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The Beer Friends write, review, and discuss Craft Beer as fans instead of experts.  They share their unique voice and affinity for craft beer through multiple platforms and offer a range of media to join their craft beer conversation.



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Filtering by Tag: amber ale

The Beer Friends Final Four: Round 2

Corporate Kerouac

An exciting round of voting yesterday to get us to the round of 16.  Brooklyn and Sixpoint were the big winners in the first round, both coming through with three wins.  The biggest upset was Troegs Hop Back Amber Ale over the Harpoon Celtic Ale.  Not so big but still significant was Sixpoint Sweet Action also over the slightly favored Magic Hat Vinyl, and the West came out strong and sent New Belgium Fat Tire on to the next round.  Ithaca Flower Power surged late but ultimately it was not enough to beat the lower seeded, but nationally popular Sierra Nevada Torpedo. Now, on to the second round.

No Surprises in the Stout/Porter Bracket despite Beer Friend Brad's best efforts. The Cinderella story stopped Dostal Alley Stout stopped before it had a chance to begin when it lost out to the heavily favored Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. Round 2 pits two New York favorites against each other in Game 1 and two rarer, but still well regarded, brews against each other in Game 2.

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The Wild Card Bracket brought us some surprises. Sixpoint Sweet Action had a strong showing against Magic Hat Vinyl to move on to the next round. Also, Bud Light Lime scored no points even though their coach had promised that they would be able to keep it close in hopes to be able to steal a tournament win.

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The IPA Bracket was the most fun to watch throughout the first round. Three of the four games were back and fourth late into the evening and into this morning. It's West coast versus East coast in both match ups today featuring Sixpoint against Stone and Brooklyn against Sierra Nevada.

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The R.A.B. Bracket holds true to its name today with one of each style moving on to the second round along with the surly underdog. Troegs Hop Back Amber takes its unorthodox approach into the round full of traditional styles.

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Beer Styles: Amber


With seemingly thousands of varieties of beer available – this Beer Friend started to ask what’s the difference between each?  The differences between a Stout and hefeweizen are obvious – but what about everything in between?  The Beer Friends decided to explore this and start defining beer styles and types, but also giving our two-cents about each type.  This Beer Friend starts with Amber Ale, which is my go-to beer at any bar. The Amber ale is a type of Pale Ale.  While Pale Ale will be described in a later post, I’ll give you the basics so we can tell how Amber Ale is different. Definitionally, pale ale is only pale in color compared to the typical porters that were common in England in the early days of brewing.  Pale Ale is typically a bitter beer with it’s more potent selection of hops, so much so that while breweries called it Pale, customers called it bitter.

Amber Ale is typically a beer with a coopery color, with more red than basic pale ale, but not enough brown coloring to be a brown ale.  The taste of a Amber can vary but still has a hoppy bitterness to it which defines it as a Amber ale – under the pale ale family of beers.  A good Amber, in this Beer Friends opinion, will have a excellent balance between the hops and malts to create a smooth taste.  If your looking for a spicy beer try an IPA -- no room for that in a Amber.

Two favorite Amber Ale’s of this Beer Friend are both from Colorado, New Belgium’s Fat Tire and Bristol Brewery’s Mass Transit.  While Fat Tire is one of the darlings of the Colorado craft beer scene, Mass Transit flies below the radar. Despite the lower profile, it is one of this Beer Friends’ top five beers and is -- sorry mom and dad -- the thing that brings him back to Colorado from time to time.

Look for future in-depth reviews of Fat Tire and Mass Transit.