Friday, February 27, 2009

A couple of Pale Ales

Though I'm getting more into IPA's these days, the Misses has been picking up some regular Pale Ales, probably trying to keep me from buying so many harshly hopped beers. As if...

Beer Log: January 6, 2009

Sam Adams Pale Ale
Didn't know these dudes made a Pale Ale. Then again, Sam Adams seems like the Wizard of Oz movie. The more you look at it, you always find something you never noticed before. Certainly glad S-A is bringing craft beers out to the forefront, especially considering all the mega breweries are not American owned.

Crystal clear and straw color. Nose is light malt and breadiness, with a little citrus fighting to come out. Light to medium bread flavor, and a light to medium body. It leaves my tongue feeling very tingly, yet a little musty/citrus hop thing remains. It's an English Pale Ale and there just is not much there. Which probably means it's true to style. 2 Star.

Full Nelson Virginia Pale Ale
(eating some cajun tilapia). Whenever I eat spicy food I must have a Pale Ale, and this one from Blue Mountain didn't seem to disappoint. Clear with a UT burnt orange color. The nose is a strong citrus and bitter hops. The taste is bready at first, then a moderate pale ale kinda hops. It's a kind of citrus hop, but not bitter per say. Thing body and moderate to high carbonation. Some issues with drinkability for me, but good. Just a little unbalanced on the hop side. I will not that it tastes much more balanced with the cajun spice. 3 Star.

One thing I've noticed about myself is that ever since I started homebrewing and trying all these various hops in warm water (a hop tea), I know that I basically don't want a hop tea. Assuming you have the money, I imagine anybody could just thrown in tons of hops and call it good, but I'm more partial to balance with the malt these days. Seems like it takes a little more skill and planning to brew a balanced hop bomb. That's probably why I bought so many IPAs and Double IPAs last time I was at Specs. Looking for that "Boom Goes the Dynamite" beer, but has the balance.

Clearing out the Old Notebook

Going to have a few friends over for some drinks and need to clear out some things in the old notebook.

Beer Log: January 3, 2009
State; Chillin at the house

The wife did a couple of beer trades on and managed getting some beer from Virginia. Although we've been to Maryland many times, I've never seen these beers. This amber pours like a brown ale with a crayon brown yet clear color. Light tan head has a some strength to it and some lace. It smells like something roasted, like an english muffin, and I'm getting some corn and citrus. It tastes a little bready with a medium hop presence. Goes down very smooth wtih low carbonation and quick finish. Good session beer. Low 3 Star. Kinda reminds me of Budweiser American Ale.

Eating steak with garlic spinach and cilantro rice. Wife was throwing down that night. #1 smells sweet, kinda maltay and bananay. It has a nice cloudy gold color with a strong poofy white head. Taste has a nice light sweetness and banana. A light noticeable hop lurking in the background. Not getting much ethanol in there right now though it has a high ABV. It's rather smooth yet with high carbonation. As it warms up I'm getting anice fruitiness coming out of it. Low 4 Stars.

Beer Log January 4, 2009

State: wolfing down spaghetti

Finally getting on to these English Christmas beers a good friend gave me for Christmas. What's sad is that I still have another 2 Christmas beers to try, an it is almost March.

Straw gold color that's pretty clear. White descent head. It smells like sugar and candy. The taste is a light malt, bread, and sugar sweetness. It's moderately drinkable with high carboatnion. There is some moderate bitterness in the aftertaste, but not bitter tasting overall. Pretty smooth with it's thin body. But these English beers just aren't getting it for me this season. 3 Star.

Switching it up to this beer I picked up in Hot'lanta from the ABC. Deep brown color and opaque. Strong tan head that liberates a chocolate malt scent. Slugging it down reveals a good strong chocolate malt, and the beer is rather fullbodied and smooth, thanks to the oatmeal I imagine. Moderate carbonation. It's leaving some grit on my tongue along with a little tingle. Otherwise a quick finish. No rating right now. I'll give it another go later on.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Live Blogging: Bigfoot, Gaither Gym

I'm sitting here watching the Florida A&M men's basketball game on our online tv station, FAMCast. We had the lead by 7 with 61 seconds to go and we let Delaware State come back. It's our last game for the old Gaither Gymnasium, and they are turning off the lights after the game. We're in overtime now and I'm getting some Barley Vino.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale

Gotta send the old gym off right. Lot's of memories there. It's a dark orangish color. Has a thick light orange head on it. I'm going to guess I'll smell some strong malts and cascade hops. Yup. Sierra Nevada, don't ever change. I may be getting a light alcohol smell in there somewhere. Wow. Full bodied with a strong yet balanced malt and hops. There is a lingering bitterness on my tongue that's a little icky, but that's okay. Dammit, the feed just went out. Okay, got it back. How in the hell is the online feed gonna go out DURING OVERTIME! The hops on this one are pretty citrusy. For those not from the States, this is truly an American Barleywine, if not a West Coast BV, if there is such a thing. We're up by 2, and the other team just missed two 3 pointers. It's only 7.7 seconds left and we're shooting the free throws. That's a pretty good strong beer. And I notice that Sierra Nevada resisted the temptation to go Imperial with this beer, as it is very high caramel sweet malty, but not that Nyquil taste. On second thought, they must have mixed up a more piney hop in there. Doubtful its Saaz, but maybe Kent Goldings. The aftertaste is not so strong as you get used to it, and the beer just tastes more malty, like a Barleywine should.

Oh MY GOD we just FOULED a guy shooting a 3 pointer, and they will go to the line shooting 3 points while we're up by three. I swear we're trying to GIVE the game away!!!! He misses one we win. Dammit, he made the first one. HE BLEW IT! HE BLEW IT! HE MISSED IT! FAMU WIN! FAMU WIN! FLORIDA, FLORIDA, BLESS HER NAME, ORANGE AND GREEN WE'LL PROBABLY WAVE. Wow, we did our best to dick it up.

Oh yeah. 4 Star. Excellent barleywine and another excellent beer from Sierra Nevada.

Looking forward to 1) Finding my beer book, and 2) doing some traveling. We'll be heading back to New Orleans a month from now, to gamble, drink in public and hang out with some friends. The next weekend I'm heading to Vegas for to gamble, drink in public, hang out with some friends, and do some business for the company, in that order. The Misses will not make it with me to Vegas, so I may have to hit a few of their brewpubs on the solo. Hopefully I will find the time to get to a beer store to bring back some of that WestCoast. Go Rattlers.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Live Blogging: The Cider Brotha?

Well I'm supposed to be studying for the PE exam, but I feel like taking a break. As I cannot find my beer notebook right now to get some more of the old posts on here, I just figure I'll try something new. We bought this Woodchuck Draft Cider some time ago as one of the boys doesn't like beer but loves this cider. We were at the Saucer and I put him on to it as he pretty much refused to try a beer, damn shame. Anyway, he liked it so much he got a case of it and has it at his house at all times. I never tried the stuff myself, so here we go...

Beer Log: Right now
State: Full, should be studying

Woodchuck Draft Cider Granny Smith
I have no clue what glass this should go in, so I'll use the basic Barack Obama pint glass. I get the feeling I'll be able to get the smell off of this cider without a cupped glass. Yup, I open the green clear bottle and already got that sour apple smell. This stuff is CRYSTAL clear, like a tinged water. The fizz goes away fast even with a quick rough pour. A subtle sour apple smell. OMG. Tastes pretty sour with sour apple. I guess I should have told you I don't care for sour apples. It has a low carbonation yet kinda rough of on the drinkability. Kinda gotta fight to get it down. Maybe a little filmy apple aftertaste. Light-medium body. I have a slight sensation going on in my sinuses that feels like I'm tearing up. So emotional. You know what, that's what I get for now studying. For the Smirnoff Ice drinkers, they probably look at this as manna from the gawds. For a beerman like me (who will get half a glass of homebrew IPA to get the flavor out of my mouth after I finish the glass), it's firmly in the 1 Star realm. I still have a ways to go on the sour beer to begin with, but sour apple just ain't happenin. It's a little better the more I get used to it, and I won't have any trouble finishing it. Back to work...

Friday, February 20, 2009

New LATex Breweries

Just wanted to give a little shoutout to the gentlemen at NOLA Brewing Company, a new brewery in New Orleans. These guys have been working furiously to get going, and you think it's hard opening a microbrewery. Imagine opening one while dodging a hurricane or two. I consider myself a Texas/Louisiana beerman, as I spend a lot of time in both states. New Orleans has a history of being a bosshoggin microbrew town in times past before the big, Prohibition. You still see the old brewery buildings like Jax in the NO, except now they are full of shopping center selling throwback football jerseys and restaurants with surprisingly not that good crawfish.

Well, NOLA is working it's way into production of their Blonde and Brown Ales. Nothing like a good blonde while you are trolling through the French Quarter, and a beer would be nice too. I got a million of 'em! I'll be heading to the NO for some R&R with a few heavy drinkers, so I'm looking forward to getting my hands on more Gordon Biersch, some Crescent City, and hopefully some NOLA. I'm sure the Abita will be there a-plenty. Their amber hits the spot while waltzing on Canal Street.

Also, it looks like Southern Star in Conroe, TX (Just north of Houston) are really taking the bull by the horns. Their Pine Belt Pale Ale is kicking some booty, and I'm looking forward to hitting the Saucer for their new Buried Hatchet Stout and a Blonde Ale. They even have a Homebrew competition. These guys are professionals and probably have a lot of experience, but I do wonder how they are getting on with their system by bouncing around with the styles: American Pale Ale, then a Dortmund Export Lager, followed by a Rauchbier, then down to a Stout, and then back up to a Blonde Ale. I'm probably over-thinking it.

So far they are kicking arse and the Pine Belt looks like it's moving off the shelves a bit. I'm seeing their beer in our mega beer bars but hope they go on down to the smaller beer bars. It's harder to get Shiner and St. Arnolds at most beer bars in Houston though they have maybe a dozen styles out each at one time. Not sure how that works. Here's to hoping the Stars get more love. We need guys like this that are taking chances and going hard in Texas.
Oh, it looks like my Sam Adams Brown is out, time for another beer...

Let's See what this woman's talking about...

Beer Log: February 20, 2009, Right now
State: Full, just put baby to sleep, watching Real Sports on DVR

Man, that Tonya Harding has put on a couple Ell Bee Esses since the old days. And here she is holding up a Channel Catfish, probably the most disgusting creature on God's Green Earth. Anyway, the ol' ball and chain bought a shyteload of beer while I was offshore (lucky, I know), and she got a lot of Sam Adams. She swears that the Sam Adams Brown Ale is fantastic. I've heard talk that the Boston Lager is basically a brown ale recipe brewed with lager yeast and methods. So who knows what their actual Brown Ale is talking about...

Sam Adams Brown Ale
Damned if that don't look and smell like the Boston Lager, just a touch fruitier and toastier. On second thought, the hop smell in there reminds me of the Boston Ale. A little high on the carbo, but has a nice maltiness all over the tongue. It has some sourness on the flavor, not sure if that's supposed to be there. It's not bad man, nice maltiness to it like a brown ale should. I'm a little partial these days to the bigger flavor beers, like the Indian Nut Brown by Dogfish or Real Ale's Brown Ale. It seems to get a little better as it warms up.

Live Blogging: The Mighty Arrow

Beer Log: February 20, 2009

State: Chillin, a little hungry, watching UFC Wired.

New Belgium has some new stuff in Houston, can't wait.

Might Arrow

Clear amber color with a great strong head. I poured it in my 22oz Otter Creek glass, so I did it vigorously for a strong head. Nose is malty and rather citrusy that reminds me of Saaz hops. Makes me think of their 2 deg Below winter seasonal.

Taste is much more malty and bready, with a light hop touch. Good session beer that if someone told me was an ESB, I'd believe them. Low carbo and great drinkability. Has a nice quality to it that could make anyone want to drink more. The citrusy nose is rather deceiving. There MAY be a touch of citrus hops on the back of the tongue to round it out. Very nice. 3 Star.
The bottle says it's a Pale Ale with some Cascade and Golden hops. Nice man. Now that I read it, I can get a touch of that Cascade bitterness lurking in the background. Nice to see someone did not OD on the Cascade.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Oregon Beer Tax Hike

Is Oregon being run by Mayor Bill White of Houston? A 1900% tax increase on beer? Like Bill Cosby says: COME ON, PEOPLE! And look at the picture of the guy sponsoring the bill, he looks like he's on that Michael Phelps Weed. He should be on our side. Maybe he should be looking their policy on Mary Jane and leave Widmer alone.

With this kind of tax, maybe the Houston Texans games will finally have some craft beers from *gasp* TEXAS on tap in the concession stands. For some reason , we have the standard Bud Light and Miller Lite, but we have three craft beers from Widmer/Redhook. I'm glad we have better beer options, but I was a little upset we had to go all the way to Oregon to get it and let the Texans know as much in their season ticket surveys which I'm sure they read. At least I was upset until they brought in the Drop Top Amber, that stuff is the bomb, as the kids say.

Hopefully Oregonians can talk down this tax to something a little more in line with rest of the country. Or do the Newt Gingrich thing and cut it even further, which may prompt people to make/buy more beer, which may net you more money in the tax coffers, which is what you wanted in the first place.

Here's to hoping Oregon can get me that Drop Top Amber at a halfway decent price, and hoping this law proposal does not spread to other States!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Beering in San Antonio: Blue Star

I'm clearing out the notebook and this review took place on January 2, 2009. We were still in San Antonio and wanted to hit the main brewpub in town, Blue Star. The night before we went to a kick-ass German club bar after the New Year. I had some German brews but did not have my beer book with me. We go to San Antone a few times a year, so I'm sure we'll be back.

Anyway, we had wanted to hit Blue Star for a while. It's in a kind of artsy yuppie part of San Antonio. Kinda old buildings, a little grimy, mixed with New Age art museums and whatnot. Kinda like if you took The Heights in Houston and put it in a 4 block area. We damn near passed it the first time, but finally got in there.

Beer Log: January 2, 2009

State: Chillin, hoping the baby does not start freakin out, ready for some beer tastings

The decor was pretty funky, with the brewing equipment right there in plain view. It has a lot of junk as decor as any good beer bar will do. I order a turkey sandwich and fries, and then hit the 3 oz tasters. Before I begin, that picture is not a misprint. These cats have a LIVE ASS BIKE REPAIR SHOP in the back. Come get a beer, and get your Ten Speed tuned up. And we used to laugh at Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles.


Straw color and clear. No real smell to it. It has a nice breadiness to it with some moderate hops. It leaves an icky bitter aftertaste like a pilsner. Very smooth. 2-3 Star.

Texas Lambic

I didn't know Texas had lambics. It has a copper color and is cloudy. It smells like cherries. It has a sour cherry taste that is kind of overpowering. I'm still working on the sour beers. It sneaks in a touch of bread in the aftertaste. No Sir. 1-2Star.

I'm giving some bad reviews to these sour beers, but I think this is an acquired taste on top of the acquired taste of beer. I remember a couple years ago it took all I had to drink a hoppy pale ale. Now I use a Pale Ale as mouthwash. Speaking of which...

Pale Ale

Lighter copper color with a touch of opaqueness. Light citrus hop smell. The taste is bready and hoppy, a citrus hop. The finish is a little long for my taste in the bitterness. It rather smooth otherwise, but those hops are not well balanced by the malt. It could be better with the right food, but right now, it's ai'ight. Low 3 Star.


There is some nose of hops. Let's start drankin. It's more balanced with malt than the Pale Ale, but not much in the way of flavor. It's very smooth and full bodied. There is some hops on the aftertaste, though not that good. I would say looking back that this is probably more of an English IPA. I held off on the ranking though.

Cask IPA

Really looking forward to this one. Light copper color with a stronger malt smell than the regular IPA. Very smooth and medium bodied. Again it's not very aggressively hopped but just more balanced. Low 3 Star.

The Spinach Artichoke dip has arrived...


Something has to be said for putting some creativity in the name. After some chips to cleanse the palette, I hit this wheat beer. It's got a tinged old gold color that is cloudy. I'm getting a little orange and banana on the nose. The taste is like light orange. Very nice filling body, but not much on the flavor here. It's okay. Low 3 Star.

I'm starting think Blue Star is more designed to quench thirst in the arid climate in San Antonio in the summer time. We'll have to hit these guys again during Festival and give it another shot.


Black with an offwhite nitro creamy head. Light notes of chocolate and coffee on the nose, and then the same on the taste. Full smooth body with low hops and carbonation. There is a little citrus in the back of that chocolate. 3 Star.

Barley Wine King William MMVIII

With that mouthful of a name, I'm expecting a great English style barley wine. Copper color again and cloudy. Oh yeah, there is some strong malt and fruitiness. Low carbonation and hops. It seems to be of the right age and whatnot. Certainly English style and rather sweet. It is a good sipping beer and some noticeable alcohol. 3 Stars.

Blue Star was not bad, and had a nice array of beers. I could tell there are some house characteristics, like copper color and hints of flavors. It's the middle of winter and I am in the mood for "bigger" beers. But Blue Star will get it done in the summer.

Top 3 Beers

3. Golden, I think that pilsner did pretty well, though I gave it a low 3.

2. King William

and the winner

1. Stout

I find that when I'm brewpubbing and looking for flavor, the stouts and porters usually deliver. In these parts, you go too high on the alcohol and malt at one of the 8 million patio bars, you're gonna have people passing out all over the place. So it seems the brewers go harder on the stouts and porters, even casual beer drinkers associate dark beers with bigger bodies and flavors, if any of that made sense.

But I really enjoy going to San Antonio. Just the compactness of it all compared to Houston is a welcome change. Not to mention the awesome culture. Sometimes you feel like you're in a small Mexican town in the 1800s (which you kinda are). Can't beat it with a stick. Especially when you throw in that you can drink beer on the street. What more do you need?

Dump Bucket? The NERVE!

I am offshore right now, and have my beer book, and hope to do some blogging sometime in the week. I've got so many posts to do it's embarrassing. I'm sitting here looking through some drawings and I decided to torture myself and listen to Craft Beer Radio Podcast. I used to listen to these guys all the time on my Ipod, but after I discovered the Brewing Network and I started getting better at tasting beer and learned a bit more, these guys just kind of bored me.

If nothing else,there's a lot of dead air when they are gulping down the beers. It's not quite Jim Rome dead air, but maybe Colin Cowherd dead air.

Anyway, I'm listening to one of their Imperial Stout shows, and they mentioned that they now have a dump bucket. Two seconds later I hear them DUMPING THE F'N BEER IN THE BUCKET TO SAVE SOBRIETY. What kind of bullshit is that? And it wasn't like they were dumping Bud Light Lime, but it was fricken Russian Imperial Stouts that listeners sent to them! They do the tasting and whatnot, then dump the rest. What is this, Sonoma Valley? You want some wheat thin crackers sir?

I'm sorry, but there has got to be a Man Law violation somewhere in there. If you have beer in a glass, you drink ALL THE BEER IN THAT GLASS. I don't care if it's a 1 oz taster or one of those yardlong plastic bottles you get a Mardi Gras. I feel like my ears are on fire hearing this mess. If you're so worried about sobriety, just split one bottle. I've seen people get their ass chewed out by a whole bar for ACCIDENTALLY spilling a beer.

They are going on to say that they have 6 RIS's lined up and another show to do that day, Like I give a damn! Beer is meant to drunk/drank/drunken whatever. I've reviewed many a beer and the whole looking, smelling, and sipping takes all of 2 minutes FLAT. After that, IT'S BOSS TIME! If something changes as it warms or I get used to it, I'll let you know.

These cats should have not only their Beer Connoisseur license brought before the Board, but I'm going to need the Man Law PD to holla at them. A dump bucket! The nerve.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Texas Law for Direct Sales Introduced

Don't worry, I'm still sampling beer like crazy, but am studying for the PE exam which I haven't even been approved to take yet. This is taking up so much time it's ridiculous. Hopefully I can get more frequent posts next time I get home.

Got this from the Texas Beer blog. Here's hope that it passes. I've asked around if there was anything we could do to help, or NOT do to hinder it. If we cannot get this passed this time, maybe we need to tack in on in some version of a Texas stimulus bill. Lord knows more microbreweries would create more jobs. The 5-county Houston area should have something like 10 microbreweries instead of the 2 we have now.

Direct Sales Bill Introduced

Representative Lon Burnam of Tarrant County has introduced legislation to the Texas House of Representatives that would legalize the sale of beer directly from the brewery. Filed February 4th, the bill known as HB1062, or the Texas Brewers Parity Amendment, includes the language

The holder of a brewer's permit whose premises is located in an area where the sale of ale and malt liquor is legal and who produces at least 1,000 barrels of ale or malt liquor a year may sell ale and malt liquor manufactured or bottled on the permitted premises to ultimate consumers: (1) in unbroken packages for off-premises consumption in an amount that does not exceed 35,000 gallons annually; and (2) for consumption on the brewery premises if the brewery is located in an area where the sale of ale and malt liquor for on-premises consumption is legal.

An identical bill SB754 was filed today in the State Senate by Senator Wendy Davis, also of Fort Worth.

Current TABC law requires that brewers sell only to distributors and prohibits any direct sales to the public. The direct sales of wine from Texas vineyards was legalized several years ago with no negative consequences to winemakers, distributors or retailers.

Similar legislation was sponsored by Brock Wagner of Saint Arnold two years ago but was defeated.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

UFC 94 Beering: Hawai'i vs Quebec

Last night I invited a few of the boys over to watch the UFC 94 pay per view, and I figured, why not try some beers from the home state/province of the two main event fighters: BJ Penn from Hawaii and Georges St.-Pierre from Quebec.

I started the night with a stein of my homebrewed Belgian White Ale. My wife turned up the temperature on my kegerator from 38F to 42F. She said the beer was too cold. I figured I would let it slide and see if anything changed with the beer. My Belgian tasted a LOT better at the slightly warmer. I got more of the orange peel and coriander out of it. It was not just a yeast tea, which is what it seemed like before.

Let's start the show

Beer Log: January 31, 2009

State: A little pissed that none of the boys showed up yet as I cleaned up the house, but otherwise waiting for the show


From the boys at Unibrou in Quebec. I started with this one as it had only 8% alcohol while the Unibrou I had had 9%. I had this one in a mix with Guinness back at Downing Street pub sometime ago, but never by itself. I first smell the apples before I notice the color. Deep cloudy orange with a strong offwhite head in my wine goblet. A little more focus smelling of the beer yields fruit (mainly apples) , banana, and some of that bret/sourness you get in most Belgians. Taste is kinda brown sugar and plum like. High carbonation with moderate drinkability. Ah, there are those Belgian yeast notes, with that fruitiness and sourness. It nice but I've had some better Belgians. That carbonation is not getting it for me. I know they bottle conditions their beers, so that's probably where it comes from. It sours and tarts up a bit as it warms. 3 Stars.

Let's stick with the Canadians

Trois Pistoles

Another Unibrou selection. I'm feeling slightly tipsy at this point, so why not have a 9% Alcohol by volume beer. Dark mahogany color with a quickly dissipating tan head. I want you to take my review of Maudite, subtract the apple smell and increase the brown sugar flavor. 3 Stars.

And now for Hawaian beer

Kona Pipeline
This coffee porter was recommended by our main man Larry at the Specs in Northwest Houston. A very interesting beer as one would think the beers from Hawaii would be lighter beers, like the ones in Mexico. Pours smooth. It has a strong coffee smell, kind of like a bitter coffee bean smell. It's deep dark opaque brown, with a strong tan head. The first draught, WOW!! It has a monster bitter coffee bean flavor. This one would be good for tastings, as it could throw the swill drinkers for a loop. I'm not getting the backbone I was hoping for, basically a medium body. It's lowly hopped, and kind of is a basic say porter with coffee in it. 3 Star.

Well Georges St.-Pierre beat up on BJ Penn and Penn could not answer the bell for the 5th round. A decent PPV. And in my opinion the Canadian beer beat the Hawaiian beer, at least tonight. None of the crew showed up, chumps. At least I got the house cleaned up. I think I'll give this UFC Beer Tasting another go in the future. Very cool.