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Summer Selections for 2015


It seems like every year, when late-April/early-May roll around, there is an influx of new brews that want to be the Summer Beer of Choice for the masses. They are looking to take down the annual stalwarts that are Bell’s Oberon and Summer Shandy from Leinenkugel. Those two beers are great choices on a hot summer day when the sun is at its daily peak in a cloudless sky, if you like them. I have been hearing a lot of disdain for these two beers recently, though. It started this year with Oberon. It seems like everyone wants to knock it down a few pegs. Why? My guess is that it has been popular for close to a decade now and people always want to see a champ dethroned. I gave up Summer Shandy a couple of years ago, in favor of my personal Shandy concoction (Labatt Blue Light and Simply Lemonade). As for Oberon, I am still a fan but I’m always looking for something new to try. With that being said, here are a few beers to keep an eye out for this summer if you want to try something new.
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The Beer That Made Me Write Again

It’s been almost a year and a half since I last wrote a post here at ExBEERience CLE. I’ve missed it. I’ve got a 17-month old daughter now, a job that keeps me busy AND happy, and very little time for much else. But tonight I cracked open a new arrival to the state of Ohio (or at least the Cleveland area) that made me say to myself “Self, write a freaking blog about this brew!” Yes, it was THAT good!

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Clown Shoes a Welcome Addition to Ohio

In my early travels with my current job, I got a chance to spend quite a bit of time in California. We all know that Cali is a hot bed of Craft Beer and they are pumping out a ton of good stuff. In addition to distributing mass amounts of quality Craft Beer, they are also some of the first to receive great beers from up and coming breweries. This was the case with one brewery that I encountered that wasn’t in Ohio until a couple of months ago. It was back in November and I was at the Yard House near Ontario, California when I first saw the name Clown Shoes. The name of the brewery alone had me intrigued. And when I saw the beer they were offering, a seasonal specialty, I knew I would soon be a Clown Shoes convert.
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Colette – My Daughter and My New Favorite Beer

On January 7th, 2014 my wife, Amanda, and I welcomed our first child into the world. Months ago, we decided that if we had a girl (we truly did not know what we were having) we would name her Colette Elizabeth. We wanted something unique for the first name and Elizabeth was the name of both of our great-grandmothers. About a month before Amanda gave birth, we were at the Woodstock Cafe in Vermilion, Ohio and they had a beer I had never seen before on their “Build Your Own Six Pack” wall. It was “Colette” from Great Divide Brewing Company. We looked at each other, laughed and thought “Well, we think we’re having a boy so let’s not waste our money buying a beer that won’t really have any meaning to us in a month. In hind sight, perhaps seeing that beer was a sign.
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Jared and Matthew Talk Cavs

I’m trying something a little new today as my friend Jared Donnelly (@jdonnelly32885 ) e-mailed each other back and forth a few times as we tried to figure out just what is wrong with the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s been 22 games and the team just hasn’t found a way to be competitive night in and night out. Jared has a very high basketball IQ and mine is, well, not as high as his, but we were both able to put forward some coherent thoughts about the team and here is what we came up with. Enjoy!
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The Rise (and Unfortunate Fall) of the Pumpkin Beer

Ever since last fall ended I was looking forward to this fall for one main reason: Pumpkin Beers.  Then, something strange and disturbing happened…in August.  That’s right.  Most of your top-notch pumpkin beers started hitting the shelves before the calendar even turned over to September.  I panicked and grabbed a couple of bottles of Southern Tier Pumking as the local liquor store here in Elyria was down to 4.  I immediately noticed that I could see through the bottle a little too easily.  I immediately had a bad feeling about this batch of Pumking.  The Unified Theory of Creep (borrowed from Gregg Easterbrook of ESPN’s Tuesday Morning Quarterback column) has started attacking the Craft Beer industry and it is not a good thing.
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Hockey and Beer: Breweries Near Your Favorite Team, Part 10

As the regular season comes to a close and the playoffs draw ever closer, it is time for me to FINALLY complete this series of blogs, showcasing the craft breweries and brewpubs that are in the same area as your favorite team. We’ve traveled all over North America and now we see the last three teams get their time at center ice. Make sure to go back and check out the other installments if you haven’t done so already and get ready to dive into three more breweries from the great Nation of Hockey!
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