Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Avery Mephistopheles

Avery is known for making some pretty extreme beers, and they usually make a series of them. From their Dictator series to their Demons of Ales they make uniquely great beers some that I have tasted before. Mephistopheles is part of the Demons of Ales beer, along with The Beast, and Samael (which I tasted previously). This particular beer is an Imperial Stout.
The Beer: The beer weighs in at a stout (no pun intended) 16.03% and pours an inky jet black capped by the darkest brown foamy thick head that I have seen. The nose is of raisins, rum, hops, coffee and just a bit of astringent alcohol. The mouthfeel is thick and chewy, good carbonation, toasty and oaky, coffee, chocolate, raisins, with a bit of that rummy taste showing up as the beer warmed. Not much of that espresso bitterness that I was hoping for though, but on the upside not an overt amount of alcohol taste either. If I could compare it to one thing it would be a dense double dark chocolate coffee cake. Pretty nice beer, here's what the folks at BA had to say.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Collaboration Not Litigation Ale

I first heard about this unique beer while reading a review of it over at Hedonist Beer Jive. By unique I mean that this ale is not one beer, but actually two different beers blended together. This of course is where the name comes in. There are two craft breweries with a Salvation Beer. One is from Avery and is a Belgian Golden Ale, the other is from Russian River Brewing and is a Strong Dark Belgian beer. The litigation portion of the story goes that instead of filing a law suit over who is the true Salvation beer the two beer makers joined up and created a unique blended beer. Brewed and bottled at Avery, the Russian River Brewer flew out to Colorado, brewed his beer there just as he does out in California.
The Beer: The beer comes in a big bottle format and weighs in at a nice 8.99% alcohol. It pours a cloudy brown hazelnut color with a thin taupe colored head. Raisins and spicy fruit on the nose, yeast breadynessPublish. A creamy thick mouthfeel, bananas and bread on the tongue. Low carbonation causes the beer to sit and coat the tongue. Very smooth, with very little alcohol flavor showing up. Very rich, very nice. Jay over at HBJ gave the beer a 8.5 out of 10, I'd say that's about right, here's what the folks at BA had to say.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

North Coast Old Rasputin - Imperial Russian Stout

Ever since the recent Session on Stouts, I have been thinking about trying some more since its one of my favorite styles of beer. Last week I was reading Rick's post on Tuesday tastings featuring stouts and got even more of an urge to try some more stouts. So it was with great happiness that I picked up this four pack of stout from North Coast Brewery one of my personal favorites.
The Beer: The beer weighs in at 9% (thats the Imperial) pours a deep dark brown with a thick cappuccino color head. The nose has that same cappuccino creamy bitterness, with some coco, and roasted malts. The mouthfeel is thick, sweet and bitter. A wonderful beer with just a hint of the high alcohol at the end. I really like this one, here's what the folks at BA had to say.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Saint Arnold's Lawnmower Ale

I am on a quest of late to find a good session beer. A beer that one can drink a couple in a sitting and not feel completely wasted. Its hard to do that sometimes with craft beer as everyone seems to be moving towards Extreme. Extreme Hops, Extreme flavors and extreme alcohol. A week or so ago I picked up a six pack of the incredible Victory Pils. This week its a six pack of the local Saint Arnold's Lawnmower Ale.
The Beer: The beer is Kolsch Style, so that obviously got me excited as I feel a bit of an expert on the style since my recent trip to the land of all things Kolsch. Having gone to a few of the wonerful Saturday tours at Saint Arnolds I have quite a few of their tasting glasses which are basically Kolsch style glasses, so thats what I poured this beer into. This version weighs in at 4.9% slightly higher than the typical Kolsch which is usually closer to the 4.5 mark. The beer poured a pale golden straw color capped by a typical thick white head. Plenty of tiny champagne bubbles rising to the top. So far so good with Kolsch Comparisons. Sweet malt and floural hops on the nsoe. The mouth was full and bubbly, more sweet malts being the predominant flavor with a nice crips hop bite from the Hallertauer variety used. If I could compare it to anything I had in Cologne it would be Pfaffen. A bit sweeter than the typical Kolsch but still a very fine example. Here's what the folks at BA had to say.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Beer that's Served Too cold

Americans in general are now learning that they have been serving their wine at the wrong temperature, their red's to warm, the whites too cold. I keep hoping that we are moving towards that trend in serving beer, as for the most part we serve beer way too cold. It may be one thing to serve tasteless swill at ice cold temperatures, freezing your taste buds so you don't realize what you're drinking, but its quite another to do that with a fine craft brew. Just when I think its safe to go back in the water comes news of a new restaurant in the Dallas/Fort Worth are 29 Degrees. Their stchick is that they serve all beer at an ice cold 29 degrees (that's Fahrenheit folks). Now I as much as anyone can appreciate the need for an ice cold brew every now and then, but below freezing! This is so far beyond ridiculous and the way the proprietiers (owners of the Bennigan's chain) are touting this as what the people want is ridiculous. I don't think anyone, regardless of the beer they drink wants their tongues frozen. At the very least they would like to taste their food (hmm maybe the owners ARE trying to hide something).
Whats really interesting in this article are the quotes from Beer manufactures and at what temp they think their beers should be poured at. Even the boys from A-B get in it stating that serving their beer below 36 degrees leads to a "slow pour and little head, less cloudy and little flavor" (no comments please). Jim Koch of Boston Beer company seemed perplexed that anyone would want to serve his ubiquitous Sam Adams Lager at the temperature, but hey that's the plan. The fact that the owners are unapologetic and love touting that their beer is served the coldest in the area further shows their ignorance of what beer and beer drinking really is. It is not about freezing one's taste bud's even in the heat of a Texas Summer, but sitting down, with friends, enjoying good food, and good beer (it would be nice to actually TASTE the beer wouldn't it?)

North Coast Brother Thelonious

In perusing the shelves of my local Central market I sometimes look beyond the sixpack's of quality craft beer and seek out a beer in the Big bottle format, one that can be shared amongst friends and ejoyed. The other day I found just the bottle, one that I had heard about for a while, but had never had the opportunity to try, North Coast Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale. Ahh the reasons why I wanted to try it are numerous: I have really liked the North Coast Beers I have tried in the past (especially their Imperial Russian Stout), its named after a famous jazz musician (Thelonious Monk) and $2.00 of every case goes to the namesakes Institute of Jazz. All very cool, very enticing to me.
The Beer: The Beer weighs in at 9.4%, pouring a nice cloudy amber. Smells of sweet malt, slightly toasted toffe, and hops. The mouth is not that full, but tastes of those same slightly roasted toffee notes, a bit of fruit and a bit of hop bitterness at the end. An ok beer, but something was missing to bring it over the top. Here's what the folks at BA had to say.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Saint Arnold's Divine Reserve #4

Success! After having failed three times in the past I finally scored a six pack of Saint Arnold's elusive Divine Reserve. #1 I never tasted, #'s 2 and 3 I was able to taste only at a local bar, it wasn't until this time that I finally got my own to try at home. #1 was a Barleywine, #2 was a Quadrupel, #3 was a Double IPA, and #4 is a Wee Heavy Scottish Ale. I don't have much experience with Wee Heavy's so I don't have a wide frame of reference when tasting this beer, so I won't be comparing it to other's of the same style, only to if its a good beer.
The Style: Wee Heavy is a reference to its strength. Scottish Ales are the Scottish version of a Pale Ale. A Wee Heavy is a Strong Pale ale which will have a stronger alcohol content. Wee Heavy's traditional are sweeter beers, heavy on the malt, with a full body.
The Beer: The beer weighs in at 9.6%. Pours black as coal, with streaks of red flowing through, and capped by a quarter inch coffee colored head. The nose is full of sweet roasted malts, raisins and roasted coffee beans. The mouth is more of the same, Very Full flavored, with raisins, espresso, roasted malts. If I could equated it to something it would be those candies you get at the movies, Raisenets (chocolate covered raisins) drizzled in espresso. The nice thing about the beer, is I really didn't taste the alcohol. A heavy beer, and nicely sweet, this would make a great desert beer. Here's what the folks over at BA had to say.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Session: #2

I like to think we all had a blast participating in the first ever Session, an online virtual Beer Tasting. The theme then was "Not your Father's stout." So it has been with eager anticipation that I have waited for the announcement for April's Session Theme (thanks to Alan for the slightly updated version of the Session Logo). Well Alan from A Good Beer Blog has made his announcement, Dubbels. An interesting choice, but a good one for the season. So I'll be going out hunting for a Dubbel that I'd like to taste. Due Date: April 6th.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

New Belgium Springboard Ale

I am a pretty big fan of New Belgium. Outside of their Fat Tire, which has become a little less of a beer than it once was, I find their beers wonderful. So when I saw their new spring beer on shelf at my local Central Market I picked it up.
The Beer: The ingredients include wormwood (yes that mystical ingredient used in the elixir absynthe), Goji Berries, and Schisandra. Pretty exotic to say the least, and it piqued my interest. The beer weighs in at a robust 6.2%. The beer poured a cloudy golden color reminiscent of the Belgian Golden ales. Capped by a puffy white head. The nose was full of tartness, and fruit. The mouth was full, with low carbonation so it coated the tongue. White berry flavors showed up first with little bits of hops at the end. There is some sweetness but it is not from malt. There is another flavor that I just couldn't put my finger on what it was. This is a nice refreshing beer, somewhat complex, but missing anything that would make it great. Here's what the folks over at BA had to say.

The Session: Roundup #1

Well it was a fun time, and Appellation Beer has posted the roundup of the first virtual Monthly Beer Tasting. Lot's of really great stouts were tasted, so go check it out.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Weekend Quick Hits

As we all have recovered from Friday's frantic postings for the first ever Friday Session (Go over to Appellation Beer and checkout the 23 comments made, official round up to be posted shortly) I thought today would be as good a day as any to catch up on some beer news.

The Perfect Beer Glass? Well that's what Sam Adams CEO Jim Koch thinks he has found. At least for the ubiquitous Sam Adams Lager. After much experimenting with glasses and beer he has found what he says is the perfect glass for his Amber Lager. I can't say that I am surprised that Mr. Koch has found a glass that is perfect for his beer. As a lover of Riedel wine glasses, and knowing the amount of work they have gone through to create a wine glass for every varietal, I can't say I'm surprised. Having been to Belgium and seeing every beer being a different glass, I can't say I am surprised. Not that I think that every beer from every line up needs to be in a different glass, but I think people need to respect the fact that not every beer fits the same glass. You don't put a stout in a Pilsner glass, and I sure wouldn't put a Pilsner in a Belgium style goblet.

A great loss for the beer world. The Indiana Jones of the Beer world dies February 10 at his home in Dummerston, Vt. Alan Eames, the man that was a self described beer anthropologist did great things for promoting the history of beer. From expounding on topics as wide ranging as the first beer ad from Mesopotania, to the fact that up until a few centuries ago beer was the ultimate in feminine drink, always deriving from Goddesses, never God's. Not surprising since it was the females that like baking bread, brewed the local beer. He died at the young age of 59 due to respiratory failure. A sad loss indeed.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday's Session: Not your Father's Stout

Its finally that time, the inaugural, Beer Blogging Friday, or as some are starting to call it the Session (with its own logo!). The theme of this first event hosted by Appellation Beer is: Not your Father's stout, or anything but Guinness, Murphy's, etc. I love stouts, so I struggled with what I wanted to do a tasting on. After much searching I went back to a beer that I first drank when I was first being introduced into great beers. Back before I had seen what an Imperial IPA or Imperial Stout even were. To a beer that is easy to find in most every decent liquor store, but is still incredibly good. For this first of what I hope to be many sessions, I popped the top off of Young's Double Chocolate Stout.

The Style: This is a dark beer made with roasted malts. The first use of the word stout when it comes to beer was in the late 1600's. However it didn't have anything to do with a dark beer necessarily but covered anything that was a strong beer (similar to how we use Imperial today). However over time it became mainly associated with a stronger version of Porter, as in a Stout Porter. Then sometime in the late 1800's Porter was dropped from the name and it just became Stout.

The Brewery: The Brewery was founded in 1831 by Charles Young with the purchase of the Ram's Brewery in Wandsworth England. (as an aside the Famous Ram's Brewery closed last year). Now all of Young's beers are brewed at the Eagle Brewery in Bedford. Young's is a pretty popular English beer's with a wide variety available in the states. From Young's ESB to the popular Old Nick Barleywine they are usually quite good quite approachable beers.

The Beer: Yes its what we have waited for, the BEER. The beer weighs in at a nice 5.2%, for this is a beer that can be enjoyed throughout the night and won't knock you on your butt. As expected the beer pours a deep rich almost opaque chocolate brown, capped by a thick dark brown foamy head. The beer is made not only with the traditional roasted malts, but with real chocolate as well, which I found a nice touch. The nose was full of bitter sweet chocolate and espresso. The mouth is the same, rich and thick tasting for all the world like dark chocolate covered espresso beans, wonderful. As the beer warms, some of the bitterness fades leaving a silky smooth chocolatey aftertaste. The head slowly dissipates leaving a nice thin taupe line across the top of the beer. Still such a wonderful beer.

Tune back later this week to a link to the round up

Thursday, March 01, 2007

House Bill 1926

House Bill 1926 is the bill that will allow Texas microbreweries to sell a limited amount of beer directly to the public, was filed in the Texas House of Representatives Monday by Rep. Jessica Farrar. This is the bill that I have written about in the past that Brock Wagner, owner of Saint Arnold's has been working valiantly to get sponsored. It is a great thing that Brock has found a sponsor, so Kudo's to Representative Farrar. For those of you that understand how Texas Legislature works, the bill has now gone to the Licensing & Administrative Procedures committee, where it will be voted on to go forward.

While Brock has worked hard to get this bill sponsored, I think the hard part is now coming. The bill needs to get passed. But this is where we can help! No matter where we live in Texas we have a Representative in the State Legislature, its time we make them work for us. I urge everyone to write a letter to their Representative (Brock is asking everyone to state the following items, rewording of course as we please):

-Reference HB 1926.
-You are a supporter of Texas microbreweries.
-It would enhance your visit to Texas microbreweries if you could purchase a pint or six pack, just like you can when you visit microbreweries in other states.
-It will make you even more likely to purchase the beers of Texas microbreweries when you are at stores and restaurants.
-It will make Texas microbreweries stronger.
-Such a change in the law would make it more likely for more microbreweries to open in Texas.

You can email or write a letter.
Here are the Members of the Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committe:

Kino Flores, Chairman (district: the Valley, Hidalgo)http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/dist36/flores.htm
Charlie Geren, Vice Chair (district: NW Ft. Worth)
Carl Isett, Budget & Oversight Chair (district: most of Lubbock)
Tony Goolsby (district: a swath of Dallas)http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/dist102/goolsby.htm
Mike "Tuffy" Hamilton (district: Orange, Vidor, east Texas)http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/dist19/hamilton.htm
Delwin Jones (district: areas surrounding Lubbock)http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/dist83/jones.htm
Borris Miles (district: Houston south inner loop and just south of 610)http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/dist146/miles.htm
"Chente" Quintanilla (district: east of El Paso)http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/dist75/quintanilla.htm
Senfronia Thompson (district: NW Houston)

NOW GO AND WRITE! Time for us, those that love Saint Arnold's Beer, and all craft Beer from Texas to make a difference.