GSN Recommends: Half Time Beverage

Craft beer and cider lovers who have been lamenting their lack of access to the country’s finest microbreweries can now have their favorite beverages delivered direct to their doors – even in the midst of a pandemic! Half Time Beverage is making that seemingly impossible wish a reality with a ready-to-ship assortment of its unrivaled selection of craft beers and ciders. 

The company also carries a lineup that includes gluten-free beer, mead, mini kegs, non-alcoholic beer, beer & cider gift baskets, gift packs, monthly clubs/subscriptions, hard seltzer, and malt. And for those who can’t decide, Half Time Beverage offers variety boxes that include IPAs, stouts, sours, Jooses and lagers as well as special holiday-themed boxes. Half Time Beverage delivers all these options direct to doorsteps across the United States. What’s more, all gift baskets, gift packs, and monthly clubs ship free. 

On top of the huge selection of craft beer, Half Time Beverage has become the go-to partner for event organizers in craft beer and has single handedly kept beer festivals alive during the pandemic. Virtual beer festival partners have included The Smithsonian Museum, Untappd, Hop Culture, Beer Advocate and others. 

Half Time Beverage also actively supports charitable causes including hospital support and Covid-19 relief and has given thousands of dollars in giveaways specifically for first-responders and front line workers. 

To learn more about how to have thousands of IPAs, lagers, porters, stouts, hefeweizens, pilsners, sours, cider and more delivered anywhere in the United States, visit Half Time Beverage online.

GSN Brews News: January 5th 2021 Edition

Portland Cider Co. has released Bubbly Brut, billed as a Champagne-style sparkling cider. The small-batch cider is made from 100% Northwest apples, fermented separately with two different Champagne yeast strains on neutral French Oak, then blended. Bubbly Brut has 50% more carbonation than the cidery’s other products. It comes in at 6.9% abv with zero grams of sugar and is available in 19.2-ounce cans and on draft. Bubbly Brut is available now through February at Portland Cider Co.’s two Oregon taprooms and select retailers in Oregon, Washington, Northern Idaho, and Northern California.

Ventura, California-based Flying Embers has introduced Kombucha Bubbly Brut Nature. Billed as a Champagne-style hard kombucha, the new entry is fermented with real botanicals and Champagne yeast and aged in Chardonnay wine barrels. The 6.9% abv offering has no residual sugars or carbs and is packaged in 4-packs of 12-ounce cans. Flying Embers has three taprooms in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Boston, respectively, and its products are sold in 40 states.

Lawrence, Kansas-based Fields & Ivy brewery is launching Kansas Lager, brewed with 100% barley malt grown in Kansas. Launching through distributor Worldwide Wine and Spirits, the new entry is a Vienna-style lager and will roll out across the state in 12-ounce bottles. Fields & Ivy says it’s likely to be the first lager brewed with 100% Kansas-grown barley malt since 1890 or earlier. Founded in 2019, Fields & Ivy has a 20-barrel production brewhouse, dining room, and beer garden in Lawrence.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Brews News: August 18th 2020 Edition

Jose Cuervo, the lead brand in the Proximo portfolio, is looking to get in on the action with the launch of Playamar Tequila Hard Seltzer. Made with Cuervo Tequila, the new RTDs are launching in lime and grapefruit flavors reminiscent of the Margarita and Paloma cocktails. Playamar is debuting in an initial six states this month, retailing at $12 a 4-pack of 12-ounce cans. Each can of Playamar is at 4.5% abv, contains 90 calories, zero sugar, and zero carbs, and is free of gluten and artificial flavorings.

Michigan-based Blake’s Hard Cider is rolling out two new flavors, Caramel Apple and Apple Lantern. Blake’s Caramel Apple is billed as a dessert-like semi-sweet hard cider combining caramel sweetness with tart green apples, while Apple Lantern is marries apples with pumpkin and spice. Both are at 6.5% abv. Launching now, the two newcomers will be distributed across Blake’s 15-state footprint in 6-packs of 12-ounce cans and on draft.

Portland, Oregon-based Cascade Brewing is releasing two of its offerings in packaged formats for the first time. Both are from the brewery’s Northwest Sour Ales series and were previously only available on tap at its two locations in Portland. The first is Honey Ginger Lime, which is a sour rye ale aged in oak barrels and foudres for 10 months, at 6% abv. The second is Honeycot, a sour blond ale aged in oak wine barrels for up to 16 months with apricots, at 7.1% abv. Both are now available in 12-ounce cans throughout the brewery’s distribution network.

Rochester, New York-based Seagram’s is launching a new flavor for Seagram’s Escapes Spiked. New flavor Blue Razberry joins Strawberry Blast, Jamaican Me Happy, Citrus Punch, and Crazy Colada in the line-for the 8% abv, flavored malt beverage brand, a spin-off of Seagram’s Escapes. It will hit shelves nationwide in 23.5-ounce single cans in September.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: Snow Capped Cider Gold Rush

This summer, Colorado apple grower and cider producer Snow Capped Cider launched a new high-end cider offering named Snow Capped Cider Gold Rush made from cider-specific apples grown in 109-year old orchards

Snow Capped Cider, like many businesses, has experienced some challenges due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Thankfully, much of the work to done is outdoors and the facilities are not in a populated area of the Western Slope, so they have been able to keep their entire cider team intact. While the Tasting Room has been closed, the Snow Capped Cider team focused efforts on fermenting and canning along with learning Orchard work and helping with frost protection.

In addition, this was a difficult year for fruit growing due to the frost, and Snow Capped Cider’s parent orchards was one of the only large-scale growers with fruit this year. Since they specialize in high-altitude growing (their orchards are located at 6,130 feet), they are have an extremely high level of frost protection. This year, for example, they used 38,000 gallons of propane and 200 cords of wood per day to keep their fruit viable. The danger of hail still looms and the growers use hail netting as a preventative measure.

Says owner Kari Williams, “Cider apples are worth their weight in gold—they are some of the most sought-after apples with which to make proper cider, and they are not available to just anyone. We have been carefully cultivating our fruit for a century, and eight years ago added French and English cider-specific varietals for high-end cider. We’ve been testing and developing what works best in our terroir and elevation—we finally have mature enough apples to produce cider up to our high standards. These apples are not readily available to cider makers, and most orchards in the US do not grow them. If they do, it’s a small amount. The varietals are from France and England, are estate-grown and sourced from one location. Rare! Like gold!”

Snow Capped Cider Gold Rush (6.9% abv)
GSN’s Thoughts: This is quite tart and at the same time, quite sweet. It’s an interesting mix that reminds me of sour apple candies. But, there is also a soft flourish of vanilla, and a hefty and welcome boost of alcohol here, which makes this a perfect cider to pair with a meal. Quite a powerhouse of flavor, and well balanced. The carbonation too, is intensely tight and almost in the style of a Belgian ale. We approve.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Snow Capped Cider

GSN Brews News: July 21st 2020 Edition

Washington, D.C.-based Brau Brewing and Rio Grande, New Jersey-based Cape May Brewing Co. are reuniting to collaborate again on Rosé du Gosé. Produced using more than 700 pounds of strawberry and peach puree, the release is a 4% abv play on a kettle sour that combines gose-style brews with rosé flavor. Available now at Cape May’s tasting room, DC Brau will distribute it to select accounts in the District and surrounding area, as well as in 4-packs of 12-ounce cans through its website, selling for $10.

San Diego, California-based Thorn Brewing Co. is releasing Thorn Michelada. The canned drink is made with the brewer’s Barrio Lager mixed with tomato juice, hot sauce, clam juice, ponzu, lime juice, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, and black pepper, clocking in at 4% abv. It was made with a focus on all-natural ingredients, eschewing MSG, corn syrup, and other additives. It’s available in stores throughout southern California, at Thorn’s tasting rooms, and for home delivery.

Swedish cider brand Rekorderlig has launched its line of lower sugar, lower calorie ciders in the U.S. Created in response to global health and wellness trends, the cider clocks in at 110 calories and is at 4.5% abv. The cider line-up is made with 100% European apples and includes strawberry lime, pear, wild berries, passionfruit, and mango raspberry varieties.

Prepress Print

Anheuser-Busch is launching Busch Light Apple as a line extension of its Busch Light brand. The first flavored release for the brand, it is a light lager made with apple flavors, available now in select states nationwide for a limited time. Busch Light Apple’s release will be supported by two television ads, titled Whispers of Busch Light Apple and Oh Yeah. It will retail in 12-, 24-, and 30-packs of 12-ounce cans.

New York City-based craft makgeolli brand Makku is expanding its distribution footprint. Makgeolli is a traditional Korean rice wine that dates back to the 10th century. Launched in 2019, Makku was created by entrepreneur Carol Pak, who previously served as entrepreneur-in-residence at A-B InBev’s innovation group ZX Ventures. Previously only available in New York City and Los Angeles, it now can be found at specialty food and beverage shops and Asian markets in San Francisco, San Diego, Nashville, and Chicago, and comes in three flavors: original, blueberry, and mango. It is at 6% abv and is available in 4-packs of 12-ounce cans.

Press Premium Alcohol Seltzer has debuted two new permanent flavors: Pineapple Basil and Lingonberry Elderflower. Both additions are made with all-natural ingredients, clock in at 110 calories, and are just 4% abv. Pineapple Basil and Lingonberry Elderflower will both be included in a new permanent variety pack set to launch later this year, which will also feature popular seasonal offerings, Pear Chamomile and Apple Cinnamon.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Brews News: July 7th 2020 Edition

Portland, Oregon’s Cascade Brewing Company has launched Patio Paradise, a new sour ale. The 5.5% abv wheat ale is aged in oak for up to 10 months and infused with grapefruit zest, basil, coriander, and sea salt. The brew is available on draft and in 4-packs of 12-ounce cans at Cascade’s Portland locations as well as throughout its distribution footprint. The brewery has also announced a new series called Sour Slushies. The drinks are made from Cascade’s ales blended with fruit juice and served frozen. The Slushies launch on July 8 and will be available at the Cascade Brewing Barrel House and through the brewery’s online store.

White Plains, New York-based Paulaner USA has launched Grapefruit Radler in the U.S. The 2.5% abv beer is a 50-50 blend of Paulaner’s München Lager and a grapefruit infusion. The beer is rolling out now in 4-packs of 16.9-ounce cans. It joins the rest of the Paulaner family of beers, including Hefe-Weizen, Oktoberfest Märzen, and Oktoberfest Bier, among others.

Oregon’s 2 Towns Ciderhouse has introduced Good Limes Roll, a new offering made with fresh-pressed Northwest apples and blended with key limes and organic blue agave nectar. The 5.6% abv cider is rolling out in 500-ml. bottles and kegs across Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, and Arizona. 2 Towns’ core ciders include Brightcider, Pacific Pineapple, Easy Squeezy Raspberry Lemonade cider, and Prickly Pearadise prickly pear cider, among others.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Brews News: June 16th 2020 Edition

Armada, Michigan-based Blake’s Hard Cider has added three new releases to its Lite Cider line of products. The new releases—Mimosa, Strawberry-Kiwi, and Melon—come in at 5% abv and have 100 calories per serving, just like the brand’s original Lite Apple cider. Mimosa is available in 6-packs of 12-ounce cans and the other new flavors are available in a four-flavor variety 12-pack. All three new flavors are rolling out now to Blake’s 15-state distribution footprint.

Ninkasi Brewing is releasing new flavors for its Pacific Sparkling seltzer brand. The new flavors from the Eugene, Oregon-based craft player include Marionberry Lemon Twist and Sun-Kissed Grapefruit, which join Tangy Key Lime and Crisp Cucumber in variety 12-packs. The marionberry and grapefruit flavors are now also available in 19.2-ounce cans. Pacific Sparkling is distributed throughout Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Brews News: April 14th 2020 Edition

Louisiana brewer Abita has entered the hard seltzer category with its latest release, Spring Loaded. The 5% abv seltzer will launch in two flavors, Watermelon and Splash Berry; both contain 2 grams of carbs and 100 calories thanks to the efficient fermentation of the drinks’ sugar base. The two flavors are available now in 4-packs of 12-ounce cans in Louisiana and will roll out to Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Texas in the near future. Abita is the 24th largest craft brewery in the U.S., according to the Brewers Association.

Clackamas, Oregon’s Portland Cider Co. has released Ciderade, a new summer seasonal. The 4% abv cider is made with apples grown in the Pacific Northwest with added lemon and lime juice and sea salt. Ciderade will be distributed in 19.2-ounce cans and on draft throughout Washington, Oregon, Northern Idaho, and Northern California. It’s also available to-go from Portland Cider Co.’s taprooms.

Minneapolis-based Fulton Brewing has launched a new year-round entry, Chill City Chugger. The 4% abv golden lager is rolling out in 12-packs of 12-ounce cans (retailing at $12) and on draft, and joins Proper Porter, Standard Amber Lager, 300 Mosaic IPA, Lonely Blonde, and Hopstar Session IPA, among others, in Fulton’s year-round portfolio. Fulton’s distribution footprint includes Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Kansas.

Colorado craft player Lone Tree Brewing has launched three new beers in retailers across the state. First up is Lone Tree IPA, a 6.2% abv ale brewed with Centennial, Cascade, and Zythos hops. It’s the first flagship IPA from the brewery. The company has also released Castle Rock Pale Ale, a 5.6% abv beer brewed specifically to launch at the opening of a Whole Foods in Castle Rock, Colorado, and also available at Lone Tree’s tap room. Finally, the brewery has released Strawberry Kiwi Blonde Ale, a 5.2% abv summer seasonal that’s available in Colorado and Kansas.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: ANXO Ciders

ANXO District Kosher (6.9% ABV) Perhaps the only Kosher for Passover cider in the country. 100% Pennsylvania-grown Northern Spy apples fermented naturally in stainless tanks.
GSN’s Thoughts: Quite dry indeed. This is what I would term a brut cider. The apple flavor is slightly tart, but is toned down by some wood aging. This also adds a lovely, yet subtle caramel tone. The slightly higher than normal ABV adds some punch as well, making this an ideal cider to have over a meal. Perfect for the rest of Passover, this is also perfectly fitting for any celebration calling for a Kosher meal.
GSN Rating: A

ANXO Nevertheless (6.9% ABV) Vermont & Pennsylvania apples fermented by ANXO with native yeasts in stainless tanks.  Released in March to celebrate women cidermakers during Women’s History Month.  A portion of the proceeds to be donated to women’s health initiatives.
GSN’s Thoughts: Very similar in character to the District Kosher with a bit more of a yeast character. Tasty, dry and refreshingly tart.
GSN Rating: A

ANXO Rosé (6.9% ABV) Red-fleshed apples impart radiant color and red fruit notes in this apples only Rosé . Red cider is fermented by Snowdrift in Washington State and blended with GoldRush cider in DC.
GSN’s Thoughts: Slightly sweeter in character, but still dry and tangy. The color is lovely in the glass and adds a festive and spring-like note.
GSN Rating: A

To order ANXO Ciders online and have them delivered to your home go to: Anxo Cider

GSN Brews News: February 18th 2020 Edition

Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Founders Brewing Co. has released Unraveled IPA, a juicy India Pale Ale that’s the latest addition to the Founders year-round lineup. The 6.6% abv beer was initially introduced as Mucho Lupu in Founders’ taprooms, and is made with hops and Lupulin powder as well as wheat and oats. The brew is now available in the company’s Grand Rapids taproom and will launch in Detroit next week. Unraveled IPA will be available nationwide in 6-packs of 12-ounce cans and on draft beginning mid-February. Last August, Spain’s Mahou-San Miguel purchased a controlling stake in Founders Brewing Co.

England’s Dunkertons Organic Cider has partnered with Winesellers Ltd. to bring cans of the cidery’s ‘Craft’ cider to the U.S. The 5% abv cider is certified organic and will be available in 4-packs of 330-ml. cans for a suggested retail price of $15. In addition to the newly canned ‘Craft’ offering, Winesellers will bring bottles of Black Fox Cider ($8), Dry Cider ($8), Breakwells Seedling Organic Cider ($9), and Organic Perry ($9) to the U.S. This year, the Herefordshire-based cidery is celebrating 40 years of production.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Brews News: January 28th 2020 Edition

E.&J. Gallo’s Barefoot Wine is jumping into the hard seltzer category. Barefoot Hard Seltzer will launch in four flavors—Pineapple & Passion Fruit, Cherry & Cranberry, Peach & Nectarine, and Strawberry & Guava—that are at 4% abv and contain only wine, seltzer water, and natural flavors. The move follows the success of 5.5% abv Barefoot Spritzers, which have boosted the franchise in recent years. Barefoot Hard Seltzer will begin rolling out nationally next month, retailing at $8 a 4-pack and $20 for a variety 12-pack.

Providence, Rhode Island-based Keel Vodka has entered the hard seltzer category with Keel Sparkling, a spirits-based RTD made with Keel’s calorie-reduced vodka. The 4%-abv canned vodka soda will launch in two flavors—lemon-lime and grapefruit—clocking in at 80 calories, zero carbs, and zero sugar per 12-ounce serving. Keel Sparkling is now available in 4-packs of 12-ounce cans in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Colorado for around $10 at retail. The company intends to launch in Florida, Texas, and Georgia in February with more states to follow through the year.

Portland, Maine-based Allagash Brewing has debuted its first certified organic beer. The new brew, Crosspath, is a Belgian-style golden ale brewed with Maine-grown oats, buckwheat, base malt, hops, and GrandyOats Granola. Crosspath is debuting in 4-packs of 16-ounce cans and on draft across the entirety of Allagash’s 17-state footprint beginning in March. Allagash is the 30th-largest craft brewer in the U.S., according to the Brewers Association.

Escondido, California-based Stone Brewing has debuted Stone Viking Space Probe Double IPA. Named in honor of NASA space probes Viking 1 and Viking 2, the new brew blends Citra and Ella hops with Belgian Candi Sugar. The 8.5% abv Stone Viking Space Probe Double IPA, which is the third beer produced at Stone’s Napa facility, is available for a limited time in 6-packs of 12-ounce bottles, as well as in 22-ounce bottles. Stone is the ninth-largest craft brewer in the U.S., according to the Brewers Association.

Seattle Cider is launching a grapefruit cider to its seasonal range. The 6.5% abv offering is fermented on grapefruit and white wine yeast and is rolling out in 4-packs of 16-ounce cans, as well as in 1/6- and 1/2-barrel kegs. Seattle Cider is distributed in 15 states. Its seasonal portfolio also includes Spiced Peach, Pumpkin Spice, and Pineapple Agave ciders, while the year-round lineup encompasses Dry, Semi Sweet, Basil Mint, Berry Rosé, and Tangerine Turmeric offerings.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Wrap-Up: 2019 Philanthropic Foodies Pop-Up Syracuse, NY

The 2019 edition of Philanthropic Foodies was again held at the AAA Four Diamond Award Syracuse Marriott (formerly the Hotel Syracuse). A fundraiser for the Central New York community, the selection of local foods and beverages prepared and crafted by local chefs gave the attendees a chance to try something new. There were a lot of farm-to-table items this year, along with some innovative craft cocktails and beers, ciders and New York State wines.

Live music provided by local artist Ashley Cox-Sullivan and her husband Shawn Sullivan was the background for guests as they visited food and beverage stations. There were also plenty of items on display for the silent auction fundraiser for the Friends of Dorothy House and Joseph’s House for Women. The two organizations support those affected by AIDS and women who need support during unplanned pregnancies. This year, over $50,000 was raised.

Photos of some of the highlights are below. (Photography by Alheydis K.)

GSN Review: Jack Daniel’s Winter Jack Tennessee Cider

Jack Daniel’s Winter Jack is a seasonal blend of apple cider liqueur, Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey and holiday spices, based on an original family recipe from Jack’s home in Lynchburg, Tennessee.  (Available for a limited time in all 50 states & Canada.)

Jack Daniel’s Winter Jack Tennessee Cider (30 proof)
Visual: Pale gold.
Nose: Spiced apples with a hint of bourbon.
Taste: Exactly what you’d think. Spiced apple cider with a tempering of bourbon’s sweet fire.
Finish: Fairly short, with a hint of apple lingering.
Overall: This is so easy-going, you could easily drink half of the bottle before realizing it. Tastes even better warmed up and with an orange peel freshly dropped into a mug. Since this is a limited product (and extremely inexpensive) we suggest you pick up 2-4 bottles to get you through the winter.
GSN Rating: B+

Here’s a recipe for you to try courtesy of Jack Daniel’s:

Winter Jack Apple Negroni
3 oz. Winter Jack® Tennessee Cider
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. sweet Vermouth
1 large orange peel

In a shaker filled with ice combine the Winter Jack, Campari and sweet Vermouth. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a coupe glass. Run the orange peel around the edge of the coupe and squeeze as you drop into the glass.

For more information go to: Jack Daniel’s

GSN Review: Rekorderlig Hard Apple

Incredibly clear and filtered, the initial observation is that this hard cider will be crisp, and the flavor doesn’t disappoint. The apple taste comes through very well, and although it is sweet, it’s balanced by a dry quality that tastes like a fresh apple without tasting outright sugary. It’s a clean flavor that starts off sweet, but finishes cleanly and that’s somewhat of a rarity with sweeter ciders. There is also a hint of tartness that balances the overall flavor composition, and doesn’t hinder the taste for those who are used to sweeter imbibing.

For those who like bubbly Moscato this won’t be too far off the beaten path. For those who enjoy a strong authentic apple taste, this certainly won’t disappoint. While my lasting impression of the cider leaves me satisfied, it’s just that. Just one can and I don’t need any more. It’s certainly flavorful and well-brewed, but the sweetness becomes cloying about halfway through and gives the impression of a dessert drink. This could pair well during the fall with a large heavy meal, but as a standalone drink, it leaves a little to be desired. The flavor is strong, and while tasty, it gives its full impressions early on enough that one doesn’t need more than a twelve ounce serving to see if this is a good fit. The slightly higher than average ABV can be a bonus for some, but as most ciders either swing between refreshing or too strong, this one tends towards the latter.

Overall impressions are a great authentic flavor, crisp mouthfeel, but the sweetness steadily grows and becomes cloying by the end of the first can.

GSN Rating: B

Review by Kieran Jerome Matthew