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!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hit me with one more Oktoberfest

Beer Log: Right Now
State: eating some boxed macaroni and leftover turkey meatballs with leftover broccoli. All served nicely in three separate cereal bowls.

Brooklyn Oktoberfest
Great big head with a nice caramelly aroma. Amber color once again. This one tastes a little sour and veggie like at first. In the middle of the experience I get a nice sweet maltiness true to style, and a not so true to style light metallic finish and bitter hops. First off, this Yo Gabba Gabba is an acid trip. Anyway this is certainly the lowest on the rung Oktoberfest I've had in this season. 2 Stars.

Luckily I have me some good ol' Ayinger, my top Oktoberfest beer from last season to finish up the night.

And later on:

Ayinger Oktober Fest-Marzen
Try saying that three times fast... Drinking in a skinny mug, with a vibrant head. Nice malty nose on top of a huge head. Nose is a little fruity. Clear to hazy copper colored beer. Nice moderate sweet maltiness that is a touch of maple syrup. High 3 Star. I've got think if this one out the bottle is better than the stuff I had in Munich...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Live Blogging: A couple Oktoberfests

Sitting here feeling pretty good on the weekend overall. My undergrad got blasted by South Carolina State, but Georgia Tech showed out against Virginia Tech. Now all we need is THE U to have a bad day and Tech is in the drivers seat for a BCS bowl bid. Not to mention that the Texans beat down on the Bengals, Carolina got the win, and now Randy Moss just got a third touchdown and he's on my fantasy team. My fantasy team last week got about 11 points, today we are over 100 and Isabella FC is right back in the drivers seat for a playoff bid.

Anyway, I'm been slacking just a bit on my Oktoberfest posts b/c my friend has all the good pictures on his camera, and he's studying for the PE exam, so I don't think we'll be seeing him until October 24 at Dontoberfest, my annual beer party.

Last night we went to an EXCELLENT beer dinner hosted by Pappas Steakhouse. This steakhouse is constantly rated as the top steakhouse in Houston. And in a city that has cows and ranches inside the city limits, that's really saying something. Post about that one coming soon.

So today I think I'll kick back and have myself a few Oktoberfest beers, get ready for the long work week.

State: Eating some spaghetti with Shiner 100 turkey meatballs

Boulevard Brewing is back on the um... boulevard, with another seasonal. I still can't get over how great their beers had been, as I just did not like the first couple Bully's that I had. Anyways...big poofy head in my Tar Heels 2005 Championship Mug. Clear amber color with some maltiness on the nose. It's pretty toasty for an oktoberfest, and has a nice caramel finish. Moderate to high carbo. I actually get something akin to chocolate on my tongue 60 seconds after drinking it. Very lightly hopped. With the spagh it doesn't quite hold up as a foil or a compliment. However pleasant slightly weaker Oktoberfest, but still true to style. 3 Stars.

And while we're at it...

Rather light caramel malty nose despite the mondo tan head. Clear amber beer.

(Sidebar: I used to hate on Brett Favre for coming back and toying with teams' emotions. But now, you know what, if you still want to your thing, whatever it is, and there is an organization willing to give you that opportunity...why not. What are you going to do when you retire? Travel and play golf. Okay that covers 2 months, so what about the other 20 years?)

I get a chewier okto compared to the Bully's. A thicker body with a nice sweet Munich malt (basically caramel) and light hops. No real aftertaste. On second slug I'm getting some sourness lingering under the bread and malt. Aw man. Low 3 Stars

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Live Blogging: Gordon Ale, Just what the doctor ordered

I'm sitting here watching FAMU on ESPN360 getting DRUGGED by South Carolina State. It's 35-13 at the half. Our conference is absolutley terrible, so we'll only get ONE (1) teeam inte playoffs. (Division 1 FCS football has playoffs baby). We lose this game, we are OUT! Black college football at it's most pitiful.

I just bought the entire set of Tequila Cazadores, but I'm holding off and sticking with the Oskar Blue's Gordon Ale. A high 4 star beer, with fantastic maltiness and balanced piney hops, straight out of the damn can. At 8.7% ABV, it will help me get through maybe some part of the third quarter. We keep losing like this game, and we're going.

And what's worse, we just finished doing our best chicken and watermelon routine while getting blasted by the Miami Hurricanes last week. Please let Georgia Tech whoop up on V-Tech. The DTSA can't handle many more losses.

I can't go too far b/c we have a beer dinner tonight at what the Houston Press feels is the best steakhouse in the city, Pappas Steakhouse. Lacing in with my Oktoberfest posts, we just stumbled upon a great coffeehouse with about 30 different craft beers on bottle. And they're big on having beer related events. NICE. Posts coming soon. Just as soon as I get my act together.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Moylan's Moylander

Ah, some new stuff to Houston. California brewed Moylan's. Enough with the fluff.

Beer log: Right now

State: Still a little dehydrating from my run a few hours ago, watching Bridezilla on DVR, gotta Pastor Manning on the youtube

Finally a double IPA just for the Dad. Nice strong head smelling of moderate caramel malt with piney hops. Copper Color. Medium bodied, strongly hopped, strongly malted, serious Double IPA worthy of my time. This is what we need. The aftertaste is a little icky and could be a little crisper, and it gets a little gritty feeling on the tongue after it goes down. But with 22 ounces clocking in at 8.5% ABV (basically I'll be drinking nearly 5 Bud Lights in 45 minutes, just what the doctor ordered), you won't really notice after a while. The carbonation is pretty high as well. If I could get past this aftertaste I would put this one on a high 4 star pedestal. High 3 Stars.

Beering in London: The Airport

So when I set up the trip, we made a decision to use Easyjet to get from Amsterdam to Munich as opposed to taking a 10 hour train or driving. Easyjet is a great little hopper jet system that can skirt you around Europe pretty easily for a decent price, however their hub is set up in London, so we had to go through their airport, and even go through customs. Whereas Amsterdam pretty let you walk in the country, London was NOT PLAYING.

So after nearly getting detained as not everyone in our crew knew the whole trip by heart, we make our way back through the airport and onward to the bar.

This bar (at Gatwick Airport) has about 5 beers on tap, with another 6 beers on hand pump cask. I never actually had straight up hand pumped beer, so I was rather ready to forgive the Londoners. Especially since I never heard of any of those beers before.

Old Hooky (by Hook Norton)
They hand pumped this baby in a pint glass and the dark amber beer had a thin white head. Great fruit, malt, and a strong hop nose. On the taste, I first noticed how warm it was. Compared to the "Extra Cold" Heineken taps we were just drinking, it was a bit of a shock. I'd say it was a good 60 deg F. The flavor reminded me of pumpernickel bread with some dry, chalky sensation at the end. On the second draught, I got chocolate and nuts (no homo). Third draught I get a touch of butter. Low 3 Star. Not bad.

The label on the hand pump mentioned being a Kentish ale, so I expected a healthy dose of some version of Kent Golding hops. The nose is buttery with hops (almost Cascade like). The beer tastes buttery and was full bodied. There is a chewiness to the beer, if that makes sense. But not very taste. High 2 Star.

Flights were called and next thing we knew we were on the plane to Munchen.

Beering in Amsterdam: Wrap Up

Amsterdam never fails me. Fantastic scenery, free society, decent beer. The Heineken out there was fantastic, even extra cold. I would say my top three beers there:

1. Heineken
2. Moreeke
3. Weickse (Wheat/Rose)

The food out there was fantastic. I didn't remember that the Dutch love some pomme frites. I was tearing through some french fries the whole time. Somewhere in there, our Aussie roommates told us there was some terrorist threat on Oktoberfest. For a while our crew was under the impression we could not get a flight into Munich at all, when it turns out that they only banned prop planes. The Aussie girls were asking if we would still go, and after telling them that we get terrorist threats every other week, we are certainly going. Then somewhere one of the ladies asked if I liked fried chicken. I'm sure they were wondering that the whole trip and only had the guts to ask the night before we left. We just laughed it off. I guess Dave Chappelle is not exactly helping stereotypes.

However, Amsterdam is a great place to visit, probably not to live. I prefer a more singing language like French or Spanish. However, being there is like living in a few magazines. On the square, you are in Vogue. At the club scene, your in Maxim. In the Red Light District you're either in Playboy, Hustler, or Black Men magazine, pending what section you're in. Just love Amsterdam, however plan on budgeting a few hundred or a couple thousand in jewelry, restaurants, and gifts for your wife when you get home, b/c you're bound to do something stupid.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Best Beer Cities

The Men's Journal put out their list of the top 5 beer cities. San Diego of course topped the list. More importantly, the 3rd largest city in the country, the home of Engineering, Energy, NASA, and the most recession proof city on the planet is probably not in the top 25.

San Diego isn’t just surfing and LaDainian Tomlinson anymore — it’s the new beer capital of the U.S. Stone (maker of our number one ale) exemplifies the local approach, with aggressively hopped but completely drinkable brews. The variety of beers across the city is the most eclectic in the country.

2. NYC
America’s alpha city is home to more young, finicky drinkers than any other city in the country. The result: the greatest beer-bar scene in the U.S. More than 20,000 bars and restaurants operate within the five boroughs, and even dives carry great imports such as Jever and Hoegaarden.

Portland brewers — once the anarchists of Craft Beer Nation — are now practically the establishment. But the Rose City’s festivals and a new vanguard of innovators haven’t let the city get all fusty yet.

The City of Brotherly Love boasts a huge crop of emerging microbreweries, an upsurge in beer-focused events, and a strong brewing tradition dating to before founding beer godfather Ben Franklin and the Revolutionary War. But what earns Philly its status as one of the country’s best beer cities is its abundance of truly world-class micro-pilsners.

The neons may say Old Style, but now that Chicago has become the epicenter of the Midwest’s microbrewing revolution, most bars stack the chalkboard tap list with craft beers brewed an L ride away. As a result, the Windy City has become one of the country’s best places for small-batch beer you can’t get anywhere else.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Live Blogging: Blue Point and Widmer

Getting back into the game...

Blue Point Brewing Company (Long Island) Toasted Lager
Has a touch lemony smell. Basic amber color. The beer has a decent lemon taste to it with healthy dose of hops. I maybe can get a hint of toast, but not much. High 2 Star. I think it would be a little better but it's one we had in our collection since May. Happens sometime.

Widmer Octo
Amber color and whatnot. Fantastic caramel-malty nose. Taste is the same, but also has hints of toast and cinnamon. This one is hitting the nail on the head with a fall oktoberfest beer. I still think Paulaner (in Munich) is going to take the cake this season, however this beer is fantastico. Low 4 Star. The wife was tearing this one up while I was out of the country.

Beering in Amsterdam: And Later On

We met this one energetic American outside the Heineken Experience and she was going on about how we should go to this random pub crawl. We saw their flyers around the hostel and were kinda blah. We figured whatthehell, but had some time to kill. I went to the smallest pub in Amsterdam.

I messed around and had some Palm and some Leffe Blonde. The Palm was terrible, the Leffe was just fine as usual.

Next thing we know, that night we are on the street train to Leidesplien, an area with lots of bars and clubs. We ran into many Americans and others folks, lots of Australians. They had some sort of vodka shots that you took at every bar. Although if someone told me it was a rose wine I would have believed you. But if that stuff were real 80 proof vodka, I'd probably be posting this post at the bottom of a river Amstel. We enjoyed Heineken at every bar (one free beer per bar). Lots of techno and American music. Everything was fine save the last bar, which for some reason was about 1.5 miles away from the second to last bar. Great partying regardless. I have some videos but lighting is all screwed up.

Next Day we had some downtime so we hit this little cafe to try some:

This beer from Piedboeuf has a plain lager veggie smell. Clear amber color and head has some staying power and lace. This tastes basically like a bready pilsner. Decent. Low 3 Star. Word on the street is that they are owned by InBev.

Ij Bok
By the Brewery of Amsterdam (or Brouweri 't IJ from Amsterdam). I think I threw my finger out of joint typing that name. Anyway, with some good ol' Dutch Apple Pie, I was very much looking forward to a Bock beer. Apple cider nose and has a cloudy apple cider looking with a tan reddish head. I get a lot of citrus bitterness like grapefruit on the taste, leaves your mouth dry, and has a low bitter aftertaste. Not very appealing and not what I look for in a bock. 2 Star.

Beering in Amsterdam: Heineken Experience

Basically this post is some free pub for Heineken, as if their company and brand were hinging on a 19,000 hit blog out of Houston, TX. After flopping around that day and night getting into Amsterdam, we dragged ass out of bed the next day and walked over to the Heineken Experience.

Apparently this is their old brewery that has sinced been turned into a kind of a Discovery Zone (shout out to my Charlotte, NC folks). For 15 Euro, they have lots of educational videos, mini-lectures, interactive exhibits; you can crush some grains, mix up the grist, and even take pictures of the horses they use for delivery. Not to mention that you can look inside the old coppers, etc. Fantastic for the beer geek and nonbeer geek. The best part is you get three free beers.

The first beer you get is at this funky tasting room with a bartender who breaks down the way they like to serve their Heineken. Trust me, this is probably the best you'll ever have Heineken in your life. They serve it on these taps that are "Extra Cold". They also wash out the glass with water before each pour, and slice off the top of the head with a plastic knife. The man says that they do this to surround the beer with water to hold in the flavor. Without this slicing technique, they believe the beer would lose some of its essence as it would float away with the carbonation. I don't know about all that bullsh8t. Personally, I don't think it does much of a damn thing, but everybody in Amsterdam at the bars and pubs were doing it, so whatever. The beer was excellent. Take everything you normally dislike about Heineken, and throw it out, and that's what you're left with.

Everyone in our crew and around the table wanted to know why this tasted so much better than the Heiny's we get in the US of A. The man said it's just the long trip causes more oxidation. I didn't want to raise my hand mention that your lovely green bottles cause waaaaaaaay more harm than the FedEx trip. Letting in all that light is NOT good. What's funny is that their Heineken Dark (in a brown bottle) is fantastic.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Beering in Amsterdam: First few hours

Yes, THAT Amsterdam. The Amsterdam with the grandiose castles, beautiful blond women, and decent beer. The Amsterdam that after you visit it with the guys, you may as well budget to buy your wife some jewelry and block out some time to clean the house, take care of all the yardwork, etc.

So our plane takes off

and eventually lands in AMS. We are TIRED as all get out as we drag our bags from the Centraal Station to the Bulldog Hostel (a good 0.5 mile walk). We check in, drop off our bags, and I ask the lady at the table at the hostel where some good beer is. She looks at me and says in a dutch accent that "I don't know the beer, I just smoke weed." Both ladies at the front desk light up some blunts and I know that they are NOT going to be any help. Moving on...

We make our way to the Cafe Majestic right at the Dam Square and I order the English Breakfast and the Moreeke Beer (brewed by Beer Brewery de Koningshoeven the only Trappist Brewery in the Netherlands).

Beer Log: Sept 27, 2009
State: Groggy, been up over 24 hours, still ready to hit the mean streets of AMS

Ha ha, the menu only calls it "Dark Beer"
Nose is yeasty and fruity. Amber and clear wtih 2 finger head. Light wheat beer character on the nose wtih a slight bitterness. Low 3 Star. I had this beer a LOT while I was here, so I recall when I later had it with fries and bread, I got a slight toasty breadiness to it, very pleasant and made for a nice breakfast beer. 3 Star.

At some point I had some Weickse Wheat, but found it be a basic wheat beer.

Beer Log: Sept 28, 2009
State: Sitting at a different cafe on the square in the morning, the rest of the boys are asleep.
I take my book and sit in the cafe on this early morning. Unless I have a very long night, I can rarely sleep late, so I left a note for the crew and figured I'd scare up some breakfast and people-watch on the square. In Paris, I did the same thing but at a much smaller cafe to talk politics with the locals. But here people aren't quite as chatty, so I'll be introverted with my paperback and whatnot. I orders up a Dutch Apple Pie and some Weickse.

Weickse Rose by De Ridder
A nice chill in the air combined with a warming sun makes me wish I'd never leave. ROse color beer with pink head, brilliantly clear. Nose is cherry, raspberry, and rose water. High-moderate carbonation with a nice sweet cherry, but not tart at all. Thereer some slight pilsner bread going on in there which is very nice, and I get a bubble gum finish. 3 Stars for the Girlie beer.

So far so good. I didn't expect to get anything much higher than a 3 Star out of AMS.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Just got back from Munchen

I just got back late last night from Munich. Oktoberfest was UNREAL. I haven't seen that many people that happy for that long. Made it into 4 tents (you really don't want to leave once you find a good spot), saw the castles in Fussen, and of course we did Amsterdam as well. Posts on the way, but time to hit the Texans game.