Friday, November 30, 2007

Weekend Brews Week Five... Uhhh I Mean Four

Alright so I admit I'm a fool and let the tryptophan phase out my brain cells and force me to forget about the Weekend Brews post last Friday. I'm pretty sure it was the turkey's fault, although it could have been the Anchor Christmas beer and other assorted seasonal beers we enjoyed while watching the Packers beat up on the Lions. (Go Pack Go!)

Hey, did someone say, "seasonal?" Oh yeah, that was me. Speaking of seasonal beers, how about a winter ale to add to your weekend fun? Sweeeeeeeet.

This Friday's follow-up to Turbodog is a tasty brew from the Mendocino Brewing Company (there's a link to their website, but damn do they need a new designer, this site is awful... hello! Call me, I know some good web people).

It's the Limited Edition Imperial IPA. Did I hear a call for more hops? Well, then this beer is for you.

It pours a comforting copper (Chester Copperpot is possibly what I'd call it) hue, with a fairly creamy head that sticks around only long enough to let you know you just put beer in your glass.

It's a smelly old bugger that lifts the nostrils with a strong piney scent that puts me in the mindset for a nice stroll in the Adirondacks. (ha ha ha. Sorry, that just made me laugh. What am I writing as a critic for the Wine Enthusiast?)

The strong fumes from what appears to be a massive hop addition plays out well for this hop head. The title "Imperial IPA" tells me this is a beer fit for royalty. Yes!

Sip... sip... gulp. Ahhhhhhhhh. Well maybe King Ferdinand of Spain would disagree with the taste, but I'd bet Jerry "the King" Lawler would suck down a few of these IPAs with me. He is surely the type of gent that would sit down at the tavern table and speak of revolution with his fellow friends.

The Mendocino Imperial IPA grabs with a strong bitterness that should be part of every solid IPA brew and keeps a decent amount of maltiness in the flavor as well. The aftertaste is a bit harsh though, so if you are not prone to drinking hoppity hop hop beers, you might want to steer clear of this one. It will leave that taste in your mouth for quite some time.

Me, well, I'd wear it as a cologne and swear by it as a breath mint. Tic Tacs my ass.

I know I love Pale Ales of all kinds, and I'd recommend you try this one. Granted, it would not be my first choice, or even my third choice amongst IPAs out there, but Mendocino does make some good brews and thus deserves the support of the craft beer drinking world.

This is the first I've seen it in our neck of the woods, and from what I understand, it is only available for a short time (see label that reads, "Limited Edition").

Overall score on the Mendocino Imperial IPA: 3.25 out of 5.0

Man's Best Friend...

Once again Friday is upon us... thank God.

And so I write a small post about man's best friend, the dog. My dog Lucy is certainly a fantastic companion and always good for a few laughs. That's her right down there.

In her honor, I've decided today's first beer is a classic brew known as Turbodog.

If you haven't tasted Turbodog from Abita Brewing Company, you are missing out. Sure it's been around for awhile, but it deserves a shout out as much as any other beer out there.

is a beautiful dark brown ale crafted in small batches that pours into the glass with a healthy head of foam. It's always nice to see that chocolately brown color in the head of a dark beer, and it gets you ready for the aromas that follow...

... Mmmmm... chocolate and toffee. This beer may be as close as you can get to a liquid Heath Bar, or maybe even a Twix. With its smooth mouthfeel and tiny bite from the Williamette hops, I would have this beer for both breakfast and dessert.

Living in Florida where it never seems to get cold, I dream of being back up North for some winter chill to go with this beverage. I'd like to tailgate for a December Giants game with this pride of Louisiana in hand.

I can just imagine biting into a hot and spicy steak sandwich and washing it down with a gulp of Turbodog. Ahhhhhhh. Can't you just smell the red hot coals cooking the well seasoned beef, peppers and onions while you and your friends get fired up for the game? Oh man, it's going to be good going back home for the holidays.

I've got another tasty beer to add for this week's Weekend Beelz report. That one should be up shortly, but for now, grab yourself a sixer of Turbodog and pretend it's cold outside(that is if your stuck in the South, otherwise, just open the window).

My overall score for Abita's Turbodog: 4.5 out of 5.0


Monday, November 26, 2007

Oops, I missed Weekend Brews! And In Other News...

Okay, so I'm an idiot. Who knew there would be a Friday after Thanksgiving? ha ha. I promise to double the dose of beer fun this week with two entries for Weekend Brews, although one will have to be Weekday Brews to make up for my mistake.

It shall be done!

In other news...

... my good friend Dave and his pals on the left coast have started a beer blog as well. Hooray! Click on the link for "Brewed For Thought" on the links panel there and check it out. Good stuff working over there on the west.

I'm looking forward to reading more myself.

That's all for now, happy drinking... even if it is 9:30AM on a Monday. Boooo work.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Weekend Brews! Week Four

Okay, well it's Friday night, almost midnight and well this week's beer to start your weekend is Lagunitas "Censored" Rich Copper Ale. The description of this beer on the brewery website is the best I've read in a long time. ha ha ha.

Right to it in order to make it before midnight:

This beer pours a smooth, copper, yes, copper, hue with a nice creamy head. It smells like a sweet malty wonderworld touched with a kiss of hoppiness. This is one of those beers that you can enjoy a full six pack of and not feel like you drank a well full of syrup. It's perfectly balanced, and light bodied enough to enjoy all six beers by yourself... or share with a friend.

Right now I'm enjoying mine in front of a roaring fire. In North Central Florida this opportunity appears perhaps, once or thrice a year, so I have to say, I'm very happy to have a Lagunitas brew in front of me on this special occasion.

This left coast brewery has yet to disappoint me. I even saw a case of "Brown Shugga" from Lagunitas waiting to be opened at my local beer store, and I will most definitely be going back to pick up that seasonal delight.

When I do, I'll be sure to tell you about it right here.

Well, sorry for the hasty post and all, but it's after midnight now, and well, there's a fire in my living room and I live in Florida. I have to take advantage of this experience right now, or forever regret it.

Pick up some Lagunitas this weekend. Any of 'em. I have no doubt in my mind it will make you a happier person... at least temporarily.

Overall Score: 3.25 out of 5.0


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Beer Advocate Magazine

I wanted to put up a post about Beer Advocate Magazine. It's the print version of all that is wonderful from the Alström brothers' website

Each month they put out a new issue filled with fantastic articles about beer and everything related to the subject, including interviews with some of the world's best brewers, tips on where to drink when you visit different cities, homebrewing tips, beer reviews, and just about everything else that a beer lover wants to read.

They usually have some great photography to go along with the interesting writing as well.

Now this isn't a literary mag, so if you're looking for the "New Yorker" go pick it up and stay the hell away from Beer Advocate. That's not to say the writing is poor, it's just written in a more informal manner. Personally I believe that's exactly how a beer magazine should be written.

They only charge $20/year for subscriptions right now, and that's a damn good deal.

I'm always looking forward to the new issue each time I open the mailbox. In fact, there hasn't been a day yet that I didn't read it cover to cover as soon as it was delivered.

So, if you dig beer as much as I do, and wouldn't mind learning more about the subject and what's going on in the industry, as well as some advice about new beers to try, pick yourself up a copy. Or, better yet, get a subscription, it's only $20. That's probably less than what most of us spend on one weekend of beer anyway.


Friday, November 9, 2007

Weekend Brews - Week Three

It's the third edition of Weekend Brews!

This Friday we start the weekend off with yet another new brew that I have been wanting to try.
So I did. It's just that easy. Okay, whatever, just drink it.(07:55)

Straight from the Shmaltz Brewing Company creating magical beers from the combination of folks from New York and San Francisco, comes, "Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A." It's a tribute beer of sorts, and one I can fully support. This beer is a sort of "thank you" to Lenny Bruce. Granted he's a man a bit before my time, but I can certainly respect his attitude and ability to question the norms of society and take everything that is status quo and slap it upside the head.

If you ever get the chance, look up some info on the man on the old internet, and you'll see that for people who are sick of the nonsense that surrounds us, he can be an inspiration. He'd probably tell me to fuck off if he was alive and reading this, but that's sort of the point.

Okay, enough of the history nonsense. Lenny Bruce was great, but we're talkin' about the ice cold beer in the glass in front of me.

So what is "Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.?" Well it's a double I.P.A. with tons of malt and hops, say the good folks who make HE'BREW beer. It's brewed with rye malt which definitely will impact the flavor of this brew.

It pours a dark copper color with a decent head that seems to fall just a bit too fast for me. I like the head to stick around awhile when I stick my nose in the glass to get a goof whiff of what's inside. Nonetheless, the aroma makes up for it.

Oh beautiful gods of malt, praises unto thee! This beer features a rich, nutty smell that includes a touch of sweetness in the nose. I'm not catching the intense hop aroma I figured would be front and center in the double I.P.A. That's not necessarily a bad thing, just surprising.

Alright, this smells just too damn good, I'm goin' for it...

...Holy crap! That's like drinking a caramel milkshake blended with fresh cut grass. Wowsers. This beer just made my day! It's no secret I love the big hoppy brews normally associated with the intense brewers of the U.S., and this beer puts a smile on my face without the tons of bitterness I expect from an American I.P.A. The rye malt definitely adds some serious character, and most likely is putting forth that clean, caramel-like intensity. This is one smooth mofo!

It's another one of those big bottles of fairly high-priced beers. However, it's equivalent to buying a cheap wine, and it tastes a world better than cheap vino. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy some tasty red wine now and then, but for those of you that want to complain about the price of a good beer and then go spend money of wine... well, it's time to step up and realize that you can get much more flavor and complexity in a $7 bottle of beer than from a bottle of wine at the same price. It's not even a contest. It is fact... or at least my opinion. ha ha.

Overall score on this beauty: 4.5 out 5.0

So, it's Friday, get your weekend going. Pick up a bottle of Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. Hell, while you're at it, put on some protest songs, fire up the "incense" and actually try and enjoy the weekend and forget about your damn job.

That's what I'll do.

Till next time... Prost!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Weekend Brews! Week Two

Praise be to Friday!

Yes, it's the second edition of Weekend Brews, your guide to fine crafted brews to please the palette and get your weekend fired up.

I have to say, I've been addicted to American craft brews as of late, but this weekend I'm starting with a fine English Ale. What beer could it be you ask? Well, it's a tasty blonde ale from across the pond my friend.

It's Wychcraft! A spooky little beer from the Wychwood Brewery in Witney, Oxofordshire, England. Ah, yes, the same folks that brought us the famed Hobgobline Ale (known as the "Mark Knopfler" to those of us here in Gainesville, Fla.).

Hooray! Okay you bloody fools, here's what you're in for when you crack open one of these finely designed bottles of ale...

... Well it says, "Golden" and "Blonde" on the label, but this beer pours a slightly darker shade. It's not exactly an amber, but if that's gold, it's what I would call a dirty gold, or filthy blonde. ha ha. Okay, that's a ridiculous description fit only for a cheap Vegas hooker, but you get the idea.

The head on this beast was substantial, but fell apart in a hurry. I find that a bit disappointing, but then again, it's Friday and why the hell do I want the head to get in the way of all that tasty liquid? Moving on...

...The aroma is fruity and floral. Considering I'm a hop head and addicted to that piney, citrus blast that comes from American Pale Ales, especially those featuring the classic haze of Cascade hops, this English Ale is a nice change of pace. It's actually a very gently, I would say, soft-scented ale. The hops are apparent, but do not overpower the brew.

And the taste? Drum roll... is good! The flavor is also gentle compared to the American Ales I've been downing the past year. I believe that is something to appreciate from an English Ale. It's not a hop lover's delight, but rather a nice mix of creamy malt character with a slight touch of bitterness.

As the folks at Wychwood mention, this is a great summertime beer. Granted I would recommend several wheat brews for a hot Florida day before I'd tell you to pick up a Wychcraft, but I can see where they are going with their thoughts. Then again, Summer in the U.K. can't possibly compare to the brutal nonsense we deal with in FLA. Not even close.

Regardless of all that, this English Ale is a tasty one. It is incredibly smooth and goes down quickly, and has got to go well with fish and chips! Sorry, I had to say it. I haven't tried it with those tasty fried fish wrapped in newspaper, but I'm pretty damn sure it would make my day to have both in front of me on a Saturday afternoon.

As far as English Ales go, I'd give this a solid score: 3.75 out 5.0

If you've been hangin' in the American craft brew scene, go ahead and take a weekend off and try a few from overseas to change it up a bit. Support brewers from all over the world, and they will in turn keep making these creative elixirs that make our work weeks bearable.