Sorry about the absence. Events conspired against me to keep me from posting as regularly as I would have liked, but crap happens from time to time. To make up for some lost time, here are some quickie reviews:
Beer Festival Rules:
1. Pace yourself so that you can enjoy all the beers that you will be sampling.
2. Drink plenty of water.
3. Take regular food breaks. Read the rest of this entry »
As I have the most sophisticated readership of any beer blog on the net, I won’t bother explaining why Southern Star named their recent seasonal Le Mort Vivant. You have all already concluded that it is an obvious homage to the 1912 French film of the same name, and I do not want to get bogged down in the semiotic minutiae implied therein, and let’s not even get started on the hermeneutic inferences that any sentient being would draw.*
The Le Mort Vivant poured a deep orange with a sour apple and dried fruit aroma. There was a slight head on the initial pour, but it vanished quickly. It had that funky yeast taste that is the hallmark of Belgian style beers. There was some warmth from the alcohol and a toffee aftertaste. This is a change of pace from Southern Star’s other beers. I did not love it, but I did not hate it either, 6/10.
*I have no fucking idea what I am talking about.
For the Eleventh Day of Christmas, I cracked open a bottle of Stone Brewing’s 11.11.11 Vertical Epic.* This ale is brewed with Belgian Yeast, which gives it a funky aroma and some banana flavors. Cinnamon and New Mexico Green Chilies were added to the boil, with the heat from the cinnamon noticeable on the front end, and the mildest heat from chiles in the aftertaste. The cinnamon and the chilies complement each other, and neither overpowers this beer, as is often the case with chili pepper or cinnamon infused beers. There are plenty of hops here as well, adding layers of flavor. This is another wonderful beer from Stone, 8/10.
*Do you see what I did there? Eleventh Day of Christmas paired with 11.11.11? I am on a roll!
There are great beasts wandering the wilderness, not all of whom have been photographed, catalogued, vivisected, dissected, DNA mapped and whatever else it is that scientists do with animals. There is so much we do not know. Oh, sure, the aliens who visit regularly have probably gleaned all sorts of information from the anal probes performed on these undiscovered creatures (Do you really believe that the aliens only perform anal probes on Harvard Professors? I think not) but the aliens rarely, if ever, share the results of their experiments with us. We have much to learn.
As a rugged outdoorsman*, extreme adventurer**, and acolyte of Teddy Roosevelt***, I have spent months at a time in the wild unmapped corners of the globe, and have had close encounters with a variety of cryptozoological phenomenon. There was the time I was fly fishing on Lake Champlain and hooked Champ but was unable to land the beast. Growing up in New Jersey, the Jersey Devil was a regular visitor to our backyard, stopping to swim in our pool, before taking off for the flight to the Pine Barrens. I have had several recent encounters with the Chupacabra while out walking my dogs, and the less said about my experience with the Mothman, the better.
It is in the field of Sasquatch studies that I have been most successful. On a recent trip to the Himalayas, I encountered the Yeti. More importantly, I encountered two distinct kinds of Yeti. Read the rest of this entry »
Mister JK is a Mover and Shaker, a Titan of High Finance and Commerce. If I were to publish his address here, the Occupy Wall Street Gang would camp out in from of his guiding to protest him, chanting “Hey! Hey! Mister JK! Send Some Bacon Our Way!” HA! The joke would be on them because Mister JK always keeps a six month supply of premium bacon in his deep freeze. HA! again, I say!
Mr. JK spent the better part of this past summer working in London. He says he was just working out of the London office, but I suspect he was part of negotiations concerning the dissolution of the Euro and the return of the Deutsche Mark to its rightful place as the Kaiser of Currencies. Knowing that Mister JK has their back is giving the Germans the intestinal fortitude to tell those lazy shiftless idlers to the south to go Nehmen Sie fine Wanderung. Read the rest of this entry »
I have fallen a bit behind on reviewing beers, so I am going to do a quick round-up of some recent beers in ten words or less. Here we go:
Schmaltz Brewing He-Brew Rejewvenator (Year of the Date-2009): Too Sweet for me, match with salty pastrami, good marketing, 6/10.
Arcadia Brewing Big Dick’s Old Ale: Stupid name, vinegary, malty, possibly skunked, poured out, nothing else, N/A.
Oskar Blues Gubna Imperial IPA: Run, do not walk, for this outstanding Imperial IPA, 8.5/10.
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock: German Smoked beer, dry cured sausage, must try other styles, 7/10.
Southhampton Biere De Mars: Nice malty, hoppy, yeasty balance, smooth, bready aftertaste, delicious, 7.5/10.
I may get some arguments on this, but if you are a beer drinker, there is no better place to be than the United States of America. Right now, this country is producing more great beers and, just as importantly, more interesting beers than any other country, and is doing so in as many different styles as can be imagined. I am not saying that we have the brewing tradition of England, Scotland, Ireland, Belgium or Germany, though our brewing tradition is underrated as it was largely dormant in the decades after prohibition. The difference is that German brewers stick to making German styles, the English brew ales, porters, and stouts, and so on. We in the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave can get great Belgian style beers that are brewed right here, and there are fantastic English style beers that are American made, and the list goes on. Our brewers have also crossed styles, making IPAs with Belgian yeasts, for example. As American brewers do not have to adhere to any particular brewing tradition, nor do we have to follow the Reinheitsgebot, we have also created new styles, like Imperial IPAs, seemingly out of whole cloth.
After years of being dismissed by European brewers as second rate, and rightly so I might add, American brewers are now influencing their Continental counterparts, and the Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel is an example of that influence. A double IPA brewed in Europe? Not until we showed the Europeans the way.
More Tripel than Double IPA, this pours a pale and cloudy yellow with a meringue pie head that is retained to the bottom and which leaves sticky traces on the inside of the glass. The aroma is lemony and herbal, with some hops aroma. The flavor is more lemongrass than lemon, with some peppery notes, and the hops jump up a bit. There seems to be some apple and pear in the aftertaste. This is a refreshing beer, and would probably pair up with well Asian food. 7.5/10.
If you like your beers malty and spicy, this offering from Dogfish Head is right up your alley. The Raison D’Etre pours a mildly cloudy dark copper color with a minimal head and a thin mouth feel. This beer is brewed with green raisins, beet sugars and Belgian yeast. I picked up the raisin flavor, and the complexity that comes with using Belgian yeast was there as well, with hints of coriander and cardamon, but I did not detect any distinct flavor from the beet sugar. I am docking it a half point because it was a touch too malty for me, but don’t let that deter you from giving it a tipple. 6/10.