Friday, April 25, 2008

Weekend Brews - Week 19... Let's Go Rangers!

Happy Friday!

In keeping with last week's theme of beers to celebrate the New York Rangers, this Weekend Brews report comes at you with a tasty beer straight outta Brooklyn, NY.

The Rangers face the Pittsburgh Penguins in game one of the second round of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs tonight, and I had to get rid of everything Pennsylvania in the house, and bring in the New York goods. We're even grilling up some Papaya King hot dogs! No Heinz ketchup will be made available. Sorry.

So on to the beer...

I'd like to tell you about a favorite of mine called, Brooklyn Brewery's East India Pale Ale. It's a classic style ale made from British pale malts right from East Anglia. Hopped with a combination of Kent Golding, Williamette, Northdown, Centennial and Amarillo. That sounds good already, right?

As you peer into the glass you look through the perfect copper color of a finely crafted IPA that only Garrett Oliver could brew. In a word; beautiful.

The creamy head sits atop an aroma filled with notes of citrus, fresh cut grass and just a hint of alcohol. The glass tips toward my lips and...

... ahhhhhh. Delicious.

A quaint balance of bitterness and sweetness... a crowning achievement for any brewer trying to master the India Pale Ale style.

I have to tell you, every time I drink a beer from Brooklyn Brewery it makes me proud to call that city my birthplace. Hell, any brewery in any town that I live in makes me proud as long as they are doing their best to turn out tasty adult beverages.

So t-minus one hour and counting until the puck drops in Pittsburgh. I can't wait.

My prediction is the New York Rangers win the series in six games. Crosby and Malkin will no doubt be good, but Henrik Lundqvist and the Blueshirts will get shut them down.

Let's Go Rangers!

Overall Score: 4.25 out 5.0

Friday, April 18, 2008

Weekend Brews, Week 18... A Lager For Jagr

It's another glorious night of the NHL playoffs and the Rangers have the chance to put the Devils out of their misery. Sweeeeeeet. In honor of Jaromir Jagr of the New York Rangers, I've decided to choose a tasty lager for this Weekend Brews report.

The lager of choice is the Full Sail LTD Series, Limited Edition Lager. Have ya had it? I haven't, so here we go...

The label was clearly written by a wordsmith after my own heart, as he/she lays down the following, "An easy-drinking albeit wicked awesome Limited Edition Lager from our ace crew of libationary wunderkinds." Wow. Go ahead and try and tell me you don't want to try this beer... that's what I thought.

The LTD series lager pours a rich copper color which tells me it's going to have some malt sweetness and hopefully the hops to carry it. This beer smells a bit like a sweet roll with just a touch of fruitiness inside. I have to say, if you've had as many lagers as I've had, you'd find this aroma a bit strange for a lager. Weirdness aside, how does it taste you ask?

Very smooth, sweet, plenty of malt, not too much hop character and a bit of a dry finish. Well done I say! If I had to put this beer in a category, I might say it is an English-style American Lager. This brew is incredibly easy-to-drink and fit for any springtime BBQ.

I'm enjoying mine with some pizza and I have to say it works well, but I'd rather be eating a big juicy cheeseburger with grilled onions, tomatoes and a side of fresh-cut fries. Awww maaan... I might have to save this pizza for later.

Anyway, give the Full Sail LTD Series Limited Edition Lager a try. Turns out this beer will only be available for a short time according to their website. This lager is labeled, "Bottle Number 01" and they plan a "Bottle Number 02" shortly. Get it while you can!

And kudos to the wordsmith again, for on their website they explain that LTD does indeed stand for "limited", but more importantly for the crew at Full Sail Brewing Company, it means, "Live The Dream." ha ha. Love it.

So go out there and, "live the dream," and pick up a sixer of this tasty brew.

Overall Score: 4.0 out 5.0


Friday, April 11, 2008

Weekend Brews - Week 17 - It's Spring Time!

Friday night, and it's another late entry for the Weekend Brews report from the "great" state of Florida, and by "great" I mean big.

I just got home from setting up drums and getting dialed in for some new Team Mascot recordings, and I've got game two of the Rangers vs. Devils series on DVR... and I haven't watched a second of it yet!

I had to make sure I made it in time for Weekend Brews damnit!

So this week I thought it would be nice to check out a Spring seasonal. The beer I've decided to write about tonight is one I've avoided for quite some time. Why? Well, the label on said brew is a peach color and well to put it simply, I've been mistaking it for quite some time for Dogfish Head's Festina Peche. I hate peach flavored anything, and every time I've seen this label since its first release last Spring, I've stayed clear of this beer. Strange thing is, I actually enjoy real peaches. I just hate anything with peach flavor that doesn't include an actual peach. I digress...

As I perused the beer aisle at Ward's, our local grocer and beer carrier, I spotted the four-pack of Dogfish Head Aprihop. There it was staring at me with its damn peach-colored label and I immediately became disgusted thinking about the taste of peach in my beer. AHHHHH! It made me so angry. Then it hit me... wait a minute... this beer is Aprihop. Let me take a closer look... holy crap! I'm a moron. This is their specialty Spring beer brewed with real apricots. I love apricots! And so I picked up a four pack and here we are.

(So yeah, basically I'm an idiot easily fooled by color.)

So tonight I pour the Aprihop into my pint glass and would like to ensure you that there are no peaches involved. The brew has that lovely amber color that comes with all Dogfish Head IPAs and let me tell you, the aroma is wonderful.

My nose in the glass pulls through the nostrils a whopping dose of apricot, with the sweet and pungent fruit mixing together with citrus and grassy notes of a great big bunch of hops. If Marv Albert were here, he'd say, "YES!"
Lips to the glass, tilt and imbibe... wow. This beer personifies the term, "full-flavored." If you are familiar with the 60 Minute and 90 Minute IPAs from Dogfish Head, this would be something in the range of 65 Minutes and a slap in the face from a bag of dried apricots. Yes, those lovely orange shrunken "prunish-looking" things that they love to stick in bags of trail mix (yes hippie, I know you know what I'm talking about) are abundant in this finely crafted ale.

This beer is sweet and tart with the perfect amount of malt flavor. I have to admit though, I wouldn't mind if they through in another 10 minutes of hops in the boil. Just sayin'. I like anything labeled, "IPA" to have a bit more bitterness.

Overall I think this beer is a winner. It's not the type of drink you want to suck down while watching a game, but it is a welcome treat to begin the weekend, and a solid lead off hitter heading into my late night festivities as I enjoy the rest of the beers in my fridge.

Thanks Dogfish Head, and sorry for thinking this was your peach beer for so long. I'm glad I finally gave it a try.


Overall Score of the Dogfish Head Aprihop: 4.0 out 5.0

Friday, April 4, 2008

Weekend Brews Week 16 - Ales From Wales

It's 5 o' clock somewhere as the saying goes, and right now it's about 7:30PM on a Friday in Florida. Time for Weekend Brews!

This week we have a treat from across the pond. Wales to be exact. That tiny country from which such great singers as Tom Jones have crooned, comes what is know to be "The National Ale of Wales." The beer is called, Double Dragon Ale from Felinfoel Brewery. With a title as the "National Ale" it has to be good.

It pours into the pint glass a perfect sunset orange with just enough head to let you know it's an ale from Great Britain. Some great lacing on the glass appears as the foam disappears into the gorgeous amber liquid.

I get a hint of citrus from the hops in the nose with plenty of sweet caramel letting me know this will be filled with malty flavor.

And now, for your pleasure and mine I will drink this ale.

Oh good God that is smoooooooooth. To use the Matt Weaver "drinkability" scale, I would score the creaminess of this beer as good enough to drink a six. Unfortunately they only sell it in single 16.9 oz bottles in the US. Bummer. I can only imagine how amazing this beer would taste properly poured from the tap. Oh man.

The beer is perfectly balanced with just enough bitterness from the hops and perfect amount of sweetness carried by the malt. It's velvet texture finishes with just a touch of dryness so you don't feel like you just drank a glass of milk. Outstanding. A tip my hat to the brewer of this batch of tasty ale.

This is my first beer from Wales, and if they all taste this good or even close, I want to try them all. I am now on a mission to sample more beers from that little nation because right now they are giving anything coming out of England a run for its money.

I picked up this beauty at Dorn's in town. They have three bottles left. Get 'em while you can.


Overall Score of the Double Dragon Ale: 4.25 out 5.00