Friday, November 30, 2007
My friend has access to Binny's Beverage Mart, and luckily, they have a pretty nice website so I made a "wish list" for him, since he tends more towards wine. I also had a few bombers left over from my birthday, so we figured we would have a tasting, of sorts.
What you see pictured from left to right are an Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Weizen, a Koestritzer Schwarzbier, Moylan's Hopsickle Imperial Ale, Three Floyd's Dreadnaught Imperial IPA, Rogue Morimoto Soba Ale, and a bottle of the Chimay Grande Reserve. Not pictured is the Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock, and a bottle of the La Fin Du Monde.
Most of these were very nice. Of course, some were better than others. Some notes:
The Hopsickle and Dreadnaught were both Imperial IPAs. On ratebeer.com, the users rated the dreadnaught (100) just slightly better than the Hopsickle (99). How fortunate to live so close to a brewery that has the #1 imperial IPA in the world. However, my friend, Gumbo, and myself both felt that the Hopsickle was better. You could taste and smell the hops much better on the Hopsickle.
I'm glad I tried the Rauchbiers. Translated, this means "Smoke" beer. While they were interesting, the overpowering smell of smoked ham coming off each one was a bit of a drawback. Not that it was hard to drink them or anything...
Shoreline makes a better schwarzbier (or black lager) than Koestritzer. Sorry, Germany, you're now the second best country at making beer on my list.
I really liked the Chimay. You can see in this photo our glasses of this stuff. Sweet, malty, lots of flavors. I thought this is what a true "Dubbel" was, but I see that this is not a Dubbel but a Belgian Strong Ale. The other Belgian Strong Ale was the La Fin Du Monde ("End of the World" - It's made in Quebec province), which was more golden in color. It was also very nice.
Overall, it was a decent tasting event. Next time, I'd like to have more people to share it with. That's the great thing about beer, there are so many to try, but it's way more fun to share the trials with others.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
What this means is that if you normally stock the fridge with Bud, Miller, Coors, or other Macro beers, it is time to stop. Take this time of year to celebrate the "little guy", the microbrewer, by buying craft beers or stopping in and having a freshly brewed beer at a local brewery.
I know it might be a bit of a challenge. I know you might be worried about getting the Bitter Beer face.
The stuff in the beer that makes it bitter is called hops, and macrobrewers use less "hops-per-beer" than your craft brewer does. So, yeah, it's going to have some flavor, and character. You're going to get used to it. Because right now, America has some of the best beer in the world, and for the most part, you're not going to find it in your local grocery store (unless, of course, you live in northwest Indiana, then you're in luck), or should I say, Wal-Mart.
Here's what I want you to do:
1) Find something you've maybe seen but never tried. Sam Adams is okay, if you can find it. And you can. I would probably avoid the Winter Sampler, as these are darker, higher gravity beers, and they can take some getting used to. Avoid Heineken. If you can find a place that will allow you to make your own six pack, that is the best way to go. Write down the good ones and go back for more of these later.
2) Here's a basic breakdown:
A) Lagers and pilsners are lighter. These are typically what American macrobeers are modeled after. Bud is a lager, and Lite is a pilsner.
B) Try a pale ale. These generally have more of a hoppy taste and can get you interested in other styles. Bass is pretty common, and is pretty much the standard of pale ales. Been around for years. Harp is good, too.
C) Now that you've got a baseline pale ale, try a Sierra-Nevada pale ale. This thing borders on the edge of India Pale Ales, which I'll get to next. A bit more hoppy than a Bass or Harp.
D) India Pale Ale. If you get to this point, you're starting to improve your palate. You're getting used to the hops.
I'll cover more styles as the days go by. Remember, to really enjoy beer, pour it from the bottle into the middle of the glass. Don't try to avoid building a nice, foamy head. Look at the beer. How's the color? Darker than a macrobrew? Probably. Because it's got body, baby! Smell the beer. What do you smell? Hops? Flowers? Pine cones? That's good stuff! As you drink the beer, notice if there is any lacing (that's where the foam sort of sticks to the side of the glass and leaves a residue as you drink the beer). Have a good one!
Recommendations: Sierra-Nevada Pale Ale, Harp, Dogfish Head 60-minute and 90-minute IPA, Highland IPA, Harpoon IPA, Three Floyd's Dreadnaught IPA
Sunday, November 11, 2007
But boy is this Cherry Stout nice. Pours like motor oil left in your car for 3 years. Pretty, red-brown head, and as you drink it, the lacing on the glass slowly disappears. Tastes of chocolate, coffee and cherries. It's very nice. Photo courtesy of this guy. That's not my Pac Man glass. Although, it is sort of cool.
It's not like you're gonna drink more than two of these in one session, and even then, two may be too many. But still, it's a nice little treat, especially during the winter season. You can actually buy a keg of this stuff. Definitely something to consider if I owned my own brewpub...
Friday, November 2, 2007
Got about 7 Spaten Oktoberfest in there, a New Holland Dragon's Milk bomber, a bomber of Three Floyd's Munsterfest, Dreadnaught, and Behemoth, and a bomber of the Stone Arrogant Bastard. What you can't see are two Magic Hat Fall Mystery Beers, and a big bottle of Dogfish Head Black and Blue in the door.
Over on the other side of the "cellar" I got 4 bottles of 2007 vintage Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout, a bottle of Stone Imperial Stout, and two bottles of Goose Island Pere Jacques. I doubt the Stone lasts much longer. I want to do a side-by-side comparison of it to a bottle of the Dark Lord. Maybe in December?
So whaddaya got in your fridge?