Saturday, August 22, 2009

AleSmith Grand Cru

According to AleSmith, their Grand Cru is:

Our other famous Belgian-style offering is our Grand Cru. As with Horny Devil, it is fermented using yeast which originated in a Trappist monastery in Belgium. A darker type of Belgian candi sugar gives it more color and a richer complexity of flavor, consistent with the Belgian style.

So, yeah. I got this beer in a trade with a guy named Jay, who reviews all sorts of beer and places to get beer at Hedonist Beer Jive. Jay's been good enough to send me plenty o' beer for reviews.

This is my first AleSmith beer. The IPA gets rave reviews on ratebeer. Other than that, I'm not sure. Just another California brewery trying to outdo all the great Indiana and Michigan breweries I have access to. But this Grand Cru is mighty nice.

Unlike the photo, it pours a dark brown with reddish hues. It smells of molasses, caramel and dark fruit. Tastes this way, as well, with hints of licorice and chocolate. It reminds me a lot of the Chimay Blue I had the first time, around Thanksgiving 2007. I've had the blue other times, but it wasn't as good as this beer.

It's definitely a sipper at 10.5% ABV, and while my wife could tell it was strong, I could only taste it in the finish. According to the Stan Hieronymous book, Brew Like a Monk, Belgian ales should aid in digestion, and this one was carbonated enough, but not fizzy, to do just that.

I drank this one in a goblet, and it was a nice beer to look at. Check out the surface lacing in the photo as well as the nice lacing ring around the side of the glass. Very nice.

Thank you, Jay. And thank you, AleSmith!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Simpler Times Pilsner

Just for fun, I picked up a sixer of Simpler Times Pilsner at Trader Joe's last weekend. It was only $3.99 and I thought I would give these a try, to see if the Pilsner was better than the Mountain Creek Lager, which was right next to the Simpler Times.

You know what? I'm kind of impressed. Sure, I've had better Pilsners. Vicotory's Prima Pilsner is good. Budvar in Europe is my favorite. But if you had the choice of buying this, or a sixer of Bud Light, Busch Light, PBR, or MGD, I would definitely pick this.

I poured a can into a German tulip-shaped pilsner glass. Big, white head that is gone in aboutt 30-60 seconds. Smells of pears. This is the most awesome thing about the beer. It actually has a decent Pilsner yeast smell. I figure the IBUs around 30-35. Not sure if they triple-hop it, but that's about triple the amount of IBUs in a Miller Lite.

If you had all your beer drinking buddies over to sample PBR, Bud, Busch, Coors, and MGD, I'd bet you $2 and a half eaten bag of Doritos that this would edge them. Although, those are lagers, so I guess that's to be expected.