Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Jai Alai India Pale Ale

Tonight I am drinking Jai Alai India Pale Ale brewed by Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, Florida. This one just arrived in our neck of the woods, so I picked up a sixer over at Total Wine this afternoon. I must say that this better be the most spectacular beer I've ever tasted, better than drinking the second best beer in the world while simultaneously having the most incredible sex ever! That is how built up this beer is. My beer geek friends look at me like I have three heads when I tell them I've never had it. Well, people, tonight's the night!

The label is neat, with a jai alai player seemingly throwing a hop with his stick. If my terms don't meet the Jai Alai dictionary standards, too bad, and blame it on the time I went to the Dania Beach Fronton and they were closed that night; otherwise I'd have been more knowledgeable. There's a story about the history of jai alai on the back of the bottle and bottom of the six pack, which I photographed so I don't need to actually tell you more (see picture below). Label design by Matt Callahan at www.manmademurals.com (the bottle says that, but the only reason I threw in the www was because I know this one chick that has a coronary every time she sees that!)

Pine aroma with really nice orange and tropical pineapple fruits floating on top of it--really nice though not particularly strong. Sweet and malty to start, yet bitter and piney all at the same time. Really an attractive start! Tropical fruit flavors and plenty of orange and citrus are complimented by a hoppy black pepper and spicy kick. Now the bitter bite is not huge, just a solid nip to tell you it's there. The carbonation is perfect, right in the middle, while the 7.5% alcohol makes itself known more toward the end, providing a drying aspect to the beer. Lightly bitter by the end, and those flavors are left behind on your palate as well. The drying toward the end was a little much. But finally I have tried this superb beer. And I have five more and a new best friend that visits all the time! This was a terrific beer all around!

I Love Jai-Alai Party Decoration Necktie

Wham-O Trac Ball Racket Game

Custom Beverage Can / Bottle Cover (Coolie) with I Hate Jai-Alai

 Click the picture to the right to read the Jai Alai story.

Monday, August 30, 2010

D's Six Pax & Dogz

D's Six Pax & Dogz: Front Door
I just returned home to South Florida from a weekend trip to Pennsylvania. Now I am a native of central PA, but a lot has changed in the beer world since I had last been there, and Pittsburgh has never been my stomping ground anyway.

In the course of planning a beer-bring-back I asked on Twitter for recommendations for a place with great beer selection which would also sell me singles, convenience for my trip, and one that would not break the bank.

That's when Mike Beattie, who writes the Foodburgh.com blog, spoke up and mentioned two places, one of them being D's Six Pax & Dogz.

I checked out their website in hopes of finding out some additional info on what beers they had there, what was different, just for an idea. Also, I needed the address to see how easily I could make the side trip happen. It turns out that there are two locations, both fairly well located, but no beer list. That was confirmed by an email to their store, and a reply that provided better directions than Mapquest could ever pull off to their Pittsburgh location, with landmarks. So I decided on that one.

I casually walked into the place on a Friday afternoon, right back to the Beer Cave. This was not a very large area, just a room packed floor to ceiling with shelves of single bottles lined up. There was a dude on the floor unpacking more beer. He said, "Hey" but didn't seem too willing to see if he could offer assistance; that seemed a bit odd considering I went out of my way to tell him I had never been there before and am from Florida. That certainly would have put my radar up. Whatever.

Anyway, I did a few laps around the room totaling 0.0005 miles and ended up with two mixed sixers, twelve new bottles to check in my luggage for the return trip. The price labels must have been really wrong (or I didn't understand them) because most of the bottles were marked around $3 - $4 each. The reason I say wrong is that my final bill was $33 (and I know my math). Don't get me wrong either; I thought that even $33 was an extremely high price to pay for these beers! I was just happy it wasn't much more, as marked. My bill was not itemized either, so I have no way to determine the pricing issue.

While I was shopping, a lady walked in and asked "floor guy" for a recommendation. Her friends were having an anniversary and she wanted to bring beer with "Gold" in the name. She even mentioned Penn Gold by name. The guy told her that they hadn't received Penn Gold recently, which surprised me a little considering it's brewed in Pittsburgh, but I guess if you only have a certain amount of room, that's an easily cut-able beer from your roster. She asked for an alternate recommendation, to which she was offered Victory's Golden Monkey. I almost swallowed my tongue in laughter--Penn Gold to Golden Monkey--her friends would have divorced her! (Ask if you don't understand why). I left as the two of them started speaking more rationally about Golden Ales in general. Personally, my alternate suggestion would have been Golden Anniversary, if they had it.

On the way out, I paid at the bar. Damn the wings and food smelled and looked good! I snapped a few pictures of the bar and front of the place which also earned me a few weird glances, but I guess that should have been expected. In the end, I got what I wanted which was beers not available to me in Florida. Check this place out, if you know what you're doing.

Here are their two locations. I went to the one on South Braddock, which is just off 376.

D’s Six Pax & Dogz
1118 S. Braddock Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15218

D’s Six Pax & Dogz
4320 Northern Pike
Monroeville, PA 15146

D's Six Pax & Dogz Bar
Here's the picture of the bar I took on the way out.

Pittsburgh Steelers Original Terrible Towel (Gold)

Pittsburgh Steelers Inflatable Floating Cooler for Pool Beer

MTH Iron City Lite - Lighted Billboard

Dream Weaver

Lots of beer coming my way recently. First, my friend came back from Barcelona. Then he got on a plane for an Atlanta business trip bringing me a few goodies. Next week to Denver. And back to Washington, DC in three weeks. You're going to hear a lot about those shortly. In addition to those, I made my own trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this past weekend and brought home a dozen new beers. Yep, they all arrived safely.

I was thinking about some of the city names in PA while I was there. How do you know if the "burg" ends in "g" or "gh"? Beats the hell out of me. I guess you just memorize. So there's Pittsburgh but the state capital (and brewing city of this beer) is Harrisburg and the town I grew up in is Philipsburg and there are dozens more. Want to weigh in on your burg(er)?

Tonight I'm drinking Dream Weaver brewed by Troegs Brewing Company in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This one came back from the Pennsylvania trip, which I made for my brother's wedding. This is the second beer I've had from this brewery after enjoying the Troegenator. The label depicts a tree in the middle of a wheat field, and calls itself an "Independent Craft Brewery". The label also says to pour 3/4 of the bottle into a glass, swirl, then pour the rest down the middle. Well, I'll admit I read that long after the beer was gone. Bottled 072710 at 09:46 Batch #100623.

Lots of wheat and banana aroma. The flavors also start out fruity, but not just with the noticeable banana. There is plenty of juicy orange contributing as well. Lots of wheat, flavor and texture. And wow, what a nice creamy carbonation. I thought an initial hint of sweetness was going to dominate and stick around, but I was wrong again today. This was balanced, crisp and refreshing, not sweet at all. There are some spicy flavors but they are really just hanging in the background. What a tasty, flavorful and terrific beer! Get it if you can.

Gary Wright, Dream Weaver - 1975 - Vintage Vinyl 12 ~ Warner Brothers Records BS 2868

Adobe Dreamweaver CS5

Carole Hochman Midnight Dream Weaver Sleepshirt (133950)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Math Lessons With Me: Second Grade

After successfully completing your First Grade math lesson, it's time to move on to the Second Grade.

Have you ever had Dogfish Head 360 Minute? No? Well you're in luck as there are quite a few ways to get there. Also, I am not condoning going full circle here. I've seen a few of you after a single beer and it's ugly! Drink in moderation and responsibly. Remember, this is a math lesson.

Almost all of you have had DFH 60 Minute IPA, no? If not, what in the hell are you waiting for? Well, it takes a sixer of these guys to make 360. You could do this with a pizza too, but beer is more fun.

Next, you have the famous DFH 90 Minute IPA. Conveniently, this beer is sold in a 4-pack, just the right number to hit 360.

Then you have the elusive and big giant DFH 120 Minute IPA. This one has 18% alcohol in it, so in case you didn't hear me above, and you just happen to have 3 of these laying around, don't try for 360. You are wasting good beer, acting like a tool, and will be seriously drunk if not worse. This is not a linear progression of ABV and if you don't know what I mean, go back to the First Grade.

Oh, and I didn't mean to skip DFH 75 Minute IPA. First, I needed to prove to myself that it wasn't just an urban legend. Nope, seems it does exist.  I also didn't wedge it between 60 and 90 above because unlike those, this one doesn't neatly divide into 360 and is the bonus question.

Once you remember how to do division and come up with 4.8, well I'll be proud to that point. But then you will need to figure out how to get the 0.8 portion. If you're talking about a 12-ounce bottle, here comes some multiplication. 12oz x 0.8 = 9.6oz. How you'll know when to stop is your own problem. Most of you will probably end up doing DFH 375 anyway, which also, consequently takes you back to First Grade.

So that's it: Second Grade stuff. Some future lessons built upon this foundation will include the controversial 60 > 90 Math Theorem and the ABV Per Ounce Rule.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Drink Up! Barleywine

Tonight I'm drinking Drink Up! Barleywine, a home brew by Brent over at the Shvitzing Matilda Brewery in Lake Worth, Florida. Which one of you guys said we don't have some great breweries down here? Brent is actually Home Brew Vanessa's husband, and he was kind enough to have her deliver this to me last week. I think there is quite the household rivalry up there in Palm Beach! The name actually adds "(Or Age)" which I thought was great, and this brewery is producing quite the cool labels, which I've heard is one of Brent's responsibilities. Cap indicates BW 7/21.

Nice aroma, the second the cap came off. Pine, spicy, hoppy, citrus. The flavors start out a little sweeter than I was expecting with lots of caramel, quite the chewy beer here. There are pine flavors but not as much as the aroma suggested. Some orange citrus flavors are also present. The spicy black pepper is there, but doesn't provide as much bite as I would have liked.

This barleywine has dominant malty and sweet flavors, while I prefer this style with a bit more of a bitter punch. I also think that a little more carbonation would have accentuated the black pepper and spiciness, as those two components usually work really well together in this style. The 9% alcohol gave a nice warming feeling and was noticeable while not annoying.

Brent, this was terrific. I really liked it. Thanks so much for sharing it. If the review in any way sounds ungrateful, well, get in line or send out the pack of wolves after me. Either way.

Matilda ~ Roald Dahl

Matilda (Special Edition) DVD ~ Danny De Vito

Waltzing Matilda ~ Andre Rieu

Friday, August 27, 2010

Westmalle Trappist Dubbel

Tonight I'm drinking Westmalle Trappist Dubbel brewed by Brouwerij der Trappisten van Westmalle in Antwerpsesteenweg, Westmalle, Belgium. Don't worry, the site is translated in English, too. This came back from my friend's trip to Barcelona. Thanks again. This is a 33cL bottle, crazy languages on the back, best before: 03/02/12.

Big tan head, even with a slow pour. Fruity aroma, both pears and dark plums, along with some caramel. Sweet, sugary flavors kick things off. Some caramel and dark cherry and raisin flavors then come in as secondary flavors. The carbonation is a bit sharp, but very creamy--I liked it. The back side of this beer shows off quite the yeasty character with some light fruits continuing to show through. A little of the 7% alcohol shines through adding a touch of warmth. In the end, this beer was lightly sour, with not much of an aftertaste, just a little yeast. It was good, no doubt, but I probably wouldn't put this on my beer list if I lived in Belgium, so you know what I mean since I live in Florida.

Brew Like a Monk: Trappist, Abbey, and Strong Belgian Ales and How to Brew Them ~ Stan Hieronymus -- Kindle Store

Londons Times Funny Religion Cartoons - Trappist Monks - Greeting Cards-12 Greeting Cards with envelopes

Spiritual Secrets of a Trappist Monk: The Truth of Who You Are and What God Calls You to Be

If you can read that, I underestimated your powers!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Beer Tasting Extravaganza: Abraxas Lounge Edition

Abraxas Lounge, South Beach, Miami
Last Saturday (I've been busy, OK?) a handful of local beer lovers met up at the Abraxas Lounge in Miami Beach for Beer Tasting Extravaganza: Abraxas Lounge Edition. This was our third meeting in the series after the Total Wine and Coffee District Editions. I guess we had maybe 13 or 14 people from many diverse backgrounds, our common theme being an interest in promoting (and drinking) good beer locally. King Ed Roberts was at the helm once again. I guess I'll find out soon if I said anything stupid and if I'll be invited back next time. Not sure where it will be, but seriously Ed, if people would come, it could be at my house! (I have free Wi-Fi, and Mike, 595 and 75 are toll-free to my house, though the FL turnpike would be much faster!)

Dude, I was on time, even 15 minutes early, but the supposedly plentiful parking at 3pm on a Saturday was eliminated by many big Miami Beach PD signs telling me how they'd tow my vehicle because I'm not a resident. Is that parking garage paying off the meter maids?

Abraxas does not look like a bar on the outside. In fact, it looks like just another home in its residential neighborhood location. Except for the Abraxas Lounge name on the wall, you'd never know. Now 3pm in Miami Beach is like 9am in the rest of the world, especially on the weekend. What I'm trying to say is that this place was not opened for real customers when we got there or for many hours to come. So a big thank you to Diego for opening his bar to us!

Phillies fans dominated the group, though there was one lost Braves fan (he was cool despite that flaw). Suit Guy didn't wear a suit this time, and there was even some beer and spirits mixing going on--a Beer Old Fashioned (not original post link) substituting The Bruery Hottenroth for champagne in the traditional recipe. And there was one other thing that really sticks out in my mind now--how awesome the home brewers represented! Great stuff, guys!

22 Beers? Yep. I was actually surprised it ended there, even writing "23" in my notes. Had nothing to do with Jordan either. But that was the perfect amount. Here's a short (LOL) recap to the best of my memory and from the notes. If you see any mistakes, be sure to nicely point them out.

1. Odonata Saison. Ed scored this bottle, yes bottle, in a recent trade. Apparently this beer is brewed by a tiny brewery in California, and they just recently started bottling this as their first one. I had already written a short review here when I got an email from Phil over at DosBeerigos.com reminding me that I was guest blogging with him this week. Here is the review of this beer.

2. Deschutes Hop In The Dark Cascadian Dark Ale. Wasn't sure what to expect here, though I was smart enough to think "hop" might have a double meaning. The aroma was interesting, with some malts, licorice and molasses. Flavors start out with chocolate but there is a pretty big bitter backbone in this guy, persistent but not quite an asshole. Smoke and wood flavors are in there too, with a dry finish. Pretty good beer. I'd like to try a whole bottle some day.

3. Port Brewing Wipe Out IPA. You know what's funny? A guy on Twitter told me just a few days ago that I had to try this beer. When I saw it come out, I was psyched. Very hoppy aroma. I wrote: citrus, light fruit & citrus. Hahaha. It was only beer #3. Flavors are quite bitter with aggressive carbonation. Lots of citrus, mainly lemon, with a sharp bite. Nice.

4. Home Brew Vanessa's El Jefé Twisted Hefeweizen. I overheard her saying this is some kind of Australian wheat-IPA hybrid. You'll probably recall that I did a review of this beer last month when Vanessa gave me a bottle. But this time, the beer had a cool label designed by Vanessa's husband. Oh, and I got some new goodie's from the them. Lemony citrus aroma. Sharp carbonation. Lemon and citrus flavors are dominant, while wheaty flavors and texture is also noticeable.

5. Rogue XS Imperial Younger's Special Bitter Ale. I recently told my Total Wine Assistant Manager that I will never purchase these Rogue 7 ounce bottles because they are too expensive. I mean $4.49 for 7 ounces? No fucking way! But in no way does that mean I am against the beer inside the bottle, and happily partook. The aroma is hoppy, but very weak. Wow, power bitter flavors start things off, but this beer is oh so creamy and smooth. Not an ounce of bite to be found. I was expecting some alcohol punch, but none was to be found--not sure what the content is on this guy. I guess a little malt does balance this out a little, but bitter is the word here. "Dangerously delicious" was overheard by me.

6. Odell Saboteur. (Non)-Suit Guy brought this one. The bottle calls this a Brett Barrel Brown Ale. I heard American Wild Ale. Faint aroma, perhaps just a little sour. Wow, rich caramel opening, nice texture. This really is a delicious brown ale with cinnamon and ginger. Nutty, malty. But then the kicker is that this is lightly sour, with that wild funk, not overly so though. And damn, this thing has 10% alcohol, nowhere to be found. This was one of my favorites of the afternoon.

7. Midnight Sun Arctic Rhino Coffee Porter. Very cool, eye-catching label. Someone also said that they just lost their head brewer who left to start his own brewery. This will be the second guest post with DosBeerigos.com. Here is the link to this review.

8. Fort Collins Barrel Licked Bock. This is a barrel-aged beer. Great flavors starting with caramel, dark fruit and some of that 10.2% alcohol, boozy warmth. Buttery smooth, nutty, smoky, creamy. I liked this one too.

9. Terrapin Georgia Theatre: The Iron Tankard Old Stock Ale. Only released in Athens and Atlanta, Georgia. This will be review #3 on DosBeerigos.com, which I'll link when it's posted. Update 8/30/2010: Here's the post over at DosBeerigos.

10. Home Brew Chalie Beach Bride Ale. Fellow Phillies fan Chalie recently got married, and I actually met his wife at the Garrett Oliver event. Yes, of course I made sure she is a Phillies fan, too! Anyway, Chalie brewed this beer to be served at his wedding, and appropriately named it Beach Bride Ale. Now I don't know about you, but I think that takes some big balls, I mean confidence! This was an international beer: Irish ale yeast is all I remember, but Chalie named at least two other countries. Caramel and malty to start, a little sugary. Yet there was still citrus and this was a bitter-leaning beer. Great flavors that lingered for a long time. I think I had at least thirds of this. I think I heard 9% alcohol in this one.

11. Rock Art The Vermonster. Ah, the Vermonster, subject of the battle between Rock Art and Monster Energy. We all know how that worked out, don't we? I heard someone comment that this is Ridge Runner's big brother, so I checked and that is another beer brewed by Rock Art. So this is a barleywine with 10% alcohol and 100 IBUs. Damn there is a big bitter bite to this one. But there is also a chocolate and caramel maltiness that stands apart from it. Two separate entities. A hint of lemony citrus is also present. Very smooth, but again, very bitter with a kick and a bite to last a while.

12. Home Brew Josh Russian Imperial Stout. I don't have a photo for this beer, unfortunately, so here's a piece of artwork hanging at Abraxas. I had never met Josh until this event, but found out he's an avid home brewer. Holy cow was this a dark beer! Rich milk chocolate aroma, delicious. Excellent flavors, rich chocolate, brown sugar, a hint of licorice. Definitely some alcohol warmth provided. Smooth and creamy, and wonderfully delicious. Damn, man. This was a professional beer!

13. Dogfish Head Liquor de Malt. Tony brought this one. The label on this "40" called it "The bottle-conditioned handmade malt liquor". Lemony citrus, plenty of hops. There is also a distinct yeast flavor to this which was a really nice aspect. Mike said he thought it tasted a little funky like a saison. For me, the name and bottle made me think back to the not-so-nice area in Yonkers, NY we affectionately called "40 Town".

14. Southern Tier Backburner Imperial Barley Wine. Bitter citrus aroma. Guess what? Bitter citrus flavors too, though this wasn't one dimensional. The bitter had a little more pine elements as well. This beer was also well  balanced with caramel and toffee flavors. Nice and smooth.

15. Founder's Red's Rye P.A. I brought this one. I already reviewed this one in depth, but how could I resist again? Rye, citrus and hoppy aroma. Nice bitterness to start, but fruity and sweet rye flavors balance that out really well. Good spicy black pepper kick. Quite delicious even as my palate started to give way.

16. Founders Dirty Bastard. The other I brought and had recently reviewed. Molasses, a little alcohol, good. Those make up the entirety of my notes!

17. The Bruery Tradewinds. Sweet with lots of yeast and spicy black pepper. Fruit and peaches. Dirty Texture. I have a bottle of this guy at home to eventually drink.

18. Left Hand Rye Bock Lager 2008. This one's a few years old. Caramel and chocolate, silky smooth, nutty with some yeasty, and perhaps wild, flavors. Slightly off? Very mellow.

19. Alesmith Decadence Anniversary Ale. This is a Dunkel Weizenbock with 9% alcohol. Chocolate with light alcohol on the nose. Wow, the flavors do include the beautiful chocolate, but that's split 50-50 with awesome fruity banana flavors. There is a big story on the back of the bottle which I didn't have the chance to read. Delicious beer!

20. Boulevard Brewing The Sixth Glass Quadrupel Ale. Devil art on the front. Fruity apple accentuated by some fine carbonation. The 10.5% alcohol works well with the fruit which works well with the caramel. Smooth yet there is still a bite. Really good.

21. De Struise Pannepeut 2007. Dark fruit, raisins. Caramel and milk chocolate, rich and smooth. 10% alcohol. Really good flavors.

22. Southern Tier Choklat 2009. Rich milk chocolaty aroma and flavors. Cadbury bar someone said, with the raisins. Licorice and alcohol noticeable. Another treat!

23. Michael Jordan. Duh!