Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Leaving Maryland

So I greatly enjoyed this trip to Maryland, although I did NOT get to Brickskeller AGAIN! I'm beginning to think this place does not exist. On the flight back I was hoping to hit Ram's Head or something in the airport, but we were rushed for time. Turns out I was spending 10 minutes rearranging my bags so that neither weighed more than 50lbs. Before Continental switched to the Star Alliance, you could pack as much as 70 lbs per bag with no fee if you were OnePass Elite. PERFECT for loading 'er up with local beer. So we barely made it without paying any extra.

Th flight really sucked, as I was stuck all day without any craft beer. They are charging $5 for like a 10oz can of Bud Light. I should just load up on those mini-bottles of Jack D and Bacardi before flights so I can get a buzz while on the plain. Also, I saw an elderly woman knitting a blanket while on the flight. I'm surprised they didn't shoot her on site when she tried to get through security. Some idiot Nigerian terrorist tried some crap in Detroit, so chances are we'll lose even MORE freedom, and you won't be to so much as scratch your nuts 1 hour before a flight lands. I'll take my damn chances and get some freedoms back. Including getting more beer.

We land and no beer was broken in my bag. Kinda glad b/c I need to wear that suit one more time. I'm pretty fired up about getting back out to the East Coast in June for our family reunion. Turns out we're taking a cruise out of B-More, which means we'll be back up that way, and dammit I'm coming in a day or so early just to beer it up in DC. No two ways about it. There ain't jack else I'm trying to do out there. We beered it up strong today and are looking forward to getting to Lafayette tomorrow. Holla

Let's try another beer: Otter Creek Jamaican Stout

You know, we need another beer. We had these Otter Creek World Tour beers in our cellar/house for over a year.

So time for the Otter Mon Jamaican Stout.

Ths beer is a deep brown and opaque, with a huge tan head. The beer has a roasty choco nose, yet tastes rather bitter coffee like. It didn't sour or oxidize sitting in our cabinet, but it's not the style of stout I'm for. I like mine a little sweeter, no homo. The beer is extremely smooth, full bodied, and low carbonation. Great stuff. High 3 Star. I could use this on those long lonely nights in the heat afterhours.
One time for Jam Rock...

St. Bernuardus Christmas Ale: 5 Star Beer

The brown sugar sweetness, the chewy body, the notes of ginger snap cookies, the lack of an aftertaste. The smoothness of low carbonation. The cloudy crayon brown color coupled with an everpresent white head. The nose that matches the flavor perfectly. The oh so slight touch of sourness just to letyou know it's belgian. 5 Stars all the way.

I didn't even plan on writing about this one, let alone blogging about it. St. Bernardus out of West Flanders, Belgium hits the mark and hits it hard for what I envision a Christmas Ale would taste like.

That is all.

Beering in Long Island: Bobbique

After we relax at the hotel and get changed for the wedding, we decide to squeeze in a trip to Bobbique. For one thing, we were going to a wedding with people from Kenya and what I think were West Indian. Basically we knew they would be late as all get out, and I didn't want to starve waiting them out.

So at Bobbique we walk in rather overdressed, but feeling right at home. Order a couple slices of pie and start a little beering with whatever's on draft. They had about 12 taps and maybe 60 beers, many of which I've never heard of. Awesome.

From memory, I got my hands on some Captain Lawrence's Freshchester. Very pleasant hoppy pale ale. Afterward, I got some Brooklyn Special Reserve: Backbreaker. The waitress couldn't tell me much about it but I surmised it was a light belgian pale ale due to the hint of sourness. Turns out it's an English pale ale that the brotha Garrett Oliver cracked the malts in himself in merry old England. Not a bad beer overall.

How we knew was the manager of the place, Eric, came by after we told the waitress we travel around beering it up. Very cool guy that hit us with the Yankee Brewnews and the Ale Street Newspaper. Even said we could go for half pints for whatevers on the bar. The brewmaster for Blue Point was there as well. Eric told us that we now have to go to a NY Mets game b/c Brooklyn Beer actually brews specific beers for the Mets that you can pretty much only get at the Mets game. The funny part is that the Mets suck so bad, that I shouldn't have any trouble getting tickets.

Back to Bobbique, we didn't get anything but desert, but we could clearly see the portions of the food, they are not playing around. The waitress we had could probably use a little help in tasting the beers on tap that day, as I think this place changes over taps damn near daily. Loved the atmosphere with the 50s rock and blues playing. Tons of bottles of beer everywhere. Eric told us of the best place to buy beer, but we didn't have the time. Maybe next time we're in the area, which I'm sure we'll do again.

Hold Up

Beer Log: Right Now

State: Polishing off a mug of homebrewed Apricot English Ale.

Sierra Nevada Estate

Grabbed this one at Specs on Jones Rd and 290. Ready to rock and roll on this one. Amber Sierra Nevada Copper color. White very lacy head. Cascady piney nose. Strong hoppiness but not overly bitter, if that makes sense. The hops is actually pretty grassy, probably due to the wet hopping. Very smooth and moderate Carbo. Another 4 star beer for Sierra Nevada, despite just not being perfectly balanced with the low malt. English ale smoothness and West Coast bitterness. 4 Stars. Even the wife likes it.


Bobbique is what we need more of in this country. Great location in a small town, great food, and with a varied tap that changes probably daily, it's just what the doctor ordered.

Beering in Long Island: Brickhouse Brewery

The day after Christmas the wife and I hop in the car to drive from the Baltimore area to knee deep in Long Island, in Holbrook. It rained most of the way and I think I spent more money in tolls than Gasoline just getting through Delaware. The anal rape that is the northeastern toll road scene is ridiculous. It had to add a good HOUR to the trip, having to slow down every time the highway went over a damn puddle.

So we get there and have a late lunch at the Brickhouse Brewery in downtown Patchogue. I'm loving how our travels in beer have taken us now to Long Island, just a couple months after places like Oktoberfest. Looking for local beers and breweries a fantastic extra dimensions and a sense of fun for what could be the most mundane of trips.

We get seated in the back what damn sure is a brick structure, plenty of murals on the wall of probably what Patchogue looked like back in the olden days. Reading the history of the brewpub, we learn that this location was a dry goods store in the 1800s and was even a stop on the Underground railroad. How great is that.

I ordered up the meatball hero and some crab cakes while the wife gets a cheeseburger, and it's game time with a six beer sampler. I left my little notepad on the plane home, so hopefully I can remember all of this...

Street Light
Your basic light pilsner with a decent amount of toasty malt and hops. Like most samplers, I don't get much of a head and thus much of a scent. But everytime I try to smell these beers, I get the cinnamon from the pumpkin spice beer on the corner of the sampler tray, so everything is a little off. But a nice introductory beer for BMC drinkers.

Boys Red

Reddish amber color with a great malt, toast, and lightly hopped. Probably one of the better ambers I've ever head. Certainly the best on the menu.

Fresh Hop Kitty

At first sip I go this heavy headed beer to be a lighter cascadey hopped English IPA, but on the subsequent drinking the strength came out as it warmed up. Certainly a very American IPA and almost West Coast strength. Something I'll rarely get much of on the East coast. Very well done.

Nitro Boom Stout

Strong roasty coffee nose and flavor. They nitro'd this one, so it was very smooth and low carbonation. I think this would be a great one for those that drink coffee and claim they don't like beer. The bitterness reminded me of pure unsweetened chocolate, not the candy bar version.


A jacked up beer that had a lot going on, pretty complex and cinnamon sweet. Memory fading...

Pumpkin Spice

A smooth beer, probably poured with nitro, that had cinnamon sprinkled on it. Orange colored with a lasting white head and cinnamon all over it. For some reason, whenever I taste straight cinnamon I get the taste of dirt. It needs to be cooked or something. Regardless, somewhere under that cinnamon was a wheat beer with some pumpkin garnishment. Not bad at all.

Later on while still working on my hero, I got the Blue Point Toasted Lager, the local microbrewery. Fantastic area right? If there's one style I love, it's toasty Amber lagers. And this one did not dissapoint. Light malt, toast, but not quite English Muffiny like the Bud Am Ale. Loving it.

Great spot overall. We were looking for the steps where they hid the runaway slaves in the underground railroad, but they said you have to be in the brewhouse to see it. Oh well. I just love the spot, food was fantastic, very nice High 3 Star beer. Wish we could get some of that down here in Houston, though we'd probably have it an an old Plantation house or something.

Beering in Maryland: 21st Amendment

Well we went to Corridor in Laurel and just went crazy stocking up with beer. We got variety packs from Weyerbacher and Erie brewing. Not to mention some random belgian beers imported by the Shelton Brothers and a case of random bombers. Many of these made the trip back, so those reviews are coming soon. I will say we went to town on the Weyerbachers a couple nights ago with the wife's family, but I was able to save one of each style to bring back to Houston.

So I go to my uncle-in-law's house and he and his girl say they try random beers all the time. I picked up some Watermelon Wheat and some IPA both from 21st Amendment. I was super fired up about the WW, not because I'm black, but because I'm a huge huge fan of The Brewing Network. I'm about 2.5 years behind schedule on their podcasts, but one of their sponsors is the Two-One-A, so it's almost like a big deal to try their beer though I've never set foot in California. Not to mention it's in a can, ensuring it's ultra fresh.

Beer Log: Christmas Eve

State: Hanging out with the wife's fam.

The WW had a huge amount of watermelon throughout, without much body from the wheat. This thing truly features watermelon, and sadly a little bit of water. I found it ok but kind of boring. In all reality, this beer would be good for introducing Bud-Miller-Coors drinkers to craft beer. In all reality, probably good to give this to women. Not so much that it's all that great, but it's a representation of what we can do with beer. High 2 Stars. Don't take that ranking to the bank as I didn't do a formal review, which would include my pouring it in a glass. We just drank it out of the can.

My uncle tells me that he and his girl actually make it a point to check out the local breweries when they travel, now that's a FAMU man for ya, and he prefers much hoppier beers. So we ditch the WW and pick up 21st's Brew Free or Die IPA. This is MUCH more like it. Right out of the can I got a very strong cascade hop flavor, great body, and just enough malt for balance. We both agree that this beer is fantastic and much more what we need from the west coast. Not an Imperial IPA, but very strong. 4 Stars. I got a couple of those beers with me back here in Houston.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Jolly Pumpkin: Noel de Calabaza Special Ale

Nose is a bit sour and grapey. Big head from high carbo or shaking (or both). Isos says: Could it be from a bad pour by the Brotha?

Taste: Sourness hits you, but not overpowering. There is sweetness to balance it out, but not all the way. Dry, no aftertaste. Maybe better in a champagne flute? Maybe some bret.... Isos says: I don't think he has this beer figured out at all :) Maybe served a little too warm. Isos says: I told him we could wait for it to chill.

That's it for now....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Beering in Maryland: Butternuts Anyone?

So we made it into Maryland last night and after sloshing around the roads to drop off the baby. We hit up Fridays for various forms of fried chicken and Blue Moon, then over to Latellas. Latellas is this liquor store in that Glen Burnie area has a HUGE walk-in fridge with all kinds of craft beer and some assorted champagnes. You know the place is on top of things as you walk in and they got some random Bollywood movie on the screen. The wife is still out of commission drinking wise, so instead of picking up single bottles, I just get a variety pack of something we've never heard of, figuring I can sample of that now.

Enter Butternuts Beer and Ale.

This variety pack has 4 different beers, all in cans. Fantastic. And this one had an IPA, Pale Ale, Stout, and a wheat beer. The labels look like something out of a Nick Jr Cartoon on acid, pretty much what Yo Gabba Gabba is now.

Beer Log: Last Night
State: Relaxing, watching the Las Vegas bowl on the massive HD screen at the mother-in-law's house.

Snapperhead IPA
This ipa has a very nice head and a deep amber color. No need to run away from this one, it hits the nail on the head with balanced caramel malt and citrus hop flavors. Not quite west coast strength either, but it represent Upstate New York well. I would say this one beats out Broken Halo as a good basic American IPA. High 3 Stars.

Moo Thunder Stout
At this point, I notice that every can has "Farmhouse Ale" written on it. I at first think there's no way these are brewed in the farmhouse ale tradition, or I'd expect a lot more sourness and high carbo. Turns out this stout had a touch more of both. Great roastiness and smooth choco all the way around. The nose matched the flavor. Fantastic. High 3 Stars.

Sometime much later on that night I try the Pale Ale. I was a little alcoholed out at that point, so I'll try to review that one later. Overall, a great start to Christmas vacation.

It looks like the wife is out with my mother in law to find a dress, and they say they won't be back until 1PM. Which means they won't be back until 3 PM. Which means I can take the baby, my soon to be stepfather-in-law, and hit the means streets looking for some brewpubbing in Baltimore. OR I can leave the baby with my great grandmother and great aunt (all in law), and we can hit the seedy beer bars of Fell's Point, and still be back before the Misses. Either way. Holla.

One time for Upstate New York and shouts out to Western New York as well. Loving it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Old New Orleans Rum: Cajun Spice

To continue, I'm expanding my alcohol consumption to now include rum. Living in the Gulf Coast and going to school in Florida, you can't really get away from rum. The whole sugar cane heritage is very real, and that tradition has maintained past the colonial era. A friend of mine highly suggested I try this micro-distillery called Old New Orleans Rum. Started out in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans and now calling my beloved Frenchmen Street home, Celebration Distillation now has what seems to be a nice following in the Crescent City. Since 1999, they've racked up the awards and even managed to keep the party going after Katrina with their most aged barrels sitting up the highest in the distillery.

I actually found all three of their brands in the Specs in Houston at Jones and 290. So why not cop all three. Word on the street, their Cajun Spice is their best brand, so I'm going for it right out the gate.

Beer Log: Right now
State: Just finished packing for the trip to B-More. Wife and baby are asleep finally. Watching Reno 911 reruns.

Old New Orleans Rum Cajun Spice
Clear amber colored liquor. Plenty of legs around my Hennessy goblet. The first swirl liberates too much alcohol masking what the second smell tells me syrup, cinnamon, and plenty of peppery alcohol. This one comes on strong with the sweet cinnaspice and pepper. I love how it all comes together with the sugar sweetness. I do the tequila tasting I learned on the Cazadores website where I take a sip, inhale through my mouth, and exhale through my nose, liberating even more cinnamon. This rum is KILLER. Very sweet, spicy, and at 80 proof will put some hair on your chest. Fantastic experience. 4 out of 5 um cane sticks.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

So Much Beer, So Little Time

I'm sitting here in the Dentist's office while the wife gets some wisdom teeth pulled. Luckily I can hop on some random wireless network so I can blog about nothing in particular errr get some work done. We are doing pretty well right now I'm looking at my beertinerary for our upcoming trip to the Mid-Atlantic, and I am blown at how much opportunity we'll have.

First off we will fly out of Bush Intercontinental, so we can prep with some Heineken on draft. Not great, but we land in BWI and they have a slew of brewpubs and beer bars in the Baltimore/DC area. I don't care who your daddy is, we're going to Brickskeller in DC. They say it's the best beer bar in the city. Maybe I'll get my main man Obama to come have a beer with me. But I'm looking at hollering at Fell's Point once again in Baltimore and just wallow in the good beering.

Afterward we're taking a trip to Long Island for a wedding. While we're there, we'll be down the street from a meadery, and just a couple miles from places like Bobbique's for some good beering. Turns out a brewpub out there has Watermelon Wheat in a can from 21st Amendment. Almost worth the trip to find that beer.

After a couple more days back in Maryland, we hit up Lafayette, LA for another wedding. Probably just relax at Zea and party it up for New Year's Eve. And then we'll relax.

Um what else is going on. I've lost just over 4 lbs after getting back on Weight Watchers. Good stuff, but we're racking up on beer b/c I only have points for maybe one 12 oz a night.

I tried some Old New Orleans Cajun Spiced Rum. Had a LOT of alcohol in this one, but not enough to overpower all the random spices they threw in this thing. Formal review coming later. Holla.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mikkeller's Santa's Little Helper

State: Eating corn on the cob with Lagunitas Brown Suggah Burgers.
Beer Log: Right now

Mikkeller's Santa's Little Helper
The wife picked this one up today at Specs. Pours a dark brown color with a decent tan head. Nose is very citrusy hops, orange, and plenty of cinnamon with a handful of malt. This one makes you take a walk through flavor profiles. First you get the malt, then cinnamon, followed quickly by the strong citrusy hops, and wraps up with a belgian style sourness I do kinda like. No hint of the 10% alcohol. The wife says "if Anchor sets the standards, this blows away Anchor". I just love hot there is more orange character comes out as it warms. Probably a 5 star beer if cellared properly and allowing all those flavors to mellow out. Right now, a STRONG 4 Star beer. Very well done Mik, the Dogfish Head of Denmark.
Looking forward to trying the very single hop ipa's as well one day.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Beering in Ontario: Pepperwood Bistro

I know I visited this brewpub in July and it is nearly 6 months. But honestly it could be six years from now and I wouldn't forget Pepperwood Bistro in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. After beering it up in Toronto, I started to make my way back to Buffalo and had this spot as a must-visit in my beertinerary. Maybe it was the weather, smackdab at 79 deg and sunny, right across the street from Lake Ontario. This touristy area of Burlington was like those fancy outdoor upscale malls. Took me forever to park, but it made up for it when I sat on the patio with my book. The outdoor patio just exuded class. I didn't even bother going inside.

Pepperwood Bistro is a brewpub that seems to make it's money on the fantastic food. I believe I had mussels yet again. But with 6 house brews and 15 others on draft, it works out well for a guy like me. Too bad they don't do samplers. So I had to just throw caution to the wind and try three beers. Anything more and I couldn't make the drive back to Buffalo.

Pale Ale

Wanted to see how hoppy they would dare to make this one being that we're in Canada and all. Bready grapefruit nose. Good bread with grapefruit hops on the flavor and aftertaste. I get somewhat moderate carbonation. It's not my cup of tea as the malt doesn't quite balance the hops. Low 3 Stars. I'm interested in how this one sells out there.

Monkey Brown

Deep brown color with a tan head. Nose is chocolate. Taste is surprisingly bland. Second slug gets me some chocolate and roasty flavors. Low carbonation and very smooth. Great beer for newbies. Low 3 Star.


Gold and hazy. Figured I'd switch it up with a fruit beer. Raspberry nose, smooth and bready with moderate raspberry taste. 3 Stars.

The fram is pretty good, but even better with the linguine Fruit Del Mar. One of the more tolerable I've had as it's not as sour.

Pretty obvious that although the beer was just okay, the entire experience was great. Food was even better, and the ambiance was fantastic. I can only imagine how they work it out when it's winter time and that lake effect comes in. But such a nice spot in the summer time. Fantastic.

Hit me with another Avery

It's the December UFC event, which means it's time for Avery Old Jubilation. Whether they plan that or not, seems like every time I get some AOJ, on the same weekend as a UFC.

So the wife was beering it up in Calgary and I dropped the baby off at my cousin's house to enjoy a nice visit to ye olde Flying Saucer. And nice to know that Avery was not going to disappoint.

Beer Log: December 11, 2009
State: Chilling out at the Saucer

Avery DuganA
So nice to be back at the old Saucer. Only 93 beers to go before. Not to be confused with the acid trip like cartoons of Tex Avery, Adam Avery seems to believe the world does not have enough imperial style beers. And my 2008 Brewery of the year did not let me down. No clue what type of beer this was when it showed up to the table, but it had a strong malty and piney/grapefruit hoppy nose. Seemed like I got a touch of cherries in there as well. Dark copper color with a thin white head. Could be the bartender just didn't give me any head on this one (no homo). Taste is a syrupy earthy malt with a strong balanced piney hops. Aftertaste is hoppy as well. Very strong all around. 4 Stars. Fantastic big beer once again. Double IPA style. Doesn't hurt that that label is HOT!

Avery Old Jubilation
Had this one last year almost to the day. Last time I got a lot of alcohol and plum. This time, I got more malt, chocolate, and smooth low carbonation. Not as raisiny. Could be last time it was in the house in the bottle, and this time it's on tap at the bar. Dark brown with a tan lac head. Moderate to high hops for good balance. 3 Stars this time.

Fantasy Football and New Belgium Frambozen

I made the playoffs in one of my leagues, and I'm sitting here with 3 players left: Kurt Warner, Crabtree, and Weaver, RB for Philly. My boy Alan has Antonio Gates playing right now and after that only the Cardinals defense. I'm just holding my breath all game while watching the Dallas-San Diego game. I win this I go to our leagues final. Right now I'm up by 5. Just need Gates to have a quiet day and it's pretty much wrapped up.

I went ahead and ate the tickets to the Texans game today. Just too depressed to dragass all the way out to the stadium, especially when I had to keep the baby with me. And wouldn't you know it the Texans blowout the Seahawks. Actually had some measure of aggression. Oh well.

New Belgium Frambozen
Picked this up the other day at the massive Specs at Jones and 290. I'm drinking it in my champagne flute although the beers says it's a raspberry brown ale, not some sort of super Belgium bottle conditioned beer. Nose is malty, toasty, and strong raspberry. Brownish-Ruby colored beer has actually has a nice blend of brown ale and raspberry. Low carbo, nice raspberry all the way through, but backed up by some earthy malty brown ale character. I prefer this much more than the pureblood framboise. High 3 Star. Man this stuff is just plain awesome. I'm drinking it down big time. New Belgium is coming out with hit after hit like Master P in the late 90s.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rumming it up

Well I'm looking at expanding my paradigm into rum, and why not start 'em out with whatever the hell we have in the house. The wife is out of town in Canada and if she doesn't come back with some beer reviews, I'll know she's stepping out on me with some other dudes.

Beer Log: Right now

State: Sitting by the fireplace, listening to Toucher and Rich Podcasts.

First off, a few hours ago we hit Baker's Street Pub in Cinco Ranch. Very good Smithwicks. Funny how laying off beer will make even English ales taste malty.

First off, you gotta wonder why not just say it has "coconut" in the rum rather than coconut flavor? Anyway, this rum looks just like water save some increase in viscosity and lots of little legs. Nose has a nice strong coconut and syrupness to it, no alcohol. The first sip I get the taste of simple sugar, with coconut "flavor" all the way through it. No real alcohol burn to go along with all those legs. The second sip is just like the first, with maybe some alcohol burn in your tongue. Goes down very very smoothly, and hardly has any alcohol taste at all. Talk about great for getting your girl in college drunk. Amazing. 3 barrels out of 5.

Ron Maarten Virgin Island Superior Golden Rum

Seems like rum-folk have NO problem putting up very long names. This one looks like apple juice in the bottle. First sniff gives me a strong apple nose, followed by a chill that made it all the to my spine. I'm getting LOTS of alcohol burn in this sniff. The last one I could probably breath in a respirator. This stuff is working on your nose hairs. Taste is a strong strong alcohol burn. On this first sip, I don't think any of it even went down my throat in liquid form. I more or less breathed it in than drank it down. I had a lot of trouble picking out much of any flavor. I guess 80 Proof stuff will do that to you. A stronger sip this time gets me a touch of pepper, not unlike gin. 10 seconds later and my body still has that warmth shiver thing going on. Feels like I'm in the middle of Russia with some strong vodka. If someone told me this was gin, I'd probably believe them. If you are trying to prove your manhood at the party, shoot this stuff straight. Good luck getting your girl in college to drink this stuff. She'll smell it a mile away and run off to the football team. 2 out of 5 barrels.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

BeerBrotha Sports Review: Two Rows Holiday Spice

Well, this weekend was decorated with bullsh*t. First my main man and DTSA Affiliate Tiger Woods is sleeping with more white women than Lance Steel. The kicker is he's married to one at the same time. I mean come on. What ever happened to just paying the money to hush these women up. And how about you itznay the whole affair and just have the little random one-nighters. And then he goes and leaves voicemails to his mistress, using his real name, etc.

He didn't even go to his own tourney because his wife put the NORD back in Nordegren and messed up his face. These Swedish/Norweigan folk seem pretty nice with decent beer, but that Viking blood is very strong. And ol' girl is a PURE BLOOD. Kinda like that West African warrior blood with really dark skinned black folk: Chiek Kongo, Terrell Owens, DMX, Ron Killings, Kimbo Slice, you get the point. Moving on.

We made it out to Two Rows to watch local boys Univ of Houston play in East Carolina. Things were up and down all game but the Coogs couldn't put it together in the end with the last drive. Very sad. But at least I got to try the Two Rows Winter Seasonal.

State: Whatever, eating their BBQ Chicken Pizza
Beer Log: Last weekend

Holiday Spice
Dark amber beer with a strong cinammon nutmeg scent. The taste is even stronger cinnamon, all the way up and down the taste. I got some stale bread like thing going on as I searched deep into the first beer I've had in quite some time. High 2 Stars.

Later on I made it to my good friends house with the baby to watch the GA Tech game. To test my supposed allergy to alcohol, I had a nice Left Hand Fade to Black and some Pyramid Howl. I'll have to review them later as we were celebrating Tech getting the big win over the Klan Country's own Clemson Tigers on the way to the ORANGE BOWL BABY!

The Texans were on the road this past weekend against the soon-to-be Los Angeles Jaguars, and I've been so disheartened with their entertaining yet choking performances that I couldn't even watch the game. So instead the wife made the decision that a full 99 hours of DVR and a queue of literally 5 years worth of Netflix is not enough, that she went to damn entrance of the Wal-Mart for the Redbox of Transformers 2. Pretty good movie, a basic CGI and explosion orgy with a healthy amount of racism. Three of my favorite things. All we needed was for Megan Fox to pop out of that top for the brothas out there. The movie ended just in time for us to see the Texans blow it again.

Carolina won in football but UNC lost to Kentucky in Men's Ball. FAMU men's ball is like 0-10, playing a murderers row schedule once again. Damn shame. Maybe I should find something else to do on the weekends. And with the Dynamo losing in the MLS playoffs and US Open Cup, we don't have any winter soccer games to go to. All we have are Tracy McBaby and Rockets. Oh well. Maybe I should just keep working through the weekend or something.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Back on the Wagon, No Divine Reserve

Well, I'm back on the Weight Watchers wagon. For the 3 of you that have been reading this blog from Day 1, I started WW as a solidarity thing for the wife, who was trying to lose the poundage. After a few months I went from 245 pounds to 201 lbs of black man. A good year and some change later, I kinda stopped WW and just eyeballed it, which kept me around 206. For the last few months, I just let it rip, drinking all kinds of beer, eating lunch at Five Guys and Lupes, piling up the Apple Cobbler at lunch and the eggs and hash browns for breakfast. So now I'm sitting at 214 lbs butt-naked in the morning.

So I'm back on the wagon, and even training for the New Orleans Half Marathon. Hopes to run a full 'thon in October, probably domestic.

But here's what really sucks, I ONCE AGAIN HAVE NO DIVINE RESERVE THE DAY IT CAME OUT. This time, I was actually eating lunch on the road in between my engineering offices, and stole a quick trip to Specs at 529 and Barker-Cypress at about noon. They had nothing though they admitted they would have it some day. I ran up to HEB at B-C and 290 with no luck. I down some Quiznos and beat it back to Specs, no luck again. Got to get to work so I just chalked it up. The wife went to that same specs and said they had the beer at about 3:15PM, and then sold out in 15 minutes.

WHAT KIND OF ISH IS THAT? How is it that working people are able to beat-ass over to Specs JUST WHEN THE BEER COMES OFF THE TRUCK! I later learn that it's just good ol' twitter. I think twitter is just a conspiracy by law enforcement to know our whereabouts at all times, but I may have to pay attention to it for the next DR. You know what, screw that. I make enough money, I'm going for STRAIGHT BRIBERY next time. Maybe the wife will come through again. Who knows.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Beering in Ontario: Yonge Street

To continue on with my adventures in Ontario, I wake up after my nap to see it's already dark. I'm a little sick from overdoing it at BeerBistro, but who knows when I'll be back in Toronto. And there's at least two more beer spots I wanted to hit.

So I walk the lovely streets of downtown Toronto and make it to Yonge Street. On the map it looked like just another street, but in real life it's somewhere between Time Square in New York and International Blvd in Orlando with a nice dose of the Rue Royale in Paris. I couldn't believe the crush of people out partying it up. Very multicultural and very jovial. Lot's of hot Indian women, go figure. So what better to do than try some local craft beer smackdab on Yonge, and Les 3 Brasseurs (The 3 Brewers) certainly provided.

3 Brewers is a brewpub with probably the best location on the planet for a brewpub. Right on Yonge street smackdab in the thick of things. This place was packed, but I was able to get a table with big open patios to the street. Lots of dark red and whatnot, and a pretty nice placemat that goes over the process for brewing beer. Very nicely done. Doesn't hurt that they have Glam Rock on the TV. Looking forward to trying their beers along with some fries.

State: Still feeling the effects of overduing it at the BeerBistro and it's cold in July for me.
Beer Log: July 13th-ish, 2009

Blonde Ale
Slight sour nose like a belg. Clear straw color. On the first few sips, I get a medium body, banana, then notice a pleasant sourness, perhaps from some bret. 3 Stars.

Wheat Ale
Cloudy color that's a dark straw. Same nose as the blond ale. Nice orange and ester flaovor. Soft medium body and ever so slight bitter aftertaste. 3 Stars. Both this and the blonde ale tasted kinda like my yeast cake when I homebrew.

Red Ale
Dark bronze color. Bitter taste, but pretty plain otherwise. I get a light toast and cinnamon on the next few sips. Aftertaste is still bitter. Medium carbonation. 2 Stars.

Dark Ale
Black color, low offwhite head. Chocolate taste with bitter coffee making a cameo. Moderate carbonation and good drinkability. 3 Stars.

Afterward, I dragged-ass over to Volo, the beer version of an eclectic coffee house. Cool house music and the waitress really knew her beer. I originally wanted to run into another Toronto beer blogger, but he had to do some stuff for his planned wedding, poor bastard. Damn he spends waaaaaaay more time on his blog than I do. Anyway, I only had enough points to get one flight of beers from Ontario. Don't worry, I walked everywhere I went, including back at the hotel.

Publican House Ale (Petersburg, ON)
Lighter/blonde ale flaovr. Kinda toasty/hop going on. Malt doesn't quite make it out of this beer. Moderate body and dry. Low-medium carbonation. High 2 Stars.

Corporal Punishment (Scotch Irish Brewing Company from Ottawa, Ontario)
Surprisingly strong chocolate/roast nose on an amber colored beer. First taste: you don't get much up at the front of the tongue, but plenty of chocolate in the back and aftertaste. Hop bitterness coming out in the aftertaste after a few more sips. Not sure what they're trying to do here with that combo of color and taste, but I wouldn't call it punishingly bitter. 3 Stars.

Dark copper color with a estery and apple smell. Matly sweet and smooth. Great flavor Complex sweetness and probably some sugar. High 3 Star. Maybe someone can help me find the link for this brewery, all I have written down is "Quad". Holla.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Beerbrotha Sports Review: Bad Weekend to Stop Drinking

So I've decided to put beer and wine and whatnot on hold for a while until this cough is cleared up. It's sad because we even had a nice visit to Yardhouse in the CityCentre area and I could barely make it through half a glass of Chardon before I'm coughing up my kidneys. I got myself checked out and it's not Swine Flu or strep. My doctor thinks it's an allergy of some kind why I haven't been able to kick this cough.

So I've been drinking something called "fre" this alcohol free wine. I bought the "Merlot" and the "Chardonnay". The Merlot was basically bitter grape juice without the alcohol kick to make it worth it. It's like you expected it, and it didn't come through. How about a formal review of the "Chardonnay"

Beer Log: Right now

State: Ticked off with my football teams.

It's spelled lowercase so it looks hip and trendy. Nose is like white grape juice and so is the color. Tastes rather fruity, like raspberry and grapes.


Well I feel better now. This stuff ain't half bad. No legs obviously b/c of no alcohol, but it's just some overpriced grape juice that's not as sweet. Even has a pinch of carbonation.

Moving on...
So with the sports review, FAMU was not in action as we missed the D1 FCS playoffs, so our conference's hopes lied with South Carolina State, the team that beat FAMU a few weeks ago and basically ran away with the MEAC title. SCSU got the screw job and although they were undefeated in D1 FCS play (granted it was all Negro League teams), they had to go to Appalachian State. Again, I could give two craps about SCSU, but in this case we needed them to win this game, big time. Reason being, our conference commissioner is a strong advocate for reinstating segregation, and forcing the MEAC champion to forgo the playoffs to play the SWAC Champion for the Aunt Bessie May's Chitlins and Watermelon Black College Championship game. In case you haven't figured it out, I went FAMU, a Historically Black College, and am a huge supporter of HBCUs.

As you can guess I'm a booster at FAMU and have strongly believed that all Historically Black Colleges...

You gotta wonder what the 12 black students that attended UGA (including my wife) think about UGA's slave owner diddies that is their fight song and whatnot. But I digress.

...all HBCU's should strive to be the best in all categories against all comers. That includes sports. If you play the sport, you should try to be the best in your Division. Our leaving the playoffs because our conference hasn't won a first round game in 10 years is not a good reason to just up and quit for what we already know is a poorly attended Black National Championship game. Focus on building up our programs to be National powers, don't take a step back.

Well GA Tech (my grad school) is down by 14 right now although we're the highest ranked 1 loss team in the country. We just gotta get by Univ of Georgia. Damn I hate the Dawgs. We're still smarting over the Texans blowing it against the Titans. We've got the Colts tomorrow and hopefully we can turn things around against them.
And I'm just getting plain ti'ied of of this Tim Tebow talk. Seems like a nice guy, maybe a little effeminate, but my irritation comes from the foolishness from the media. What is it about him and Brett Favre that makes grown men...
Alright enough of this. I plan on getting back on the sauce some time around Christmas. So I'll just be emptying out the old notebook and getting ready for travel to the Maryland and New York during the holidays. I plan on hitting up Lafayette right on the New Year, so hopefully I can hit Zea again. They had a great amber lager and some nice bread pudding.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

UFC 106 Beering: Athens vs. SoCal

I'm here watching the Paulo Thiago fight getting ready for the co-main events. I'm actually more fired up for the Johnson v Koscheck fight. Both fighters are black I guess, so when situations like that occur, you pull for the darker skinned one, so go Johnson. Anyway, as is my little tradition when I watch UFC's at home, I try to find some beer from the areas of the main event fighters. The best one was when I had BJ Penn (Kona) and Georges St-Pierre (Unibrou). This tradition would be great if only we could get some fighters NOT from Brazil. How much Xingu can a brotha drink?

Tito Ortiz is from Huntington Beach in Southern California. Seeing as how they probably just drink Jamba Juice in Huntington Beach, I'm going with some Stone from San Diego. Griffin is from Athens, GA, so that's Terrapin all day long. Both beers are one-time releases, so it's all even to me.

Stone 13th Anniversary
Hell of a beer baby. The bottle says we should drink this in 2009, and we are coming on the end of the year, soon. The gargoyle on the bottle is holding up a beer mug, so that's what I'll drink this one out of. My North Carolina Tarheels 2008 NCAA Basketball champions beer mug to be exact. Pours deep dark ruby colored with lacy frothy head. Smell is just like Mrs. Buttersworth without the butter. Oh yes, a richly malty beer with a strong citrusy hops to cut. Low carbonation yet not cloying. Very very smooth as well. Hmm, only 9.5% ABV... I would have guessed they would have purposefully made it 13%. Amazing amazing beer. Probably should be in a snifter, but whatever. I can see I'll need to knock back this whole 22 ouncer. I just love how drinkable this beer is. So good I may even take the the time to read all that text on the bottle. 4 out of 5 Stars.

Aw snap man, here comes Anthony Rumble Johnson. This one is gonna be "the ballz". And now Kos is coming out to Stevie Wonder.

Terrapin Side Project Volume 6 90 Shelling Scotch Ale
Try saying that three times fast. This one is straight out of Athens, GA. Home of the Georgia Dawgs, and Forrest Griffin. I poured this black colored low head beer in my snifter. Nose is strong malt, cinnamon, and some cherry liquor. Taste, is none of that, just plain. I think the Stone blew my taste buds. Kinda sucks as this Scotch ale is a one time release we bought over the summer in Atlanta. The taste is malty and spicy. It has a great smoothness with a touch of dryness. 3 Stars.

Dammit man Johnson kneed Kos while he was down. I'm hoping Kos is good to go. If not, we'll have to do it again. Now in the second round Kos is poking in the eye. This fight is jacked up. Dammit, Josh Eyepoker Koscheck got the submission. Dammit all. Rumble will be back.

Well the wife hates the Stone as she hates all the hop bombs. She did like the Terrapin. I'll need to find the cork so I can put that in the fridge for her. Ok here comes Tito, the clear winner of the beer challenge with the Stone. Although it looks like Forrest is going to win on the cards. Oh well. It think the 45 bucks I laid down for this one would have been cheaper than going to a bar, ordering food, beer, and probably the DUI ticket thanks to all the beer I had watching the FAMU game.

Celebrating FLA Classic

The DTSA has only one team playing in college, FAMU in the Florida Classic. Right now it is early 4th quarter and we are whoopin up on Bethune-Cookman 35 to nil. I've been drinking Bavaria out of the green bottle all day since FAMU's colors are orange and green.

Beer Log: Watching the game at the house, wish I was in Orlando

State: Enjoying FAMU beating up on BCU

Poured out of the green bottle into my tall pilsner glass. Clear beer with a slightly cooked straw color. Fizzy white head without much of a lasting power. Beer-veggie smell. Mod body with nice balance of hops and hints of bread. Not bad man. I would say the body is just under medium like they put some wheat in the grain bill. High carbo. Low 3 Stars. Rather enjoyable and very Heineken-like.

I guess I've got a new love for Dutch lagers after coming back from Amsterdam, where I was drinking that stuff like water.

To further celebrate, I break out the champagne flute and the Dogfish.

Dogfish Festina Peche
The nose is pretty nonexistent, but the taste is uber-sour. Made me nearly double-over the first sips. I'm not getting much peche in this amber colored beer. As I drink it up, it gets a little better, less harsh, less bitter. I'm actually getting the bread and malt. The sourness is still pretty strong, but not as shocking. No rating yet, but I am acquiring the taste.

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Moon was So Bad and Girly

I had to grab a Dogfish Palo Santo Marron. Just a terrible movie. If I were a less honorable man, I would slam this 12% ABV beer, get in my convertible, put the top down in 55 deg weather, light a cigar, turn on some DJ Screw, drive to 6000 block of Richmond, beat up a guy at Scott Gernters, grab a woman at Onyx, and probably get arrested before I could do anything too stupid. Yes the movie was THAT FEMININE.

Beerbrotha Movie Review: New Moon = FAIL

So the wife just came back from a trip to the Motherland on business. It's Date Night so we debate between the Saint Arnold Pub Crawl, and checking out a movie at Alamo Drafthouse. We're both a little tired, so Alamo it is. At first we were set to see the new Christmas Carol CGI movie and I get in my head that that movie New Moon will probably be pretty good.

Like Pokemon and The Chappelle Show, I came on this whole Twilight series very late, and just like those other two things, I figure that since it's amazingly popular it's worth a try. I was even thinking I could be drinking Blue Moon at New Moon. Get it? Not to mention the trailer had all kinds of special effects and vampire/werewolf whoop-ass. I'm thinking this will just be Underworld for a less goth crowd. And it had enough young hot half-naked men that I figured the wife may just get a fired up and we can come home and make sweet sweet love. Instead the wife is upstairs stone asleep, and I'm downstairs watching Strikeforce and drinking a bomber of Ruination straight out the bottle like a homeless man.

Well I should have skipped the beer and went straight to Everclear and Cocaine, because this was the WORST MOVIE I'VE EVER SEEN. I guess I should have noticed something was up, when my beloved "21 and up" Alamo Theatre was chock-full of 10-14 year old girls. I think I was the only son of a bitch in the whole theatre that ordered a beer. Those girls were hooting and hollering like we do at the strip club. That's not cool. Is nothing sacred?

And let's be clear, I'm not going to out-and-out dismiss a teeny-bopper chick flick b/c I'm a 29 year old 6' 2" 210 lb black man that loves watching random violence. Bring It On wasn't that bad. It had conflict-resolution, and kinda cute. I'm all over the Harry Potter. Hell, I like Grey's Anatomy (Izzy could get it).

It took all of 1 hour before there was any action at all in New Moon, and that was with the black Jamaican vampire with dreds getting jacked up by the werewolves. There was all of 15 minutes of action in a 2 hour movie. I had to sit there watching this flat-chested brooding-ass Wednesday Adam chick spending 80% of the movie crying over Cedric Diggery leaving her, or the Native American dude leaving her. It wasn't even a good love story. No flow to anything. No rhyme or reason. Just 90210 for douchebags. And what the hell was up with this Italy crap near the end? And what the hell happened to the smoking hot redhead vampire the werewolves were chasing? Can we learn more about her? What were her feelings, her needs? How could I help?

I was able to try the very nice Beck's Oktoberfest and the New Belgium 2 Deg Below. Both were fine. But in reality, I needed something with a kick to it, like heroine. And to think, sooner or later I'm going to have to see The Birth of Nation Part 2, also known as Precious.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sierra Nevada Celebration 2009 and MMA

Beer Log: Right now
State: Just put the baby in the crib, watching some Colbert to let the DVR of the World Extreme Cagefighting get recorded a little bit so I can fast forward the commercials.

This is what it's all about folks. I've got WEC live, I've got The Ultimate Fighter, I've got some Sierra Nevada seasonal beer, and the baby is asleep.

Sierra Nevada Celebration 2009
I sampled this and blogged about it almost exactly one year ago. I wasn't using the rating system, more trying to guess the hops in the beer. This movie Avatar looks like it will be badass. Anyway, I'm drinking this one in my snifter goblet. Orangish ruby color. Grassy, piney, citrusy hops nose coming off of a poofy white head. Oh snap, they got Leonard Garcia fighting Manny Gamburyan. Hell yeah. This beer is a strong hop Christmas bomb as only Sierra Nevada can make. Moderate to high carbonation to cut through the strong taste and facilitate a rather quick finish. The hops are rather grapefruity and grassy, probably Chinook again, mixed with some Cascade. Again, Sierra Nevada all day. Funny how the WEC has the most competitive fights as opposed to some of the more recent lumbering displays we've seen on the UFC. I am still a big fan of the balanced hop bombs and this one isn't it. I sense some caramel malt in there, but that's all I get, a sense. High 3 Star.

It's been a great year for me, and some great beering to go along with it. I just booked tickets to our annual trip up to the Maryland/DC area for the holidays. I'm considering making it back to Frederick, MD, which was the quaintest little town, and at Christmas time this place is right out of a movie. Not to mention a nice beer scene.

I'm going to attempt to train for the New Orleans half marathon on February 28. Should my knees and ankles hold up, I'll make plans for a marathon in Fall 2010. I've got my eye on Buenos Aires. Ratebeer.com shows that B-A has a great beer scene. Plus I want to have run three full marathons on three different continents. Let me know if you have any other suggestions for beering in South America...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Beering in Ontario: C'Est What

I knew I wasn't that much of a lightweight. Before I went to the Beerbistro for some really classy beering, I made it to the brewpub C'Est What(SAY WHAT?!?!) on Front Street in downtown Toronto.

I barely found the joint as the majority of the spot is underground. Despite the fact that the area on Front Street looks to be very popular. The interior was dark with a blue, green, and amber lighting. 35 beers on tap with 6 of their own. They had 5 beers on cask, and 3 on nitro. That's what I'm screaming.

Beer Log: Hanging in Toronto
State: Thirsty, dry throat

I started out with some samplers of the brewpub's own stuff, and a couple of full pints.

Al's Cask Ale
Straw colored with a muffiny nose. The beer is very smooth on the mouthfeel with a hoppy aftertaste. Low carbonation as is normal with cask beers. The taste has a light grass and bread thing, with a 60 second bitterness in the aftertaste. I'll give this a 2 Star on the plainess of it all.

Homegrown Hemp Ale
I saw this one all over interwebs when I was looking up beers to try in Toronto. The name says it all, this beer has some hemp in there. Doubtful you'll get high or anything, but just to try: Straw colored beer with a white head. Very light veggie nose. The taste is a little spicy with light pilsner character to it. The carbonation is low again yet it leaves my mouth feeling slightly sticky. Not sticky-icky-icky ooh-wee. But just a little sticky. The body is medium and smooth like a wheat beer. 3 Stars.

Not feeling to blitzed I burned through the sampler of the

Caraway Rye Beer

Thick mouthfeel you notice first, then it leaves you dry. I got a low spice and malt. 2 Stars as the last few sips are kinda sour.

At this point I wrote this passage in my notebook
"My palette is too American for this Canadian Beer. Ironically this beer would be fantastic in Texas with these English styles and the abundance of pilsner." I figure the irony comes from the fact that it's usually cold as all get out in Canada, and they would be well served with warming stouts and high gravity stuff. Anyway, time for another three beer sampler, but I'm going darker with the nitro beers.

Coffee Porter
I just need some stronger flavors here. Low sour and medium carbonation. A good mix of chocolate and coffee. The beer has a nice softness to it. 3 Stars.

Hazelnut Chocolate Ale
Nose is strong cocoa powder. Soft bitterness sneaking into a strong chocolate flavor. Very smooth and surprisingly dry. 3 Stars.

Old Town Brown Ale
Medium cinnamon and spice, as well as a little gritty on the tongue. Smooth again but loacking in flavor after the last two. Should've got this one first. No rating.

Excuse me... had to put the baby in her crib and grab a Lagunitas Brown Sugga, damn thats good beer. Like an idiot, I didn't think there was any affect with those samplers, so I few full pints of some other Canadian craft beer wouldn't hurt.

St. Ambroise Pale Ale
The only St Amb I've had was their Apricot Ale, which was on a dusty shelf at a beer store in Lafayette, LA. Then I held on to it for nearly a year before drinking it. Needless to say it was pretty terrible with a pinch of apricot. Anyway, the pale ale was copper/amber color, with a reddish white head. Rather malty nose. The taste is a light caram-malt and spice, with a pinch of grassy hops in the back of the tongue. Basically a Low 3 Star American Blonde ale.

My kingdom for a bock. Cinnamon, malt, bread nose on a dark ruby colored beer. Low tan head. Fruity flavor (like sweet cherries) right up front, that seems almost peachy/apricoty on the second sip. Low carbonation. A few more sips and I get the light bread and notice the moderate body, followed by a very light hoppy aftertaste. 3 Stars. Feeling this one for sure.

Some random rock due came in looking like 140 pound versions of the Undertaker and I asked the waitress for her favorite beer. Although I'd rather not try a pilsner at this late in the game, why not? Clear, straw and a touch of sourness on the nose. Good hops and low malt. Light-medium odies. GOes down really easy. 2 Stars.

Overall, C'Est What was pretty nice. The beer was okay, but is probably the balls for the Canadian pallete. Just love the selection

Sunday, November 15, 2009

BeerBrotha Sports Review

It turns out that some of my most popular posts are when all my sports teams lose and I'm sitting here bypassing beer for hard liquor.

Well this weekend is no exception. On Friday night I find a babysitter and dragass over to Lucky's Pub for some good beering and for their Houston Dynamo game watching party. This place has about 250 beers available, maybe 30 on tap. Good prices on pitchers of beer, plenty of craft beer from all over. I was drinking only Texas beers but the last pitcher we got was of Hoegaarden. BIG MISTAKE. At that point, the Dynamo let those pretty boys on the LA Galaxy score a goal. Then later on they got a penalty kick. This loss knocked us out of the playoffs, and the CONCACAF. Painful man.
Georgia Tech basically raped Duke to take home the ACC Coastal title, good stuff therre. The Perfect Option is killin' em out there. I finally got the baby asleep (wife is out of town) and I put my FAMU football game on the online radio. FAMU was ranked at 20th in the D1 FCS with the magic number at say 16 to get into the playoffs. I dose off as we are down 6-0 to sorry Hampton. (The beer from Lucky's messed me up, especially since the baby wouldn't let me sleep more than 3 hours).
I manage to wake up when the radio is already playing light airy favorites of the 70s. I look up the score we got SHUT OUT 25 to ZERO against Hampton, at 5 loss squad. So much for the playoffs.
Houston was on bye week and Carolina got the big win, but like an idiot I didn't update my fantasy squads, so I was stuck with Jay "5 times" Cutler at QB, and no kicker. So I'm on track to lose in both my leagues.
Tiger Woods won but screw him, it's football season. I couldn't even muster the strength to watch any NFL football today. Just down in the dumps, again on the sports scene. I was pulling for Pacquiao and that worked out well, but Brandon Vera dropped the decision to Randy "Lay-and-pray" Couture. Hate when that happens.
I had myself a Pyramid Juggernaut, Real Ale Coffee Porter, and some Fat Tire, and it all tasted terrible. You know it's bad now.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Roxy Rolles

Magic Hat has been calling me once again. I've been taking a break from beering, working out, everything, while I heal up a bit from being sick last week. I've been on a Menage wine for a couple days now and no real affect, so let's ease into the beering shall we. The wife picked up this Magic Hat's Autumn seasonal a few weeks ago and I'm just now getting to it.

Roxy Rolles

Seeing as how the magicians adhere to NO style whatsoever, I'll just use my Harry Potter Butterbeer pint glass. Nose is a cinnamon sugar cookie with a touch of honey. Dark ruby colored beer with a thick tan head. Beer is surprisingly bitter all over the place. Has a nice sweetness right up front that does not last long. The more I drink it I get some burnt grain thing going on, nothing like the smell of the beer, as is Magic Hat's M.O. 2 Stars already on that nasty bitterness. Not what I'm looking for there. The only thing keeping it from being 1 Star is the badass label. Actually, the more I drink it the more the bitterness fades into a steely kind of malt. Like licking some caramel off of a Ginsu knife. That hot. Low 3 Star.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Beering in Ontario: Toronto

Absurdly late I know.

Beer Log: July 2009

So I got into Toronto around 10PM at the Strathacona hotel. Lovely hotel. Kind of one of the classic old style hotels in downtown that everybody likes so much. Those hotels are like the best place for a tourist visit to a new city, yet it's cheap enough for a one night stand.

The next day I have a nice breakfast and take a very long run along the harbor on Lake Ontario. So long in fact that I was sore for days. But it was gorgeous run. Cool architecture on your right, and a non-Hurricane producing body of water on your left. Anyway, I clean up and whatdoyaknow, it's Beer 30.

I decide to walk it out and make the 0.7 KM trek up to the Beer Bistro for lunch and *gasp* beer. Kinda sucks I gotta roll on the solo, but whatever. I've traveled by myself a lot, but it's too early for me to get all chatty at the bar, which is what I normally do. I get there and this place is very classy. This is what we need, great beer and a lot of class. I counted about 20 beers on tap, tons of bottles, and about 30 rare find/cellar beers. The snob in me was very satisfied. I actually opt to sit outside. It's like 74 deg, sunny, perfect.

The only and the Don mean ONLY time I'm ordered Saison right out of the gate is when I'm feeling like I'm big money. This one had lots of fruit, banana and some sourness on the smell. The color is tinged gold with a white head (I'm guessing the blackness of the oats didn't make it). The taste starts off with banana and ends wheaty. The bitter aftertaste develops then dissipates. It's a rather dry beer with moderate carbonation. Low 3 Star.

Moving to something a little more to my liking. This beer has a banana and vegetal nose. Not sure how bananas mixed with green beans would smell, but something like that. Cloudy gold with a lasting thin white head. Moderate body with a good witbier taste, but it doesn't do much for me. Just too dry again. Low 3 Star. Didn't help that my last drops were watery.

Somewhere in here, I got the mussels with french fries. Time to turn up the juice with a hoppy beer. Strong malt and hop nose. The taste is a very strong grassy hop with a low malt. Somewhat unbalanced toward the hops. Low carbonation and very smooth (probably some wheat in there). Hoppiest beer I've had in the province thus far. Guess I forgot the ranking.

OK, when the mussels and fries made it out here, I had to REALLY amp it up with one of their rare find beers. They had this one in the cellar and it was so good I drank the whole bottle. I think it was 750 ml, 11.5% ABV.

I'm a big fan of having champagne with mussels, but word is that this beer is the perfect substitute for champagne. Turns out BeerAdvocate says this beer is in the Biere de Champagne style. I didn't know anyone was actually trying to make a beer like this.

Gold color, lots of head, very expensive. YES YES YES, spicy flavor, high carbonation, perfect for my Belgian White Mussels. The waitress has this bottle in an ice bucket on the side of the table, and she came back and refilled my champagne flute for me. Sweet. Acid, apple, and grape flavor notes throughout. A perfect foil. 5 Stars for sure.

This is what we need. Some fantastic high end beer, the perfect answer to the foolishness you see for 99 Cents for a 6 pack. Fast forward to September 2009 and we have a bottle of DeuS in our house now that we bought from a wine shop in Houston. Fantastic.

So good infact I downed the whole bottle. I make it back to the hotel, send a couple of notes, and consequently pass out for about 5 hours.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Beering in Bavaria: Fussen

So after a couple days of taking a few years off of our lives acting a fool at Oktoberfest, we decide to take a little excursion to the countryside. Well, only two of us. The other guys were not feeling the 2 hour train ride out to Fussen, but that castle was too bad ass for us to miss, so we split up 2 back at the Weisn and 2 going to Fussen at the foot of the German Alps.

The train ride was pretty nice, and went by fast. It helped that we met a couple of backpackers. I notice a couple of local beer houses with brands I've never heard of before while on the train: AWESOME!! We switched trains to a less attractive train for the last 45 minutes. I couldn't help but notice that way out in the countryside, the German teenagers dressed like they were straight out of the BET Awards. I'm talkin' baggy coats, baggy jeans, and they all had New York Yankees or Mets baseball hats, all turned to the back. Hilarious! The school age children that got on the train were wearing at least the baseball hats. Couldn't spell Mets if I spotted them the M and the E. Hip Hop has taken over the world's youth. Kinda odd that the only people that live the hip hop lifestyle past age 22 are black people. Every other ethnic group wises up. ANYWAY, enough race relations.

I'm not gonna bore you with endless pictures of the Neushwanstein Castle and whatnot. But I will say that I've fiction stories of a rich noble trying to model a landscape or an area like a painting. Indeed, there isn't a major city that doesn't have city planners that try to make their downtown areas look extremely picturesque. Until I made it to Fussen, I thought that Gaudi did the best job of it, just outside of Barcelona. However, Ludwig II's boys truly captured the whole life inside a painting. The Castle inspired stories like Sleeping Beauty, but at every angle, there is a fantastic marriage of nature and architecture. Combined with the view on the bridge which has the lakes in the background, or from the other side with the Alps in the background. I'm talking about every blade of grass, every leaf on the ground, even the town with it's shops and old style hotels that were surely added later, all fit perfectly. The castle itself was designed by a painter, and it truly shows. Rembrandt would be jealous. Ok ok, let's beer it up.

After hanging out all day, we go to the aptly named Cafe Bistro Relax in Fussen. Nice relaxing atmosphere with a SMOKING HOT waitress. Moving on. Most of their beers are by . Allgaeuer in Kempten, Germany, about 50km Northwest of Fussen.

Furstabt Weizen by Allgauer
Nose is yeasty and orange. Hazy with a big poofy head. Great orange and banana at first, then empties to a metallic coin thing. Gets dry and chalky at the end. Medium body. 2 Star.

After some beer trading (everyone else liked that Furstabt), I got my hands on the Urtyp Export.

Urtyp Export
Typically I'm not a fan of Dortmunder Exports. Nice clear straw color. Taste has a nice strong hoppiness with a high carbo. Good basic beer with some power to it. 3 Star. Probably the best Export I've had.

Teutsch Pils
Yeasty again. Brilliantly clear. The taste was okay for a pils, but a little funky. 2 Stars.

Not the best I've had with all the Oktoberfest beer, but an excellent excursion. We made it back to the train station in Munich pretty late and things were a little off. Lots of cops and whatnot around. Anyway, I was able to score a couple nice bock beers out of the bottle at the train station. It was the best beer I had the whole trip and I did not write it down. LOST OPPORTUNITY.

That was the end of the trip. We hung out at the bar at the hotel with the old crew telling stories and talking smack with the other Westerners. From there it was onward to New York. But I was waaaaaaay too alcoholed out for any Brooklyn Beer. The beauty is that they didn't have any real selection anyway. We were all basically sick and on detox for a good week after the trip. Just a great time overall.

Best beer: Paulaner Oktoberfest

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Just for the Record

Flying Dog Double Dog is a 5 Star beer. Fantastic out of the 7 ounce bottle from the variety pack.

That is all.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Beering in Tulsa

I'm still awaiting some pics from Oktoberfest to wrap up those posts, but whatever. This weekend I was fortunate enough to participate in a couple of workshops for NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers). Sadly it was on my favorite holiday (Halloween), but why not mix it up a little and spend All Hollow's Eve in Oklahoma. But seriously, I am really going to have to have a heart-to-heart with the NSBE leadership, they love having all these conferences on holiday weekends: Halloween, Memorial Day, MLK Day, Spring Break. I wouldn't be surprised if the next one was on Superbowl night.

Anyway, I looked forward to doing some new beering out in Oklahoma, a place I'd never been before. Friday night NSBE set us up at this sophisticated like dive bar called Lola's. The bar was downtown in the Brady District. It was all of 10 miles from our hotel and took us about 30 minutes to get there with all the construction blocking off so many of the onramps to the freeway. Anyway, the Brady District is a funky rustic looking couple of blocks with a few dives. Very historic looking. My kinda place.

I had some Dewars scotch and just couldn't get it down, so I switched to beer and fortunately they had DNR on tap.

DNR (Do Not Resucitate) is brewed in Oklahoma City. Although the bar was a little busy, the bartender let me sample it, and told me a little about it's roots in Oklahoma. The taste had a nice brown sugar sweetness, fruitiness, and some cinnamon spice, though not much of a scent. The mouthfeel was medium bodied with a nice dryness. The slight sourness and bret bacteria effect told me it was definetly a Belgian, and I pegged it as a Belgian Dubbel, bottle conditioned, but a little low on the carbonation. And I had no hint of the 10% ABV, as I had about 3 of them.

In fact, the only things that clued me in to the high alcohol content was my dancing to crappy Autotune music, a slight hangover the next morning, and then the guy at Joe Mamma's telling me the actual ABV. 3 Stars. PS: Turns out this is a Belgian Golden Ale. But with that dark ruby color and tan head, they may want to consider calling it a Belgian Dark Ale or even a Belg Red Ale.

The next night (Saturday) most people were worn out after the late night and the long day at the conference, so I went with one of my colleagues to scare up some food and brews and check out the OK State game. There was not much promise on 71st street where we were staying, so I found a way onto the freeway and we hit downtown again. But this time we asked around as I was looking for McNellies. We made our way to another rustic looking cluster of bars downtown circa 2nd & Elgin, and found McNellies and Joe Momma's.

First we hit McNellies and noticed the lack of large screen TVs. Unless I'm in a small hotel room in a small country town (like I am right now), I just can't watching football on TVs like that. So we vowed to come back and hit Joe Momma's for some pizza.

You want talk about a kick ass pizza place. The Mamma's Bread was enough for a meal, the hot wings were very well done, and the BBQ Pork pizza was excellent. But they also had the lineup of Marshall Beer all on tap. It helped that the waiter was a real cool dude and really knew his beer. We ended up trying them all.

I started out with the Marshall Old Pavilion Pilsner and found it HEAVY on the saaz and noble hops. Great high carbo but maybe a little too American for the style. Low 3 Star. The waiter brought us the samples of their Atlas IPA and Pub Ale. The Pub Ale had a lot fruitiness too it with a touch of sour. But it never really came together well for me.

The waiter was big on the IPA claiming the brewer tried to make it a quintessential style of IPA. I asked if that meant American or English, but it turned out to be right in the middle on the hop strength. I would lean it toward a strong English IPA, as I think of Widmer's Broken Halo as a base level American IPA. I actually say the Pilsner was a little more hoppy. Otherwise it was PERFECTLY balanced and had the just right amount of malt, and a strong enough carbonation to get that flavor right back off your tongue. 3 Stars.

But our favorite was Marshall's Sundown Wheat. Brewed with orange rinds and whatnot, it had a fantastic medium body and strong orange flavor that even peaked through the hot wings. There was a touch of some coriander but it was much heavier on the orange. Just had a great... poofiness to it. We both ordered more of Sundown. 4 Stars.

Joe Momma's had a local swing band playing as well and I love that kind of stuff. I loved their old school pizza place ambiance with maybe 47" screen TVs. OK State was blowing it against Texas so we eventually broke out as the Swing Band was started to rev up and we just overate.

No energy to sit around at McNellies and I felt bad as I had my colleagues rental car. He's not as married as I am, so at about 10 PM is figured to get the car back to him. I had half a mind of to steer everyone to McN's should we all go back out again, but EVERYONE clocked out. Just no energy to hit the streets.

For a while back in the day, Tulsa was a big deal in the Oil & Gas world, though much of that is now in Dallas and Houston. But, like Houston is now, people from the area tell me how there used to be strip clubs on every corner. Turns out you also cannot store a beer over like 3.2 ABV in a fridge, it has to stay at room temp in the liquor store, or it has to be on draft, something like that. Though in Texas we just keep you from making decent money.

Anyway, as a wrap up, nice little town. Good people, very proud of their beer. A few good hangout spots. We just gotta get that Black Wall Street back up, and we're good to go.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A little Heineken, prepping for Tulsa

I'm sitting here in the Prez Club of Continental enjoying some "complimentary" Heineken. I'm supposed to be prepping for a couple of workshops at which I'll be speaking tomorrow on the Energy sector. The first one is pure energy technology with only myself as the speaker, right up my ally. The second one is a panel discussion with high level Oil & Gas Execs. At first I was told that it did not really have to be execs, and NSBE told me so late about the panel that I doubted in this capital crunch world we live in that I could scare up one of our company execs to fly out to Tulsa for this thing, so I volunteered myself. As long as they keep it technical, I'll run those other dudes out of the room. If they delve into Professional development and hiring, then I'm gonna look like Mos Def when he's a panelist on Real Time with Bill Maher.

But enough of this, first off I notice that the Heineken that I'm drinking on draft is pretty nice, and BONE CHILLING COLD. I've got beer ice floating in this beer. Can't think of the last time that happened since I was in college and we were trying to cool down the Miller Lite quickfastandinahurry. Either way, after my Amsterdamming, this is fantastic on draft.

Sadly I'm still too low on the totem pole to get the upgrade to first class, which means I'll just soak up some ethanol while I'm in the club.

I've never been to Tulsa or Oklahoma and I'm not renting a car, but somehow I'm going to find my way to downtown for a little McNellies. I'm really trying to track down this beer called "Choc" beer. Shouldn't be a problem.

What else, oh the Dynamo tied the Sounders in the first leg of our two game aggregate in the MLS playoffs. We got tickets down front at the midline for the second leg here in Houston. I have to admit that I'm really really jealous of Seattle's atmosphere for soccer games. They're selling out every game in Qwest (of course they rope off the upper levels), the crowd is fired up with a little mini parade, and they don't have football yard markers and whatnot all over their soccer field. The Dynamo is the best franchise in the league and we're playing in a below average college stadium, and despite all the success and Mexican and Central American population in the city, we can't get a sellout save playoff games and whatnot. Anyway, I started to do this thing where whenever the Dynamo scored I would drink the St. Arnold's Christmas and whenever Seattle scored, I would drink Pyramid Juggernaut Red Ale. Neither scored, so I split the difference with some Shiner Holiday Cheer.

If you haven't figured this out by now, this post is just allowing me to kill some time until the beer gives me that funny feeling and I can start prepping for my presentations tomorrow. Also, I need to be ready for the Strikeforce CBS show next weekend as the main event is Fedor vs. (my boy) Grimm Rogers. Brett Rogers is from St. Paul Minnesota, so I'll probably pick up a variety pack from Summit. Fedor is from St. Petersburg Russia so I'm thinking I can find some Baltika. Otherwise, I'll have to cop some Russian Imperial Stout from an American brewery and walk away.

Will be wrapping up my adventures in Bavaria and Toronto. No other travel on my until Christmas time, which may find us in New York City. We'll have to see. Holla.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Prepping for Dynamo Game: Orange Honey Ale

I'm halfway through a bomber of Somer Orange Honey Ale by Rogue. This beer clocks in pretty light and airy. I do get some orange and a pinch of honey sweetness that I would probably miss if "Honey" was not in the name of the beer. It has some pepper to it (a new flavor I've been detecting these days). Light hops and some body. Low 3 Star for what I gather is or should be a summer seasonal. I imagine ol' girl on the cover doing the black power fist is Somer. Nothing like doing a beer brewed for a woman. Men just love it as it combines two of our most favorite things, beer... and beer brewing.

Dynamo are in the playoffs against the durn Seattle "Already the most popular team" Sounders. The MLS has decided they hate the Dynamo as we are ALWAYS on the road, and this game is no exception. Hopefully we can get a big lead in the aggregate and take it to those chumps here in Houston. We gotta just jump on 'em right now. Of course in an attempt to mix things up, I bought some St Arnolds for Houston, and Widmer for what I thought was Seattle. Only to find out that Widmer is from Portland, OR. So I will be drinking Pyramid Juggernaut versus St. Arnold Christmas for the game tonight. Not sure how I'll drink it up, maybe pour a beer for every team's shot on goal. We'll see.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Beering in Bavaria: Oktoberfest Day 1

I'm sitting here with a glass of the new Shiner Holiday Cheer, enjoying the peaches and maltiness of it all, while remembering Oktoberfest. Combined with Amsterdam, this trip actually made me open a book to consult with my mentor whose word I had not read in a few years, "Lord Henry Wotton". If you don't know who this character is or the book to which I am referring: DON'T TRY TO FIND OUT.

The madness and frivolity and lust of it all is something you just don't get in America, EVER! And we totally let it rip. No hinges whatsoever. I just have to shake my head at how crazy it was. And then to flip the script and go the foot of the German Alps, tasting some local beer and meeting random backpackers. It doesn't get much better than that.

So the first night we get to the festival it's already night time. People are very social with us and my friend (also black) noticed that we are getting some serious eyeing from the ladies, like as soon as the plane landed in Munich. Strange people these Bavarians. Usually when I travel to a place where I'm the only brotha within a 50 mile radius (Egypt, Northern Ontario, Boston) there's maybe some slight curiosity from the kids or people look at me like I'm a thug, so a noticeable rise in estrogen level on the trains and tents was a welcome change. But I digress.

The first tent we walk into is Lowenbrau. Now if you go to all the traveler websites and whatnot, they say you have to get to the fest very early to grab a seat. Well we had NO TROUBLE getting a seat outside, so we could at least get some food and our first beer. After that, you just kinda Debo your way onto a table. Those people online have no clue what's going on.

The Lowenbrau was fantastic, great maltiness and very fresh. The first beer. This probably one of the last videos I'll put up, and switch to pictures for the rest of these reviews. You'll have to pardon my voice, it gets a little weird sounding when I get fired up.

Afterward, we made our way to Hacker-Pschorr's tent. The beer was probably the lowest on my list of the four, High 2 Star. But the tent was AWESOME! We actually got into the thick of things on that one, right in the middle of the tent. I'm sure those pictures are around here somewhere. Anyway, I'm talking I had about 4 liters total. Dudes were falling off the tables, girls were just fired up, singing everywhere. Somehow we ended up hanging out with some English dudes and some random women in the traditional gear for most of that time. Oh yeah, while we were sitting on the outside of the Pschorr tent, we were talking smack with some German dudes, and at some point the N-word came out. But then again, they were complimenting me and on what they I guess thought my penis size was. We didn't know whether to punch them, but in reality we couldn't stop laughing as we were on mass #3. But it did make me think of Chris Rock (nsfw).

We still laugh about that one, and probably will for some time. At some point we left and made our way to the hotel to pass out before another full day of Oktoberfesting.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Excellent Weekend of Beering

I'm sitting here on a Sunday night enjoying a nice Fat Tire straight out of the bottle while watching Alton Brown cook with beer and wine on Good Eats. I would say it doesn't get much better than this if it weren't for having to go to work tomorrow and bust ass. But we gotta GET THAT OIL!

This was a pretty nice weekend with a Friday night of hanging out with the boys at the ol' Flying Saucer. A few friends of mine took their PE Licensing exam that day, so they're good to go. I know we did some serious bar hopping after I took the exam, and actually took it pretty easy when I passed the exam (seeing as how we're all Professional now). I didn't really feel like writing, but had an EXCELLENT Flying Dog Double Dog. Imperial style ale, with a fantastic strong hop and syrup-caramel malt. The carbo cut it just right for a 4 star beer. Before that, I managed to take down a very nice Bear Republic Late Harvest. Fantastic maltiness with a hint of roast and hop. Kinda like a nice sweet muffin or something. Probably the best Late Harvest beer I've had before, assuming we want to call LH it's own style. High 3 Stars.

Afterward, we took the classiness up a notch and made our way to Downing Street Pub, the absolute best cigar bar in Houston with a great selection of beer. On a Friday evening there were still some tables available (always a seat somewhere), so I grabbed my Romeo y Julieta and ordered up a Chimay Blue. I've had Chimay White with a cigar at this spot and it wasn't quite right. But this time the Blue managed some great staying power against the cigar flavor. Gave me that great fruitiness, alcs, and a hint of sour the entire time. I got a Chimay Red as well and it just didn't stand up at all. Oh well.

We finished things off at the Gingerman where I just drank water and talked smack, though I saw PLENTY of beer on the chalkboard I'd never heard of before. Awesome.

The beer scene in Houston is ratcheting up, as they are now having beer events at wine spots, hotels, and steakhouses. Fantastic. We're getting there, just need to get some brewpubs going and we're in there.

Saturday night we tapped the birthday beer for the wife. It was not carbonated yet so I forced it and served around. Things were going great. A few friends came over for the UFC fight, an event which I called "Dontoberfest". Too bad that I missed that the U of Houston homecoming was that same day, or I would have had my party sometime later and gone to the game. Or at least tailgated.

Today the Texans won despite their best efforts to lose the game. Had a nice IPA at the stadium while talking smack to the Niners fans. Actually, I didn't have to talk smack, they were losing the entire time. Just a fun time, but we cut it short. Just in time to get the phone calls that Monday is going to be a very busy day at the office. Maybe should crack open a bomber tonight.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

New Rule: No Beer While Swine Fluing???

So I'm at the office today like any good Engineer and my friend shoots me an email about the difference in the symptoms between having the Swine Flu (or the flu) and having a Cold.

What's bad is that I had da Swine the SAME DAY Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #9 came out this past September. And all of two weeks before I was supposed to go to Europe for Oktoberfest.

While I was working at the office that day, I was doing just fine in our morning meeting. At 8AM I went to the rest and thought my SOUL just left my body. Kinda like if you have a stomach virus one day, and the next day your body is just plain out of nutrients. Then the coughing comes, and I keep coughing and coughing. All of 30 minutes later my heart is pounding through the roof and I started FREEZING. I ask the boss to leave and he agrees looking at me like I'm about to keel over. I barely drag ass to the car, get in, and TURN THE HEAT ALL THE WAY UP. That helps. Remember, it's a good 85 degrees outside at the time. Somehow I manage enough energy to make it to the Specs and HEB to look for Divine Reserve. Finding none, I make it home, chug some Dayquil, and lay on the couch and sweat it out.

What's bad is that Dayquil set me straight on the symptoms, and I even made it to this Happy Hour that I called for the FAMU game. I don't drink any beer and everyone thinks I must be an impostor.

After a night of Nyquil and a morning of Dayquil, I try a beer that next night. The coughing was UNREAL. My body reacted like beer was made of Affleck spooge. Pure rejection. I don't know if it was the carbonation, the alcohol, the hops, the evil, I could not handle ANY beer. My SPINE was in a lot of pain.

So like a real man, after two days Quil-ing my ass off, I'm still a little out of sorts, but doing well enough to hit the Texans game. At the tailgate I start drinking for my Tailgating Beer series, and again the coughs hit me and hit me hard again. I had NOTHING to stop it. No Halls, no dayquil. I could catch my breath enough to pray. I just kept coughing.

Reading the symptoms of Swine Flu in that email, I now know I certainly had the ish. And for a couple days, it kicked my ass. Luckily the wife and baby did not get sick, and I healed up in time to where I could consume many litres of beer at Amsterdam and Oktoberfest with no affect other than nearly ruining my marriage.

But here's the rub, BEER WORKS GREAT WITH A COLD! Catching a cold sucks, but it actually has some pluses.

First I can take my favorite medicine, Nyquil. Taking it with some alcoholic beverage is even better. Rum works great, beer is just fine, and you want to talk about SLEEP! When the Lord said "Let there be sleep", that's what he was talking about. Not to mention that I have an excuse to sleep in the guest bedroom. Every married man and even guys with girlfriends will admit, Sunday night through Thursday night, sleeping alone is Great! You can make all the noise you want, and sprawl out. Oh it's real.

But here's a new rule. If you go from being just fine to weak as hell, coughing with no mucus, suddenly freezing cold, your heart is about to burst out of your chest, and then a monster fever, just lay off the beer for a good 5 days.

If you have things like a runny nose and soar throat, make your way to the beer cellar baby. IT'S BOSS TIME!