Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hot summer nights

What's better on a hot & sticky Maryland summer night than a good-old American mass production lager?

I haven't seen Schlitz in a thousand years, and after a rough day at the office, it goes down smooth.

Best served very cold, and consumed quickly. It has a mellow scent, and a slightly lemony/cereal-y flavor that is not wholly unappealing.


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Friday, July 22, 2011

It's a Belgian summer

This is one of the most delicious beers that I have enjoyed. It's Fleur, from Goose Island. It is a Belgian ale brewed with tea and hibiscus flowers.

It has a phenomenal malt back bone, which pours a blazing orange, with sweet notes in the nose.

The flavor is a toasty, delicate sweetness, that finishes clean, and I mean clean!

She's good. She exceptional, but she can't shake Choklat from 5th place.


(My bottle was packaged in August, 2010, and bought recently.)

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Stone Cali-Belgie IPA

Wow, this beer shines from coast-to-coast!

She pours a lively straw-honey color with just a bit of haze. Sitting firmly on top is a dense, rocky white head, that leaves gobs of lacing as the pint is drained.

My nose was served with a triple entente of Centennial, Chinook and Colombus. (I think.) It is a wonderful medley of citrus hops.

And do those Chinook hops slap you around when you sip. Not only do you get slapped, but the bready and sweet notes from the malt come through, with an extraordinary, and appropriate, dry finish.

I've read reviews where folks say the yeast is present in the nose, or at very first sip. I don't get the typical yeastiness, but I do get the wonderful layering of spiciness that can only come from a Belgian strain.

Overall, this is an excellent experiment, and worth your time seeking.

Overall, 9/10.
Oh yeah, dinner was leftover taco salad; I thought the spice would go well with the ale, and it certainly did.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Venerable Bede 2: Sorghum Strikes Back

So, maybe I was a tad unfair to Bard's Gluten-free Sorghum Ale...

I said to myself, "you paid for it, go drink it", which I did.

Cause on the right, effect on the left.

To be fair, the session was split across 2 days. I would never advocate binge drinking; it's reckless and stupid.

I poured the Venerable Bede...um, Bard, into one of my Boston Beer Co. Turbolator glasses, to help form the beer, and took a long draught from it. I found caramel, biscuit and a bit of "earth". The finish, though, remained that bizarre alcoholic/astringenty dryness that just can't be shaken off. Shame. I also found no hops, but I'd be willing to bet they were in the brew.

Upon further examination (read: reading the label) it states the sorghum is malted. That's pretty keen.

From my previous review of this beer, to this one, I'm gonna have to grade it 6/10. And I think that may be just a touch generous.

Again, if you suffer from Celiac disease, you may be able to look no further to quench your thirst- this may float your boat, once you get accustomed to the finish.

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Location:The kitchen

Monday, July 18, 2011

A day of field trips

Saturday sure was a busy day-I woke up early to go help my dad pick up some furniture and move it to my parent's house. After we did that, my mom treated us to an absolutely wonderful hot Italian sausage pizza. Man, that was so tasty.

Afterward, I cut out and had the chance to visit Olney Ale Werks. While there was nothing on tap, per se, I was treated to imbibe on a magical brew by the name of Weyerbacher Insanity. And I fully understand why this beer earned an A- from Beer Advocate.

This 11% monster is made by letting their Blithering Idiot barleywine soak in oak barrels, formerly used for aging bourbon, and boy does it shine! After pouring the beer, letting it sit out for a good few minutes and admiring the tight tan head and blood orange/ruby body, I plunged my nose into the glass, and was assaulted (in a good way) by this freak of the wood. Notes of oak, caramel, bourbon and alcohol went right up the old sinus passageways. And after sipping, oh man, it was an all-out assault on the senses: BAM-toffee, BAM-vanilla, BAM-oak, BAM BAM BAM. It was so tasty.

I'll have you know this is an extremely dangerous beer! If one didn't know better, that 11% could sneak right up on you like a ninja, and roundhouse kick you in the medulla oblongata. Say goodnight, Gracie. I'm very glad I a. read the label, b. only had a half-pour.

We bobbled about the brew house for a little while chatting, and decided to take a convoy to Annapolis Homebrew. I hadn't been there in over two years, and Mrs. Olney Ale Werks pulled up a recent review saying that they recently renovated and expanded their shop. Sweet!

When we got there, we could see that business had been good. The old half of the shop was still there with kits, extract, adjuncts, gear, etc. But the new half of the shop was a real beauty! Sampling stations, brewing/demonstration area, hops & yeast coolers, big-ass brewing sculpture (for sale): it was swanky indeed. Brooks & crew have been hard at work transforming that place.

I picked up some ingredients, some yeast, some champagne bottles and a recharge on my CO2. I'm happy to do business there--though it is a bit out of the way. As they say, support your local brewery. The same philosophy applies to your local homebrewing supply shop too.

Once I get this summer brew going, I will be sure to post photos & the like.

Until then, keep on brewing!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

It's gonna be a two post day

First, I wanted to review a beer over lunch.

Last night, I popped into Cranberry Liquors and picked up a variety of things including Bard's Tale gluten-free sorghum beer.

I feel so incredibly sorry for those afflicted by Celiac Disease, and those who may live in regions of the world without the benefit of the flavor of barley. This beer may be an outlet for them, but is certainly no outlet for me.

The brew poured a beautiful amber color, with a white head that didn't retain for any amount of time. I imagine that's due to a lack of compounds that help build lacing and assist with head retention. (Like those found with using wheat malt.)

Then there was the aroma and the flavor...

At first whiff, I was smacked in the face with rubbing alcohol. I don't know what would cause that kind of scent, but was not nice. I then took a sip and tasted more of what I'd call a rubbing alcohol note, with a very, very dry finish. Don't get me wrong, it's not horrible, just unpleasant. There are grassy hops in here too, but they play second fiddle to the rest. The body and mouthfeel are very thin: This beer could be refreshing if they could give it a bit more chew.

Easy first: The beer really needs a bit more sweetness to knock the dryness out.

Then, there's that aroma (& flavor). I can't fix that, and I don't know where to even try.

For my first gluten-free beer, I guess it's okay. But it's nothing that I'd buy again.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Jumbo shrimp?

Hey everyone,

All About Beer posted part of a press release from the Ball Corporation, who leads the American market in aluminum can manufacturing. Ball is coming out with an 8 oz. can, that they say can run on existing packaging lines!

AAB posed the question if the new size will be adopted by the brewing industry. I would think it to be a very good size vessel for housing some high-gravity beer. Think about it, you won't have to feel bad opening a can and getting two servings out of it; instead of opening a 12 oz. can, trying to find some folks to share it with or let the remainder go to waste, you can enjoy the smaller form factor without getting blotto.

Here's a link to AAB's original post.


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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Umm...Raiders of the Lost Ark?

So, this has been entombed in my basement for over 2 years, where it was enclosed next to the furnace, drywalled over (as evident by the white dust adorning the carboy), sitting idly while the room was painted and decorated.

You may ask, "what the hell is that"? It's cider that I bought, fermented and absolutely, unequivocally neglected.

I brought it upstairs for two reasons:
1. To make Rachel happy (when it gets dumped)
2. To make Rachel happy that I'm brewing again.

If I dare try it, and don't go blind, I may keg it (violating #1, above). But, as you can tell, that airlock has been mighty dry for a while, so who knows what beasties are swimming in there.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Oh boy, leftovers!

Retried black beans, Evermore Farms ground beef, Mom's Mexican Caviar, and Barley & Hops Hoptopsy in the Frederick Oktoberfest glass stein.

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Vinnie Cilirzo seals the deal, again!

The public has spoken: the AHA announced the top 50 beers, as selected by the readers of Zymurgy magazine.

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