Monday, February 28, 2011

Shipyard Brewer's Brown Ale

Today I'm drinking Shipyard Brewer's Brown Ale brewed by Shipyard Brewing Company in Portland, Maine. The label is simple with the brewer sitting next to a barrel of beer, chatting and toasting with his black cat. Best Enjoyed Before August, 2011.

Mmmm. Smells really good with some malty sweet caramel and a bit of nuts. Nutty flavors start things off but only stay for a fleeting moment before a huge lemony astringent answer sweeps them away. Roasted malt and an ugly bitter proceed to usher in an off band aid flavor only to be followed by more ugly bitterness. Thin and yuck, I dumped the second half. NOPE!

The Good Beer Guide to New England -- Andy Crouch

Sweet Meyer Lemon Mini Pack

Milwaukee Brewers Mr Potato Head

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pike Double IPA

I just got back from Total Wine where the famous Ed Roberts plied me with shots of Tequila, Vodka and Scotch (including a $120 version) until I caved in and spent $175 on booze. I didn't even get a discount for the $100 plus in beer Ed and I sold this guy from Montreal who just opened his own microbrewery. (Ed got a French lesson, too.) But seriously, I was on the clock.

Fresh Beer had a Shiner and a Magic Hat sampler tasting too. I'm not really much on Magic Hat though; couldn't force myself to buy a six pack even to receive a shirt and other goodies. Anyway, the wife's 40th birthday bash is going to be fun!

So today I decided to drink Pike Double IPA brewed by Pike Brewing Company in Seattle, Washington. You might recall the tasting we did of all of Pike's beers as they were introduced to South Florida last July. Big 22 has a thumbnail of two people sharing a pint of beer while steering a ship's wheel. Hmmm, Exxon Valdez ring any bells? Very boring label otherwise. 80 IBUs. There is a stamp on the label too, says 21B.

Citrus and fruity orange aroma, a bit tropical and sweet. The flavors, however, will have none of that sweetness. Bitter up front with some fruity and malty backing. Plenty of citrus, pine and very dry keep the flavors toward the bitter. There isn't really any over the top aggressive bitterness and no spiciness to speak of; rather this beer is relatively balanced. Nice carbonation, pretty good. Straight-forward, flavorful and a good price. My favorite of the Pike beers I've tasted! The 8% alcohol is noticeable throughout, doing a lot of drying right through to the end. The End.

I Can't Even Walk -- Ed Roberts MP3 Download

Absolut: Biography of a Bottle

Storm WildEye Live Pike 04 Fishing Lures (Pike, Size- 4)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bell's Cherry Stout

Today I'm drinking Bell's Cherry Stout brewed by Bell's Brewery in Comstock, Michigan. This is a repeat from September, 2009. I hadn't seen this one around my local Total Wine in a long time, so I asked Ed Roberts to bring one from his Ft. Lauderdale store on a recent guest appearance in Pembroke Pines. It was being held at customer service for so long that they put it back on the shelf, where I rescued its lonesome self yesterday. Man, the store manager there must be impatient! You have my number!

Simple label with cherries in the foreground and a tree in the background. The back label says, "A mysterious dance of tart Michigan cherries with the dark, roasted malts of a big and bold stout." Batch 9993.

Rich chocolate and fruity cherry aroma. Surprise, right? But it smells very nice. Chocolate with tart cherry flavors intermingled, very juicy. So far very unique. I was surprised that there was also quite a bit of smoke. Cocoa and earthy flavors are also present. Low to medium carbonation, sort of flat but fine. Medium body at best, could have had a little more depth. Balanced and never sweet. The 7.0% alcohol is not very noticeable. You finish with a touch more sourness. I think the chocolate and cherry complement one another very well. Nice beer.

Cella's-Chocolate Covered Cherries, 72ct

Jessie Steele I Love Cherries Square Oven-Mitt

Ferry-Morse 2160 Pepper Seeds, Rainbow Mixed Bell (250 Milligram Packet)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Peak Organic IPA

Today I'm drinking Peak Organic IPA brewed by Peak Organic Brewing Company in Portland, Maine. The very boring label says, "Pure ingredients, delicious beer". Best Enjoyed Before June, 2011.

Citrus and pine aroma with a fresh orange and apricot fruitiness. Bitter fruity start, citrus and lemon rind. Fairly dry right away goes with some warmth from the 7.1% alcohol. There is some malt backing but this beer is nicely bitter throughout, easily winning any battle. Some medicinal flavors are apparent toward the end but you end up feeling your palate is clean and that you drank a crisp beer. Good carbonation, dry finish. An OK IPA. Nothing awesome, rather ordinary and average.

Today's power word: Esurient -- hungry, greedy. Think ambulance chasers, for one example.

Bear Naked All Natural Granola, Peak Protein, 12-Ounce Pouches (Pack of 6)

Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, 15-Ounce Tubs (Pack of 2)

Annie's Homegrown Berry Patch Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks, 5-Count Pouches (Pack of 4)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Old Horizontal

Today I'm drinking Old Horizontal brewed by Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. For me, this is a repeat from January, 2010. I guess I wasn't in love with it then, so seeing what 14 months may have changed. This is actually the version that was bottled Nov 15, 2010 and best by 5 years from then. This was also the beer of choice for the famous Brewkkake and his guest review, though I heard recently he may be retiring. I'll confirm rumors when I find out. The label has a nice poem on the side, which I'll show you a picture of below. Finally, there is a sleeping moon and space ship on the label to complete an outer space theme.

Orange citrus, hoppy pine aroma with some sweetness underneath. Excellent! Sweet caramel and sugar flavors are how this beer starts out, a little sweeter than I expected. Also, the creaminess is very noticeable right away. Fruity cherries and jam-like oranges add a strong dose of juiciness. It's very difficult to pinpoint where the sweet ends and bitter begins, but it's right about now, the middle, and ushered in by a warming wave of 11% alcohol.

Spicy black pepper, citrus, some pine all contribute to a nicely bitter second half. There isn't much bite, like I might have expected; rather, this is a bit more mellow. Considering the alcohol levels and the high carbonation, that was quite amazing. Still creamy even at the end. I am definitely on board with this beer, especially compared to last year. A very nice sipper, enough to take the edge off of the day. You know it's big but it doesn't piss you off by telling you 100 or more times. Long lasting bitterness on the palate is also a bonus. Check it out for sure!

Finally, your power word for today. Lithe: nimble, effortless gracefulness. For me, Cirque du Soleil immediately comes to mind.

Ultimate Flexibility: A Complete Guide to Stretching for Martial Arts

Graceful -- Seth Godin --Kindle Store

My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands -- Chelsea Handler

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

January 2011 Top Five

January is already gone? Wow! If you weren't around or missed the results, in January I put together a little poll to pick the Best Beers from 2010. Several beers came out as the winners, and then of course I couldn't resist naming my own favorites. Go figure!

Two guests contributed in January. First, "The Girl" made sure my blog had a review of the rock star beer Pliny the Elder. A week later, Beerlywed Chad came through with a review of Rock Art Double IPA.

What else? I reviewed my experience at Cirque du Soleil's Kooza and even ventured into the world of hard cider. How adventurous, right?

January 2011 Top Five

1. Night Stalker

2. HopSlam Ale

3. Ten FIDY Imperial Stout

4. Schneider-Brooklyner Hopfen Weisse Ale

5. Hoptimum

Honorable Mentions:

Infinium Ale

Lukcy Basartd

OK. I'm pretty pleased with that. Sorry it took almost all of February to get out a January list. Here are all of the 2010 Top Five lists from last year as a comparison. A few from this month were also nominated last year, so they must be pretty good, right? All of January's reviews can also be found here. Let me know what you think and thank you as always for reading!

Cirque Du Soleil Anniversary Collection (1984-2005)

Kolchak - The Night Stalker -- Darrin McGavin

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest -- Stieg Larsson

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Samuel Adams White Ale

Yesterday was 8 year old Little League opening day for my son. Our family arrived early and the team warmed up before the game. One minute prior to game time, the coach told my son to put on the catcher's equipment. That was entirely shocking as he'd never played anything until 2 weeks ago, let alone catcher with all the gear.

By the time he had the equipment adjusted and waddled out to the plate, there was not even enough time for one warm up pitch. So he was catcher never having even caught one ball in that role. Nice!

Let me tell you how impressed I was with his performance. And it wasn't just me, a lot of people said He Was Awesome! It was funny being the dad cheering for the catcher and not the pitcher throwing strikes, though I eventually did both.

He also got a hit and eventually scored. The team played very well, won, and you'd have thought it was the World Series Game 7. It's been a long time since I've had so much fun at a Little League game! And the season just started.

Today I'm drinking Samuel Adams White Ale brewed by The Boston Beer Company in Boston, Massachusetts and a few other host cities. Enjoy by April (2011 not stated).

Wheat, lemon and spicy aroma. Wheat flavors and textures are the first things to hit your palate. Those are followed by a little fruity tang, which was a little surprising. Coriander and pepper spices claw their way through the chewy wheat field until they get full recognition. Lemon and orange round out the balance of flavors for this beer. A little sweet though some hops do try to give it a go. Carbonation is medium plus. You finish with more of that thick wheat texture left behind in your mouth. Cotton mouth, we used to call it when cutting weight during wrestling season. Not a pleasant attribute. Not very refreshing on this 86 degree afternoon. All said, decent flavors; the texture, a little much; not a bad beer.

Vocabulary word of the day -- Prolix: tediously wordy and prolonged, to the point of being tiresome. Tending to speak or write in such a manner. Don't Even Say It!

Wilson - Ez Gear Catchers Kit - Size L-XL

Prolix -- Z-Man Games

Vocabulary Cartoons: SAT Word Power

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cuvée 3 Oak Aged Ale

Today I'm drinking Cuvée 3 Oak Aged Ale brewed by Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, New York. So this 22 ouncer came in a box, a box apparently used by Southern Tier for Series One and Series Two as well. My box had the appropriate Series Three box checked. The box goes on to set some expectations of flavors. Also of note is that Three is a blend of One and Two (I feel a math lesson coming on).

The bottle label is beautiful with bold silver lettering over an electric red and orange background. On the side is a line sketch of the inner works of a brewery. Serve at 42 degrees F. Noticeably missing from the bottle was any kind of technical analysis which normally accompanies every other ST 22 I've seen. Not sure why they didn't bother this time. The box did say that this beer has 11.0% alcohol it it.

Sweet rich caramel aroma with a lot of vanilla, too. Holy ultra sweet! I had heard this was going to be sweet, but I needed to pull out a logarithmic scale to gauge this one even against their own Crème Brûlée Imperial Stout (which by the way I adore). Caramel and pure sugar flavors are swimming in a sickeningly-sweet, syrupy thick body of boozy beer. Vanilla and some cherry and other ripe fruits are also very prominent. In addition, a strong wood component is evident, unsurprisingly.

Now let me tell you about that 11% alcohol. Very medicinal, and does absolutely nothing to solve the sweet problem, so now we have two unwelcome competing components to deal with. There was one strong flavor that I couldn't place and it was pissing me off. Luckily, I finally gave up, read the box to prepare for this review, and noticed that it mentions coconut. Once they told me, yeah, coconut flavors were unmistakable. You finish with a dry, sweet, alcoholic ending.

The flavors were not horrible in this beer, but the sweetness and the syrupy consistency were obnoxious and undrinkable. I dumped this, despite the financial guilt, after about half of the beer. Perhaps someone can let me know how to incorporate the other bottle I have of this beer into a sweet baking recipe? Please? In conclusion, I wouldn't!

Finally, unrelated, but too bad for you, I found a vocabulary-building book I used to enjoy in the days before the internets. I am going to try to improve my word choices and bring you along too. And yes, it will be on the test. Today's word is Pasquinade, a satirical writing or lampoon designed to ridicule a particular person. Now that's my kind of word! Use it in a sentence. Now!

Riedel Vinum Cuvée Prestige Glass, Set of 2

Remarkable Satires: The Causidicade; The Triumvirade; The Porcupinade; The Processionade; The Piscopade; The Scandalizade And The Pasquinade (1760)

One Touch Ultra Blue Mail Order Test Strips, 50 CT

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mud Slinger Spring Ale

Got a late start this morning after getting home super late. Yep, another Bunco party, the second in a sort-of-annual event. It was mostly the same crowd as last year, a great time, and my wife pocketed $100 which easily covered the baby sitter. Oh, and the food was awesome: shrimp cocktail, stuffed mushrooms, sausage and peppers, meatballs, and these spectacular bacon-wrapped jalapeno cheesy-poppers!

Now, it was a Corona type night if you know what I mean. So I decided to "expand my horizons" and dive right into the Patron. I have no idea what a good tequila or tequila brand is, but I'm pretty sure this was one of them. Ultra smooth! I passed on the Apple Martini, and checked out a Bartles and James Pina Colada something and a Jack Daniels Lynchburg Lemonade. They were a little sweet, but not bad, and certainly prepped my palate for some Mexican beer. Until next year. If I were you, I'd click the link above to read last year's recap--I think it's more entertaining.

Today I'm drinking Mud Slinger Spring Ale brewed by Redhook Ale Brewery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This is one of their seasonals and the label calls it a nut brown ale. In fact, the label is so simple that the words "NUT BROWN ALE" and "Bottled 011911" are easily the most exciting part of the bottle design!

Malty, nutty aroma with plenty of lemony hops on top of that. The flavors begin a bit nutty, a tad grainy, earthy, some caramel. Next, those sweeter flavors are offset literally by some off medicinal flavors. A high dose of lemon bitterness is next in line, way out of place and unwelcome. Low body, high carbonation, dry finish. The 5.8% alcohol was not really in play. OK at best and tough to finish. Thank God I had a 60 Minute to take away the pain!

It's Bunco Time

Patron Simply Perfect Tequila Trucker Hat/Cap

T-Shirt Mens Dark Silver " Lynchburg Lemonade DRINKER " Drinks Large

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pitch Black IPA

Remember me talking about this British Chick Claire? No? She's the one that took one of my pictures and created that header for this blog. Oh, yeah, now you remember. I just wanted to show you what she's up to with her art projects. I didn't want to post the naked ladies doing breast exams, though they are delightful. But I think you'll find this bosom buddy just as engaging. If that isn't enough of a Claire fix, I'm pretty sure you could stalk her using the info on this page. Seriously, check her out!

Speaking of art, I finally got that Marq Spusta Dogfish Head Pimp print framed (see below). Thanks again to Goddess of Gear Lindsey and Sam for signing it for me. Check out the inscription! Hard to believe but in just a few weeks Aprihop, the beer and the new artist's first seasonal print, will be available. Can't wait. So far there have been no previews of the artwork, but I'm working on it (I asked for a leak. LOL.).

Today I'm drinking Pitch Black IPA brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing Company in Portland, Oregon. On the cap and several places on the label it says "Series 924". I'm not sure what that means, but I'm guessing someone will tell me. Date on the bottle is FEB 02 '11 08:17 WA and I'm almost certain that is a bottled on date, time, location. The bottle itself has all kinds of stamps, from decorations to the name of the brewery. Very cool. Little comments like "Always bet on black" and "smooth, dark and hoppy" are also there.

Roasted malt and VERY hoppy aroma. Also, tons of licorice in the nose. Roasted (not burnt) malty flavors start things off. Not one bit harsh, which is a huge win. Those malty flavors are immediately and aggressively challenged by quite the hoppy little bite. Lemon and orange citrus galore, I mean clear-your-sinuses type stuff! At the same time, the beer is not overly bitter, a pretty amazing feat. A real Tale of Two Cities (I couldn't think of a word other than Cities to be more creative, sorry). Some licorice flavors start to appear at the end. Crisp, very enjoyable. Medium body and carbonation. Bitter citrus aftertaste is also nice. The 6.5% alcohol is not really noticeable except for a little bit in your newly cleared sinuses. For sure check it out!

Pitch Black [Blu-ray] -- Vin Diesel

Oakley Men's Radar Pitch Iridium Asian Fit Sunglasses,Metallic Blue Frame/Black Lens,one size

Electronomicon -- Pitch Black MP3 Download

I know, lots of reflections. But you get the idea.