Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shiner 102

The good thing about being in Texas this week is that periodically I can find a good Texas beer.  It is surprisingly hard to find much other than the mass produced Buds, Millers and Coors down here.  I still can't believe that most restaurants have little beyond the big beers and potentially Corona and Dos Equis.

However, i was able to find some Shiner 102 tonight.  102 is Shiners 102nd Anniversary beer, and it would probably be classified as a light American wheat, although they choose to call it a "Double Wheat" since it is a wheat hybrid beer.  The professionals at Beer Advocate rated it at a 72, but the user reviews are comming in considerably lower.  Over at Rate Beer it came in as considerably below par, barely breaking 50 for the style and receiving a low 30's rating as a beer.

But before I move on...

Here is what they say about thier beer: Our Double Wheat features a malt base containing 50% Wheat. The wheat variety is Brundage, a soft white winter wheat released in 1997 by the Idaho AES. Double Wheat is a hybrid style which falls between a wheat beer and a wheat wine. Shiner 102 is an American style filtered double wheat ale, lightly hopped with aromatic Czech Saaz and WA Golding hop.

And what I say:  Well, it has a nice wheaty flavor that I certainly look for in American Wheat Beers.  It seems to pour somewhere between orange and tan, however it is extremely hard to tell because I am pouring into a white paper cup (classy) since that's all the hotel has.  It has a nice white head that has considerable retention, something that runs counter to the reviews at the two beer sites.  However the head appeared to pour thick and stayed around for a considerably long time.  As far as aroma, it has a very mild scent and even after swirling I get little more than a light bready scent.  For flavor, I definitely would depart from the beer site reviews. I think it is a refreshing Ameircan Wheat that has decent linger, although it is medium to low bodied.  It is surprisingly sweet, but not cloyingly so and is definitely something that would make a nice post-yard work beer.

It is definitely not a winter beer, but then again here in Southern Texas winter is just as likely to be 85 as it is to be 40, so its all good.  I would drink it again, in fact I still have a few bottles sitting in the room fridge since the restaurants will only be serving Bud, and I can't bring myself to drink that.

Well, That's all for this post, Happy Drinking!

Monday, January 30, 2012

3-fer Deschutes Porter, Sam Adams Spring, Ska Pinstripe

So, a 3-fer tonight, a surprising night in south texas, three beers that were not brewed by either MillerCoors or InBev.

First off, Deschutes Black Butte Porter:
They say: With a dark beer as our first and flagship brand, Black Butte defined Deschutes as a radical player. A slight hop bitterness up front enhances the distinctive chocolate and roasted finish. It’s prized for its creamy mouthfeel and intense complex flavors.

My thoughts: Well, it pours a nice dark brown, with a nice tan head.  It has strong coffee notes with a slight chocolate finish.  It has a very clean flavor, with moderate body, and has a nice linger.  All in all, a great beer.  Its no wonder it has one a long list of gold, silver and bronze medals from brew fests around the world.  I definitely wish that I could find this at home!!

Next,  Sam Adams Alpine Spring:
They say: Brewed especially for the season, this bright citrusy unfiltered lager is both satisfying and refreshing. It’s the perfect transition from winter’s heavier brews to the lighter beers of summer. Borne of our brewers’ many trips to Germany, Alpine Spring features a unique blend of lager attributes: the balanced maltiness and hoppiness of a Helles, the smoothness and slightly higher alcohol of a traditional spring bock, and the unfiltered appearance of a Kellerbier. The beer is brewed with Tettnang Noble hops to add a unique, bright orange-citrusy aroma and flavor.
And for the profile: Flavor: Crisp and slightly sweet with bright citrus and spicy hop notes
Color: Hazy Golden / 9 SRM
Original Gravity: 14.2 Plato
Alcohol by Vol/Wt: 5.5%ABV – 4.3%ABW
Calories/12 oz.: 186
IBUs: 19
Malt Varieties: Two-row Harrington, Metcalfe, and Copeland pale malts, Honey malt
Hop Varieties: Tettnang Tettnanger Noble hops
Yeast Strain: Samuel Adams lager yeast
Availability: Seasonal (January – March) in six-packs, 12-packs and on draft. It is also available in the Samuel Adams Brewer’s Choice Variety 12-Pack
First Brewed: 2012

I say: It pours a cloudy golden color with a fine white head.  It is extremely refreshing with a strong strong citrusy scent and flavors.  It is medium bodied and lingers nicely on the palate.  It is definitely the best beer that I have tasted out of Boston Brewery in years, aside from Utopias that is (but I don't really count Utopias as a beer, its more like a fine scotch).  Definitely worth the price of a 6-pack.  They say that it is a Helles Bock, but it tastes a bit more like an American Wheat to me, maybe I need to learn more about my beer styles.   Unfortunately the one downside was the dirty glass, there was all sorts of nastiness on the inside of this glass that may have thrown off the flavors a bit.

Last but not least: Ska Brewing - Pinstripe Red
They say: Puts you in a certain mood.  kind of like waking up to realize you are the king of your own country, one where there are waterfalls of beer all over the place.
Waterfalls of Pinstripe Red Ale, Brewed with Carmel Malts and Liberty Hops, it has a slight fruity finish and will dance with your tastebuds till last call, then take them home and not get wierd about it the next day.

I say: Well, Ska Brewing is one of my favorite breweries and has been since I first started drinking their beers back in '98.  Pinstripe has always been one of my favorites of there's, but something seemed a bit off with this batch.  It poured a nice red-amber with a nice white head at first.  However the head retention was definitely lacking.  I'm not sure if they used some sort of dish soap with fatty acids in it or what, but the glass was also far from clean and there were definite soapy flavors in the beer.  It is a shame when a bar does not adequately clean their glasses before serving such a high quality beer.  I was extremely dissapointed with this glass.  Some of the flavors were there, but the hoppy bitterness was over-pronounced and the typical fruit finish was completely missing.  Now, I am not going to blame this bad glass on the guys over at Ska Brewing because a lot can happen between when they send a quality product out and when a bar receives it then serves it, but this was definitely the worst glass of what should have rightfully been a great beer.  Normally I would say to go out and pick up a 6-pack of this, and I guess I still would.  Just make sure that if you order it at a bar they actually serve it to you in a clean glass, and while you are at it, make the drive to Durango and get it fresh at the brewery, it is well-worth the pilgrimage.

Well, its late and I am signing out..

Happy Drinking!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ommegang Seduction

Well, if you read my earlier post, you know how much trouble that I had getting this particular bottle of beer.  So the real question is, was it worth it?  Well, Woodman's was selling it at $16.75 per bottle! $16.75, really?  Most Ommegang beers sell for $12.50 a bottle, so was this worth the extra $4.25?  Probably not.. So on to my thoughts about the beer.

So, Ommegang says Seduction is:
Ommegang Seduction is lovingly brewed with six dark malts. Chocolatier Callebut  provides the chocolate, while Liefmans brings the cherries. This international romance is consumated with a full body, alluring aromas and flavors of Belgian chocolate, and tart
cherries. Seduction is an ale to be lovingly embraced.

Beautiful, rich and smooth, roasty and malty throughout, Seduction offers balanced chocolate-cherry notes, a bit of caramel sweetness, and a long, slow finish. Seduction is welcoming and warm-hearted, gently hopped and harbors no bitterness, leaving only a lingering glow.

I say:
Ommegang Seduction is a strong, porter with definite cocoa notes.  It was most certainly full bodied for a porter and it has delightful cocoa notes with a very subtle cherry flavor.  In fact I didn't taste the cherry at all until the porter warmed up to about room temperature.

It poured black, over a 44 on the BJCP color scale.  it was moderately carbonated, and poured a nice thick light brown head with excellent lacing.

It was a good beer, that I would have happily paid the standard $12.50 for, but at the $16.75 that Woodman's was charging, certainly not again.

That's all for this post, Happy Drinking!

Special ordering and Woodman's Oak Creek

Unfortunately I cannot count the number of times my usual liquor store has failed to cue me into my special orders arriving.
A few highlights.

When I special ordered Founder's Blushing Monk this past spring Woodman's not only didn't let me know when my beer came in, they proceeded to sell off the entire case that they received before letting me know that they even received it.  Fortunately the nice people at G. Groppi's Food Market in Bayview (excellent beer selection) had 4 bottles on hand, and they let me procure all 4, YAY!!

Most recently, as in today I arrive at their store to look for Ommegang Seduction.  Now I asked them to hold 4 bottles of it for me back in December and yes, for those of you in the know they should have had it in stock back at the beginning of January according to the Ommegang Brewery.  I urgently checked thier store repeatedly through out the month and found time and time again that they either did not have it in stock or had already sold through thier shipment.  So I arrive today and finally see that it is stocked so being a considerate consumer I walked up to the desk to check and see if they had any held behind the counter for me, having made the request and all.  What do I find though?? Nothing.  They didn't hold anything aside, but fortunately I was able to pull all four bottles from the cooler.

It turns out that the young lady who handled the beer ordering is no longer employed by Woodman's and for some reason no one else who works in their liquor store has even attempted to look into the special ordering of beer/liquor/wine through the distributor.  So, upon finding that out, I inquired if they needed a new beer buyer.  However, they do not hire someone in to that position, they only hire someone on as a bagger.  So I guess here's to hoping that a somewhat competent beer buyer takes over where the last one left off because they are seriously in need of someone who has some level of knowledge about the products they carry and are willing to at least show some semblance of interest in customer service.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Pricing out my first brewing kit as I type this.  Showing the budget to my wife in the morning!  Wish me luck

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sierra Nevada Celebration 2011

Sierra Nevada Celebration 2011 tonight. They say that, "The long, cold nights of winter are a little brighter with Celebration® Ale. Wonderfully robust and rich, Celebration® Ale is dry-hopped for a lively, intense aroma."

Well I think I would have to agree. There is a reason his beer scored in the mid-90s at Beer Advocate and high 90's at RateBeer. It is refreshingly hoppy due to the fresh hopping which give it a far more floral character than many other hoppy beers. It pours a gorgeous copper color with a fine cream color head.

This is highly recommended. And if anyone is in the area I have another 18 bottles. Huzzah!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sorry for the lack of posts

No posts in a while.  Been out of town on business, and been sick.  I suppose I could be drinking beer and blogging about it, but it seems an awful waste to drink a good beer when I can't taste much anyways.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Bitches Brew and Hitachino Nest XH

Great beers tonight, Hitachino Nest XH from Kiuchi Brewery.  A great Belgian strong aged in sake barrels and Bitches Brew from Dogfish Head Brewery, a nice strong Imperial Stout.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bohemia Cerveza

 Bohemia Clasica tonight.  It's a decent Mexican beer, not the best, but not the worst.  Very mild flavor, lightly hopped.  Pours a clear golden color with white head.  Provides a crisp, clean flavor and smell with little to no linger.  Oddly the restaurant served it in a salted glass with a massive lime wedge (almost half a lime).

Sunday, January 8, 2012

My Beer tonight was La Citrueille Céleste de Citracado, a good collaboration beer from Stone Brewing, Elysian Brewing and The Bruery.  It pours a nice copper color with a good thick, white head.  Brewed with Pumpkin, Yams, Toasted Fenugreek, Lemon Verbena, and Birch Bark.  It has a mellow pumpkin flavor, with a pleasant lemony after taste that lingers long after the last sip.  A+

Saturday, January 7, 2012

My New Blog

So, this is the first of what will hopefully be many new blog posts.  We will see how long this lasts because I have never been one to document my life or adventures online.  However, times change, and I am arriving at a point in my life where I need to decide if the pursuit of happiness is more important than my immediate potential to make money.

When it comes to what makes me hapy, it can easily be summed up:
1) My wife and family
2) The Green Bay Packers
3) Beer

My wife and family just want me to be happy, so that's a good start.

Unfortunately I will never be a professional football player so the likelihood of playing for the Packers is non-existent, then again I do get to watch them a minimum of 19 weeks out of the year, preferably more.  Go Pack

So then there is beer.  Aside from the Packers and my family there is nothing that I think about or talk about more than beer.  But something has always nagged at me, the fact that as a current non-brewer, my knowledge about beer and the brewing process has until recently remained extremely limited.  Sure, I know what I like and am continually expanding my horizons and developing my palate, but I definitely have a long way to go.

My long term plan then is to start brewing, work my way up to becoming a Certified Cicerone® and eventually turning it into a career.  It is a chance to live the dream, and could lead to immeasurable enjoyment and satisfaction.  So I guess now is the time to start my journey.
In the interim I will not only be updating my progress but will also keep a log of the beers that I am drinking, if they are worthy of being mentioned.  Sure the reviews will not be quite up to snuff yet, but trust me I am working on it and they will be.  After all, I have to start somewhere and now is as good a time as any.