Sunday, March 17, 2013

Beering in Austin, TX: Bangers

Figured we could clear out the ol' Ipad of beer notes
So back in November I was asked to do some interviews for the company.  The beauty is that after the convention I had a little down time and the family came up. 

 As I was in Austin, TX, good beer is pretty much EVERYWHERE.  The 7-11 has a killer craft beer selection.  So we needed some food in someplace new, so I found this German beer garden that specialized in wild game.  Winning!

State: At Bangers Sausage House and Beer Garden. 

First off my daughter was not having ANYTHING to do with what they called Hot Dog at Bangers, so I had to walk to IHOP to get Bella a waffle.  It was either that or leave all together.  Boy I was upset and thirsty as hell. Ordered the flight of hops and grain and local stuff

Thirsty Planet Yellow Armadillo
Very clear with a banana light nose. The beer has a great banana and some poofy ester character.  The beer is incredibly lit and refreshing. Just a little watery for a hot second but gives to a light lemony bitterness. Low 3 stars

Hops and Grain Alt-eration
Very lacy head with ruby brown color with cinnamon caramel nose. The taste has a nice cookie caramel thing going on. Great bitterness throughout probably making it a little more American. The hops are a pinch harsher than I expected for an alt, but this can work. 3 stars.

Oh good the venison and antelope with cinnamon and clove sausage showed up.  That's right, Venison and Antelope with Cinnamon and Clove.

Hops and Grain Pale Dog
Great hoppy nose, almost piney and malty. Damn that's good. Perfectly balanced malt and hops. Maybe the best pale ale I've ever had. Can I call it 5 stars with that simple perfection?

Pedernales Lobo Negro
What you call me? Great light body with a fantastic dark malt character. High 3 stars. Could become my new go to beer when I'm in the Hill Country.

Hops and Grain Belgian Pale Ale
Oh yeah, that nose has the same pale ale but with some Belgian esters. Fantastic beer with a mod piney hops, caramel malt, and the yeasty notes for the Belgian side. 3 stars.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Beering In China: Shanghai Nights

Day two and we roamed the streets of Shanghai looking at the fantastic scenery, an interesting mixture of western shopping and eastern shopping and Cuban cigars.  Lots of fun around The Bund.

The one thing I'm not sure about is who took more pictures.  Me of the amazing Chinese modern and colonial architecture, or the Chinese people of me.  It was like I was a part of the damn tour!  It was not so the personnel that were local citizens.  It seemed like it was more of the tourists groups from other Asian countries.

"And over on the left we have the American Negro. You typically will only see them on television rapping and this one may 'bust a rhyme' for you if you ask politely.  Feel free to use flash photography."

Before Obama I imagine all they saw of us was 50 Cent and P. Diddy, fantastic.  We all just went along with it after a while.  I can only imagine what it's like if some these guys when they come to and they find themselves surrounding by blackfolk on like the MARTA.

But I digress.
So we hit the tour bus and make our way to Suzhou.  After hitting some tourist destinations we hit the Brussels Beer and Wine Bar on our own.  How we got there was I looked it up on Google Maps and go the walking directions, however they called a cab for us at the hotel.  It was located on the Jinji Lake with one road in and one road out, the Li Gong Di baby!!


Around 9PM the area was bouncing with a series of western style bars  We figured we would start at Brussels and then waltz over to the German beer house across the street after some cigars and beer for starters.  The cafe was supposed to have live music, however it had the male DJ singing Mary J. Blige on Karaoke. Otherwise this place was huge and it was empty.

The place however was FULL of cigars, Huka, and beer.  SCORE!!

Beer Log: October 14, 2012
State: At the Brussels Beer and Wine in Suzhou

Chimay White
Came in the bottle but had the proper goblet.  The bar was very comfortable by the way with the dark red decor.  Not bad.  It was three of us so we just hung out in the back  Beer was a dark amber color with a big white lacy head.  Light estery banana, caramel, and cherry nose.  Moderate bitterness with a strong caramel and plum flavor.  It's kinda off though and a pinch cardboardy.  I think it may have been there a while actually.  No rating.

While we were just shooting the breeze, the bartender came up and said "We are going home".  So we packed up and made our way outside to hit that German place.  When we walked outside the Li Gong Di was a GHOST TOWN.  All the bars and restaurants were dead.  Lights off.  No people.  Minimal street lights in comparison to the LED and Neon wonderland we walked into just 2 hours prior.

And it was only 11PM.  We saw one taxi driving into the peninsula, and I told our folks we are walking 2.5km through the city or getting this taxi when he comes back, as there is only one road.  We did flag the taxi however the dude did not speak or read mandarin as far as we could tell.  Luckily I had a little charge on my phone and still had the directions on them.  I just pointed our way around town and we made it back to the hotel.

Apparently, after about 11PM you can forget it.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Beering in China: The Flight Out

So it turns out that our International vacation in 2012 found us going to China.  We were thinking Brazil... well honestly I was thinking Europe.  As far as I'm concerned, I can travel to Europe EVERY year.  First off it has incredible Continental infrastructure so I don't have to THINK about driving or getting on a stodgy bus to get around.  Great architecture, cooler weather than Houston (which isn't saying much)... and um LOTS of different types of beer.

The wife and I like to travel with other couples and some friends of our were going to Shanghai with their employee network and we were allowed to tag along.  So a few grand and some Mandarin food planning sessions later and off we go.

So I figured for this trip I'm going to throw out all my old assumptions and just blog up every beer I have on this trip if possible.  So let's get started.

Beer Log: October 11, 2012
State: Late Morning flight (just after Beer 30).  Flight is delayed to San Francisco.  Hanging out in the United Lounge

Besides the great networking opportunities, comfortable seating, and great wireless, the United Club also has free beer and spirits.  Each club around the world tends to have a local beer on tap as well as Heineken and a Bud Light.  However I am a Heineken guy ever since my last trip to Amsterdam, so let's go.

Clear and straw colored.  Head is thin and white with some decent lacing on the glass.  The nose has a little bit of fresh green beans.  Taste has a cracker thing to it, almost like sun chips or maybe a lowfat pita bread you can get from Kroger, not so much the pita bread at one of the good HEB's. 4 Stars for one of my go to beers.  The wife is chopping it up with George Foreman, who actually hangs out in this lounge all the time at Bush Airport.  I do have on my Precision MMA shirt on, so I could feel froggy.  But nevermind.

So the flight was so delayed that our pick up flight to San Francisco was going to be a photo finish.  Our trip coordinator left their thinking cap at home and did not bring her cellphone, so everyone was basically on their own.  The wife and I ended up getting on two seats to a flight going to LAX and then onward to Shanghai, getting us there about 30 minutes after the original flight.  Plus that flight to LAX and then to Shanghai had TV's with all the movies while the flight from SFO featured the sound of a jet engine as in-flight entertainment.  SCORE!

State: LAX was a new airport for both of us so we ended up not having time to hoof it to the United Club and found our way to a little Karl Strauss bar near the Baja Fresh.  Apparantly Baja Fresh is the best place known to man if you ask the folks out there.

Karl Strauss Amber Lager 
Amber color, good caramel and toasty nose to it.  Tastes fantastic after the flight for sure.  The flavor is a nice melange of toasted English muffin with a dusting of brown sugar.  High 3 stars.

They did not have anything else available so we hit the flight.  Luckily they had free drinks on the flight although we were in Economy Plus and I made it through all the Avenger series of movies.

After landing we caught up with our team, waited for a few folks, and made it late to the hotel.  We found our way to what they call the "American Embassy"... Kentucky Fried Chicken.  I was eating fried chicken like it was nectar and ambrosia.  We checked in to the Marriot (very American I know) and found the hotel bar.  Although I've had it very often, we got ourselves some...

State: Headache, been up 36 hours, late night in Shanghai.

They had it in a bottle instead of on tap.  Whatever's clever.  No nose and brilliantly clear.  Taste has a light sugar sweetness and moderate hops yielding some veggie flavor.  Refreshing after being up 36 hours.  High 2 Stars.

Tiger Draught
Green 22 oz bottle.  Clear again and very fizzy gold beer.  Not much to it in the taste.  Bud Light of Singapore if you ask me.  But that's all we go so I'll have another. 1 Star.