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Five on Friday: 5 Favorite Beer Can Labels

Five on Friday: 5 Favorite Beer Can Labels

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Each Friday, we share five things that are getting buzz around the Cooking Light offices—from what we’re reading around the Web, to what’s hot on Instagram, or even our latest favorite ingredient.

If you enjoy an occasional icy brew, you're probably more than familiar with the age old conflict: Does beer taste better from a bottle or a can? Everyone holds their own well-qualified stance, but today, we must set aside any and all differences to pay homage strictly to the humble beer can. That's right, today is apparently Beer Can Appreciation Day--and as obscure of a holiday though it may seem, you best believe I'm not missing an opportunity to celebrate (responsibly). In no particular order, here are my top 5 picks for beer-can-design work worth appreciating as you toss one back.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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West Brook Brewing Co.'s White Thai (Mt. Pleasant, SC)westbrookbrewing.comCheery golden color, elegant Southeast-Asian inspired detailing, spotlight on some catlike creature making a silly face... what more could you possibly ask of a beer can (except that it be full and cold)?

Hilliard's Amber Ale (Seattle, WA)hilliardsbeer.comGraceful isn't a term you often hear tossed around in beer-centered conversation, so major kudos to Hilliard's on this one. With a delightfully delicate color palate and sleek chevron pattern embracing the container's lower half, I can't think of a word to better define the can before you.

New England Brewing Co.'s Gandhi-Bot (Woodbridge, CT)newenglandbrewing.comOkay so, this vibrant orange cylindrical beer vessel depicts renowned champion for human rights and nonviolent civil disobedience, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi-- as a robot. Pure genius. Game over.

Midnight Sun Brewing Co.'s Kodiak Brown Ale (Anchorage, AK)midnightsunbrewing.comAn enraged Kodiak brown bear repping an Alaskan brown ale makes for an inspired--not to mention ferocious--exemplification of state pride. Cheers to Alaska's indigenous wildlife and to their exceptionally vivacious beer cans.

Brooklyn Brewery's Brooklyn Lager (Williamsburg, Brooklyn)brooklynbrewery.comThe aesthetic here is simple, but thoughtfully conceived. It's hip, it's cool, it's classic... it's Brooklyn.

The 10 Best IPAs to Drink, As Recommended by Beer Experts

These folks know a hazy, double-hopped IPA from one that's crisp and unassuming.

There are beer people, and then there are Beer People. How do we put this eloquently? These are the folks who don&rsquot screw around with the hoppy, refreshing goodness that is a nice, cold brew. They can take the subtlest sip of the froth off the top of a pint and give you a comprehensive history of its origins. This comes down to either witchcraft or years of experience and practice. Let&rsquos assume it&rsquos a little bit of both. So, if you&rsquore branching into the world of, say, IPAs, who else would you want a recommendation from than an expert?

The IPA had a few years there in the late 2010s when it was the trendiest beer in the game. As such, there&rsquos a pretty good chance that you&rsquove heard people talk about Bell&rsquos Two-Hearted or Lagunitas. You might have come across your standard India Pale Ale or even a hazy IPA. But for true lovers of IPA, there&rsquos a library of variations that morph it into a whole new drinking experience.

Though beer styles beyond the IPA are coming to be more and more popular (like sours and the classic lager), it&rsquos telling that the Homebrewer&rsquos Association named an IPA as its Best Beer in America last year. It also named an IPA for its second place spot. And third place spot. So put that where your stout and/or porter is. People are drawn to the strong hoppy flavor and the oft-high alcohol content. You want to be fancy but also party your ass off? Grab an IPA.

We set out to get IPA recommendations, local and national, from some of the people who know beer best. Whether it&rsquos a beer buyer, a brewer, or just your favorite bartender, every Beer Person has an IPA opinion. This list is a good place to start forming your own.

The favorite of bartender Matt Nickley of Savannah, Georgia

"My go-to is Harpoon IPA. It's crisp and refreshing with great floral and citrus notes, but finishes with a piney bitterness that reminds you what it is. It started out as a summer seasonal, but now it's available year round and tastes just as good in the ski lodge as it does on the beach. At 5.9 percent ABV, it's incredibly drinkable, and that means more beer for your face.

"Sure, it's not a quadrupel hopped, 10-plus percent ABV, mountain man maker (or killer), but that's not the point! It's your trusty companion and a welcome addition to any cooler. But if it's a well-groomed beard-off you're looking for, I'd be glad to source a couple of Heady Toppers from the Alchemist and go sip for sip."

The favorite of brewery owner Natalie Cilurzo of Windsor, California

"Am I allowed to use one of my own beers? If so, I would go with Happy Hops IPA by Russian River. I love the big, hoppy aroma with tons of juicy citrus, stone fruit, and tropical notes, and the lingering dry and bitter finish. Happy Hops packs the punch of a juicy/hazy IPA in a clear beer, which I prefer. It is also 6.5 percent ABV, so I can drink a whole one. Many IPAs are too high in alcohol, thus adding heat and a booziness that takes away from the hop character. I like my beers dry and well-balanced."

The favorite of brewer Hagin Owens of Sevierville, Tennessee

"My favorite IPA right now would be literally any IPA by Burial Beer in Asheville, North Carolina. They are constantly on the forefront of the IPA train that is super dense right now, so that's saying something. Burial Beer has to be the best place near me to get an absolute killer IPA every single time you go. Their flagship IPA, Surf Wax, has won a ton of medals and is so unassuming but extremely complex, with the perfect balance of hop flavor that takes it to the extremes of the style but doesn't overdo it. Its delicious, tropical fruitiness mixed with pine and dank flavors meld together perfectly, and don't get muddled and 'muddy' like a lot of IPAs do nowadays. And their can art is always interestingly odd and eclectic, which definitely plays a factor in picking beer, by the way.

"Also, I think it's really important when buying packaged beer that you always, always check the 'brewed on' date on the can or bottle, so you know your beer is super fresh to preserve all the juicy hop flavors you want and paid for. I personally don't like to drink IPAs more than a month old, because the fall off of hop flavor goes quickly past that."

The favorite of bartender Ryan Crossman of Brooklyn, New York

"Since I'm a New England boy at heart, my first suggestion is the often sought out, but hard to acquire, Heady Topper, brewed by Alchemist in Waterbury, Vermont. This beer had/has a cult-like following and has been around since 2003. It is a hazy, New England-style double IPA that packs a punch at 8 percent ABV, which is great for a guy like me who usually only wants to drink one or two IPAs anyway. If you like crushing beers, keep that in mind or you'll end up walking sideways.

"Heady Topper has a nice, hazy straw color with aromas of citrus, pine, and dare I say, what a hippie might call a bag o' dank nugs. The beer is fantastically balanced&mdashsharp and bitter but not cloyingly so. The hop taste is evened out by fruity, honey floral notes. If you can find it, I highly recommend this beer that helped kick off the craft beer craze in New England."

The favorite of bartender Lucy Cleek of Maryville, Tennessee

"Lagunitas remains a favorite. The Bell's Two-Hearted is also something most every IPA drinker will like. Currently, I'm trying to push Tennessee Brew Works' Hippies and Cowboys. It&rsquos very fruit forward, so not everyone&rsquos favorite, but I think most people around here appreciate that it&rsquos a Tennessee beer. If they want to stray away from Lagunitas, I&rsquove also been recommending TrimTab Brewing of Birmingham, Alabama."

The favorite of bartender Carl Parker of Washington, D.C.

"I love lighter colored IPAs, so my favorite and go-to IPA is the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. It&rsquos super crisp with a slight bitterness that I love. It has a little umph to it, plus it&rsquos pretty easy to find."

The favorite of beer buyer Troy Wennet of Brooklyn, New York

"I'm from the West Coast and still prefer a bitter, clean, nearly clear IPA versus the softer, fruit-flavor-forward, Northeast-style that's risen in popularity over the recent years. My experience in the beer industry has taught me that fresh beer is the best beer&mdashthis is especially true with IPAs. The less chance the beer has to face temperature change (which happens frequently when it is placed in the hands of a third party distributor transporting it for long distances across country/countries), the better it will taste. If it is being pumped from the bright tank into your glass, even better. So my advice: Find the brewery nearest you that brews on site and drink that IPA.

"For me, right now, I'm personally loving Gowanus, Brooklyn's Strong Rope Brewery's Field Drinker IPA it's a 4.2 percent ABV, all New York-state hops and malts, palatably bitter, clean, refreshing, perfect-for-summer beer. They can it regularly for easy, delicious, remote drinking."

*While Field Drinker is currently out of commission, Strong Rope has other IPAs available in Brooklyn currently on tap are Wolf Orbit and Wolf Captain.

The favorite of brewmaster Eric Warner of Galveston, Texas

"My number-one IPA recommendation is Karbach&rsquos Hopadillo IPA, the number-one selling IPA in Texas for at least the last five years. It&rsquos a classic IPA, with hops from three growing regions around the world. It contains some great malt notes but is by no means sweet. The finish is clean, dry, and bitter, just like a good IPA should have. I like an IPA to have a strong hop aroma and a dry, mineral-y finish. However, the answer to what you like about an IPA is quite complex. The thing is, there are now so many sub-styles of IPAs out there, such as hazy IPAs, black IPAs, and sour IPAs. But, the common denominator for IPAs is strong hop aroma and flavor. If that isn&rsquot there, then it&rsquos not really an IPA."

The favorite of beer marketer Anne Marisic of Freeport, Maine

"When I first got into craft, the beer that changed my understanding of what beer could/should taste like was Victory HopDevil. Pine and citrus from American hops, followed with a nice malt backbone, it won me over.

"That love of American hops launched my passion for beer, so it's not surprising I ended up at Maine Beer Company, a brewery known for hop-forward brews. Most people know us for our West Coast-style IPA Lunch, but my personal favorite is Woods & Waters. We first brewed this beer in 2016 to commemorate the designation of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine's North Woods. The beer is brewed primarily with local malts from Blue Ox Malthouse, and features Magnum, Simcoe, Mosaic, Columbus, and Idaho 7 hops. It has amazing notes of pink grapefruit, melon, and subtle pine. Woods & Waters is clean, dry, and refreshing, and helps draw attention to a beautiful part of our state that many people aren't familiar with."

The favorite of brewmaster Carl Heinz of Littleton, Colorado

"Hop Peak is a go-to for me because it's bursting with bright citrus and crisp pine aroma but isn&rsquot overly sweet, which allows it to remain highly refreshing through any season. Additionally, Hop Peak IPA is one of the more labor-intensive beers that we craft. From breaking bails of whole-cone hops to dry hopping, everything must be conducted with meticulous attention to detail, and I think that effort makes the beer all the more enjoyable and satisfying to drink."

Your turn! What frugal things have you been up to lately?

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Wednesday 5th of May 2021

Ordered a bra earlier this year. I received a coupon in the mail from same store for $20 for $20.01 for my April b-day. I got nice panties for next to nothing. I really tried to get out of paying anything except tax but it did'nt work out. Daughter used a VS coupon for free pair of panties.

Wednesday 5th of May 2021

Yay for free birthday swag -- great hauls!! It sounds like so much delicious fun!!

1. Picked up Treasure box items for school very cheap -- silly putty for 49 cents, modeling clay 1.49, shiny jeweled lanyards for 99 cents, etc. Positive reinforcements :) 2. Gleefully pulling out all kinds of old clothes (many forgotten) as my size changes. So happy not to be shopping and still having fresh "new" stuff to wear. 3. How cheap am I? Had an $8.00 pair of capris on clearance cuz they was mistin' a button so I sewed a big old button on and wore the heck out of them until they literally went into the rag bin, patches and all. Now, I have pulled out another pair of capris that fit again and they is also mistin' a button. So I removed that same button to use on the "newer" pair. Wondering how many generations of capris will be graced with this fine button. 4. All the usual -- eating in, using my Starbucks gift cards for occasional iced cold brews, pulling out all the old sandals to get through the summer, signing up at both the county and city libraries for the next book club read (not looking good -- there are hundreds in the queue. Why we should read OLD classics instead of the latest blockbuster ) and that is it.

Wednesday 5th of May 2021

1. We have various mint varieties and catnip doing a hostile take over of my greens garden box, so I've been drying herbs like crazy.

2. I have a couple volunteer tomato plants growing up in my garden plot.

3. My other veggies were all started from seeds, some from last year's seeds.

4. Went to the Amish bulk food store and stocked up on Oats and cream of wheat. It was half to two thirds cheaper than the grocery store.

5. Using my paper stash, some I've had for 10+ years, to make cards for people at church.

Wednesday 5th of May 2021

1. My grocery bill this week for our family of 5 is $65. I'll still go to our local farm market and get a gallon of strawberries which will be another $17 but still a really low grocery bill for us! 2. Our slide out kitchen garbage can isn't staying closed. Rather than replace the cabinet or the drawer glides I ordered a pack of magnetic catches for $6 that should do the job. 3. I mended two dresses rather than get rid of them. 4. I usually grow a few kinds of veggies every summer and found a local HS that was selling plants through their FFA group. They were a lot cheaper than a home improvement store or nursery and it supported the students. I spent $8 on 12 plants which was a great deal! 5. Cleaning out the house on one of my quarterly purges. Keeps clutter down and ensures that items we aren't using can be beneficial to other people!

Wednesday 5th of May 2021

Looks like you did very well with the birthday freebies! :-) I have an April birthday, too, and some of the freebies I redeemed were: free cupcake at Sprinkle's (yummy!), free veggie burger at Red Robin, free sub at Firehouse, free sub at Jersey Mikes', free chocolate cake at Portillo's, free breakfast at Black Bear Diner (a great deal because their breakfasts are huge!), free Italian ice at Rita's (great for those of us who can't eat regular ice cream), $5.00 off at El Pollo Loco, $5.00 off at Cafe Rio, free small sandwich at Schlotzky's, free pastry at Panera (I got a chocolate chip cookie. that bear claw looked incredible, though!), $10.00 off at Maggiano's, free hand lotion at the local Hallmark Gold Crown store, free entree (with purchase of an entree) at The Keg, and several local freebies. :-) Thank you, Kristen, for the head's up on Potbelly Subs. I just signed up for their app. I also had no idea about the benefits of the CVS app! :-)

Best Food Forward

Best Food Forward (BFF) is a collaborative and holistic approach to food security. By providing healthy food and nutrition education for schools and families at five schools in the Warren Consolidated School District:

Good nutrition is basic to good health and improves outcomes for students and families.

BFF Mobile Pantries:

The monthly truckloads of healthy and delicious foods occur at schools. Families are provided with about 30 pounds of food like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain items, protein, milk, and other shelf-stable grocery items.

Call ahead to confirm the date/time at (586) 698 – 4120. You can attend at any school at a time that is most convenient for you.

School Meals:

Did you know that your child can receive breakfast at school?

For more information, contact us at 1.888.4.WCSKIDS (1-888-492-7543) and mention “Best Food Forward.”

Meet Up and Eat Up is providing healthy lunches to fuel your summer, free! Summer lunch is available beginning 7/1/20 through 8/28/20 at Siersma Elementary School, Monday – Friday from 12:25pm – 12:45pm.

Neighborhood Pantries:

Community food pantries are places where families can get free groceries. Contact one of the resources in our Best Food Forward community for more information:

Woodside Bible Church – Warren Campus
Operates a community food pantry, thrift store, and laundromat.
27300 Hoover Rd, Warren 48093
(586) 571-1985

Liberty Family Outreach
Operates a mobile food pantry.
3800 E Eleven Mile Rd, Warren 48901
(586) 754-2400

Holy Cross Lutheran
Provides emergency food assistance to families.
30003 Ryan Rd, Warren 48901
(586) 751-2517

Macomb Food Program
Provides information and referral to emergency food resources in the community.
(586) 469-6004


Take the stress out of mealtime with FEAST. Parents of very young children can learn how to manage picky eaters and mealtime tantrums while promoting positive eating habits.

April 29, 2021 | 9:00am - 10:15am: Join online here

Cooking Matters:

Would you like to create healthy meals on a budget that your family will enjoy? Participants receive groceries and a handbook with recipes and tips for stretching their food budgets. The series is six weeks for two hours.

Cooking Matters for Parents:

"Hack Your Snack" Virtual Class: May 25, 2021 | 4:00pm - 5:00pm: Join online here

Cooking Matters at the Store:

Cooking Matters at the Store for Adults is a guided grocery store tour that teaches low-income adults how to get the most nutrition for their food dollars. During the 1.5 hour tour, participants are empowered with four key food skills:

1. Reading food labels
2. Comparing unit prices
3. Finding whole grain foods
4. Identifying three ways to purchase produce

Join us for a free interactive online class coming up! Participants receive a $15 grocery store gift card:

Thursday, May 20, 2021 | 2:00pm - 3:30pm: Register online here

Tuesday, June 1, 2021 | 1:00pm - 2:30pm: Register online here

Thursday, June 10, 2021 | 4:00pm - 5:30pm: Register online here

Cooking Matters for Kids:

Children ages 8-12 learn how to prepare healthy recipes independently and make smart choices in school, shopping, or eating out.

Cooking Matters for Teens

Teens ages 13-18 learn how to prepare healthy recipes and make smart choices in school, shopping, or eating out.

@Beer Middle School starting April 13 from 3:30pm - 5:00pm through May 18: Register online here

@Beer Middle School starting April 15 from 3:30pm - 5:00pm through May 20: Register online here

RecConnect Resources


Resource for Parents

Nutrition Information

Managing Food Resources

Get Involved

Would you like to volunteer or participate in the Parent Advisory Committee? PAC members help support healthy food access and habits in the homes of Warren Consolidated families and students by developing new programs and improving the ones that we have. If you care about providing healthy food for kids and families, and have time to volunteer, you can inquire about the PAC. We meet virtually on the third Wednesday of every month at 5:30pm. BFF offers committee members a grocery store gift card for each meeting attended.

Interested? Please fill out our interest form here. We will be in touch shortly.

If you or your student are interested in participating in any of the BFF activities listed here and have questions, contact "Fritz" (Elizabeth Fritz-Cottle) at [email protected] for more information.

BFF Clubs

These clubs are forming at your child’s school. Students in the elementary schools will be engaging in cooking, nutrition, and fitness activities. Middle school students can participate in a service club that works on a healthy food project. Please check back here later for more information.

Learn at Home

Are you curious about the amount of sugar in your favorite drinks? Or how whole grains behave differently in our bodies? Try one of these activities at home with what you can find in the pantry (English and Spanish).

Partnership with WSU

Wayne State University is partnering with the Best Food Forward partners, staff, and families within the school district to evaluate the project. As a partner, WSU works to discover how the BFF project partners are helping families connect with healthier food options in the school and the community. WSU will learn from families in the school district the strengths and challenges of the BFF project, of the community, and of the school district by asking parents or guardians and their students to take a survey and participate in a health screening. The WSU team will use what they have learned to improve the project, the community, and the school environment. You can expect a full report by spring 2022.

If you have questions about the evaluation please contact:
Dr. Rachael Dombrowski
[email protected]

Link 2 Feed

Link 2 Feed is an online system that will enable faster check-in and social distancing at mobile pantries.

Once you register you will receive a client service number, save this number by writing it down or taking a screenshot on your phone. Present this number at the next mobile you attend to receive a client services card. The client services can be used for check-in at each mobile pantry distribution.

If you are unable to complete the Link 2 Feed registration online you can request a paper registration form at the next mobile distribution you attend.

Inspired by Mary’s story? Ready to launch a business of your own? Already in business and ready to scale up?

The M5 Academy and M5 Entrepreneurs is an opportunity to learn directly from Mary and to connect with other small business entrepreneurs. Choose from either the Business Boot Camp for entrepreneurs just starting out or the Small Business from Scratch course featuring three different education modules and 76 chapters of content and resources.

Brian and Mary Heffernan spent years in the business world in Silicon Valley before becoming cattle ranchers six years ago. They built a new model from scratch to raise and sell their ranch raised meats directly to customers all over the country by selling online and shipping.

This course includes everything they’ve learned to build and grow a Small Business from Scratch, especially in the agricultural arena - from formation and branding to social media and shipping - in an easy to follow online course with video modules as well as companion workbooks, links, downloads and an online community of like-minded entrepreneurs to offer support, discounted rates and guidance along the way. Complete with practical information and resources to take your business to the next level no matter what stage of business you are in and the tools to do it efficiently and cost effectively.

Mary and Brian are passionate about empowering entrepreneurs with the the tools to build and grow successful businesses from the ground up and to inspire agricultural business owners to fulfill and continue to grow their small business dreams and find profits quickly. They offer live Q&A sessions in the community and are active in the platform daily to help guide and answer questions.

Mary says : “I get asked often how to successfully start a business on a shoestring and make it work, how to build a business from scratch and how to balance everything. There is no short answer.It’s a lot of work - but with the right direction you can go into it confidently, one step at a time and make it happen. In this course, I offer guidance and advice on how to actually make a living by starting and running a small business from scratch - without requiring a lot of outside professionals. With a strong foundation and doing things right from the start, and by learning the tools to do these things yourself…


Beer may not seem an obvious choice on a Caribbean island known for its rum, but Wadadli beer is unique to Antigua. Brewed on the island and named from the old word for the Antiguan people, Wadadli is a light, sweet lager, perfect for drinking on a balmy Antiguan evening by the water. Wadadli is not widely available outside of the Caribbean, so you’ll have to enjoy plenty of it while you’re in Antigua.

Brew Dogs: 5 ‘Beers’ for Thirsty Pooches

As craft beer exploration and merriment have become more commonplace among humans, and with many breweries and bars welcoming patrons’ furry friends, companies are responding with the next best thing to getting drunk with your dog: dog beer.

A bit of a disclaimer: Dog beer is non-alcoholic, un-carbonated, and doesn’t contain hops. It does contain malt extract, along with a bevy of other healthy-for-dogs ingredients, so you might think of it like a nutritional homebrew, without the fermentation.

Every Beer Lover Needs This Hop Aroma Poster

It’s meant to be enjoyed as a treat or a supplement, and can be served on its own, over food, or even frozen. Plus, the packaging is pretty adorable, so at the very least it’s just plain fun.

Bowser Beer

Born of Bowser Bits, which are dog pretzels that founder Jenny Brown first created in 2007, Bowser Beer is the natural progression of a festival-inspired, beer-and-pretzel pairing for pooches. This one is almost the real deal: Like real beer, it comes in a six-pack, is sold at beer stores, breweries, and restaurants, and comes in a variety of flavors, including Beefy Brown Ale, Cock-a-Doodle Brew, and Porky Pug Porter.

Bonus: Bowser Brew six-packs are available with customizable labels, and 15 percent of purchase price is donated to charities.

#apollopeak #dogbeer #dogwine #friday

A post shared by Apollo Peak (@apollopeak) on Feb 2, 2018 at 7:49am PST

Apollo Peak

Apollo Peak has it all: dog beer, dog wine, cat beer, cat wine, and more. The “pet wine” company based in Golden, Colo. aims to “bridge the social divide between humans and their pets.” It did so by creating beverages with all-organic and natural ingredients. The dog beer collection includes a variety of flavors mimicking the real thing: Mutt Lyte, Twisted Tail Ale, Black Print Pawsner, ESB (Extra Special Biter), and our favorite, Oatmeal Snout. Each recipe comes with a different dog health benefit, from increased playfulness to fresh breath.

Dawg Grog

This one’s for the vegetarians. Launched in 2012 in beer-loving Bend, Ore., Dawg Grog is more supplement than brewski, available in 8-ounce pouches with different serving suggestions, depending on the size of your pooch. This one combines actual brewers wort (the malted barley soup that becomes beer once it’s fermented) with K-9 vegetarian glucosamine, vegan trace mineral supplement, and water from the Oregon mountains, and can be served over dry or wet food, with water, or on its own as a liquid treat. Got a dog who loves ice cubes? Freeze this one up into lickable, bite-sized treats.

Bark Brew

Another gem, from, est. 2016, is Bark Brew. Available in three flavors — Beef Ale, Chicken Ale, and Calm Ale, which adds hemp extract for an extra-calming formula — you’re best bet is to purchase this one in a Pawty Pack.

Snuffle Dog Beer

Should you find yourself on a Belgian beercation with your four-legged ride or die, Snuffle, based in Antwerp, has the dog beer for you. Invented “after a hunting exercise in the Swiss Alps,” Snuffle was first released in 2009 and takes pride in providing “beer in the emotional sense” for dogs, made with human-grade ingredients including beef or chicken, malt extract, mineral oils, and vitamin B. Snuffle also makes Snuffle Fries, which will pair nicely for pooch while you’re enjoying your Belgian frites.

Five on Friday: 5 Favorite Beer Can Labels - Recipes

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Bar carts are all the rage and have been for several years now. Our bar cart is one of my most favorite things in our whole house and we have it stocked with all of the practical items we need + a bunch of fun items to make it a very festive focal point in our kitchen.

Today I'm sharing a few favorite items that you can add to yours so you have the most festive, well-stocked bar cart of your own!

Copper mugs are essential for the Moscow Mule lover! They keep drinks ice cold, and they’re a beautiful addition to any bar cart. Just be sure to purchase mugs that are 100% authentic copper. Brian and I have had mugs by this brand for years and we’ve used them countless times. They just keep getting better with age.

2 – Cocktail Recipe Book

While there are plenty of free cocktail recipes online, it’s always fun to keep a recipe book on hand… it’s functional and it can also serve as something cute to display on your cart. I love this book because it has a compilation of easy recipes accompanied by beautiful pictures for each, and it has a beautiful cover for display. And if you do decide to display yours, don’t forget to grab a stand!

For the wine connoisseur, it’s essential to have a good wine opener. This one is, by far , the easiest one we’ve ever used. You just clamp the handle around the bottle top, push down on the handle, and pull up on the handle, and the cork magically comes right out. We’ve had this wine opener for years and no other wine opener beats this one. Believe me, we’ve tried many.

Mimosas anyone? These champagne glasses are the most gorgeous champagne glasses I’ve ever seen, and they’re probably my favorite glasses in our entire house. They’re incredibly tall, and they’re sleek, and they’re just stunning , y’all. I seriously want to start drinking more champagne just so I can use them more often. I dare you to hold one and not feel fancy. Definitely a must for any champagne lover.

Good wine glasses are also a must for a well-stocked bar cart, and these are my all-time favorite ones. Again, these are incredible – they’re from Crate and Barrel just like the champagne glasses – and they’re HUGE. If you were ever a fan of Scandal, then they probably look familiar as these are the exact ones that Kerry Washington’s character, Olivia Pope, famously used on the show. I’ve used them for years and they’re my all-time favorite wine glasses… again, I dare you to hold one and not feel like the fanciest person ever.

Another important tool for the wine lover is a good wine preserver as it removes the air from open bottles and seals them tightly to keep wine fresh until the next use. We love this one and have used it for years.

Oh hey, if you’re looking for bar cart essentials, then you’re going to need a good bar cart! There are soooo many options out there, but I absolutely LOVE this one. It looks great, it rolls around easily, and it’s portable… it even folds flat for easy transport or storage. At less than $70, it’s also a great deal!

We keep loads of koozies on hand at our house to pass out when we have people over… gotta keep those beers cold! This one is currently my fave. o)

This is obviously not a necessity, but MAN, is it so fun to have a disco ball laying around… the ultimate in festive!

I’m a sucker for cute cocktail napkins, and these are perfect to dress up any bar cart for any occasion. And if you’re looking for napkins for a specific event or holiday, Amazon has loads of them!

11 – Light Up Letter Board

This letter board is the perfect little accessory for your bar cart. We keep one on ours at all times and I change the words on it frequently quoting song lyrics, movies, other cute little expressions, or it could be used for a sentiment specific to any event you’re hosting. If you host get-togethers and parties a lot at your house, this would be the perfect little novelty item to add a little bit of fun to your cart.

12 – Cocktail Shaker Set

This set comes with everything you need to make the perfect cocktail – shaker, jigger, strainer, mixing spoon, tongs, and a bottle opener. Everything is housed in a stylish wooden stand and it would look great on any bar cart. We have this exact set and we love it.

Yes, I know this is redundant, but this koozie was too cute not to share on my graphic. I mean, summertime is upon us and many of us will be taking trips to the beach… who doesn’t want to do a little day drinkin’? o)

And last, but not least, some festive paper straws are the perfect way to liven up your bar cart, match any event you’re celebrating, and they’re functional because you’ll be needing them in your cocktails. I bought these white ones with gold stars for New Year’s Eve, but there are hundreds of different colors and themes on Amazon.

While I didn’t include these in my graphic, I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you to grab a strand of twinkle lights to add to your bar cart, too. Nothing transforms a whole room like twinkle lights, y’all!

Oh yeah, and don't forget the actual alcohol!! o) We always keep red wine and beer on hand + the following liquors and mixers:

Five on Friday: 5 Favorite Beer Can Labels - Recipes

Inspired by my research into hop glycosides and yeast biotransformation for the July/August issue of Brew Your Own (subscribe here), I brewed an American IPA that showed off yeast-hop interaction. I love the aroma of raw right-from-the-bag hops, but I prefer a base of softer less-green/grassy aromatics. The science is a bit dry, but some yeast strains have the ability to free aromatics and convert certain compounds into more interestingly aromatic ones. From a sensory perspective, the result is a weaker aroma ounce for ounce of hops (requiring a higher hopping rate), but much juicier perception.

The North East has really been killing hoppy beers the last few years. Alchemist and Hill Farmstead started the trend, but newer breweries brewing wonderfully hoppy things include: Trillium, Tree House, Tired Hands, Other Half, and Fiddlehead. What unites them is a bit more yeast character than indistinct Cal/American ale, a wonderfully juicy/fruity/saturated aroma, soft mouthfeel, balanced bitterness, and less than spectacular clarity. A big change from what East Coast IPA meant five years ago: a malty IPA somewhere between American and English IPA.

For yeast, I selected Wyeast 1318 London III (alleged to be from Boddington’s). Not exactly the first strain you’d think of for an American IPA, but my friend Sean had good luck with it and it has been rumored to be the house strain at a hop-specialist brewery. If you are fermenting with WY1318, make sure you use a blow-off I had never had to worry about 5.5 gallons of mid-gravity beer in an 8 gallon fermentor before!

I included flaked corn (because I had it sitting around) and wheat in the mash. These two adjuncts work counter, with the corn diluting the protein content of the wort while the wheat increases it. I’d read (somewhere) that the proteins in wheat flour are especially foam-positive even compared to flaked wheat, so I wanted to give it a try. I mixed the flour into the milled grain to distribute it, but even at this relatively low amount (half a pound in 10 gallons) the lauter was slower than I’m accustomed to.

The end of the boil brought on big dose of hops (Galaxy and Simcoe), allowing them to steep in the hot wort before chilling. The more hops added to the beer on the hot-side, the more of their water-soluble compounds (like glycosides) the yeast will be able to interact with. I added the first dose of dry hops midway through fermentation, again to allow more yeast-hop interactions. As a side-note, always smell each bag of hops before adding them to the beer I had to throw away an ounce of Galaxy while brewing and dry hopping because they smelled less than fresh compared to the other packets.

The second half of this batch (pulled before the bittering hops) is well on its way to being an apricot sour – but more about that next week!

Appearance – The draft pour is more hefeweizen or wit than IPA (even extra-hoppy IPA). Translucent peach, I can barely make out my fingers on the opposite side of the glass. Cloudy/hazy side of muddy, but just barely (and this is after a few weeks in the keg!). A few flecks of hop matter in suspension. Pillowy white head, with unremarkable retention.

Smell – Juicy hops, mission accomplished! The Simcoe in the keg provides some hints of resiny pine, but the overwhelming impression is that of freshly squeezed grapefruit and mango. Everything a hoppy beer ought to be: bright, fresh, and vibrant. As I reach the bottom of the glass, just a hint of fresh grain.

Taste – Revitalizing nectar! Juicy ripe citrus and stone fruit. The bitterness is restrained, but present. The finish is long and slightly resiny compared to the front/mid palate. No weird yeastiness, and no alcohol hotness.

Mouthfeel – It has that softness of some of my favorite IPAs. It isn’t sharp at all thanks to the yeast, wheat, and chloride. Could be slightly fuller, especially in the finish. No corn next time?

Drinkability & Notes – Not sure if it was the yeast or the wheat that turned this into one of my cloudier batches. Despite that, one of a string of excellent mid-gravity hoppy beers. I’m not sure why I ever brew DIPAs? I’ll be trying WY1318 again without the flour to see if it really is that un-flocculant.

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 5.50
Total Grain (Lbs): 12.25
Anticipated OG: 1.058
Anticipated SRM: 3.7
Anticipated IBU: 57.3
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72 %
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

1.38 oz. Magnum (Pellet, 11.50% AA) @ 60 min.
2.00 oz. Simcoe (Pellet, 14.00% AA) @ 0 min.
2.00 oz. Galaxy (Pellet, 12.00% AA) @ 0 min.
3.00 oz. Galaxy (Pellet, 12.00% AA) Dry Hop Primary
3.00 oz. Simcoe (Whole, 14.00% AA) Keg Hop

0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 8 min.
0.50 Whirlfloc @ 8 min.

Water Profile
Profile: Washington, Hoppy

Mash Schedule
Sacch Rest - 30 min @ 154F

5/23/15 - 2 L stir-plate starter with a 3 month old Wyeast pack of 1318.

Note: this recipe was actually double everything listed, half was run off after 30 minutes for souring.

Mash was 3 gallons of distilled, plus 4.25 filtered DC tap. 2 tsp of 10% phosphoric acid. 6 g each CaCl and Gypsum. Mash pH = 5.33 after 5 minutes of recirculation. 1 gallon of distilled added as a cold sparge. 120 PPM chloride and 140 PPM sulfate, including mash and sparge water.

Collected 6.5 gallons of 1.045 runnings. Boiled 30 minutes without hops. Topped off the boil with 3/4 gallon of filtered tap water.

Added flame-out hops. Whirpooled for 5 minutes, settled for 25. Down to 170F naturally. Thanks to warm-weather ground water only able to chill to 72F. Left at 62F to chill for five hours before pitching.

5/27/15 Added the 3 oz of Galaxy dry hops. Warmed to 66F to encourage fermentation to finish strong.

6/4/15 Kegged with 3 oz of whole Simcoe. Still very cloudy. Right into the fridge. FG 1.013.

You may get a stuffy nose.


The sulfites and histamines in wine, particularly red wine, are common triggers of congestion, flushing, itching, and other allergy reactions. It doesn't take much. Even a glass of wine can launch a significant allergic reaction, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. So imagine what a full bottle can do to you if you're sensitive. We're talking hives, red, itchy eyes, even difficulty breathing.

7 of the best beer brewing kits to keep the suds flowing

There’s nothing quite like kicking up your feet and popping open an ice cold beer when you get home. The only thing that might beat that? Washing down a beer that you brewed yourself.

Granted, homebrewing isn’t exactly a quick or easy task. However, homebrewers find real rewards and pleasure in cultivating this craft — including the occasional bragging rights.

The buzz kill: knowing what kind of beer brewing kit is complicated. Beer brewing niche blogs dispense with conflicting advice, like what size kettle you should invest in, or what type of auto siphon you should buy. If you’ve just begun this journey, you might be asking yourself, “So… what exactly is a wort anyway? And how do I safely sanitize my beers?”

Never fear. This guide will go over some of the best homemade brew kits on the market and help you weigh what’s worth it and what’s not. As with any product purchase, you should ask yourself what kind of brew experience you’re looking for. Small craft batches or larger scale? A way to dip your toes, or dive into it head first?

Settle in, uncap your favorite beverage, and sift through our reviews to find the best brewing kit for you — or a friend. These brewing kits all make the best gifts.