Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Paris In Review

Well, I've wrapped the trip, but there's one more beer to sample, at the airport baby

Affligem Blonde
State: Chillin, pondering if I can smuggle in Cuban Cigars
Your gonna wanna check out the website, as it has some cool music to blog to.
Served on draft at the airport, it smells of a sweet malt lager. It's straw clear with a white head yet some lace. First draught gives me medium body, slightly bitter with slight bitter aftertaste. Another draught after getting used to it, I can find the slight citrus and low malt. It's not as good as the other abbaye ales. It tasted better and the flavors more pronounced as it warmed up and I started eating a chicken club sandwich. I will say that this one is complex, and I need more work to truly evaluate these complex beers. You can't exactly go back to Old E.

So let's review Paris Beer
Beer Bars
If you are looking for Beer Bars, Paris has you covered. I only went to the ones with many taps, but there are plenty of good places to drink. And if you're an American, there's plenty you probably had not tried even at the bars in the Latin Quarter.

My ranking of the Beer bars goes:
1. Le Gueuze
2. Au Trappist
3. Les Soux-Bock tied with Halls 1900

I give the top nod to Le Gueuze as they had the most International Beer Selection, as well as plenty of French beer. Au Trappist is great if you are into Belgians only. If so, you could stay holed up in there for weeks.

As far as my top three French Beers:
1. La Goudale
2. Ch'Ti
3. Kronenburg 1664

Yup, I'll put a Biere de Garde over a pale lager. My beer experience tells me that Paris and probably France is definetly WINE country. The wine was everywhere for pretty cheap (as long as Dubya wasn't upping the exchange rate). I just find it hard to believe that a country with Belgium and Germany one side, and England on the other, just does not have decent widely distributed beer of their own. One would think some level of Nationalism would kick in, forcing someone to make some really good stuff. The biggest problem I had was the lack of hops in the beer. I can handle the sourness, but I need some hops in there somewhere. As soon as I got back to the States, we grabbed up some Pale Ale just to get that old feeling back. Great vacation, just not the beer.

Paris Trip update: April 9, 2008

We're starting to wrap up the Paris trip, so the wife and I leave everyone else at a Techno bar to find a couple more beer bars. Before we leave the house, we try a beer called Northmaen from the boys at Normandie.

Getting fired up for the spirit of the vikings, we drink this one at the house in preparation for another night of frolicking and acting very American. Well, everything about this beer reminded me of a Heineken. I will just quote my beer log directly: "Heineken, nothing going on, no hops, no aftertaste, basic beer smell, nothing to write home about, medium body"

It does have a kick ass label. Well I got frustrated with the French beer and decided to go to a Belgian Beer Bar called Au Trappist . It's got a great selection of Belgians and some stuff from around the world. Nice nice. I am still feeling the wine we drank at an Indian restaurant earlier, so my sobriety points allow me to only try two beers. I'm feeling like Dark Belgians, as it's pretty cold outside.

Leffe Brune (in a goblet)
Dark Brown with a strong cream head. Smells of cinnamon cookies and malt. Nice. The first taste is slightly roasted malt, a medium to high body and low carbonation (oh yeah). The malt remains low as it warms up but I'm now getting slight chocolate flavor like a bock, yet very low hops. It has the classic Leffe long citrusy aftertaste I've come to enjoy.

Westmalle Trappist Dubbel (in the Westmalle Goblet)
Sugar sweet smell, dark brown, cream head, active pepping head with no lace. There was some alcohol smell as well. I first notice the medium fine carbonation, the low hops and the breadiness. It's actually kinda dry. Another slug and now I'm getting a nice full body with slight malt. We notice the brown yeast on top o the head, and it looks like brown sugar streaks. There is some smokiness as it warms, almost like a porter. Low low bitter aftertaste.

It's about a month and a half later, but I'm getting thirsty thinking about these dark Belgians. I will definitely have to get a couple more in New Orleans this weekend at d.b.a. We leave the Belgian joint a guy takes a couple pics of us with our camera outside the bar.

Later on we walk back home but stop off at Le Sous-Bock Tavern, which has great reviews. Well we just didn't see it. There was some stuff on bottle I guess somewhere, but not much on tap we hadn't tried before.

Beamish Stout
They served up this one on draft with the Nitrogen. It was black and opaque, with a cream colored lasting head Slight chocolate and roasted malt smell. It was bitter and smooth and maybe a bit too cold. There was no weight to the beer, a very thin body. The second draught was a little better on the flavor, but I'm not getting much out of it.

Paris, Later on April 8th, How much for the Kronen?

Well the Paris crew are into food as much as I'm into beer. So we holla at American Express's concierge service and they hit us with a very trendy, yet fancy restaurant on Rue St. Honore. After getting turned around after some bad directions, we find the restaurant and proceed to the bar for drinks waiting for our table to open up.

Kronenburg 1664

Eating Homemade Chips (salty)

Well they say that this is the French Budweiser, so I have to check it out at some point for journalistic integrity. And it had better be good, as this place is charging me 14 Euros per bottle. The bottle is very interesting, as it's a rectangular prism with rounded edges. Better be nice for 14 Euros. With the presentation and glass, I figure that this is the best Kronen I'll ever taste. The color is straw. I'm not getting much of a scent. I'll go with medium body, medium-high carbonation, low hops, and no real aftertaste. It's being served pretty cold, which I'm sure is par for the course with this one. Compared to the "Great American Lager", I would say it's more bready, but just as much rice. Certainly not worth 14 Euros, especially with the exchange rate of about $1.57 at the time.

The restaurant screwed us over on the reservation, as we waited for at least an hour and a half in the bar. So we give them a piece of our mind without getting ghetto, and hike over to an awesome seafood joint.

Later on at the apartment I try the infamous...

Desparados I think from Brasserie Fisher

Status: Full off oysters, chilling, lingering apple pie flavor

Served in a 250 ml wine glass (all we had)

Smells like Sprite and slight tequila, a bad dark straw color with white fleeting head. It's very clear. On tasting it, it reminds me of Miller Chill with the lime, no malt/hops, quick finish. Basically, it's like Sprite with alcohol.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Make 7... UP Yours

I have to take a break from updating you all on my Paris vacation and clearing out my beer notebook to discuss the beer I have just tried. A good friend of mine and fellow Yellow Jacket knows that I am a beer connoisseur, and he raved about Bud Light Lime at the company BBQ. I picked up a six pack at the Wal-Mart while returning a drill, buying more baby diapers, and pricing a flatscreen TV (gotta love Wal-mart).
With an open mind, we cracked it open tonight. Mind you, as you will see in later posts, a couple days ago I tasted beer made from a recipe that could be 5000 years old (Midas Touch), a kickass Barley Wine, and the Drink of the Gods (Honey Mead). Bud Light better come with it.

Bud Light Lime

State: Finished eating spaghetti, chillin at night after watching Prince Caspian

First off, the movie was tight. The beer, not so much. Beer pours quickly with little head in that classic Bud Light straw color. There is a strong smell of lime in the beer. The head disappears quickly. The first taste is just plain EMPTY at first, which is actually pretty standard for a light beer. You don't want all those pesky "beer flavors" in your light beer. I never really noticed the emptiness until I started really tasting more complex beers. After letting it warm in my mouth, I taste the light breadiness and light lime. It's kind of like 7up or Sprite to be honest. My wife says: "Sprite with melted ice". The finish is clean and the carbonation is low to medium, yet fine like a light beer. Sorry, but this six pack will sit in the fridge until we "regift" it to someone else.

Lime Beer. Look, I love flavored beers, but it looks like the supermajors just can't get right when it comes to craft beer, save Blue Moon. In fact, I would highly recommend Blue Moon's Rising Moon, their Spring Seasonal for your Lime Beer Jones. I reviewed this beer in my Superbowl post. In the meantime, the wife poured me the last of the Honey Mead, I am feeling rather immortal tonight.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Paris Trip: Le Gueuze, in the Latin Quarter

If you are fan of places like The Heights in Houston, Little Five Points in Atlanta, or Sixth Street in Austin, you need to take your arse to the Latin Quarter in Paris.

The bar scene is great, and the shopping isn’t bad either if you’re into that type of thing. It balances great architecture with grime. My Marathon partner Sam was too beat to sh!t to keep walking the streets, so he tapped out and went back to the apartment with his wife while the rest of us kept sightseeing. We stumbled into La Gueuze, which was a beer bar on my beertinerary. The bar had a great atmosphere, and is probably the best of the beer bars in Paris with one heck of a menu. They even had a beer from the Motherland, hellz yeah.

State: Eating Popcorn with no butter (tastes very…um, healthy)
Finally, a Biere de Garde. This is what the handbook says you have to try in France. This is their beer. The head is white and slightly fleeting. Orange/straw color. It has a sour smell to it (no surprise). On tasting, I first notice the medium body and little hops. It’s kinda sour with high fine carbonation. As it warms up, it actually gets more sour. I wrote down the words “Good, Nice” in my notebook.

From the Motherland, Cradle of Civilization. Though it’s brewed in the Netherlands, its origins are in Angola. If you are not sure where Angola is, just know that is south of the area where Dubya Bush found the Yellow Cake Sadam Hussein purchased. The beer has a banana smell. Its straw colored yet very clear. It tastes of banana, and not dry, medium carbonation, medium body, and no noticeable hops to speak of. It has a very quick finish to boot. Very nice change of pace. I’ll have to consider getting a bit of this for the house. It’s a great beer to introduce other people to craft beer. I like to hit folks with something totally different than a "Great American Lager", like a beer that tastes like chocolate or fruit. But whatever you do, don’t drop that shit!

And later on back at the apartment…

La Goudale

Another Biere de Garde in a 750ml bottle that we picked up at this neat little corner store. We are eating this awesome stuff called “kefta” with fries. It’s like a three patty hamburger in hoagie bread, but spiced like Lebanese food. We drank la Goudale in our ghetto beer goblets that came with the apartment. Straw colored beer, white head, with a banana/fruity smell. First thoughts turn to the aftertaste, which was lightly bitter. It reminded me of a Leffe (kinda Belgian mouthfeel and fruitiness). It taste light banana and malt. It’s a good balance with the salty kefta and fries.

Paris Trip: April 8th, 2008

Well here we are a couple days later, and I haven't beered yet. So we grab some 33 Extra Dry a Les Deux Palais. I found this bad ass picture of this place on the web.

I believe 33 Extra Dry is from Pelforth.

La 33 Extra Dry

Straw color, sustaining 1.5 finger of white head, lots of active fizz. It's pretty clear and tastes like it has bread, maybe rice, and some hops. I get hit with a surprising yet crappy bitter aftertaste. It's not too high on the carbo and it was served cold. It's not really that dry, and I timed that aftertaste showing up a good 15-20 seconds after you swallow it. This French beer isn't working out too well.

Paris Beer Log: April 6, 2009

Sorry for the delays inbetween posts, but I’ve been offshore trying to get that OIL. Hey, no one told you to buy that Hummer. I left my notebook at home, thus, I could not blog until my days off. So let’s go back, way back in to time. Let’s revisit my Paris trip. After we finish the Marathon, I am craving some serious beerage as I had been dry for a month. So we hit the closest beer bar later on that night, and it’s Hall 1900 on Rue Rambuteau. Loosely translated, the Bar says it’s a Beer Bar on the signage, so we shall see.

The first beer I try is from Brasserie Pietra. Apparently this is a beer from Corsica.

State: Eating French Fries (hee hee) and stiff from ‘thoning earlier that day.
Slightly reddish color with a white head. Not much of a smell. Medium-High Carbo and some bitterness on the aftertaste. It’s served very COLD and has a metallic taste (not cool). I’m getting a slight lime in there as well. My thoughts are that it’s alright, but not impressive. As it warms up, I can taste bread or toast that goes along with its light body.

Picon Biere (a few sips)
I know it’s a wikipedia entry, but I don’t have the patience to look beyond two pages of Google for their website. I got a few sips of this one, as no one in our crew had done beer tasting like I had. I love converting people, so I showed them how I do it with one of their beers. Picon has an orange smell and lacy head. It’s a deep bronze color and to be honest it tastes like Orange soda: word is brothas are supposed to like Orange Soda. It’s a light carbonation and kind of wheaty.

Getting away from Biere, and try some Beerjte. Brugs is a Belgian beer, which they have plenty of in France (and for obvious reasons). This one is cloudy, light straw color. Dud put a lemon on top (sucks), but I could still get the medium body and carbonation. It’s wheaty and bready, but nice.

Later on that Night we hit CafĂ© Oz to see what all the hubbub was about. This Aussie bar was PACKED a couple nights ago, but it was pretty empty when we got there. Luckily there was a beer or two there that I hadn’t tried, so I picks up Speight’s Gold Medal Ale. That’s us at the bar. My wife’s facebook caption says it all: <>

Speight’s Gold Medal Ale
Apparently this one is very popular in New Zealand as it’s the beer of a couple Football Clubs out there. Nice. Well it was Bronze in color (not gold, hee hee), with a white head. Slight sour smell to it with a medium to full body. Uberlow bitterness on the aftertaste. It’s just plain with some hint of bready and medium carbo. Just not much to it, nothing to write home about unless you have a blog.

Sadly, we could not find any French stouts or any other stouts/porters we had not tried, as it was so cold that night, it actually SNOWED. That’s me and the wife.