Saturday, December 10, 2011

Some of our Favorite Beers

Lately we've had a tough time getting drunk (a problem we don't usually have). The two of us have had conflicting work schedules with even more conflicting sleep schedules. This has warranted us less and less time to drink anything more than a beer or two a week. We've still tried to make an effort to try a few different things, which we plan on writing about in the coming weeks. Even if they're just a few short paragraphs we're still going to make an attempt at keeping this thing going. It's something that we want to do and are trying to find the time to do.

Over the time since we've started this we've had many different questions regarding our drinking habits and the blog. The one that seems to come up more frequently than others is, "What are your favorite beers?" We thought we'd take this time to just throw a few different things out there to point people in the right direction.


(These favorites are subject to change at a moments notice. Or depending on how many bottles of a particular drink I've had)

3. Rogue Chocolate Stout ~ Heavy with dark malts and a chocolate after-taste. I discovered this beer around 2009 and have loved it ever since. Also, one of the few of my favorites that you can find at a restaurant, beer distributor, or bar.

2. Kirin Ichiban ~ These top 2 were tough to pick between because they're both my goto beers. But this would probably be number 2 because of its availability. Apparently this beer is imported by Anheuser-Busch but it is brewed in Japan. Unbelievable smooth taste similar to 'Lite' beers but without the cigarette butt aftertaste. Also has a higher alcohol content than those locally brewed 'things'. A real gem if you can find it.

3. Walt Wit ~ Brewed locally by the Philadelphia Brewing Company. This is a standard White with all of the flavor that it should have. You can't find a better white than this anywhere and I'm proud that it's brewed in my city. (Also, I can get it anytime I need it *Extra Points*) Some local beers don't find ways to give much more than a different spin on classics but this one is every bit classic and stays true to what a white should be. No fruity fillers, no locally distilled sewer water to give it that Philly taste. Nothing more than what it's supposed to be and, for that, this is my favorite beer. (At least right now)


3. Hoegaarden Original White Ale ~ I'm picking this for my list because I think most beer tasters have tried this one. A relatively easy beer to find, you'll find it on tap at most mid-price bars and restaurants. This witbeer is easily recognizable when served in it's traditional hexagon-beer glass with an orange slice garnish. Even if you choose to drink it another way, this is still an easily enjoyable beer with citrus notes and a cloudy, almost fizzy, feel to it.

2. Saranac Vanilla Stout ~ I've only just found this one recently but I am in love. The first vanilla beer I have ever tried, and this is absolutely the one to beat. A heavy without being overbearing beer, with a nice vanilla flavor to it. This beer is a little bit harder to find (when our store isn't sold out of it, it's only available in single bottles) but it was worth the search. Absolutely my winter beer of choice.

1. Blue Point Brewing Co. Blueberry Ale ~ This was an easy choice. I am definitely a blueberry girl. I love blueberry anything, and this is by far the best blueberry, let alone fruity beer I've had. The smell is intoxicating, and the taste is fruity without feeling like a bitch drink. Lower alcohol content than some at 4.6%, but that just means you get to enjoy more and more of them on the path to drunkenness.

Honorable Mentions: Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat, Peak Organic Pomegranate Wheat, StrongBow Cider, Victory Lager

FYI: If you can find it, you HAVE to try Victory's limited edition Otto Ale. Brewed only this year, it's what's known as a "Smoked Ale" and, get this....tastes just like a campfire. Honestly, just like one. Probably the most distinctly flavored beer we have ever had. Would be an awesome beer to mix into some BBQ sauce or marinade as well.

Got a question/ suggestion for us? Email at, send a comment or message to us here or on

Sunday, September 25, 2011

DAA Cocktail Hour: Pepper Vodka

I admit, when I first heard of pepper vodka, I was pretty intimidated. It’s one thing to have pepper on your food, but in a drink….I wasn’t so sure. But I couldn’t get it out of my head, and the more and more I looked into it, the more and more it intrigued me. And when I found out the best part, that I could make my own…well that just set me over the edge. If you know me, you know there are two things I really like to do with my free time: drink and make stuff. So I knew I had finally found my next big kitchen project (I had attempted fudge the week before, to no avail, and I was feeling sort of down.)
Making your own flavored vodka couldn’t be anymore simple. It’s two basic steps: preparation and sit time. You can flavor your vodka with just about any fruit, candy or herb you can imagine. The combinations are endless (Garlic and rosemary vodka, anyone?). You have so many more options than you could ever find on your wine and spirit stores’ shelves. And if you start your concoction in the middle of the week, it will be ready by the time the weekend arrives! Below is a simple formula for making your own flavored vodka, the peppercorns can be omitted for any other ingredients you’d like to try. So get your brain juices flowing, figure out what it is you’ve always wanted to try, and send your success stories/recipes/suggestions for what we should make next to
How to make your own homemade peppercorn vodka:
You will need:
One bottle of vodka
(very simple so far!)

1.) Add peppercorns to vodka. You can put as little or as many in as you like. I put about two tablespoons in.
2.) Let ingredients sit in the vodka for at least two days, but no more than one week, at room temperature. Shake bottle at least three times a day to mix ingredients. At the same time every day, taste test your vodka to ensure you get the taste you want. (After about two and a half days, the peppercorn vodka will have obtained a golden brown color; this is where we found it to have the ideal taste).
3.) Once you have your ideal taste, it’s time to drain those peppercorns out of vodka (we used a coffee filter and drained the vodka into a new fancy bottle).

Now that you’ve got your vodka, it’s time to DRINK DRINK DRINK! Here’s a list of some of the more popular pepper vodka drinks we’ve found, along with our opinions and ratings of each. Enjoy!

Spicy Redhead/ Absolut Redhead
Pepper vodka (some recipes call for Absolut Peppar Vodka, hence the name)
Dash of grenadine
Juice of 1/5 lime
Rating: 3.5 (out of 5)
Very pretty to look at, the drink to order if you’re out with the girls and want something with equal parts adorable and badass.

Brown Bear
Pepper vodka
Rating: 0.75
No good, no good! Honestly I thought we’d really like this one too. The before, during and aftertastes of this drink were just disappointing to the max. Definitely bypass this one!

Moscow Chill
Pepper Vodka
Dr. Pepper
Rating: 1
This is another one of those drinks that sound amazing, but tastes nothing like what you’d imagine it to be. The spice of both the vodka and the soda didn’t mix as well as it does on paper. This is probably the only drink we walked away from feeling like we’ve had our mouths numbed.

Spicy Screw
Pepper Vodka
Orange Juice
Rating: 4.75
This was just too good for words. Both ingredients meshed well and had us coming back for seconds. Definitely an improvement on the regular screwdriver.

Pepper Vodka
Ginger Ale
Rating: 4.75
Looks cool, probably the least “girly man” of the drinks we tried. Where the Spicy Redhead is girly and sweet, Hotness is masculine and strong. Everything about it is perfect, from the smell to the taste.

Pepper vodka
Cranberry cocktail/juice
Rating: 4
Smells like straight up tequila, tastes like spiced cranberry. Quite possibly the strongest of the drinks we tried (if only for Senor Cuervo!), and awesome. I’d suggest cranberry juice, and not cocktail like we tried, if you want something a little less dry.

What to order:
Alex: Hotness
Erica: Spicy Screw

What to skip:
Alex: Brown Bear
Erica: Moscow Chill

Make one (or all) of these and give us your opinion! Or do you have an idea for something we should have added to the drink list? Leave a comment, send us an email at, or visit our Facebook page (

Happy Drinking!!!

- E

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

We're back! (Sorta)

We actually never left at all.....we've just had a ridiculously hectic couple of weeks. Our schedules have been absolutely swarmed with school, jobs, births and (sadly) deaths, but of course we still found time for some "research" for the blog.

Here's an incomplete lineup of what we've been working on:
  • Peppercorn vodka drinks (I know I have been promising this for weeks, but I swear I will have it up within the next few days.)
  •  Victory Brewing Company review.
  • Peak Organic Beer.
  • Alex's first Growler.
We promise we will do our best to not be such crappy bloggers in the future. <3

Suggestions? Comments? Leave a comment on our blog or Facebook page, or email us at

See you all soon!!!

- E

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Interesting article on household uses for beer

We received an article from a reader on some household uses for "leftover beer" (is there such a thing?) Personally, I'm not buying it. Why am I going to waste a perfectly good beer? OK OK, so it may have been sitting out all day in a cooler that's losing it's cold...and it's probably going to go skunk....but I have a perfectly good German Shepard who just happens to LOVE warm beer, so I'm personally going to spoil my pookie pants instead of sticking them in my walls for insulation. (although that's pretty cool, I'm not gonna lie).

(There's my big girl Duchess enjoying her Miller Lite. As you can see, Rayna, the little one, is not a beer girl at all. Wimp.)

Oh yea, the article:

Let us know your thoughts!!! Leave a comment at or email us at

Until next time!!!


Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Sampling of Stoudt's Brewing Company

                Here at Drinks All Around we’re very much into the idea of supporting local Breweries and Brewpubs.  A recent vacation to the Reading area brought us to Adamstown, PA and Stoudt’s Brewing Company.  We were unable to tour the actual Brewery because of the day of the week but we did find our way into their neighboring Brewpub.
                The plan of action was to sit at the bar, eat a burger, drink a few different beers, and have fun.  What we didn’t plan for was that we were walking into one of the nicer restaurants in which we’ve ever eaten.  We sat in a lovely booth against the far wall that was closed off with its own walls and roof.  Then we ate the flesh of other living things!

But this blog is not about hedonism (usually).  It’s about the beers.
                Stoudt’s Brewing Company makes some of the better beers in the area.  I think their American Pale Ale is one of the best pale ales around. On this particular day I, of course, had one (4).
                The American Pale Ale is Stoudt’s best selling beer, and many believe the best tasting.  If you’ve been brainwashed by the big beer companies and their watered down “Lite” beers, this may be a good starting point for a new pallet geared towards the finer things in life.  (Or just fancier things to talk about while you’re passing out on the floor)
                If you’re looking for something a little lighter but still with enough full-body and flavor to satisfy, try Stoudt’s Pils.  A standard German Pilsner, this beer is terrific for all tastes and pallets.  This is that “goes down smooth without the aftertaste” beer that so many people look for.
                Their summer seasonal is also great.  The Heifer-In-Wheat is a Bavarian Wheat beer, similar to that Hoegaarden or Blue Moon, but with a little summer tang.  A great beer for a warm summer night.
                Finally, Stoudt’s Scarlet Lady Ale.  What may be the best of the Stoudt’s lineup is smooth with a slight kick.  This is the in-between beer of the group.  A little stronger than the Pils, a little lighter than the American Pale Ale, this is the beer that I would recommend for the connoisseur (fancy word for fancy man).

In Conclusion
                One of the great stepping-stones to the ever growing Southeastern PA beer scene, Stoudt’s Brewing Company does a great job of brewing delicious beers while not alienating the masses.  Stoudt’s is that crossover artist that puts out a few songs on the radio but when you buy the album they’re nothing like the single.  Yeah you didn’t really expect 15 tracks of “Real Slim Shady”, did you?

Quick Reference

American Pale Ale –
                For the beginner looking to get some craft beers into their life

Pils –
                Closest to the mainstream beers. Trying not to leave your safe-zone? This beer is for you.

Heifer-In-Wheat –
                Summer Wheat Beer

Scarlet Lady Ale –
                If this was sold in kegs I would be dead

~Drinks All Around~

Friday, August 12, 2011

Oh Hai!!!

This is an idea we've played around with for quite some time, but have never had the time or energy to pursue it. Honestly, I really don't know how to start this whole thing off, but Alex told me I had to make the first post "because it will sound nicer coming from you". I'm not really sure about that....he IS the nicer of us two....but here we go.

I promise that this will be the corniest statement I ever make on this blog, but I can't think of another way to open. Alex and I (Erica) are best friends and I can honestly say that he is my other half. (Done with the sappy!) That being said, here's a little about the two of us. He likes his burgers and I like my veggie burgers. He's a soccer hooligan, and I don't believe that's a real sport. He likes video games, I like InStyle magazine. He knows politics, I know science (or at least we pretend to know more than the other does). The list goes on and on.

Our biggest shared passion, however, is something that many will make their assumptions about us for, and that is our interest in alcohol. I don't mean that in a bad way, and I'm not condoning alcoholism or any sort of neglectful drinking. What I mean is that we're both very into finding and trying new beers, wine, vodka, etc....whatever it is, we have, or are, willing to try it. We're not the typical "I'll drink this because it's what I know" type. We like to find things we aren't sure about, or haven't hear of before, and give them a go. This is a hobby that makes us unique and has kept our relationship interesting.

Which brings us to this blog. We decided to start a blog documenting our experiences and adventures. We've traveled to breweries and wineries to get firsthand tastes of where our favorite drinks come from. We've dabbled in making our own concoctions. Got an idea for us? A recipe, brew, or place to visit? Email us at  We've got a small lineup that should hold us over for the next few weeks, but we'd love to hear suggestions on what to try (or where to go!) next!!

(Please bear with us with the overall look of this page for the next few weeks. I am not much of an Internet gal, and I don't know how much Alex knows about this particular site, but once we get the feel of things we'll be able to make it more visually appealing.)

Until next time!!!