Saturday, June 21, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
June 12, 2008
Shiner Spezial Leicht (btl to plastic cup)
We picked up this six pack and met some friends in Galveston, TX. I'm starving out on the beach with a salty taste in my mouth. It was straw colored and smell vegetal, like a lager, with a white head. We drank it ice cold (like the bottle says) and it tastes of low breads and low noticeable hops. It's definitely a light beer with little to no aftertaste. It finishes quickly, yet has high carbonation and moderate drinkability. Not my favorite, but it serves its purpose.
June 13, 2008
Divine Reserve #6 an American Barley Wine (btl to pilsner glass)
Now that we got that out the way, we commenced the journey to find DR. This beer is a small batch of beer who's recipe is brewed by the St. Arnold's Brewing Company, yet comes from the winner of a homebrewing contest. We tried to get DR #5 a few days ago (a Russian Imperial Stout) only to find out that this sh*t sells out within HOURS of its release. So we are nervous as heck and find all the various beer bars that may have it. We settle on the Flying Saucer, though that means we'll need to drive all the way downtown to get it. Small price to pay even with these gas prices. The wife and I did not even eat before getting this beer or even wait for the waitress. We sat outside, got a beer from the bar. Bad move on the food.
The smell is of flowery hops, some grapefruit and spicyness in there. It's got a thick tan head, and pours orange at first with auburn color as it fills the glass. The first thing we notice is the bold full body. Lots of hops and great thick maltiness to balance. Velvety finish with medium carbonation. It was a little warm as well PERFECT. It is beers like these are the reason brothas start beer tasting in the first place. It's smooth and creamy. The more I drink it, the more malt and hops come out. We don't sip it but drink it a little fast, and both of us get kinda tipsy as the 9.4% ABV starts to take affect. Awesome wow beer. My only problem is that I think it's too hopped up to be a Barley wine, more like a Double IPA or Imperial IPA to me. But whatever, I ain't a beer judge. St. Arnold's hit this one out the park. It's no wonder I'll probably never taste it again.
Hells yeah, it's good to be back in Houston. I had a nice 2 weeks offshore trying to get that oil, but it is so hard to blog about beer when I cannot have a drop of it. I'm still cleaning out my beer notebook and hope to catch up today. The wife (man I love this woman) told me we have what amounts to 8 different beers waiting on me at the house, including something new from Shiner. But I will start things off with reviewing a beer I had reviewed before.
Sam Adams Cherry Weeat (btl to pilsner glass)
State: Hot and Thirsty
Smells like Cherry Extract. It's not as cloudy as you'd expect of a wheat beer. It has a white head wit hno lace, yet the head is slightly lasting. The color is dark straw. It's not an overwhelming cherry, with low hops and a moderately velvety mouthfeel. Low malt and low-medium carbo. It's still not doing it for me, but I do like the aftertaste. I'm am loving this mouthfeel. Probably one of the better mouthfeels of a wheatbeer out there. But it's still kinda like a plain wheat beer with cherry extract poured in it.
and later on that night...
Buffalo Gold Golden Ale Boulder Beer Company
The boys from Boulder Beer Company are representing as Colorado's Oldest Microbrewery. Nice. I'm sure the boys at UC Boulder drink this stuff like water. Thick lasting white head, with light lace. Transparent bar gold color. Oh I KNOW UC Boulder boys love this one. It has kind of a sweet smell but a little off. This is another of our Beer of the Month Club, so it was shipped to the house, though I don't think it's all that dated. A very full mouthfeel comes through first, then light noticeable hops and a decent light malt. I get a light sourness that actually works out well. I'm eating burgers and fries now, and I'm getting more of the bready and tangy flavors as it warms. Damn this thing just fill your whole mouth up and it's great that it has light carbonation. It's certainly more lemony with the food. Excellent.
Sierra Nevada Summerfest (btl to beer mug)
It's so hard not write Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. You know they are doing something right with the branding. Those this Summerfest claims to be a lager. It's almost Georgia Tech Old Gold in color and crystal clear. White kinda poofy head. It's tastes of bread and malt first with hops in the aftertaste. It's much better than regular lager with the extra hops, but I'm getting an icky bitter aftertaste. The ickiness goes away the more you drink it, but damn that sucks. It's the aftertaste that could turn brothas away from beer and back to semihomosexual iced mixed drinks or overpriced tequila.
State: Eating Soulaki with pita bread, sitting outside in early May.
State: Hot as balls in New Orleans
May 25th, 2008
In case you are wondering how hot balls are... 98.6 degrees.
Got this one at a bottle in the store. I had to make a choice between this one and Jockamo IPA. I am a hop head, but just couldn't feel an IPA right now while I'm sweating out my clothes walking the streets. That one will have to wait until I get back.
Wheat beer pours oange and smooth from the bottle to the plastic cup. Serious head on this one but a regular beer smell (if there is such a thing). The head is a little lacy. Some sweetness in the smell if I really try. Not bad. Medium-full body with hints of orange. I'm not a fan of the 60 second bitter aftertaste this one has. Though it has medium hops. I now step outside the hotel room. The hops makes it a slightly different experience for a wheat beer, and I can dig it. It definetly refreshes one at 95 degree heat. It still feels smooth, though no new flavors are coming out, save MAYBE a slight spiciness.
And that's it for the NO this time. I did not get to the Jockamo IPA, I got most of what I wanted to try. The other locations were beer bars (d.b.a., and Beerfest). I made it to beerfest but can't remember what we had outside of a jager shot.
I enjoyed beering in New Orleans and look forward to doing it again. I will likely stop by a grocery store to pick a Jockamo. I also did not get to Big Easy or Lagniappe. It seems that the local NO beers are really about being refreshing, not tossing your tastebuds around. Of course it was summertime, so it fits well. Not to mention that most tourists will drink their beer on steamy streets of the Quarter, which further boosts the case for not juicing the beer with lot of hops or malts.
Damn near anything will taste good after walking it out in NO for an hour. All the beer sold on the street are Miller and Bud lights, but it does the trick. I look forward to going back to NO in the winter for some winter seasonals to see how these guys get 'er done when it's time to turn it up.
Of course NOLA will not be ready until October 2008. In the meantime, I feel I have enough to give a top 3 beers of New Orleans.
#1. Abita Restoration Ale
I love the cause, but that was pleasant hop bitterness as well. Would be a great beer to have back in Houston. Just goes great with heat of NO, and whatnot. I also see on Abita's website the have a slew of Select beers. I can see I'll just have to make a day trip to Abita's brewpub.
#2. Abita Amber
Just so good and bready. Maybe b/c it was one of my early beers and we were partying it up, but I really enjoyed this one. It seems like if there was a general Amber beer, this would be it.
#3. Crescent City Red Stallion
I love the richness of this one. I'm a fan of Vienna style malts as well. This was CC's best beer, and I think it would work well as a foil for seafood. I have very rich ribs which kinda knocked down the sweetness, but I could see it still there. It's like if you eat pork-n-beans laced with brown sugar, and then try to drink Kool-aid. The kool-aid would taste like water. The act that I could get the caramel out of this one bodes well.
This is the only brewpub I could find within walking distance, so I hit this one. I had a hankering for some crawfish and the hotel said that CC would have me covered. I was still sobering up while walking over there, but I really wanted those crawfish. Wouldn't ya know it, they had no crawfish there at ALL. We already had our seats and whatnot, so I figured we'll just get a sampler and go for it.
May 24th, 2008
State: Still sobering up from the beering earlier in the afternoon.
Smells of bread and light hops. The taste is a good hop and bread taste (no surprise) with a pleasant bready aftertaste. I'm going backward again, but it's clear, with a light gold color and white, medium carbonation. I am really starting to appreciate the pilsner. Pale lagers still have a ways to go.
I love the name. This one was clear with an amber color, white head and biscuit smell. I got a Vienna malt taste. It has a medium body with a low hop/carbonation. I'll say this one is full flavored, yet simple.
I was a little worried about this wheat beer, as I just had the Red Stallion, but it was all good. Some banana flavor in there. Not much of a head left, so I couldn't get much of a smell. Full bodied beer hazy beer with orange-yellow color. The head has some lace. It's not bad but low on flavor
A rich beer with medium body. It has a reddish color with low smell on the nose. Low hops, but medium roasted malt. Not a knockout beer, but okay.
That's all I had in my notebook, and it's a shame I couldn't come in here with few more sobriety points to spare. I ate the BBQ ribs, but none of the beers seemed to complement it that well. But I'll give it to them on their Pilsner and their Black Forest. It seems as if CC is not into taking too many chances. I would like to see something with a bit more kick. I can get pleasant local session beers on every corner, but would love to see more umph out of the brewpubs. Maybe DuClaws in Maryland (my first brewpub) I go to the New Orleans area about every 2 weeks (offshore engineering), so I'll try to get back out there one of these times.
May 24, 2008
State, in the hotel room with single bottles
I just gave my luncheon seminar, and now I'm just kind of goofing off, so grabbed a few of these beers to give them a try
Plastic cup. Dixie's brewery got jacked up during Katrina, but they are now back and brewing. Gotta represent. Kinda foamy white head and smells veggie-like. High carbonation and medium bread taste, served ice cold. Head has slight lace to it. It has a light body and hops, and a little bitter aftertaste. There's a light maltiness in there as well. Yes I'm going backwards, but the color is orange straw and very clear. I do have a slight headaches from drinking it up the night before.
Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager
Dark brown, ruby in the light with a tan head. Smells of butter biscuits, chocolate, and malt. Full body with a velvety mouthfeel with a medium carbonation. Low malt and very low hops, with a light aftertaste. No flavors really. Based on the smell I was hoping for more. It gets kinda bready and smoky as it warms up. I'm still just getting into homebrewing, but it may be that Dixie added a lot of stuff very late in the boil or even during secondary fermentation, hence all the nice smells but no flavor to match. They pulled a bait and switch on me.
I would also like to send a special shoutout to NOLA Brewing, a new microbrewery in New Orleans. I called them up asking about a tasting room and though they weren't open yet, the guy on the phone was a great help in finding not only some good beering, but good restaurants to eat at as well.
For the record, I still do not have the heart to visit the Lower 9th Ward or the harder hit areas of NO. As a Katrina evac myself (my wife and I lived in Ocean Springs, MS just outside of Biloxi when the storm hit), I cannot look at the yet worse state New Orleans is in. And how they could re-elect Ray Nagin just makes me vomit in my own mouth. I get so pissed off I can barely speak about it without a LONG string of obscenities coming out of my mouth. It could drive a man to drink. Speaking of which :)
May 23rd, 2008
Abita Amber (got it on draft, in a plastic cup)
Picked up this joint a little bar on a Riverboat restaurant. They only had two taps, but I hadn't had this one before. If you'll recall from my earlier posts, I was NOT impressed with Abita Beer and Turbodog. But here we go. It has an amber-auburn color, go figure, and is pretty clear. First taste if of high breadiness, nice medium body, medium carbonation. As it warms up (and it warmed up quickly in the heat and in my plastic cup), you get a nice cool maltiness. I'd say this was a very good session beer. The slight offwhite head remained the entire time. Very good stuff as I sit outside overlooking the old Mississippi river.
Abita Purple Haze
Negros chat up this beer quite a bit, so I had to cop this one at the store on the way back from the boat. Straw color slightly hazy, strong white head. Slight fruity and sour smell. Kinda like raspberry. The first taste is kinda empty at first, then I notice the light body, high carbonation, and low raspberry flavor. It moderately drinkable. It has low hops and low on the wheat. I really expected more out of this one.
Oh and for the record, the Midas Touch was also great with lamb chops. They say you should have complex beers with lamb as it matches the gaminess of the meat.
May 18th, 2008
Chicken Killer Barley Wine Ale
You gotta love the label of this 22 oz bottle. This is my first beer from Santa Fe Brewing. We poured it in our Hennessy cognac glass. It has a malty smell, with cinnamon and slight alcohol notes. It was a bit could so we waited a minute. It was opaque and had a dark honey color. The first taste is malty with a fine kinda high carbonation. A little lingering syrup mouthfeel after swallowing. No hops to speak of, as I hear Barley Wine is supposed to be. All I can say is that it is certainly more complex than it's little brother, a brown ale. I like it.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Friday, June 6, 2008
May 16th, 2008
May 9th, 2008
State: Full, Chillin
Is there ever a time I'm not chillin. Well we start with none other than what I gather is a Blond Pale Ale.
Real Ale Rio Blanco Pale Ale
Very nice label. Artistic. The beer is transparent with quality brozne and a good white head. What more could you expect from something with word "Blanco". It smells of caramel, cloves, and light flowers. (Note, I now know what cloves smell like after the wife had me sniff some cloves in a bag, or was that...) It's slightly sweet, with a medium hops that dies fast. The 3rd and 4th gulps give of hints of citrus. It's got a light-medium body, with a sudden aftertaste. It's bitter on the back of the tongue for a good 60 seconds after drinking and then vanishes again, I counted. It's alright, but maybe a touch too hoppy for a Blond, but a nice one. Ooh, a little lace on the head, probably not blond.
May 10th, 2008
State: I'm full and chillin, but could use some hair of the dog after getting a little slizzard last night.
Aprihop (Dogfish Head)
I've got a tan head, with clear copper, and peaches and hops smell. I have no CLUE what apricots are, but the wife tells me they smell and taste like peaches. It's got a medium body, tastes of peaches with medium hops, though not really bitter (go fig). It's very drinkable with little aftertaste. Later on in the gulp they sneak in a slight maltiness. Nice touch. It's a little sour and tangy as well. As I keep drinking it, it feels like peach juice near the back of the tongue. It's not a harsh beer, but different than anything I've ever had before. It's getting even more peachy as it warms up. I'm gonna have to either move somewhere near Delaware (maybe DuPont is hiring). Nah, I'll keep making the oil money.
More beer of the month club stuff. It's smells of caramel sweet lager, brown color, white head, and red in the light. It's got medium carbo yet kind of reminds me of Shiner Bock. It has a late bitter aftertaste. It's very light but not dry, a little residuey. I'm getting some sweet chocolate and vanilla notes near the end. Come on.
Yup. I'm hanging out with the crew that we went to Paris with, and they already know about my penchant for writing down reviews for the various beers I taste. And lo and behold, I've never had a Corona Light. I used to drink Corona all the time back in the club in college b/c I was too cheap and unsophisticated to buy hard liquor. I would stuff the lime in the bottle, put my thumb on the top of the bottle and turn it upside down for a few seconds, then turn it right side up, put my mouth over the top of the bottle and release my thumb to keep from spilling the inevitable burst of beer. I was soooooooo cool. I always noticed that the women would actually look at me as I nonchalantly did this little ritual. I think back on it and they probably thought, "look at that skinny chump there, I'll never sleep with him". And they didn't... much.
I grab a pilsner glass and pour out the CL in a clear glass. Of course it comes in a clear bottle. It smells of bitter corn y soda. It's clear, with a straw color y fleeting head. Lots of fizzzzzzz. I do find it drinkable (or drankable if you're so inclined), must be the lightness. It has medium bitterness. Head has zero lace and a slight bread and corn flavor after I get over the chilling cold. Actually it's only medium carbo, must be the lightness.
Later on that night, the Misses and I crack open more Beer of the Month stuff. This one has a fruity/citrusy smell. It's kinda cloudy in my weizen glass. Orange color with low head. I first notice the medium body, then medium carbo, and then a very subtle citrus. It's kinda drinkable but has no real aftertaste. It's just not much one way or the other, but there is some subtle Banananess at the end.
Lake Placid India Pale Ale (without the ubu)
Oh yes, let's go back to Colonial India. Lots of head with a dark bronze color. It's kind of buttery flower on the nose. Tan head. I'm eating some vodka sauce spaghetti with cayenne pepper. I'm sorry, but I love spicy hot food with India Pale Ale. I'm a glutton for punishment. It's head is lacy and very sustaining. This one is smooth and full bodied, with high hops, though not a killer. It has balanced maltiness with low carbonation (yes) and very drinkable. Maybe some caramel malts and very little aftertaste. EXCELLENT.
Note to self: Do not Google "Corona" on your work laptop, the pictures could get you fired.
I'm out here at the Sauce hangin downtown like Cameo. I was at a loss as what I should try, and I figured I should go ahead and go for something sweet and malty. I'm sitting outside in the just about hot Houston heat, so I forego the stouts and porters and settle on the Brown.
State: Chillin and Full
Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale
The color is a dark dark brown. The new waitress brought it out in a bottle, so I could tell that it pours easy. It has a sweet caramel malt smell that is making my mouth water as I type this damn near 6 weeks later, though there was NO HEAD. Amazing. Holding it up to the light reveals a red color. It has surprisingly high carbonation, yet medium body. First taste is sweet maltiness though not roasted. It's very low in hops and leaves a lingering caramel and tingle on the pallet. It's very nice and almost a WOW beer for me. It's probably a touch too cold. The aftertaste comes in kind of filmy wetness, though that was a good thing this time. As it warms, it gets pretty durn heavy and bold with the caramel and some very very light bitter AT. Near the end, I'm tasting the alcohol a bit, but the beer is still strong. I was very surprised that those dudes at Dogfish messed around and put RAISINETTES in the beer. Awesome surprise there. Seeing as how I hate raisins and don't eat chocolate, I wouldn't know what that taste was. Neato. Raisinettes still suck though.
I ask the hot young waitress if there was something ye maltier than what I already had, but that was not a porter or stout. She was a bit worried and eventually brought me the last Spaten Oktoberfest. I feel really bad because after the Indian Brown Ale, this thing tasted like water. I wrote down that it was clear, orangish with a white head. Kind of spicy yet vegetal... and then my pen ran out of ink. It's just as well, as I couldn't really taste it anyway. Note to self, get the Oktoberfest, then the Brown Ale. I won't count this one against Spaten.
State: Slightly Hungry
The boys at Spoetzl have put out their 99th anniversary beer, and loh and behold it's a Lager. But at least it's a Helles Lager. I really can't wait to see what the 100th Year beer is.
Shiner Helles Lager
It's kind of bronze and bubbly. I drank it very cold, and it's a light mouthfeel. It's kind of like a sweet lager. Not bad, but nothing I'd go crazy about.