Saturday, April 21, 2012

Alaska has come to Texas

Beer Log: Right now
State: Sitting on an awesome patio at Cedar Creek.  Perfect weather.

First off, why didn't someone tell me about how great Cedar Creek was.

Alaska Amber
Clear amber colored beer (who'da thunk it), with a thin white head.  Beer has a caramel oatmeal cookie smell to it.  Taste is much the same.  I get a nice caramel malt and a moderately thin body.  The beer makes you think you'll taste some off flavors but they never come out.  Low hops and very short malt after taste.  A very sessionable beer that I imagine is meant for all of us to enjoy after hunting down moose or playing hockey.  Just incredibly simple and effective.  3 stars.

Now all I need is some pulled pork breakfast tacos and I'm good to go.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mississippi makes it to Houston

It was late August 2005. I was driving my still new convertible on highways with down trees, leaves everywhere, and down power lines. My wife of 2 months was in her car following me. Our lovely condo on a golf course on the water could not possibly have stood a chance right? Hurricane Katrina was as huge as the Gulf itself, and all we had was some little sandbags. I listened to classical music on my XM radio as the local stations were all down. The wife was unemployed and I had just started out of college, and the only big valuable I could think of was my 10" piece of the goal post from the game where Georgia Tech beat Auburn the year before.

Much to our surprise, we had no damage at all at our condo. Down trees everywhere but nothing was wrong, just spoiled food in the fridge. Fortunately our place which was completely submerged was saved by the double paned windows due to the extra protection they had for golf courses. We lived on the first tee. We packed up about two weeks worth of stuff and high tailed it to Houston. I was transferring to Houston anyway in a couple weeks and the job let me leave early.

First off we didn't know we were the first set in a HUGE number of evacuees to come to Houston, and second, who the hell puts a damn microbrewery in coastal Mississippi just after we leave? I know I was just getting into craft beer in those days, as I had just discovered Shiner Bock on a training trip to Houston, but whatever.

Anyway, Lazy Mag has finally made it Houston and I cannot wait to start slamming some of that Indian Wheat during the oppressive heat of the Gulf Coast summers.

Beer Log: Right now
State: Just got back from Petrol Station, chilling out with the baby awaiting a crazy week at the job

First off, you cannot imagine how tempting it is for me to mix in dixieland and slavery references all throughout this beer review, but that was would just be wrong and mean spirited. Huge white poofy head on a light very clear amber beer. The nose is a little malt, a little veggie, and some slight funky hops (seems like noble hops here). Taste has a light hops and malt, followed up by some noticeable metallic flavor. That melds away to sourdough bread and lastly some very bitter hop finish. Hmmmm. Just a wash of different flavors as it goes across my tongue (no homo). The metal flavor mixed with the lemony/grassy hops may not be the best for a Pale Ale, but I fricken LOVE IT in my Czech Pilsners. If they backed off the malt and used some bottom fermenting yeast, you could have just injected it in my veins. The more I drink it, the more I enjoy the flavor but that metal is throwing things off. Low 3 Stars.

May be a little off on the trip to Houston, but I know the next time we hit the Beau Rivage, I'm going to ordering a lot of this one at the craps table.

Lazy Mag Southern Pecan
Much appreciation for the deep south ingredients in the beer. Coastal Mississippi was a great place on the map. Everybody was very nice, we got involved with the local high school football team, and New Orleans was a quick trip away. Anyway, here we go... Clear beer again but ruby amber. Big offwhite head this time yielding a slight nutty malt (no homo). Everyone that knows me knows that me and nut brown ales do not mix. And sadly this is still the same here. I get a nuttiness and some light malt and chocolate. Still getting some of that metal as well. Anyway, no rating as this is one of my least favorite styles.

Great first start overall, still waiting for boys from coastal Mississippi. And to commemorate, a little tune from Coastal Mississippi's finest joining up with Houston Rap Legends. If you are at work, you may want to put on the headphones for this one.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A little timeout for Great Lakes

Beer Log: April 1, 2012
State: At the TGIF at the Pittsburgh airport

After choking down a Budweiser at the US Airways club, I figured it would be better to pay for a good beer than get a Bud for free.

Clear amber with a big white head. Nice cascady grass nose. Great light hops and malt. Perfect marriage of the two with no corn or butter. It's beauty, is in it's simplicity. As clean as the Shiner Wild Hare but gives you a lot more flavor. 4 stars.

Beering in Pittsburgh: Downtown

So we actually stayed Downtown in Pittsburgh. And damned if there wasn't a little something going on out there beer and bar-wise. I did not rent a car so I had no opportunity to check out any brewpubs, so we had to stay true to the local bar scene.

Beer Log: March 28, 2012
State: At Sharp Edge Bistro

I would say this is the best beer bar I could find within walking distance. It had several dozen beers on tap and some pretty nice food as well. It wasn't too packed this night so I could just belly up to the bar, watch the Pens game, and chill out.

Big white head with good IPA style hoppy/malty nose. Cloudy and orangish amber color. I was attracted to the beer by the name, sounds like it should be hoppy. Beer tastes very hop forward with a simple high hop bitterness. $5 says it's a Single Hop beer. I'm getting somewhere between grapefruit and grass with the hoppy flavor, which I will now dub grassfruit. Low oatmeal cookie malt. Give me 3 stars.

Oh GOOD LORD! Big malt and hop on the nose. (Yes, I am East Coast IPAing it on this trip). The malt is a huge caramel. Flavor is not as imposing. It's big but not as crushing on the ops. Hops are kind of soda like. Though I suspect my palate is blown. No rating.

Other locales and beers that I had but did not get notes on:
Double Day Famous Burgers (I had the cheeseburger with fried egg) with the Troegs Nugget Nectar (love that beer). Had a little Marzen from Penn Brewery.

Later on we made it back to Sharp Edge for some coffee beers, like Full Pint's Perc E Bust and the Bells Java Stout. I was with some friends and short on time, so I felt it would be rude to be scribbling a lot of notes.

Lastly, I had what I think was one of the best simple brown ales I've ever had:
Cucapa Obscura. We found this one at this very trendy tapas bar called Seviche. Too bad I didn't have any notepad and my phone was dead, but it's a DAMN shame I had to go all the way to Pittsburgh to get some Mexican Craft beer. I don't get that beer in Texas, I didn't get that beer in MEXICO!

Beering in Pittsburgh: Go Local

So it turns out they let me back at another NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) Conference, this time in sunny Pittsburgh. I know why NSBE insists on having these conferences in March in the midwest, but this is killing me. Last year we were snowed up in St. Louis. This year it's frigid Pittsburgh. Next year in balmy Indianapolis, and then Nashville. Whatever happened to New Orleans. Anyway moving on.

In between working at the conference, we do like to check out the local flavor of the city, and of course that means we go local with the beer. So let's begin...

Beer Log: March 28, 2012

Right on the corner of 6th and Penn (creative eh?), this place was very hip. Lot's of beautiful people all over the place, drinking it up on a Wednesday afternoon. Anyway, they only had two locals ... hold up

Beer log: Right now
State: watching Drinking made Easy with the wife

Widmer Dark Saison
Just picked this up from Specs. It is in fact a dark brown color but is rather clear. Light white head. The wife was drinking it but she wasn't feeling it, so she gave me the rest of her beer. Light estery with caramel malt nose. The taste has that classic sour saisonness that we like, with a light grittiness to the body, which I like in my saisons. I get a very faint caramel malt (for all that color especially) and the beer finishes with a funky sour bitterness. I think it should be a little colder, but I'm not digging this one too much. I fear this beer has fallen into the category of beer that I used to love but just can't get into these days, Dunkels. Beers that are typically light that they darken up with more malt. Anyway, the more you drink it you a very nice soft banana and passion fruit, but it is fleeting. I'm sure I'll still find a home for it, but give me High 2 stars.

Ok back to Pittsburgh

I am very much looking forward to this Nut Brown ale, as apparantly it's kind of a big deal in these parts. I get a beer that's deep brown in color with a very thin white head. Nose has hints of chocolate, moderate nuttiness and something like dark cherries. Beer is very English to me. Low malt and all. The more I drink it I get something that reminds me of bitter chocolate powder. Not quite the cinnamon challenge or anything. The beer is rather dry and a bit sour. Not digging this one. Low 2 Stars. Not going to lie, I got with the Victory Hop Devil (which was also everywhere) the rest of the night. Also, I've never been a Nut Brown guy (no homo).

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Back from Pittsburgh, beer with the wife

Beer Log:
Sunday night
State: Chilling with some spicy crawfish

Big big head on a kind of cloudy. Beer has a great grassy nose with some pine in there. Taste is a big extra hoppy beer. Lots of grassy hops and a moderate caramel cookie thing. I think we
accidently aged this one as I like to wolf down the fresh hoppers ASAP. Anyway, I still find it very very pleasant. 4 stars.

About an hour later. Watching Game of Thrones.

beer has a big yet effervescent head with a orangish cloudy color. Gotta love that label by the way. Nose is a sour jolly rancher thing going on. On first taste you notice the big carbonation and sour/saltiness. Not sure which farmhouse we're talking about here but the light candy sweetness seems to really help. Thinking candy of I'm thinking that Halloween gum for which the flavor lasts. Low 4 stars.

How soon you should drink Fresh Hop beers