Friday, October 31, 2008

Beering in Charlotte: The Wrap UP!

Well I must say I was pleasantly surprised at the good beering. What I neglected to mention is that I made it back out to the Flying Saucer after the reunion, and I tried the Kind Pale Ale from Carolina Beer. Didn't have my book on me, but it was a good pale ale. I feel a little bad as I did not make it to Rock Bottom or Hops Grill, the only brewpubs out there. But I think the series of local beers I had should do the trick for now.

Charlotte has taken off with the beer bars. I don't think I mentioned going with everyone to a place called "Cans" late on Friday night. We got there and this place sells 24 ounce cans of regular beer. Everyone was blown away that I picked some a couple cans of good old Pabst Blue Ribbon. Everyone else was doing some Bud Light, but looked at ME like I was crazy.

We went to a bar area

My top 3 beers I had in Charlotte:

3. Rainbow Trout ESB

2. Cottonwood Endo IPA

and the big winner

1. Foothills Seeing Double

Interesting that a bitter and two IPAs were my top beers, clearly showing that my hiatus from hops has helped get me back into hops. The best staple beer to have all the time at the local bar scene, Carolina Blonde. And special honor to Cottonwood Pumpkin for a great fall beer.

Fantastic stuff coming out of North Carolina. I look forward to trying the brewpub stuff next time and maybe taking a day trip up to Asheville. Amazing that one town has more microbreweries than the ENTIRE STATE OF TEXAS! But I digress. Special shouts to Rich Lyke for hipping me to places like Brixx and a few beer stores. I managed to squeeze in a variety pack of Magic Hat beer into my suitcase. Can't wait to crack a few of those open. It is Halloween afterall.

Beering in Charlotte: The Sauce

Back at the Flying Saucer but now in Charlotte CAROLINA! I hit up ol' girl again, but brought along the baby. I decided I'll go with two flights as opposed to just sampling three beers. So I did the Carolina flight, then did another flight of beers of Carolina beers, and a couple others, including something from Brooklyn. The flights came in 5 ounce glasses, which I think is enough to make it work for my evaluation.

Beer Log, October 25, 2008
State: Chillin, eating a Chicken Ceaser Wrap

Red Oak
Tried this one again. No butter this time. Amber color with a low white head. It is sour at first, then bready. The mouthfeel is very filling, yet with low hops. 2 Star once again.

Cottonwood Pumpkin
Once again something from Lake Norman area of Charlotte. I'm about to wrap up my drinking of oktoberfests and pumpkin beers, but I figured it's good to get a local one in there. Light haze to accent the amber color (they must love amber up here). I get a light rush of pumpkin flavor and nutmeg, very nice. Good mouthfeel with a low hops in the finish. This is one of the better pumpkin ales I've had in this season. Or it could be that Red Oak is messing me up. Either way, 3 Stars.

Rainbow Trout ESB
Back in the Foothills with this one, and we're going bitter. THICK white head that managed to stick around in the sampler glass, yet it's amber again. This one has medium hoppage for an ESB, as I understand Extra Special Bitters are not all that bitter. Low carbonation and just a very good beer. Light malt I test in the beer. Goes down very well. Got to love it 3-4 stars out of 5 Stars.

Cottonwood Endo IPA
Another amber colored beer with a low head, but it tastes like a very good IPA. Excellent quality with the lingering Cascade hops on the aftertaste for 60 seconds. Well done on the strong malt as well. This one reminds me of the Broken Halo but with more citrusy hops. A good workhorse IPA I could see myself picking up all the time, 4 Stars.

Highland Oatmeal Porter
Totally turning tables, I get my hands on their Oatmeal porter out of Asheville. Dark brown color that is light brown in the light, go fig. Low offwhite head with a light malt smell. Decent malt backbone for this one that is kind of smokey and roasty. Got to love the full body. As it warms a touch, I'm getting a low-medium hops. It's ok. 3 Stars.

Now that we have gone through one sampler, some convo about real estate, and I feel like another 5 beers. Maybe not something so local. BROOKLYN STAND THE F8CK UP!!!

Brooklyn Grand Cru
They say that Grand Cru is another style of Belgium beer. I am looking around and it looks like it could be, but the BJCP isn't helping me out. This one is light gold with that ol' bretamycin smell. I love that type of sourness. I could drink this stuff all night. Good fruitiness on this one, as in banana and that estery stuff. It has a smooth light carbonation and is also sugary sweet. A few days later, I figured they just took a regular belgian ale and fermented it at a warmer temperature, which would make MY belgian white beer closer to a Grand Cru as I have no temperature control in my homebrewing. 3 Star for my first Brooklyn. As I write this, I just found our local liquor store has two Brooklyn Beers a Pale Ale and a Lager. Certainly looking for more of it.

Highland Clawhammer
Amber color again for a Carolina beer. Light malt and medium hops. Some citrus in there and a nice bready aftertaste. Medium mouthfeel. This a good basic stable beer for everyday drinking... 3 Star.

Foothills Seeing Double
A Double IPA, one my first in a while. I smell those citrusy hops with that strong creamy whitehead. Very smooth and thick on the first taste. High malt and high hops, yet very balanced. Better than the Endo, but barely a 4 Star for me. Wish I could get more of this one in Texas.

Battlefield Bock
Switching gears to something different, this one is black-dark brown in color. Decent mouthfeel here. Not as much malt as I'd like. Not much going on with this one. Probably a bad idea to have this one after the Double IPA. 2 Star. These guys from Red Oak cannot catch a break.

Total Eclipse
Another Stout from the Foothills
Black and opaque with a tan head. They say this one is over 7% alcohol. Medium to high chocolate and malt. Full Mouthfeel. Nicely done. There is no smoke yet a light-medium hops in this porter on the back of the pallet. I'm starting to feel it now, and I need to change clothes before the reunion party. 3 Stars.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Beering in Charlotte: Hit the Brixx, then Squeal on me

And here we go with the local beering. Big Money Rich Lyke recommended I check out Brixx. One of my homegirls from college said she would meet me at the Uptown location. Sounded cool until she told me she was bringing her boyfriend along, dammit man.

I had just come from meeting up with my old high school friends at the school. NOBODY was thinking about going to the football game that was going on that night as it was raining, and our school has the best program in the State, if not the country. Add to that we were playing an 0-8 team, so no one was worried about the game. After marvelling over how many people's names I forgot, I caught up with ol' girl and her man at Brixx. You have to love the fact that Charlotte is small enough to zip right Uptown from the suburbs in 15 minutes. I would have to pack a lunch to do the same in Houston.

I got there earlier than they did, so I belly up to the bar, beer notepad in hand an peruse the local beer on the menu. You got to love the fact that there are different distributors in Charlotte, and they get some of the different beers we don't get, like Bells and Magic Hat.

Beer Log: October 24, 2008
State: Chillin and anxious for the local beering.

Brixx had plenty of local brew, but there was one that seemed to be a staple craft beer. Go to start out with ye olde

Carolina Blonde
Got it on draft in a sampler glass. Clear gold, low head, with little to no smell I could detect. Taste is a nice light malt with medium hops (maybe Saaz). Follow that up with a light bitter bread thing going on in the finish. The hops is NICE, but more than most blondes I've had. I can see why this one is popular in Carolina. Solid 3 Star beer.

I'm not a big fan of samplers, but that's what I got for these Carolina Beers. I think Samplers are cool, but I think they lose too much of the head, which means a lack of smell. Lastly, you have the issue of not tasting the beer from being cold to warming up. Each beer has it's sweet spot in temperature, and most bars keep all beers at the same temp, very cold. So it is just another dynamic of beering that you can find that sweet spot.

Red Oak
Another local one, repping Greensboro. White head but can't get the scent as the head is gone. Amber color, kinda like that amber they found the mosquito in Jurassic Park. It's sour and bready. A little heavy on the biscuit with a low hop character. I'm still not there for these sour beers. And I was not expecting that biscuit. Not much flavor to be honest. I guess sour beers is an acquired taste on top of the acquired taste for beer in general. 2 star. Too bad b/c its purity law beer.

Highland Gaelic Ale
Big ups to Asheville, NC, the mecca of microbrews apparently. Excellent crimson color, kinda like that True Blood drink in the show. I'm getting alight malt on the nose but head is not there again. Taste is a nice low malt, but slight butter, followed by roast. Low noticeable hops, maybe Centennial or Cascade. As I keep sipping it, I'm getting more sourness as it warms up a touch. Low 3 Star.

Terrapin India Brown
Athens, GA baby. Brown color yet red in the light. Light tan head with a buttery smell. It has a buttery taste to go along with that. Low hops at the back of the palette. But WTF is going on with all this butter. It's not as malty or hoppy as the description would suggest, (a brown ale with IPA hops). I'm starting to see a pattern here, so I refrained from rating this one.

I gets the feeling there is something up with the lines or something in this place. Everything is tasting like butter. I ordered the BBQ Chicken pizza, and it was awesome (did not taste like butter).

While eating the pizza and talking about beer with my friends (when they finally showed up), I decided to try my first Bells beer.

Bells Porter
Figured it would go well with the beer. Got a full glass in a pint glass. Light-medium body, with a slight smoke and malt taste. Nothing to get fired up about. I think there was more butter in this one too. No rating.

All in all, the food and the decor was awesome. Kind of a snazzy slightly upscale restaurant with about 30 taps of craft beer. I don't know the deal with that butterness going on. I imagine it's the lines or something, but whatever. I'm sure I'll try these beers again some time down the road. And I'll be back at the Brixx.

After some sobering up, I caught back up with the old high school crew at the Stool Pigeons back in the 'burbs. This is a cool beer bar as well, just not as much selection. A few daps and people being all surprised that I curse these days and am more flirty, but whatever. Up to the bar to order a Carolina Blonde, and what do they have, a Carolina Blonde BLUEBERRY.

To my knowledge, this is my first blueberry beer. It basically tasted like the Carolina Blonde, but with some slight blueberry. Cool stuff.

Beering in Charlotte: Dad's House

I'm at the house hanging out with Dad and he has a couple drinks for me to try. First off I had some Landshark Lager for the first time. I've seen this one pop up everywhere. It was in a clear bottle. I did not write it down, nor pour it in a glass, but it had a nice mouthfeel and drinkability for a clear bottle beer. Certainly had better maltiness than a Corona.

After that, Dad had some Yuengling Light in the fridge. Had it in a bottle, so no formal review. But I can see that this beer is a strong candidate for replacing Amstel Light as my favorite light beer. Out of the bottle, it had a nice toastiness to it. Most light beers don't have ANY flavor, but finally someone saw fit to put a little FIRE under the mash tun for a light beer. Nice stuff.

Dad even had some high dollar Hennessy that I didn't even want to ask how much it costs. I am thinking of doing formal reviews of things like Scotch (distilled beer), but this one was also very nice. The thing I noticed the most was the aftertaste. It was very smooth and just plain excellent, and I kept getting an Apple flavor in the aftertaste. Dad found it insulting, but I loved it myself.

Nice start.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Live Blogging: Ayinger Oktoberfest

It's 9:26PM, do you know where your beer is?

So I'm sitting here still recovering from my trip back to Charlotte (posts coming later), and I notice that there are a couple Marzens or Oktoberfests I have not tried that are at the house. I tried this one yesterday...

Michelob Marzen
Bottle to Beer Mug
Copper colored, white low head. light caramel smell with vegetal. Some breadiness and sourness. A little more bitter than I would like.It has moderate drinkability and slightly high carbo. The bitter aftertaste lasts on the back 2/3 of my tongue for a good 60 seconds.Maybe it's b/c I'm near the end of my oktoberfesting, but this one is angling for a 2 star. A couple more swigs and the munich malt is coming through. And the bitterness is not as pronounced. Not bad,but not all that great either. High 2 star b/c it's of the more boring oktoberfests I've had.

One time for Michelob at least putting out a Marzen. Again, they are digging their own graves with these light versions of craft beer. But moving on...

Trying this one right now...

Ayinger Oktober Fest-Marzen
It's in a 500 ml bottle that I'm pouring into my 2005 North Carolina NCAA Basketball champion beer mug (go Heels). Mmm, cloudy copper color with an off-white strong head. Smells good and malty. There is even a small slight citrus sourness in the smell as well. The head is very sustaining, and I will pour a little more in there. Tasting, now that's more like it. Malty, medium bodied, slight roastiness and a slight sourness on the aftertaste, all in that order. It could be that I just ran 4 miles in 40 minutes in that park about an hour ago, or that I've been having some disappointments in Oktoberfests, but this one is very tasty. The aftertaste is now more roasty. This baby moves instantly to the TOP of my Oktoberfest lists, which I will stop messing with come Halloween. I f8cks with this Oktoberfest. 4 Stars for sure.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Beering in Charlotte: Recap

Man, I'm having a great time back at the house and city I grew up in. The High School reunion has gone great. Everyone is doing well, though we all probably did the same thing, working out a few months before the reunion. It was great hanging out with the old high school crew. Lots of drinking and partying. Apparantly, I have grown taller, gotten bigger, curse a lot more, and am much "cooler" than I was in high school. Still kinda weird they all called me Donald or Donnie, I haven't gone my those names since...well... high school.

I was able to try some great beers and some not so great beers, but they're all fantastic b/c they are North Carolina stuff. I treated Carolina Blonde like I treat Shiner Bock in Texas, it's always on tap. Got my hands on some Brooklyn and whatnot, as the distributors are different than in Texas. I've seen stuff from Magic Hat, Bells, and Brooklyn, none of which are available in Houston. I'll try to stuff as much as I can in my checked baggage. This will certainly save us beer in Beer Trading. I think I ran through about 12-15 different beers, all in Beer Bars. Totally blowing my weightwatcher points, big time. No brewpubs this time sadly. And apparently, I'm getting back into hops, as the pale ales dominate my beer rankings.

Charlotte has really come up on the hang out spots downtown and elsewhere since I was here in '98. I really wish they would find some oil off the coast, so I could help set up the office in Charlotte. Beer updates on the way when I get back home.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Going Home for Some Beering

Well I'm offshore right now, but will be going back to where I grew up for my 10 year high school reunion. Seeing as how I hardly liked any of those chumps, I will spend most of my time doing as much beering as possible. The main dude I was cool with in high school fell off the face of the Earth after freshmen year in college.

Sadly, Charlotte NC seems to bereft of microbreweries and brewpubs. I've found 2 brewpubs and a Flying Saucer for my beertinerary. The two brewpubs are chains, but I've never been to either so it should be a new experience. The Sauce's website says they are fiercely loyal to local beer, but I haven't noticed much on the beermenu.

There is no local brewery/brewpub within driving distance for a short weekend trip. A quick look on the beer map and it turns out frikken Asheville, NC has like 5 microbreweries and a brewpub. What the hell man? It's a good couple hours away and I doubt I'll have time to make it, but how is it that a town the size my laptop has that much beering, while the New York of the South has JACK to call its own? I remember we used to play a high school in country arse Asheville in football. Can't quite remember the name, but it was one of those situations where the only thing to do in town watch high school football. We beat them, but we had to run for our lives afterward. I think they poured pigs blood on an opposing school's team bus one time. COUNTRAAAAAAAY!

North Carolina has quite a few microbreweries, especially if you count Asheville, so I will be hitting up some grocery stores and good liquor stores for some bottled beer. The wife won't be making it this time, and my father will probably want to drag my daughter all over town to see his friends, so I'll likely be beering on the solo this time. I'm sure someone will want to go to lunch as a big group or hit the bar/club at night, so I'll probably be able to squeeze more local favorites with some other guys.

Any suggestions out there for North/South Carolina beers I should try to find, please send along.

By the way, I'm doing pretty well with the weightwatchers. I drank a shytload of beer last week during "Dontoberfest", a party I threw to have fun, and hopefully clear out some room in my kegs. Yet I still lost 2-3 pounds during that week. I started out the WW program almost exactly 2 months ago. I started out weighing 242 lbs butt naked first in the morning after hitting the throne. I now clock in a 219 lbs, without much of a muscle loss. My goal is 212 lbs, then getting back into serious weightlifting.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tailgating Beer Part 2: Miami vs. Houston, Michelob Beers

Oh yes. The Texans were back in action after the crusher last week. My family were tailgating this time, though they forgot to tell us. So we got to the tailgate kinda late. It was all good as I grabbed a few of our Michelob beers left over from the Dontoberfest to have as tailgating beers. We actually picked up a variety pack of the Michelob craft beers and one of the boys brought in a 6 pack of Michelob lager. We packed up some of the BBQ chicken and burgers, then took some Michelob Lager and Michelob Porter to the tailgate.

The Mich Lager did very well in the bottle. I notice it said it was "all malt" and I could tell it was not your basic pale lager, no rice and whatnot. I love the smoothness and slight sweetness. The bottle helps as well as it is custom made for gripping.

Mich Porter (again straight out the bottle) went pretty well with the BBQ chicken. It has roasted malt and coffee flavor, but it has some kind of musty hops thing going on. Normally I wouldn't mind (probably a german hop), but it did linger just a touch. The body was great for tailgating, as it was not too thick. I had a couple of these before the game. I was a little sluggish during the game and at first I'm thinking it was because of the higher alcohol porter, but I later figure my body was still working on the beer from Dontoberfest.

I stayed to the VERY END OF THE GAME, as the Texans pulled off the last second touchdown to win the game. We're cheering like crazy and chanting "Houston" "Texans" all the way down the ramp. We tried to give the game away with two costly fumbles, but it worked out in the end. ROCK AND ROLL, HOUSTON TEXANS!!!

I managed to get a hold of some Michelob Ultra after the game. It works out very well for your weightwatcher points, but just not much of a flavor. It wasn't as watery as Bud Light, but still not all that fancy.

The running ranking right now for Tailgating Beers:
1. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
2. Michelob Porter
3. Michelob Lager
4. Red Stripe
5. Michelob Ultra

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Oktoberfest at Dontoberfest

Hanging out here at my house party, Dontoberfest. Basically this is a little something to help drink up my homebrew beer, my pale ale and IPA. Everyone at least told me they liked them. At first the pale ale and the IPA tasted very harsh and bitter. After a good few weeks of aging in the kegerator, and they are doing very well. Everyone brought along some craft beer, and we laughed it up until late in the evening. Everyone claimed my beer was very good. The beauty of so much beer on tap is that you don't feel bad cooking with it. We used the IPA to boil the brats, then put them on the grill. The Pale Ale went into the queso.

I look forward to doing it again in March.

I kegged my Belgian Wit Beer during the party, but did not carbonate it enough. I was too tipsy to keep filling it with CO2 and shaking it up. I'll let it wait the week to carbonate slowly. Awesome stuff. I even ran a good 4 miles that morning to store up some weightwatcher points. One of my boys messed around and threw a party later on that same night, so I didn't get the turnout I wanted, and we ended up with lots of extra beer and food. Oh well. I'm sure I'll find it a good home. We've got a good 100 bottles or so of craft beer now. I don't know where I'm going to put it all.

While at the party, I had the chance to try another oktoberfest.

Hacker-Pschorr Original Oktoberfest

Amber color, strong light tan head. Light malt and vegetalness of a lager. Not bad. Light malt, like Hofbrau. Low carbo. A slight sourness. It's very very smooth and drinkable. Very nice. 3 Star.

Didn't get in much of a description, as again, we were getting a little tipsy. There are several more craft beers at the house, and I look forward to trying them over time.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

More Oktoberfesting: Glass Tasting

It's 3rd quarter at the FAMU-WSSU game and I've got some weight watcher points to spare, why not try an Oktoberfest.

I am holding off on trying a new Oktoberfest, as I have an Ayinger in the fridge. But I'm breaking out another Hofbrau Oktoberfest. If you'll recall, I gave this one a bad rating as it was skunked from the trip to the States from Germany, and it's in a green bottle. The rating is still 2 Star, but I'm not getting anywhere near the skunkiness this time, as I'm drinking it out of a regular bar pilsner glass, with the edges at the top being convex. Last time I think I had it in one of my pilsner glasses that is cupped inward at the top, like a wine glass. My favorite drinking glass for beer is actually one of my wine goblets. It makes me feel like I'm big money, and it does not warm from contact with my hand. But my new pilsner glass does not hold in the scent. Therefore, the beer does not taste anywhere NEAR as bad. It just tastes like a slightly malty lager. Good stuff man. So I guess the lesson is, if you think you have some skunk, avoid the concave glasses to keep the smell out. Better experience.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Tailgating beers: Part 1, Indy vs. Houston

First home game of the season a month into the season. Our tailgating crew got nailed by Hurricane Ike, so although they made the game, our folks were not tailgating. Like that stopped us, we just got a few six packs, popped to the top on the car, turned on the talk radio, and chatted it up in the parking lot with some other "trunk of the car" tailgaters.


To make a good tailgating beer, I gather that the beer has to be a session beer, as you will be drinking lots of it (anything with the word "imperial" are out). If your team is sorry yet has a game on TV (college or pro), you will have a game NICE AND EARLY IN THE DAY, so the beer has to be a good beer to drink in the morning. The beer cannot be too filling, as it will put you to sleep midway through the second half of the game (so oatmeal stouts are out). It has to have some good flavor, be fitting for the weather, and go great with tailgating food (usually grilled food). It lastly has to taste good in a bottle or can. People who drink beer at a tailgate in a plastic cup should be shot (save those with kegs). One, you are increasing the trash for no reason as you have a perfectly good bottle/can, and two it will warm up too fast. It helps if the beer is drinkable.

We tried two beers this time.

Managed to drink three of these before the game. In the bottle, it tasted strangely like Full Sail's Session. As they are both in that stubby bottle as well, I think Red Stripe may have a lawsuit. I could taste substantial malt, low hops. Actually was not feeling it too much. We weren't grilling, so all I had was a turkey sandwich. A little malt liquory on the sweetness. It would probably go better with spicy jamaican food, but whatever, tailgate beers have to versatile. Lord only knows what food will show up at a tailgate. I did not feel all that tipsy after downing them. They were very drinkable. Not bad stuff.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Ah, one of my 4 star beers, and it did not disappoint. Could be that the only hoppy beer I've had in a couple months was Budweiser Am Ale, but this one was excellent. My friend, who is not a craft beer guy, even liked it. We had no food, but the hops and malt fit in just right. It has a bit more alcohol, but I was already a couple Red Stripes in. An excellent tailgating beer. The tailgaters down the lot fired up the Cupid Shuffle and then some Souljah Boy. Good times. I know this will go well with grilled food as well.

The Texans have 7 more home games, and I will probably make 5 of them. Too bad about the terrible loss. I cannot even watch football for a while after that meltdown. I cannot even watch HIGHLIGHTS of football until FAMU plays WSSU on Thursday. I feel a little better this morning, but I have to keep reminding myself, our day will come. And when it finally does, I can say I was there the whole time. Next game is against Miami.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Abita Fall Seasonal

The boys at Marcellos had the Abita Seasonal, so it's good to go. A Pecan Ale. I'm so looking forward to this one.

Abita Fall Seasonal
Dark copper color. Low head. A little nutiness and malt in the smell. Kinda like peanut butter with a smattering of roasted malt. Kinda plain for me on the taste. Very little taste. (The wife says it smells like baby poop.) Its around 45F, and I'm not tasting much of anything, maybe some light nut powder they put in there. Low on the roasted malt. I'll pick it back up as it warms a touch. As it warms, it starts to taste like pecans. I get a little spiceyness and light fruitiness as well. Not all that good man. I was expecting a lot more. 2 Star

Thursday, October 2, 2008

St. Arnold Divine Reserve 7

Funny story.

So St. Arnold has their divine reserve #7 coming out in late September. I was supposed to be offshore, and I forgot about it as my wife is probably too busy to be at the liquor store at 10AM on a workday. They delayed the release to September 30 when Hurricane Ike made its way to Houston, when I would be back on dry land.

September 30 comes and goes and I totally forget about it, as I had to take the baby to the doctor and a couple other errands. It was her wellbaby visit with all the vaccines, so I was hoping we could make it out without too much crying. She was crying when the nurse was listening to her heartbeat. Poor girl.

October 1st comes and my wife calls me up in the middle of the day, saying that I need to find Divine Reserve. I get all fired up, call up some Specs and HEB. Specs had run out within an hour, and the Wine/Beer guy at HEB was not answering the phone. I had a couple errands, and around 3:30, I went to a neat little bar (that used to be a brewpub) that had Divine Reserve #6 (a 5 Star beer). They don't have it. I order a Pyramid Apricot Ale, and quickly derate it from a 4 star to a 3 star, as the drinkability was pretty bad. The gent at the bar said that they didn't make hardly any kegs of DR7, and I won't find it on draft anywhere. I could find DR6 at a couple local pubs months after it had come out (sad). I chat up the guys about beer, my homebrew, and about Obama, and move on home.

I have HEB's number in my phone (the one about 10 miles north of where I was). I call and get the Wine/Beer guy as I am driving home. He says he has DR7 for sale, I tell him I'm on the way and hang up. You want to talk about DRIVING. I had 1o miles of city driving to the upper northwest Houston metro area, and cops were EVERYWHERE. I'm going 55-60 in a 45 zone. I am yelling at people in front of me, "GET OUT THE WAY B!TCH". Visions of tasers dance in my head, but I found my Drowning Pool CD to fire me up and let it ride.

I finally make it HEB, which seemed to take 5 hours. I walk with purpose through the parking lot, breeze past the cheese and bread areas, and make it to Wine/Beer. Plenty of good stuff, but the St Arnolds section had no DR7. The wine/beer guy is not there, and I find someone who looks like a manager. We both look around, and there is nothing there. He says he'll get with the manufacturer tomorrow to get the beer there. I thank him, but apparently he is not aware of the power of St Arnolds Divine Reserve. It is an underground Holiday in Houston, TX when a DR comes out. Normally it sells out within an hour. People are a stone's throw away from performing sexual favors for a 6 pack.

One last sweep through the wine section, and I see it, 4 SIX PACKS OF DIVINE RESERVE #7. Oh hell yeah. No fancy display, no anything. Just four six packs sitting next to a couple bottles of Pinot. I start to pick up 3 of the 6 packs. I figure that there is bound to be some poor sap out there in the same boat I am, and he could be on the way to find a 6 pack. I consider that a community service. I should get a tax break. As I pick up the three 6 packs, an older sistah asks me, "are you old enough to buying that beer". WOMAN, I AIN'T TRYING TO HEAR THAT! I didn't say that, but I thought it. She quickly said she was joking, and I smiled, and made a B-line for the register.

Finally, I OWN a Divine Reserve beer. A beer that (without some pictures of the brewer in a hot tub with the governor's wife while snorting an eightball of coke off her bosom) St. Arn will never brew again. The DR #6 was one of the best beer I'd ever had. And now, St. Arn has delivered once again...

Saint Arnold's Divine Reserve #7
A Weizenbock. The only time I had one of those was in Austin, and it was not up to snuff. Just plain boring. St Arn did a homebrew competition in Weizenbocks, and let the winner brew one batch of the stuff and sell it. Cost me 15 bucks a 6 pack. They could have charged 30.

Pours thick, dark brown color, very cloudy in a weizen glass. Good brown head on it that is very strong. It smells of strong roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee grounds. I think there was some element of wheat beer smells (banana, estery), but it is simply overpowered by the bock smells. Taste, oh yeah, strong malt, very thick, with a slight hop on the aftertaste. VERY VERY drinkable, low carbonation, tailor made for guys like me. Excellent mouthfeel, which comes from the wheat, but not very bready. It just fills up your mouth completely and very smooth (nullus). Definetly not a session beer, though there are no traces of alcohol. To further characterize that malt, I would say it is almost maple syrupy, maybe a little fruity. But this beer as excellent balance. This is a beer that I think helps define why we do what we do. I am sitting here watching this boring debate, and all of an hour after drinking it down, I am craving it big time. But smartly I only chilled 2 of them (one for the wife). We will cellar some of it, and break it out on special occasions. 5 Stars, all day long.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Another beer from Marcellos
Smells good and malty and maerzeny. low head. Kinda lager smell as well. Good and sweet. Maybe a little honey in there. Nice breadiness, and low on the body. Ok Heiner Brau. Just a good sweet slightly different interpretation of a Marzen than I've had before. This is purity law beer, and I know they did not actually put honey in there, or sugar, or even carbonation. They did a great job brewing the beer for the Zea Restaurant in Lafayette, and they did a good job here. It has excellent drinkability and very low carbonation, right up my alley. One of the best Marzen/Oktoberfests I've had in a while. 4 stars. I'm even getting a little roasted malt in there as well as it warms up. I get the feeling that as I rank the Oktoberfests once the season is out, this one will be in the top three.