Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday Night Suds - Leinenkugel Fireside Nut Brown Lager Plus Bonus Nine Days Havdalah Guide

This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Leinenkugel's Fireside Nut Brown Lager and also provide a 9 days havdalah guide.

The Fireside Nut Brown Lager is a winter beer which the Leinenkugel folks include in their beers of winter box. Having said that, it is not a typical winter brew, since notwithstanding the color of the beer, it is not a heavy or dark beer.

The Fireside Nut Brown Lager poured a rich, dark brown which made me think of some of the finer dark lagers when I saw it in my cup. Unfortunately, that is where the resemblance ended. The beer has a strong artificial taste which I can't put my finger on, but I assume is meant to make one think that the beer has a nutty flavor which is supposed to be derived from the malt. However, the flavor is not reminiscent of nutty malts and is more akin to light liquid smoke or other additive. The result is a beer which is slightly syrupy and smoky, but with no body or complexity.

Leinenkugel Fireside Nut Brown Lager is certified kosher by the Orthodox Union, although the product currently in the marketplace does not yet have an OU on the label. If you would like a copy of the LOC please contact me via email.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about Leinenkugel Fireside Nut Brown Lager, please follow this link

As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver.If you've tried this beer or any others which have been reviewed on the kosher beers site, please feel free to post your comments (anonymous comments are acceptable).

Bonus section - Nine Days Havdalah Guide.

In years past, I would receive numerous email and cell phone messages prior to Shabbos Chazon (the Saturday within the summer nine days mourning period) with questions as to what would be a good choice to make havdalah on. Since this year the Shabbos of the Nine Days actually falls one week early, I have presented the annual Nine Days Havdalah guide in this email to allow people to get an early look at alternatives to wine.

By way of introduction, on Saturday nights after the evening prayer is said, Jews have a special set of blessings that are said by which we separate between the holy shabbos and the rest of the week. There is a custom to say this prayer on a cup of wine, however this custom needs modification when the Saturday falls during the nine days of mourning.

As noted by the Orthodox Union on their website:

Meat and wine are prohibited during the Nine Days, except on Shabbat. Meat and wine are associated both with joy AND with Temple service. Both reasons combine to explain this prohibition.Even though havdala is officially after Shabbat, one is permitted to drink wine. It is preferable to give the wine to a child who is old enough to understand brachot but not yet old enough to understand the concept of "mourning for Jerusalem". Alternately, some authorities recommend the use of a substitute beverage for havdala such as fruit juice, beer, etc. Other authorities insist on wine as usual.

Should your local Rabbi direct you to utilize non-wine in your havdalah, there are multiple options to use to fulfill the havdalah requirement. Indeed, my father in law will use diet soda (or as he says "diet pop"). I recall as a child seeing my father on one occasion use hard alcohol for havdalah (and then burn the decorative plate my sibling made when he tried to put out the candle).

To me, the simplest answer to the havdalah dilemma (and one that is widely recommended by rabbinic authorities) is to use beer, which in the time of the talmud was called chamra d'medina - the wine of the masses. This brings us to the reason I get more summer phone calls and email around this time every year - which beer would I recommend?

The number one problem with the question is that most people who ask it don't generally drink beer, so they need to have something to use for havdalah that won't have them making faces in their attempt to drink the halachic minimum level for the blessing. The second problem is that since the havdalah cup is imbibed on its own (i.e. without the benefit of food) people who might be inclined to have a beer with a meal will still have problems finishing their cup when the beer is
consumed on its own.

The easiest solution is not to have beer, but instead to make havdalah on what is commonly called alcopop. These are malt beverage drinks with some similarities to beer and a beer-like 5% alcohol content by volume, but do not have the beer taste. Some examples are the Boston Beer Company (aka Sam Adams) Twisted Teas or the Smirnoff Twisted V/Twisted Ice line. Please be aware that not every flavor of Smirnoff is certified Kosher. Indeed, the last time I looked at the CRC list, only the following flavors were certified kosher: Green Apple, Mango, Passionfruit, Pineapple, Pomegranate Fusion, Raspberry Burst, Watermelon and Wild Grape (I am unaware of whether there is actual grape in this beverage). For the complete list of those Smirnoff products and other alcopops approved by the CRC, please click here .

Another alternative to beer would be hard apple cider. For the first time that I am aware, there is a hard apple cider which is certified kosher. As you may have noticed in the picture which is at the top of the post, I have placed a bottle of Angry Orchard Apple Ginger flavored hard apple cider next to the bottle of Leinenkugel Fireside Nut Brown lager which is reviewed above. The Angry Orchard brand is a division of Samuel Adams and there are three varieties which are certified kosher by the Star-K: Traditional Dry Cider, Crisp Cider and Apple Ginger.

Since this blog is devoted to beer, I will not provide a full review of the Apple Ginger. However, suffice it to say that this would be a tasty, sweet havdalah alternative, suitable for those who prefer Moscato wines.

If you do like beer, or would like to drink something that is more manly than alcopop, the next step up would be an American wheat beer or some of the better Summer Ales. Many of these beers have been reviewed on the pages of this blog and you can search through prior Sunday Night Suds reviews to find one that might appeal to you.If you are a beer aficionado, you obviously won't need this post to tell you which ale or lager you should crack open for havdalah.

Again, I would stress that you consult your halachic authority before selecting a havdalah alternative. My Rav advises me that beer would be the first choice, followed by malt beverages and then hard apple cider. I did not ask about how the non alcohol options fit into the list.

May the world have a tikkun from our three weeks/nine days observances and may tisha b'av soon be transformed to the holiday that the gemara tells it will be in the times of moshiach bimheira biyamenu.

Ifyou have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!


Mordechai said...

Where did you find information on the Angry Orchard Ciders being Kosher? I can't find them on the Star-K website, and they are on the CRC "not recommended" list. Is this old information? A difference of opinion between the cRc and the Star-K?

Sruli Greenberger said...

Yes. whats the deal, just bought a 6 pack of angry orchard. Can I partake or return!! HELP looks so good!

Neil T said...

As I posted back in February in the review of Redd's Apple Ale ( the Angry Orchard brand of hard apple ciders are no longer certified kosher.

The Star-K has confirmed that the Angry Orchard is no longer certified kosher, but those remaining bottles with Star-K on the label may be consumed.