Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Two for Tuesday

Today was the special release of Dogfish Head's new beer Bitches Brew.
This beer commemorates the 40th anniversary of a Miles Davis album, but regardless of the odd circumstances it was absolutely delicious.  Dogfish Head's description is that it is 3 parts Imperial Stout and 1 part Honey and something else.  It was a pretty apt description.  It started out as a really mild Imperial Stout and ended with a sweet aftertaste.  At 9% it was pretty strong, but there wasn't any trace of the alcohol in it.  All in all, it was another great Dogfish Head beer, but the availability of it may be very minimal so you may not be able to find it anywhere.

After that, Jo and I needed some dinner and neither of us felt like cooking tonight.  We realized it was Tuesday which meant Lucky 7s (a local bar) was having Taco Tuesday so we headed over there.  Unfortunately their taps were unexciting, but they did have a bottle of Schneider Aventinus so I was still pretty happy.
I bought my friend Jon a case of this recently so I've had a bottle since Jo and I were in Munich, but tonight brought back a lot of great memories from that trip.  The Schneider brewery is located in Munich and Jo and I went there twice while we were there so it's pretty cool to order their beers here in Philly.  This beer is a dark wheat doppelbock.  It has a nice brown color to it and an absolutely delicious caramel aroma.  The taste reminds me of a Belgian Dubbel but wheaty.  You get hints of banana and caramel and it goes down incredibly smooth for an 8.2% beer.  This is one of my favorite German beers so if you see it around definitely take a try.  The Aventinus Eisbock is also available, at least in Philly, and it's like a super powered version of Aventinus.  If you are at Devil's Den, order a bottle and prepare to be amazed.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Jose Pistola's Three year anniversary

Spent an afternoon at Jose Pistola's today for their three year anniversary.  I was hoping to try the four year old Barleywine that Adam said they had in the basement, but it didn't seem like it was going to be on draft any time soon so I didn't get a chance.  However, I did get to finally try Russian River Supplication and a surprise in Allagash Fluxus.  I've been wanting to try the Supplication for a long while since it seems to be a counter point to their Consecration and I wanted to see the difference between the two.

Luckily when I got there the Supplication was already on draft.
Its look was a cross between the Ichtegem's and Petrus from last night.  Basically a light brownish color instead of the golden or dark brown.  The smell was similar to the Petrus with a little bit more fruit in the nose.  Reasonably enough because the Supplication has cherries added to it before being aged in the French oak Pinot Noir barrels.  Once tasting it, the cherry really comes through in the flavor of the beer.  It's all sour up front similar to the Petrus, but the back edge of it is the cherries.  It's kind of like the Cantillon Kriek really in that respect.  All in all, I liked the Supplication better than the Consecration mostly because the cherry flavor is tastier than the currant edge of the Consecration and the 7% is much more drinkable than the 10%.  Really though if someone bought me either beer I'd be psyched so liking one more than the other really doesn't much matter.

After that I had the Allagash Fluxus.  I hadn't ever heard about this but when I looked it up on Beer Advocate and it said Imperial Stout, I ordered it immediately.  Hell, if I had looked it up earlier I probably would have ordered it first.  I'm a sucker for Imperial Stouts.
You can't see much from that picture, but rest assured it was nearly black and looked delicious.  The head was a nice brownish purple which to me means it's going to be awesome.  The first sip was pure Hazelnut.  I know it sounds weird, but such is taste.  At 10+%, it was amazingly drinkable.  The more I had of it, the more the flavors built up.  Of course, once Jo showed up and I made her taste it, she claimed it just tasted like burnt malts but she always thinks that when I make her try porters and stouts so who needs her opinion.

After that I had another of each of them so all in all it was a great beer Sunday.  As I said, I wish I had been able to try the barleywine as it was 4 years old and from a closed brewery but hopefully I'll be able to have some tomorrow.  And regardless of that the two beers I did get to try were really amazing.  The Supplication was delicious and Allagash impressed me with another excellent beer.  It's a shame a case of the Supplication is $130 because I really wouldn't mind having some around the house.  Hopefully with Russian River becoming more available in Philly the cost of it will come down.  That or I'll be able to convince one of my sister in laws to bring me some from California.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sours, sours, sours!

I was out for a couple hours going to a bunch of beer distributors today and ended up across the street from Hawthornes, a bottle shop / bar in South Philly.  I wanted to get a draft of Victory's new Coffee Brown Ale but it wasn't available yet so instead I picked up two different sours from Belgium.

The first I drank was Ichtegem's Grand Cru.

The beer is a really beautiful reddish brown and is really inviting.  The style of it is a Flemish Red Ale according to the bottle.  I've had a couple Flemish Red ales (although Beer Advocate calls them Flanders Red Ale for whatever reason) and the ones I've had have been pretty similar to this.  One you might see a lot is Duchesse du Bourgogne, at least in Philly.  Ichtegem's was quite good.  It smelled sour, tart, and mildly like vinegar.  Sort of like a really mild balsamic I'd say.  It sounds odd, but man it's really good.  The taste was sour and then sweet with a really slight bitterness at the end.  Reminds me of cherries to a certain extent.  As I drank it, the sourness started to build which happens with a lot of those beers and really accentuates the flavor.

The second beer I got was Petrus Aged Pale.
I had this a couple weeks ago during Devil's Den's sourfest and really, really liked it.  I thought it was the best of the bunch that I tried that day.  It smells like sour apples basically.  Unlike the Ichtegem's, there's no hint of vinegar in it.  It's just sourness all the way down.  The initial taste is so good, so sour.  Just like the smell, the taste is reminiscent of sour apples and again with a slight bitterness at the end.  Unlike the red above, this beer is pure sour without any of the vinegar edge.  The one thing that's great about this one, though, is that a case is only $80 or so at Global Beer.  Really reasonable compared to other Belgians you see.

Cisco Brewers Moor Porter

My wife bought me a bottle of Cisco Brewers Moor Porter a couple months ago and I finally drank it last night.
I wanted to show off my Andechs Monastery tankard so you can't actually see what the beer looks like this time.  It poured nice and dark with a brownish head, basically what you'd expect from a decent porter.  The flavor had hints of bitter chocolate and roasted malts.  All in all, it was great and I'd love to try it on draft at some point.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lunch at Jose Pistolas

Grabbed lunch at Jose Pistola's which is becoming one of my favorite lunch places in the city right now.  Their draft list is always different and interesting and their food, mostly Mexican so burritos, nachos, tacos, is really good. On multiple visits, I've had a couple different types of burritos, a sandwich, and my wife has had the nachos and they have been tasty every time.  Honestly though the real reason I like going there is that during the day the bartender, Adam, is also the guy who orders their beer.  He's always been willing to talk to me about different styles, offer suggestions of things to try, and really just listen to me blather on about beer.  If I can find someone that is willing to listen to me talk, then I'm going to be happy.

Today I had two different beers.  The first beer I had was the Dark Horse Tripel.

As you can see, the color of it was honestly quite odd.  It basically looked like Apple Cider.  The taste, however, was pure tripel and really good.  The flavor had hints of banana and spices, basically what you'd expect from a tripel.  At 9%, it's pretty damn strong too.

The last beer I had was the Left Hand Imperial Stout.

This beer was really freaking amazing.  It was probably one of the best Imperial Stouts I've had in a long time.  At 10%, it was ridiculously, some would say dangerously, smooth and drinkable.  There was absolutely no hint of the strength in the beer.  It was just a smooth, creamy, chocolaty stout and I'm really glad I took Adam's suggestion and had it.  Left Hand makes really good beers so it's not that surprising but I'll definitely be on the look out to try this one again.

On Sunday I'm going back to Jose Pistola's for their 3 year anniversary party.  They are supposed to have a 4 year old barleywine plus Russian River's Supplication and possibly some other cool stuff.  I'll arrive around 1:30, 2 and stay for at least a couple hours.  Look for me at the front bar if you come by.  The address for those too lazy to use google is 263 South 15th Street.  It's between Locust and Spruce, closer to Spruce.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Andy Barnett's home brew

I had another one of my old co-worker's home brew beers today.  I'm honestly not sure what the style is but I think it's a Pale Ale or an IPA.
It's really quite good and I hope Andy keeps up with his brewing.  It has a really nice balance between malty and hoppy, leaning more towards the malty side.  The balance is probably a result of his brewing process since I'm betting getting a really hoppy beer can be tough to brew just because it can turn out really terrible, really easily but I don't really know.  Maybe if someone who knows about brewing and reads this could post a comment.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Brooklyn Summer

Today's beer is Brooklyn Summer Ale.
As you can see it's pretty representative of the style.  A nice golden color, a little bit of head, and slightly cloudy.  The taste is also what you'd expect although it really is pretty good.  Slightly sweet, no real hoppiness, just a nice, safe beer that's really refreshing on a hot day or after work.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

River Horse Oatmeal Milk Stout Redux

Here's the beer next to the bottle.  I like River Horse's designs generally as they all have a nice theme to them.

The River Horse Oatmeal Milk Stout Redux is from the stouts and porters beer club.  As you can see it has a nice, dark color, almost black, with a bit of head after the pour.  The taste leans towards the oatmeal side of the oatmeal milk, but it's certainly a bit sweeter than some oatmeal stouts that I've had.  It has a 6.7% ABV according to Beer Advocate.  All in all, it's a great beer and I'd definitely buy it again. 

River Horse makes some other really good beers as well so don't be afraid to try them if you see them.  Plus their brewery is in Lambertville, NJ which is only about 45 minutes from here so it's makes for a good visit if you get a chance.  They didn't have any growlers when my wife and I last visited them but maybe they have some now.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Why a blog?

Okay, yeah, everyone and their mother (and probably their dog) has a blog.  Does the world really need another one?  The answer is really no, but I've never cared much what other people think so here we are.

I'm planning on using this blog as a place to just write about the beers I drink, the breweries I visit (and drag my wife to) and the restaurants that impress me with their beer list.  I figure if I just stick to showing pictures of beers and talking about how much I liked them that I won't bore people too much and it will allow me to keep posting relatively frequently.

Hope you find a new beer or place to go as a result and enjoy the posts.

My beer club

Back in October '09 I was complaining to my wife that it's impossible to find interesting variety cases in Philadelphia and I wished I lived near more people so I could split cases with them.  She suggested that I instead email my friends and see if they'd be interested in splitting the cost of buying a case per person and then splitting them up into a single variety case.  This way I'd be able to try all the beers I wanted without having to buy 8 cases every time I stepped into a distributor.  This was the beginning of what I call my beer club.

My friend Pete responded with, "people are lucky to be blessed with maybe one great idea in their lifetimes. Ford had his assembly line, Pythagoras had his triangle thing, Newton had his fruit and cake. This is your idea and I applaud you" so I figured I was on to something.

Since then I've done 5 beer clubs.  Each had a different theme and different beers.
Pumpkin Beers
Wild Goose    Pumpkin Patch
Dogfish Head    Punkin Ale
Uinta    Punk'n
Weyerbacher    Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Ann Arbor    Fisherman's Pumpkin Stout
Brooklyn    Post Road Pumpkin Ale

Winter Beers
Troegs     Mad Elf
Magic Hat    Howl
Great Divide    Hibernation Ale
Heavy Seas    Winter Storm
Corsendonk    Christmas Ale
Smuttynose     Winter Ale
Sierra Nevada    Celebration Ale
Lagunitas    Brown Shugga

Stouts / Porters
Left Hand    Milk Stout
River Horse    Oatmeal Milk Stout
Smuttynose    Robust Porter
Great Lakes    Edmund Fitzgerald (porter)
Founders    Breakfast Stout
PBC    Joe Coffee Porter
Breckenridge    Vanilla Porter
Stoudts    Fat Dog (Imperial Oatmeal)

Scotch / Scottish Ales (with a cheat for Dragon's Milk)
Founders    Dirty Bastard
Dieu du Ciel    Equinox Du Printemps
Duck Rabbit    Wee Heavy
Oskar Blues    Old Chub
Orkney    Skullsplitter
Belhaven    Scottish Ale
Great Divide    Claymore Scotch Ale
New Holland    Dragon's Milk

Voodoo    White Magick of the Sun
New Holland    Golden Cap
Wells    Banana Bread
Anchor Steam    Summer
Brooklyn    Summer
Bells    Oberon
Smuttynose    Summer Weizen
Sierra Nevada    Summerfest

Of course, the beer club is only really necessary because Pennsylvania has absolutely terrible beer laws, but at least I can pretend I'm saving money or something by having to do it.

The next club I'm doing is going to be Fruit beers.  I'm going to try to find a case of some Cantillon style which I'm excited about trying.