Thursday, November 22, 2012

Stone Beer Dinner at Central Market

So it turns out it was the wife's birthday on September 17th, and I was asking what she wanted to do.  As I have an amazing wife, one of the things she wanted was the Stone Beer Dinner at Central Market in Houston's Highland Village.  I got there a pinch early and just shot the shyte with the chefs until it was game time.

Beers we had a the time were Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale (which the wife almost got one the brewers to tell us the recipe), Sublimely Self Righteous, and Stone IPA.  One beer that was totally new to me I had to take notes with...

Beer Log: September 20th
State: At Central Market for the Stone Beer Dinner

Saison du Buff by Stone
Everyone knows I'm a big fan of saisons.  With this incredibly hot climate here in Houston these past few years, the saison style has really suited me well.  This one is yellowish with a great herbal nose.  I'm getting parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.  The beer has an excellent quadpack of herbs with a nice lemony zip (I know) and light banana.  Uber clean and drinkable with light hops.  Just fantastic collaboration for Dogfish Head, Stone, and Victory.  4 Stars.

And since we are talking collaborations...

And the day before

Beer Log: September 19th
State: Just hanging out with the crew

Mikkeller Not Just Another Wit
Has a brilliantly clear color and kind of a smoky lemony thing in the nose.  The beer istelf has a light lemony sourness with a great light bitter bite.  It think this may be a hefty amount of lemon zest in this beer.  I like the beer but only 3 stars, just too much zest or bitterness for me.

Terrapin Special Anniversary Ale
Clear with a slight straw tinge.  Nose is all funky.  Taste is like a steely malt and big ginger snap cookie.  Like those ginger snaps cookies that are in the brown bags with a clear plastic window we would OD on back in the day.  Nice big sweet flaovr that lasts on the tongue, though the beer is a pinch dry.  High 3 Stars.

What the heck is a Lime-A-Rita?

Beer Log: September 16, 2012
State: At a friend's house in Cyrpress, TX watching the Texans kill the Jaguars, having a BBQ

My highest viewed posts are the Budweiser and Miller posts, so why not blog up this one.  I'm at a friend's house kind of going between a Karbach and Saint Arnold beer.  I try to enjoy Houston area beer when the Texans or Dynamo are playing.  But they had a small slim can of Bud Light Lime-A-Rita, and I had my Ipad open watching my Fantasy Football scores.  So why not...

Bud Light Lime-A-Rita
Comes in a small can, kinda like a short Red Bull Can.  Pours incredibly clear with a clear yellowish green color.  Light white head with a very lime nose. Beer has a nice soft lemon lime flavor which reminds me of Sprite or 7UP.  Which is funny as I think the last time I had either one of those without Gin in them was 20 years ago.  And the last time I had either one of those with Gin was 10 years ago in college.  No real bitterness but a slight sweetness that was missing from the original Bud Light Lime.  Oh I know, this reminds me of Smirnoff Ice from my college days.  My beer geek evolution went from Smirnoff Ice (year 2000) to Miller Lite (Chicago White Sox game in 2002), to Shiner Bock (Lil Woodrows in 2005 at a training course), to Victory Golden Monkey (Flying Saucer in 2007), all Craft Beer.

It wasn't nasty or anything like that, just not what I reach for as a beer man.  2 stars.  Just give this to the sistas at the beach in Miami and call it good.

Beering in the Ohio River Valley: Wrap Up

So my brother-in-law elected to have his wedding on Labor Day weekend.  Our family was in the wedding party along with our toddler, who is making a career out of being a flower girl.  I think she has been a flower girl about 10 times in 5 years of life.  I'm going to have to get her set up with a miles account.

Though I was born in Cleveland and the wife in Maryland, we've never spent time in that part of country where West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio meet.  I asked Pennsylvania beer king Lew Bryson on twitter what I can find for beer and he said there was nothing.  Well as luck would have it, the rehearsal dinner was a River City Restaurant. The restaurant in the middle of rustic Wheeling, WV, which is an island in the Ohio River.  The area has a great banquet hall and wouldn't ya know, the place used to be a brewery!  Adjacent to it is what looks like a sports bar with PLENTY of Great Lakes beer on tap.  And oh darn, the bride is late getting to the rehearsal dinner.  So the wife and I enjoyed plenty of Great Lakes Burning River Dortmunder and one of my favorites of all time, Oktoberfest.

Wheeling, WV

The history of Wheeling is that it used to have over 20 breweries operating before the dreaded Prohibition took affect.  The place we were actually was in operation as of 2003, but shut down due to a flooding of a Ohio River.  BUMMER!  The place is now the Wheeling Artisan Center with tours and plenty of beer paraphernalia and lots of craft beer on tap at the bar. 

Otherwise the beer selection in the area was pretty slim, which is sad as Pennsylvania and Ohio have great beer scenes.  I mostly consumed a ton of Yuengling, which is my go to beer when I'm in the Mid-Atlantic..  I typically go for their traditional lager as opposed to the Black and Tan.

Overall I would say the various operating and abandoned steel plants and breweries give you the impression of a place who's time has come and gone.  I cannot help but contrast the quiet former glory of the Ohio Valley Area's former industrial might with Shanghai's ever growing world we were just a month later.  At first it's depressing but then the scenery in the early fall has a beauty and charm to it.  I remember back in high school that we learned Venus fell in love with Vulcan, the ugly blacksmith (if you will) of the gods.  Well now I can see why people love this area, even if they call it the Rust Belt.

Of course I did not have my notebook but we enjoyed some serious beers at Bar Symon at Pittsburg's airport: Founder's Dirty Bastard, Troegs Dreamweaver Wheat, and Big Eddy IPA by Leinenkugels. Not a bad experience overall.