Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Shiner Holiday Cheer - Guest Blog!

Holiday guest blog kindly provided by Danielle Bourguet! Thanks Danielle!!!

Spoetzle Shiner Holiday Cheer - Shiner, Texas

Foreword: Not being a literary charmer or word smith, I will attempt to entertain you as a guest blogger with juxtapositions related to the beer of subject and an emulation of the linking style of the author.

After catching up on this blog and avoiding a fairly significant decision, I was inspired to get a six pack after my bar method class this evening. Spoetzl Brewery is based in none other than, “Sveden?” you say, incorrect, Shiner, Texas. “Shiner Holiday Cheer” is the brewery’s seasonal brew. Many of you may have imbibed a beer of the Shiner legacy, with its unassuming label of non-metallic colors, reminiscent 50’s fonts, and English language and moderate price. My last Shiner experience was with their summer ale, which was brewed with ruby red grapefruit and ginger. Bizarre indeed.

I know nothing about Shiner, Texas, and chances are, neither do you, but the label has holly and stars on it. Holly, plus what I’m assuming are sunny and moderate Shiner December days seem unnatural, but let’s go with it. This seasonal is brewed with (unseasonable) peaches and pecans. While peaches are always great in concept, experience has proven them to be expensive and mealy in December, but what the hell. For technical purposes it is characterized as a Bavarian-style dark wheat (nope, no noun after that) on the neck label, an ale on the front label, and an old world dunkelweizen on the back label. Editing fail or conflicting win!

As you can see above, the color is darker than any beer I ever imagine brewed with fruit. It has a fruity peach/apple aroma with only a late hint of malt reminding you that it is indeed a beer, not a party punch served with a soup ladle. The carbonation is less than soda or any other bud-light-type beer i.e. if you drank it quickly your eyes would not water. Upon your first sip you are hit with a light and sweet peach flavor, next reminded that it is indeed a beer with some maltiness, and it finishes with a pleasantly mercurial bitter note. This is a stretch, but I may have earlier tasted some pecan flavor in the aftertaste, but 7/8 of the way through any sensation of that has vanished with the development of an incredible thirst. Assuming its high sugar content brings this on, combined with the heavier fruit flavor, I will conclude that this is one of those beers that people will say, “I can only drink one of them.” That being said, I applaud Spoetzl for not flavoring their holiday seasonal with cinnamon, firewood, reindeer, smoke, coriander, Santa, nutmeg or other cliché things. Peach might be a bit strange, but the beer is too heavy for a summer ale. Personally, I’d have two with a glass of water.

Afterword: Beer in a wine glass is a rarity for me, but I selected it as the only way to follow my empty-the-refrigerator-before-leaving-for-vacation meal of half a can of refried beans topped with cabbage and green enchilada sauce.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tiger Lager

Tiger Lager - Singapore

This is one of those cases where the label on the bottle is what makes people buy the beer, or keep coming back to it, because it certainly doesn’t deliver any sort of special taste that I’d want to make sure I had every night after work. Except the label doesn’t make any sense? Where can tigers live where there are palm trees?? Where is this place in the world? Not counting tropical zoo locations.

I’m not reeeally trying to diss the beer, it’s a good lager, just another one that tastes like another countries version of Budweiser. There is a lot of tangy zest in each sip; in fact it is almost overwhelmingly carbonated, and to me that kind of takes away a lot of the “original flavor” the beer’s label talks about. I suppose if I were in Singapore I would order this beer, otherwise I’ll just stick with good ole Bud heavy when I feel the craving. As a wise man once said to me, “Sis, don’t you ever let people give you a hard time for ordering a Budweiser at a bar. Cause really, it tastes just fine, and it’s probably way cheaper than the beer all your friends’ are getting. They’re the suckers.”

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Efes Pilsener

Efes Pilsener - Istanbul, Turkey

Alert. Green bottled beer! As mentioned in my first beer review back in September, I have a slight aversion to beers that come in green bottles. Simply put, they just never taste good to me. And I've tried, I really have...

Time to prove me wrong green bottled beer from Istanbul, don’t taste like a skunk! Upon smelling the beer my initial reaction is that this beer is not going to prove me wrong. Then once I poured it into a glass and smelled it suspiciously again…I smelled…apple cider? What? I must have stuck my nose down the wrong glass. But no, this beer smelled like apple cider. Tasted a little like apple cider too! Surprise! The fine brewers of Istanbul lace their creations with crack apples! I get 50% apple, 50% beer when I drink this one, which is a pretty splendid combination. Overall, it is a very acceptable pilsner. One that I would buy again, and then revel in the fact that it can be found in a green bottle.

PS - I blame my hatred for green bottled beers on Audrey Siple. The incident of Summer 2008 and the 6 pack of Stella Artois that came from the basement is still a, shall we say, ripe, skunky memory. Who knew a beer(s) [Audrey is gross for drinking more than one!] could stink up an entire house and an entire memory.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Beerlao Dark

Beerlao Dark - Lao Brewery Company, Laos

My first Asian beer for the blog! I do not have much experience with Asian beers so this was an exciting find. It was especially interesting because it is a “dark lager”, something that is not commonly seen on the shelves here...I least by me.

I was confused if this beer was more like a porter rather than a lager, but I soon found out it matches with the latter. It’s also interesting because this beer smells like day old beer - you know like a living room the day after a house party. Stale and crusty. But it doesn’t taste like it smells! Pretty much it tastes like an ordinary lager…except it’s darker in color. I suppose there is a hint of some extra maltiness in it, but it’s really nothing special. Just a beer. From Laos. NBD. Maybe if you wanted to pretend that you like dark beers (but you really don't) you can buy this and act like a pretentious, 'I prefer to drink dark beers', person. No one will be able to tell, and you will accomplish your goal of 'fitting in'. Or, maybe you should just go hang out with the Dos Equis guy. He is cooler anyway.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Guest Berlog - Jordan Albrite

Probably the first of many guest posts by Jordan! Since she was, after all, the co-conspirator of Beer June, the event that led me to create this blog. And I have all 20 of her Beer June journal entries...So thanks for letting me post this without your permission Jordan! You da best. Let's see what Jordan has to say in her eloquent Jordanian style...

PS - I don't get why this text is highlighted in white and I can't seem to fix it. My absorbent amounts of free time do not want to deal with this problem right now, so we'll have to deal with it.

Zyweic Original - Poland Prized!

First impressions: This little number immediately jumped out from the Beers of the World box set because of its excellent label: Polish men and women in gargantuan hats dancing atop punctuation I don’t recognize? Yes, please. But its charm wore off a bit when I realized the label did not allow for easy peeling (by far my favorite beer-related pass time), and continued to diminish when I could only describe the smell as "mildly fratty". The verdict: While Zyweic is proudly Poland's #1 (!), it is not mine. I wrote down "dinner?" for flavor, eventually realizing that it tasted suspiciously like veggie burger, i.e., what I consumed immediately before my Zyweic. While overall inoffensive, I feel like my beer should be able to drown out my burgur, no?

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale

Lagunitas - A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale – Petaluma, California

“Life is Uncertain. Don’t Sip.” Is written on the label for this beer; along with a scantily clothed woman of some sort and the cap has…a dog on it? I’m all confused about the message this beer is trying to get across. Scantily clothed women like dogs? Anyways, it is a very golden brew, with a LOT of hops. I tend to shy away from really hoppy beers normally, but there is something different about this one that makes it very drinkable for me. It has a really strong taste at first as it rumbles around your mouth, overwhelming the taste buds a bit, but the after taste is very light. This is a great summer beer for that reason, and I would definitely buy it again or order it at a bar if I saw it! As a wise man once said, “This is a serious beer.”

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Full Sail Amber

Full Sail Amber - Hood River, Oregon

This is an interesting beer because it is “independent employee – owned” with a robust staff of only 47 people. (I learned all of this from the bottle – go labels!) Basically this is like my dream come true career, to be a part of some sort of Oregon/West Coast based brewing company that brews good beers (as opposed to crappy ones?). And this is what Full Sail Amber is – a darn tasty beer. Like I have said before, I’m a fan of Ambers, and this one is pretty much the epitome of a solid Amber Ale. It’s not offensive in taste at all, and goes down very smoothly. I salute you, 47 employees of Full Sail Brewing! Not only did you create a delicious beer, but you did it in an awesome part of the country AND you still own and control all of your own shit! God bless America.

ps - I realize Milwaukee, Wisconsin is not a place on the West Coast, and Old Milwaukee's Best should not be talked about in a post about West Coast beers or breweries. But it's the crappiest crap I've ever had. So I had to phinagel a diss in.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hacker–Pschorr Munich Gold

Hacker–Pschorr Munich Gold – Munich, Germany

Ah, yes, the crisp refreshing taste of a German lager. The master German brewers have successfully created a beer that has the perfect beer color, and perfect beer flavor; although there really is nothing special about this one! I can think of many uses for it – it would make a great summertime beach beer, tasting especially good on a hot day when you have worked up a particularly beady mustache sweat. Heck, if it was Spring Break and the time was right I would just shower this beer all over me when I got home from a day at the beach (making sure to drink some as I did it). Refreshing no? No, maybe not to you, but to me a beer shower would be quite a life accomplishment. Why didn’t I think of this when I was in college? Dang.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wild Raspberry Ale

Wild Raspberry Ale (Great Divide Brewing) – Denver, Colorado

Skepticism. I am overly skeptical about any beer that is “berry” flavored. Or fruit flavored. Berries and fruitiness are just not what I want in a typical beer I suppose. I usually avoid them, but this time I was forced to buy one because Jessica Corey Berry Johnson Dupont made me. I figured – what the heck - we are splitting this, I’ll only have to drink half. One thing that I failed to realize though is that unlike many fruity or berry flavored beers this beer is an Ale, NOT a wheat beer. I think this is ultimately what made the difference upon taking my first sip. It was not gross! Yes, it tasted like raspberry, BUT it did not have that gross wheaty taste after it! (FYI - Not a fan of wheat beers if you didn't pick up on that yet) So maybe I just need to scour the shelves of Total Wine for more fun, fruity ALES – and open up my girly beer repertoire a little more so I don’t end up being the girl ordering a Yeungling while the two guys I’m with order Blue Moon’s…

Monday, September 26, 2011

BBC Saison (Farmhouse Ale)

BBC Saison (Farmhouse Ale) - Louisville, Kentucky

BBC Saison (Farmhouse Ale) – Louisville, Kentucky – This is a beer I was apprehensive about when I first picked it up based off of its name. Saison. What the hell does that mean? Images of a Paris street corner flash through my mind - bright colors and clothing, aristocratic people sitting in the sun using 19th century white umbrellas to shade their fair European skin from the midday heat; this isn’t the typical image I get in my head when I prepare myself to drink a beer. Good thing I looked a little harder and realized I missed the second part of the title – Farmhouse Ale. Images of hay, pigs, cow manure, and red barns invade my Paris street corner, equalizing the image into a…drinkable beer? Surprise this beer actually tastes pretty good! It’s a little hoppy but not overwhelmingly so, and leaves a floral sort of after taste. So maybe that’s what you get when you cross Paris with a Kentucky farm…SAISON.

PS - I have since looked up what a "Saison" is. Wikipedia is good for so many things! --- I'm pumped there was this whole other type of beer out there that I have never heard of. Who knows what else I will discover on my journey through the Hidden Brewery.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale - Guest Blog!!!

My currently unemployed roommates decided to write a Guest BerLog ('Beer Blog', like what I did there?) for me today! Look at them being productive, good on them. So this is what they had to say...

So, Donesha and I were sitting on our couch enjoying unemployment when we decided it was time to guest beer blog!! It just so happened that we had two bottles of Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale in our easily accessible beer fridge. Score! Anything with pumpkin automatically peaks our interest, so at 4pm (happy hour somewhere right?) we were ready to taste test. After discussing the ale for about 30 seconds we soon realized that Donesha's decades of spicy food consumption has created a vast difference in our taste bud sensitivity. And so you lucky folks will get two different reviews. You can choose which one to trust more (I'm just gonna throw out there that I am German and therefore beer is in my blood. Just sayin...)

Sarah - Overall, I enjoyed this ale. It wasn't amazing, but for just a regular go-to beer I liked it. It has a mild flavor, but I do note hints of pumpkin, cinnamon, and cloves. It's kind of like watered down pumpkin pie (which I know doesn't sound great but it works ok here). So, while I wouldn't tell you that you must absolutely run out and buy this beer, if someone were to offer it to you, I'd say take it.

Donesha - As aforementioned by my roommate, unemployment has opened many opportunities to drink at all times of day. While my roommate has brought to your attention that we have very different pallets, I would like to remind anyone reading this that I have been raised on a traditional, patriotic American diet, full of rich flavorful foods with influences from down South soul-food cooking with spicy-as-hell Carribean and Creole influences. Sounds tastey, right? This is in complete contrast to the other reviewer that indulges in traditional foods that are so bland that any slight hint of spice will pique interest from severly flavor deprived taste buds. Don't be fooled by the appearance of authentic German cuisine, there is no salt ANYWHERE. Now to the beer. It's okay. I am assuming that the slight aftertaste of sweetness is supposed to be pumpkin and/or cinnamon. Could be better. I sense no cloves anywhere, which should be extremely obvious considering the obscenely strong flavor of the spice, unless I am astill traumatized from a bad Christmas Ham experience which has put me in a permanent rage against cloves. As for the beer flavor, it tasted like an everyday beer. Easy to drink. Nothing special. Nothing to search for, and nothing to purchase unless your other roommate has left two in the easily accessible beer fridge and is not here to tell you 'no'.

Note from Christy - Buffalo Bill's is from Hayward, CA in case you like to keep track of that kind of stuff. And please feel free to contribute a Guest BerLog whenever you feel so inspired! You could become famous once my Blog gets extremely popular and they make a movie based off it staring Meryl Streep!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Boont Amber Ale

Boont Amber Ale – Boonville, California

Beer number one of twelve new brews that were purchased at Total Wine! [Possibly the best store to ever exist. Find one near you right now.] I have to admit the label of this beer is what drew me towards it, but once I realized it was an Amber Ale I was extra excited. Amber Ales have become my favorite type of beer recently. The Legendary Boonville Beer has a giant bear in the middle of the label making it easy for one to mispronounce this delicious brew as a Boonville Bear. Who drinks a bear? Beer. Crap.

Speaking of bears who else thinks Shark Week should be replaced by Bear Week on the Discovery Channel?? I'm tired of Shark Week, and I really don't think I'm learning anything new from it these days. They just repeat their shows every year with a different narrator/host! Pretty sure I know everything about how the Great White hunts off the coast of South Africa, and I don't want to relearn about it next summer. I thought I was a genius when I thought of this, but it turns out it was not an original idea. Thanks to the internet there is no such thing as an original idea anymore. Check this out, it's hilarious and I agree with every point. Bears are so cool!

Now to the actual beer, please excuse my rant, it happens. It smelled very strongly of malt, dark caramelly malt. The taste is, not surprisingly, very caramel/malt focused, making it a very, very tasty beer. Meaning lots of flavor. In the future I would not pair this brew with any sort of food, as I did this time (pairing it with my chicken wrap dinner…) This is definitely one that needs to be ordered in a bar, and consumed at a leisurely pace out of a pint glass surrounded by friends.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Spaten Optimator

My flare for being overly dramatic caught a hold of me last week (as it does often) and forced me to write that last post about a certain mini-keg. Turns out Irene the hurricane was kinda a big joke here, and I didn't need to drink any of that beer. Oh well.

Moving on to what my original idea for this blog would be. Beer reviews. Here is the first of many!

Spaten Optimator – Munich, Germany – I bought this at the Total Wine because there was an awkward guy there giving out samples and dollar off coupons for it. After drinking one I can say I’m glad I used a coupon. Upon further inspection I discovered this beer is actually classified as a “malt liquor” on its label, and had a 7.4% alcohol content…maybe it wasn’t the best beer to start off with for the blog, but oh well! It was kinda bitter and didn’t have the best aftertaste; or maybe it was just that the aftertaste was just plain alcohol.

For those that are curious it is classified as a ‘Doppel Bock’ meaning it is a pretty dark beer with a lot of malt. However, this one tastes more like a dark version of Colt 45 than it does your favorite stout or porter. Really I expect more from you, Germany. I expect all the rest of your beers to be delicious! More on the fact that this one was in a green bottle later…

Friday, August 26, 2011

Apocalypse Beerz?

Apparently I have one very big fan of my internet ramblings; that fan being MOTHER EARTH. Since I actually created this - not since I first posted – there has been a historic earthquake (5.8) that rocked Virginia (and the rest of the East coast) and an impending historical hurricane (Irene) about to hit the entire east coast and flood the crap out of it. If this isn’t a sign that Mother Earth likes my blog idea then I don’t know what is!

So what does one do when, in one week, the Earth has made it very apparent that you are a tiny insignificant thing that walks, talks, eats, and defecates unappreciatively all over it? Drink a beer? Why not. But what do you do when you only have a certain amount of time before your power inevitably goes out due to a downed tree or power line? Drink all the beer now? No. You should save some for the moment it happens and have a blackout party. Duh.

It’s obvious right now that I need to start drinking my roommates Heineken mini-keg that’s been sitting in the fridge since the 4th of July. I have an internal struggle with this one though cause Heineken is not my favorite, but I would hate to see a large quantity of any beer go to waste. Are these things even worth the price? Should you buy a mini-keg? Ever? Let’s do some math. No seriously, you know you stand in the beer isle at your local grocery store and think about this every time you see a mini keg. (Pause for me to actually get a beer - a requirement for me to do math these days.)

5 liter keg of Heineken = Around $20 (depending where you are)

1 liter = 33.81 fluid ounces

5 liters = 169.05 fluid ounces

1 beer = 12 fluid ounces

169.05 fluid ounces = 14.09 beers (we’ll say 14)

5 liter keg of Heineken = 14 Heinekens

1 Heineken out of the mini keg = Costs $1.43

Seems like a pretty reasonable deal. But it needs to be compared to something else in order for us to make a true assessment of its worth.

1 Case of Bud Light = Around $18 (majorly depending on where you are...oh how I miss college towns!)

1 Case of BL = 24, 12 ounce BL cans

24, 12 ounce BL cans = 288 fluid ounces of BL

1 BL can out of the case = Costs $0.75 (Yay America!!!)

So not only do you pay less for the case of BL, but you get 118.95oz more! 10 extra beers. And now you know…and you can make your own decision at the grocery store. In my opinion, Heineken is not worth the extra money, especially Heineken out of a mini keg because a majority of it comes out as foam and it’s super stupid. And if you want to get one because you think you’ll look cool rolling up with one to some social event…think again, you are a tool. Everyone likes Bud Light, and if you don’t you can deal with it, and if you can’t, drink a Bud Light Lime. Don’t be the one with the Heineken mini keg, everyone will hate you for your unimpressive, foamy beer. And they won’t be able to spell Heineken when they text their friends about how you brought a Heineken mini keg to their party.

But really back to the apocalypse. It’s happening. I have been convinced this week. It’s not every day you have the urge to Spiderman up your bedroom doorframe because you think the floor of your apartment is going to collapse under your feet. And it’s not every day you have to watch your roommate leave to go hurricane shopping and come back with 3 bottles of wine and some beef jerky. Times are changing. We have to prepare. So if we make it through this, I’m going to make sure my best beer option for the next apocalypse is NOT a Heineken mini-keg.

Stay safe, and finish your beer before it gets warm in your fridge that isn’t going to work for the next 5-7 days.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

If you make it, you can drink it

(Seriously, how much did you want to be on this show when you were little?)

So, let's be honest here, straight away - the idea of making this blog scared me a little bit. Or is that too cliché to say in this first post? Doesn't everyone say that the first time they create a blog and post the first time? It's the initial - Wait...why am I putting this pressure on myself to artistically express myself on the internets? - thought. What has the world done for me that makes me want to give the gift of my precious writing to 2 billion internet users all over the world? Cause I know every single one of them is going to read this. Duh.

Then I thought, but wait...I created this blog for selfish reasons. The main one being that I like beer and I think it tastes good, and I'm really, really happy that the world has decided to create so many varieties of it. The other reason being that in my youthful adulthood I am, in fact, bored, and need something to do to occupy my copious amount of free time. So what could be better than to spend my hard earned money on different beers, new and old, drink them, contemplate them, and then write about them? Sounds like fun to me...I mean...I do like beer...and this is all about me.

So for all the people out there who are confused here is the run down. I'll drink a beer (or several) and then write my thoughts and feelings about them. Feel free to completely believe my opinions and try all the ones that I like! Or feel free to try your own beers and write something and I'll post it. I like having friends…mostly.

Quick shout out to my real inspiration for making this blog - the month of June (2011) and Jordan Albrite. Most likely Jordan will be featured on here since she has her own unique and cultured opinions about beer. That and she already tried 20 new brews and wrote about them (during the month of June) and I have them saved on my computer...And the chance of me getting lazy and needing some sort of blog-filler is highly likely.

Until next time. (Well - until I drink a beer). Stay thirsty, my friends.