Sunday, May 31, 2009

Wife Out of Town Beering: Part 3

So after a three hour nap, I wake up at 7 AM on Saturday to hit the golf course. Apparantly the word got out that I would be getting up early, b/c the wife and some friends decided to call me at 7:05. Anyway, I made it to the course at 8, just in time to see the course under construction. So we make it to another course nearby. I thought I had a club meeting at 10, so I only had time to hit the driving range.

I drove down to Rice Village just to find out the meeting was next week. I was still kinda tired and I went to my friends herbal tea shop. We all sat around and chatted it up for a couple hours and got some food at Ruggles. She gave me a shot of Ginseng and I was ready to roll. I made it back home with the thought that I would have a few hours to catch some zzzz's and relax before hitting the Flying Saucer and then the Dynamo game.

But as soon as I sat down with half a pitcher of Margarita, one of the guys called me saying he's got a case of beer and some cigars. So I jump in the car for the 20 mile ride to Cinco Ranch. The man normally drinks Corona so brought a party pack of beer from my own cabinet just in case. But turns out he had a case of Sam Adams Summer Seasonal. Granted we drank it out of bottles, but the Summer Seas White Ale seemed a lot better this year than what they had last year. We smoke a couple cigars and chat it up with the neighbors, then it was time to hit the Sauce once again.

I had the Lagunitas Correction Ale which claimed it was an American Ale. It was damn near a double IPA, but I don't know if they make a session beer out there. After that, I got some IPA from Ska that was not even as strong as the American Ale from Lagunitas. The Ska Modus Hoperandi was a pleasent yet kind of harsh IPA.

Afterward, my friend and I made it to the Dynamo game. The Houston Dynamo was apparently celebrating the Don Taylor Wife out of Town weekend, as they scored three goals on Toronto FC in like 5 minutes. Very very hype! Afterward, I made my way to my other boy's pool party back on the Westside. I don't know if it ever was a party, but there were a couple of old friends. We drank mostly Modelo Especial and Corona as we traded stories of visiting gay clubs, strip clubs, and generally getting slizzard with each other over the years. I must have been winding down b/c at about 1:30AM the girls wanted to hit a random after hours dance bar but I just wasn't up for it. The more I think about it a day later, I probably should have gone.

After some sobering up, I finally made it back home. An excellent weekend to be sure. One more day to go and I have a couple days during the week to keep it going before going back offshore.

Wife Out of Town Weekend: Part 2

This past Friday morning I was off from work (AWESOME!), so after running around Thursday night, I was free to do it all over again on Friday. Except do it all day. It's now Sunday and I'm drawing a blank on what I did on Friday. Oh yeah...

My friend was talking about a pool party, but I couldn't get him on the phone to give me his damn address. After working out and kind of lollygagging much of the day making pitiful attempts to clean up the house, I decided to take the show on the road and hit the Saucer for some Pilsnering.

The Northcaost Scrimshaw Pils was on tap and on Fire Sale, and I hadn't had it at the Saucer yet, so I was all for it. I had it as a 4 Star due to it being a good strong pilsner, but this time it was pretty basic. Not as hoppy as I remember but it was rather dry, almost chalky. Oh well, three stars for now. Nothing like some more Pilsners to keep it going, so it was all about Pilsner Urquell for some calibration. Most of the times I've had this beer (on tap) I've found it pleasant, but this time it was similar to the Scrimshaw, just a little more bitter. Now I know something is up with ye olde palette. No sense in even writing too many formal reviews for now. I could be that I'm still kicking a slight cold and my nose is staying stuffed up. Lord knows that hop aroma always helps.

Last one was the Flensburger Pilsener out of Germany. The Huns put this in a brown bottle, great way to keep . White big head and a brilliantly clear color. I could read my book through the beer. It was ye stronger on the hops and maybe a little sweeter. It has some icky bitterness on the aftertaste I've never really enjoyed even in perfect health. Lacy head and pretty dry. It's alright.

After sobering up, I drove over to Specs Downtown to find a few good bombers (22 oz bottles) to take to my homegirls house party. Love her too death but I knew there wouldn't be much on the way of beer, and I think it was Charlie Papazian who has a fear of being stuck somewhere without good beer. Or maybe it was Gordon Strong. Oh well. Some Three Philosophers and Allagash Tripel did the trick. At the party there were only a few of us, so I got them to sample some new drinks. Both beers went over real well. Something about those stronger belgian beers that can convert many folks to beer drinking.

I did manage to pick up some new Lagunitas at Specs as well, but haven't gotten to it yet. Seems like Lagunitas is just hitting folks with strong beer after strong beer, many with names either suggesting they've all been arrested or that their best friends are black.

We played poker at the game night and we all broke out around 11PM. Why not get back in the car and drive 30 miles back to downtown to hang out some more. The boys were talking about going to a strip club to watch the Lakers game (riiiiiiiiiiiight), but eventually punked out and went to like a chicken joint. (How is it your girl is out of town and you are not somewhere that has an abundance of short skirts, or better?) Nobody seemed to be answering their phones, but I did catch one of my friends that told me to meet him at the Tipsy Clover.

This bar has been in Midtown for a long time and very few people know it exists. Had to ask about three cops how to get there. Although it's right in the thick of things, it still hard to find. I think every town has these places that are really great hangouts, but no one can tell you how to get there. Kinda like Pirates of the Caribbean, you just starting driving and somehow you just end up there. This dive bar like joint was packed and jamming. Lots of my younger coworkers were grinding on each other over by the pool tables, very nice. Very multicultural enviro. Music was loud, but they had a nice handful of beer taps, including a Sam Adams Seasonal. I opted for some Shock Top instead, which is probably one of the best beers brewed by Belgians down at Anhueser-Busch. Very good white ale. Makes me think I need to do a Blue Moon vs. Shock Top vs. Leine Sunset Wheat triple threat review.

We left Tipsy Clover sometime in the middle of the night and decided to hit Chachos. A Houston mainstay. This all night Mexican restaurant looks like it used to be a body shop, and then probably a cocaine stash house, and now a restaurant with a pretty decent Margarita. Plus it's a great opportunity to see ghetto-ass women with all kinds of jacked up hairstyles that can sometimes make you want to leave the black race. After a few laughs and hoping to watch a fight break out, we had to call it a night. It was already 3 AM and I had an 8 AM golf appointment. No strip clubs this time and I managed to probably convince a few folks at the various establishments that I'm one of those oversexed guys. Oh well. I'm married anyway. What they gonna do, NOT get with me? Heaven Forbid.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Wife Out of Town Weekend Beering: Part 1

Well, I didn't make it home until about 1AM. Actually pretty good. I even managed to pace myself at Two Rows, the only true brew onsite brewpub in Houston. Yes, we made it back to Two Rows to hang out and catch the Orlando/Cleveland game. Even though I was born in Cleveland, I haven't lived there in 20 years, and my contrarian side is taking over, so I was rooting for the Jamlando Magic. So many people are on Lebron James' nuts, I just have to go against him.

Two Rows in Rice Village seems to have upped the ante with the creativity. I can't remember if this beer was here before, but I first got a glass of their Dunkel Lager.

Beer Log: Thursday 29, 2009
State: Chillin, reading a book waiting for the crew to arrive

Dark Star Lager
Brown and rather murky appearance, great tan smooth head (no homo). Nose is a little roasty and malty. The order in which I taste the elements in this one: chocolate, roast, sourness (lemon), moderate carbonation, and bready finish. A little thin on the body, but then again it is a lager. It just gets more sour the more I drink it. But it is crisp and refreshing with a lacy head to help you mark time. Low 3 Star. I asked the bartender and a couple other folks in the crew that had this beer, and nobody got the sour notes but me. Oh well.

Afterward, I wanted to sample their seasonal or special brews. Whoever is brewing at Two
Rows is really letting it rip with a Jalapeno beer and a Raspberry Lager, both named for "Uncle Red". I wasn't sure if I'd like either one so I got the samplers. The Raspberry beer was very pleasant. A nice soft raspberry flavor in a crisp lager, nothing over the top. No real tartness like the lambics and whatnot. I actually ordered a full glass of it, 3 Stars. The Jalapeno smelled just like jalapeno, and tasted like a jalapeno tea. As much as I like spicy food and whatnot, this one just ain't happening for me. 1 Star. Funny that a couple people in the crew tried it as well and liked it. I'm sorry, but beer mixed with peppers and whatnot have all pretty much sucked, IMO.

I can tell my palette is digi-volving again. After a few waters, I got their IPA and it just was not balanced at all. The hops just dominated the malt and not in a good way. Too bitter on the tongue and aftertaste. After the game most of the crew left and I went downstairs with the only other dude that could hang to join some other friends at Baker St. Pub.

This is a pretty cool English pub that always seems to have white guys playing Snoop Dogg songs on acoustic guitar. This time it was a jazz like ska like rock band (lead guitar, bass (a brotha at that), and a drummer). They did a rock/reggae (also known as ska) version of "Gin and Juice". It was very tight. I ordered a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale on tap and it tasted very similar to the IPA from Two Rows, just too hop forward. Normally I would knock back some SNPA in NO TIME but this just wasn't pleasant. Nothing like a good commercial calibration to know your palette is off or has evolved.

I've been having a strong craving for amber ale (Bud Am Ale, Sam Adams Boston Ale) and dark lagers like Heineken Dark. I guess it's that time of year. Well, I gotta get cleaned up here before hitting the driving range and clean up the house. I still have like... stripper glitter on me from last night. Holla

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Upcoming Events: Wife Out of Town Weekend

Oh yes. You've went to the dinner party where you're the only dude that showed up. You cleaning up everything and vacuuming, washing dishes and whatnot. And now my reward, the wife and child are going out of town for an entire week and I have the city to myself. I was originally supposed to be offshore, but they kicked me off b/c they ran out of bunk space. Oh it's true, it's damn true.

And you know the only thing better than this... is two of the boys' wives are ALSO going to be out of town. We've lined up a visit to Two Rows to watch some NBA on Thursday and sample some beer at another "Oil & Gas Boys Happy Hour". The golf clubs are going to put to use a few times. I'm emptying out our session beer cabinet in the house to take with me to various house parties. I've already got 1 game night, 1 house party, and a WEEKEND LONG POOL PARTY lined up and ready to go. And a friend of mine suggested we hit his new house in the Heights for some Sierra Nevada on tap and poker. I'll be hanging out at Gingerman, of course the Saucer, and if it weren't for some new laws, we'd probably end up at the HK.

The Misses plans on writing out a menu of food to cook for the rest of the week so I can eat and not die.

As you can guess, this could get real ugly real fast. I'm halfway considering getting a hotel room somewhere downtown so I don't get tempted to drive home to the 'burbs in a less than sober state, but I plan on pacing myself, and locking up a designated driver here and there. I'm still recovering from the Margarita Monday we had yesterday with some friends.

And I just locked down the hotel rooms in MUNICH for Oktoberfest. We'll be staying at a hotel (all the hostels were waaaaaaaay booked up) about 4 subway stops from Oktoberfest. We'll spend the last weekend of Oktoberfest in Munich. This is a guys only trip as well. The only reason we won't be spending more time in Munich is b/c we've set up a warmup trip to Amsterdam. Oh it's real. There's some brewpubs, probably some decent Trappists, some fresh Heineken... aw hell we're staying at the Bulldog Hostel. Oh it's real, it's damn real. If you're wondering how it goes down in Amsterdam, I'm lining up a "different" review of the Heineken faux-brewery for "The Session" post in June. Should be fun.

The beauty of it all, is the wife knows I like to party it up so I get the green light. Plus, she knows I'm stupid enough to post everything I do. Not to mention she has about 4000 friends in the city that always pop up wherever we are. There's probably a few readers of this blog that would sell me out and slap me up on Facebook first chance they got.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sam Adams Longshot: Carissa Sweigart

Well now we're wrapping up the three Sam Adams Longshot. For those just joining us, the Longshot competition is a national homebrew competition, where the winner gets his or her beer brewed at Sam Adams Brewery in Boston and distributed throughout the nation. Boston Beer company (owner of Sam Adams brands) has decided to set up all their employees with an internal competition, and that winner will also have his/her beer distributed.

How cool is that. Every accountant and mail boy will now have a chance to know how the company makes its money. I am all about people being a part of the business of the company. If you have a job and you do not do whatever the company's business is, you are not very relevant. Doesn't matter if you're the Vice President of your department. Oh it's real.

By the lovely Mme Sweigart has done a great looking Cranberry Wit beer. I have yet to find a good fruit wheat beer (that does not have apricot or peaches) that works for me. A lot of these fruit beers are just too harsh or not strong enough. But let's see about the last of the Sam Adams Longshot...

Cranberry Wit
Great white lasting head, excellent cloudy color. Nose is bready, light fruit (I'm assuming cranberry), and a touch estery. Taste is medium body and bready, feels like I'm chomping in some fresh potato bread. People that don't eat potato bread should be shot. A subtle yet noticeable cranberry. That's a good wheatbeer. Nice to have something different than just orange. Much better put together than the wheat beer from Hawaii with the passion fruit. A touch low on the carbo, which I like. 3 Star.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

"Green" Beer

From (of all places), 5 environmentally conscious beers:

  1. Cascade Green (Cascade Brewery)
  2. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (Sierra Nevada)
  3. Grassroots Ale (Great Lakes Brewing Co.)
  4. Fat Tire (New Belgium)
  5. Brooklyn Sustainable Porter (Brooklyn Brewery)
Read the full article, with more about what makes these breweries green.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sam Adams Longshot: Alex Drobshoff

I don't know who this dude is unlike Mike McDole, but Lord knows I could use some decent BOCK. And this dude put together a good one, a Traditional Bock to be exact. For those of you just joining us, Boston Beer Company (makers of Sam Adams) have put together a homebrewers competition, where the winner gets his beer brewed and distributed through Sam Adams. And seeing as how Sam Adams is everywhere, you can best believe your beer would be to. The contest is call the Longshot. I've only had experience with the Saint Arnolds version of this one called Divine Reserve, and usually DR sells out within a few hours in Houston. So you KNOW I couldn't wait to try this one.

Beer Log: Last night
State: Still upset about the damn onsite brewer law going down
Sam Adams Longshot Traditional Bock
Very fruit nose with a touch of alcohol. Ruby brown color with a bright tan head. Finally tasting it, I get a great smoothness, followed by sweet maltiness, a little hops, moderate body, and something like a bready cookie thing in the aftertaste. Very nice. Probably perfect for the style though I'd rather have a doppelbock, though this one is rather doppelbocky in strength. The more I drink it, I get more of a touch of alcohol with a hint of bitter chocolate. Well done Drobshoff. 4 Stars.


ma AleBeer Log: Right now
State: Chillin out after work...

The wife grabed a sixer of some new (to me) Avery. Loving it...

Karma Ale
Low head yielding a slightly malty and spicy nose. Nice clear amber look in the wine glass. Funny how Avery can match up a "Farmhouse Ale" with an Indian type label. Oh well. Tastes like Farmhouse, some sourness, a little gritty, kinda malty as well. Everything is lightly done in this beer including the alcohol (5.2%). I'm liking the toastiness as well. 3 Stars. I reminds me of some of those beers in Paris, just a little better put together.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Texas Legislature on On-site Sales: "Now I'm Done"

For those of you that are just joining us, there was a bill in the Texas state legislature to allow microbreweries to sell some beer on-site. Seems trivial, but actually it makes a HUGE difference in the survivability of microbreweries. Rather than only going through costly distributors and hustling for bar taps and shelf space, selling some cases in the gift shop would give them a revenue stream to remain viable in the first few years. Lots of great folks put a lot of energy into this bill and it didn't even make it out of committee. And that's why the state of Texas has about the same amount of microbreweries as the town of Asheville, North Carolina.

From the Saint Arnold newsletter concerning the death of the bill that would have sparked a craft beer revolution in Texas.

HB 2094 has gone to bill heaven. We made it much further this year in our attempt to allow you to visit Texas craft breweries and leave with samples of our brews. We had strong support from the public, the press, our largest distributor and many legislators including Jessica Farrar who sponsored the bill. Unfortunately all of that and logic were not enough to overcome the opposition of one distributor group. But we plan on trying again next session. The trend is positive. And many thanks to you for writing your state elected officials. You showed the legislature that people care about this issue.

Very positive and uplifting. And here is my synopsis of the death of this bill:

What kind of jack shyt is this? What do these chump distributors think I'm gonna do, huff it all the way to Dallas to get some fricken Rahr at their brewery? Drive the fyck up to Conroe every time I want some Pine Belt? PLEASE. Does the beer distributorship own THAT much of the legislature? Hell, can't we just set an upper limit on how much a brewery could sell out the back in a fiscal year and call it good?

It's shyt like this is why we don't have jack shyt in this state. No forward thinking. The legislature (and by extension the people) have no desire of being considered World Class in anything other than high school football. All the oil and money and opportunity and former Presidents at our beck and call, and Houston is about number 4,234,421 on the top 5 million places in the world people want to visit. Dallas clocks in at 4,126,101, wedged between Quetta and Ciudade de Deus. And we wonder why we have to damn near have to give sexual favors to get a Superbowl around here. The Essence Festival left a sprawling relatively safe Houston to move BACK TO NEW ORLEANS AFTER THEY WERE DECLARED A MURDER CAPITOL! That should tell you something right there. The Olympic committee can't stop laughing every time Houston puts in a bid (it'll be an all Indoor Olympics). If it wasn't for Joey Greco, cocaine, and football team that hasn't won shyt since I was a virgin, Dallas would be right there with us.

Oh, and can we cut the morality crap please? Some folks are busting down bills like on-site sales b/c they claim we are encouraging drinking. For crying out loud, they have 24 oz single cans of beer ON ICE at every gas station in the state. Can you say "Drinking and Driving?" We off more guys in the death penalty than China! Yet when a brotha wants to get a few good beers and pay to see the occasional pair of clear heels, they get all fired up like my choices is going to fyck up THEIR lives. I'm a conservative, but this is just too much. I'm sure the Pledge of Allegiance is fine gentlemen, now would you be so kind as stamp out the drug cartels taking over whole swaths of the Valley? Damn shame.

Thank you Texas legislature for moving the Republic forward once again into the early 1900s. Craft beer was never about the money, just passion for a great product. Nobody gets rich in this game. All that work the brewers put in just for their own elected officials give them the finger. Damn shame. I'm sure we're going to do the song and dance all over again in a couple years thinking "this time we'll get it out of committee". Maybe by 2040, we'll get it passed in the House just in time for the Senate to go on recess. By the time we figure this out and pay off all the guys we gotta pay off, alcohol will probably be illegal again anyway. Thank you.

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's Mai, so how about a Maibock

Beer Log: Right now
State: Chillin, watching some old UFC

Can't believe Rampage lost that title to Forrest Griffin

Summit Maibock
Nose is sweet and a touch veggie, kinda Premium lager like. Tinged straw color with a strong white head. Tastes like Purity Law beer. Good sweetness, a touch of funky hops. Actually kinda reminds me of those german lagers you get at the corner store.

Let's see, I stepped away to change the baby's diaper and now the beer has a chewy malty element to it. I get a touch of metal in the finish, but the beer is rather enjoyable. I'm also get a bit of some citrus hops as well. 3 Star

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lushing in Vegas: Part 3, Salt Lake City

Yeah, um. I can't find my damn reviews for Vegas. I had several new beers and most of the stuff from Sin City Brewing. Nothing from a brewpub as I couldn't make it that far up the strip. Anyway, I was trying to save the company a little money and took a cheaper flight back to Houston that would take me through Salt Lake City. I've never been to Utah or anything, but the layover is all of 1 hour, so no big deal. As we were trying to land in SLC, a snowstorm decided to blow in. And anyone who watches the Weather Channel knows the craziest winds occur when the weather is in flux. So our little ExpressJet plane is BOUNCING up and down in big leaps as we circle SLC trying to figure out how to land. I happen to have my Ipod on the Brewing Network, so rather than listening to a bunch of women scream, I just turn up the volume. Hey, if I'm going out, at least I'll hear the boys living it up in Doctoberfest.

We do eventually land and I have a little time and happen to see a little something called Squatters. It's a beer bar in the airport. It's all of 9AM local time and I'm SURE that the airport smack dab in Utah won't let me buy beer that early in the morning. I ask the hostess if I could order a beer and lo and behold she says yeah. And what's this, they have locally brewed beer? Beer and Mormons. It doesn't get much better than that.

Beer Log: Hell if I remember what day it was
State: Still a little shaken after the rough landing, my system is starting to purge the sin

Provo Girl Pilsner
Clear straw color with a nice bread and hop flavor. No nose to speak of (big drawback of a beer flight). Decent malt comes in there with a quick finish. Another sip and you'll notice the high carbonation. 3 Stars

Chasing Tail Golden Ale
Amber reddish color. Smells like soap (let's rinse these glasses fellas). Weir flavor with some unholy mixture of sourness and bread. NO THANK YOU. Some time later I did not that it is rather dry and not as sour when it warms.

American Wheat Hef
More sour nose and taste again, with a nice cloudy wheat beer appearance. Not much of the hefeweizen I'm used to. No thanks again due to the sourness.

About this time the waiter comes by as he's probably noticing I'm writing down my reviews of these beers. He asked me how the beer was and I said it was pretty good. He seemed very proud of the beer and said "Not bad for a bunch of Mormons" and does some sort of fist pump. Good for them. Lord knows I've lived in many a state the still considers beer the devil's brew. The bar seems to have a few goth kids working back there and some dude that seems really ticked off, blathering about the beer being 4% ABV. Oh well, it is early.

Organic Amber
Deep amber copper. Lots of fresh bread and a touch of sour again with a lacy white head.

Dammit man what's up with this sourness. Has anyone else had this experience at a brewpub? All the beers are sour to me? Easy on the acid man! No real signs of infection from where I stand. Just that sourness in several of the beers.

Full Suspension Pale Ale
Cloudy orange color with a very grassy hop aroma. The hops comes through strong on the taste yet unbalanced with the malt. Nice aftertaste with those hops as well. It's more American than English. 3 Star.

Dry Irish Stout (on a nitro tap)
Smells sweet and chocolaty. Brown ruby color. It's a little thin on the mouthfeel and a touch watery. I like the mouthfeel but it leaves me hanging. There's a touch of sourness as well. 3 Star.

Captain Bastards Oatmeal
Deep rich black color. Chocolate coffee nose with a coffee and roasty flavor. Finally a full bodied beer with lost of soul. Finishes with some citrus and sourness. 3 Star.

And I could not leave the state without trying a bottle of:

Polygamy Porter
Thick head with a brown color. A little thin and a little astringent with a touch of citrus and sour. Not much of a malty character, just some roast. Low 3 Star.

Overall, it could have been that I was still sick from all the drinking in Vegas, that I had a horrible flight, or that it was in the morning, but this experience just didn't do it for me. The Mormons deserve a better review, but that's all I got. The whole time I could have just been thinking about the time I tried to date this one Mormon back in Undergrad. She was very cute and rather interested in a brotha. And she was black to boot. Yes there are black Mormons, and I went out with one. I can't remember how it all turned out, but as I was on a highway to Hell while in college, I guess it wouldn't have worked. Maybe she should have told me they are allowed too drink beer. We could have made it work.

Anyway, I commend them for putting a microbrew beer bar in the airport. ALL airports should have something like this. Fantastic "local" experience.

My top three at Squatters are:
3. Provo Girl Pilsner
2. Captain Bastards Oatmeal
1. Full Suspension Pale Ale.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sam Adams Longshot Beering: Mike McDole

Ok. In theory, the Sam Adams Longshot beer should be much much better than any other homebrew competition. Saint Arnold's Divine Reserve is basically a city/southeast Texas wide homebrew competition decided at the Dixie Cup. Sam Adams Longshot is a nationwide homebrew competition decided at the Great American Beer Festival. Let's do a prelim...

Summit Extra Pale Ale
I just cooked up a batch of my spicy spaghetti sauce with spinach and shrimp (or skrimp if you're from Georgia). I put so much Cayenne and Red Pepper in that son of a gun it could make you cry. I even put about 12 ounces of my homebrewed India Pale Ale in the sauce and steamed the shrimp with my homebrew blonde ale I've been trying to get rid of. So an Pale Ale is in order to drink. Summit has a light malt and orange nose coming off a clear amber colored beer with an offwhite lasting head. (Basically I couldn't find any of my IPA). The taste is some light malt and hops, like a lighter American Pale Ale, with a metallic flavor effing it all up about 3/4 back of the tongue. The hop is kind of funky with an icky aftertaste. Maybe it sat in the store for too long. It was in one of those party packs. Low 3 Star. Tasted much better with the spaghetti sauce but couldn't hold its own.

After a glass of my homebrewed Pale Ale (my IPA just ran out), I'm ready

Beer Log: Right NOW
State: Not eating a damn thing, typing on my computer

Sam Adams Longshot Double IPA
Look at that color, smell that smell. No alcohol on the nose, just old fashioned caramel malt and strong hops (probably some cascade). Hop nose is floral and citrus. Color is a very regular orange crayon orange. Tinged orange head. Oh wow, that's a lot of hops. Just lots of different hops going on in there, citrus, grassy, you name it. The aftertaste has some hop presence. And although it's a very smooth beer, it has a nice tingly sensation on the tongue after drinking it. I'll say damn near full bodied with a nice caramel malt that somehow balances all that hops. Take Dogfish Head 120 Minute and take out all the absurdity. I don't know if I've ever had anything this hoppy before in my whole experience of beering.

Word on the street is that McDole's beer won a former Longshot Competition, but b/c he used so much hops during a hop shortage, they had to put this beer on hold. Oh it's true.

I recall the same thing being a bit of an issue with Saint Arnold's Divine Reserve Number 5 which was an American Barleywine. That was one was superloaded with hops but not like this baby.
As far as food suggestions, forget your local wing joints attempts as spicing up some wings. There is a place near Cape Canaveral, Florida that sells these hot wings called "Screamers". I haven't been there in 10 years but that is the hottest spiciest food I've ever had next straight downing a jalepeno pepper laced with blow. Maybe those would stand up to this Double IPA for food pairing. Everything else would taste like chicken salad.
I'm tempted to give this one a 4 Star b/c it is SO hopped up, but that's be like saying a woman too fine to be a dime. 5 Stars all the way for Mike McDole and the Sam Adams boys. Well done.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sam Adams Imperial Stout

Another beer in the Sam Adams Imperial Series. Seems like old boy at the Barley Vine is waaaaaaay ahead of me on the Sam Adams beers. I haven't even cracked open the Longshot beersyet.

Beer Log: Right now
State: Chillin

Sam Adams Imperial Stout
Smells like cinnamon, plum, a little alcohol, and some malt. Can't see nothin through this deep brown beer. The head is true crayon brown with a serious smooth head (sans Nitro no less). Wow! Lots of malt, lots of sweetness. Made me sneeze. A little grainy and whatnot. Full bodied but not quite those milkshake thick beers I've had before. I'm barely getting a touch of hops. Just too sweet for me man. 3 Star.

The bottle says it has anise which wikipedia says is a licorice flavor... and I will buy that. In fact, that sweetness is kinda licorice like. Maybe even a touch of port wine sweetness. As it warms I can get that chocolate and coffee now. Nice.

I couldn't resist this song with the whole Imperial Series thing. Yeah, I thought this song sucked too in its day, but it does have Rah Digga.

Lushing in Vegas: Part 2

I actually have another post for these reviews outlining my getting blasted during the day in Vegas and sexually verbally assaulting women on the phone, but I'm going to hold off on that post until I've like, retired from my job or the wife has already divorced me.

Beer Log: March 26, 2009

State: Just out drinking on the solo

I've a lot of downtime (all day) before I can catch up with my friends that night, so in the early afternoon I go to Nine Fine Irishmen in the New York New York Casino for some food and drank. This pub is fantastic and damned if they don't have actual Irish guys serving you the beer and New Yorkers all over the place. Bellying up to the bar, I order Magner's, the only drink on tap I had not had.


Damned if this stuff doesn't smell like apple cider... OH IT IS APPLE CIDER. Well let's review anyway. It's a cider, apple, pretty nice, not drying, more drinkable than Woodchuck. Gold amber color is nice. Could be that this is my first drink all day why I like it so much. There's a little aftertaste. It's kinda sour but not much. 3 Star

Nine Fine is pretty crunk if I remember last time, with some live Irish band.

I make my way to the ESPNZone with some folk I met at the bar. I had Tenaya Creek Nut Brown Ale, smelled and tasted like butter. Then they got me a sample of Tenaya's Winter Spiced Ale. A little cinnamon, a little dry. No thank you.

After that, I usually order and IPA but I do see a new Kona on tap

State: A few SoCo shots into the day

Kona Fire Rock
Copper color, white head. Nose has a citrus hops and maybe some butter. Strong to moderate citrus hop taste with a quick finish. I see ya with the nice bread going on. I'm good to go with this pale ale. Its not a West Coast, but more like a weak American to a Strong British Pale Ale. Some cara-pils in there and more bread as it warms. 3 Star.

The Session: Heineken Brewery Experience


I'm finally doing The Session. Hopefully I don't offend anyone, but this month's topic is about the brewery that is the furthest away from where you live. Of all the travels we have done since diving into the beer world, brewery tours have been the lowest on my list of places to visit. Brewpubs top the list, followed by Breweries with tasting rooms, then beer bars, then beer stores, then breweries without tasting rooms. With the limited time I normally have on these trips, I'm thinking "do I want to spend a couple hours on a tour where I imagine the brewer heats it up, cools it down at some point, and throws some yeast on it?" But I know there is some value in meeting the brewer, seeing how people accomplish what they accomplish, overcoming the technical challenges, etc. I'm sure it's like being the kitchen with Emeril for some folks.

So I without having an active brewery that is all that far away, I blog about the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam. I visited this place about 3 years ago as we were backpacking in Europe and we decided to hit Amsterdam for the Ultimate Bachelor party. I was already married, but a friend of mine had a week before messing up his life. Poor bastard.

Amsterdam is a cacophony of statuesque blond women, grandiose castles, marijuana, hostels, legal whoring, and some pretty decent beer. If it wasn't so cold, it'd be a Black Man's Heaven. The whole time I was there, I managed to slug down a lot of Amstel Light and Heineken. We enjoyed the brewery thoroughly, even though I didn't know what the hell I was looking at. Turns out they don't brew there anymore; they ain't brewing much in that building but a bunch of free love and mass marketing. The brewery has been converted to a few killer bars and tasting rooms and they still have much of the equipment still there for you to mess around with.

The brewery had lots of beer education signage and videos to occupy your mind. They do a great job of introducing folks to the brewing process. If I wasn't half drunk I probably would have remembered what I was looking at equipment-wise. Some mash tuns, lauter tuns, I'm sure there was a fermenter or two. I don't recall a formal tour guide, but they had all kinds of mini games, kegs, bottling, etc. Something like a grown man's version of Disney World mixed with MTV and Maxim Magazine.

After we made it through the brewery, we found our way to the World Bar with all kinds of random tokens. Each token counts for one beer, and they seemed to pile it on for you. I just recall that the beer was fantastic. Even back then, the Heine's in the United States always seemed harsh and a little skunky to me, just completely over-rated. I now know that it is the green bottle and the transportation. But drinking this stuff in Amsterdam is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better. Great crispness and refreshing. Since this tour, I've rarely ever had a regular bottled Heineken unless it was on tap or in one of their famous mini-kegs.

I have recently made the controversial move of Heineken Dark to a four star beer, and as my new favorite all-the-time beer along with Sam Adams Boston Ale, supplanting Negra Modelo. DAMN Heineken nailed it with that dark lager. I had it one time in San Antonio but forgot about it until now. And I don't give a good damn what the guys on Beer Advocate have to say, this beer is killer for this time of year. You take this beer, pour it in an Avery Bottle, and it would go up to a B+. Some people are just hating because Heineken is so popular. This beer managed to tied me over as I was dying for some Bock. Since I can only find about 4 spring bocks in Houston, I had to move to Dark Lagers as a substitute. Nice caramel malt with a good crispness of a lager. Has plenty of taste when it's cold, but not overpowering. Do NOT pass this beer up at the local grocery store. Just give it a shot. The brown bottle alone helps out the Heine quite a bit, but they put this one together very nicely. Great session beer.
So in review, Drink Heineken Dark, and go to the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam. And whatever you do, don't meet your old Caribbean girlfriend who now lives in Amsterdam for lunch and let her order a lot of wine and making you more drunk and with thoughts of the night before in the Red Light district still in your head you end up about 3 seconds from sleeping with her which your wife would certainly find out because your friends can't keep their stupid mouths shut telling all the women at your job that you met with ol' girl alone and thus ruining your marriage all of 18 months after you said I DO. Good thing she at least knew where the brewery was, I wouldn't have been able to find it on the solo. Holla.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My Kingdom for a Bock

It's already May and I'm wondering, who do you have to sleep with to get some Bocks around here. Spring beers are now getting all cute with the styles, how bout a damn bock.

Beer Log: Right now
State: Really wanting a bock.

Anchor Bock
Smells maple syrupy sweet with a soda grassy hops. Color is a dark amber with a super strong poofy tan head. Taste is a little bready and sour and watery. Did not expect that after the nose. I get just a hint of malt and metal. There is some hops going on but it's kinda grassy and doesn't work for me. The aftertaste leaves my mouth feeling kinda dry and whatnot. Is Don Taylor gonna give an Anchor beer a 2 star? One more draught and that seals the deal, 2 stars.

Maybe I should just shut up and have my Spring beer pilsner laced with lime...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Lushing in Vegas: Part 1

Beer Log: March 25, 2009

State: Just landed in Vegas, weather is not hot at all

A good 4 days after leaving New Orleans, I had a company recruiting trip to Las Vegas. Seeing as how we were and are knee deep in a recession, you can imagine how timid I was asking the boss if I could go.

We stayed at the Monte Carlo and WHAT LUCK they have a brewpub on the bottom floor. This is going to be SWEET.

Within 1 hour of checking in at the hotel I get down to the Monte Carlo pub and brewery, I can see the fermentors and whatnot (see pic above). Hell yeah! I figure I'll sneak in a few reviews before meeting up with the team. Well, the bartenders tells me that they are no longer brewing beer and only have one local beer available. The F7ck?

Well we take what we can get...

Sin City Stout
Nice chocolate nose, though not too strong. Deep brown color. Excellent tan haead. The taste has great chocolate and subtle coffee notes. The beer just fills up your mouth (nullus). Fourth draught and I 'm getting that citrus lurking in the backround, and a moderate hop on the aftertaste. And that was just the taster.

I order the full glass and I can now see that this beer is on nitro with that super smooth creamy head (nullus). And here it comes, the metal. It's like I'm licking a penny. WTF. It was 4 stars on the taster, and 3 stars now. Of course they did serve it bone chilling cold. As it warms up the metal goes away. I wonder how much they want for that equipment?
I did make it to our meeting. We hosted a great party for the conference goers and managed to sneak in a few shots of tequila at the bar later on. Maybe I shouldn't have been wearing company nalia while challenging the folks at the bar for another round. No more beers to speak of for the rest of the night. Just partying.

Save Us IPA

As per my rules, after having a bad beer, and IPA is to follow.

March 24, 2009
State: Just Finished Kosmos Reserve

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA
Grassy/citrus hops with malty caramel nose. Oh yeah baby. It has that classic Sierra Nevada reddish amber with the BIG poofy white head. That taste gives me a nice big malt and bitter cascade, with a nice light aftertaste. Low carbonation to boot. The caramel malt is nearly o'er powering the hops, amazing for a Sierra Nevada, who never met a hop they didn't like. We're catching things up as it warms, as the malt is starting to remind me of a cinnamon cookie and the harsh hops are more balanced. Light to medium body and 4 Stars for what I'll just call an amped up Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

Kosmos Reserve, Shiner

Beer Log: March 24, 2009

FINALLY we reach the 100 year anniversary of Shiner. I'm sure I've blogged on here before that it was indeed Shiner Beers and mainly Shiner Bock that made me stop drinking Miller Lite and start drinking craft beer. Texans are pretty proud of Shiner even if our Texas Beer Connoisseur community doesn't think so. Saint Arnold's in Houston is going to make a run at the title, but many still consider Shiner Bock to be the Beer of Texas.

So anyway, in addition to their commemorative 100 year anniversary beer, they put out a Kosmos Reserve. Kosmos Spoetzl who eventually came to own the now Spoetzl brewery. Here a link if you want more information on the history. But Spoetzl brewery put out this beer in honor of Kosmos himself. They actually sold it ONLY in a party pack with beers like Shiner Blonde (forgot how much I enjoyed that one) and Shiner Hefeweizen (forgot how much I did not enjoy that one).

Shiner Kosmos Reserve

Golden color with a strong white head. It has a lager and veggie smell. The first thing I taste is metal, then some icky hops somewhere on the tongue. If I ever ate copper, that's probably what it would taste like.

And that's all I have in my book. This beer gets the big "WHAT THE HELL?" I don't know if M. Kosmos actually brewed this recipe, but there's probably a reason they focused on the Bock. After kicking some arse with Shiner 99 and Shiner Holiday Cheer, they just kinda went the other way. I know Spoetzl is staying true to the art and tradition, so perhaps I just got a bad bottle... from a brand new beer... from a brewery a good 100 miles from my house... at the best beer shop in the State. Actually, I just went to beeradvocate and apparently a lot of us are getting that "metal malt" thing. I think all of us just had very high expectations.
I haven't seen it on tap anywhere in Houston and doubtful I'll be buying another party pack of Shiner Beer. In Texas, that's like buying a Miller party pack. Oh well. Be like that sometime. Saint Arnold you're on the clock... oh is that Divine Reserve #6 in my cellar?

Left Hand Warrior: Can You Dig It

Beer Log: March 22, 2009
State: Trying to relax after driving back from Houma, LA

Everybody in the house knows when Daddy finally makes it to the Specs to pick out a few beers: LINE UP THE IPAs. The left handed bandits never fail me and I see they have Twin Sisters and Warrior IPA. In my beer evolution, I do like having a beer that features only one hop. Kinda like how Sierra Nevada will bash you over the head with Cascade hops, to the point that you'll always know it when you taste it (hello Budweiser Am Ale).

Left Hand Warrior IPA
Nose is moderate citrus, kinda like lime with some pine/grass thing going on. It has a nice poofy head sitting atop a tinged red amber color. Once the head gets a little out of the way, I can taste a nice citrus hops, with a low malt. There's no rush of hops or hop bite, but the finish leaves a hoppy residue in your mouth. (nullus) Light body, but I'm not getting much in the way of bread, biscuit, or caramel, just hops. Kinda like a hop tea. As it warms I do get more bread and light caramel with saves the day. I started drinking it at 42 deg F, which probably means it reached its best around 50 deg. I'm sorry, open bottles of IPAs don't last long around me to get up to 60 deg. In fact, any IPA that is chilled and somehow ends up OUTSIDE the fridge or kegerator will not last long. High 3 Star for the old hop bomb. I can dig it.

Oh, and unless I'm mistaken, Left Hand is selling their brew system to St Arnold Brewery in Houston for their expansion to that new facility just north of downtown. That's what it's all about man! Brew Love Man!

And Later on

Heiner Brau Kolsch
One time for a Louisiana brewery. A little funky and candy sweet nose. The taste has some light bread and hops to accompany its smooth body. Great drinkability as a kolsch should, with no aftertaste. This is a just a better version of your normal swill. At this point I was already starting to develop a taste for dark lager and bocks though. High 2 Star.