Friday, August 29, 2008

Weekend Brews - Week 36 - Goodbye Florida, Hello California!

It's Friday, and it's my last weekend in Florida before the big move to California. Wow.

I'm not exactly sure where I'll be next Friday since our driving route will depend on what this crazy hurricane Gustav does, but check in either way. I may just have something to write about from wherever the hell we are.

So, tonight, we'll start with a lovely east coast beer from Weyerbacher Brewing Company. They call it Blanche. It's a Belgian-style wit beer, perfect for this steamy Florida evening.

Did someone say, "Blanche?"

This unfiltered wheat beer is cloudy and produces a fizzy head that disappears quickly. The aroma of spice and banana fill the glass. The flavor is light and refreshing with a nice hint of citrus. You could definitely drink more than a few of these. Since it's the first weekend of college football, I'd recommend drinking a few sixers of this around your grill. Go on rednecks, change it up and support a craft brewery and put down that Busch Light. ha ha.

Overall Score for the Weyerbacher Blanche: 3.75 out of 5.0

But wait, there's more ...

I decided to crack open another brew from Weyerbacher. What the hell, right? I'm not sure you can get Weyerbacher beers out west, so I'm making sure I get my fill now.

Let us talk about the Merry Monks! It's another Belgian-style brew ... this time a golden ale. It's an Abbey Tripel that says good times with a 9.3% ABV.

The beer is true to it's description as the golden liquid fills the glass. I was hoping for a burst of fluffy foam on top, but the head wasn't much to talk about ... except that I just talked about it. (sorry, sorry.)

Holy spice and fruit blast in the nose! It's like a Christmas spice and fruit cake without that creepy, slimy glaze on the outside. And now to the flavor ...

This beer is fucking delicious! Blanche was pretty good, but hot damn! Get yourself a glass of the Merry Monks and make yourself a magnificent and magical evening. Mmmmm. You can really taste the spice ... the coriander, maybe some cloves, and a super smooth finish to boot.

I'm always impressed with American versions of Belgian beer styles that really hit the mark. This is one of them. If you like the stronger Belgians, and want to support an east coast craft brewery, go on and get yourself a Merry Monk. Weyerbacher, I sure hope you have distro out to the left coast.

Overall Score of the Weyerbacher Merry Monks: 4.5 out 5.0

P.S. Sorry for the lack of photos. My camera isn't working for me tonight. Once I get out west, settled and the paychecks start flowing, I'll get myself a little better camera to improve this blog. Word.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Weekend Brews - Week 35 - It's Raining Beer!

It's Friday, and perhaps it isn't raining beer exactly, but it is raining, and I am drinking beer. There's a connection somewhere.

Yes, that's right folks, it's time for another installment of Weekend Brews. For week 35, I decided to once again take my taste buds on a trip to Belgium. I present to you the delicious beer know as Pauwel Kwak brewed by the Family Brewery Bosteels in Buggenhout, Belgium ... try saying that 10 ten times fast. Wowsers.

Now, from what I've seen online, and on the wikipedia page about this brew, it should be served in a special "hourglass" shaped vessel that is held up by a wooden stand. Right ... well I don't have one, so I'm drinking it out of the fanciest stemware I own, so there ya go.

The beer pours a dark amber color into the glass, the color of dark cherries. A beautiful eggshell white head quickly appears and disappears in a matter of seconds. The aroma is intriguing ... a sugary morning breakfast bread smell with a hint of banana, honey and alcohol.

The flavor is a mixture of sweetness (there's that honey note again) and a little touch of bitterness. I'm not getting much of a malt sweetness though, it really does have an aroma and flavor that would make a big bear smile.

The mouthfeel of this beer is smooth and buttery with some light carbonation as it slides down the gullet. Very nice. It may be a strong ale at 8.0 ABV, but you would never know it at first taste.

The Pauwel Kwak is a very good Belgian beer. On a Friday night while dealing with the power going in and out during a tropical storm it's a great little comfort beverage. If you enjoy the flavors of Belgium (and how could you not?), I recommend picking up a bottle. It's a 750 ml, and you can get it at Dorn's here in Gainesville.

So enjoy the storm my Florida friends, and you might as well have a few to pass the time.

Op uw gezonheid!

Overall score for Pauwel Kwak: 4.25 out 5.0

And now it's time for a slice of this ...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Weekend Brews - Week 34 - Hip Hop-It

It's Friday and that means it's time for another Weekend Brews report. This weekend we travel to The Netherlands. Yes, that's right, home of legalized marijuana, mushroom tea and prostitution. What a country!

I'd like to introduce you to an IPA from Holland via Belgium, brewed by De Leyerth Brouwerijen (aka Urthel), called Hop-It. No, not hobbit, Hop-It ... although there is a sort of hobbit-looking creep on the label. ha ha.

Turns out, Hildegard van Ostaden, Brewmaster at Urthel discovered that she loved the strong, extra-hoppy IPAs of the American Northwest upon her visit to the US, and wanted to brew her own American-style IPA. You have to love that!

This thirst-quenching beverage pours a light amber color. A fine frothy foam head sits atop the glass and patiently waits for my first sip. It has a subtle, fruity and spicy aroma pushing through the foam. I think I'm going to enjoy this sample.

The flavor is well-rounded ... full of pilsner malt crispness, some caramel and kiss of bitterness from the hops. This is nowhere near your average American IPA, so be disappointed when your not puckered up after the first sip. However, this is an excellent example of how you can take a style and make it your own. Ms. van Ostaden certainly added her own touch to this special brew by choosing a yeast strain that gives off some fruity esthers and really produces a gentler beer than your average IPA. Great job.

One day I will get to tour Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands. Who's coming with me? Everyone start saving money now, and perhaps in the next couple of years, we'll have to get a group trip to live the dream. Here's to feeling good all the time.

This is a 9.5% ABV beverage, so feel free to crack open a bottle and share it with friends. It's a great way to start the weekend.


Overall score of the Urther Hop-It: 4.0 out 5.0

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Weekend Brews - Week 33 - Sunday Special

Sometimes when you set up to do something at the same time, week after week, eventually you grow tired of the same old nonsense and take a break. That was Friday. Honestly, I just didn't want to take time away from hanging out with friends and enjoying the evening to write up a post on the blog.

However, turns out Sunday is still consider the weekend and therefore I present to you the Weekend Brews Report today. Hooray!

It's a pleasant 86 degrees outside in the shade, and a perfect time to tell you about another fantastic brew from the Weyerbacher Brewing Company. Today we sample Muse Farmhouse Ale.

The Muse pours perfectly into the glass and creates a gorgeous, cloudy late evening liquid sunset. A delicious-looking creamy head floats gently to the top, and sticks around for awhile as I get my first whiff. This beer has some nice spice aroma to it, and a bit of earthy, grassy smells as well, most likely from those styrian golding hops.

The first sip goes down as smooth as Barry White chorus. It's a light and lip-smacking delight. There's some bitterness to the brew, and a wonderful dry finish. This really is another great summer beer.

If you have yet to indulge in the majestic world of saison, or farmhouse ales, I highly recommend you do. They are great all year round, but especially fantastic during the warm weather months. Check out for a list of great farmhouse ales to get a sip of this Summer.

Happy Sunday folks. I know we go back to work tomorrow, but it sure is nice to finish the weekend with a tasty brew from me to you.


Overall Score for the Weyerbacher Muse Farmhouse Ale: 3.25 out 5.0

Friday, August 1, 2008

Weekend Brews - Week 32 - Terrorists Took My Beer!

Yesterday morning ... 5am... I arrive at the airport in San Francisco only to find an enormous line of approximately 150-200 people waiting to check-in at the Delta counter. Disgusted at the scene, I decide to sneak over to one of the vacant ticket kiosks and check-in on the DL. Sweet! It took me about two minutes to get my boarding passes, and now I'm home free. "To hell with checking my bags," I tell myself. I didn't check any on the way here, why should I now?

I proceeded to the security checkpoint and was invited to join another large line of unhappy early morning travelers. We snaked around for awhile, corralled by the retractable bands that surrounded us like yellow tape at a crime scene. After 15-20 minutes of riding the line snake I began to get ready to be inspected... off with the shoes, out with the cell phone, wallet, keys, laptop, backpack and finally my rolling suitcase. Right as I'm slinging my heavy suitcase up onto the conveyor belt it hits me... FUCK! We are no longer allowed to bring liquids on the plane!What a bunch of shit! Wait... why would I care? Well, perhaps it's because I had two six packs of canned craft-brewed beer straight from the 21st Amendment Brewery!

I stay calm, and pray for a miracle ... no luck. As I'm putting on my shoes and gathering up my things, the security lady asks if she can check out my bag. I oblige and she begins to unzip and unpack my suitcase. Sock-by-sock she pulls out each of the perfectly protected cans of craft beer. Six of the Hell or High Watermelon wheat beer and five of the Brew Free or Die IPA (at least I was able to drink one beer before they were destroyed).

I felt like a total idiot because I knew the regulations, but when it's that early my brain doesn't necessarily work at full capacity. As the woman pulled out the beer I decided to say, "Well, at least you guys can have a party. Please don't let it go to waste!"

"I wish," security lady said. "We have to throw it out." One word to describe that ... awful.

Why the terrorists have won:

I would like to point out that we have let the terrorists win. Not only is it illegal to bring delicious, healthy, American beer on the plane (what if I were to get thirsty?!), but the security people are forced to throw out delicious craft beer instead of drinking it. We might as well go back to living under the crown. This is nothing but bollocks I say! Bollocks!

However, it's Friday, and I'll be damned if I'm not drinking a tasty beer from the left coast! Mister Randy Dunn, a little help here:

Today we sample the Lost Coast Brewery's Tangerine Wheat Ale. This unfiltered wheat ale is the perfect addition to another balmy evening in Fla. The crickets and frogs are providing a pleasant wall of sound as a backdrop before my lips hit the glass.

The beer pours slowly and sunshine-orange flows down the long slender vessel. The pungent aroma of tangerines is filling my kitchen. If you've ever held a fresh tangerine right up to your nose, that's exactly what this beer smells like... rind and all.

The flavor is bizarre. This brew tastes like a combination of Orangina, lager beer and club soda. Now, don't get me wrong, this is a tasty beverage. It's flavorful, refreshing and does just fine on these hot summer nights. The only thing that bothers me about this beer is the creepy little tangerine-headed guy on the label. WTF?

I've got a Belgian saison in the fridge too. I may just discuss that a little later. For now, think about mouthwatering citrus wheat beers and go get yourself one. GO! NOW!

Overall Score of the Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat Beer: 3.0 out 5.0