Monday, November 29, 2010

Beering in San Francisco: 21st Amendment

Finally getting to blogging about this trip. Earlier this month the family went up to San Francisco. The wife had a huge conference she was attending and my Mother-In-Law took the baby off my hands, so most of the day I was free to take long runs around the city and have beer up to my eyeballs. So the first day we get there and I am just awestruck at how much a fricken cab costs to get us to downtown from the airport. After the sticker shock, we check in, get cleaned up and IT'S BOSS TIME!!!

The first order of business is to get the wife registered for her conference and it was lunch time. I figure that this being San Fran, that we could walk into any decent restaurant and get some good local beer to start us off. We walk across the street from the hotel to Annabelle's. This nice restaurant that we felt a little out of place with considering we had a rambunctious 3-year old. But seeing as how the price is right, I didn't think we had anything to worry about. AB's has a very nice selection of area beer, about 10 in total if I recall. I'm kinda hot so why not start 'em up with a...

Beer Log: November 2, 2010
State: At Annabelle's in San Francisco. Pretty hot after all the walking, and eating some decent BBQ pork. Taking notes on my wife's ipad. What now son!

Trumer Pils
Big hoppy flower character with nice pilsner malt. Brilliantly clear straw color... Maybe it's just b/c this is the first beer I've had all day after the plane ride, but I like it. It's a slightly softer character to this one than I'm used to for a pilsner. Must have higher chlorides. Very quaffable and soft on the MT. 3.5 stars.

After the BBQ swine showed up, it was time for the next one

Speakeasy Prohibition Ale
Dark amber color, thin reddish-white head. Noseis very hoppy with caramel trying to come out. Nice hop malt balance. Nottoostrong at all, great for multiples. Nice caramel malt and a little to sweet. St. Actually nice crisp finish. Head has some lace. For some reason get a little wateriness somewhere in the middle of the palate. I like the cookie feeling as well. Good beer at three and a half stars...

After we took leave of the in-laws and the kid, the wife, a good friend ours, and I fired up the Android to find our way to the 21st Amendment. I am a HUGE fan of the Brewing Network and have been listening on podcast for years. I'm almost caught up on the archives. I listen to the BN so much that it has probably messed up my professional career as I stopped listening to NPR, Manager Tools, Oil and Gas Journal and so forth. I'll be so happy when I catch up on the archives so I can get it going professionally again. Regardless, I just had to make it to the 2-1-A as soon as possible. So we dragass to 563 Second Street (right across from AT&T park) to get us some.

Beer Log: That same afternoon after Annabelle's
State: A little warm after hoofing for a half mile or so, but enjoyed the joyful walk

21st Amendment Brewery and Restaurant .
So we go in there and it is VERY VERY Spacious. Lots of wood, elbow room, extremely high ceilings. They must pay a GRIP to keep the lease on this place. It's the middle of the afternoon on a workday, so the place was pretty empty. The thick white woman was working the bar as well as the tables. So my future babymomma eerrrr waitress gave us the beer list and it was nice. A good handful of the 21A beers with a few special collection bottles you can get in the back. No watermelon wheat, so I had to live with...


Kinda yeast and sweet on the nose, kinda funky. Clear beer, kinda plain. Reminds me of my home-brewed beg wit. Very smooth single, light and perfect for the summer slamming save the 6% abv. Decent carbo, though a little empty to me in the middle. Low 3 stars. Beer is getting worse as it warms. Take that to two stars

Noir de blanc

Very cloudy brown beer. Get some sweetness and esters on the nose, though it's the wife's beer and it's been sitting there for a while. Kinda reminds me of the stuff I had at Draught House I had in Austin. Very soft, mod carbo, and some big ester yeast flavor. Moderate malt flavor. Great mix of dark bock and wheat. Still a little weak for my taste, but I can see his one being a moneymaker for the pub. Low 3 stars.

Back in Black

Blackish brown with a thin white head and serious flowery hops, very cascade. Now we're talking. Harsh bit in hops with an actual soft finish. AT has hints of chocolate and roast notes. Adds to the bitterness. I like how this thing works together. Just what I expected from a west coast beer. Come on with it baby. High 3 stars for now. Will probably come back later to check it out. (Actually I never came back, but this Cascadian Dark was absolutely awesome).

The beering was not exactly what I expected at first, but not bad either.

Hold up:

Beer Log: Right now

State: Still got some of that sour Beer de Goord taste in my mouth, save us IPA

Sam Adams Latitude 48 IPA

Very clean grass/flower nose on a brilliantly clear amber looking beer. Somewhat sticky white head to boot (no homo). A good mix of pilsner bread and hard cascade-like yet complex hops. Not sure where the 48th latitude is, hold up: ok that's pretty cool. it's all hops on the 48th latitude. German, english, american hops. I can get the german noble funky hops and the harsh american. The English hops are there if I let the power of suggestion take over me, but who knows. It's more like the malt is very english like, kind of like the malt on an Elissa IPA from Saint Arnold, very earthy and smooth. High 3 Stars for this complex IPA from SA. Nice.

So the 2-1-A is a great place for some good beering. I didn't get to try any food, but I know I would be spending significant time there if I lived in San fran. Especially on gameday.

Beer de Goord

Just got back from Dixie and feeling pretty good.

Beer Log: right now
State: Feeling fine, but my eye is killing me

Jolly Pumpkin Beire de Goord
At least I think that's how that is spelled. We got this hazy straw colored moderately sour smelling beer from the Rare Beer of the Month club. Taste is rather sour, kinda bretty as well. Mouthfeel is gritty, bitter like grapefruit rather than grapefruity hops. Makes me get that sour beer face. Hmmm. I'm not getting all that pumpkin and spices they claim are in this bad boy. I get a light bread in there in the aftertaste. I can take it however. Beeradvocate has this thing HIGHLY rated, but whatever. I guess we should have cellared it or something as this one is a limited edition. No rating.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Beering in Indianapolis: The Ram

Had a surprisingly good time in Indianapolis. I didn't really know what to expect, or even if I would have the chance to hit some of their brewpubs. I made it out there for a weekend business trip, and was not disappointed.

Beer Log: November 20, 2010
State: Tired from working and talking all day, ready for the RAM.

Made it to Ram Restaurant and Brewery in Downtown Indy. I had already had some Sun King Osiris in the hotel room as a pregamer. Then it was on to the sampler tray at Ram.

The place looked like a great spot to watch a football game. Lot's of space, lot's of TVs, though not overly done. Their specialty is burgers and I of course ordered my burger with cheese and a fried egg (the cholesterol burger).

Ram Blonde
Very good bread and malt, sugar sweet with light hops. Smooth with high carbonation, a little veggie as well. If this is a blonde, it's probably one of the best blondes I've had right up there with the NOLA Blonde Ale. High 3 Stars.

Ram Hefeweizen
High banana and ester nose. Light estery banana bread flavor. Very soft, a little clovey and fruity. 3 Stars.

Hold up...

Beer Log: Right now
State: Kinda thirsty somehow after slamming two pitchers of Crystal Light today, then again, I have just run 4 miles.

Founders Dirty Bastard
The beer must be good as the wife just poured more of my beer. Smells great, has an actual scotch nose with malt. Kind of a hazy brown with a cinnamon peppered head. Beer has a nice malt, cinnamon, and roasted/smoke notes. Plenty of hot alcohol in the beer, as it's burning while going down. Not bad, just a little rough on the bitterness. Let me check my BJCP Droid app to verify this is in style. Oh yeah, this is smackdab in the style, not as I like it. 3 Stars.

Now back to your regularly scheduled blogging...

Ram 71 Pale
Citrus hop on the nose. Cloudy amber color with low head. Light noticeable hops. Nice and soft malt/bread thing going on. I've been tasting a lot of funky bread in Pale Ales these days. I even tried to calibrate it with Sierra Nevada PA, and got the same. Oh well. Low 3 Stars.

I basically stopped reviewing then to pay attention to my colleagues, but I did have the Buttface and the Total Disorder. My favorite beer was the Blonde ale, which I ordered a full glass. This is a very nice brewpub with some pretty good beer. My burger was closer to Medium-well than medium-rare. Not bad though. And it doesn't hurt they've got a ton of french fries.

No other travels planned save for a trip to Alabama. Maybe one quick trip to offshore and copping some NOLA. We may stop off coming back from Bama to hit up Zea, but who knows. Have a great Thanksgiving, I know you'll be seeing me doing some serious catch up on my beer blog. I'll be happy just to have the time to relax. Holla.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Petrol Station Anniversary Party: Divine Reserve 10

So it turns that one of the best beer bars in Houston celebrated it's fifth anniversary. To celebrate, Petrol Station set up a tap list of all high gravity rare beers, including some special ones that are not even for sale. I must say it was a very special event. I had to beat it out of there at about 8PM unfortunately, but it was fantastic. It's one of those things where you wish there was a hotel next door to the place. One sec.

Beer Log: Right now
State: Rather thirsty from my run this morning still

Celis Pale Bock
Copped this one over the weekend at Spec's Downtown. Clear amber color (looks like rum in my Old New Orleans Rum glass) with a lasting white head. Just sad on the taste. Pretty bitter and sour. No real malt in there. It's almost like the beer is infected. Well, I'm pouring this one out. I'll let you guess the rating.

So at Petrol I sat with a few other Houston area beer bloggers/tweeters and we had a great time. Great beer, good beer talk as well. Not to mention some cigars outside. Anyway let's start the show with a few reviews. The wife and I basically ordered a bunch of the beer in half pints as everything was VERY HIGH ABV.

Beer Log: November 13, 2010
State: Fired up for the big event, eating a Rancor burger and drinking a Dogfish Head 90 Minute as a palate cleanser.

Founders IPA
Amber with a white head. Great balanced hop and malt aroma. Taste is nice and very drinkable. I get a lot of grass and wood for the hops. I actually find this very refreshing as a very hop forward beer. I could tell many were not too thrilled with this one, but hey, I like it. I've been backing off my love of the balanced IPA for a hop forward pale ale or even something like an extra pale ale. 4 Stars. Hold up...

Beer Log: Right Now
State: Still thirsty as hell but now I have this sour Celis bock taste in my mouth

The Duke of Winship by Middle Ages
Got this from one of the boys maybe a year ago. Great malty and somewhat lemony nose on top of the huge head. And the head is on top of a cloudy deep brown color. The first thing that strikes me is the high carbonation on the mouthfeel. The beer has a nice light porter quality (roast, malt). I get some cinnamon as well in there. The beer finishes very dry with a light light bitterness. The body is thin as per style. Otherwise I'm getting a touch of metallic and water in there which takes it down to a low 3 stars.

So back to the Petrol

Dragon's Milk by New Holland
I've heard so much about this beer. Especially in places like The Brewing Network. Deep brown color with bourbon/plastic nose. Very strong malt almost imperial like. Lightly hopped with an excellent kind of chocolate and cream flavor throughout the experience. High 4 Stars.

Southern Star Abiding Dude
I learned that this beer was made with of course Southern Star and Ben's coffee beans (owner of Petrol Station). How cool is that? Brown and cloudy, smells strongly of maple syrup and oak and coffee. The taste is of strong bitter coffee (not usually my thing). This one got a little watery on the back of the palate. But very good for it's purpose and seem to get stronger as it warmed up. 3 Stars.

Hop Mouth by Arcadia
I don't even know how these dudes even GOT this beer here. The rub about Texas beer laws is that you cannot sell beer in a bar that is not available to the public, unless of course the beer only comes on draft. So when you are out at a great beer bar, you can basically assume that whatever you are drinking you can run to the Specs Downtown or on Jones Road and pick it up. But these beers I have not seen anywhere. Moving on. Hop Mouth has an amber color and creamy white head. Cascadey nose. Very creamy and smooth, like an English pale ale with American hops. High 3 Stars.

Divine Reserve 10 by Saint Arnold
AT LONG LAST!!!!!!!!! I was in San Francisco when this beer came out and if not for the man @Davewantbeer, I would not have this beer with me at all. But I have three bottles in my beer fridge, and I figured what the hell, I'm drinking this one everywhere I can get it. Dark amber color with excellent malt and sugar sweetness. Smooth and very delicious with the strong caramel and malt flavors. Low hops and very very clean. And I did not find it too cloying. I gotta give it to them again. 5 Stars. Absolutely divine. And that comes after a sh1t-ton of other beers.

Real Ale Mysterium Velum
This one is from our good friends at Real Ale. I understand this is the great Devil's backbone (one of my favorite Tripels) aged in Merlot barrels. Now if they managed to age this in Pinot Noir barrels I probably would still be at the bar drinking it. I get this beer and the first thoughts I get are "oh hell yeah". Great banana, clover with light character that yes cut through the DR10 English Barleywine. I can see the wine flavor in there with a pinch of sourness that I first attribute to Chardonnay. As it warms and I get the palate cleansed, I can see the Merlot. Dry finish, soft character with a little tannins going on. 4 Stars.

Southern Tier Creme Brulee
Very nice nose. This beer is like a stout with Creme brulee. I get the cream, the vanilla, and the burnt sugar thing. I don't know how in the hell they pulled that off but the flavor comes out very well, especially in the aftertaste. Very creative. 4 Stars.

Stone 10.10.10
Ah the Vertical Epic beer that never made it to Texas due to some mixup in the labelling. It's a tripel (going so out of order) and it has a great tripel nose and great tripel taste. Similar to the stuff I've had from Ommegang and Allagash. You all know the tripel characteristics by now, so when I tell you these guys have nailed it better than any Belgian Tripel I've had from Belgium, you know it's is the bomb. I actually have a bottle we brought back from San Francisco, so on 12.12.12 I'll be cracking open at least one bottle. 5 Stars.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

...Like Hot Chicks on the Beach

So I'm weighing in a bit heavy after my trip to San Fran, so I'm back on the weight watchers band wagon. I had my dinner and I'm still hungry. I have several points still left, so how about some porter.

Beer Log: Right now
State: A little thirsty and light headed from my run earlier today

Picked this one up at the BevMo in San Francisco, the good one over on Van Ness. Big money baby. This beer comes in a can (that's right cans), so I'm fired up. Pour it into my dimpled pint glass and the beer is giving me more brown head than Pinky. The smell has a great chocolate, plum, roast, and almost that hard caramel imperial malt. I think there is a pinch of coconut in there, but it's a little hard to tell. Oh hell yeah. Nice smooth with low carbo, a great malt and chocolate with a nice roasty character on the aftertaste. Low balanced hops as well. I don't know how many calories are in this thing, but I'm giving it 4 WW points like the Anchor Porter, and giving it 4 stars as well. This thing is just a great porter, not all stouty and too thick. Maybe there is some coconut, but I'm not getting much of it. It's taking a lot of my will not to not SLAM this thing right now, go into the cabinets, put the other three cans on ice and slam them, then get on a plane to the Maui, open the fermenter, and dive in with a straw.
You know what. FIVE Stars for the Maui Coconut Porter. It was well worth the $12 for a fourpack.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Live blogging from the iPad: Allagash

Screw that damn ipad. I'm on my Dell now. It wouldn't let me type in the screen. Just got back from San Fran on Sunday and I absolutely loved it. Speaking of today, I just finished an Abita Fall Fest and did not care for it. Too metallic for me. Anyway, let's finally crack open some of that Allagash I've got in the house

Beer Log: Right now
State: Hanging out with the wife and kid, a little HDNet Fights on the tube.

Allagash BLACK: Huge head on a sour smelling beer Nice and dark amber with big tan head (no homo). The nose has notes of plum, brown sugar, and caramel malt, and some roasted notes. We had this in our regular fridge and took it out of the fridge for about 20 minutes to give it a good sweating. The taste is a strong bitterness not necessarily from the hops, but kind of like a bitter root flavor going on. Like if you mess around and added too much cinnamon to your oatmeal. Second sip hits us with a nice brown sugar and malt, much better. I like the soft yet crisp nature of the beer. It's very drinkable and leaves a nice roasty/coffee flavor on the tongue. High 3 Stars for the combo belgian style stout.

As soon as I can get those damn beer reviews off the ipad, I'll go ahead and post my adventures in beer in San Francisco.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Beering in San Francisco: Haight Ave

Sitting here in the hotel after a great day of beering yesterday, all without taking any notes. Started with lunch where MY OWN DAMN HOTEL has like 10 craft beers on tap that I've never had before. I would say the most interesting one was the Napa Smith Red Ale. One of the more flavorful and fuller Red Ales. It went very well with the Burger and Fries.

So after I chat it up with some folks back in Houston, I get on the cable car like bus thing to make my way over to Magnolia. The guys there were very cool in the Bohemian looking area of San Francisco (Haight Ave). The area reminded me a lot of Frenchman Street in New Orleans, with the shit-ton of flyers, colors, and white guys with dred locks.

I saw that Magnolia Brewpub had an extensive tap list of their brewed beers. I started out with probably the best Kolsch I've had in my life, the Kalifornia Kolsch. Very bready and full bodied, extremely drinkable with a great hop note. This beer had it all. 4 stars. I'm not sure how much this is "to style" of the kolsch's, but people that care about those things outside of competitions are tools. As long as they don't change the name to something like Kalifornia Krazy Kolsch I'm all for it.

I picked up some English style cask conditioned beer next. The dude had to indeed hand pump that sonofabitch, and it was very "authentic". Maybe the heat was getting to me, but this smooth, low carbo, 65 deg beer was not doing it for me. No doubt the Brutal Bitter could be pretty brutal if enjoyed in copious amounts. I had an excellent belgian blonde as well that they brewed with 21st Amendment. The last beer was the Proving Ground IPA. I don't care who your daddy is, you have to try the IPA in the Bay Area every chance you get. Totally knocked the bitter off my palate. Just excellent floral hops all around and very drinkable on a warm day. Just nailed it man. High 4 stars.

So I had a choice to make, my shins feel like they are made of peanut brittle, and the man says I can go west and hit Alembic, which the Magnolia owner also owns for some belgian beering, or I can go east and hit the Toronado and watch Georgia Tech play and try everything else on the planet. So I belly up to the bar at Toronado and man this place is packed. The bartender is pretty cool and looks like the bartender from Fangtasia in the first season of True Blood. I can't help but note that as much open space there was at Magnolia, this place is very small. How they get that much beer in this place is a testament in and of itself. Start talking beer with another patron, and I order a few beers which I'm having trouble remembering at this point. Just plenty of IPA's like Blind Pig and whatnot. I didn't really try to write anything down as I was focused on the game and acting a fool.

I miss the durn bus and have to drag ass all the way back to my hotel to relax the rest of the night. Great night overall and hopefully I'll make it to Oakland and Berkeley today for more reports. Hopefully I'll write something down this time. Holla.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Beering in San Francisco

I'm finally getting my nose above water. I've been staying up past midnight every night doing work for the job, and although I've been drinking some great beerrs, I've not had the chance or energy to do anything more than twitter. @beerbrotha

But I FIND MYSELF this morning in San Francisco, California. We flew in last night and after making sure the baby was with Grandma, the wife and I grabbed another friend of ours and hit the damn streets. I left my notebook at home but my wife brought her ipad, and I just took my notes on that. As I sit here, I can clearly see that the wife got up this morning and took her IPAD with her to her conference today, which means I don't have my notes.

We tried beers like Trumer and Speakeasy at this nice little restaurant Annabelles, from there we walked to the 2-1-A, the 21st Amendment. It was great to be in Brewing Network lore. The beers were alright, I loved the Cascadian Dark. Afterward we hit this little Indian place that had Taj Mahal beer on tap. The Kingfisher was pretty tasty actually. Dark amber color, a little metallic at first that went away. The Flying Horse was like cornmeal in beer form.

Afterward we did some assdragging over to Thirsty Bear, where I liked the Polar Bear Lager and we just got samplers of everything else. Not bad stuff. Will probably hit that one again since we ended up burning through samplers. Afterward we walked on up to Rogue's. Very cool spot if not rather subdued. They've got a ton of Rogue beer on tap, that was also very nice. I had the bitter. It was alright.

Hold on...

...okay I just got back from running "The Nob" or Nob's Hill. That is NOT to be effed with. Well I'm off to check out a little bit of the Giants Parade (may as well watch someone enjoy winning), and then I'm onward to do some beering somewhere in around the Golden Gate Park.