Friday, September 26, 2014


School is back in session, the air has cooled, and the first leaves are turning. Now that autumn is officially here, you can drink your favorite fall beers without feeling like you’re cheating on summer. The craft beer industry is booming and this season’s best releases chase those light, summer beers off with their full-bodied flavors, unique characteristics and warm, pumpkin spices.

From GAP’s own Blackburn Tavern, we proudly present The Fall Brew Review. We handpicked a wide variety of 11 autumn seasonal beers that included more than just the classic pumpkin ales or Oktoberfest-style lagers. We wrote tasting notes and ranked these beers on a scale of 0 to 5 to bring you our Top 5 Fall Beers. Here are the results:

1. Woodstock Inn Autumn Brew: Out of the 11 beers, Woodstock Inn’s Autumn Brew received the most 5s from the GAP Team, with an average rating of 3.95. This medium-bodied brew is chestnut in color and features apple and cinnamon flavors, with an aroma that pleasantly mixes all your favorite fall scents. Most of our tasters found this beer to be light with satisfying complexity that didn’t overwhelm.

                           Style: Ale
                           ALC/VOL: 4.63%
                           Availability: Fall

2. Harpoon Octoberfest: If you read our Oktoberfest blog post, you already know that the Oktoberfest tradition started as a wedding ceremony in 1810. It was such a hit, the party became a yearly tradition.  Harpoon’s Octoberfest is a favorite around the office, with its full-bodied, complex character. When poured, it has a garnet-red color with firm, creamy head. The beer’s hue is due to the blend of Munich, chocolate, and pale malt. Swirl for a slight hop aroma. Then sip and you’ll find a mild bitterness with a soft, malty finish, which is very enjoyable.

                           First brewed: 1991
                           Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest
                           ALC/VOL: 5.3%
                           Availability: 6-12 pack bottles/cans, and on draft. 
                           Widely available from August to November

3. Southern Tier Warlock: This moderately-carbonated, dark stout won over several palates with its aroma of pumpkin pie, coffee, and dark chocolate. It features a velvety and slightly sweeter finish than Pumking. It’s best served in a goblet, and its recommended pairings are spicy BBQ and smoked or roasted food. But if you prefer deserts, try it as a float with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

                           First brewed: 2013
                           Style: Imperial Stout
                           ALC/VOL:  8.6%
                           Availability: Seasonal, September release, 22 oz. bottles or 1/6 keg

4. Southern Tier Pumking: Among GAP’s top-rated pumpkin beers is Pumking. Truly a complex beer with all the pumpkin pie spices you could ask for, and exactly the sweet aroma you’d expect. It’s a medium-to-light-bodied beer with a malty sweetness. If you want to kick it up a notch, serve it with a cinnamon sugar rim.

                           First brewed: 2007
                           Style: Imperial Pumpkin Ale
                           ALC/VOL:  8.6%
                           Availability: Seasonal, Mid-July release, 22 oz. bottles or 1/6 keg

5. Dogfish Head Punkin Ale: A full-bodied brown ale, the Dogfish Head Punkin Ale has smooth, malty hints of pumpkin, caramel, and brown sugar. Named after “the seriously off-centered” Southern Delaware extravaganza Punkin Chunkin, Punkin Ale has been around since before Dogfish’s brewery doors opened for business. It made its debut winning first place in the 1994 Punkin Chunkin Recipe contest. And after 20 years, we think it’s still a crowd pleaser.

                           First brewed: 1994
                           Style: brown ale
                           ALC/VOL:  7.0%
                           Availability: September, usually gone by Thanksgiving

We also sampled Anchor Brewing's Big Leaf Maple, Ipswich Ale's Brewery's Hop Harvest, The Bruery's Autumn Maple, Slumbrew's Attic and Eaves, Troegs' Hop Knife and Two Roads' Roadsmary’s Baby.

Next up: Winter Seasonals. Look for our next beer tasting review in December!

Look for these Top 5 Fall Brews on our BEER HALL OF FAME on Pinterest! 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Prost! 5 Things You Might Not Know About Oktoberfest

Tomorrow, the Mayor of Munich will tap the first keg of beer at Oktoberfest and the two-week-long beer festival will have officially begun! In celebration of this year’s festivities, the GAP Team decided to offer you a unique list featuring things you may not have known about the annual festival. To everyone celebrating Oktoberfest in Germany, or anyone enjoying an Oktoberfest-style lager at your local bar, we wish you a happy and safe celebration. Prost!
  1. The annual event we know today actually began as a wedding ceremony. 

    On October 12th, 1810, Prince Ludwig of Bavaria married Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend festivities celebrating the wedding. The final event of the festivities was a horse race held on October 17th in the presence of the Royal Family. The decision to hold this horse race every year is what ultimately led to the Oktoberfest tradition.

  2. Strict requirements, known as “Reinheitsgebot”, must be met in order for the six breweries to be allowed permission to sell their beer at Oktoberfest.

    Strong regulations regarding the brewing of Oktoberfest beer date back to the 16th Century. The oldest and perhaps most important of these regulations is the Reinheitsgebot, or the German Beer Purity Law. Originally decreed by Duke William IV in 1516, the Reinheitsgebot states that only water, hops, and barley should be used to brew Bavarian beer.

  3. Only six breweries are allowed to make and sell the beer at Oktoberfest.

    Augustiner, Hacker Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, and Spaten are the only registered breweries allowed to distribute their products at Oktoberfest. These breweries were granted permission to distribute their product due to their following of the Reinheitsgebot. Other requirements met by these breweries include that they are all brewed within the city limits of Munich and the beers are all approximately 6% alcohol by volume.

  4. Other than eating and drinking, there are various activities to take part in throughout the event.

    If you’ve had your fill of beer and food, you can always head over to one of the various attractions including Ferris wheels and roller coasters. If amusement park rides aren’t your cup of tea (or mug of beer), you can stop and listen to any of the live music performances being held or try your hand at crossbow shooting in the Armbrustschützen tent!

  5. In 2013, 6.4 million people attended Oktoberfest. 6.7 million liters of beer were consumed.

    In addition to supplying attendees with beer, 114 oxen and 58 calves were also consumed. Guests spent roughly 400 million Euros during the festival, which is over roughly 517 million U.S. Dollars. To put that into perspective, that’s more money than the seven highest paid athletes in 2013 combined.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Plants Like Vodka, Too: A GAP Guide on Alternative Ways to Use Your Booze

Have you ever wondered what else you can do with your favorite alcoholic beverages? 
Of course drinking these brews and spirits is the ideal form of enjoyment, but there are many other uses for these wonderful liquids. Below, the GAP team has compiled our top alternative uses for beer, wine, gin, vodka, and rum. Are you brave enough to venture into this unknown territory of liquor?


1. Shampoo Hair: Boil a cup of beer in a saucepan over medium heat, until it is reduced to ¼ cup. Now that the alcohol has been removed, let it cool and mix with a cup of shampoo. Wash and rinse per usual to give your hair that hoppy shine.

2. Stain Removal: Spill a little wine on your carpet? Try some beer instead of a chemical cleaner! Pour a little beer on the stain, let it sit for a bit, and then dab with a cloth. Clean thoroughly with soap and water to get rid of the stain.

3. Spruce up Wooden Furniture: Using a soft cloth, massage flat beer into wooden furniture to restore its original color and luster.


4. Firefighter: Put out fires…small fires.


1. Fruit Fly Trap: Finally, a use for that half-drank glass of wine from the previous night’s soiree. Toss it in a cup, cover with some plastic wrap, and poke some holes in the top for entry. Flies will check in, but they won’t check out.

2. Clean Your Veggies: Spraying wine onto fruits and veggies can remove unwanted bacteria better than water can. Just put in a handy spray bottle for easy E. coli extermination.

3. Grease Lightning: White wine can help rid you of those grease stains in your driveway or garage. (You know, from working on your 1948 Ford De Luxe Special). Mixed with some baking soda, it can be a cleaning staple in your shop.


4. Seeing Red: Use wine to dye your favorite white shirt pink, your brand new white rug maroon, and your friend’s annoying white Shih tzu red.

1. Mouthwash: If you are sick of the peppermint burn in your current mouthwash, try gargling a bit of gin in the morning. The alcohol will kill the bacteria in your mouth from last night’s cocktail party. Gin, mixed with some flavored oil, can add some flavor and kick to your morning. Just don’t swallow.

2. Arthritis Cure: Soak some golden raisins in a bowl of gin for up to a week. Eating 10 of these a day is said to rid some of the pain associated with arthritis. Although it may be an old wives’ tale, it is thought that the relief is attributed to the juniper berries’ anti-inflammatory characteristics and the sulfur dioxide in golden raisins.

3. Foot Wash: If you have any gin lying around, combine with some thyme oil for a foot odor remover. Soak for a few minutes to give your feet an herbal cleanse.


4. Brine Time: Add gin to a jar of pickles to let everyone know you mean business.

1. Poison Ivy: If you are itching to use some of that 100 proof vodka you’ve been saving, use it to get rid of that uncomfortable poison ivy. Pour the 100 proof vodka on the affected area to wash away the itchy oil.

2. Preserve Flowers: Mary Poppins® forgot to tell you that a spoon full of sugar and a few drops of vodka help the flowers stay fresh. Change daily for best results.

3. Shine Your Fixtures: To achieve that brand-new look, use a soft cloth with some vodka to polish your chrome, porcelain, and glass.


4. Stain Remover: Spray vodka on vomit stains, scrub with a brush, and then blot dry.

1. Cooking: Rum Balls.

2. Helping with Upset Stomach: A little rum is said to help ease stomach pain & nausea.


 3. Where Has All the Rum Gone?: If you are a pirate, and you suffer a parrot or snakebite, use rum to clean out the wound.


[Men's Health]