Saturday, January 31, 2009

Black Dog's Summer White

I'm going to Monster Jam in a few hours over at Dolphin Stadium. If you're not familiar, that is the Monster Truck show that has events all over the country. In the past two weeks, a 6 year old and a show worker were killed at Monster Truck events (although I think only one was at a Monster Jam production), so let's hope tonight there are no problems.

So I'm drinking a few pre-game beers. One I picked was Black Dog's Summer White by Spanish Peaks Brewing Co. in Frederick, MD. I'm a little confused because the label also says Founded Bozeman, Montana, but I'll get over that.

This beer is a Belgian style white ale and you can definitely taste the hints of spices and orange. It is very light and refreshing with a nice aftertaste. Not #1 on my list but certainly worth a look and taste.

It's funny that the label also says "NO WHINERS" and the picture is of a dog jumping to catch a frisbee at the lake. I really don't understand the No Whiners part, but I guess I'll get over that too.

Samuel Adams Blackberry Witbier

Here's a Sam Adams that I hadn't heard of before--Samuel Adams Blackberry Witbier. It came in one of those 6-pack Brewmaster's Collection boxes. Apparently they used some special blackberries from Oregon called Marion blackberries to give this beer its flavor. The taste is delicious, but it is not subtle as the label says. Everything about this beer screams "BLACKBERRIES" loud and clear.

Drinking and smelling this beer reminds me of summers I spent at my grandparents' house in Media, PA. Every day my brother and I would go and pick blackberries from the bushes on the back on their property at the edge of Tyler Arboretum. Then we'd eat them every night with vanilla ice cream while we played Pinochle into the late hours. Pretty cool for a 10 year old. My point is that I'm pretty sure Jim Koch could have used those blackberries for this beer as they were delicious too. BTW, Tyler Arboretum had the only Giant Sequoia trees (and maybe still does) east of the Mississippi. Take a look. They are really amazing. Two Novembers ago, I got to take my son to pick blackberries and to see those trees, so it was a cool way to share my childhood with my son.

Back to the beer. Overall impression is that this is a very nice tasting beer, refreshing, flavorful. You probably couldn't drink this all night as the blackberries would start to annoy you, but for sure it is another great one by Boston Beer Company.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Sierra Nevada Unfiltered Wheat Beer

What the hell. Let's do another tonight. It's Friday, the kids are playing nicely, Super Bowl is Sunday.

For the past half hour I've been balancing the checkbook, paying my mortgage and drinking a Sierra Nevada Wheat. I'm on #2 so have a good feel for this one by now. This beer I remember from my days in NY and it seemed to be popular there. You may know by now if you've read one or two posts that I really like the wheat beers. Well, most of them.

I'm not going to say this is not a good beer, but for me, there are other wheat beers that kick this one's ass. I know it's unfiltered, but that never bothers me. This tastes dirty though for some reason. So the flavor is pretty good but there's something that just is bothering me here. Maybe another time, another place, another batch for this one. I guess I'll stick with the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale for the near term, which is excellent.

Harbin Lager

Here's a new one for me--Harbin Lager from China. "Inspired by the Tradition and Culture of China's Most Northern Province of Heilongjiang" is what the label says.

This beer, I can't exactly put my finger on it. A little bit alcoholic, the aftertaste. It's like a lighter beer with a bit of a kick to it, whatever that means. Well, it doesn't taste like nothing and has some distinct flavors. I am not sure I could pick it out of a lineup, but probably wont have to as I only have one bottle (had one bottle). I'll go for something different next time.

First Chinese beer I can remember having (I've probably had some before but remembering is the key word). I look forward to visiting China to see if they have anything else in the way of beer.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Anchor Steam Beer

Great San Francisco Beer from Anchor Brewing Co. I am pretty sure that the Steam part of the name has to do with the way beers on the California coast used to be made. This beer has a very nice flavor and a little bit bitter aftertaste that is refreshing.

Pick yourself up a 6-pack if you haven't had this one before and you'll have a nice evening. These guys got something good going--small brewery but national distribution. I'm about as far from San Francisco as possible (in values too, except beer-wise) but this small brewery has a place on the Hialeah Publix shelf. Nice Job!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale

Here's a great beer from England--Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale, brewed at the Old Brewery Tadcaster in Yorkshire, England. Not a cheap beer by any stretch, but worth every penny. This is a dark, nutty (surprise) and very tasty beer. I've had this beer before many times, but I'm thinking it's time to get to know Samuel Smith better again. I remember a few of their other beers that were awesome as well.

Go pick yourself up a 4-pack of this one. Yep, they sell this in 4-packs and not 6 as far as I can tell. What the hell--pick yourself up a full case--4 and 6 both go into 24 pretty easily. Genius!

I'm gonna have to go look for other "Samuel" named beers as they so far are batting 1000, with Adams and Smith and all their varieties. Know of any others you can recommend to me?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Lowenbrau Original

Tonight, let it be Lowenbrau. Hard to forget that tag line from TV commercials growing up in the 70's and 80's even though I was extremely under age. I hadn't heard that line in a while nor heard the name Lowenbrau in like, forever. So when I saw it today at the store, I decided to give it a whirl. I can't say that I've ever even drank this before.

I also did some digging. Apparently the Lowenbrau from the US market 20 years ago was somehow licensed to Miller and different than the Lowenbrau from Munich. But since about 6 or 7 years ago, Lowenbrau has been sending the beer direct from Munich in it's 11.2 oz 5.2% alcohol bottles. It also is trying to show you it's the original beer by selling and branding it as Lowenbrau Original, not the one with the Miller spin on it.

Alas, Lowenbrau is somehow linked to InBev, what a shock!

The label says it's malt liquor. Now I've had my share of 40's and even bought them in 40-town in Yonkers, NY when I lived there. This is not quite the same thing as Old English, but for sure you can taste it. The beer has an OK taste. I do feel like I'm drinking beer at my grandparent's house and they bought one of the cheaper beers just to stock the fridge. Very alcoholic aftertaste, but like I said before, tonight, let it be Lowenbrau.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Foster's Lager

It's been kind of a dry week. But tonight I ordered up a 12 pack of Foster's Lager. Now I am sure you know that "Foster's" is Australian for Beer. Great, you've paid attention to all the commercials over the years, some good, some great, some whatever. But while my Foster's is in the same bottle as times past, it is NOT Australian. It's made under the supervision of Foster's Australia by Oil Can Breweries in Albany, GA and Fort Worth, TX. Nothing says Australia to me quite like Albany, GA!

The beer--would be great on a hot day. Unfortunately it's the coldest day in Miami in the 2000's. It was like 32 degrees last night. Better check on my tomatoes. Seriously, I don't really give a shit about the temperature outside going with a particular beer. Guinness on a 90 degree day is just fine with me. Foster's is solid, not awesome. It doesn't taste like water and has a nice flavor.

I do prefer it in the traditonal Oil Can 22 ouncer for some reason. I used to buy that regularly from the beer guy at Grand Central by the tracks when I had 10 seconds to spare before missing the next train. Ah, Metro North. Where drinking on the public transportation is allowed and welcome.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Peculier Pub New York City

First. Peculier is spelled correctly. I was reminiscing about this great bar I used to go to when living in New York. The Peculier Pub on Bleeker Street in the Village has one of the best and most different selections of beers available--their web site says over 500 bottles and 17 on tap. And the really cool thing is that the ones on tap are not just Bud Light and Michelob Amber Bock, but different ones.

The atmosphere is cool, but may be geared for a 25-35 aged crowd. It's a little dirty, a little disorganized, you sit on old church pews, the bathrooms are very small and dated. But you know what you came for--trying a bunch of new beers in a relaxed environment. Here's the beer menu.

I've tried many beers there for my first time. Delirium Tremens is one that I can remember, mainly because of the name and the unique bottle it came in. Reminds me I gotta pick up a bottle of that again to write about it.

So if you need a place to go for a beer while in NYC, this is the one to check out.

Tell me your favorite spot or your best memory of the Peculier Pub.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Grolsch Premium Lager

We had a few Grolsches (if that's how you make it plural) on Christmas eve before leaving the office for a few days. But I wanted to have one in front of me again so I can write here without memory of a month back. Funny, the label says since 1615 and that reminded me that was the exact time we started drinking that December day (4:15pm for those that aren't following me here).

Anyway, Grolsch is from Holland. I can remember the first time I had Grolsch. My Uncle Dave gave me one at a party at Grandma's house. I was over 21, so being under age isn't why my memory is so good. Actually, it's because this beer had a cork on it. Not sure when they dropped that, or even if they did completely but i just used a lighter to pry off the top of this one.

As far as the taste... Pretty standard light beer. It's good but not memorable (oh God, I think one week of Simon on American Idol put that in my mouth). Anyway, middle-of-the-road beer. One thing I can say is that Grolsch is very smooth to drink, whatever that means. Maybe the drinkability guys can define that for me.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Shock Top Belgian White

Well, Shock Top is sort of a Belgian White. It is that style, but it is a Michelob beer from St. Louis. I had never seen this beer before until about a month ago, so it may be a new beer for Michelob. And today is the day to give it a try. I have mentioned before loving this style beer, so here goes. Glug, Gulp, Glug.... Oh, I'm supposed to pour it into a glass, roll a little bit on the bottom and pour the rest in the glass to give it some head (beer, people).

Great smell, and the orange and citrus flavors definitely shine through on this beer. I really like it, but there is a small aftertaste that is different... What is that taste? You know, I think it's Michelob, the original. Seriously, I think the aftertaste is Michelob.

But I do like the beer, don't get me wrong.

Now, the label of the orange slice with the mohawk and shades. I am guessing that's to entice a new buyer on the fence. A little weird. Not sure it fits in except that there is orange in this. But beer can be fun, so deal with it.

Ray-Ban 3293 Bubble Wrap Aviator Sunglasses,Silver,one size

Bluetooth RAZRWIRE Oakley Sunglasses - Mercury

Timex Men's Ironman 100-Lap FLIX System Watch #T5E231

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Leffe Blonde Ale

So I picked up this Leffe Blonde Ale at Publix last night. I guess it comes from an abbey in Brussels, Belgium. The label says it's an InBev beer, which I am guessing wasn't always the case--at least they usually let the little breweries they acquire continue to brew the beer the same way, mostly unchanged.

Back to the beer. The taste is terrific, you can also almost taste the aroma of it too. Very light with a great flavor. Oops, I am drinking it out of the bottle when I was specifically told on the label it's best from some chalice (I don't have a chalice, so whatever). 11.2 oz but 6.6% alcohol--balances out that less volume bottle--if that's your motivation.

Thumbs up, although a bit pricey to make this my beer of choice. I actually substituted a couple bottles in with the Harpoon I was talking about yesterday, so it was ok.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Harpoon IPA

Here's one I haven't had in a while, maybe even as far back as 2002 when I still lived in NY--Harpoon IPA India Pale Ale. I found it at Publix for a discount rate, but don't think I've seen it there before but could be wrong. Could be true as the breweries are in Boston and Windsor, VT. Anyway, I remember going to the local beer store and picking up a six pack or two of this every now and then. Glad I have a chance again. In general I do like IPA's and the flavor it leaves in your mouth. This beer tastes great and is very refreshing, especially after a week of New Year's Eve party leftovers brought to work by your co-worker.

More later.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Comments?

I guess I should have tested the comments section a few months ago before I started posting. But I didn't, and guess what? It wasn't working properly. And I'm sure all of you were trying desperately to tell me so, but how??? Well, one of my friends told me, and she showed me how to fix the problem too. Good friend, right?

So anyone that had a past comment and couldn't tell me, it should be working just fine now. Comment Away.

Talk to you soon.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Send Me Your Requests

I really want brewers to send me beer samples to give an honest tasting and review. But I am just as eager to receive your replies to see what beer you'd like me to talk about. I've been around if you know what I mean. Bars of every imaginable kind (more on that later), College, Brothers, specialty stores, breweries, etc, etc.

What do you want to hear about?

Hoegaarden Witbier-Biere Blanche

So a few days ago, I mentioned a New Year's Eve Party at a co-worker's house. I hope this isn't a public site, b/c I lifted one beer. I drank this new one and drank another called Schmucker Premium Beer (from Germany) at the party, but had to have a real non-drunk assessment. The Schmucker, RIP, as I remember nothing but enjoying it and all the others. The Hoegaarden Witbier, from Belgium, same thing. Except... that I have another one now.

I must be a sucker for Belgian or Belgian-style wheat beers. The flavor is tremendous, very light, citrus type flavor (I actually taste an orange flavor), refreshing, great. I remember one from Austin that I tried 15 years back, Belgian brewer moved to Texas, but I can't remember the name of it now. Same thing.

Hope to visit the brewery some day. The closest to Belgium I ever got was well, Belgium. However, it was a 45 minute stop on a train from Paris to Amsterdam. Not much beer drinking to do. I remember the stop vividly because of a bathroom break. Bear with me here.... I went to the bathroom, and to my surprise, a lady at the bathroom exit was asking me for money, I guess to pee. OK. Whatever. This is Europe, right? She was saying Dix Francs, which was like $1.40 at the time in French Francs. Jesus, and she didn't even hold it for me. I gave it to her, as I needed to return to my train to Potville. I heard someone calling a few seconds later, but it couldn't have been for me, right? Wrong. When I got back to the train, I deciphered what she was telling me--Dix Belgian Francs or Deux French Francs. I assumed French but we were in Belgium and I paid 4 or 5 times the pee rate there. Lesson learned--Hold it--they have pissers for free on the train.

St. Pauli Girl Lager

Now... It's pretty obvious to me that the dude (and it had to be a dude) that created the logo/sticker/boob cleavage beer chick on the label was after one thing. He wanted the potential customer who had not tried the two beers next to each other at the store to be swayed by his picture of the blonde with the cute outfit, boobs busting out all over the place and holding six giant mugs of (I guess St. Pauli Girl) bier. Yes, bier. This is from Bremen, Germany, if you didn't know.

So for me today, although I've had this beer before, and the $1 off sticker on the box was enticing, ultimately it came down to the woman's breasts. My only difficult choice was whether to do the lager or dark. Same boobs.

As far as the beer goes, very nice, light, crisp beer. It has a good flavor that definitely puts it a step above the mass lagers, but not the top echelon of beer.

That's it for now.