperial Stouts.

Imperial Stouts can be further categorized into other sub-categories such as Foreign/Export Stout, American Double/Imperial Stout, and Russian Imperial Stout, but for simplicity sake, we’re going to combine the latter two for the purposes of this posting.  

Brief History

The origins of the “impy stout” date back to the late 1700’s, as the brewers in London were exporting a healthy quantity of beer (especially Porters, and hoppy Pale Ales that would eventually come to be known as India Pale Ales) to the Baltic states and Russia.  By the late 18th century, especially strong Porters – some of which could reportedly be aged for 7 years – were being shipped to St. Petersburg, at the request of the Empress of Russia.  By the mid 1800’s, these strong Porters began to be referred to as ‘imperial brown stouts’, among other things, and hence the imperial stout moniker was first formed.  For a much more in-depth history lesson, check out this great article from Martyn Cornell’s Zythophile blog.

What To Expect

Imperial Stouts are some of the most complex and robust beers you can try.  They will have a rich, dark malt flavor that can span from a dark chocolate sweetness to roasted coffee bean bitterness, and most will have a caramel quality as well.  In many, you may notice a dark fruit quality like raisin or dried plums and prunes.  Russian Imperial Stouts will tend to have slightly ‘harsher’ attributes, such as the roasted-to-burnt malt qualities and more alcohol phenols, while the American Imperial Stouts tend to lean on the sweeter side of the equation, and in general, will have a more pronounced hop profile as well.   Both are big, burly beasts, and usually have an ABV of 9-12%.  Carbonation should be low-to-moderate, leaving a chewy, velvety texture, and a warming alcohol presence in the finish.

Below is the Gateway Beers profile of the typical characteristics you can expect to find in an Imperial Stout…

Food Pairings

In pairing up foods with beer, we generally lean toward complimentary (rather than contrasting) profiles, and that’s what we’ll do here as well.  Since impy stouts will be both sweet and bitter, and always full bodied, we’d suggest going that route with your food as well.  For cheeses, go with crumbly, blue-veined cheeses such as stilton, smoked blue, and gorgonzola.   With your dinner entree, you really want to go with a well marbled steak, possibly with a cream sauce.  Full-fat burgers work fine, too, especially when cooked on the grill – consider adding crumbled blue cheese and bacon for the ultimate burger buddy.   With dessert, you have a ton of options, from cheescake, to tiramisu, to plain old brownies with ice cream… preferably a coffee or chocolate chunk ice cream.



The Imperial Stout is best served with a little “warmth”, meaning not straight out of the refrigerator.  Serving at cellar temperatures will help accentuate all the nuances of this complex style, so enjoy yours in the 45-60 degree range.  For glassware, most bars will serve it in a tulip, but we prefer the snifter, or nonic-style pint glass.

Top Recommendations

There are SOOOO many great examples to choose from – it makes narrowing the list down to a Top 5 almost impossible… but we’ll give it a go with these:

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, 11.2%  (Grand Rapids, MI)

Dieu Du Ciel Péché Mortel, 9.5%  (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

AleSmith Speedway Stout, 12%  (San Diego, CA)

Stone Imperial Russian Stout, 10.5%  (Escondido, CA)

Port Brewing Older Viscosity, 12.1%  (San Marcos, CA)

These 5 are simply the tip of the perverbial impy stout iceberg, as there are dozens, no, hundreds to try.  We encourage your journey to begin by checking out our additional recommendations on our American Double / Imperial Stout page, and our Russian Imperial Stout page. 


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Step 1:  Learn how to pronounce this style.

Step 2:  Find a top quality beer store.

Step 3: Open your mind and palate, and enjoy one of the true Belgian gems that fall into this very artisinal style.

Starting with Step 1, there are a couple variations on the pronounciation, but just remember BOOZE, as “gooze” is one of the most common and easy ways to say this here in the US.  The other variation would be more true to the way it’s pronounced in Belgium, which sounds a bit like “huse” or “husah”.  As strange as that may seem, check it out here via the Babble Belt’s Belgian beer pronounciations.


So what is a Gueuze?  Essentially, it’s a blending of ‘old’ and ‘new’ lambics (1, 2, and 3 year old varieties) …  So what’s a lambic?  A sour/lactic, pale, wheat-based ale with wheat and barnyard characteristics, and no carbonation.   We’ll do another blog on straight/unblended lambics at another time (our Fruit Lambic post is here).  But back to the topic at hand…

The Gueuze style is a refreshing and brisk style of beer that’s perfect for the Summer months.  It will present with a moderately sour/acidic aroma that should carry plenty of farm-like qualities (think hay, horseblanket and goat … not pig crap).   Hop heads will likely be turned off by this one, as it has no hop presence.  The flavors should be a nice balance of the tart sour (think white grape skins) with wheat and malt, and possibly a touch of oak and/or honey sweetness.  The other distinguishing factor separating it from a lambic is the carbonation – there should be a high level present, in an otherwise similarly light yet tart mouthfeel.   Below is the Gateway Beers profile of the typical characteristics you can expect, on a 1-5 bar scale:

Food Pairings

The tart, lemon-like qualities of the Gueuze are very aptly suited to a ton of seafood pairings.  The style is a terrific start to a meal as an appetizer, as it’s not the least bit heavy, and pairs with plenty of lighter cheeses.  Mussels steamed in gueuze are very popular in Belgium (“moules frites” if you toss in some fries), and oysters will find a nice home with a gueuze as well.  And if you’ve ever had a good ceviche, you’ll understand that it will be a fine plate fellow.  Entrees should focus on the seafood side of the menu as well.   Lighter Mexican meals with lime, chilies, and avacado will be fantastic.  Fattier fish and bird dishes (salmon, bluefish, goose) are always good choices as well, as the effervescence and acidity will cut through well, and balance the meal.  Also consider spicy crab cakes.



The Gueuze is a distinctly artisanal style of beer, carefully handcrafted in the Senne Valley region of Belgium.  Given all the time and effort put into creating it, we suggest serving it properly… not too cold, and in a nice tulip or flute-style glass. 

Top Recommendations

This brings us to Step 2.  Find yourself a fine beer store in your area to pick up a couple varieties of gueuze to try.  If you’re lucky enough to be in the Philly area, may we recommend these take-out locations and distributors.   Below are some fine selections to start with:

Girardin Gueuze 1882, 5% ABV  (Dilbeek- St Ulriks Kapelle, Belgium)

Drie Fonteinen Oude Gueuze, 6% ABV  (Beersel, Belgium)

Cantillon Gueuze 100% Lambic, 5%  (Brussels, Belgium)

For additional selections, check out the Gueuze page from the Gateway Beers’ Beer Selector.  Now, you should be ready to take Step 3… let us know what you think!

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