Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hennepin

This Belgian-style beer was named after Belgian Father Louis Hennepin. Of course when he discovered Niagara Falls, he was a Frenchman courtesy of Louis XIV. That's enough to make anyone want to take the plunge over the edge in an unsafe rickety barrel.

BTW, if you're planning a trip to Niagara Falls, don't go in the winter time. I was visiting my girlfriend at the time one January and half of the river was frozen and it was not a spectacular sight. And it was damn cold; the cold was ok though the next day at the Bill's game with a few brews. It was also back in the 90's when the Bills were a decent team, which made the weather more bearable.

One more thing about Niagara Falls... Does anyone else have trouble adding that second "a" in there or is it just me? Niagra just looks and feels better.

Hennepin is a Belgian-style Saison Farmhouse Ale brewed by Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY. I've had a few from this brewery so I wanted to continue on with this one.

First, the aroma or maybe smell is a better word for this one. Don't get me wrong, I can smell the malts and yeast aroma, and some light fruits too, but does anyone else think this guy smells a bit? I am guessing that's the Farmhouse reference. My very first taste sensation is a shitload of carbonation all over my mouth, a bit overly carbonated, but that does subside into some nicer tart flavors, like Granny-Smith (the green ones you use for apple pie) apples or some very unripe pears. There is also a sour and a slightly dirty taste, some spiciness and dryness too. Alcohol is 7.5% but it is not noticeable at all. All said, it's still a light and crisp beer, but I would not say refreshing. Go ahead and decide for yourself. Those are my comments and I'm sticking to them.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Rogue Dead Guy Ale: Take 2

I've been meaning to grab another Rogue Dead Guy Ale brewed by Oregon Brewing Co. in Newport, Oregon for about a month now. After reviewing it for the first time, I've had this nagging feeling (which wasn't my wife) that this beer should be a Best Sixer member. So here is the second chance.

Very nice floral and citrus aroma. The flavors are sweet yet not too sweet as it is nicely balanced with a good bitter flavor. There are citrusy flavors, maybe a hint of orange and a good amount of hops. Slightly spicy and a touch of honey are also nice flavors, although I don't get the same alcohol flavors that I did about a month ago (go figure). The tangy and hoppy aftertaste make this a crisp and refreshing beer. I do like it and would drink a bunch more if I had them. But for now, I'll stick with my Best Sixer lineup that is in place.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

BestSixer.com

As I mentioned a few days ago, a new site dedicated to Best Sixer beers was imminent. Well, the skeleton has been made and the first group of 6 has been enshrined. I must say I am very happy with my selections, and their diversity in styles. Check it out, tell me what you think, give me some ideas.

I plan on making an actual award and to alert each of these breweries about this honor (at least in my mind). I'd love the opportunity to interview and publish a commentary from someone at each of the breweries. Maybe I wont get Jim Koch (yet), but hopefully a brand manager would be willing to sit down and talk to me or answer a set of written questions. This blog and my Best Sixer website along with several other projects are going places. As Dr. Seuss said, “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way.” Oh, the Places You'll Go!

By the way, as much as I love it, I think Guinness Extra Stout is on the bubble to be replaced. Reminds me of when I hired the namesake of a professional baseball player, only needing to release him six months later. And it wasn't Jose Reyes, although he's going to ride the pine this year in my fantasy league if he doesn't get off to a hot start. No injury excuses this year!

Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA

What a morning! Chuck E Cheese's followed by Olive Garden with my wife and two kids. Damn I was good at that Simpson's Pinball Machine, too. I finally gave it up to another 9 year old that wanted to play. And why do I need to point out to my server at Olive Garden when a kid's portion is too small? How expensive is fettuccine alfredo that they need cut back to mini portions? Anyway, we probably wont be going back any time soon. (Mostly because I spilled my Diet Coke all over myself and the floor and everywhere).

About a month ago, I flipped a coin to decide the winner between Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA and Stone IPA in a Best Sixer showdown. The Stone IPA won, but today I am going to see if the Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA brewed by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, Delaware beats them both.

This beer has a malty and floral aroma. As expected, there is a good amount of hops, but it didn't quite have the rush of hops that I was expecting. Instead, there are caramel and honey overtones that are sweet and very noticeable. That sweetness balances the 9% alcohol content perfectly. There are also citrusy grapefruit flavors in this medium-bodied beer. I would've liked a slightly crisper and more refreshing finish to solidify this outstanding experience. A great beer, and I will certainly have it again. I just feel like it's not typical of hoppy IPA's and therefore hard to compare, as I had originally set out to do today.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tripel Karmeliet

Update: How about a look almost 3 years into the future for another review of this beer? Read below then click over to see how it compares. Better pictures, too!

You may remember me telling you about the great salesmanship the worker at Total Wine had a few weeks ago. He gave a lesson, he recommended his favorite Belgian beer, and he closed me. I've been dying for two weeks to open this one up since that day, but haven't had the time or alcoholic prowess to drink the whole wine bottle. But now is the accepted time.

Tripel Karmeliet, family brewed by the Bosteels Family and Brouwerij Bosteels in Buggenhout, Belgium is a 3-grain ale made with Oats, Barley and Wheat. The green 75cL bottle is very nicely decorated as well, a nice touch. Alcoholic content is 8.4% which is not nearly as high as some of the other Belgian beers I've had, but it seems to be about the right amount.

You can tell that there's some carbonation in this one. Hey Big Spender (this one's not cheap), opening the cork, not for just any guy, there was a pop like when you open champagne. Then an immediate rush of fruit, slight floral and slight earthy tones right to my nose. The taste is really, really nice. There is a very spicy start, with cloves and nutmeg dominating. But then this beer keeps evolving, showing great fruits, mainly banana and sweet apples, with some honey flavors as well. The alcohol is noticeable but very welcome and balanced with the sweetness. A smooth and buttery finish.

I think this may go well with food, but even better as a dessert on its own. Truly a fantastic beer. Now I gotta stop typing so I can put this baby to bed. (And not my 2 year old; he's already down for a nap).

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Young's Luxury Double Chocolate Stout

I've been preparing (meaning researching beer I can't buy here in Florida) for an upcoming trip some of my sales team will be taking to New York in the middle of April. By then, my taxes will be paid, and I'll need something to drown those sorrows in, something good.

I posed a simple question on a beer networking site looking for ideas. The question was basically looking for recommendations to great local beer that I couldn't buy in Florida. Mostly, I got helpful answers. For example, I was pointed toward Sixpoint Craft Ales for this trip. But one dude made things way too complicated. I was told that "great local beer" and "beers that you can't get anywhere but in the local area" are two different things. Well, thank you very much, but I did go to Cornell and my major wasn't football. (I'm not really very arrogant and don't ever brag about my B average at Cornell, but I have been watching the Office lately, and that storyline written by Harvard and Dartmouth alums is great. BTW I never studied once, was drunk all the time and NO I wasn't in an a capella group). Both of those quotes were from my question, but taken completely alone, and it was very obvious what I wanted. I mean, how about great, local AND only locally available beer?

I also started looking around online and found that the Second Annual NY Craft Beer Week will be held from September 11-20, 2009. Check out this list of beers they expect to be there. I see a bunch from Sixpoint on there too, so that may be the way to plan this trip.

Wow. All this talk of NY and beer week is making me thirsty. Well, I'm going to jump ship on the American Craft Beers tonight and open a big bottle of Young's Luxury Double Chocolate Stout brewed by Wells & Young's Brewing Company Limited in Bedford, United Kingdom. I am hoping for a giant winner here.

This is an awesome beer. Wonderful chocolate aroma. The flavors are, hold tight, very much entrenched in chocolate. You can also taste malt and coffee flavors on your palate, and those flavors last and last. This is a delicious yet not overpowering stout. Milky and creamy smooth, not a bit harsh, sweet yet balanced. As much as I loved Guinness night at Mona's in NY, I am thinking they should alternate every other week with this beer if they can swing it. This is an A beer and a Best Sixer nominee for sure. For you followers, I am about to launch a site highlighting the Best Sixer beers; I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

No New Beer But Some Great Info

Although I have many new ones, I am not going to review a new beer tonight. Don't be disappointed, there's always tomorrow. And I have some great stories to tell you.

So Google played the old switcheroo on Blogger users--the (re)-scheduled 10-minute outage is actually today, but the entire day they had Thursday and yesterday's date 3/25 on their alert, so I guess we were mind readers.

My wife stopped by Wendy's on the way home from picking up the kids and a trip to the pediatrician to buy Frosty's. All was fine until she took the frosty's and stayed at the window while opening the spoons for them. The window girl had the balls to tell her she needed to leave, not once, but twice, despite zero cars behind her. My easy-going wife told her she was going to make a complaint, so since I know she will NOT do that, I am asking all of you to boycott Wendy's for at least a week if not longer. That is the most bullshit customer service and request I've ever heard of.

Since I didn't have the kids and since tomorrow is my first grader's teacher's planning day, and instead of lugging him off to Total Wine & More tomorrow for my weekly trip, I decided to go today. It was fairly empty so I had the store to myself. The cashier, someone new for me, was also great even as she was also dealing with some dick on the phone. She put him on hold to tell me to have a wonderful evening.

Gotta go watch the NCAA tourney. I need a Pitt loss and a Memphis win to bring joy to my heart. There will be one or more new beers tomorrow, I promise.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale 2009

Google has a scheduled outage for its Blogger product in about an hour or so. Only for 10 minutes, but that could kill the mood. So let me get to work. Glad they told me.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale 2009 brewed by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Chico, CA is not like any of the other Sierra Nevada offerings that I've tasted. It's a high alcohol 9.6% barleywine style beer that if pressed I would compare most to a cross between their Pale Ale (for the hops) and their Celebration Ale (for the alcohol).

The aroma is VERY hoppy and floral, with some malts. First flavors are of alcohol, bitter hops, and some citrus fruits. The taste is all over the place and not as balanced as I'd like it to be, although I must admit as it warms a little and I'm drinking a little more, it is growing on me quite a bit (in a good way). The alcohol is present in the aftertaste, giving a warming feeling. I wish it were a little bit crisper in the taste and finish as that would make it much more refreshing. There is also a very dry finish here.

I could actually go for another right now, but I don't have one. However, I believe two might be the maximum in a row of this guy. How about I go for number 3, but first we need to set up a steel cage match between the Sierra Nevada Bigfoot and the Great Divide Yeti with Superhero Rogue as the referee or tag-team partner of one of them? Sound good? Vince McMahon, call me.

In the end, I like this beer. Not an all-time favorite, but I will call on it again sometime for sure.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wolaver's Brown Ale

Hot, urine-stench air blowing a garbage storm around by summer; dog shit in the melting snow and slush covering the sidewalk by winter. Anyone need any other reasons not to live in Manhattan? I am not sure what made me reminisce about my time there, but I think it has something to do with my not appreciating the whole organic farming movement. Don't get me wrong--if it's organic and tastes great, awesome. If it's not organic and tastes great, awesome.

I brought up organic because the beer I chose for today is Wolaver's Brown Ale, a certified organic beer brewed by Otter Creek Brewing in Middlebury, Vermont. A few weeks back, I tried their Copper Ale as well. I just didn't realize until now that it was from the same brewery--the Wolaver name threw me off. The bottle explains that Robert and Morgan Wolaver are the reason for that.

The beer has a pretty nice nutty and chocolate aroma. Taste is a litle weird, though. You can taste decent chocolate and roasted caramel flavors with some dark fruits as well. There is also a light maltiness about it. But for some reason, there is also a bit of medicine flavor in it, and that is evident in the aftertaste. Light body and low carbonation, smooth but not something I will probably try again soon.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

White Rascal Belgian-Style Wheat Ale

The stock market was up almost 500 points today, my kid did his homework already and dinner is already made. Pretty sweet.

I picked up this bottle of beer because I've heard some good things about its brewer, Avery Brewing Co. in Boulder, Colorado. Again, suggestions welcome. I will find a way to get the beers you recommend for me.

The bottle has a cool label and a nice description of what I'm about to taste. I really hope it's that good. There is some weird mythological creature holding a pint on the label too. Maybe one of you can tell me what that is. Is it a rascal? I always thought rascals were Little Rascals or those scooters, but maybe this is one too.

One other comment about the label. At the bottom, seemingly for no reason, it says "YEAH, IT IS!" So I typed that into best friend Google and without scrolling through 10 pages, I didn't find the meaning of it with relation to this beer. However, I did find out from the Jewish Atheist in the third-ranking result that "Yeah. It is a recession." And in the fourth-ranking result "Yeah, It Is Rocket Science" from the Daily Pundit.

Aroma is orange and spicy, a little bit of wheat. The taste is nice. Lots of orange and lemon citrus flavors and you can definitely taste a host of spices that they brewed with this beer--cinnamon, coriander, maybe some peppery flavors. This White Rascal also has a very pleasant and lasting aftertaste. Light and refreshing, but I'd also say mainly forgettable. To make a comparison, this beer is much better than the Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale I had yesterday, and the main reasons are better flavors throughout the experience, great spiciness, and flavors that last longer than 1 second after a sip.

Overall, a very nice beer. Go for it.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Xingu Black Beer

Bom Dia. Tudo bem? Working with a few Brazilians, I've managed to pick up the very basics of the language. And I've had a Xingu Black Beer from Brazil in my fridge for a few weeks now that hopefully navigates the beer barrier.

There is a milk chocolatey aroma to the beer, and the flavor jumps right on that as well. Roasted malts, nutty and sweet, this is a very creamy, silky and smooth beer. I also taste some molasses and a hint of coffee. For a dark beer, it's a bit of a pussy, but it is easy to drink and a very nice beer to relax by the TVside (no fireside here in Florida).

That's probably it for the day. So, as the local radio station (AM, dude, seriously) used to say growing up, It's a beautiful day in Pennsylvania (and Florida too).

Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale

The second little surprise to come home from Chicago last week was Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale brewed by Goose Island Beer Co. in Chicago, Illinois. You'll probably recall from Friday that Fat Tire Amber Ale was the other, and that was a really good start to my weekend.

Not exactly sure what the Urban part of the name has to do with anything. I guess it sounded cool. The beer has a very nice lemon and citrus aroma. The flavors are also very lemony with a touch of honey or cereal. Nice carbonation makes the wheat pop out too. I would say that it's slightly light in flavor and the aftertaste is nil, but this is a nice beer, refreshing and I'd definitely pick this up on a hot summer afternoon.

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Weyerbacher Double Simcoe® IPA

It took me a while to figure out how to make that registered trademark symbol for Simcoe. For the record, this website was helpful with the ALT 0174 rule. Apparently, Simcoe is a hop variety used in this beer and is a registered trademark of Select Botanicals Group.

I saw a couple of my other beer network friends say that Weyerbacher HOPS Infusion was no match for its sister Weyerbacher Double Simcoe® IPA brewed by Weyerbacher Brewing Company in Easton, PA, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

This beer has a strong citrus and grapefruit aroma, some malty as well. First taste impressions are of grapefruit and pine flavors, and a very noticeable astringent and dry alcoholic flavor. The beer makes you make "that face" like when you're drinking freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. This is also a spicy and bitter beer, but not in a bad way. Those two aspects are kind of nice. There's a little earthy or grassy feel to it too, or that could be just that I was doing yard work this morning. The aftertaste is not that nice, though, leaving behind just the dry alcoholic feeling in my mouth.

I must admit I am a bit disappointed as my expectations were higher. I think Weyerbacher would have something if they'd marry this beer with their HOPS Infusion and conceive a new beer baby with the DNA of both, as there are things I like and things I dislike about each. Actually, I did call those two beers sisters above so that would be a little weird marrying them, except in a few states. Check out this shirt for some hints, which one of my coworkers from there showed me recently in an act of home-state deprecation.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Maloney's Restaurant (Sort of)

Have you ever been to Maloney's Restaurant in Margate, NJ? Well, maybe you have but you just didn't realize there was a restaurant and that it is really mainly a bar. Here is a picture of Margate, NJ by day as I couldn't find a website for Maloney's, but I do assure you it exists. That website says charming, and maybe it is, but I remember Margate as the city that has bars open til 5 am, the city that floods with one drop of rain, and the city that welcomes you with 25 mph speed limits and an army of cops waiting to enforce that. Entering from Somers Point? Beware!!!

I haven't been to Maloney's in 15 years, but it was a great amount of fun in my college and early to mid-20's days. They have a great bar food and music, both from the juke box and sometimes live. Guess what? If you're from Canada, you might have a hard time with your ID getting in. Apparently they don't take (maybe fake) ID's from Ontario, but that's another story.

If you're really in town there, go down the street to visit Lucy. Seriously, this town has an Elephant on the (quiet) main drag named Lucy. I think it is a museum or something now, but unless you've been around the area, surely you will ask WTF if you see it unexpectedly, so thank me for warning you.

After passing Lucy, you're about 15 minutes from gambling in Atlantic City. Drive the speed limit there because the lights are timed perfectly to catch every single one if you do. Speed and you'll just stop at every light.

Any of you been to Maloney's?

Dogfish Head Chicory Stout

So far so good in my NCAA tourney pool, with the only major first-round setback a Florida State choke to Wisconsin. Big Ten is not weak, like Ukraine, as a guy at work reminds me regularly. And I'm hoping to keep my run of non-weak beers going as well.

Made my weekly trip to Total Wine & More on the way home yesterday. No beer lessons, no sample vodka shots, but still a really nice customer-friendly experience. Wish I could say more about the traffic right outside the place. First I tried to make an end-around the traffic by cutting through a parking lot. Bad move. The parking lot was a US Postal Warehouse facility and I accidentally was amongst about fifteen 18-wheelers full of mail on the wrong side of a do not enter federal property sign. Nothing happened but it took forever to get back out of that lot. Then sitting in traffic for a construction zone with no construction people. I had to fight myself not to pull a Michael Douglas in Falling Down. But I realized abandoning my car was not an option (because I had my beer in the trunk of course; oh, yeah, and my 2 year old too.) So it all ended ok.

One of the beers I picked up was Dogfish Head Chicory Stout brewed by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, Delaware. This will be my fourth from this brewery; if you want to see what I thought of the others, here is the search. But in general I've been very fond of this brewery.

This beer has a very nice coffee aroma. The first tastes are also coffee in a creamy type of way. I can also taste some bitter chocolate, molasses and raisins. There is a burnt taste to the beer, and as I am having a few more sips, that burnt flavor along with what I think is the chicory is getting pretty annoying. Not a good aftertaste. I don't think this stout is thick and hearty like other stouts, but it does have a harsh and bitter taste as part of its makeup. I don't know about this one. I feel like I'm being yelled at by Bill O'Reilly or something--don't point to bad behavior to justify bad behavior.

Not a favorite, and while I'd suggest everyone try every beer to make up their own minds, just go for something else this time.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fat Tire Amber Ale

Built up to be God's Sweet Nectar, Mother's Milk the Cat's Pajamas and the Bee's Knees, Fat Tire Amber Ale brewed by New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado came to me today direct from O'Hare International to Ft. Lauderdale International. (That's the most direct route in my opinion, and New Belgium doesn't really care at this point.)

I hope I haven't hyped this beer too much, as I have yet to open the bottle. I've even had the beer before, but not in the past 4 or 5 years, and it wasn't memorable when I did. That doesn't mean it wasn't great, which is why I had the help (many thanks) to go to the trouble to try this beer again.

Apparently, founder of New Belgium Jeff was cycling around from brewery to brewery in Europe when the recipe for Fat Tire (and name) came to him. Probably some of the exercise and high altitude helped too. I really gotta get away and do something cool like that.

Sorry for the delay, but I'm trying to follow the bottle directions to serve at 45 degrees F (had to let it warm up from my freezer cool down and my fridge stable temperature--after all, remember, it was in cargo just a few hours ago).

Malty aroma, very malty. Waiting for the temperature, I'm actually on my second one so am very recently familiar with the taste. There is a definite sweet dough taste. Not bread, but uncooked dough. There are some nutty and butterscotch, maybe caramel flavors as well. All of those flavors are really good, but they disappear into thin air quickly. Speaking of thin, I'd say maybe thin is slightly overdoing a description but the beer is on the thin to thin-medium (think how you order a steak) body. It is very smooth and drinkable and I can see why people like it. I wish it had a little bit crisper finish so it was a little more refreshing.

Overall, I am mostly reminded that I really need to go for a bike ride. I will have this beer on trips out west where it's available, but wont go way overboard out of my way again any time soon. Locals, drink up because it's a very good beer. New Belgium foreigners, patiently wait for them to come to you and drink what's available. Don't fret--there are thousands of beers no matter where you live.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Weyerbacher Merry Monks

Ah, thanks... I missed you yesterday, too. Have you ever been too sick to drink beer? Well, that's how I felt last night. And I might need to dust off the old sarcastic machine, as it's been slow today. We'll see.

Tonight, I'm going to try to get back in the saddle slowly with a Merry Monks' Belgian Style Tripel brewed by Weyerbacher Brewing Company in Easton, PA.

This is my third from Weyerbacher. The first I liked a lot; the second I liked but wasn't overwhelmed with awe.

Shall we begin? Well, the Merry Monks certainly are fruity (at least aroma-wise, and you should see the label on the bottle for other ideas). They are also yeasty in aroma. Flavors are very mixed. There is a strong spicy and sour taste all at once followed by a banana and alcoholic aftertaste. The 9.3% alcohol is noticeable yet fairly-well and nicely hidden, but there is still that afterburner kick. You can also taste some yellow apple and caramel flavors, but they just don't seem to be sweet as you'd eat them normally. Sour and alcohol are powerful. I guess it's semi-balanced. A nice beer that I'd probably have again but not my favorite.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ommegang Abbey Ale

Oops! Got dressed in the dark this morning and picked out this shamrock green colored shirt that I wear at least once per week. What bad timing. Well, at least it says Gap on the front.

All day I was bombarded with St. Patrick's Day this, Luck of the Irish that. Until one article on MSN's home page caught my attention, not exactly in a good way though. It was about Green Beer, but not the kind where they added color, the kind that is organic. What a trick on me, Mr. Leprechaun. I checked out the list and probably some of those beers are good or even great, and I will drink them and love them. However, I don't even go out of my way for organic fruits or vegetables, so forget organic beer because it's green.

For my second from Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY, I decided on Ommegang Abbey Ale which is a Belgian-Style Dubbel. You will probably recall that a few days ago I had their Three Philosophers Belgian Style Blend, which I thoroughly enjoyed. This beer is slightly less alcoholic at 8.5%, but still the pouring and 50 degree F serving instructions on the bottle.

The beer has a spicy and fruity aroma. The flavors are very alcoholic like a whiskey that I don't think plays or shares well with the others. There is definitely a dark fruit and caramel-like roasted taste left on the palate, and this beer is very malty and carbonated. The alcohol and spiciness does leave a good warm feeling in your body. For me, the beer just didn't match up to its Three Philosophers cousin, but it's worthy of a try.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Allagash White

Here's a beer that's been getting a reputation for being great. I mean, in my tiny inner circles, I've noticed that many people have put this beer and this brewery as a favorite. So I decided to take them up on their challenge, which they never actually made to me, but whatever.

Allagash White brewed by Allagash Brewing Co. in Portland, Maine is an Belgian-style wheat beer. The bottle says it's brewed with spices and bottled with yeast.

The aroma has a very pleasant lemon and citrus scent. The flavors are really unique--when first taking a sip, you really taste the yeast and a bready type flavors. That taste then almost disappears to make you think "what is this boring beer?" But a split second later, a new taste really develops on your palate in a really complex way. Those additional spicy cinnamon and pepper flavors give each sip a very nice finish. The beer is, however, a little flat and lacking carbonation, which is one negative for me.

Overall, a nice beer. I'd recommend you give it a try to see what you think. I'll probably opt for a different Allagash next time, though, to see everything they have to offer.

Reminder. Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day, which I think is basically a stupid holiday. But my colleagues are on their way to Chicago, where I'm hoping for a couple of new beers to come back--I'm thinking the weekend might bring a Fat Tire or 1554 from New Belgium Brewery or something from Goose Island Brewery or a combination of those. It'll be a surprise.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Weyerbacher HOPS INFUSION India Pale Ale

Back to Easton and a recommended brewery from some of my Beer Valley pals. I really enjoyed my Old Heathen Imperial Stout a few days ago, so I'm looking forward to another great beer, but from the other side of the spectrum.

So here we go. Weyerbacher Hops Infusion India Pale Ale brewed by Weyerbacher Brewing Co. in Easton, PA. There is a nice hoppy and citrusy aroma to this beer. The flavor is bitter as expected, a bit malty and I think needs a little more carbonation. A nice grapefruit taste too (reminded me to put grapefruit juice on the grocery list), but there is no lingering taste to make me say this is a great beer. There are other citrus and pine flavors as well. It's good, not great. Missing that "it" factor. A nice beer but there are better ones in this category.

I'll be back to this brewery for some of their other offerings, as I've read some good things about a few of the other beers they have.

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Three Philosophers Belgian Style Blend

Beware the Ides of March (is that the Arrogant Bastard bottle speaking?). Oh no, it's from Shakespeare.

Well it was no sooner than midnight hit and the clock switched us to the 15th, and my little one was calling me. Dinner revisited, lots of late laundry, lots of fabric cleaner and finally bed. A trip to Chuck E. Cheese's (no fights this time) and another revisited lunch clean up and repeat of last night, and I'm ready to call it a day.

I'm not the type to get all philosophical. I have some friends that I normally do that with. And now seems I have a bottle of beer looking to join the club. Three Philosophers Belgian Style Blend, a Quadrupel brewed by Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York, and part of the Duvel family. I will always have fond memories of visiting Cooperstown as a kid and visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame. Hopefully this beer will create new reasons to love the little town.

So this is a Belgian-style ale with 98% ale with 2% ale with Kriek cherry Lambic blended in. Alcohol content is high at 9.8% and there are a bunch of other drinking and pouring rules on the bottle, including serving it at 50 degrees F. I don't have a thermometer or temperature controlled fridge, but based on my long laboratory experience, I'm about to open it right at 50.

This is a really nice beer. There is a cherry and alcohol aroma, slightly floral. The taste, however, really is a home run (pretty good considering Mike Schmidt's bust is watching in Cooperstown). Sweet, malty and cherry flavors dominate the beer right up front, but there is definitely a subtle taste of nuts and raisins in the background. There is also a strong alcohol presence and a nice burn from that, but it's really nice and not overpowering. This beer is best sipped a little at a time, to really enjoy its very complex flavors and bite. Rich and creamy and a beer that I'd have many times over. I'm putting it up for Best Sixer nomination right now.

The bottle ends with a Plato quote. "Philosophy Begins in Wonder." So I will end with one of my own favorite quotes. "My noggin is hoggin all kinds of thoughts" and hopefully I can share more with you later.

Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale Bicycle Jersey

Cooperstown Confidential: Heroes, Rogues, and the Inside Story of the Baseball Hall of Fame

Licensed to Ill--Beastie Boys

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Singha Lager Beer

What the hell. Since I'm in Japan anyway (sort of), I may was well stop in Thailand on the way back to my country of South Florida.

For me, Singha Lager Beer brewed by Pathumthani Brewery Co. in Pathumthani, Thailand under the supervision of Singha Corporation in Bangkok, Thailand (that's a funnel-full), is best known as the beer you can try when you go to a Thai restaurant. I've had it in that capacity many times, but not otherwise.

I don't know what the aroma is. Beer, perhaps. The flavors are all over the place and not in a great way. Lots of malty flavors, and salty too. It's a little bit bitter and at the same time a little bit sweet like Jersey corn. Now normally you'd say that sounds balanced and nice, but I don't get that. There's a sharp flavor and a dry annoying finish. Am I bitter? Maybe, but when I turn on the TV to see if Florida State dropped the ball against UNC, well that could really make for an angry situation. At least as we used to say in Penn State land growing up, Shitt on Pitt, which is exactly what happened a few days ago.

I really need to go back to the great Belgian and American craft beers and stop wasting my time and liver on this crap.

Sapporo Imported Premium Beer

I decided to go to Japan this afternoon. My wife is out of the country so why not me too? So I got myself a big 650 ml can of Sapporo, but guess what? Although this is one of Japan's oldest brands, around since 1876 according to the can, my trip didn't even get me off the North American continent. This is Sapporo and this is Imported (I'll get to the Premium part in a second), but this beer is Canadian (like Terrance and Phillip)--from Sapporo Brewing Company in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

The can is cool and unique in shape. The silver bullet of Japan I guess--not aerodynamic like Coors Light because I guess they need something that works well with karate and ninja. Just a theory.

Now that I am almost done with this beer, here's some commentary on it. It is an extremely smooth and easy to drink beer. There is definitely a distinct rice flavor combined with a lemony aftertaste. I'd compare it to the Bud Lights and Coors Lights here but it has a lot more body than that and is not watered down like they are. You can taste some malt as well along with the rice, and not surprisingly, along with the metal flavors the can gave it. A nice beer, a little boring, but above the US mass-production beers you see everywhere.

Regarding the word Premium from the can, well, it's not bad and that's open for discussion. It would be top shelf in some of my college bars. How about half-Premium?

Razor A Kick Scooter

Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan

Invicta Men's Pro Diver Collection Coin-Edge Automatic Watch #8926C

Friday, March 13, 2009

Weyerbacher Old Heathen Imperial Stout

Oh wow. Today I went to Total Wine & More in Pembroke Pines and had a great experience. You may remember that I told you about the cashier on my first time there recommending a Belgian beer, but I didn't understand the name (if not, read the last paragraph here). Well, it was about 50:50 with his accent and the name of the beer. But today the same guy saw me eyeing up the Belgians, and I got a total (wine) lesson. This guy was in love with his job and those beers. He was telling me about a 100-500 rating scale and he knew the rating for every beer on the shelf. And he convinced me to buy his favorite, the one he had recommended to me the first day. That one's for another day (this weekend of course). The cashier today recommended that I use one of their spare boxes so my bottles wouldn't roll around in the car, so I left with a bunch of beer in a Southern Comfort box. BTW, Southern Comfort is on my "Never Again" list, it's actually at the top of that list. And there are not many members of that elite group. Ask if you really want to know that story (this paragraph is getting long).

Tonight I am drinking Weyerbacher Old Heathen Imperial Stout brewed by Weyerbacher Brewing Company in Easton, Pennsylvania. You may remember my affinity for Easton--my grandmother lived there all of my childhood and my aunt and uncle still do, Porter's Pub, and some friends too. My father actually used to work out with Larry Holmes back in the day as well--work out as in running for exercise, not as his punching bag. Turned out well too as punching bags do not usually end up as general surgeons.

I actually got three beers from this brewery because I've seen so many friends from Beer Valley say this is their favorite brewery. I hope they steered me right.

Well, yep they did steer me right. This is an excellent beer. Great milk chocolate aroma and flavors. I can also taste toffee, molasses and vanilla, like an awesome ice cream sundae. Yes it is sweet, but not in a bad way. Mmmmm chocolate and vanilla all rolled into one--surely you've heard of the black and white cookie and its harmony together. This beer is a little flat, and I could've used some more carbonation. It's also not overpowering and reminds me a bit of the Old Plowshare Stout Organic I had last week, at least in that respect, minus any sense of licorice.

Past the great beer, what's with the need for breweries to name their Stouts something tough? I mean Old Heathen Imperial Stout? Yeti Imperial Stout? Would it make a difference if the heathen was an infant or the Yeti was actually an abominable snowman? And I'm sure there are many others. Is this a mission to see who has the biggest (watch)? Cool names are fun, but whatever, it's the beer that matters.

Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression

JanSport Classic Big Student Backpack

Penn State Nittany Lions 2-Tone Grande Mug White/Blue - NCAA College Athletics Fan Shop Accessories


Update 4/11/2010: More than a year later, here is a picture for you! Better late than never, I guess.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Exciting Weekend and Week Coming Up

Tonight I'm just relaxing, well maybe, with a few of my favorites. BTW, Total Wine in store and advertised prices for Best Sixer Liberty Ale (at least in the South Florida Edition) is $9.99/six pack. I hate to say this about my love, but you should never buy Liberty Ale there. It's never more than $8.99/six pack at (jealous ex) Publix and sometimes as low as $6.99/six pack.

Tomorrow I will make my weekly trek to Total Wine in search of the Holy Grail (BTW, does anyone else hate Monty Python as much as I do? It's just not funny). I will also be home alone (with two kids) this weekend as my wife is going to Colombia for a long weekend. It's her birthday too, so I should probably think of something soon. She already has instructions to bring back some Colombian and regional beer (minus Aguila, readily available locally), but we'll see. Nothing may come back as I believe this request has zero priority.

Sunday we'll know who is joining the only team in so far (and NCAA Champion to be) Cornell in the March Madness tournament. I just love Dick Vitale (I'm pretty sure he's still alive, right?)

St. Patrick's Day (no link, it's way overrated) is next week. I'll have some additional sarcastic anti-SPD-posts that day, while still enjoying a bottle of beer.

And finally, business trip to Chicago next week, hooray, which means some of my Hit List will come home Friday, hopefully to be sampled by next weekend. I'll be finalizing the list shortly in priority order.

That's it. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fiddler's Green India Pale Ale

I picked this guy up (the beer) at Total Wine & More last Friday and it's the last beer in the fridge. Total Wine must have something going on with this beer--either it's super popular or super unpopular and they are trying to unload it--this beer has had prominence every weekend at the end of the aisles around the store for a month. So let's hope it's because it's awesome.

This Fiddler's Green IPA brewed by Fiddler's Green Brewing Co. in Utica, NY (couldn't find a brewery website so here's a map of Utica) has been resting gently there for 5 straight days. But you wouldn't know it. I picked up the bottle (pretty gently, if I do say so myself) and despite the 20W refrigerator bulb, I saw through the dark brown bottle so much sediment floating inside that it looked like one of those snow globes you shake up. Maybe that was the point, as it snows a hell of a lot in Utica.

As far as the beer goes. Nice citrus and hoppy aroma upon opening the bottle. But within the first sip, you know that there is much too much malty flavors in this. You can taste the typical hoppy flavors of an IPA and some citrus and orange through this mask, but the malt really is overpowering. Maybe a little spicy too. That's all I have except to conclude that either Total Wine is in bed with this ugly beer or that they are just trying to cut their losses and push it out the door. Or both.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rogue Brutal Bitter

I was thinking on the way home today about Rogue and its influence on world dominance. So I decided tonight was the night to try out this Rogue Brutal Bitter brewed by Oregon Brewing Co. in Newport, Oregon.

Well, about my first statement. First it's the Nissan Rogue crossover invading the highways. Then I see this commercial for a movie about some crazy dude Last House on the Left, by, you guessed it, Rogue Films. So I dug deeper to see what else Rogue has gotten their hands into. I mean the brewery has a cult following, so what else is there to do but branch out?

Apparently Marvel Comics also had a character, born a mutant, named Rogue. She must've grown out of her mutantness or at least disguises it pretty well, because for a cartoon character, she's hot. But if there are any nerds reading, please do let me know.

Finally, this Brutal Bitter. I will admit I came into this beer with a bit of a chip on my shoulder and bad attitude about my expectations. But taking a deep breath, open sesame. Here's my unbiased thoughts about this. Very strong lemon and citrus aroma and flavors. A lot of hoppy flavors as well. If the intention of this beer was to make something like the bitter beers that the Brits so love, like this one, hey, congratulations. Success. But that is precisely what I do not like about this beer. It is extremely (brutally) bitter and not refreshing at all. Sorry to disappoint you.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Otter Creek Copper Ale

Along the same lines as Friday, I wanted to try something different from a different brewery. And I picked Otter Creek Copper Ale brewed by Otter Creek Brewing in Middlebury, Vermont.

You know, I'm really glad that they were advertising their partnership with some ski resorts on their website, because I was gonna talk about skiing anyway. Growing up and living in PA and NY for most of my life, I've done my share of skiing in Vermont. The college and post-college trips were some of the best (and worst, as you'll hear) as I could drink beer.

One of my favorite ski places is Killington, but it was also the scene of a really ugly night back in 1996 or so. The night started great with some beers, some good bar food, and then a few more beers. A few more hours passed. And now for a rhetorical Jeff Foxworthy type question--have you ever overdone "it" to the point where the bouncer at the ski lodge denies your entry? Well, that happened. And the next day, I decided to skip skiing despite my already paid lift ticket. Was a nice day, but I imagine you can figure out the reasons.

Stowe is also a really nice place for skiing and relaxing after the slopes. Last time I went was a pretty cold day, but it goes with the territory.

As far as this beer goes, right away after opening the aroma is of citrus and caramel. The caramel flavors come out very prominently as well. For sure there are some orange tastes that last on your palate. Not a strong beer at all, not very hoppy. Unique flavor that I can't put my tongue on--I'm thinking it's metal or copper, but that could be the name of the beer playing mind games with me. In all, it's a smooth beer, easy to drink. I like it and would certainly drink it again, but it's not a favorite.

Columbia Sportswear Men's Steens Mountain Fleece

Accutron Men's Killington Bracelet Watch #26B45

Youngstown Glove Co. Waterproof Gauntlet XT Performance Glove

Sunday, March 8, 2009

SNL Greatest Commercial Moments

Paid a few bills. But I'll be damned if Suntrust doesn't have technical problems (sometimes concealed as upgrades) every weekend when I'm trying to balance my checkbook. Well, at least so far, Suntrust hasn't defaulted or gone under, so I guess I'm one of the lucky ones. Saw a commercial advertising a show tonight--Saturday Night Live's Greatest Commercial moments. Now that sounds like a winner.

I have $50 to bet that the Chris Farley and Adam Sandler skit for Schmitts Gay Beer makes the list. Anyone want to take me up on that bet?

What other beer commercials have you seen that are really funny, parodies or actual commercials? Another one I think is really funny is the Bud Light commercial where Carlos Mencia is teaching English.

Now it's your turn. Give and it shall be given unto you. I am willing to put up another $50 that you didn't think that I could put a Saturday Night Live reference, let alone one about gay beer, in the same posting with Carlos Mencia and a Bible quote.

Time to watch the beginning of March Madness.

Saturday Night Live: The Best of Chris Farley

Livin' In A Van Down By The River T-shirt, Farley T-shirts, TV Show T-shirts

Carlos Mencia: Not for the Easily Offended