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Help craft the new Blue Moon

With the right tools, most anyone can make beer. Making a good beer, however, is an art — one that the Blue Moon Brewing Co. has nailed on the top of the head.

Last summer, I asked readers what their favorite cool-down potable is — Blue Moon's Belgian White Ale won by a long shot. This fall, it seems Blue Moons' harvest pumpkin was also favored by many a seasonal beer drinker. 

The latest Blue Moon creation, which is slated to be released in August, won't come entirely from the masterminds at the brewery. Through the Craft the Next Blue Moon program, they're letting consumers guide the brewing process.

People aged 21 or older are encouraged to visit Blue Moon's Facebook page to voice their opinions on their favorite brew styles, flavors, ingredients, packaging designs and names. Based on the suggestions, Blue Moon will craft three new beers, each of which fans will have the chance to sample and vote on via tasting events across the country.

Blue Moon will announce the winning consumer-inspired beer in March. The new brew will be available as the company's next limited fall release.

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John Henry comes to town

While John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Aleis nothing new to the cooler at O'Neill's Pizza Pub in Rochester, 1201 S. Broadway, I learned this week that Rochester's Schott Distributing Co., Inc., recently picked it up, so fans of this Minnesota-brewed beer can expect to see it in liquor stores soon.

John Henry is an American strong ale beer brewed by Cold Spring Brewery in Cold Spring. It's an imperial stout brew that's been aged on bourbon oak chips.

While I'm not much of a dark beer drinker, the pour of this beer is misleading. It's a very deep-colored brew, almost blackish-brown with a little hint of red. I expected it to be thick and ultra-hoppy, but it's quite the opposite. The taste was light and smooth, with layered flavors that go from caramel to chocolate and coffee, and a vanilla finish.

John Henry is 9.1 percent alcohol by volume, available in 12-ounce bottles. While online reviews are somewhat mixed, I'd say this beer is worth a try for anyone with adventurous taste buds.

On another note, I'm always on the lookout for great local happy hours. While at O'Neills, I learned that if you stop by between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, not only will you enjoy $1 off tap beers and 50 cents off mixed or bottled beverages, you can also dine on free pizza.

Know of another happy hour that's worth smiling about? Send details to me and I'll include them in a future column.

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