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Stocked holiday liquor cabinet

Holiday Liquor Cabinet: How to Properly Stock

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’Tis the season yet again, and as we prepare to gather and make merry, let’s be sure not to skimp on the holiday liquor. Knowing what to have on standby is crucial to creating the perfect drink.

 

A well-stocked home-for-the-holidays offers drink selections that are both diverse and accessible, with a mix of classic crowd-pleasers and exceptional choices to prominently feature holiday and deep-autumn flavors.

 

The Holiday Liquor Cabinet

 

A liquor cabinet that can hold up through Thanksgiving and well into the New Year is important. Nobody wants to break their holiday groove to make an emergency run to the liquor store in their Christmas pajamas. So, make sure you have the following liquors available for guests at a minimum.

 

  • Rum—Try a spiced rum for warm wintertime vibes. You can’t go wrong with Captain Morgan or Sailor Jerry’s. Mixes well with nog and in hot mixed drinks.

 

  • Whiskey—Make sure you have something on hand for the whiskey connoisseurs at your holiday gathering. Irish whiskeys and bourbons can both hearken back to the memories of a traditional country Christmas. Try exploring offerings from Jameson or Knob Creek.

 

  • Vodka—a simple, clean vodka is a must-have for guests who want mixed drinks. It’s the most versatile and adaptable of the liquors. Try Svedka or Smirnoff, both of which also offer flavor-infused vodkas that might spark your holiday creativity.

 

  • Peppermint Schnapps—for those candy-cane-themed mixers or shooters, of course. Try spiking your hot cocoa.

 

  • Brandy—Brandy is another drink that can go well with egg nog, but it’s also a favorite for just sipping around the fire. Rémy Martin XO is a staple, but in some households, it’s a Christmas tradition to acquire a bottle of Spanish Brandy, or Brandy de Jerez, which owes its unique qualities to being derived from Spanish sherry.

 

Hearty Winter Beers

 

It’s not all about liquor. The beer-drinkers at your holiday festivities also deserve consideration. Stock up on a crowd favorite like Budweiser, with their annual holiday-themed cans, but think outside the gift box as well.

 

There is no shortage of craft brewers putting out seasonal brews each year. Try to have choices in at least three categories. Grab a lager, an ale, and round out the offerings with a porter or stout because you’ll want to have something hearty and dark on hand this time of year.

 

  • Bell’s Brewery—Christmas Ale
  • Tröegs Brewing—Mad Elf
  • Revolution Brewing—Fistmas
  • Sierra Nevada—Celebration Ale
  • Samuel Adams—Winter Lager
  • Leinenkugel’s—Snowdrift Vanilla Porter

 

Mull-Worthy Wines

 

Mulling wine is a fun and easy way to add some warmth and holiday spice to your celebration. You simply simmer a dark wine at low heat and add cinnamon sticks, cloves, oranges, and whatever other herbs or spices you like, infusing it with that magical Christmastime flavor. Don’t boil it. Set your heat too high, and you’re likely to burn away alcohol content.

 

  • Merlot
  • Zinfandel (not white)
  • Garnacha/Grenache

 

Mixers and N/A

 

Don’t forget your nog, sparkling juice, ginger ale, and cola. Head to your nearest Payless Liquors and stock up on holiday cheer.

Gameday drinks

Gameday Drinks: End Zone Dance-Worthy Beverages

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Football and beer are no strangers to one another. Americans have cherished the tradition of cracking a brew for the big game for as long as football has been around. However, there are also football enthusiasts with more refined beverage tastes, those who prefer shots over beers. And don’t forget the fans who reach for something non-alcoholic when suffering dry mouth from watching their team set up for a fourth-down goal-line stand. If you’re hosting a tailgate party or having friends over to watch the game, you’ll want a variety of gameday drinks on hand.

 

With this year’s football season already underway and the winners beginning to separate themselves from the teams experiencing yet another “rebuilding year,” only one question remains: What’s there to drink?

 

Bud Light NFL Team Cans

 

Bud Light’s popular team cans are back in 2021, and now glass bottles are also available with team designs. This year’s sleek redesign features team slogans, rallying cries, and hashtags and still allows you to represent your team’s logo while quenching your thirst.

 

Some of the war cries include “Mile High Salute” for the Broncos can and “Geaux Saints” for the New Orleans team.

 

The designs are available for most teams, but not all. For example, the Packers, Bears, and Vikings all have their own beer deals elsewhere, leaving the NFC North almost entirely left out.

 

In a tailgate setting, beer also works great as a marinade for grilled chicken or a medium for boiling up extra juicy brats and hot dogs.

 

Other Available Gameday Beer Options

 

Try adding in some fall flavors if you want to go beyond the predictable cooler full of light beer. Oktoberfest brews, newly released spicy seasonals, hearty dark beers are all good options for offering variety.

 

  • Elysian – Great Pumpkin
  • New Belgium – Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin
  • Harpoon – Flannel Friday
  • Founders Brewing – Oktoberfest

 

NFL Spirits Partner

 

The first-ever official NFL spirits sponsor will be Diageo. Unfortunately, we have to wait for the 2022 season for this exciting partnership to kick off, but meanwhile, let’s take a look at some of the beloved Diageo brands that might be participating in next year’s football promotions.

 

  • Smirnoff Vodka
  • Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey
  • Captain Morgan Spiced Rum

 

That’s a starting lineup to make any playoff team jealous!

 

Team Spirit Shooter Tray

 

Do you have friends coming over who prefer shots to beer? If you want to get fancy, you can try to recreate your team’s logo using shots! Try serving touchdown celebration shots in a color-coordinated array for variety and team spirit. Add the perfect touch to your gameday drinks!

 

Liquors and liqueurs that feature standard team colors and work equally well for mixing and straight-shooting include:

  • Cherry Dr. McGillicuddy’s—red
  • Sloe gin—dark red (can vary)
  • Orange Curaçao—orange
  • Limoncello—yellow (can vary)
  • Midori Melon Liqueur—green
  • Hpnotiq—bright blue
  • Blue Curaçao—blue
  • Bailey’s Irish Cream—off-white

 

Explore fruity flavored liqueurs for additional options.

 

Whatever the final score turns out to be, your tailgate or game-watching festivities will be a championship-caliber success after a trip to your nearest Payless Liquors location.

 

pumpkin beers

Top 10 Pumpkin Beers

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In the fall, pumpkin beers are a go-to choice for many beer drinkers. The sweet and nutty flavors of these beers provide a perfect way to get out of the sunshine and into the cooler weather that is just around the corner. In light of this, we’ve compiled a list of some popular pumpkin beers to help you decide which one will be your new favorite! 

Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale

Pumpkin is the favorite flavor of all time, and this seasonal release tastes as good as it smells. This beer has a rich body orange color with a liquid caramel nose, reminiscent of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving morning – before anyone had to go back to work. Taste this nostalgia-inducing brew today!

Samuel Adams 20 Pounds of Pumpkin

Made from a pile of pumpkin, some malted barley and the pure spirit of Samuel Adams for true happiness. Allowing you to drink your beer like your ancestors drank theirs (we’re assuming they took their ale in through the nose). Drink it alone or with friends, but be careful because sometimes these things can get worse before better.

Dogfish Head Pumpkin Ale

There are few things better than pumpkin pie, except for this. Dogfish Head has combined all of the spice you love about Thanksgiving dinner with a rich brown ale to create something wickedly delicious. It’s brewed not-too-spicy, but crispy with plenty of warmth from molasses and brown sugar flavor—or as we like to think: it’s everything you and your taste buds need together in one perfect drinkable package. So this season say “yes” to fall and enjoy the flavor explosion that is our Pumpkin Ale.

Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin

Get your pumpkin fix with a twist. Shipyard has been around for over 100 years and there’s no denying that the New England brewers have perfected their versions of America’s favorite seasonal beers. But who could ever get tired of pumpkin beer, even if it is nearly October? Don’t try to tempt fate because this one is expertly crafted right down to its 9% ABV so you can enjoy every last drop.

Elysian Punkuccino

We tried Elysian Punkuccino craft beer and we loved it so much. We’ve never tasted anything like this before! It’s got just the right amount of sweetness, mixed with a wonderfully subtle pumpkin spice flavor that makes for an excellent change in pace from regular coffee. Plus, even when you’re drinking it over ice, you don’t have to worry about getting warmed up or feeling sleepy – because at 9% alcohol by volume (ABV), Elysian Punkuccino is one little can of happiness that’s perfect for 3 o’clock in the afternoon!

We hope that this list has helped you decide on your new favorite pumpkin beer! If not, come by our store and we can help you find the perfect one for any occasion. Looking forward to seeing you soon!

The Top 4 IPAs of 2021

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Recently, the popularity of IPAs has grown immensely. Known for their high content of hops, IPAs often have a more bitter taste to them than your average lager, for example. IPAs can come in a variety of different flavors and styles. These styles of IPAs are characterized by regions, which is why you might see terms such as New England styles or West Coast IPAs. Every IPA is craft    with an individual formula of hops, malts, grains, and fruits, to create the special flavors that we all know and love.

Ultimately, every IPA is unique in its flavor. That’s why we decided to compile a list of the top IPAs of 2021.

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

Dogfish Head are brewers that love their IPAs, as they have produced multiple delicious, different varieties. This beer in particular, the 60 minute IPA, has an ABV of about 6%. It is an outstandingly bold, crisp beer that reviewers say carries an ‘explosion’ of flavor and crispness. Because of this, Dogfish Head and their 60 minute IPA are at the top of our list.

Stone IPA

This well-respected IPA is popular across the country—and for good reason. With its high hops content, piney flavors, and notes of citrus, this IPA is full of delicious flavors. The Stone IPA contains subtle hints of malt to balance out its flavors, creating a beer that almost anyone would want to drink after a long day in the sun. This IPA also rings in with a higher alcohol percentage of 6.9%.

Founders All Day IPA

Founders All Day IPA made it onto our list of top IPAs this year for a few reasons. Not only is this beer pretty easy to find, but it won’t break your bank either. This IPA is full of citrus notes and goes perfectly with long summer days with friends. With an alcohol percentage of about 5%, the All Day IPA makes for a great, light beer to drink without feeling too weighed down if you want a few.

Bell’s Two Hearted Ale

Named after the Two Hearted River in Michigan, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale is one of the most popular IPAs across the country. Full of hops, citrus, malts, and delicate hints of fruit, this IPA is delicious no matter the time of year. It’s also a great start for people that are just diving into the world of IPAs. This beer pairs great with summer barbeques and days out on the lake, and its ABV rings in at 7%, meaning that you’re in for a good time.

Finding Your Favorite New IPA

IPAs show off the skills of the breweries that create them by combining ingredients like malts, hops, barley, and more to create unique beers with complex flavor profiles. As IPAs become more and more popular, more and more new styles are being worked on by breweries everywhere.

Whether you’re interested in trying a new IPA or you want to stock up on an old favorite, you can find what you’re looking for at Payless Liquors. With our vast collection of IPAs and many other styles, you’re bound to find something new to love. Check out our full beer selection over on our website!

Winter Beer

5 Great Cold Weather Winter Beer Styles to Try

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With the fall season passing, it’s time to bring in winter beer. With the popularity of craft beers and the competition for unique flavor profiles, many breweries have developed holiday beers with a strong seasonal component. Even traditional mass-production breweries have gotten on the bandwagon. These unique beers gain attention from beer lovers around the country. The fall season is almost over as Thanksgiving passes, but the winter season is close at hand, and that means winter-weather brews to please nearly any palate. If you haven’t tried these types of beer, give them a chance this winter. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

1. Barrel-Aged Beers

The big steel tanks that you see at most microbreweries are the cauldrons they create their concoctions in, but if you want a truly unique taste, try one of these beers aged in wooden barrels. This process is usually done with stronger-flavored beers that can stand up to the notes of applewood, oak, and hickory that are imparted on the brew by the barrel itself. These beers are popular in the winter because they also have notes of bourbon, vanilla, and caramel.

2. Porters and Stouts

These beers can be looked at as cousins, as they are both dark, heavy brews with a full, roasted flavor. There are many varieties to choose from, and everyone has a favorite. The beers naturally tend to have coffee and chocolate notes, so winter is a popular time for brewers to add these ingredients to the brew for a heavier flavor that is perfect for the season.

3. Imperial

Imperials will keep you warm in the winter months with their high alcohol content, but be sure not to have too many, unless you plan to hibernate the next day. Russian Imperial Stouts are popular choices, and they offer a malty, dark fruit flavor profile that goes great with chocolate.

4. Bocks and Doppelbocks

Bocks are a type of beer that has been documented back to the medieval days. However, many believe they were made long before that. Doppelbocks are enhanced by a fuller body, malty flavors, and a higher alcohol content than a standard bock known for the smooth taste that it derives from being bottom-fermented for an extended period of cold storage.

5. Winter Warmers

These ales are sweet and malty, with a nice balance of hops. Some brewers make them with a bit of spice that is perfect on cold winter nights. Do you know the carol “Here We Go a’ Wassailing,” but never knew what that last word meant? Wassail beers are usually a type of winter warmer. So, now you know what to drink before you head out caroling with the church choir!

Even if you are a creature of habit, it’s a great idea to go out on a limb and try a different variety of beer occasionally. You may find a new favorite that you would never have expected. Payless Liquors has a vast selection of beers for the winter season, and all year long. Stop in and see us today, and we’ll help you pick the perfect brew.

3 Pumpkin Beers To Try This Year

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Pumpkin Beers

Fall is just around the corner, and everyone is bracing for another wave of pumpkin-flavored … everything. While pumpkin flavors help create enjoyable fall-themed variations of many popular foods and beverages, pumpkin-infused beers gained a bad reputation. Every autumn, breweries across the nation attempt to cash in on the pumpkin craze that takes hold. The reason behind pumpkin beer’s bad reputation may be due to too many breweries jumping on the pumpkin-flavored bandwagon. Additionally, they are not devoting the proper time and care to develop robust, flavorful, and enjoyable pumpkin beers.

That trend has shifted now, and many different pumpkin beers are both enjoyable and perfect for fall weather. Respected online beer review hubs like Beer Advocate have even developed their rating categories for pumpkin beers thanks to the innovation of the breweries behind these brews. As you prepare for fall, the following top-shelf pumpkin beers could change your mind.

Cigar City Brewing Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Pumpkin Beers
Cigar City Brewing

This product of Ft. Collins, CO, has earned a world-class rating of 95 on Beer Advocate. It is the perfect addition to your October costume parties. Beer lovers have rated Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale as a well-spiced and full-bodied pumpkin beer with notes of Jamaican allspice, Ceylon cinnamon, nutmeg, and Zanzibar cloves. It’s a well-balanced beer that clocks in at 8.5% ABV. If you like a full complement of robust fall spices to accompany the flavor, this is the pumpkin beer for you.

Elysian Brewing Company Punkaccino

Pumpkin-spiced lattes have inspired a wave of food and beverage products aiming to capture the unmistakable blend of pumpkin and coffee. In the race for the best pumpkin coffee-infused beer, Punkaccino is a strong contender. It’s earned an outstanding rating of 92 on Beer Advocate, with drinkers reporting a pumpkin pie and spice aroma and subtle coffee undertones in a creamy, smooth body. Punkaccino has an ABV of about 6%, and it’s perfect for pumpkin and coffee lovers alike this fall.

Saint Arnold Brewing Company Pumpkinator

Pumpkin Beers
Saint Arnold Brewing Company

Pumpkinator from the Saint Arnold Brewing Company in Texas is a must-try. If you are interested in trying yet another world-class pumpkin beer, this one’s for you. With a rating of 95 on Beer Advocate, Pumpkinator is 10% ABV, making it one of the strongest pumpkin beers on the market with a complex and enjoyable flavor profile. Some reviewers think it is pumpkin pie in liquid form. Others report aromas and flavors reminiscent of roasted pumpkin and autumn spices. One thing they can all agree on is that Pumpkinator is one of, if not the best pumpkin beers made in the US.

These three are just a couple of the most highly rated pumpkin beers on the market. With the explosive popularity of microbrews today, you’re sure to see a slew of new pumpkin beers. As the fall season rolls in, Payless Liquors can help you get the pumpkin beers you want. Contact Payless Liquors today to learn more about our beer services and the pumpkin beers we have available.

summer beer varieties

Beer Can Be Seasonal, Too – Try These Six Summer Beer Varieties

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Choosing a beer for any occasion used to be simple – for the most part, Americans were limited to the light lagers and pilsners that were readily available at any corner store, regardless of season. With the eventual rise of imports, diversification of large American breweries, and the influx of smaller craft breweries in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, however, beer has become much more nuanced. In fact, as American tastes became more adventurous, beer brewing – and beer drinking – has taken on a seasonal component once only seen in wines and cocktails. However, there’s no reason choosing the perfect summer beer can’t be simple. Just think of what your taste buds crave during a long, lazy day in the sun, and you’ll be on the right track. If you’re still not sure, consider this list of light, easily drinkable summer beer varieties:

Fruit beers

This category consists of everything from the traditional German radlers (a mix of lemonade or citrus soda and pilsner) to the more diverse British shandies (ale mixed with lemonade) and every watermelon ale and blueberry stout in between. The hottest days of summer are the perfect time to try these easy to drink, often lower-alcohol, beers.

IPAs and pale ales

Pale, hoppy, a little bit bitter, but somehow still refreshing, pale ales and their India pale ale cousins truly come into their own in the summer. IPAs have a stronger hop profile than pale ales, but you can find both in hazy, filtered, and even citrus-centric varieties for summer.

Wheat beers

Many a brauhaus serves its traditional hefeweizen or Belgian wit with a tiny bit of fruit juice (typically banana or orange) at the bottom. American wheat beers are similarly hazy and have a unique bit of spiciness that lend themselves perfectly to an orange or lemon garnish. No matter which you choose, wheat beers of nearly all varieties lend themselves to some refreshing summer drinking.

Saisons

While sometimes marketed as a “sour saison” or similar, not all saison beers are sour. In fact, most are considered dry and pleasantly spicy with pale malts and very subtle hop flavor – and some even contain a hint of cucumber or fruit rind flavoring. Whichever you choose, these tasty brews are perfect for summer drinking.

Blondes

Perhaps the most classic of summer beer styles, blonde ales are lighter, easier-drinking, and more approachable than their darker counterparts. In addition, most blondes are brewed without a focus on citrus, fruit, in-your-face hops, or any of the other complex flavors you’ll find in other summer beers – making them a perfect crowd pleaser for the beach or barbeque.

Lagers and pilsners

Although there are numerous types of easy-drinking summer beers crafted especially for the adventurous crowd, there’s nothing wrong with appreciating a classic American or European lager. These brews are produced at a cold temperature with

fermenting yeast to produce the signature mild flavor. If you need something even lighter, grab a pilsner – a traditional type of lager with a paler color and spicier, more refreshing taste.

At Payless Liquors, we have an extensive selection of summer beers – from craft-brewed fruity varieties to the traditional American lagers you love. Alternatively, change up your summer drinks and ask about our wine and liquor offerings. Call ahead or fill out an online order form to ensure we have your favorite summer beer ready for curbside or in-store pickup.

The 2 Best Reasons to Order a Keg While You’re Quarantined

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Whether you have a bar in your basement or man cave, or you just like having your favorite beer on hand, it’s rare that you find time in your busy schedule to sit down and truly enjoy a nice cold, frothy beer. However, things are different right now. Social distancing is keeping many people home, and everyone is running out of busy work to keep their minds off of the COVID-19 pandemic. The silver lining in this grey cloud is that it’s the perfect time to buy a keg and take the time you deserve to savor the hoppy flavor of your beer of choice.

Kegs Are Efficient and Eco-friendly

Half-barrel kegs give you about 165 beers and can last for weeks. This saves you a lot of time that you would normally spend restocking your beverage cooler and taking all of those empty cans and bottles out to the curb for recycling. It also helps protect our precious environment by cutting down on waste. Kegs are made to serve their purpose for the long haul. They are refillable and reusable, which means they often carry over 20,000 beers to quench our thirst over the course of their life. The impact that kegs have on the environment is substantially lower than that of bottles or canned beer. The entire process of bottling beer, from production and retail to consumer product disposal, produces enormous CO2 emissions. Keg beer cuts those emissions down by as much as 68%.

You Get More For Your Money

The money you spend on multiple beer runs, stocking up on 6-packs, 12-packs, and cases adds up over time. The use of kegs not only saves you all of that time running around, but it saves money, too. As with any product, you get more bang for your buck when you buy in bulk. Some people are even investing in kegerators to hold their beer. The initial investment in a kegerator is one reason many people are hesitant to switch to buying kegs, but the investment quickly pays for itself and provides increased savings over time. A kegerator will typically save you as much as 40%-60% over the cost of the same amount of bottled or canned beer. Most consumers break even on the cost of their kegerator after purchasing 8-10 kegs. After that, all the savings is money in your pocket. If you are a beer lover, this deal can’t be beat!

Since you are sheltering in place, this option just makes sense. You can have beer at the pull of a tap handle at any time, and not have to expose yourself to other shoppers at the store or beer distributor. Payless Liquors has you covered with great deals on your favorite kegs, such as Bud Light and Michelob Ultra for only $79.99. You can order easily with our convenient Keg Order Form, and spend your time in quarantine, sitting on your patio or in your home bar, enjoying a nice, cold draught. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

kegs

How Long Does Beer in a Keg Stay Fresh?

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Are you a bottled beer fan or a connoisseur of the keg? Each variety has its own set of characteristics that makes the flavor and effervescence unique and palatable. If you are of the opinion that there’s nothing like a pint of foamy beer right out of the keg, you certainly know that keeping the beer fresh throughout the lifetime of the keg can get a little tricky. Exposure to oxygen, bacteria, and temperature are all factors that affect the rate at which a beer will lose its finest qualities. The keg is at its freshest point the day the brewery fills it. After that, it slowly begins to lose this quality. Here are a few facts about a keg’s freshness that you can use to get the most out of your beer on tap.

How Long Does a Keg Stay Fresh?

For most beers on tap, dispensed with CO2, the rule of thumb is that non-pasteurized beer will retain its freshness for 45-60 days, if proper pressure and temperature are maintained. If you are serving up pasteurized draft beer, the shelf life is around 90-120 days. If you have just gotten an air pumped party keg, you should consume the beer within 8-12 hours if you want to enjoy it at peak freshness. You will find that most breweries now print a freshness date on the keg for your convenience. Be sure to read the labeling carefully, as some breweries print this as an expiration date, while others opt for a “born on” date. These dates have the days it is in inventory at the brewery figured into the equation and generally print the date on the side of the keg or on the cap.

Are There Exceptions to the Rule?

The short answer to this question is yes; there are always exceptions. For instance, bigger beers with higher alcohol content will last a bit longer than “the norm.” The character imbued on the beer by its hops will fade a bit, but these beers can be expected to last up to six months. In other cases, beers change even more slowly.

How Do I Know How Much Beer to Get?

If you are concerned about having a keg that is too big to finish before it loses its freshness, there are options you can consider to avoid this dilemma. Kegs come in varying sizes, so it is not always necessary to buy the biggest one on the market. Standard sizes and the amount of beer you can expect to get out of them are as follows:

  • Full-size Keg (Half Barrel) = 165 12oz beers
  • Euro Keg = 140 12oz beers
  • Quarter Barrel Keg = 82 12oz beers
  • Five Gallon Keg = 55 12oz beers
  • Three Gallon Keg = 32 12oz beers

If you pay attention to these tips and facts about draft beer, you should be able to maintain freshness in your keg for the amount of time it takes for you to finish the beer. For more

information, and a selection of fine kegs for your home or business, come and see the experts at Payless Liquors today.

imported beers

Have You Tried These Five Imported Beers?

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Beer drinkers are creatures of habit; find a brew you like, and chances are, you’ll go back to it regularly. While there’s nothing wrong with knowing what you like, the beer world is a large and diverse one; you could be missing out on a new favorite.

In the same vein, much has been made in recent years of the current boom in domestic or local craft breweries. As beer drinkers ourselves, we love what the craft industry has done for the American beer drinker. The rise and local accessibility of different varieties beyond the standard has led more and more people to step outside their beer comfort zone. As a result, however, many beer drinkers are forgetting about the very import staples that inspired all these new domestic brews.

Make This Your Month to Try An Imported Beer

Imported beers often hail from countries and breweries that invented the concept of beer brewing to begin with. As a result, you’ll likely recognize most of the beer types on this list – some are even precursors to the new brews you can get at the local brewery. Widen your beer influences this month with one (or more) of these imports:

  1. Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier (Germany). Germany has been brewing beer since at least 800 BC. Nowadays, you’ll find a Hofbrauhaus in nearly every town. Weihenstephaner hails from Weihenstephan, Bavaria and is a classic example of a German wheat beer. Fruity, malty, and creamy, this is America’s top hefe import and a great introduction to German beer.
  2. Pilsner Urquell (Czech Republic). Named after the Czech region of Plzen, a pilsner is simply a type of pale lager. Pilsner Urquell is the original pilsner, brewed since the mid-19th century in Plzensky Prazdroj, Plzen, Czech Republic and is the single best-known example of the style. Pilsners are clear and golden, and Pilsner Urquell brings hints of corn and biscuit to this supremely drinkable beer.
  3. Guinness Draught (Ireland). One of the most well-known imports in the country, Guinness was first brewed in Dublin, Ireland in 1759, along with a selection of popular ales. Since then, Guinness has crossed continents and oceans to become the world’s most sought-after stout. Stouts are typically richer and creamier than other styles of beer, and Guinness provides an exceptionally smooth drink with a slightly bitter finish.
  4. Red Stripe (Jamaica). If you’re looking for an alternative to the tried and true island beer for your next get together, Red Stripe Jamaican lager could be just the ticket. With more hoppy flavor than Corona and its counterparts, and just the right hint of caramel and bitterness to finish, this lager has more to offer than your average American lager.
  5. Sapporo (Japan). If you’re used to drinking one of the megabrand American domestics, consider giving Sapporo a try. This Japanese lager is a bit more bitter and full-bodied than Budweiser, Miller, Coors, and company, but American beer drinkers describe it as a crisp alternative to the usual.

While we’d never suggest giving up your favorite beer or forgoing a trip to the local brewery, trying a new-to-you imported beer is a great way to extend your palate. Better yet, you could find the beer that will become your next favorite. Try one of the above or ask an associate for an import recommendation unique to your preferences.

Spoetzl Brewery – The Lone Star State Beer

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Have you ever come across a case of Shiner Bock or anything out of the Spoetzl Brewery and thought to yourself where it came from? To answer that – a tiny town in the middle of Texas occupied by 2,069 residents. This little Texas town ships around 7 million cases of Shiner Beer to 49 states every year and has been around since the turn of the twentieth century and continues to grow.

History of Shiner

Spoetzl Brewery (Shiner), the oldest independent brewery located in Shiner, Texas, was founded in 1909 by German and Czech immigrants. Originally named “The Shiner Brewing Association,” Shiner was a conglomeration of German and Czech immigrants who had settled around the central Texas town and who were looking for the types of beer they had at home. Unable to find anything, the German and Czech immigrants set about making their own which boiled into the Shiner Brewing Association.

By 1914, Shiner was gaining traction throughout its Texas community and was looking for a brewmaster. Enter Bavarian-born Kosmos Spoetzl, a one-time soldier who had trained as a brewmaster in his native Germany. Part of the package that lured Spoetzl to Shiner was potential ownership of the brewery. In 1914, he co-leased it with Oswald Petzold with an option to buy in 1915, which he did, giving the brewery his own name but continuing to call the brews Shiner Beers. Spoetzl had attended brewmaster’s school and apprenticed for three years in Germany, worked for eight years at the Pyramids Brewery in Cairo, Egypt, and then worked in Canada. He had moved to San Antonio in search of a better climate for his health, bringing with him a family recipe for a Bavarian beer made from malted barley and hops.

Shiner’s Beer of Choice

The most popular Spoetzl beer? Shiner Bock, hands down. Brewed since 1903, its crisp, clear taste and deep amber color combined with its light hop make it an ideal choice for any weather, but especially summer days. Crazy as it seems, Shiner Bock was only made during Lent for its first few years, produced seasonally. The people demanded the Bock year-round, and lifetime production was born.

Favorite of the Music Scene

Shiner has lots of ties to the Texas music scene. They hosted a major music festival dubbed “Bocktoberfest” from 1994 to 2006 and have dominated TX concerts since the ’70s. That domination started when the then-struggling company started up Austin distribution — initially by loading up some Austin-bound vans with Shiner and literally selling them out of the back to local beer enthusiasts. The brand blew up and became available for $1.50 at the legendary Armadillo World Headquarters, where acts ranging from Willie Nelson to Bruce Springsteen played.

To conclude, Shiner, though not the oldest family-owned brewery in the U.S. is a staple throughout America’s beer scene. Stop in today and pick up a case and throwback some good ole Texas brews.

Rhinegeist Cheetah – The Session Beer That’s Hit the Midwest by Storm

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“Swift in body and mind, Cheetah sprints ever forward. A blur of pure instinct. Buena Onda. Pure, crisp, clean, blissful simplicity. Savor this moment. All we have and all we need is now. Feel free and therefore you are free.” That statement can be found on every can of Cheetah Lager that comes out the Cincinnati, Ohio, -based brewery.

The idea behind this beer was to create a sessionable lager that was perfect on flavor, but not too dominating to prevent drinking in copious amounts. The beer is 4.8 percent, and as the can says, it’s bright, clean, and simple. There’s an underlying citrus pop to the beer that creates a wonderful summertime/early fall drink that’s refreshing while still holding enough character to keep your palates entertained.

Cheetah is fairly new to the Rhinegeist stable – as in it just came around this summer in a limited fashion. But, this beer struck a cord quickly with Rhinegeist visitors. And by struck a cord, we mean how can we get this beer outside of the brewery.

History Behind the Lager

Being a lager, Rhinegeist’s Cheetah is ahead of the curve as lagers are becoming the next big thing with small to mid-sized craft brews. Breweries are looking to the past and the way things used to be done to draw inspiration for flavor and process. Back in the day, there was no temperature control, so beer would often be allowed to ferment in cool cellars or caves. The beer yeast adapted to this, hence the evolution of the lager strain of yeast – known as Saccharomyces Pastorianus.

More about the beer:

Appearance: Yellow in color, fairly clear. Frothy white head with average retention. Medium carbonation.

Aroma: Light sulfury aroma quickly dissipates to a moderately-low grainy/cereal aroma. No esters, very low hop aroma.

Taste: Medium-low malt flavor, light cereal, grain, and cracker-like notes. Low hop bitterness, dry finish. No esters.

Mouthfeel: Light body, medium carbonation, low astringency, no alcohol warmth.

Overall: A clean, crisp, yet flavorful craft lager that falls squarely in the Rhinegeist wheelhouse.

Avery Brewing Company: Go Play IPA

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Avery Brewing Company, a pioneering craft brewery known for its all-encompassing obsession with beer, has introduced its Go Play IPA – a new year-round beer. Avery Brewing crafted the Go Play IPA as a celebration of those who do their thing, regardless of what it is, with the same all-in obsessive enthusiasm that they have for beer.

The Go Play IPA sports – as quoted by their website – juicy, tropical, and dank aromas, fueled by dry-hop additions of Vic Secret, Idaho 7, and Simcoe hops. The addition of sodium and potassium and the near-sessionable 5.5% ABV make Go Play the perfect beer to handle hot days without having to compromise on flavor.

Creating a Sessionable Beer

Taking cues from the Michael Gose playbook, Avery Brewing Company applies the rounded salinity of that sour ale to the crowd-pleasing IPA. Activated with electrolytes and a sensible alcohol content, the Simcoe, Vic Secret and Idaho 7 hop fueled IPA brings a refreshing and hydrating beer vibe to athletics.

Adam Avery, Founder and CEO of Avery Brewing Co., said that this beer was the beer he’d been dreaming of creating for years. Outside of running the Boulder, Colorado, brewery, Avery spends a lot of his time rock climbing and mountain biking. He wanted to create a beer that was light and refreshing but didn’t skimp out on flavor. Typically, to create a sessionable beer that can be drunk on a warm day and not be incredibly dehydrating, it needs to be beyond light and borderline flavorless.

For Avery, this proposition was unacceptable. Like most people, living an active lifestyle needs a beer to tag alongside. Taking cues typically found in sports drinks, Avery concocted an IPA that not only felt refreshing but was also full of flavor.

The Taste

Go Play IPA reaches more sessionable IPA status while ultimately becoming a pale ale with a stronger hop tilt. Dry, crisp and refreshing throughout, the beer closes with the promised and rounded salinity that plays lightly on the finish for a snappy texture but slightly fuller taste with a medium-long grip of hop bitterness on the throat.

Pale, golden, and hazy, the frothy ale draws in the nose with a host of tropical fruit, citrus, and herb. Gentle sweetness carries a nutty, lightly honied and caramelized taste that brings thoughts of trail mix and graham cracker. With the mineral-rich ale splashing against the middle palate, its refreshing tone takes hold with a hop-centric demeanor. Papaya, passionfruit and red grapefruit rise first, with orange, apricot and a strong herbal contingency coming in a moderately bitter late palate. A light briny solution intertwines with impressions of fruit juice for a hint of Pedialyte in the finish.

Be sure to stop by any of our locations and pick up a 12-pack of Go Play IPA today!