Sunday, February 28, 2010

Boulevard Smokestack Series: Wheat Wine

Taking dictation because the Brotha was too lazy to go get his own computer or get his beer log from the car. He owes me.


Lighter hazy amber color with mondo white head. The nose is a mixture of wheat bear characteristics (orange, coriander, yeasty) and white grapes (a la a chardonnay or pinot grigio). Excellent. I like that.

Carbonation is moderate and the taste is a mix of wheat beer (sans orange and coriander) and white wine. White wine flavor wins out over the wheat beer flavors. Smooth drinkability, probably best served cold. i like it a lot. It's a fantastic mixture of the styles.

4 stars!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

St Arnold Brewing in the Newery Today

Word on the street is that Houston's own Saint Arnold's Brewing will start brewing in their new brewery (newery) today.

I hope to SWIMMING Saint Arnold Amber and Elissa IPA in a few months. And come next winter, just inject the Winter Stout in my veins.

It's Friday, Imperial IPA please

Well, last night we figured we would just stay home and crack open a few bombers. So I went down to Coaches Pub on Barker-Cypress and I-10 to pick up a couple pounds of crawfish and had at it.

Beer Log: Last Night
State: Pretty tired after the job, week of hard work getting that oil.

Rogue Ale Northwestern Ale
Great caramel and choco nose, with huge poofy tan head. I would saythe color is caramel as well. I like the big caramel malt up topwith a pinch of choco, and it is followed by harsh pointed grapefruit hops, not cascade. Moderate carbo. I actually think the hops actually screw this oneup a bit. Just too unbalanced near the end there, but I like the hard grapefruit. I'm sure it fits a style, but what? Kinda likea beer with all the leftovers. High 3 Stars.

So the wife looked this beer up and it turns out most consider it an India Red Ale. I think that description is spot on. Biting caramel, a little chocolate, ruddish color, and biting hops. No softness anywhere.

Rogue Imperial Red Ale
Not to be confused with Northwestern, but this is the IRA in the fancy claylike bottle. We bought this one nearly 2 years ago and let it age in our cellar (on top of our cabinets in the kitchen). Dark brown color with tan bubbly head. Nose is caramel. The taste is a robust maltiness and a muted yet strong hops. Not much more I can really say about it than it is an aged version of the Northwestern, without the chocolate. 4 Stars.

Ska Decadence
Switching gears and losing sobriety, I really want to see what this one with the skeleton and the waxed up bottle cap. Dark amber color with a white head. Steel hops and malty nose. The taste is steely hops as well, thought not metal. The beer tastes much softer after the hardcore Red Ale's I've been drinking. Pleasant. 4 Stars.

As per all black men over the age of 25, whenever I think of "ska", I think of my babymomma Gwen Stefani...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Brewing Beer, Drinking Beer, Listening Beer

It just doesn't get any better. The child is asleep, the wife is upstairs watching CSI: Tallahassee, and I am currently drinking a Bohemia, brewing my Belgian Wit, and listening to an archive of the Brewing Network Sunday Session. It's like having sex, while watching porno, while listening to the Sirius Playboy Channel, except the beer thing takes 6 hours.

I'm looking forward to UFC tonight, and big money Cain "Don hates me b/c I beat Kongo" Velazquez is fighting Antonio Rodrigo "The Oldest looking 33 year old on the planet" Nogueira. Normally I drink beer from the same places as the fighters, but how much Xingu can a brotha consume. And all these Brazilians also train out of Vegas, and I can't get any Sin City beer.

Pretty soon I'm going to be cracking open some IPAs to keep it going. But first

Bischoff Falkensteiner Ur-Weisse
A good friend of mine brought this from deep in his beer cellar. Let's see if I can get this review going before everything comes to a boil. Oh my that nose hit me hard with the bret and sweetness. Had to pull back b/c of that sourness and feet smell. It actually does smell like feet. Damn. Moderate cloudy gold color with creamy white head (no homo). Not bad on the sweetness, toastiness, and moderate but kinda sad sourness to it. Low carbo and very smooth. That foot taste and smell is all throughout. Seems like it's barely working, as it's not too terrible. It's making me sneeze though. Sneezing so much it's hurting my traps. Dammit man. The beer is not as harsh as I keep drinking it. Getting more pleasant and Belgian wit like, just a bit too aged. I know I had in my cabinet for about 5 months, so who knows how long my friend had it, or wherever the hell he got it from. High 2 Stars.

Oh shyt, they are showing the USA rugby on ABC. Hell yeah. Lot's of you brothas don't know that I played rugby for nearly 3 years. Then for some reason I switched to long distance running and marathoning. Now I'm looking at some MMA and Jiu-Jitsu. I think I'll try to hit all the white guy sports before I get too old. Sitting here watching these dudes on 15KM Cross Country skiing. Come on, ski motherficker, SKI!

Got the extract in there now, just waiting for boil. Looks like this Santa Fe Pale Ale is not bad, but I've got extract on my fingers, so no more typing for now.

Ok this Santa Fe Pale Ale is not hitting it. Time for some IPA.

Deschutes Inversion IPA
Picked this up yesterday at Specs at Barker Cypress and 529, shouts out to my boy LT. Nose is very citrusy hops. Huge Mother-of-Pearl head on a copper colored beer. Good citrusy hops, a little light on the malt, but very refreshing. Crisp. Head has good lace. 3 Stars.

Well, I followed the same procedure and my original gravity is 30 points higher, 1072. Anyway, I'm going to whoop some arse on Wii Resort Swordfighting. Holla.

Ok I'm back. Great wort sweet flavor. Looking forward to this one a week from now. hell yeah.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Beer Arms Race

Oh it's TIME baby. Our good friend Ronnie Crocker over at Beer, TX blog put out a great article about how so many brewers are upping the ante on alcohol.

Looks like they are going to be using Sam Adams Utopias for breakfast beer soon. Brew Dog is hitting them hard with Sink the Bismark and Tactical Nuclear Penguin. The good thing is that these beers are now 30% plus in ABV, and if it's still beer I'd probably still knock it back like nothing, and consequently show up to work still drunk 4 days later. I am HIGHLY considering slapping down the 42 Pounds (nearly 85 dollars) for a 330 ml bottle of Penguin. The kicker is, it's still Brew Dog. If it was Alesmith, I could be convinced.

Looks like brothas are not quite boil distilling but freeze distilling their beer.

It's a tradition a few hundred years with the oil eisbock (ice bock method). You freeze the beer, scrape off the ice, and bamm you got some serious high octane beer. Imagine if you do it three or four times.

You know what I say, more power to 'em. I say be as creative as can be. Up the octane all you can, just don't brag so much about it that they change the tax structure. Also, I'm thinking that the pendulum will swing and some brewers are going to make some very very good 3% ABV beer. We need some session beer that just killer as well. I enjoy beer, and a lot of times I just want a nice beer with my food, but I don't want to visit a hospital after a couple 12 ouncers. I mean come on man. Let's get these brothas some low alcohol beer that's in the 4 star range. I know you'll think of something.

Bashah, not the kind you smoke either

Sitting here drinking down some Sierra Nevada Bashah, watching some Winter Olympic coverage. The wife and I just took in a matinee of The Wolfman. Not a bad movie. A little slow at times, and very dark. The violence was pretty realistic. Del Toro looked out of place in this movie, maybe I'm just used to his characters in Sin City and Snatch.

Beer Log: Right now
State: Chilling out...

Sierra Nevada Glissade
Drinking this one out of my 2005 North Carolina NCAA Championship mug. Orangish clear with a fizzy but strong head. Nose has that lager-veggie smell, with a nice sugar sweetness to it. Beer has a nice breadiness to it, a low but noticeable hops, and a decent light maltiness. Tastes very noble-hop like for a Sierra Nevada. The beer is just very soft and poofy, and a lot better than the first time I had it. Low 3 Stars.

Now let's go back in time to last night...

Beer Log: Yesterday
State: Eating pizza and wings

Hole in the Rock (MDII, Minhas)
The wife found this one in one of those gift 6 packs. I believe these beers are supposed to be with some old recipes. Amber clear with lager and caramel nose. On the taste, there's not much going on besides smoothness. There is a slight malt with the pizza. Low 2 Stars.

The collabo with Stone and Brew Dog. We had this in the house for months and I haven't tried it b/c the last time I had a Brew Dog beer it tasted like I was tasting a cigarette on the wrong side. Oh it's real. I poured this beer in my Old New Orleans rum glass. Not much head. Slight porter roast nose with a pitch black color. They billed this beer as a Dark Belgian Double IPA. And damned if they didn't hit all three flavors. It's a party of roast, smoke, coffee, infused with sourness and citrus, followed with a strong cascade hops in the aftertaste and finish. As it warms, the hops just overpower whatever was belgian about this beer and much of the dark part, and it devolved into a dark strong double IPA. High 3 Stars. Not that it's not bad, but they put it all in there. Oh it's real.

Great stuff overall. And in honor this and the many of other great collaborations in beer, here's one of my favorite collabos.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Beering on Valentine's Weekend... in Austin

Snuck into Austin, TX this weekend with the wife and another couple (no not swinging). It was not my normal beer-centric vacation, so that actually allowed us to enjoy the city a little differently, and have beer in the background. I had not realized how you go upward in sophistication and class (and price) of the bars as you work your way from 6th Street to 1st Street. We started out watching the mind fuc... er Winter Olympics opening games at Champions while drinking the "Mystery Beer". They refused to tell me which beer it was, but it reminded me a lot of Newcastle Brown.

Anyway, we just went Shiner Bocking it up at the bars on 6th street on Friday night. I tried to note how much local beer was on the taps (the real test as anyone can store bottles), and turns out Real Ale's Fireman's #4 is the WINNAH! The bright red tap handle with the gold 4 was at every bar, club, and dive. We swung by the old haunt Lovejoy's and scared our wives. I had their Pale Ale, not bad, but the wives were freaking out with the Sin City like bar.

The next night we explored the streets and found a great Irish Pub Fado's. Place was very comfortable, the man knew how to pour the Guiness, and they had 6 Nation's Rugby on the TV, does life get much better than this? It's on 4th street across the street from the gay bars. This place was way too cozy, and the Carlsberg I was drinking was much better than I've had it anywhere else. We jazzed it up for dinner at III Forks for some excellent steaks. No beer this time, just Pinot Noir. The place was packed and the kicker is that we barely were able to get reservations.

I made up for my sins of "no beer with dinner" by playing darts and drinking a healthy amount of 512 Bruin Brown ale they had on cask hand pump at good ol' Gingerman. This place was the polar opposite of 6th street bars. Lots of pea coats and tame beer love. Not going to see much vomit on the side of the road. We actually managed to see some stars, and used an Android app to find all the constellations.

But I think I'm not over thinking it that (512) has taken over the best beer title for Austin. Lord knows there's more competition on the way. But that IPA, Wit, and Brown Ale just seal the deal for me. I couldn't get enough of the stuff. The Brown ale was very chewy, malty, a touch of syrup, and the hops cut it just right. No sense of the 7.6 ABV. The IPA was a great piney thing. Just great while hanging out in the chill. The wit was a perfect citrus flavor with medium body coming from the oats, ranks right up there with some of the better wits I've had. I'm loving it man. Just need these guys to get some handles down here and we are on our way.

And today I think we were well on our way with cracking the code of Austin by few breakfast tacos at Taco Deli. Afterward, just watching folks swim in the Barton Springs pool. Can't wait to hit that one in the summer time.

Just going to chill out the next few weeks to let the bank account recover, then I may be able to sneak in a trip to Toronto for the next NSBE conference. I'm having flashbacks of the mussels at beerbistro and the beer menu at Volo. Holla.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Black History Beering

Not really, I just polished off some beer from Boulevard. A Saison. Very nicely done, not too dry. Has a great sweetness to it, and not too dry at all. High 3 Stars.

Beer Log: Yesterday

State: Relaxing

This Belgian IPA is working pretty well as a style for me. Houblon came on strong, and now the Dawgs are showing up. Dark copper with a long lasting offwhite reddish head. Piney, citrusy, and apple nose. Bready and apple flavor with plenty of grapefruity hops throughout. I just can't get over how great this beer's tastes goes with it's smell. In the snifter glass I get a great melody of taste and smell. It's a touch grainy and comes on with high carbonation. Nice beer and just balanced. High 4 star.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Pilsner Bowl: Sam Adams Nobel Pils vs. Shiner 101

Oh it's time baby. I can't find the top to my fermentor, and the baby is acting a fool, so I may not get the chance to homebrew before the Superbowl party tonight. Screw it. I haven't blogged in a while although I've tried many a new beer. Things like New Belgium's Ranger IPA, Abita Christmas, Birra Moretti, BJ's Grand Cru, all over the map. But there seems to be a slight resurgence in Czech style pilsners. Both Sam Adams and Shiner have come out with some pilsners, so I'm curious to see who wins the Pilsner bowl.

Beer Log: Right now
State: Finishing off some pasta and red wine sauce, probably will pop in a movie while the baby is asleep

Sam Adams Nobel Pilsner
Enjoying this in my tall pilsner glass. Hellz yeah. Nose is malty with some slight funky hops. The malty sweetness of the nose is indeed like that of other Czech pilsner, kind of a sugar sweet. Poofy white head that is working it's way down. Clear straw color. Lots of bread flavor and light malt. The hops are woven throughout. Hops are not all piney and whatnot like Cascade. Just a great soft hoppiness that reminds me of grapefruit. The beer has a nice medium body and even a hint of chewiness to it. Could this be one of the best pilsners I've ever had? High 3 Stars.

The wife and I are highly considering going to Prague for our annual trip in 2011, or if I can keep her off the, we could maybe do a London/Prague trip this year. But that's a big IF.

Shiner 101: Czech-Style Pilsner
The beer has that same straw color, just a touch darker than Sam Adams'. The beer is a touch funkier on the hops, but has the same sweetbread nose. Head is nowhere near as strong, and a lot more fizzy and whatnot. No lace and much softer. This beer has a touch more of that icky hop I can't get with usually. Especially on the aftertaste. There is a slight filmy feeling to the aftertaste. Hops is nearly the same, just not quit as robust as the Adams, and the body is much thinner. Dammit man. This is like the Patriots actually beating the Texans. Low 3 Star beer.

I much prefer the Boston version than the Shiner version. And what's bad, Shiner is an actually a Czech and German style brewery for over 100 years, with our man Kosmos Spoetzl running the show in its history. Sam Adams was started up by a guy who found some recipe in his attic, probably after a Red Sox loss. Not to mention their claim to fame is basically making all kinds of random styles, while Shiner ONLY does German and Czech styles.