June 19, 2012
Beating the heat in Texas is a fool’s errand. It simply cannot be done. It is like trying to stop Michael Jordan in his prime. That is just not going to happen. But as the sportscasters used to say, “you cannot stop Michael Jordan, you can only hope to contain him” and that is the approach I take to summer in Texas.
I concede that I am going to be hot and miserable. There is no way around it, but I am not going to let the summer defeat me. I am going to ride my bike whenever I can, I am just going to be sure to stay well hydrated. I recognize that my car is going to be pizza oven hot when I get into it, I just park in the shade whenever possible and use the window screen religiously. I understand that every pool I jump into is going to feel like plunging into a bowl of warm spit, instead of the cold, bracing, damn near heart attack inducing sensation I am used to after growing up in the northeast. And I know that the heavy IPAs I usually prefer are going to go down like sludge, so I resign myself to drinking lighter bodied beers during the dog days of summer.
Although I resign myself to drinking lighter beers in the summer, Saint Arnold’s Homefront IPA* is a damn fine india pale ale for the Texas heat due to it’s light body. The aroma is sweet oranges and flowery hops. The taste has the floral hops right up front, with some orange marmalade bittersweetness in the background. The Homefront IPA clocks in at 6.5 % ABV, which is so well hidden that I would have guessed it would have been around 5%. This is another fine addition to Saint Arnold’s lineup of beers, 8/10.
*Saint Arnold brewed this in honor of Memorial Day, and Saint Arnold is donating the profits to Operation Homefront, and organization providing emergency financial and other assistance to the families of American service members and wounded warriors.
December 14, 2011
Let’s get this out of the way first: Yes, I am well aware that the First Day of Christmas is December 25, and the Twelve Days culminate on January 4 on the Feast of the Epiphany. I am starting the Twelve Days today because it is my blog and I set the rules around here. So you pedants can just climb down from your high horses and cut me some slack.
Sailing Santa by Saint Arnold. Gingerbread House by my niece
Saint Arnold‘s Sailing Santa is a blend of their Elissa IPA and their Christmas Ale. As both are fine beers in their own right, I expected this to be a good one, and it is a fine drink. It has some nice piney hops, and along with some dark fruit and brown sugar sweetness to it. It had a mild Christmas spiciness to it, with some nutmeg and cinnamon, but that was very muted. This was very smooth and drinkable considering the 8% ABV. Sailing Santa was quite enjoyable and a worthy brew to kickoff the Twelve Days of Christmas, 7/10.
July 4, 2011
Real Ale has become one of my favorite brewers and anyone who can get their hands on this beer will understand why: The Lost Gold is a damn fine IPA, pouring a cloudy orange with a nice head. The hops smell and taste of grapefruit, and are balanced by the breadlike malts. This is not a gamechanger IPA, not a hop bomb like some West Coast IPAs, not a classic that you should move heaven and earth to get, but it is a very drinkable example of the style, 7/10, and another rock solid offering from Real Ale, and one which I will happily drink year round.
As the Saint Arnold website says, Saint Arnold’s Weedwacker is sort of a Hefeweizen, but not quite. Saint Arnold takes their Fancy Lawnmower, which is a Kolsch, and pitches Hefeweizen yeast, rather than ale yeast. The yeast gives it that distinctive banana and clove flavor that is the hallmark of the Hefeweizen, and it is cloudy too, but it is hoppier than any Hefeweizen I have had. It is crisp and refreshing, a great beer for a scorching summer day. I am not really a fan of the Fancy Lawnmower, but I love the Weedwacker, 7.5/10.