Monday, July 28, 2008

Beer Rating System

Like most folks, I have decided to start putting a star rating on each beer I drink. It will be pretty simple and probably not much different than the other ratings systems, but I will basically base this rating on whether I would buy the beer and how often. I'm not so much concerned with "true-to-style", though I have commented on that in the past, just where is the great beer.

One Star

Definition: Beer that is so bad I probably would prefer not swallowing it. This is beer that will make you think about NOT drinking beer ever again. It will be rare for a beer to make this list, but I can already think of one: St. Pauli Girl NA, Colt 45, Desperados. Another strong candidate is the Bud Light Lime.

Two Star

Defintion: Beer that is okay. Nothing to write home about and not much in the way of flavor. Kinda like a beer that will only work if I'm thirsty or hot as hell, or if I'm trying to get a girl drunk (in my younger days) and I don't have much money. If you are just trying to get drunk, then please just get a couple shots of well vodka. Life is too short to be drinking crappy beer. You are going to see a lot of your macrobrewed beer on here, and that is by design. The people who make them are not bad brewers, they are just using old fashioned capitalism. Just like the rap music the masses listened to is just a watered down version of the true grit of hip-hop, that's how these beer are.

Some Beers on this list: Bud Light, Budweiser, Tecate, Corona, you get the idea.

Three Star

Defintion: Now we are getting to beers that are pretty good. Will I get them every time I'm at the bar, only if two star stuff is the only other option. But many places like Hooters and whatnot will only have the macro-stuff, and then maybe a beer or two from this list. There are some macros on here as well. Lots of these beer are moderately flavored stuff. Nothing too harsh one way or the other, just good tasting that will work with bar food mostly. A lot of these beers will probably end up on my Tailgating series.

Some Beers on this list: New Belgium Fat Tire, Shiner Bock (most Shiners), Heineken Dark, Amstel Light, St. Arnolds Amber, Abita Amber

Four Star

Definition: These are basically beers that if they are on the menu, I'm getting them unless there is something on the menu or chalkboard that I've never had before. After I try a couple new ones, I'm getting these EVERYTIME. These are where more of my IPAs and whatnot come on the list. Lots of flavor, great nose, great body for the conditions.

Some Beers on this list: Rogue's Dead Guy, Stone IPA, Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, Blue Moon (and all the seasonals but Spring), Jockamo IPA, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Northcoast Scrimshaw Pils, Big Rock Traditional, you get the idea. I'm into something with bigger body.

Five Star

Definition: Basically these are beers that define beer for me. It's hard for a beer to stay on this list as I grow more into the beer world, but these are the beers that I think are the whole point of the industry. These are beers where I'll say: This is why we do what we do. Plain and simple.

Some Beers on this list: St. Arnolds Divine Reserve #6 (on it's way down), Northcoast's Brother Thelonious, Avery Maharajah IPA, Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, the END.

14 Days without a Beer: Day 7

Well it's not 7 days offshore and I haven't had a beer. I'm an idiot that keeps forgetting to bring my Beerlog with me to the platform, so I cannot catch up on my beer reviews. I could really use a beer, but no alcohol on the platform, for obvious reasons.

You know its getting bad when you are planning beertineraries for places you may or may not visit in the next few years.

The madness is starting to take over as I now have an IPA I brewed in a keg that ready to drink, and I have a deposit on a kegerator from Craigslist, so I will be SWIMMING in beer once I get back, pending whatever weight watchers tells me to do. I know what you are thinking, did this dude keg a beer without a practical way of getting the beer out? The answer is YES! I borrowed the 5 gallon keg from a cool guy and coworker, and kegged my IPA which somehow seemed to fully ferment in 2 days, too warm on the pitch.

I also think about my adventures in making my own kegerator. The one I'm guying is made from a GE 7CF, which I will use for fermentation, and to bring out to tailgates for Texans games. I purchased a big ass 18 cubic feet chest freezer which I think I can fit 8 5-gallon kegs. It was so wild getting the freezer to my house. The man I bought it from (craigslist rules) and I tried to fit it in my Sebring Convertible. But it was waaaaaaaaaay too high, and visions of tasers from Houston Police started floating in my head. So we got another friend's miniSUV and I managed to fit it in, with about 60% of the freezer sticking out the back of the open trunk. I put some rope on it and started driving VERY slowly through the Northwest suburban streets of Houston and Katy. I was doing okay until I saw that the cops were everywhere directing traffinc once you got near some of the corporate offices, and they started walking towards me. I'm already replaying what my father told me to do when the cops pull you over, but they let me pass and continued to direct traffic. Hellz yeah. I made it to the house and got a neighbor to help me get the behemoth out of the car. I'll get some pics up in my next kegerator post.

Have a good one and drink a beer for the guy who makes sure you have the gas in your car to drive to the pub.

Posts to come: My Rating System; Tailgating Series Preview; More reviews

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Beer and Weight Watchers

Well I'm offshore, which means no beer for 2 full weeks. The only way I manage it is that no one has any beer around me out here or women, so I don't think about either. Secondly, I know I can tour some nice bars in Houston and wherever the wind takes me on my time off, probably Charlotte, NC this time.

The wife is planning on starting Weight Watchers, and I'm going to do it with her. One for solidarity, and two, I could stand to lose a good 30-40 lbs of fat myself. Genetics and beer usually causes me to balloon up after I do a marathon or complete some other physically assaulting task. I still workout about 5 times a week, so I hope I won't need to change much there.
I saw a WW chart, and it only says non-alcoholic beer (1 point) and light beer (2 points).
I simply REFUSE to stop drinking beer, PERIOD. One, I am this close to having a kegerator, two, I'm homebrewing, three, I'm at the point where I think I could be a low level BJCP judge with a little more studying.
And if these chumps at WW think I'm going to drinking Michelob Ultra, they can kiss my entire ass. I don't care if I'm just eating holy wafers and bubble gum, I will not stop drinking the IPAs, Dark Ales, Pilsners, Barley Wines, and pretty soon Oktoberfests and Pumpkin Ales. And it won't be just one pint a week either. Please let me know if you know of a WW point system for real beer, otherwise, I will develop one myself. Let's ee how it goes. I'll be starting WW some time after I get back onshore.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Live Review: Jockamo IPA

We interrupt my notebook clearing for a live review. The kicker is I bought about 8 bottles of Abita's Jockamo IPA when I came back from offshore, which you'll see in a later post, and yet I kept forgetting to review it in my book. I'm now down to the last bottle, so I figure I'll just slap this one directly on the blog.

If you'll recall from my last New Orleans post, I kinda felt bad I did not get to Abita's IPA before I had to leave the city. Damn shame for a guy who is a hophead. If I recall, I ranked the Restoration Pale Ale as the best beer I had in the NO. Well, too bad, b/c I like the IPA over the Restoration. So here we go...
Bottle pours into dimpled glass. Good burnt orange color with a light tan strong head. Smells of flowery hops, a slight hop bite (maybe from Cascade), and some caramel malt. Front of the tongue is light malt, with stronger bitterness coming in the back of the tongue. It's not wet on the mouthfeel, but kind of gritty. It is of medium-low bitterness based on the IPA's that I've had. It's certainly more than Restoration, but it's very good. The more I drink it, the more I'm getting the citrusyness (is that a word) of the hops, yet it a nice malt balanced. Well done for Abita. I can imagine many hopheads would say this is closer to an English or regular pale ale on the bitterness. The aftertaste is slightly bitter and lingering, but no real harshness to it. It kind of reminds me of the Broken Halo, but a little lighter.
Review of Abita Brewery.
Well, I've pretty much now had all the beers I could find for Abita. They have the regular seasonals (Bock for Spring, a Christmas Ale for Winter, and a Red Ale for late spring), and I've only had the Summer (Wheat). Of course in New Orleans, there is no such thing as Winter, so it's all kind of Spring or Summer. Lake Affect my ass. Abita's beers seem to be on the lighter side for all brands, which probably works well for the hot times in French quarter. I'm not sure how popular they are in Acadiana (Cajun country), but pretty much all their beers work well for walking the city streets while looking for loose women to flash for beads, not that I do that type of thing. I honestly think their beers would work well for nationwide expansion, especially their Purple Haze and Turbodog brands. The names are awesome, and they are subtle yet tasty enough to curve off a little market share from Miller, Bud, Boston, and the Mexicans. Hell, I could see someone naming their Soccer club Purple Haze. I look forward to trying Abita's seasonals. As Louisiana is a second home for me, I hope to see a little more out of New Orleans. I particularly look forward to NOLA opening up.
Be on the lookout for posts on my homebrews, a lager and an IPA. I will also document my adventures in building a big arse kegerator. Lastly, I'm thinking of documenting my next two weeks of no beer. Should be fun.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

MIA Happy Hour, Bock it Up

June 20, 2008
So we finally had a happy hour for our investment club. They messed around and let me and the wife choose the location. Pretty easy choice, the Sauce.

I had been feeling a little down about Shiner Bock not being a real bock according to the Sauce. The Sauce does not even put Shiner Bock on it's Bock menu, but in the Vienna style. I even felt weird considering that Weizenbock I didn't like in Austin that some folk are calling World Class. So I decided to try a few different bocks this time to get back into bocks.

Sam Adams White Ale
Hey, they had it on sale for like $2.75. Nobody had shown up to the Happy Hour yet, so I had some time. It came in a bottle and I poured it in a pilsner glass. Kinda cloudy and orange. White strong head. Nice tasty beer that had a medium creamy body. I taste the spice and orange early on, and then the malt and bread near the end. Low hops on aftertaste. Very good beer and probably one of my favorites from Sam Adams. 3 Stars

Rogue's Dead Guy (Maibock)
Finally I'm getting my hands on the Dead Guy. It was on draft and poured into a pilsner glass. The guy I'm shooting the shyt with is finding it funny that I'm writing in a journal. I just finished eating the Big Dipper, and hearty roast beef sandwich. It's a dark orange color with a quickly retreating head, light cloudiness. It smells of caramel and chocolate, maybe some alcohol smell as well. It kind of reminds me of a barley wine (ie the brown ale of lagers). I put WOW in my notebook after tasting it. Medium fine carbonation, light-medium body. Some breadiness on the aftertaste. It has some high alcohol like the dunkelweissen's I've had before. The sweetness is akin to maple syrup for me. And the breadiness is coming out after I've gotten used to the sweetness. Maybe it was because I had a white ale first, but I'm going to give this one 4 stars.

Spaten Optimator
Glass to chalice. Dark brown, with a tan head that disappears quickly. It smells malty but a little off, kinda like trash. Bready and malty-sweet taste, more bread than Dead Guy. Goes down quick, with high carbonation. Oh Yeah. Slight alcohol taste with a light-medium body. Welcome back to bocks baby. 3 Stars.

Paulaner Salvatore
The waitress poured this one in a snifter, neat. Sweet and malty smell with a dark red color. Pretty syrupy with high alcohol flavor. I'm not going to count it as I'm getting kind of tipsy, but it's very good.

I think I had a few more Dead Guys to wrap up the night, and we got some more people interested in our club. It looks like a good bet that every time I frequent the sauce, I will have several of one style. This kind of gives me an opportunity to see what's different about a particular style. One would think Bocks should be dark, but in one night I saw ones that were brown to ones that were dark red. They even poured them in different types of glasses. One thing for sure, they damn sure pack a punch. I was chugging some Gatorade to stave off the hangover that night.

Monday, July 14, 2008

You Guys can go to Hell, I'm going to Texas!

June 21, 2008

State: Hungry, watching a movie.

Ah the Alamo Drafthouse Is there anything better than drinking craft beer while watching a movie? I don't know if I'll EVER go to a different theater in the city. For one, NO ONE under the age of 21 is even allowed anywhere near the theater, so you don't have to worry about teenyboppers talking all through the movie. What's better is that this is only slightly stadium seating, which means all the guys who take movies too seriously will not show up either, as they can get better seat styles at other regular theaters. The wife and I checked out the New Incredible Hulk movie and I down three new beers.

First off, what in the hell are they doing with another Incredible Hulk movie. The first one just came out like 5 minutes ago. Granted this new one was a shyteload better, but still. Keep in mind, this is not a sequel, just a new introduction to the Hulk. I do love how they spun this Hulk to have something to do with the Captain America super soldier formula. So many plotlines can come from that Super Soldier formula. But on to the beer.

Drafthouse Amber
This one is brewed in Austin, TX at the original Alamo Drafthouse. Nice. Don't worry, I got this one before the movie started, so I could see the beer. A little dark brown. Smell has a little bread and butter, with a slight malt, true to amber form is such a thing exists. Low malt with a quick finish, balanced hops. Medium carbonation and moderate drinkability. This is what I expect from an amber. Nice stuff. Head has some lace with a medium body. Oh yeah.

Stone IPA
Finally I'm getting a Stone, which the west coast guys all rant about. Straw color and clear. A good finger of head. We got it on draft, so the head had some time to die down before the waiter brought it to me. Oh yes, they have waiters in the theatre, so you can order beer without having to miss any of the movie. Scrong hops smell, but not all Cascade. Tastes of very high hops with high malts to balance, very smooth. Low carbonation and low bitterness on the aftertaste. Light to medium body with maybe a little citrus coming through as it warmed up. I can see I'm going to have to clone this one.

My Brotha

June 15, 2008

State: Chillin

The wife picked up a pretty cool Belgian Dark Ale, Brother Thelonious for Northcoast. The label ALONE is reason enough to buy a case of this stuff. That has got to be the best beer label I've EVER seen, our boy Thelonious Monk. We poured the beer into two wine goblets and went for it...
Brother Thelonious
It pours very smooth. Nice brown color that is crimson in the light, with a tan head. It's got a fruity smell of the Abbeys. Strong head though not as frothy as the label. It's kinda malty smell as well. It goes down easy and flavors I get are malt, then brown sugar sweetness, then mabye some cinnamon spice. Medium carbonation and light hops. It's so damn good. I write down that it may be a dubbel, and later learn it's a dark ale. Medium to quick finish. It's almost as sweet as a barleywine, but with a thinner body. I cannot taste the alcohol but we know it's there.

Austin: Part 4: Give us, us Independence!!!

And later on...

We zip around town a bit burning some $3.95/gallon gasoline, and eventually find our way to the Flying Saucer in Austin. Turns out this Sauce is in one of those new style apartment complexes, where there are trendy yuppy shops and stores on the bottom floor, and apartments above. But I know I could not survive living above a Sauce. I'd easily gain for 40 pounds and be the next D. Rather than going all through the menu, we just decided to do a sweep of Independence Brewery.

Independence Freestyle Wheat
We got full pints rather than little samplers. Pretty clear beer that was the color of tinged straw. Light head, but of slight spice, citrus, sourness/lager smell. A fadeaway white head. Not much of a mouthfeel. A medium body, and not so good sourness/hop aftertaste. Medium carbonation yet not much of fruitiness. Not much of a wheat beer to be honest. Just some hops in a fuller light ligher. It does taste of a little bread as it warms up.

Independence Amber
Now that we've gotten past that one, I copped the amber. Crayon brown with a white head. Can't get a smell though. Buttery taste with a medium malt, low hops and a very quick finish. Some citrus halfway through the draught, nice surprise. A little hollow like a light beer on the mouthfeel. Hmm.

Indy Bootlegger Brown
Now the sobriety points are starting to run low. We already know the wife will be driving us back to Houston, as we are going straight back home after this beer. Dark brown to black, with an offwhite head. Roasted malt and pipe tobacco smell, awesome. Biscuity but NOT malty. Full body and smokey. It has a smokey aftertaste like a cigar. A little light chocolate as well.

Since I have four Indy beers, I decided to rank them.

4. Freestyle Wheat
3. Amber
2. Bootlegger Brown
1. Pale Ale

I appreciate what Indy is doing as a microbrewery, but I think I'll take Uncle Billy's over them.

This wraps up our Austin trip. We stayed for one night and managed to hit 4 different establishments, 3 brewpubs and 1 beer bar. It's good stuff going on, much more variety than Houston. We did not get the Lovejoys as that was downtown and we were steering clear of the biker convention going on. We also did not get to a few other beer bars, so I can't say absolutely who was best, but of the places we visited I think you absolutely most go to Uncle Billy's. The food was awesome and so was the beer.

Austin Part 3: NXNW

June 14, 2008

Time to go to one of the premier brewpubs in Austin, North By Northwest. Which incidently is in the north by northwest part of town. Neato. They even have some food/beer pairing recommendations on the menu. The place had a fantastic slightly upscale feel to it. The waiter seemed like he knew what he was talking about. We got a sampler and went for it.

Northern Light
Straw colored and clear, with alow white head. It tastes very bready and light. A quick finish with low hops and carbo, but pretty good Pilsner.

Wit Beer (Seasonal)
Old gold cloudy (go Jackets). White head with a lot of fizz to it. Tastes like orange and hard spice. Another sip gets me low hops but overwhelming spice. High fine carbonation, and leaves a sour orangish taste in my mouth. Not feeling this one.

Bavarian Hefeweizen
Light fruitiness on the nose. Orange and cloudy, with a white head. A little bit of lace there as well. Medium body with high fine carbonation that tends to be in most wheat beers. Bready flavor in my mouth after it goes down. It's kind of sour and fruity, and lightly hopped.

Duckabish Amber
Not quite sure what a duckabish is, but there is a beaver on the label. It has an amber color (fitting), with white head and low lace. It has a decent malt taste but not sweet. It's kind of light. It has low hops but has a little creaminess to it. There is a light hop bite in the aftertaste.

Okanogan Black Ale
Something with some nuts on it (shouts out to Jesse Jackson). Smells malt and a little roasty. Brown color. Head is not there as the sampler had been sitting there for a while. Good mix of caramel and roasted malts in the taste. It has the same carbonation but light fizz. The beer finishes quickly for a nice beer.

Py Jingo Pale Ale
Orange color, very lacy white head. Strong hops smell that is beyond flowery. Medium-strong hops on the flavor, low malt but nice medium body. Some lingering aftertaste in the bitterness. Oh yeah.

And there you have it. I actually ordered another Py Jingo as I thought it would be better with my bbq chicken pizza.

I think NXNW has Uncle Billy's beat in the ambience, but they seem to be appealing to different crowds. While Uncle Billy's will get your younger college crowd, NXNW is perfect for families looking for something more than Outback or Chili's. My beer rankings for NXNW.

6. Wit Beer, can't handle that spice
5. Duckabish Amber, just not much too it
4. Bavarian Hefeweizen, not bad
3. Northern Light, good stuff, I'm starting to enjoy true Pilsners and pilsner styles
2. Py Jingo PA
1. Okanogan Black Ale, just love the chances they took with this one.

Austin Part 2: Who's House???

We now return you to your regularky scheduled beering updates. I would have been posting earlier but someone has to get out to the platform to get that Oil so that the people in Florida can drive their Mercedes on South Beach.

We left Uncle Billy's and zipped up the westside to Draught House Pub and Brewery. The brewpub was much more of a pub than a restaurant. What's cool is that folks were hanging out in Draught's parking lot with music going and beer drinking. Kinda like Fast and the Furious without the cute Asian women or the fancy cars. Just a bunch of folks kind of tailgating listening to Pink Floyd.

Based on my sobriety points remaining, I felt that only 2 beers would work for me. They had 3 beers brewed onsite on the chalkboard: a hefeweizen, a weizenbock, and a Black wheat. We got in line and I ordered myself their Weizenbock.

First thing I notice is that these chumps have the St. Arnold's Divine Reserve #6 on the durn board. We could have had it out here rather than to downtown Houston before rolling back out to Austin. Oh well. I have since found #6 two more times in Houston.


Don't think I've ever had a weizenbock, but I like bock and I like wheat beers, so what could go wrong? Crayon brown and opaque in appearance with offwhite head. It was on tap and poured into a dimpled glass. It has a caramel and sugary sweet smell. The taste makes me think of a hefe made with roasted malts. It has a full mouthfeel, low carbonation and hops, with a quick finish. The more I drink it, the more of the roasty/choco malts. It seems like it is a combo wheat/bock beer.

Black Wheat

Dark brown and opaque, but with a tan head. This one has a strong roasted/chocolate smell. It tastes smokey, roasted malt, and like a wheat full mouthfeel. Low hops on the aftertaste this time with low carbonation.

These beers were okay, but I was running a bit low on SB points. I nearly didn't finish the Black Wheat. The pub itself looks like a cool college town hangout spot. On their website they claim both beers have some banana flavor, but I didn't get it. Nice place though. I would like to see them try some more hoppy beers, but with the hop shortage, who knows.
Independence is not only the name of my high school, but is a microbrewery in Austin. I did not find a brewpub, so we just grabbed Indy whenever we could find it.
Clear gold, no head, biting but mild hops on the nose. Sudden strong hops that disappears just as fast. Some cistrus as well. Nice change of pace. It goes down easy with medium carbonation. I would not say that this in an American or India Pale Ale, probably more English

Over 3000 Visitors

Hell Yeah. Special shouts out to Lew Bryson and the boys for checking my blog out. When I started this, I didn't think anyone but my Mom would read this blog, and she STILL hasn't read it. Thank you ALL.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Posts from the Wife: ChoqlitQT

Well, the Beer Brotha has been trying to come up with his own recipes. After discovering that a few other people had already brewed beers with the flavor profile he wanted, I, being the diligent wife that I am, wanted to help him come up with a new beer. In order to get the flavors you want, you need to know what flavors the malt, yeast, and hops impart. This information also comes in handy when you're tasting beer and trying to figure out what hops, etc. are in the beer.

Here's what I found on the web:

Hop Guides:
These sites describe the aroma and flavor for varieties of hops. The hopunion site gets into alpha acids and shit… really detailed.

Malt Characteristics:

Yeast characteristics:

Here's some of the extra shit that you can put in your beer and why you would do it.

For general beer stuff: