About I Stop For Hops

I’ve been blessed to be able to visit a number of breweries and brew pubs across the United States and have enjoyed many wonderful tours given by passionate brewers and have enjoyed many wonderful pints of great beer.  This blog is a simple opportunity for me to share my experiences with others who may be interested.  I hope you find something you enjoy.

Helio Basin Brewing Company, Phoenix, AZ

I stopped in at Helio Basin Brewing Company in Phoenix, Arizona.  Taco Tuesday.  Two tacos and a core beer for $10. Yes! I love Taco Tuesday!  Blackberry Blonde is a delicious blonde ale with enough blackberry flavor to distinguish it but its not fruity.  The tacos were OUTSTANDING!  I went on to sample a few more of their beers – all wonderful.  And also enjoyed nachos.  The beers and food here are wonderful and if I could pick one place in Phoenix to have a beer and a meal this would be the place.  Also is very comfortable.  Has a great vibe.  And the bartenders were very attentive and helpful.  Great experience.  I look forward to returning the next time I’m in Phoenix.

My only regret is I didn’t get one of their cool t-shirts.

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Helton Brewing Company, Phoenix, AZ

I stopped in at Helton Brewing Company in Phoenix, Arizona.  After scanning the tap list I decided to go with the Scotch Style.  I’d call it Scotch Ale.  With all of the attention on sours these days and the countless IPAs out there I often like to go with another style to enjoy.  This beer did not disappoint!  Ths has got to be one of the best Scotch Ales I’ve had.  And, after visiting over 600 breweries I’ve had quite a few.  I wouldn’t have thought Phoenix would be the place I’d be having such a great Scotch Ale.  I think of Phoenix with lighter beers geared toward the hot weather.  I love being surprised.  And I fully enjoyed this beer!

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Guinness Open Gate Brewery and Barrel House, Baltimore, MD

I stopped in at Guinness Open Gate and Brewery and Barrel House with my son for a beer.  This was the first beer with my youngest son since he turned 21 and could order in public.  We enjoyed the drive to the Baltimore suburbs near BWI airport.  The brewery was quite busy on Saturday afternoon.  This was our first visit, having recommendations from close family friends.  Although we had not planned in advance and were unable to take a guided tour we did walk through a number of the exhibits self-guided.  We enjoyed sharing a burger and a flatbread in the restaurant and each had a flight of beers.  There’s nothing like Guinness draft and that was clearly my favorite.  Velvety smooth, easy to drink and easy to pair with any food.  Having one at the only US Guinness brewery was a delight.  Hopefully some day I’ll have one in Ireland.

Brouwerij Troost, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Great stop in my trip to Amsterdam, Brouwerij Troost.  I stopped in with my wife and enjoyed the Honingblond (honey blonde) and my wife actually enjoyed a few sips with me and said she liked it.  That NEVER happens.  She doesn’t like beer.  I attribute it to the lovely honey sweetness that comes through in the beer.  This beer was sweet and strong and a great way to bridge from lunch until dinner.  It fueled us for a walk through Vondelpark.

Brouwerij ‘t IJ, Amsterdam, Netherlands

I stopped in at Brouwerij ‘t IJ in Aamsterdam, Netherlands.  This is the first brewery I’ve visited in Europe in over 30 years.  What a great time walking around Amsterdam.  And what a beautiful brewery with a windmill right on the river.  The ZATTE tripel was the beer I had to try, being the brewery’s first and flagship beer.  It was delicious and renewed my enthusiasm to better appreciate Belgian styles.  Sweet and strong.

Two Tides Brewing Company, Savannah, GA

I stopped in at Two Tides Brewing Company in Savannah, Georgia with a colleague for a beer.  Well, I couldn’t decide so a flight of sours made sense.  The Chromatose Blackberry Sour and the Obvious Answer Morello Cherry and Plum Sour were absolutely amazing.  Enough fruit flavor to cut the sour but still sour and not sweet at all.  Delicious.  Dry.  Would have been great with food.

Tasty Bois Imperial Stout with toasted marshmallow and coconut will go down in the record books as the perfect dessert beer.  I’d throw vanilla ice cream in this all day long.  Amazing!

The artwork is really cool too!

KC Bier Company, Kansas City, MO

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I recently completed the Cicerone German Beer Styles Course and I felt like KC Bier Company in Kansas City was a perfect setting and set of example beers of the major German styles.  Wish I had been able to do my studying here – i would have passed sooner.

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I pretty much tried them all.  Dunkel is rich. Hefeweizen is refreshing.  Helles and Pils are crisp. Radler – wish it was spring and I’d just come in from a long bike ride.  Maibock – yes – I feel like a monk during lent with only Maibock and no food.  And, Winterbock, warming, cozy.  Ausgezeichnet!  I think my high school German teacher would approve of that.  One of the few words I remember.

My friend, Ashton, tipped me off to this place and I’m so glad he did.  I only had one night in Kansas City and I really enjoyed the beers here and wish I had more time to hang out.

Boulevard Brewing Company, Kansas City, MO

I stopped in at Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, Missouri.  It’s been too long!  My last visit was 2011 and their tasting room and swag shop were the size of a, well, closet.  Now there’s a whole new building which is spacious and beautiful.

The Kolsch and Pils were great examples of these beer styles.  Single Wide IPA is a fabulous, easy to drink, IPA.  Hoppy enough but not too much.  I was into the Jam Band because i enjoy fruit flavors – especially when not overdone.  And, this fruit beer was vert tasty and both sweet and tart.

Just give me more Lime Gose.  This is all I need til I die.  Crisp.  Slightly sweet.  Tart.  Full of flavor.  I enjoyed the Irish Ale.  Being half Irish I can see why.  Tank 7 never disappoints!  Bourbon Barrel Quad – nothing else needs to be said.  Awesome.

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