Monday, December 31, 2007

Xmas in New York and New Year's Eve in Gainesville

Well I missed yet another Weekend Beelz report due to running around from place to place in Long Island. Oh well.

My trip to New York was fantastic and filled with trips to Blue Point Brewery, Brick House Brewery and Restaurant, and my local beer distributor for other tasty treats. I even got to sip some suds at Madison Square Garden with my sister while watching my beloved Rangers beat up on the Carolina Hurricanes. Awesome.

Unfortunately I did not get to spend as much time at the breweries as last year, but I did have the chance to sample the luscious Oatmeal Stout at Blue Point and it may just be the best damn Oatmeal Stout I've ever had the pleasure of drinking. I couldn't find it anywhere other than at the brewery, and they did not have six packs to go for that flavor. Bummer. So all I can tell you is that if you are on Long Island or in the New York Metro area, seek out that beauty from Blue Point. It's worth the search.

I also had the chance to drink their Imperial I.P.A. This beer, known as "No Excuses" was a beast. It came in at 10.2 % ABV, and came correct with a wallop of hops and a sweet full flavor that made me sure I only needed one. They charge a hefty $7.00 US for a pint, but it was well worth it.

I have a special place in my heart for Blue Point Brewery, not only because of Long Island pride, but they consistently produce some of the best ales and lagers I've ever had. Between Blue Point and Brooklyn Brewery, I think it is safe to say that the New York Metro area can go toe-to-toe with any other brewing region in terms of flavorful beelz.

I also made a stop in at the Brick House Brewery & Restaurant in Patchogue, NY, just a short drive from Blue Point.

I just had my fill at the other watering hole, so I only sampled one beer from Brick House. It was their Rye Pale Ale. It wasn't as tasty as the Terrapin Rye Pale Ale from Athens, GA, but it was a fine beer just as well. A nice dry finish from the Rye malt, with a nice kiss of hops made it a pleasant follow-up to the heavy hitters over at Blue Point.

All in all, my trip to the breweries was a success. I had the chance to spend some time with my sister again, and enjoy some of the fruits of the hardworking brewers on Long Island.

In fact, one of my last nights in New York was spent enjoying a case of Toasted Lager and a case of Hoptical Illusion, both from the Blue Point Brewery with some old friends. The two cases ran a bill of $71.00, but there wasn't an unsatisfied customer in the house.

So now it's New Year's Eve. God only knows what's in store. Well until next time...

I wish you all a Happy New Year and Happy New Beelz for 2008!


Friday, December 21, 2007

Weekend Brews Week 7 (I almost missed it!)

It's 15 minutes to midnight and I'm just makin' it in for Weekend Brews week 7.
Tonight I write from the great Island of Long sipping beers with an old friend Glenn, and enjoying the cold weather.

This evening brings a treat that I haven't seen anywhere in FLA, or anywhere else for that matter. Glenn brings forth the "John Labatt Heritage Pack", a 24.

It could be a four pack.

Labatt's Blue, John Labatt Classic(signature series), Honey Lager, and our favorite, Labatt 50.

Nothing says Christmas like a variety pack of beers from the Great White North.

It's all about the 50.

Glenn: Labatt 50? It's pretty good shit. It kinda tastes to me like, when your drinking something crappy, but ya really like it.

(Evan Dando records...>)

Tom/Glenn: What's the color? mmmmm Beer color. It's original beer color. It's like the very first beer looked like this.


Glenn: Is that the end of the review? Because I'm almost done.

Overall Score on the Heritage 24 Pack: 4.0 out 5.0

Friday, December 14, 2007

Weekend Brews - Week Six -Beel Two

It's time for beer number two on this fine Friday.

As the Peanuts sang in that most memorable television special... "Christmastime is here, happiness and cheer..." I'm pretty sure that last word was supposed to be beer, but all the damn kids watching probably had their parents protesting or something. Geez.

Stupid kids.

So what is all this about? What the hell is the beer?

Okay, here it is... Wychwood's Bah Humbug! Christmas Ale.

It fits nicely in my new Hobgoblin glass I received in the holiday gift exchange. Beauty. The beer boasts a beautiful copper and cherry wood appearance with a quickly vanishing head.

At first sniff it smells a slight bit sour, but then for some reason follows with a sweet aroma of dried dark cherries. It has that dark chocolate covered cherry quality to it.

This is one smooth mofo. It's almost as if this beer was brewed to be an after dinner cordial. A sweet, sweet post meal treat. Hey, wait a minute... I just finished my dinner and now I'M drinking it. Wow. Sometimes things really work out.

I will admit that when I first saw this beer with Ebenezer Scrooge on the label I thought it would be as bitter as a Cubs fan after Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. Not so. Just as the Dickensian tale unfolds so doth this beverage.. It's not a sour old pickle, but rather a luscious liquid desert.

This beer comes as a single and so it should be. This is not a beer you would want to drink more than one of in a sitting. I think it is a delightful change-up though if you spend most of your time drinking bitter ales like I do.

Overall score: 3.75 out 5.0

Weekend Brews - Week Six Beer One

Friday. Thank you. Thank you so very much. My work week is over and I suddenly feel better than I have all week. Ahhhhh... time to relax and make the headaches disappear.

This Weekend Brews report comes in with two tasty beers. The second will follow in a bit as it is cooling down to proper drinking temperature in the fridge.

First up is a new favorite of mine, The Rye Pale Ale from Terrapin Beer Co. in Athens, GA.

Beer, glorious beer! The Rye Pale Ale flows smoothly into my pint glass with ease as a large smile creeps across my face like the sun rising up from the horizon of the Atlantic and setting behind the dunes of Robert Moses State Park (shout out to all my Long Island peeps!).

The beer produces a decent head that disappears quickly. I always like when the head of a beer sticks around longer, but right now I don't care because I'm going to drink this ale like a pirate drinks rum. But first...

... the smell. It's a splendid citrus aroma that radiates waves of grapefruit. Man, do I love grapefruit. It's not as intense as say the usual Northwestern US Pale Ales, but it has enough hoppiness to make this weekend starter happy.

The rye in this beer certainly adds a nice touch. It comes forth with a middle of the road bitterness and follows with a perfectly dry finish. My guess is that dryness comes straight from the rye and that bitter from those Magnum hops. Gotta love those high alpha acid beauties.

This is a perfect anytime beer if you ask me. You could enjoy with some pizza, pass it around at a summer barbecue or share it with a warm chicken pot pie on a cool Fall evening.

I know the lagers tend to be the favorites as a multipurpose beer, but for me, this Terrapin Rye Pale Ale is a better match.

And you gotta love the turtle logo theme.

If you were not aware, Terrapin opened in 2002 selling their beers in Athens, GA. After being open for only six months, they decided to take a shot and enter this beer in the Great American Beer Festival's Pale Ale category. From what I understand, that is the most fiercely competitive category to enter.

Guess what? Gold Medal. No shit.

If you haven't tried it yet, do so. You will not be disappointed. And if you have tried it, drink it again. Support those folks up in Athens, GA. They are producing some fine beers for all of us.

Overall score on the Rye Pale Ale: 4.0 out of 5.0

Friday, December 7, 2007

Weekend Brews Week Five

It's the fifth installment of Weekend Brews and do I have a treat for you... or rather, me.

This week I implore you to start your weekend with a Belgian beer. Tis the season for "Christmas Beers" or winter ales. This particular selection I have chosen tonight is brewed by Brouwerij Van Bossche and it is called, Kerst Pater Special Christmas Beer.

Oh glorious beer! This Belgian masterpiece pours a dark chocolate brown with a thick foamy head that sticks around longer than the sweetest root beer you've had as a kid.

From the first sip you are immersed in a flavorful quicksand that sucks you down into its core. A deliciously sweet nectar of various malts mixed with what must be the most intelligent strain of yeast I've yet to encounter.

Well, what the hell does that mean? It means, that this yeast seems to produce the perfect balance of alcohol and carbonation to dance upon the tongue with fizziness, but finish with the elegance of a European pastry.

Most writers describing food and drink tend to go to the earth's end to find the most elaborate descriptions to entice readers to try what they have tried, but honestly, regardless of which fancy words and phrases are used in this post, you have to try this beer. It's amazing.

A loss for words, perhaps not, but for a beer of this caliber, I'm not sure anyone from Dickens to Thoreau could put this into adequate prose.

Just try it. It's an expensive beer compared to most at $8.00 US a 750ml bottle, but believe me, it is worth at least that.

Are you going to a holiday dinner? Family celebration in the next few weeks? Show up with a bottle of Kerst Pater Christmas Ale and you will be loved forever.

I can say no more.

Overall score: 5.0 out of 5.0

What? They make beer in Aruba?

Yes folks it's true, they make beer in Aruba. At least I know that now, and so do you. Why a beer from Aruba?

Well, my friends Max and Tisha were kind enough to bring one back for me from their recent vacation. They know of my love for beelz or all kinds, so what more exotic than an beer from Aruba? ha ha. Okay, it's not exactly the number one or number 46 destination for fine ales and lagers. However, I had to thank them with a post about their find.

Okay, well it comes in a lovely aluminum can and the beer is called, Balashi. It's a golden Pilsner lager fit for a silver can. It's brewed by Brouwerij Nacional Balashi who is know for well... this beer.

I could tell you about it's fairly non-existent aroma, and the fact that it tastes like a watered down Miller Lite, but really, I would be doing my readers a great injustice if I did not provide a word for word quote from their website, so here ya go:

"The taste of Balashi is the result of a scientific approach towards surveying the local taste. A panel of local experts tasted different categories of beer available both in Aruba and in the region.

The results of this survey were sent to the laboratory. The world famous brewer Mr. Gerhard Lindenhahn, who has over 50 Years of experience, assisted our Brew master Mr. Klaus Eckert, who had successfully run the Kubuli Brewery on the island of Dominica.

Together they prepared our secret recipe, which has proven to be a big winner.

The Arubans prefer their beer with a deep golden color totally clear and transparent, with a bitterness which is soft to the tongue and the nose, however with an aroma of fresh hobs, a short aftertaste and an easy foam. The combination should feel fresh and smooth to the mouth when cold served, perfect as refreshment in Aruba’s hot climate."

There's no way I could have written a better description than the above. It really does have a great aroma of hobs. ha ha ha. Calvin and Hobbes, maybe.

Alright, this was my entertainment for the evening. My Weekend Beelz report will be up shortly.

Thanks again to Max and Tisha for the Aruba beer. It actually wasn't bad at all, and I could see drinking many of these on the beach while enjoying the warm tropical sun. So take my sarcasm for what it's worth.

However, if you have a choice of many beelz, this is probably not one you would want to pick up... unless of course you were in Aruba, and well, if Miller Lite was not available, this would suffice.