Friday, January 25, 2008

Get me Out of the House

Beer Log: December 24, 2007
Status: Tired of being in the house

My wife's mother's boyfriend and I were getting tired of being in the house, so we hops (heh) out the house and get to Max's Beer Bar in Baltimo'. Word is, Avon Barksdale is still locked up, and Marlo is happy staying on his side of town, so we could hit the streets in peace.

Although they have a shiteload of beers on the menu, I wanted to keep it local baby. I figure that the local beers will give more of a flavor of the drinking community of that locale.

Max's was a pretty cool spot, as it was right at Fell's point and they were open on Christmas Eve. I picked Max's as I noticed a slew of old taps in the window. Not to mention they had Shiner Bock on tap, though I hear many beer snobs can't stand anything from Shiner, TX.

All beer tasted in a regular pilsner glass.

Brewer's Art Ressurection (Abbey Style Dubbel):
Amber and cloudy, with light hops, light bitter, and smooth. Had some spice in there with medium malt flavor. I counted (yes counted) a 60 second finish. I was almost to Pale-Ale level, but not quite.

Southern Tier Choklat:
I've converted my Almost-stepfather-in-law to craft brew, so he copped this chocolate stout. I tried a little myself as it warmed up. Hard chocolate smell, with overpowering chocolate taste. Light hops and ubersmooth. Not something I would drink normally, as I'm not a fan of chocolate. But it was very cold outside, and this thing had maybe a 12% ABV, so good warming stuff.

Konings Ludwif Hefewiezen:
I gave it a break then grabbed this lemoney joint. Of course the dude put a durn lemon in it, so it will bias the palette a bit. This puppy was translucent, cloudy, and deep tan (as a good hefe can be). A white head to cap 'er off. I found this one to be thin, nice light body, with high carbonation and high acidity. I'm a little bigger fan of the witbiers than hefe's, but it was a nice change of pace.

Later on that night we go to the liqour store and grabbed a 6 pack of winter storm and some outmeal stout and went back to the crib.

Winter Storm (Heavy Seas):
Seasonal local stuff. There was an alcohol and cinnamon smell. Taste had medium hops, with a little bitter of the aftertaste. Another slug and I get the cinnamon spice smell, with a balance of malt. As it warmed up, it got an ale finish.

At this state I'm eating some Mashed Potatoes
Oatmeal Stout (by Sam Smith):
Faint mead smell, strong head, and uberdeep amber color. Smooth with light carbo, smoke test at the beginning and end of the palette. Good medium malts.

Enough drinking for one day. Coming back on the day after Christmas.

Vanilla Anyone?

Beer Log: December 23, 2007 at night
Status: Full off spaghetti

Hanging out with my boy from the old college days, I wanted to convert him to a beer man like myself. Turns out we beer knurds always like to do that to people. He ONLY drinks Corona. He also is a big New York Yankees fan, very stereotypical Rican, assuming all Peurto Ricans marry Korean/Black women. So I saw a Winter Ale in the grocery store and picked it up. Talk about assault...

Winter's Bourbon Cask & Ale:
Yup, the St. Louis boys make a Winter Seasonal. Interesting, considering A-B is now marketing that Budweiser is the best shit as "you cannot hide errors" in a beer that clear (quite possibly the stupidest marketing claim one can make next to "Restless Leg Syndrome").

I now know for a fact that the "mistakes" to which they were referring were their OWN when they do a craft beer. This stuff is aged in a Bourbon Cask, which is why I had to try it. I'm also working on developing a scotch palette in addition to beer and wine. Can you say "big gut".

On to the beer... the beer poured quickly in a beer mug, nice dark copper color. I can still smell the vanilla and bourbon. On first taste, we are talking HARSH bourbon. Only followed by a HARSHER vanilla flavor. These dudes did not make vanilla flavored beer, they made beer flavored vanilla. It had a silty texture on the drinkability. Now I wouldn't be surprised if this was good as a beer float with vanilla ice cream. But damn, ain't no beer dark enough to hide all that vanilla.

My wife, the Choqlit Stout, says one word: nasty.

Ram's Head Tavern (Brewpub)

Beer Log: December 13, 2007
Status: Hungry and Dehydrated.

Had a long run this morning (training for a Half Marathon), so I'm a little hungry and thirsty.

And here we go, continuing with my Winter Vacation. The wife's mother offered to take us to an historic brewpub if I covered the bill. Fantastic, I guess. So we hops (heh) in the car and end up at the Old Savage Mill in Savage, MD. Beautiful historic neighborhood and ambiance, as this old mill has since been converted to a Brewery and Brewpub. There beer is supplied by Fordham Brewing Co.

I have to say that one day after DuClaw, I found this one to be too conservative. They fit their ambiance, as Ram's Head location looks like something out of a Christmas Card, and thus they were very conservative with their beers. DuClaw was in a mall and they probably clear out the chairs at midnight to fire up the techno and crazy white boy music, hence the wild names and many seasonals. Back to Ram's Head: if we're going to craft brew, let's effing craft brew. No need to make YOUR version of Miller Lite. There were some good ones in there, so let's not pooh pooh the whole thing. And to think, I had just run 5 miles an hour earlier, and was too stupid to not drink any water. Talk about low hangin fruit.

Last part was that the waiter had no clue what was going on with the beer. Didn't know what the seasonals were or anything. I'm no snob, but I've come to expect brewpubs and beer bars to have knowledgeable waiters or waitresses. Then again, I think he may have been there help to the post brunch rush. The gent brought out the flight of 6 beers and the four of us went at it. As usual, I post these beers in the order in which I tried them.

Yup, they called a beer "Light". No smell, uninspiring. Had a straw color with a light head. Light hops with no hint of malt, though the carbonation lasts in the aftertaste. I like a good tingle, but maybe not from carbo. Kinda reminded me of Miller light.

Fordham Lager:
no scent I could find, with light to medium hops. Not malty, and the word "pilsner" came to mind. Smooth with moderate flavor, drinkable. Goes down dry with a quick finish. Something I could drink with the boys at a Texans tailgate in September.

Tavern Ale: I'm getting butter flavor, with moderate hops, and bitter. Very much reminds me of an American Pale-Ale, with a long lasting hops aftertaste.

Around this time I noticed that there were asterisks on some of the beers on the menu, as in these are for sale at the local liquor store. Fantastic! They are taking 'er easy on the flavor for MASS distribution. The stuff I've tasted at other brewpubs would likely scare off the average sista at the Applebees. Smart move.

And we just got the Fish and Chips.

Copperhead Ale:
Slightly spicy, light hops, not as smooth as the tavern ale.

Oak Barrel Stout:
Ah, my wife loves this one. Of course she drink chocolate milk like Amy Winehouse smokes the schtuff. So the smoke and roasted malt goes well with her. Tastes kind of like an espresso, with a deep brown color (amber on the corners) and very light hops.

It's basically a darker Shiner Bock, malty with good balance of hops, relatively sweet.

After the flight, we sat around shooting the shit for an hour and I got a full glass of...

Hoaegaarden (Belgian Wit): Light straw colored and cloudy. it was citrusy, very smooth, with the word 'grapefruit' coming to mind. I notice the head is very sustaining, and there is now some light hops. As it warms up, I taste something like apples.

The wife also ordered a full glass of...

Old Dominion Pale Ale:
Very hoppy bitter, with a very quick finish. Kinda like having a quickie before going out to work. There is some spice in there, kinda like cinnamon, nice and malty.

All in all, a good experience.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The DuClaw Brewing Co (Brewpub)

Beer Log: December 22, 2007
Status: I'm hungry.
Brewpub review:
Damn damn damn James! These cats know what the hell they are doing. Great that they take chances, have plenty of seasonals. If I lived in Hanover, I'd be up in here all the time. They damn near have a different brew for each month.

DuClaw Brewing Co, Brewpub in Arundel Mills Mall in Hanover, Maryland

These chumps know what the hell they are doing. My bratty 2 year old nephew (by marriage) was given oodles of crayons and play menus to keep quiet, while the wife and I could enjoy some excellent beer. I found that DuClaw likes to take some chances. Then again, how hard is it to make money in craft beer in Maryland. Try this "venom" stuff off Texas dudes will be crying like Marian Jones in a federal prison. (I did it dammit!) I went to this place as it is close to my Mother-in-Law's house, which is where we stayed for the Winter break.

We got the flight and went for it, 9 beers in all (about 6 beers above my minimum.) They only had 5 on the menu, but they had 4 seasonals for us to try. I'll give you these reviews in the order in which I tried them. Keep in mind that this is my FIRST time actually writing down reviews, so these reviews are pitifully short. My next pub review was much more descriptive.

Funk (American Wheat Beer):
We want the funk, give us the funk! Tear the roof off the sucka. I found this puppy to be lightly hopped, with wheat and barley in there. Some spice as well. Told you these first reviews were short. Damn good beer though.

Bare Ass Blonde Ale:
They call this one the Naked Truth. We got ourselves a medium body, with a sudden fruity sweetness. Great stuff. Nothing that's going to knock you over with hops, just like a Blonde ale should be.

31 (Halloween):
I don't even think this stuff is on the website. Released on All Hallow's Eve, this beer is a great version of an Oktoberfest or Fall seasonal with a great cinnamon and honey flavor. Scary that they had some left considering it's been out since October 31st.

Food: the mozzarella sticks have shown up. I think they called them moons. But whatever, get my nephew (by marriage) some more crayons before the boy starts crying, again!

Mad Bishop (Oktoberfest):
I gets high on your love, don't know how to behave. I want some more brown sugar. With a medium body and medium bitter. Oh yes! It was beers like this and the 31 that have made Oktoberfests and Fall Seasonals my current favorite style. With the weather in Houston, the coldest it ever gets is "Fall" to most others.

Misfit Red (Amber Ale):
deep amber color with some malt and hops.
Food: ah the Thai pasta is here. Seafood with some serious hot thai spice. Probably the reason why I now like taste bud assault by pairing spicy food with...

...Nightmare Venom (Pale Ale):
Venom is this stuff they put in the beer that make the beer very hoppy. Some call it hops, other call it hops. Cute name, but this stuff is IPAish hoppy, ubersmooth, bitter, with a long lasting lacy head. It had to be a good hour that it had been sitting there and that head remains. Venom is a great marketing name. As a FAMU Rattler (class of '02), I can really appreciate it.

Venom Pale Ale (American Pale Ale):
we got ourselves another PA, with a hops aftertaste and some sweet cinnamon in there. Looks like I shouldn't have tried this one and Nightmare back to back, hard to get a gauge on it. We'll get it right on the next visit. Though knowing my luck, there will be another 6 beers on seasonal that I'll be too scared to miss, and by the time I make it to the Pale Ales, my palate will be shot like Jamie Lynn Spears' career on Nickelodeon.

Bad Moon Porter:
very dark brown with a roasted malt thang going on. I'm tasting serious coffee flavoring with a smooth full dark body like my lovely wife.

Blackjack (Imperial Stout):
Black with brown head. lightly hopped with something like white sugar in the flavor. I taste it again and the words cherry liquor come to mind, very thick.

And we're done. The boy is such a brat, he would go nuts if we tried to take off his little gloves. So he ate his fish sticks and fries (with ketchup) with his cotton gloves on the whole time. FYI, Uncle Beer Brotha don't play that mess, and by the end of the trip, he was much better behaved.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Welcome To the Beer Brotha

Good evening to all in the Web 2.0. I'm sitting here just working the buzz of a fantastic Brown Ale, so now it begins.

In this blog, your boy the Beer Brotha will give reviews of beer, brewpubs, and breweries. I will utilize my witty prose to lace in the events of the day at the same time. I typically try to try one new beer a week, but it doesn't always work out. For one, I'm training for the Paris Marathon in April, so there will be month where I swear off drinking to keep from passing out in front of The Louvre.

My major rule that I routinely break is no more than 3 beers tasted in a normal session. You'll learn that I've gone up as much as 15, but then again, it was some English Bitter and my 2 yyear old nephew (by marriage) was acting a damn fool, so we had no choice but to do it all with nothing but some Fish and Chips to cleanse the palate.

I hope you enjoy the blog, and please comment and tell me how right I am for my various reviews. First up is what I did for my Winter Vacation, the lovely state of Maryland awaits.