Saturday, May 31, 2008

Leffe Brune

Another one of the Belgium 5 in my fridge disappeared. This time, I picked the Leffe Brune (Brown). This reminded me of both the Chimay blue label and Goose Island Pere Jacques, which is odd, considering this is supposed to be an Abbey Dubbel when the above-mentioned beers are supposedly Belgian Strong Ales (must be because of the alcohol content). The Brune comes in at 6.5% ABV, which is not bad.

This thing poured into a tulip glass with a big, rocky head, which slowly disappeared. Smelled of Belgian yeast and sweetness. Nice caramel malt flavor.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Question for Miller Lite

Hey, Miller Lite, how's it going?

I just wanted to stop and ask you how you did in the 2008 World Beer Cup? I've been hearing these commercials how you won the Gold for the category of American-Style Light Lager several times.

What? You're kidding. You didn't even fucking place this year? I can't believe it! What a travesty. Well, who won the gold, silver and bronze?

Gold - Old Milwaukee Light
Silver - Lone Star Light
Bronze - Natural Light

Wow. You couldn't even beat Natty Light for the bronze? You know, it's not my job to tell you how to market your beer or anything, but to say you won that prize in those commercials, with those kinds of beer beating you, well, I don't know if that's such a good idea. It's like "Hey, we won the Gold medal for piss!"

I guess Old Mil Light and Lone Star Light are both owned by you. Still, I think I see the following billboards being placed where Miller Lite is sold (read: Nationwide).

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Beers for P-Mart

I got an email today from P-Mart today.

I need to find some good beers for quantity drinking. 2 pale ales or IPA's are about all I'm good for now. Bring on summer!

He also linked up a bunch of ESB reviews from the New York Times. I'm not real big on ESBs. There might be better ESBs than Goose Island's Honker's Ale, like the anniversary versions of ESB they make, but this one is fine. It's a beer-beer.

Here are some recommendations for summer drinking. Some are good for sippin', others for large quantity consumption. Make sure you designate a driver if doing the latter, or just consume at home with your spouse or room mates.

Clipper City Heavy Seas Red Sky at Night

Saison ales are nice. This is a decent example of one. Golden in color, a little tart, with a dry finish. This one has an ABV of 8%, so you don't need to quaf too many. P-Mart may want to see if he can get Boulevard's Saison, since it's in his backyard. Try out the George Brett as well, if you can get that one, it's a little less of a head-cleaner at 6.5%, but still very nice.

Another good style of beer to try in the summertime is Koelsch, or Kolsch with umlauts over the "o" for all you Deutsche Sprachers. This is usually a lighter, cleaner style of ale made originally around Cologne (Koeln, again, for you Deutsche Sprachers). Snubbed by most of the snobs on, this is a pretty simple beer to make, and quite honestly, is the closest thing to light American beer as you can get without actually drinking something owned by Bud/Miller/Coors. I had a Groovy Brew by Pioneer Brewing Company out of Black River Falls, Wisconsin. It wasn't bad. Just a smooth beer. Very quaffable.

Czechvar (Budvar Budweiser)

You want a nice, clean beer with a fruity yeast and a nice hop profile? You can't go wrong with the original Budweiser, from the Czech Republic, not St. Louis. Thanks to the largest brewer in the world, the original brewers had to change the name to get it sold in the U.S. So look for the Czechvar label, and try to get the brown bottle, because green bottles let green rays of light in, and that "skunks" the beer. You get this with clear bottles, blue bottles, every bottle except brown bottles. Another of my favorite Pilsners, Pilsner Urquell, comes in a green bottle. It tastes way better on tap. It tastes even better on tap in Europe. Anyway, go with a Czech pilsner if you can get it.

Finally, for summer drinking, for something different, try the often misunderstood American wheat beer. I am beginning to understand and enjoy American wheat beers a little more now that I understand they are not a straight across the board Weizen beer. If you're looking for that same bubblegum smell and banana-ester essence in an American wheat, you're likely going to be disappointed. The best American wheat beer, however, that I have had, does have a bubblegum smell. Hello, Gumball Head wheat ale, from Three Floyds. This is like a thirst quenching IPA. You can drink several at a time, and they are well worth every enjoyable sip. You should give Magic Hat's Circus Boy a try as well as Boulder Brewing's Sweaty Betty. I had some Sweaty Betty last fall, and here's what I wrote about it:

12 oz bottle. Pours straw-yellow, typical looking American Wheat. Smelled of toast, with peanut butter??? Yeasty. Tasted the same. I think I’m starting to get a flavor for what American Wheats are all about. Definitely not a Weizen. Taste reminded me of the Magic Hat Circus Boy.

So there you have it; some suggestions for some good summer style beers. If the evenings are still cool in your area, I also recommend a decent Belgian, or Belgian-style beer. The blue Chimay is excellent, as is Goose Island's Pere Jacques, and for that single sippin' beer experience, I totally recommend Unibroue's La Fin Du Monde.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Gift from Belgium

Had a conference this week that I hosted. One of my guests brought me a gift from Belgium:

Hoegaarden Grand Cru, Leffe Blonde, Belle-Vue Gueze, Leffe Bruin, Trappist Rochefort 8
There was a sixth bottle that was broken in the transit, unfortunately, and it was the one that my guest really wanted me to have, the Brugse Zot Blond, which won the gold in the Belgian and French style ale category at the 2008 World Beer Cup. Bummer.

Unfortunately, these aren't long for this world. I had the Hoegaarden Grand Cru last night. I have never had the Grand Cru style before. Not sure if this is a great example, but I did enjoy it. Nice yeasty smell I expect from Belgian beers, that damp, stinky, monastary basement smell. I know this may not sound appetizing to you, but it is very appealing to me. Golden in color, very hazey, with a big fluffy white head that disappeared over a few minutes. Nice lacing as I drank it. Definitely a sipping beer, weighing in at 8.5% ABV. Fruity aftertaste with the monastary basement stench and a swell dry finish.

I'll elaborate on the others as I get to them. I hope you all have a great Memorial Day weekend.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

'Nuff Said

This picture says it all for me:

That's some mighty tasty PBR you got there. It appears that the blonde is drinking some kind of cloudy beer. You think that might be a hefeweizen? I think so. Meanwhile, somewhere on the Hillary trail...

It's probably going to take something a lot stronger than whiskey to catch up to Big O, now.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Magic Hat #9 Found Across the Border in Michigan

I was dorking around the other day on the Magic Hat website, and I found a link to "Find Our Beers" or something like that. It's been just over 6 months since I discovered this brewer. I've been trying to develop a clone recipe for their Jinx. I found that the closest Magic Hat beer was in New Buffalo, Michigan. Right up the road from where I work in Michigan City. For fun, I went up there during my lunch break to see if it's true. The name of the place has changed, but they have this stuff at Lighthouse Liquors for $8 and change. It was cold, and I was actually going to get some but thought my wife would kill me if I got some of this since just last night we got 2 cases of Sam Adam's Summer Sampler. Now, one of those cases is for a potluck we're having this weekend, so I expect that to be gone.
The thing is, while the #9 is enjoyable, what I would really love to have is their Spring Sampler. It has #9 in it as well as the Circus Boy wheat, which are palatable, but I'm more interested in trying the hIPA and the mystery beer, which looks like a spring version of the Jinx. So I told the person working the liquor store that I wanted the sampler, and could she ask the distributor to bring some. So she said she would, and it would be there next Friday, unrefrigerated and waiting.