Friday, February 27, 2009

Weekend Brews - Week 61 - Russian River Blind Pig

Flip flash flow flash it's Friday y'all! Hell yeah. It's time to kick back, pop tops and get happy.

It's another Weekend Brews Report, and this weekend I say drink from the Russian River ... Brewing Company. This brewery offers up some of the finest beers around. Tonight we sample the Blind Pig. It's an American IPA that has character ... I mean, there's an illustration of a damn blind pig on the front of the bottle, so yeah, there's a character.

Get on with it! Okay. Let's open this sumbitch and see what's up.

The beer pours a light amber into the glass and forms a foamy head reminiscent of the innards of a cheap hotel pillow. The foam hangs on and waits for me to take a whiff ... aromas of grapefruit, brown sugar, pine and lime zest fill the nose. And now we drink ...

Oh damn. That's bittery goodness in a glass with a foamy sweet smile to boot. That's a nice beverage. The Blind Pig is surprisingly light bodied for an IPA, but finishes with that classic dry, "I have a sock on my tongue" finish. Well done.

It's tasty folks. It is. The Russian River Blind Pig will slap you in the face with his cane, but satisfy you with some sweet bacon when it's all over. At least that's how I see it.

Check out Russian River Brewing Company for yourself. They take pride in their hand-crafted beers and it shows.

Get some when you're near some.

Overall Score for the Russian River Blind Pig: 3.75 out 5.0

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Brooklyn Black Ops - A Covert Hoperation

Okay, that headline is just awful. ha ha. So yeah, as a special delivery from the east coast courtesy of my friend Adrian, I finally had the pleasure to crack open a bottle of the infamous Brooklyn Black Ops.

This special brew from Brooklyn Brewery is only available in single bottles, and rumor has it, they've only released about 900 cases. If you can find it, get it now! This beer is a stout aged for four months in bourbon barrels, then bottled flat, and re-fermented in the bottle using a champagne yeast. Wow.

Let's get to it ...

The beer is a deep, dark brown with an ample amount of carbonation and tiny bubbles a la champagne. The head is reminiscent of champagne with its light appearance and the way it sticks on the side of the glass.

Aromas of chocolate, toffee, coffee and alcohol are abundant. There's even a hint of what smells like Bailey's Irish Cream in there!

The first sip goes down super smooth. Good god y'all!

The velvety mouthfeel is finished with a burst of effervescence from that champagne yeast. Awesome. Delicious flavors of dark, bittersweet chocolate, espresso, toffee and a touch of vanilla. This beer is the shit!

There's a slight warming from the alcohol as the beer goes down and a light tingle on the tongue as I put down the glass.

Garrett Oliver, you are the man!

Okay, the beer is expensive. I think it goes for $20-$25 a bottle depending on where you are, but I will tell you this, it's worth every damn cent! Ditch the fancy wine, and share a bottle of this with your friends. Better throw in some chocolate cake, fresh cream and some raspberries. Oh man.

If you have this beer in your neck of the woods, go and buy it now. Who knows how long it will be around.


Overall Score of the Brooklyn Black Ops: 5.0 out 5.0

Saturday, February 21, 2009

William Brand, Bay Area Beer Writer Passes Away

I didn't know Bill Brand at all, but I've read his "What's on Tap" blog, and it's always sad to lose a great writer and beer lover. He died on Friday from injuries suffered after being hit by a Muni train in San Francisco.

Here's some links to thoughtful blog posts and articles about his passing.

Brewed For Thought

Inside Bay Area

Beer News


Friday, February 20, 2009

Weekend Brews - Week 60 - Sierra Nevada ESB 2009

The weekend is here and it's time for beer! I had been planning on writing about a special beer from Brooklyn Brewery tonight, but alas, I left my photos at work, and I didn't want to post about it without the photos. SO, tonight let's talk about Sierra Nevada's 2009 ESB (Early Spring Beer) release. Hooray!

To quote the label, the ESB offers, "A blend of malts featuring British-grown Marris Otter ... balanced with the earthy spiciness of hand-selected English and US hops." Sounds good to me!

The beer pours a light copper into the glass and comes with a full and frothy head that floats atop the brew. Aromas of apricot, grapefruit and lemon fill the nose. Ahhhhh. Smells like springtime!

The first sip is light and refreshing. There's a solid bitterness from the hops (as is expected from a Sierra Nevada ale), with a smooth and modest malt flavor for that balance they spoke of. This is a well-rounded spring and summer beer.

If the rain and snow has stopped in your neck of the woods and that grill is calling your name from the backyard, go pick up a sixer of the 2009 edition of Sierra Nevada's ESB. I'd recommend trying it with some spicy grilled chicken, or even some ribs. You can't lose.

That's it for now folks. I'll post about that Brooklyn beer on Monday after work once I get those photos.

Enjoy your weekend and go out and drink!


Overall Score of the Sierra Nevada 2009 ESB: 3.25 out of 5.0

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

SF Beer Week Fun

Well folks, SF Beer Week is now over, but I have to say, it was a great experience. Unfortunately I could not attend the expensive beer dinners, but I did get to visit a few brewpubs, attend a Double IPA Fest and enjoy a bevy of amazing beers ... and with friends too!

My friend Adrian was visiting from Florida, so it was great to see him and get a chance to introduce him to some local favorites. Erin and Dave also joined the festivities, and together we all drank to our hearts content.

We started out Beer Week at the 21st Amendment Brewery. We sampled several of their Strong Beer Month selections ... all of which were outstanding. I still have my punch ticket to earn a free glass, so I'll be finding a seat at the bar over there in the next few days to try and gain a few more ticks toward my goal. You can read more about that night using this link for Weekend Brews Week 58 entry.

Next up was an early morning to roll over to San Francisco Giants Fan Fest. Now, I'm a Mets fan, so this idea wasn't mine, but I have to admit, getting to walk around the field, sit in the press box and check out the clubhouse was pretty damn cool. It was a perfect way to start off a long Saturday of beer. Oh yeah, we tailgated in the parking lot beforehand. ha ha.

We then trekked to Hayward, CA to attend the The Bistro's 9th Annual Double IPA Festival. Now this was awesome! The Bistro had 46 different strong IPAs on tap, and we did our best to try them all. (Okay, we probably wound up trying around 20 or so as a group, but we did have a hell of a time.)

So what beers were there? Here's the list:
21st Amendment Brewery - Double Trouble
Alpine Beer Co. - Pure Hoppiness
Anderson Valley - Imperial IPA
Auburn Alehouse - Isotope PU240
Avery - Ale to the Chief
Ballast Point - Dorado
Beach Chalet - The Baron
Bear Republic - Mach 10, APEX
Big Dogs - Hop Harvest Ale
Blue Frog - The Big DIPA
Deschutes - Hop Henge Experimental IPA
Dogfish Head - 90 and 120 Minute IPAs
Drakes -Denogginizer
Fifty Fifty - Landslide
Flying Dog - Double Dog
Green Flash - Imperial IPA
Iron Springs - Casey Jones Double
Jupiter - Quasar
Lagunitas - Hop Stoopid
Mad River Brewing - Steelhead Double
Magnolia - Promise Land Imperial IPA
Marin Brewing Co. - White Knuckle
Mendocino - Imperial IPA
Moylans - Hopsickle Imperial IPA, Moylander Double IPA
Napa Smith - Original Albion Ale Pale Ale
Oskar Blues - Gordon
Pizza Port - Lou P. Lin, Poormans IPA, Hop 15
Rogue - XSIPA
Rubicon - REX IPA
Russian River - Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger
Seabright - Hopnoxious
Shmaltz - Bittersweet Lenny's RIPA
Sonoma Chicken Coop - Jersey Giant
Sierra Nevada - Hop Secret 393, Torpedo Ale, Firkin Chico IPA
Speakeasy - Double Daddy
Stone - Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, Ruination
Triple Rock - IIMAXX Imperial IPA

And there it is! The master list. My favorite pick of the day was the Alpine Beer Company's Pure Hoppiness. Oh my god! That beer was so good it'll make you jump out of moving car and strangle a goat!

After a long day at the Double IPA Festival we went on to sample several other tasty beverages throughout the night, and eventually faded out.

Later on in the week we sampled beers from Jupiter brewpub and Triple Rock in Berkeley, CA. Both have great selections of house-brewed beers, and some tasty food as well. The Hefeweizen, XPA and Quasar were favorites at Jupiter, with the Black Rock Porter being my top selection at Triple Rock.

There were events all over the Bay Area, and I wish I didn't have to work at all, had a pocket full of cash, and a titanium liver. Alas, I did my best, and my best was just enough for this happy drinker.

I can't wait for next year. I'll be better prepared, and will probably need to take off the entire week to truly absorb the full experience.

A special thanks to all of the people who brewed the beer and put on the events. Hats off to you for a week of great memories.


Tax the rich, not my beer.

There's one thing that does not help small businesses, and that's more taxes. With the economy taking a dive, the state of Oregon is trying to make up for some of their past mistakes by taxing brewers on their beer. I vote for keeping the taxes where they are, and cutting the salaries of politicians. Who's with me?

I think we can all get behind a cut in pay for lawmakers in every state, as well as the federal government. They certainly haven't earned their pay thus far.

My friend Eric forwarded me this report from CNN. Check it out and let me know your thoughts. Cheers.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Weekend Brews - Week 59 - Bell's Two Hearted Ale

Another Friday is upon us, and even though it's pouring here in the Bay Area, there's still plenty of beer to be celebrated! This week I'd like to spotlight a special treat my friend Adrian brought me from the east coast. Well, the beer isn't from the east coast, it's from Michigan. That beer is the Two Hearted Ale from Bell's Brewery. Huzzah!

It's an American India Pale Ale and I'm damn glad to have it in front of me right now.

The beer pours a luscious orange into the glass and features a head thicker than that of our fair governor here in California. A dip of the nose into the glass and aromas of orange, cream and sugar. Holy crap! This beer smells like a Creamsicle! Must drink now!

Oh yeah! The Two Hearted Ale is bursting with flavors of citrus, caramel and a hint of pine. This Bell's beer is super smooth with a perfect little bite in the end. I could definitely drink a bunch of these ... and so should you!

It's Friday man, go out and get your drink on. If you have beers from Bell's Brewery in your neighborhood, go grab some! Go!


Overall Score of the Bell's Brewery Two Hearted Ale: 4.75 out 5.0

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Weekend Brews - Week 58 - SF Beer Week at 21st Amendment Brewery

It's Friday and it's SF Beer Week! Holy crap! How can my weekend get any better than that?

To kick off my SF Beer Week, I met up with my friends over at the 21st Amendment Brewery ... just a few feet from where I spend most of my week working. The 21st Amendment Brewery is celebrating strong beer month as they brew and put on tap various high-alcohol brews. Wow. So who wants to try some of those?!! I do!

I met up with my friends Dave, Erin and Adrian (a special visitor all the way from the FLA) and dove right in.

First up was the Double Tripel. It's the 21A's double IPA brewed with a Belgian yeast strain. Hooray! It came to the table in a beautiful glass and featured a fruity aroma with some spicy undertones. Upon first sip, you could taste the strong alcohol, but it was smooth and well-balanced by a hefty malt sweetness and hoppy bitterness. A fantastic offering for sure.

Beer number two was the Lost Sailor Imperial Pilsner. An imperial pilsner? What?!! That's right, a pilsner chock full of malt to add a strong kick in the ass! The color was a light copper and the nose was filled with crisp hop character and a a healthy dose of fruity esthers . The beer was clean and finished dry, and somewhere in there I actually tasted a touch of dark cherry. Weird! This beer gets points for creativity alone. This is the first imperial pilsner I have ever tasted. Well done sirs!

My last beer of the evening ... well, at least at the 21A, was the the Ripple Imperial Chocolate Porter. Oh ... my ... gad! This beer came in another fantastic glass and filled the table with aromas of deep, rich, dark chocolate. Wow. Holy crap this beer smells good! A giant gulp and ...
this beer rules! Rich chocolate flavor, malt sweetness and a nice touch of bitterness to round it out. It leaves a little aftertaste like a well-brewed espresso. Fan-fucking-tastic!

Look, the fact is, SF Beer Week is filled with amazing events for everyone. There are tastings, dinners, festivals, etc. However, if you want a treat to remember, get yourself to the 21st Amendment Brewery on 2nd street in San Francisco, and get a hold of their strong beers during the month of February.

I promise, you will not be disappointed.