When winter rolls around, and I'm working on insulating myself from the nasty bitter wind that blows, I drink a lot of *dark* beers. I know some of you are not fans of the dark brews. But I think it is because you are afraid. Be not afraid. A beer sort of girl will take you by the hand, and show you the dark side. It is not evil. It is rich, comforting, and delicious. So sit up straight, and be sure to grab your pens, pencils, paper, or if you insist on being all digital, your keyboard. You're about to get some learnin'.
Beer school is now in session. Here are a few types of dark beers, and how I describe them. In all fairness, I describe them this way because the Alström Bros explain things so perfectly, and they always nail it.
Porter - The porter style of beer is responsible for the cartoon image of a drunk swigging from a jug marked XXX. X's were used to denote strength, so one X would be less strong than XX. So you know this style of beer is OLD SCHOOL. It is also the father of the stout. Porter brewers learned that they could roast grains to make them dark, and this turned into the stout. Porters are dark, no doubt, but typically aren't made with roasted grains, and so have a slightly simpler taste. They're a little dry, like wine, but they pack a powerful taste punch. Just because they are dark does not mean they are the strongest beer around. Usually they are on par with your everyday average domestic light in a bottle variety of beer.
Stout - (my fave) - I described it in last week's beer post, but boiled down, this is a very very dark beer, that makes someone think about something rich, like coffee or toffee or chocolate. It isn't sweet like fruit beers can be, it can feel almost dry when compared to light colored beers. The main flavor of a stout comes from roasted barley. Carbonation is usually minimal in stouts, which is why they are usually put on a nitro tap in bars. The nitro sytem is what is responsible for that creamy, masking effect that makes pouring a Guinness so fun to watch. The big 3 are Murphy's, Guinness and Beamish.
Oatmeal Stout - A variation of the traditional stout, this came about when people thought that adding oats to the brewing mix would make the beer healthier. The side bonus is that oatmeal stouts tend to be a litle sweeter than traditional stouts. What you get is a very silky-smooth beer that has a BIG taste, but doesn't feel like you should have to chew it.
Tonight, however, I'm drinking another regular old stout. Because I like them! And I feel like I've earned it. I worked out today and everything. So there. Today's beer is Bridgeport Brewery's Black Strap Stout. I opened this beer almost 15 minutes ago, and then got side tracked by this stupid post. So it's been sitting awhile with only a few sips taken, and the head is still almost an inch thick. Regardless of how long I left it there, I have a feeling that it would leave lacy trails all the way down the glass as I drank it. (That's a good thing!) It totally smells like chocolate and coffee, with almost a cocoa taste immediately hitting me. After that dissolves, there's a little bitter kick of hops, with some molasses, and a dry, i-need-to-drink-more-now feeling left in my mouth.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
When winter rolls around, and I'm working on insulating myself from the nasty bitter wind that blows, I drink a lot of *dark* beers. I know some of you are not fans of the dark brews. But I think it is because you are afraid. Be not afraid. A beer sort of girl will take you by the hand, and show you the dark side. It is not evil. It is rich, comforting, and delicious. So sit up straight, and be sure to grab your pens, pencils, paper, or if you insist on being all digital, your keyboard. You're about to get some learnin'.
Friday, December 09, 2005
I'm freezing this weekend, and I want to drink beer. So I reach for a comfort beer. For me, this is the beer version of mashed potatoes. A stout! Today's beer is Sierra Nevada's Stout. Before anyone jumps down my throat about picking "bigger name" beers, I'll remind you that the beers I review/recommend are based largely on accessibility. There are thousands of amazing craft brews that can only be purchased in one place. That doesn't help me when I want to try something, and I can't get my greedy paws on it. And it doesn't help anyone reading this who lives in a completely different part of the world.
So Sierra Nevada is readily available at stores and bars across the US, and it's a good, solid stout example. A stout as defined by BeerAdvocate: "Inspired from English & Irish Stouts, the American Stout is the ingenuous creation from that. Thankfully with lots of innovation and originality American brewers have taken this style to a new level. Whether it is highly hopping the brew or adding coffee or chocolate to compliment the roasted flavors associated with this style. Some are even barrel aged in Bourbon or whiskey barrels. The hop bitterness range is quite wide but most are balanced. Many are just easy drinking session stouts as well. "
The official BeerAdvocate review states:
Appearance: A smooth black with leather hues around the edges and a creamy tan head with great retention.
Smell: Rich dark and on the dry side hints of fruit esters and grain aromas with a full earthy hop leaf nose, notes of ripe plum and light molasses are also detected.
Taste: A creamy full bodied brew with a roasted barley bitterness, notes of chocolate and a touch of caramel. High hop bitterness to balance that begins light, turns sharp and slightly tingly, eventually imparting its earthy flavour in the aftertaste and complementing the dry bitterness left from the roasted barley. The aftertaste stays with you for a very long time.
Notes: One of our favourite stouts; a well balanced brew showing both malt and hop complexities without one being the more dominant.
In plain english, this is one tasty beer with big flavor and a bit of a bite in the aftertaste. It is quite filling, so this is something I sip on for a long time. No pounding back stouts for me. I'd get full before I got drunk.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Today's beer is the one I had a wee bit too much of last night. I love my Ad Club cronies, and it's always a little too good of a time. Ad peeps can drink. I feel as though I have to represent too. I would be a terrible super hero. Free beer is my downfall, and everyone knows it. At least I know enough to anticipate the hangover, and actually planned to be out of the office.
Boulevard Pale Ale is an american pale ale, brewed by the Boulevard Brewing Company. I love most of their beers, with their seasonal Irish Ale being my top choice. The options last night were Pale Ale, Unfiltered Wheat, and Natty Light. Truly. People were drinking Natty Light as if it's an ironic thing to do. Blech. Just say no.
One reviewer on BeerAdvocate had this to say:
Appearance: Deep golden color; White-ish head dissipated quicker than I'd like (perhaps the glass had soap residue it).
Smell: Fruity, hoppy aroma.
Taste: Voila! A great mixture of several malts, with a bread-y character, and a hop dryness that lingered nicely.
Mouthfeel: Maybe a bit thin, but as this is 'just' a pale ale, I'm not going to be too critical of the weight in the mouth.
Drinkability: High. This is a great example of a midwest pale ale with a wonderful complexity, yet light enough to keep puttin' 'em back. I wish Boulevard beers were available in Chicago, but every time I've tried them on past trips or at beer fests, they have been consistenly good beers and I feel priviledged to sample them every chance I get. Nothing too esoteric, just very well-made beers. The pale ale is certainly a good example of this.
I can heartily back-up the fact that this beer has a high drinkability rating. I always drink more than I should. So instead of hording it all for myself, I share it with you all. Please save me from myself.
Friday, October 28, 2005
I tried to take Kunstemaecker's tip, and look for a Boeteling. I mean, a dude in Belgium has access to greater beer than I do in the middle of the middle of the U.S. But alas, all I can find is the reviews posted by other people who happen to live in Belgium. And certainly not anywhere that would ship to the middle of the middle of nowhere. Sorry, Kunst, this is why my beer selections are not always up to snuff. I gotta make do with what I can get my greedy beer paws on myself.
I need a beer mentor, me thinks. Even the pros need someone they can look up to. My friend AzianBrewer is not around a lot, and while I respect his opinions, I'm just not enough of a sake afficianado to really hang with him. YOU think you got what it takes? Lemme know.
So, I go back to the well. Back to BeerAdvocate. There are many who could be wonderful mentors. There's a dude on that site that actually TEACHES a BEER CLASS at a college. I might email & profess my undying love. Nah. Don't want to scare him off. Instead I'm internet-stalking him. I picked one of his favorite beers as the beer of the week. Is that creepy? Heh. Oh well! Mr. Mystery Beer Man loves Doppel Bocks. And I love Doppel Bocks! Tis fate.
The favorite is Salvator Doppel Bock, brewed by Paulaner-Salvator-Thomasbraeu AG in Germany, and is affiliated with Heineken, which makes distribution a snap. The review says:
Tinged with red and possessed of incredible clarity, the tan head is fed by extremely fine bubbles. This is a well made brew. The sweet scents in the aroma are unbelievable; candy and baked goods, dark berries and plum. Amazingly, the flavor delivers on the aroma. And that happens without overpowering the palate.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Sometimes when I reflect on all the beer I drink, I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn't drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. I think, "It is better to drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver."
-- Babe Ruth
An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools.
-- Ernest Hemingway
When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.
-- Paul Hornung
24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not.
-- H. L. Mencken
When we drink, we get drunk. When we get drunk, we fall asleep. When we fall asleep, we commit no sin. When we commit no sin, we go to heaven. So, let's all get drunk and go to heaven!
-- George Bernard Shaw
Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
-- Benjamin Franklin
Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.
-- Dave Barry
Beer: Helping ugly people have sex since 3000 B.C.
-- W. C. Fields
Remember "I" before "E", except in Budweiser.
-- Professor Irwin Corey
To some it's a six-pack, to me it's a "support group." Salvation in a can!
-- Leo Durocher
Friday, October 21, 2005
Since it's Friday, and I plan to drink while I watch the Chiefs play tonight and hopefully eat BBQ that we pick up from the joint around the corner, I want a beer that can be drank in copious quantities, and will combat some serious spice. I'm thinking about something just slightly sweet, to kill that sauce burn. It's my beer version of orange or stawberry soda. And I want something familiar, since I do plan to drink more than 3. So today's pick is Pete's Wicked Strawberry Blonde. Shut up with your , "way to pick a girly beer," comments. It's good. It serves a specific purpose. And if you were allowed to come to my house & eat BBQ & watch football, you'd totally try to steal it instead of drinking bottles from the case of Bud Light that's at the bottom of the fridge. I know you!
Pete's Strawberry Blonde is a fruit beer. It will smell and taste faintly of strawberries. The Pete's site calls it a golden lager made of the finest pale and wheat malts and Cluster Hops, with a kiss of natural strawberry flavor. BeerAdvocate reviewers say things like:
Light bodied, Clear gold with only a slight hint of pink and a moderate head that produces a bit of lace.
The aroma is light malt and a nice strawberry.
Mild malt flavor with an overtone of strawberry..Strawberry flavor is definite but subtle enough to be enjoyed without being overdone. Mild hops flavor, well balanced. Very good for a fruit flavored beer. Drinkable and refreshing
That's high praise from a beer snob!
Friday, October 14, 2005
More pumpkin flavored beer? What the hell? I thought true beer fans don’t like fruit or veggie flavored beers? Yeah, well, this is a special occasion. I ordered this online, specifically after last week’s Beer Friday. So not only was it a special order, it was highly anticipated, which always makes everything better. If you don’t like it, I don’t care. And besides, you know that in back of my fridge, behind the pitcher of OJ and the Country Crock, there are always bottles of Bud Light or Miller Lite. For when you need to drink for the alcoholic content, and not so much for the taste. Although when it gets to that point, I usually will point you in the direction of the 1.75 liter bottles of vodka or rum to do that job. Back to the beer. I got it. My big FedEx’d box of Punkin’ Ale from the Dogfish Head Brewery in The great glass of beer looked beautiful, smelled delicious, and while it is definitely a clear beer, without any cloudiness, it feels substantial and almost creamy when you drink it. Almost like you are drinking the essence of pumpkin pie. It’s not cloying, or sweet, but it feels like fall, with a little snap and bite while making you feel all cozy inside. There is a malt base which comes out along with brown sugar, and a little pumpkin. I enjoyed it very much. If they can work on their consistency, in either the brewing process between batches, or maybe just while bottling, this would be a great beer, all of the time.
If you don’t like it, I don’t care. And besides, you know that in back of my fridge, behind the pitcher of OJ and the Country Crock, there are always bottles of Bud Light or Miller Lite. For when you need to drink for the alcoholic content, and not so much for the taste. Although when it gets to that point, I usually will point you in the direction of the 1.75 liter bottles of vodka or rum to do that job.
Back to the beer. I got it. My big FedEx’d box of Punkin’ Ale from the Dogfish Head Brewery in
The great glass of beer looked beautiful, smelled delicious, and while it is definitely a clear beer, without any cloudiness, it feels substantial and almost creamy when you drink it. Almost like you are drinking the essence of pumpkin pie. It’s not cloying, or sweet, but it feels like fall, with a little snap and bite while making you feel all cozy inside. There is a malt base which comes out along with brown sugar, and a little pumpkin. I enjoyed it very much. If they can work on their consistency, in either the brewing process between batches, or maybe just while bottling, this would be a great beer, all of the time.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
My Punkin Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery arrived today. I knew it because the mail guy told me I had a package, and someone over 21 had to sign for it. Happy happy dance! Punkin Ale will be consumed tonight. Sweet. 7% Alc. by Vol. Oooh, drunken Thursday? No, I should go easy tonight. I've only been back in reality for one day.
I'll report back in detail tomorrow. Because tomorrow is already Beer Friday!
Friday, October 07, 2005
Fall is HERE, baby. I thought that I should dig up an old friend - a nice, fall-like beer for today. I’ll be serving pumpkin beer this fine Friday.
Yes, I said pumpkin. It’s ok, don’t panic. Have I ever lead you astray before? (No, don't answer that, I remember the unfortunate rum punch episode.) Just trust me this once, grab your kool-aid & follow me.
I would really like to serve this beer. I haven't tried it yet, but I just ordered some online. Can I just say that I love the internet? Anyway, Punkin' Ale, which just sounds cool, is described as a full-bodied, spiced brown ale brewed with real pumpkins, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar. Dogfish Head Punkin' Ale is named after the annual Punkin' Chunkin Festival held near
it's lightly cloudy with a weak head, but the color holds a bit of the orange glow, so the appearance mustered up an average rating. sweet aroma with hints of clove and solid cinnamon: nice. the flavor is a great balance of sweetness and a dose of the requisite spices; not overdone as some brewers have the tendency to do. clean finish with lingering pumpkin flavor and cinnamon. a proper pumpkin beer if ever there were one. recommended.
Friday, September 30, 2005
Don't be fooled by the rocks that I got
I'm still, I'm still Jenny from the block.
WHY is this song in my head today?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Since it's torturing me, I thought I'd share the joy. And although it's a stretch, I thought I could use it to describe why the beers of the day ARE the beers of the day. Cuz you never forget where you came from. And I came from this. Domestic, canned, light, beer. It's not about taste. It's about experience. For me, it's usually summer & fall outdoor activities. Sitting in a parking lot before a football game, a backyard BBQ with a huge crew of friends, ice cold beer sweating in an ancient beer coozie that has a long-gone radio station's logo on it.
It's served ice cold because that's when you can taste it the least. Not that there's much to taste, anyway. But it's cold, it's alcoholic, and it's fizzy enough to make the men start burping like champs only 2 beers into an evening. It's CASUAL beer, as if most people think there is any other kind.
Standard choices are:
For those who believe they are too hip for that jazz, I also offer these old "yard beers":
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Beer of the weekend is Samuel Adam's Cream Stout. Sam Adam's site says it's the cappucino of beers:
Samuel Adams® Cream Stout is a true cream stout, balancing body and sweetness with the natural spiciness of grain and hand selected English hops. Our Brewers use generous portions of roasted chocolate and caramel malts as well as unroasted barley to impart a fullness of body, a roasty malt character and rich, creamy head. Its dark mahogany color make it almost as easy on the eyes as it is on the palate.
BeerAdvocate reviewers agree:
Pours black with large brown head. I definitely taste chocolate, but not over sweet. Along with that I taste caramel, roasted coffee. Its all pleasent to the taste buds. For a stout the drinkability is amazing. I will revisit the beer again and again.
As the beer flowed from the bottle it created a beautiful dark, almost black pool im glass that was topped with a delightful tan head that had true staying power. Smell is an intoxicating mixture of chocolate, coffee, caramel, plums, prunes, raisins, and figs. Taste is superb, with just the right combination of roasted malt, coffee, and dark fruit. Finishes with a magnificent dryness to create a perfect ending. As you may guess, I really liked this beer.
Beer Girl says it's good, so drink it!
Friday, September 16, 2005
Per LE's suggestion, today's beer is Warsteiner. Now, I am aware that Warsteiner has the dubious distinction of being known as "the best selling German beer." Rarely does "best selling" translate into "best tasting." So let's be honest. I am not sayint that this is the world's best beer. But it's different than the big domestic brews and ordering one it makes one feel slightly more interesting, without having to chew down a dark, thick porter that they really don't like anyway.
Most people identify the kind of Warsteiner they are drinking by the color of the label, Johnny Walker-style. The 2 most popular types in the US are the Premium Verum, aka the all gold label, and the Premium Dunkel, or the gold & silver label. They are totally different beers. I'll do both, with propaganda from the Warsteiner site as well as reviews from BeerAdvocate.
Premium Verum is a pilsner style beer with a smooth, rich-full bodied taste wrapped in a thick creamy head and a refreshing hop finish with no aftertaste. Warsteiner quenches the beer lover's thirst for a clean, crisp, refreshing beer taste. Best when chilled to a temperature between 46 and 50 degrees.
BeerAdvocate reviewers say:
Pours a clear golden yellow, white head forms but goes quick, little lacing. Smell is sweet and malty, little tiny bit of hop presence. Tasty is sweet malt, some citrusy hops, nice clean bitter finish. Thin mouthfeel but the carbonation is nice, not bad at all. Not amazing, but a good, solid pilsner.
Premium Dunkel "German for Dark" offers beer lovers incomparable taste satisfaction with its subtle spiciness, delicate aroma, and balance. What makes premium Dunkel distinctive among dark beers, is its thirst quenching, refreshingly drinkable flavor. This is a traditional German dark brown lager , described as being neither sweet nor roastily dry, with a slight spicy maltiness and a clean round finish. It has a reddish-black color which is almost opaque.
Beer Advocate reviewers say:
Pours a coffee brown with medium foam, no lace. Nose is malty with very faint grassy note. Taste is smooth and malty with noticable low-medium hop lingering bitterness and hints of caramel. Well-balanced and very drinkable. Would go with cheese, most meats, beer food. A little too heavy for very light fare.
Whichever suits your mood, grab a beer, pull up a chair, and let's start off the weekend!
Friday, September 09, 2005
I wanted another fall beer today, despite the weather continuing to push the limits of summertime. Today's projected high is 92 degrees. Blah. The fall sweaters are on display in the stores, I've already been trying on cute little winter coats, and the Halloween candy is already taking over the grocery store. I'm ready for fall NOW.
It's Friday, and it's Beer Friday. And today, we're drinking 1554 Brussels Style Black Ale. A Belgian Dark Ale brewed by the New Belgium Breweing Company. I love most of the beer brewed by the new Belgium Brewing Company, really, but I haven't had any in quite a while. BeerAdvocate's reviewers had quite a few nice things to say here. The company's site described the beer like this:
Phil Benstein, our resident rumpled professor, stumbled onto Zwartbier in an 1888 tome creatively named “Popular Beverages of Various Countries.” He had trouble convincing brewmaster Peter Bouckaert that such a beer existed back in 16th - century Belgium, so the pair made two trips to Belgium to research this obscure style in the archives of Belgium’s specialty brewers. The oldest reference to these black beers that our dynamic duo uncovered was in the year 1554.
Other than being dark in color, 1554 has little in common with Porters or Stouts. The beer is fermented at relatively high temperatures using a European lager yeast that imparts a refreshing, zesty acidity. Chocolate and coffee tones in the nose give way to a surprisingly clean finish. With 1554 our staff hoped to create a beer similar to what folks enjoyed nearly five-hundred years ago without ignoring five-hundred years of technological innovation.We hope you’ll agree that 1554 is the delicious result of a lot of well-spent library time.You can't buy this beer east of the Mississippi, so this is one good thing about living in my part of the midwest. Here's a map of where you can buy this:
Hope you enjoy it. Have a great Friday & a happy weekend!
Monday, September 05, 2005
Beer is good, beer is great...
"They who get drunk on other intoxicating liquors fall on all parts of their body; they fall on the left side, on the right side, on their faces, and on their backs. But it is only those who get drunk on beer who fall on their backs and lie with their face upwards." -- Aristotle
"Beer is living proof that God loves us & wants us to be happy." -- Ben Franklin
I love beer. Today I love this beer: Harpoon's Oktoberfest.
Harpoon's site says this: Of all Harpoon beers, Octoberfest takes the most time to brew, adding to its complexity and smoothness. A blend of six malts imparts a smooth, medium body, balancing a medium hop bitterness. This legendary beer is brewed for celebrations. Prosit!
A reviewer on BeerAdvocate says this: Gorgeous Coppery orange color with 1/4" khaki colored head that faded a bit. Fruity malt aroma; sweet malt back is highlighted by fruity yeast smell, caramel, fresh bread, and black cherry notes. Good body. Crisp malt to start, malt is somewhat dry compared to the sweet aroma. Slightly bready but mostly toasty malt taste. Finish has a good earthy/ herbal hop twang with slow bitterness that makes the dry malt crawl off the tongue. I'd take this one over Otter Creek's Oktoberfest anyday.
Beer Girl says that I like a lot of oktoberfests, and while the above reviewer says he'll take it over Otter Creek anyday, I'm not so sure. Otter Creek was pretty darn tasty. Not having both in front of me, I can't really do the comparison, but this is good stuff, either way. Cheers!
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Today's beer is Peachy's favorite. It is brewed in Vermont, and is not available here in the not so wild (mid) West. Tomorrow I will purchase a variety of northeastern beer at this state liquor store along the highway, on our way in from the airport. Those crack me up, by the way.
So the beer? Magic Hat #9. It's brewed by Magic Hat Brewing Co., who's website is mildly annoying. So instead I direct you to BeerAdvocate, and My Life Is Beer, who have many reviews posted of this beer.#9 is a fruit beer. What is a fruit beer? Again, from BeerAdvocate:
A generic form of flavored beer, some breweries actually use real fruit, though most use an extract, syrup or processed flavor to give the effect of a particular fruit. Usually ales, but with not much ale character to them and commonly unbalanced. Malt flavor is typically hidden with a low hop bitterness to allow the fruit to dominate.
I have a very open beer mind, and I look forward to trying this, but I still don't think this is going to be one of my personal faves. Certainly not The Husband's. We haven't been a big fan of perfume-y smelling beers in the past, so I'm going to pick out a back up, also from the great state of Vermont, which is apparently a beer sort of girl's mecca. My choice to taste will be Otter Creek's Oktoberfest beer, available only August to November.
I'm so looking forward to eating fresh seafood and drinking new beer that it's really overshadowing everything else about this weekend. That's ok by me. See ya on the flip side. Peace out.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
The beer today is Boddington's Pub Ale, my new substitue for Caffrey's, my long lost love. Brian's Beer Belly loves it, but Beer Advocate reviewers seem disappointed in the canned variety. For that reason, I'm offering this on draught today.
Boddington's hails from England, where it has been enjoyed for more than 200 years. It was brewed at the Strangeways Brewery in Manchester for all of that time, right up until this year, when the corporation that bought the small label in the 90's turned the production of the beer into another corporate process. Boo, I know. But I'd like to believe that I am honoring the years of brewing that took place in that one little brewery. And I'm positive that I am missing something in the taste that was likely there before. But I wasn't 21 until the late 90's, so I missed my window.
It's a creamy, light, golden beer that seems to conjure up the word 'honey.' I love it. And since it's feeling a little bit like fall already, what with the kidlets in my area starting back to school already, I'm ready for a seasonal beer shake up. I hope you're with me. Here's to the first of many many fall beers at Beer Girl's Blog Bar.
Monday, August 15, 2005
Friday, August 05, 2005
I want to taste local Cali beer. So I hope to get my hands on an Arrogant Bastard, which was featured here. But today's beer is one native to San Fran. Anchor Brewery's Anchor Steam.
From their site:
Anchor Steam derives its unusual name from the 19th century when "steam" seems to have been a nickname for beer brewed on the West Coast of America under primitive conditions and without ice. The brewing methods of those days are a mystery and, although there are many theories, no one can say with certainty why the word "steam" came to be associated with beer. For many decades Anchor alone has used this quaint name for its unique beer. In modern times, "Steam" has become a trademark of Anchor Brewing.
The reviews on BeerAdvocate are pretty good. Here's a quote from one in particular:
Clear light copper. Frothy, small white head. Dry, hoppy and clean. Loads of woody, earthy mint hop notes and a clean malt profile. Medium light body. Lager like clarity in texture with a slight apple fruitiness and hints of lemon peels. Dryish as it closes. Not overly complex but a tough style to nail. Even better on tap.
I'll give you my personal opinion either when I have a minute to post next week, or when I get back on Friday. Have a great weekend, and a good next week. I'm going to geek out at a dork conference. So you all really know I'll be posting anyway. :)
Friday, July 29, 2005
Friday's finally here. Ahhhhhhhhh. It's sunny, warm but not hot, it's the end of July, and it's beer o'clock.
Today's beer is the one that so impressed me last weekend. Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale. Maybe it was all the hummus I had eaten earlier than evening. Maybe it was the fact that right before I drank this I had suffered through another Miller Lite. Maybe it was just THAT good. But whatever stars aligned, I became a HUGE fan of this beer.
It looks a bit strange, in a clear bottle and an old fashioned label, but it's good. BeerAdvocate's reviews rate it pretty highly. Here's a bit of history, lifted directly from this site:
The Old Brewery at Tadcaster was founded in 1758 and is Yorkshire’s oldest brewery. Samuel Smith is one of the few remaining independent breweries in England, and further is the last to utilize the classic Yorkshire Square system of fermentation solely in stone squares.
The rich Samuel Smith strain of yeast at The Old Brewery dates from the early 1900s. Hops are hand-weighed by the master hop blender, and the brewing water is drawn from a well sunk over 200 years ago.
First introduced to the U.S. market in 1978 by Merchant du Vin, Samuel Smith beers quickly became the benchmark ales for the emerging craft beer movement. To this day, they remain among the most awarded.
All Samuel Smith beers are vegan products, registered with The Vegan Society, as seen here.
Info about the Nut Brown, also lifted directly from their site:
Often called “mild” if it is on draft, brown ale is a walnut-colored specialty of the North of England. A festive-occasion beer, brown ale is one of the oldest English brewing styles, mentioned in literature in the 16th century. Beers brewed at the old brewery have a round, nutty flavor because of the Yorkshire square system of fermentation.
Walnut-like color and palate of hazelnuts. Wonderful balance of roasted crystal malt and aromatic hops. Long clean finish.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Stilton cheese, grouse and roasted game hen, barbecued duck, pepper steak; spicy food, paella, stir-fry, teriyaki, Thai food, Chinese food, creamy chicken and pineapple curry. Serve at 55 degrees.
Gold Medal and "Top-Rated English Brown Ale" —World Beer Championships, 2004
Sunday, July 24, 2005
What's the beer this week (ahem, last week)? Why, it's a summer classic? Hefeweizen! Specifically the Widmer Brother's brewery's Hefeweizen, which according to their own site, is the standard by which all other hefeweizen's should be judged. Beer Advocate's user reviews tells a slightly different story here, but since it's the first of it's kind to be featured on my blog, we'll start with this one.
What's a Hefeweizen, you ask? Well, one descriptions reads thusly:
A south German style of wheat beer (weissbier) made with a typical ratio of 50:50, or even higher, wheat. A yeast that produces a unique phenolic flavors of banana and cloves with an often dry and tart edge, some spiciness, bubblegum or notes of apples. Little hop bitterness, and a moderate level of alcohol. The "Hefe" prefix means "with yeast", hence the beers unfiltered and cloudy appearance. Poured into a traditional Weizen glass, the Hefeweizen can be one sexy looking beer. Often served with a lemon wedge, to either cut the wheat or yeast edge, which many either find to be a flavorful snap ... or an insult and something that damages the beer's taste and head retention.
So basically we're talking about a pale, German wheat beer. Sounds good to me. I had one this weekend, since they were some bar's special o'the day, and I rather enjoyed it. The only other Hefe I've ever had was by my old favorite micro brew guy, so I'll have to expand my repertoire before I personally pass further judgment.
Sidenote: I also had a Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale this weekend. It was like a little chocolate-nut beer party in my mouth. Happiness for a Beer Sort of Girl, to be sure.
Friday, July 15, 2005
Beer Post! Since this was the week of my adventures in Chi town, I wanted to pick a Chicago beer. However, I find myself really wanting to feature a beer I has IN Chicago, but is not necessarily unique to the geography. Hence, today is a double bonus Beer Friday. That's right, 2 beers in one day. Can you even stand it?
The first is a product of Rock Bottom Breweries. They used to have a location close to me, but it closed a few years ago, and so I haven't had Rock Bottom beer in quite some time. I seriously doubted it would be anything special. For the most part I was right, but it was free, and therefore much better than if I had paid my own money for it. With this in mind, I give it to the points-earners, also for free. Don't you love it? Yes, you moochers, you love free stuff, just like me.
Here are the locations of their restaurants. I had a few Erik the Red Ales, so that's what ya get. Very hoppy, a little tangy, and a little too much to drink as fast as I did. :) This picture is NOT from Rock Bottom, but it's a red, so I'm using it for illustration purposes only.
Second offering here is a Chicago beer. While I did not go to Goose Island this trip, (blame someone's wife for that,) I have been to the bar location in Wrigleyville in the past. I love these types of places, and Goose Island's Nut Brown Ale is just so damn good. Their website's description:
Brewed in the English tradition, Nut Brown Ale combines the finest domestic and imported malts to produce a chestnut-hued ale of unusual complexity. Subtle notes of chocolate, honey and fine tobacco give this world champion ale an enjoyable and satisfying "nutty" finish.
I gave up on the summery beers this week. I wonder if visiting Chicago had anything to do with that. It wasn't cold or anything, but there's something about that place that makes you feel as if everyone eats & drinks a little heartier than in other places. Not MUCH heartier, mind you. Y'all know that I'm a midwestern girl too!
I hope that you enjoy the "nutty" finish on your free beer. I'm looking forward to enjoying a nutty finish of this week. Whew. I can't believe Friday actually arrived this week at all. I'm so Loverboy.
Friday, July 08, 2005
Two Hearted Ale from Kalamazoo Brewing Company is an IPA with juicy/citrusy flavor, and kind of a kick on the back-end. Excellent summer beer! AND...I found a place that serves it here, in my bad beer town. Happiness!
Their site describes it thusly:
India Pale Ale style well suited for Hemingway-esque trips to the Upper Peninsula. American malts and enormous hop additions give this beer a crisp finish and incredible floral hop aroma.
I have to comment, though, that they should really work on their labels. I'm a picky bitch when it comes to packaging, and this really ain't doin' it for me. And really? It's all about me.
Next week I think I'll be picking something from my Chi-town jaunt. I'm leaving tomorrow for the windy city, to bug a friend, crash on her couch and generally try not to be a mooch. I've been promised that I can take her out to dinner at least, to pay her back. Beer will be involved. And then I have to attend a conference to get some learnin' before I come home next week. I mean, my employer IS paying for the trip, so it's only fair that I bring something back with me besides beer, receipts for beer and memories clouded by beer, right?
I'll miss The Husband, and The Dog, and even you guys. But I promise to have fun anyway. :)
Thursday, June 30, 2005
I signed up to be a member of BeerAdvocate.com this week. Dear lord, how I love this site! It will inspire me for years. And in looking over our past beers, I realize that I needed the help. Some have been great, some have been horrific. I know. But I'm dealing with some demons here. I used to be a beer snob. Light anything was never good enough for me. Too bland, too nothing, too flavorless. And then I decided that I should go on a diet. And now I drink lights because I don't have the will power to only have one of anything. If I did, I would pick one excellent full bodied beer, and be happy. But that's not me. I'm still watching my oh-so-girlish figure, so I can't go all out for the gutsy, heavy, dark beers all of the time. And it's summer, so I automatically want something lighter and colder. But I just can't serve Miller or Bud around here any more. I just can't DO IT. So I'm taking baby steps into more exciting beer lands. This week's beer is what The Husband & I have been drinking all week at home.
According to the Boston Beer Company:
Sam Adams Light is not just a lighter version of Samuel Adams Boston Lager® but rather the culmination of over two years of tireless research and brewing trials to create a flavorful Light beer. And it has proved to be worth the wait. Brewed using only the finest two row malt and German Noble hops it has a smooth, complex roasted malt character that is superbly balanced with the subtle orange fruit notes of the Noble hops. Sam Adams Light® finishes crisp and smooth without any lingering bitterness, leaving you yearning for more.
In Beer Girl language, it's a light beer that tastes more like a real beer. It has flavor. Some light beer drinkers will not like that about this beer. But that's why I love it.
I'm going to try for a patriotic tie-in, what with this being the Fourth of July weekend & all. Here's my half assed attempt, in VH-1's This to That in So Many Steps Style.
San Adams used Ben Affleck as a celebrity spokesperson....Ben Affleck dated Jennifer Lopez....who was in The Wedding Planner with Fred Willard....who was in Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle with Jamie Kennedy...who starred in the Boiler Room with Sean Caan....son of James Caan...who was in Dick Tracy with Dustin Hoffman...who played in Rain Man...with Tom Cuise...who starred in Born on the Fourth of July!
See? sam Adams IS Patriotic. :) Happy Holiday Weekend!
Friday, June 24, 2005
First things first. Intro the beer FIRST, and then say who's drinking it in the next post. Yes, excellent idea. And as my post title should tell you, if you don't want what I'm offering, don't take it.
There used to be a tiny little brewpub in this town. It was in a weird space, in a strip mall, owned and completely operated by a guy & his wife. There was only ONE brewing vat, and it was about 3 feet away from the bar, so it was truly a MICRO-brew place. This guy made the best beer I've ever had, and his wife turned out some mean pizza. They moved to Hawaii several years ago, and my life hasn't been the same since.
One of this guys' best brews was a Birch Porter. Yes, birch beer! But not like carbonated soda junk. This was dark, smooth, and I loved it. I haven't been able to find another like it. Birch beers are not all that common, especially in the midwest. I went on a virtual quest to find a birch beer, to order from anywhere & ship to myself, or at least go buy while I am going galavanting around the country this summer. And sadly, I came up empty handed. So if you know of where I can order real live alcoholic birch beer, PLEASE let me know. In the meantime, here's what I'll be tiding myself over with:
8 oz of Birch Beer (soda)
2 1/2 oz of Jim Beam
Whine. It's just not quite the same.
Friday, June 10, 2005
The beer today is Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss. The site describes it:
Select malted wheat, Cluster hops and a hint of Wisconsin honey give this unique refresher a clean, crisp, slightly sweet taste. Winner of four awards (Silver in the World Beer Cup®: 2000 & 2004; Gold in 2002 and Silver in the 1998 Great American Beer Festival®) in the American-Style Wheat Ale or Lager category.
Available in cans and bottles. Here is where you can buy Leinies. Mostly mid-west, so sorry to you coastal peeps.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Found a fantabulous recipe for grilling steak, WITH BEER! Yeah. I love you, BeerAdvocate.
Stuff you need:
*Thick-cut, well-marbled steaks
*1 bottle of Dopplebock (Thomas Hooker Liberator, Ayinger Celebrator or even Sam Adams's Triple Bock)
*Broccoli (1 average-sized head, per person)
*Parmesan cheese (half a cup or so)
*Chopped garlic (as much as you want)
*Salt and pepper
*Olive oil (a few tablespoons)
*Yellow and orange tomatoes (1 of each, per person)
Stuff to do:
1. Get an airtight container, drop the steak in, and pour the entire bottle of bock over the steak. Seal the container and give it a good shake, then stick it in the fridge at least overnight or up to 24 hours, re-shaking occasionally.
2. When it’s time to grill, simply slap that doppelbock-soaked piece of meat on the grill and get cooking. Personally, we don’t like our steak cooked more than medium rare; anything more is a waste of meat and its goodness. And besides, you just killed any bacteria by soaking it in alcohol.
3. While the steak is grilling, steam up the broccoli, then mix it gently with the olive oil. Shake in the parmesan cheese and chopped garlic (to your preference), then add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Chop up the tomatoes length-wise into meaty slices, then arrange on a small plate and splash on just a bit of that balsamic dressing.
5. Recommended: You can always reduce the leftover beer marinade by cooking it down on low heat, then drizzle it over the finished steak. Feel no need to add anything to it; the beer is tasty by itself and even more so when blended with the juice from the steak.
Pair with more doppelbock beer, or contrast with something light, like a pale ale or lager. Now go forth and grill with beer ...
Damn, stomach, stop your growling. I *know* it's lunchtime.
Friday, June 03, 2005
Today is FRIDAY. And FRIDAY is BEER DAY. And not just to please PlatinumGirl, although I'm sure she will be happy to see it, today's beer is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
Beer review stolen from BeerAdvocate.com:
Pours out with a 1"head thats holds up most of the way, with some foamy lacing. Appearance is a gorgeous transparant amber color with lots of bubbles and a little yeast settlement. Absolutely beautiful. The aroma is all about the citrusy hops and piney spices. Very appropriate for a brewery located at the junction of the Cascades and the Sierras...very nice.Taste is even better....mirroring the aroma but with a slightly more bitter hop taste, some floral esters....yeast is very prominant here, even for a bottle-conditioned APA. Some grainy malts are subtle here(that's what I prefer anyway), just enough to provide some balance to those wonderful hops. Mouthfeel is great, with a medium body and the perfect amount of carbonation. Very crisp, biting finish and the best dry afteraste I've ever had in a APA or even an IPA, for that matter. This is THE preeminent West Coast pale ale, and for good reason. It's great by itself, or it pairs well with most anything. A favorite snack of mine involves paring it w/ jack, colby, and medium or sharp chedder followed by a jonagold apple when you're done with your beer. Try it, it's great!!
Friday, May 27, 2005
Today's beer is Yuengling Lager. The only reason I have had this beer, and in great volumes, is due to the fact that one of my friends from college was from Pennslyvania, or PA, as he called it. Anyway, he would make the road trip several times a year, and make it back here with cases of this stuff, raving about how amazing it was. The Yuengling Brewery is supposed to be the oldest in the US, and I believe them. Their traditional lager is nothing crazy, zany or oddly flavored. It's just good, solid, classic beer, amber colored, and pretty mild in terms of hoppy flavoring. Great cold cold cold. I've only had it from a bottle, so I can't argue bottle vs. draught. You can't buy it here in the mid-west, so I'm sort of bending my own new rules to include it.
Friday, May 20, 2005
I just got back from Puerto Rico, which was a work trip, and I am on my way to a less exotic destination now. Beer? Yes please. Lots of it.
I have zero creativity in me right now. Beer is El Presidente, from the Dominican Republic, because I liked it quite a lot. From Brian's Beer Belly: "Brewed in Santo Domingo, the capitol of the beautiful if impoverished nation that shares a border with the even more impoverished Haiti, Presidente is the Domincan’s most popular beer. Despite the spanish speaking natives of the DR the bottle proudly declares in English that Presidente is brewed "With a Fine Selection of Malting Hops, Barley, and Corn Grits." So the Dominicans aren’t that adept at advertising. At first smell the golden liquid seems a tad skunky, but so does Molsen so let’s get beyond that shall we? The pilsner type beer provides a crisp taste that is not unlike Red Stripe or Rolling Rock. Hey, this stuff isn’t a fat beer lovers dream. It doesn’t taste like anything special but that’s what is so great about it. This beer is meant to be enjoyed on a hot summer day when the temperature in the shade reaches into the hundreds."
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
I'm not in a beer mood.
Drinks at Beer Girl's Blog this week are bad rum punch concoctions. Mostly Hawaiian Punch and Bacardi Gold. I've made pitchers and pitchers of the stuff to keep you all busy while I am in Puerto Rico. I hope you don't get sick. Red punch puke is not something I'd like to see or smell when I get home. As a bonus, THIS GUY will be here to help you with your drunken rum punch mission while I am gone. Doesn't he just look like he can't wait to pour those drinks for you? I bet he'll hit on all you after you've had a few!
Sorry if you know this guy, I just thought it was an awesome pic. Poor guy, it's probably just a personal photo from some vacation, and here I am using it for my own amusement.
If you're mad it's not beer, I'm sure I have some plain old Bud Light or Miller Lite in the fridge too.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
It's Cinco de Mayo. Ole! It's also my brother-in-law's birthday. Happy Birthday, little dude. I can't believe it's still going to be another year before you can have a beer on your birthday. ~sigh~ It's ok, I promise to drink one for you today.
Actually, since it is Cinco de Mayo, I am temporarily abandoning my beer platform. There are frosty margaritas for everybody right here. It's not Beer Friday yet, so I don't feel like counting up everyone's points. You lucky visitors, Margarita Thursday is for EVERYONE!
God, I could use a drink.
Friday, April 29, 2005
Welcome to Newcastle Brown Ale, the one and only. Yes, yes, I know, it's another brown. But I LIKE them, dammit.
Newcastle, England is where this beer is brewed. It's kind of close to Scotland, which doesn't seem to have anything to do with the tast, yet it was on their website, so I felt I should mention it. The town WAS the first place in Britain to brew beer, which actually does matter quite a bit to me, now that I think about it!
Their site in all flash, so I can't get a picture of this easily, but go to the site, and check out the first page. Hit refresh several times. The bottle caps have snappy little saying in them, like"For a bitter taste, drink with ex-girlfriend."
While looking for pictures of Newcastle, elsewhere, I found this. Holy crap! Don't drink TOO much beer, b/c you could end up like this guy! It just looks uncomfortable.
There is a lovely review of Newcastle posted on epinions, which I am blatantly posting here because I love it: Newcastle Brown ale pours to a light brown, almost cola-like color with a pock-marked foamy head and a soft malty nose. The palate is smooth and nutty, slightly sweet, with a light cracker-like malt character and a hint of chocolate. The hops are just barely perceptible in the finish. This is a wonderfully delicate beer, and a classic English brown ale. Though not as assertive as American brown ale, which is a maltier, hoppier brew, Newcastle should be appreciated for it’s subtle delicacy. It’s easy to throw loads of hops and malt at a beer and make it a big one. A far truer test of the brewer’s art is to produce a drinkable, subtly flavored delight the likes of this one.
If you have to buy bottles, buy bottles. But if you haven't had this before, meaning you, little one, go get it from a place that sells it on tap. Yummy yummy yummy.
Saturday, April 23, 2005
For the second week in a row, I let Beer Friday come & go without the appropriate post. Bad Beer Girl! No points for me. OK, so let's call this Beer Saturday, and get a move on, shall we?
It's Saturday, it's a non-work day, and I'm feeling pretty ok with the world, even though it's damn chilly out today. What beer goes with that? How about a beer I personally will always associate with middle-aged, mid-western vacationers? You know who you are. You take your white, office-worker body south for a week & come back sunburned & obsessed with a CD of bad steel drum music or Mexican folk songs. I present you with a Corona, with a lime wedge, of course. Please don't squirt lime juice in your neighbors' eyes as you struggle to get it into the bottle. It's not polite, and simply highlights the fact that you don't drink this all that often.
My mid-western office-worker body would give anything to be 'miles away from ordinary' right now.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Friday, April 08, 2005
This song is stuck in my head, along with a mental image of Freedom doing an awkward running man. Oh hello, Friday. I’ve been waiting for you all week, and yet still you were able to sneak up on me, catching me off guard. Friday days are spent making sure everything has been done for the week. I can’t relax until I know it’s all taken care of and done. But then, Friday morphs into anticipation, full of promise & hope. Oh, and beer.
What? Who said beer?
I feel that we need a fun beer today. Not a novelty beer, b/c who wants to drink SIX novelty, funky-flavored beers? Not me. But I would like something summery, springtime-ish, something we can imagine we are drinking outside, in the sunshine.A summer beer, you say? Obviously. And one I've tried before? Absolutely. Last week just made me sad. How about a Harpoon Summer Beer? This brewery was founded on the Boston waterfront by 3 Harvard grads. Can you say pretentious, boys and girls? You would think so, but the beer is NOT. Quote describing the Summer beer from the site:
"Harpoon Summer Beer is a light-bodied, golden ale that is brewed in the Kolsch style. It originated centuries ago in the German city of Cologne. Clean, clear, and crisp - it makes an ideal summer beer."
It is only available in the notheast, and I'm kind of annoyed that their site doesn't tell you where you can buy it.
Friday, April 01, 2005
Today's beer is Arrogant Bastard Ale.
If you're feeling super-thirsty, you might want to try the Double Bastard Ale. Both are from the Stone Brewing Company in California. This beer has serious 'tude. I love it. The website rocks and has great FAQ's. I haven't tried it, since I live in the middle of the freakin' country. So I can't give you a review. The reviews from sites like RateBeer.com are extremely high. So I want some. Now. Today. Don't you think a beer named Arrogant Bastard would be a good beer for me? Me too! Maybe I'll order some from HiTimeWine.com. That a great site, by the way. They shipped me some Hinano, the Tahitian beer, once for The Husband's birthday.
Drink up, and if you've had this beer before, please give a review in the comments. Tell me if it's worth paying the extra shipping just to try it! Happy Friday!
Friday, March 25, 2005
Today's beer is a Chicago brew.
Goose Island Honker's Ale
Next week I promise to pick something out of my ordinary rotation. Because, yes, I know this is another brownish ale. Although technically it's a pale ale. From the Goose Island site:
Named one of the best beers in Chicago, our Honker's Ale combines a spicy hop aroma with a rich malt middle to create an exceptionally balanced American Pale Ale. Craft brewed in small batches with pure filtered water, Midwest malt, the best hops and our own special yeast, Honker's Ale brings fine English-style brew to your mug.
Happy Friday to all. Enjoy your weekend, don't think about work, and good luck on the continuing b-ball brackets.
Friday, March 11, 2005
Since it’s the weekend before St. Pat’s, I’ve decided that there will be a choice of 4 beers here at Beer Girl’s Blog. Yes, I said FOUR! And no, none of them will be green.
Since we did Caffrey's last week, this week I'm offering Guiness, Murphy's, and my local favorite.
Choice #1 (the obvious one) Guinness
I love a good stout as much as the next Irish lass, but sometimes this is a bit heavy for me. I always think of it as a winter beer, which probably isn’t fair. It’s a slow sipping sort of drink, for truly savoring your beer. The website even has some nifty tools, like this downloadable door hanger. Funny stuff. Despite the fact that they have bottles & cans of this stuff, it’s still best from a tap. Maybe I just like it that way so I can watch the settling of the creamy head. I don’t know. Don’t drink this beer ice cold, it should be kept at what Guinness defines as ‘cellar’ temperature.
Choice #2 Murphy's Irish Stout
According to the website, Murphy's is: "Brewed from all natural ingredients, Murphy's Irish Stout is smooth and creamy, with a subtle bitterness. This truly satisfying stout is one to be savoured. Best served chilled between 4-6 degrees Celsius." It also won a Gold Medal in the International Beer Olympics. Good alternative to Guiness, as if you needed one!
Choice #3 Murphy's Irish Red
Described by the site as: "Well balanced and full-bodied, with hints of malt and caramel, this truly refreshing red beer has a unique speciality beer flavour. Best served chilled between 5-7 degrees Celsius. Perfect accompaniment to ethnic foods." Ethnic food, huh? I didn't know that. All I know is that I like it.
Choice #4 (local pick) Boulevard Brewery's Irish Ale
Another Irish Red brew that I adore. (In case you haven't noticed, my favorite beers are brown & reds.) The Boulevard website describes it thusly: "Boulevard Irish Ale, our springtime seasonal beer, is patterned after red ales that have a rich Irish heritage. Our recipe combines five kinds of malt to provide a complex, toasty flavor and reddish hue. Nugget and English Kent Golding hops are added to enhance the beer's complexity and to produce a pleasing balance." It's only available for a few months, so it intensifies my lust for this beer. Enjoy it now, it'll be gone soon!
Pick your poison, and let's roll.