Friday, May 30, 2008

Weekend Brews - Week 24 - Hebrew Part Deux

Another Friday is upon us, and for the third time this year, I've fallen ill. What is with 2008? Ahhh, the hell with it.

So, against the advice of my doctor and the pharmaceutical companies, I shall enjoy a beer while on antibiotics(Note: This blog and its writer do not condone the use of alcohol while on antibiotics, this is strictly for scientific purposes... or rather... thirst purposes. So yeah, don't do it.). Who is the flu to prevent you from reading about a tasty brew that may just make your weekend slightly better than it already is, right? Exactly. I say, "F" the flu.

A guy named Zak, from the Schmaltz Brewing Co., commented on my previous He'Brew beer post about their Origin Ale, and mentioned that I should try their Rejewvenator Harvest to Harvest Ale. (props to the brewery for the product shot... my camera is busted so I needed to grab the photo from their very helpful website. Man, do they know how to market or what? BTW, Schmaltz Brewing Company, I'm moving to San Francisco soon, I work in marketing, so whatdaya say we talk about a job... please?)

According to the brewery website, this is a, "half-doppelbock, half-Belgian inspired dubbel infused with the juice of the sacred fig." Now, I know just about everyone has enjoyed a Fig Newton as a kid... and if you've enjoyed those delicious baked treats, AND you like beer? Fughettaboutit.

I open and pour...

The Rejewvenator comes correct with a dark cherry hue and a luscious foamy head. The rich reddish/brown liquid starts to warm my heart even before I take a sip. The pungent aroma of malt sweetness, with a kiss of hops to boot, climbs up my nose like that yodeller guy from the Cliffhanger game on The Price Is Right. Just from smell alone you can tell this beverage is going to be chock full of flavor. And now we taste...

The Rewjewvenator most certainly tells the tale of a fig lover's delight... bold, sweet, and smooth with just enough bite from the hops to let you know it's a beer and not a juice. The fig is an interesting choice of fruit to use in a beer, but the color and subtle sweetness seem to make sense. I have to tell you, it works well. With such a unique flavor, it certainly harmonizes with the CaraRed and Dark Crystal malts to create a powerful, luxurious beverage.

Drink this beer whenever you feel like it, but I would bet money that it would pair perfectly with a pecan pie after dinner, or a salty snack in the late night. In fact, if this beer was wrapped in a thin slice of prosciutto di Parma right now, I'd be in heaven.

It's the weekend my people, so get out there and have a beer. If you're sick like me, just have one, but make sure it's a good one... like The Rejewvenator. I sure hope it rejuvenates me.


Overall Score on the Rejewvenator Harvest to Harvest Ale: 4.0 out 5.0

Friday, May 23, 2008

Weekend Brews - Week 23 - Baseball Weekend Begins!

There's nothing like that feeling of being done with work when you're heading into a 3-day weekend. Everyone with me now... take a deep breath... exhale... ahhhhhhhhhhh.

This weekend marks our annual trip down to see some Tampa Bay Rays baseball, and tailgate with some great food, and cold beer. I get to watch my Orioles try and beat down the Rays. It should be an outstanding series seeing as these two teams are playing great baseball right now. Okay, okay, sorry... the beer. Right.

I meant to write about this tasty beverage in last week's Weekend Brews report, but had to run out to a party and sample some other beers instead. I have a tough life. This week, it's another Belgian-style brew from the Sunshine State. The Saint Somewhere Brewing Company is making a name for itself in the world of the beer geek, and now I know why.

This week I'd like to tell you about Lectio Divina. The name is Latin and refers to something about a divine reading, spiritual reading, or other such god stuff. Here's a wikipedia reference.
Simply put, it's an amber ale that looks delicious.

It pours a dark amber color into the glass, and features a good amount of carbonation and light head. The head doesn't stick around for too long, but the bubbles keep on going and going... The Lectio Devina has a spicy aroma... it almost smells a little like a fresh baked holiday spice cookie... cloves in front, banana in back, followed by overtones of alcohol. Interesting. It almost reminds me a bit of Ommegang's Rare Vos.

Coming in at 8.0% ABV, this beer packs a punch. However, just as many other tasty Belgian-style beers before it, the flavor remains smooth. There's a subtle sweetness from the thin creamy foam that refuses to leave. I know I said the head disappeared quickly, and it did, but there is this tasty layer of creamy foam that just sits around the edges of the glass creating a unique mouthfeel when it combines with the tiny bubbles.

This is a tasty beverage.

Oh man, it's a beautiful Friday my friends. I hope you all have a good beer to enjoy today. This Saint Somewhere brew is a perfect start to my weekend. I can't wait to watch some baseball down in Tampa, but right now, I'm happy to be enjoying this well-crafted ale.

If you don't have a great beer in your hands, I implore you to go out and get one. It's a holiday weekend!

I know Memorial Day weekend is marketed as the start of Summer, the time to fire up the grill and party, gather with friends... and in a way it is. The name, "Memorial Day" has a bit more meaning than that though.

I don't mean to be a bummer, but take a second to remember all those men and women who have lost their lives fighting for our country. Look... I'm no nationalist, but I'm pretty sure I understand the importance of sacrifice, and so I hoist my glass in their honor.

Cheers to you all.

Overall Score for the Saint Somewhere Brewing Co.'s Lectio Divina: 4.0 out of 5.0

Friday, May 9, 2008

Weekend Brews - Week 21 - Part Deux

I promised another treat this evening, and here it is... I present to you, Florida's own, Saison Athene from the Saint Somewhere Brewing Company.

This Belgian-style beer is brewed in Tarpon Springs, Florida, a town not exactly known for its brewing expertise. Nonetheless, Saint Somewhere Brewing Company knows what they are doing.

Sold in beautifully labeled 750ml bottles, this lovely beverage flows into the glass with a Florida orange glow and fizzy head. The carbonation streams upward through the cloudy tangerine liquid, and this beer is telling me it's going to be heavenly.

The smell brings forth banana, cloves and citrus... a perfect combination for this warm Florida night. I think I made a solid selection at the beer store earlier when I picked this one out of the bevy of big bottled beauties available.

Lips to the glass and I take a pull... oh man, that's good. This beer is perfectly carbonated as the bubbles tickle the tongue, and you get a blast of citrus without an overwhelming sweetness. It has a slightly dry finish, but not as dry as expected from the high level of carbonation.

In a word; delicious. Two words; fucking great. Seriously, this beer is outstanding!

I have to hand it to Matt Weaver for mentioning the great reviews this brewery had been getting on other beer review sites, and encouraging me to try it. I had seen these beers a few times at my local beer store and thought, "Meh... a Florida brewery? I don't know man, I haven't liked anything from Florida yet." Man, was I wrong.

Saint Somewhere has renewed my faith in Florida brewing, and now I will have to try their other beers, as well as get back out there and track down some other Florida offerings.

If you can get your hands on this Saint Somewhere Saison Athene, do it. You will not regret it.


Overall Score of the Saint Somewhere Saison Athene: 4.5 out 5.0

Weekend Brews - Week 21 - Imperial Beer

It's Friday up in here! And it's a good thing too. The work week was awful, and I need some time to wind down and sip a tasty beverage. I have a special brew to speak of later on this evening, but for now I want to talk about an imperial brew that comes from Athens... Georgia, that is.

Imperial? What the hell does that mean? Well, from what I can tell, it usually means a strong beer using more than the average amount of ingredients. In this case it is double the ingredients.

This Weekend Brews report would like to introduce to you, the Rye Squared Imperial Pale Ale from the Terrapin Beer Company. (If I was a talented video artist, this is where I would place a video of a the bottle strutting down an aisle lined with horn players declaring the status of this splendid ale. All hail the Prince of Zamunda!)

This doubled version of the tasty Terrapin Rye Pale Ale has that little something extra for those of us who like a little heavier beer now and then.

It pours a rich reddish-brown into the pint glass, and shows its cloudy character once the carbonation settles. It smells of glorious "ancient grain hop juice"... like a farm filled with workers collecting this year's hop harvest. Ahhhh. With that kind of hop scent coming from the pint, you know it has to have a good bit of bitterness.

It does. A fine beer for hopheads to enjoy; well-balanced with extra malt sweetness to create a smooth and creamy finish. To borrow from Ferris Bueller... this beer is so choice.

It warms me inside and puts a smile on my face. Works sucks. It's true. Now it's over, and I'm drinking a delicious beer, and hopefully you're reading about it while drinking one too.

As I mentioned above, I've got another beer to talk about later on. I just put it in the fridge, so it will be awhile before it is good and ready for a pour.

In the meantime, crank up your Friday with a tasty Terrapin beer, or whatever you have nearby. Life is short, and if you're going to die anyway, why not drink as many delicious beers as possible, right?


Overall Score on the Rye Squared Imperial Pale Ale: 4.0 out of 5.0

Friday, May 2, 2008

Weekend Brews - Week 20 - Fuh,Fuh,Fuh...FRIDAY!

Work is finally over. The coffee from this morning has worn off. I should be tired. I should be ready to curl up on my couch and take a five hour nap.

But wait... what do I see? It's a fridge filled with beer next to me!

Today we will talk about two craft brewed beers that are new to Gainesville, Florida. I am very happy they are here.

First up is the Organic IPA from Bison Brewing Company... straight from good old Berkeley, California... damn hippies.

Actually, I used to live out that way, and while there are still hippies in Berkeley, it's a fun place to hang and drink some great locally brewed beers.

Now I've been trying to be healthy lately, and in doing so, I've been supporting the organic produce, dairy and meat producers of the US. I have to tell you... the food just tastes better. Yeah, it's more expensive, but it's better for you and it makes me feel good not to be ingesting more chemicals than necessary. Jesus, now who sounds like the hippie? On to the alcohol...

It's organic alcohol, so it's healthier, right?

Okay, okay... the beer...the color is a bit light for an IPA. The beer has a solid amber color, but it wouldn't kill them to use a slightly darker malt. Just sayin'. Have no fear, the aroma makes up for what this beer lacks in rich color. It's a citrus and spice masterpiece flowing up my nose. You'll wish you had your pillows stuffed with hops after you smell this brew.

The aroma forces me to have to drink this beer right now!

It's bittersweet, rich and delicious. A bit shy on the malt sweetness I prefer in an IPA, but this beer is no doubt a crisp and clean beverage that is sure to please the hophead in all of us.

I will buy this beer again. I wish I had some onion rings and big fat burger to go with it though. Right now all I have is beer.

I have nothing to complain about.

Overall Score of the Bison Organic IPA: 4.0 out 5.0


Beer number two, from my fridge to you, is the Boulder Beer Company's Sweaty Betty Blonde. Sounds disgusting. ha ha.

This beer is for, "Summer, Summer, Summertime," ao the Boulder Beer website tells me. It's an unfiltered wheat beer, that truly is fit for hot Summer days. It has that classic, cloudy appearance and a gorgeous golden hue. Unfortunately I don't have the proper glassware for wheat beers, but I'll deal with what I have.

The aroma is a punch in the mouth with banana and a touch of cloves. Anyone who knows me, knows I have a problem with banana flavored anything and sometimes that banana smell, but for some reason this beer isn't turning me off. I even get a hint of mango and pineapple. I'm not sure that's what they were going for, but this beer is starting to make me think I'm about to drink a smoothie. ha ha.

Here it goes... down the hatch...

Interesting. This beer is full of fruit flavors, but none that I would normally attribute to a wheat beer. Again I taste mango. It's a subtle taste, but it is definitely there. This Sweaty Betty beer is insanely smooth, and would be fit for anyone wanting to enjoy several beers in a row.

It doesn't have the flavors I think of in terms of Bavarian-style wheat beers, but it definitely is unique and worthy of a tasting.

Check it out and let me know what you think.


Overall Score on the Sweaty Betty Blonde: 3.5 out 5.0

Almost time...

In anticipation of today's Weekend Brews report I give you an inspirational song and an inspirational scene from a movie that should hold you over for a few minutes.

Go ahead and try getting this song out of your head for the next several hours...

P.S. Who knew young Barry Bonds knew how to dance?

The clock is ticking on a Friday afternoon...

My mouth is watering knowing right now in my fridge, just a few feet away, there lies a bevy of delicious craft brewed beers. There is still work to be done, but just how long can I last before I break down and crack open beer number one?

Check back in a few to find out.

Weekend Brews, Week 20, comin' atcha in couple of hours.