Cincinnati’s Orchids at Palm Court receives top AAA award

The American Automobile Association (AAA) has awarded the prestigious Five-Diamond Award for 2016 to Orchids at Palm Court, Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza’s fine-dining restaurant. This is the second consecutive year the restaurant has received this rating.

“We are humbled to be one of just 64 restaurants in the U.S. to receive a Five-Diamond rating in 2016, especially as the only restaurant in Ohio to secure this honor,” Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Managing Director Matthew Coffey says. “Todd Kelly, executive chef and food and beverage director, and his team were working for the AAA Five-Diamond Award again as a strategic benchmark for 2016, which makes the accomplishment that much more rewarding for all of us here at the Netherland Plaza.”

Chef Kelly adds, “It’s just so incredible to be in the company of the best of the best in the country, and for our team here at the Netherland Plaza to receive this prestigious acknowledgement for the hard work we’re doing.”

AAA and its team of designated field inspectors evaluate thousands of lodging & dining establishments each year and assign an overall rating of one to five diamonds. Five-Diamond establishments are renowned for world-class experiences with cutting edge menus and unique food preparation by a highly acclaimed chef with a maître d’ leading an unobtrusive expert service staff. Only 0.3% of the 30,000 restaurants receive Five-Diamond. The rating will be indicated with the hotel and restaurant’s listings in the 2016-2017 AAA TourBook—a series of travel information guides published for AAA’s more than 55 million members.

Other accolades received by Orchids at Palm Court include:

  • OpenTable has named Orchids “One of the Top 100 Best Restaurants” for five consecutive years including 2014’s raking as No. 7 Best in the U.S.
  • Executive Chef Todd Kelly was named the American Culinary Federation’s U.S.A. Chef of the Year, the highest honor given by the national organization comprising 20,000 chefs
  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts No. 1 Food and Beverage Hotel in the U.S. for five of the last six years
  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts “Award of Excellence” winner – given to the top five performing hotels, 2015
  • Forbes rated Orchids at Palm Court “Four Stars” for 2013, 2014 and 2015

New Belgium’s Hop Tart an easy drinking summer sour

New Belgium Brewing celebrates summer with a sessionable, fruity spin on the typical American sour. Hop Tart is New Belgium’s latest Hop Kitchen offering, blending Belgian Pale Malt from the Colorado Malting Company, with tart lactobacillus and fruity hops. The result is a refreshing, easy drinker, perfect for fun in the sun. The beer is available on draft only in New Belgium markets.

Hop Tart’s lactobacillus offers just the slightest hint of sour that propels bursts of passion fruit, guava and pineapple, courtesy of hefty Nelson Sauvin, Galaxy and Experimental Hop 522 dry-hopping.

“We developed Hop Tart based on our Snapshot brewing process, which is a unique way of souring wort,” said Matty Gilliland (aka Matty Smooth), brewing process analyst at New Belgium Brewing. “It runs in the same vein as some of our recent, popular sours, like Le Terroir and Ted’s Beer, a hoppy Berlinerweiss. The combination of tartness and hops is a clear winner, so we know our sour fans will love Hop Tart!”

At five percent ABV and 30 IBUs, Hop Tart offers a hoppy easy drinker. It’s available now through July. Pricing varies by location.

To find Hop Tart near you, use the New Belgium Libation Location tool: NewBelgium.com/Beer/Finder.

If you want to learn more about how New Belgium ‘sours’ their beers, they’ve kindly provided a couple of videos:

And, last but not least, learn why beers like Hop Tart are soured in stainless while other sours from New Belgium get the wood treatment:

For more information about New Belgium Brewing, visit NewBelgium.com. You can also follow New Belgium on Facebook atFacebook.com/NewBelgium.com and Twitter @NewBelgium.

New Belgium Brewing adds Slow Ride Session IPA to year-round line

New Belgium Brewing knows kicking back and relaxing with a session beer is about as good as it gets and the brewery’s new year-round release, Slow Ride Session IPA, offers the perfect easygoing companion. This IPA satisfies any hop lover’s craving while coming in at a sessionable 4.5 percent ABV and 40 IBUs. Slow Ride is available in bottles and on draft across New Belgium markets and it will debut in cans this March.

Slow Ride starts with a pour of sheened gold and white, fluffy foam. A blend of eight hop varieties twist together fruity scents of lemon, peach, lime and grapefruit for a tropical aroma. Target, Cascade, Nelson Sauvin and Centennial hops are added to the boil and Mosaic, Simcoe, Amarillo and Citra are featured in the dry hop process. Pale and caramel malts balance a sweet, yet clean, start with a hoppy bitterness in the back.

“The fun part about making this beer was balancing eight different hop strains into something smooth, bold and sessionable,” said New Belgium Assistant Brewmaster, Grady Hull. “We pitch Cascade, Target, Nelson Sauvin and Centennial hops in the kettle and we dry hop with Mosaic, Simcoe, Amarillo and Citra. It’s amazingly flavorful, and it still comes in at 4.5% abv.”

To encourage people to slow it all down, starting in February, New Belgium will celebrate Slow Ride by highlighting slow motion antics of its faithful beer fans. Those who submit videos of their IPA adventures in slow motion via Twitter, Vine, Instagram and Facebook using #GoSlowMo will have a chance to win New Belgium swag and ultimate bragging rights. Don’t have slow motion camera capabilities? Don’t worry, go ahead and act it out. Fans can also win prizes signing up for New Belgium’s Grand Cru Rewards program at NewBelgium.com/GrandCru. For more Slow Mo fun, check out promos and events using New Belgium’s Beer Mode app.

To find New Belgium beers near you, use the New Belgium Libation Location tool: http://find.beer. Pricing varies by location.

For more information about New Belgium Brewing, visit www.newbelgium.com. You can also follow New Belgium on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/newbelgium and Twitter @NewBelgium.

New Belgium’s Portage Porter celebrates Spring runoff

The snowfall from winter leads to great runoff in spring and New Belgium Brewing’s spring seasonal, Portage Porter, celebrates the melting off and returning to the water. The snowmelt can create intense rapids that cause thrill seekers to portage their boats, especially along the rocky banks of the Cache la Poudre river, the local source of water and fun that runs by New Belgium. To honor these water warriors who anxiously await the spring, New Belgium’s Portage Porter is coming out ahead of the warm weather, and is available now through March 2015.

 

At six percent ABV and 24 IBUs, this beer is a perfect bridge style for the spring season. Portage Porter takes the buoyant aromas of roasted coffee, chocolate and almonds, and steers them toward a silky-smooth mouthfeel, rolling one sip into another. This American porter rings true to traditional style expectations, with a New Belgium twist. Added American-style hops further the original rich, roasty complexity while keeping the hop bitterness in balance. The beer pours an opaque brown, has an upfront sweetness and a creamy medium body that is easy drinking and refreshing. It features Pale, Munich, Black and Chocolate malts, along with Target and Nugget hops.

“With New Belgium Brewing so close to the Cache la Poudre river, there’s a lot of us at the brewery that love to kayak and paddle,” said New Belgium’s Collaboration Business Analyst, Tye Eyden. “This time of year is great because the snowmelt begins and the rivers start to rise. But, often times, that will bring precarious conditions and rapids that we might have to portage around. Portage Porter pays tribute to that awesome experience – the obstacles are part of the fun!”

Portage Porter is available in 12 oz. bottles. Pricing varies by location.

To find New Belgium beers near you, use the New Belgium Libation Location tool: www.newbelgium.com/beer/locator.aspx.

For more information about New Belgium Brewing, visit www.newbelgium.com. You can also follow New Belgium on Facebook at www.facebook.com/newbelgium and Twitter @NewBelgium.

New Belgium’s Wintertime Favorites Return

With the first snowfall already arriving for some, it’s starting to feel more and more like winter, which means the return of beloved cold-weather favorites from New Belgium Brewing. Accumulation White IPA and 2° Below Winter Ale can be found on shelves now, with Frambozen arriving November 11. This year marks Frambozen’s twenty-first birthday. Frambozen is one of the few New Belgium special release beers to return every year and Accumulation and 2° Below are joining the ranks as festive favorites.

Accumulation White IPA is all about the hops and the wheat. This beer pours an unfiltered white-gold tone as a snowy head drifts atop. Mosaic and Amarillo hops offer an unmistakable tropical aroma. This white IPA is a counterpunch to the traditional practice of brewing dark beers for winter and offers hops that create a nice, bitter balance against soft peach and citrus flavors. Accumulation drinks like a proper American-style IPA, despite its wheat beer appearance and creamy, refreshing notes. Accumulation is available now through January 2015 and comes in at 6.2 percent ABV and 55 IBUs.

Illustrating New Belgium’s love for Belgium-style brewing, 2° Below Winter Ale brings a bright, warming blast of Sterling and Liberty hops with tawny-roasted malts making it the perfect beer after a long day on the slopes. This beer is dry-hopped during fermentation, creating a rosy, floral nose with a hint of pepper spice and estery undertones. Pushing the beer into a final, nearly freezing state brings out a brilliant clarity in the pour. 2° Below is 6.6 percent ABV and 33 IBUs, and available now through January 2015.

Frambozen_12oz_Bottle

For Frambozen, the brewery’s unique Raspberry Brown Ale, it’s a milestone year as the beer turns 21. Named after the Flemish word for raspberries, Frambozen pops with fresh, tart and fruity complexity, backed by nutty, chocolate and caramel malts. New Belgium takes great care in its raspberry selection for this beer – per tradition, the brewery sends delegates to the Pacific Northwest to select freshly picked berries, which then become pure juice that is used during the fermentation stage. Frambozen is 6.5 percent ABV. It is available from November 11 to January 2015.

To find New Belgium beers near you, use the New Belgium Libation Location tool: http://www.newbelgium.com/beer/locator.aspx. Pricing varies by location. For a look at New Belgium’s year-round portfolio, visit http://www.newbelgium.com/Beer/year-round.aspx.

Brewery Ommegang announces Three-Eyed Raven, fifth installment in Game of Thrones series

On the HBO series Game of Thrones, things are often not what they seem. There may be no better example than the three-eyed raven – which in Bran Stark’s dreams and visions is a bird. But as Bran discovers in the season four finale, the raven is actually a mysterious old man whose body is fused with the roots of a weirwood tree beyond the wall. Just like the mythical creature, the next beer in the Game of Thrones series from Brewery Ommegang is not exactly what it appears to be. Three-Eyed Raven Dark Saison Ale is a saison, but it’s also a dark ale. And it will be available spring 2015 when Game of Thrones returns for its fifth season.

Three-Eyed Raven is the fifth beer in the partnership between HBO and Brewery Ommegang. Like its predecessors, the beer is inspired by themes and plot points from the award-winning HBO series. As season four wound down, the storyline of Bran and the three-eyed raven reached a shocking climax that portends dark and momentous events in store for the people of Westeros. A dark take on the classic saison style seemed most appropriate for the latest beer.

“A dark saison is a style that we’ve been intrigued with for a while now and one that’s open to a broader stylistic interpretation,” said Mike McManus, Brewery Ommegang’s Innovation Manager. “When we zeroed in on Bran’s storyline with HBO, we knew this was the perfect opportunity to brew something with many different characteristics and attributes – a beer that’s not truly one thing or another. It is definitely the most unique beer in the series to date, which is very exciting.”

“Going into season five, Game of Thrones is bigger than ever, and we’ve learned very quickly over the past four beer releases that fans of this show are thirsty for Ommegang’s innovative and carefully conceived brews,” said Josh Goodstadt, Vice President of Global Licensing at HBO. “We’re certain those fans will be just as surprised by the complexity of Three-Eyed Raven as they were by Bran’s discovery at the end of season four.”

Three-Eyed Raven is brewed with a carefully crafted mixture of specialty malts, including malted rye, midnight wheat (provides depth of color but not the roasty flavor of a dark beer), and dark candi sugar. It’s hopped with Hallertau Spalt Select, Tettnang, and Bravo hops, which give the beer a spicy, fruity character. A fair amount of late-addition hops are added for character. Three-Eyed Raven is fermented and bottle-conditioned with Ommegang’s signature house yeast.

Saison qualities dominate Three-Eyed Raven with fruity esters, clean floral hops aromas, a light malt character with just a hint of roast and a pleasant yeastiness in the taste, and a crisp finish with lingering herbal hops and dry rye notes. The label art, which features the three-eyed raven, was created using an actual concept design illustration from the series.

Previous beers in the highly successful collaboration include: Valar Morghulis Dubbel Ale (available now), Fire and Blood Red Ale (spring 2014), Take the Black Stout (fall 2013), and Iron Throne Blonde Ale (spring 2013.) The first three beers in the series completely sold out and Valar Morghulis is well on its way, despite being brewed at nearly 4x the volume of Iron Throne.

Three-Eyed Raven will be available nationally this spring (exact launch date still TBC) in time for the season five premiere of Game of Thrones. The 7.2% ABV ale will be available on draft (sixth-barrels) and in corked bottles (25.4 ounces). The recommended retail price is $9.50 per bottle.

Oskar Blues CAN’d Aid Foundation Raises $1m in First Year

After just its first year in operation, the Oskar Blues CAN’d Aid Foundation has raised a million dollars that aided victims of the severe flooding that struck Colorado’s Front Range in September 2013.

Although the Foundation’s initial focus in the first year was maximizing fundraising efforts for flood victims, it also developed national partnerships in a variety of focus areas, including outdoor recreation, arts and music, and environmental sustainability.

Lyons, ColoRADo, is still home to the original Oskar Blues Grill & Brew. When Oskar Blues Soul Founder Dale Katechis learned of other local businesses that suffered damage, some so severely that they were in jeopardy of closing their doors permanently, he jumped into action. Starting with a personal donation of $150,000, Dale reached out to the craft brewing industry and fans of Oskar Blues, and issued a matching challenge through the end of 2013. In just three months, CAN’d Aid raised and distributed $515,000 for flood relief and recovery efforts, directly assisting 235 families, 65 businesses and five organizations.

While CAN’d Aid continues to work directly with the Town of Lyons to support flood-related projects, the Foundation’s focus has expanded to include the original concepts that Dale had in mind pre-flood.

The Foundation focuses on “Grassroots Grants”–a concept that celebrates the little guy with a big idea. By incorporating specific program areas, Tunes (music, arts & culture); Towns (disaster relief); Treads & Trails (outdoor pursuits/health & wellness); Love Yer Mama (sustainability & recycling); and throwing in a wild card, Total CANarchy (anything goes). One year after its launch, CAN’d Aid Foundation has emerged as a funky, unique and utterly atypical nonprofit organization.

“As our official transportation sponsor, CAN’d Aid makes it possible every day for 160 kids and teens from all over our county to travel to our Club by bus. The funds enabled us to expand our bus fleet, allowing kids faster and safer access to our programs, including outdoor excursions focusing on healthy and fit lifestyles, community service opportunities, and arts & music instruction,” says Jackie Witherspoon of the Cindy Platt Boys & Girls Club of Transylvania County.

“Love Yer Mama” offers recycling-specific grants to groups interested in starting sustainable recycling programs and incorporates education about the benefits of aluminum packaging over glass or plastic. A national recycling initiative, which the foundation kicked off in June with help from The Alcoa Foundation, Ball Foundation and Novelis, is gaining momentum and will soon incorporate OB-centric recycling hubs in both Longmont, CO, and Brevard, NC.

In addition to the $700,000 CAN’d Aid has given for ColoRADo flood recovery efforts, an additional $150,000 has gone toward grassroots community projects all over the U.S. Oskar Blues Brewery matches every dollar raised by CAN’d Aid, and people are starting to notice. ColoRADo Governor John Hickenlooper has repeatedly applauded the Foundation’s work and recently cited CAN’d Aid as being instrumental in helping Lyons rebuild. Boulder-based eTown, a nationally syndicated radio program, recently awarded Dale and the Foundation their E-chievement award for giving back and having a tremendous impact in that community. (To hear Katechis’ video interview with e-Town hosts Nick & Helen Forster, visit www.etown.org). The Colorado Rockies Baseball Club and Rockies Foundation have also supported CAN’d Aid generously, and Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer recently named CAN’d Aid as his charity of choice, resulting in a $7500 gift from Chevrolet through his Roberto Clemente Award nomination.

As CAN’d Aid enters year two, there is no sign of slowing down. Big focus areas will include partnering with nationally touring bands to fund “TUNES” programs and working with groups like Grassroots Outdoor Alliance and bike-centric companies to increase funding for “TREADS & TRAILS” programs.

For more information about the Oskar Blues CAN’d Aid Foundation, to make a donation or to get involved, visit www.foundation.oskarblues.com.

No Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA for Ohio. Sob.

Non-Ohio hopheads rejoice! Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA is on the delivery truck and heading for taps and shelves near you.

Lovers of the hoppy brew in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, California, Florida, Texas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Indiana, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. should be seeing it soon.  (Tennessee is still waiting on approval).

Unfortunately, for those of us in Ohio (and Georgia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Vermont and South Carolina), 120 Minute IPA is over our alcohol cap. Time for a road trip to Indiana or Kentucky!

To find retailers near you where 120 Minute IPA has been delivered, check the Fish Finder!

Ten Fidy Imperial Stout now available nationwide

ten-fidyThe 2014 limited release of Oskar Blues Brewery’s award-winning seasonal, Ten FIDY Imperial Stout, hits all 35 states where Oskar Blues is sold in September, inspiring dark beer lovers to go cross-eyed.

This titanic, immensely viscous stout is loaded with inimitable flavors of chocolate-covered caramel and coffee and hides a hefty 65 IBUs underneath its smooth blanket of malt. Ten FIDY (10.5% ABV) is made with enormous amounts of two-row malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, flaked oats and hops.

The name of this boundary-stretching beer has multiple meanings–it is what you think, and it isn’t–at the same time.

The CANcupiscent seasonal, which has bulldozed beer lovers everywhere, will be available at your favorite watering holes and retailers and restaurants starting in September. Find it if you CAN.

Following the successful release of Oskar Blues spring seasonal, GUBNA, the FIDY will be available until February 2015 (or until it sells out). Need a holiday gift or a special something to take to that holiday party? Robustly-appealing Ten FIDY could be your answer.

Ten FIDY has been showered with accolades that almost stand up to the size of this behemoth-in-a-can, including:

  • “The biggest, baddest, boldest beer in a can” Celebrator Beer News
  • “2008 Beer of the Year” The Denver Post
  • “100 Rating” Ratebeer.com
  • “A-Rating” Beeradvocate.com
  • Gold Medal – 2010 and 2012 World Beer Championships
  • “Top 51 Beers” 2011 Beer Magazine

Ten FIDY is an unyielding, pertinacious beer that requires monster strength to make. This brew is constructed with colossal amounts of two-row malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, flaked oats and hops. Ten FIDY’s nearly 5000-pound grain bill is just short of 50 percent specialty malts, which are packaged in 55-pound bags and loaded into the mills by hand. The tremendous bags of oats are poured directly into the mash tuns. The oats and rice hulls must be lugged up 20-odd stairs to the top of the brew decks.

Like all of Oskar Blues’ beers, Ten FIDY is brewed at both their ColoRADo and North Carolina breweries and shipped fresh to nearby states. Don’t worry, though, this stout cellars well–recent release parties at both brewery tap rooms offered up 2012, 2013 and 2014 FIDY vintages to clamoring stout enthusiasts.

“Brewing Ten FIDY is unlike any of the other beers we make. We have to mash-in two batches just to get one kettle filled because we only take the most concentrated wort from each mash. It’s a labor intensive process, but this is part of how we make Ten FIDY so unique, rich, and complex,” says Oskar Blues NC Brewery Manager Noah Tuttle.

Ten FIDY is packaged in 12-ounce CANS and sold in 4-pack carriers, as well as on draft at craft beer retailers, growler fill shops, restaurant, bars and more.