Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Drinks at London Grill

I've been pretty busy with moving into the new house and going to St. Louis for a wedding so sorry about the lack of updates. There's a big backlog of stuff I have to write about including the Philly Beer Geek semifinals (didn't move on) and some brewpubs from St. Louis.  Look for those soon hopefully. This one is a visit Jo and I made to London Grill a little while ago partially to ensure we actually had a reservation for their Deschutes dinner during Philly Beer Week.

I started with a glass of Dogfish Head Hellhound on My Ale, a double IPA.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lagunitas IPA

The latest IPA I tried was a Lagunitas IPA.
Grapefruit nose with no bitterness and a few caramel notes.  First impression is citrus and grapefruit.  A little bitterness appears but just a tiny bit, nothing major.  While there wasn't any sweetness to be found, the bitterness being low means it wasn't a problem for me. The citrus notes were really enjoyable.  Another very drinkable beer from Lagunitas.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Weyerbacher Riserva 2009

To celebrate closing on our new house, my wife and I cracked open our bottle of 2009 Weyerbacher Riserva.
I've posted about the 2010 before and thought it was incredibly vinegary and sour.  Tasty, but a commitment in taste buds.  The 2009, however, was much more pleasantly sour and not nearly as vinegary.  The nose was still hugely funky with a sour raspberry aroma.  I put it down on the coffee table about 2 feet away and could still smell it.  Flavor wasn't sweet, but was way less in your face and ended more tart than sour.  Nice mix of raspberry flavor then some tartness until the two blend together a bit as you get used to it.  I like the punch you in the face effect of the 2010 but I can see why the more balanced and reasonable 2009 is more to people's liking.  Maybe the couple bottles of 2010 I have left will calm down a bit with some age but who knows and since my wife and I both like it as it is, not such a big deal.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Troegs Rugged Trail Nut Brown Ale

Part of cleaning our old apartment in preparation for the move to the new house was looking through our beer fridge and tossing some of the older beers that got buried in the back.  However, when I came across the year and a half year old Troegs Rugged Trail I couldn't bring myself to dump it without giving it a chance because the beer is now discontinued and so when else would I get a chance to write about it?  It's not a beer for aging, but I figured since it was in the refrigerator for most of that time there was still a chance for it to be good.
Roasty and hazelnutty aroma.  Very nutty.  I couldn't find any signs of cardboard or off flavors resulting from the aging which was good.  First sip the flavors were very mild.  Some vanilla sweetness, but the roast and nuttiness were very muted compared to the nose although there was a little more of both as I made my way through the glass.  It had been a long time since I've had Rugged Trail as it's been discontinued for quite a while now but I remember it being a bit stronger tasting.  Still, for a one and a half year old 4.5% brown ale, this held up remarkably well.  The flavors were muted but not off and I had no issues finishing the whole glass so that's a win in my book.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Philly Beer Geek Contest at Time Restaurant

As I said in my previous post, my loss in the Philly Beer Geek contest by one point at the POPE led me to try again on Wednesday at Time Restaurant.  It was being held at 6pm and Time is pretty close to my office so I figured why not give it one more try.  I arrived around 5:45 and was the first person to express interest.  I met the General Manager, Terry, and a couple of the bartenders and they were all incredibly nice.  This time the contest was being run by Terry so it was a little less formal than Monday.  It turned out he had just found out about the whole Philly Beer Geek thing, thought it would be a good way to bring some people to the bar, and so only signed up a couple weeks ago or so.  And, hey, it got me to the bar so he sort of succeeded, I guess.  I just have to go win it for him and then he'll get some press.  At about 6:30 he managed to get a couple more people into the bar for the contest and we got started a few minutes later with about 4 or 5 of us participating.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Philly Beer Geek Contest at the POPE

This past Monday, I finally had a chance to make it to a bar that was hosting a Philly Beer Geek prelimary qualifying round.  The Philly Beer Geek contest is sort of a beer quizo kind of thing but the prelim rounds vary slightly depending on the bar.  The one at the POPE (Pub on Passyunk East) was hosted by Carolyn Smagalski, Beer Fox of BellaOnline, and last year's Philly Beer Geek Steve Hawk. (If you've been reading long enough, you may remember I went to a BBQ in his honor at The Hulmeville Inn without knowing what it was a while back.)  The contest was separated into four rounds.  The first two rounds were ten questions with each question being one and two points, respectively.  The third round was two beer samples off the draft list and I was supposed to identify them and they were each worth fifteen points.  The last round was eight slightly more difficult questions worth four points each and two very hard questions worth ten.  

Flying Fish at Monk's

I did a little work over the weekend and got in early to fix something, so I felt like I deserved a long lunch on Monday.  Lucky for me, Monk's was having a Mad Monday in the form of some rare Flying Fish sixtels.  They were also selling tickets for their Russian River beer week dinner and, amazingly enough, people were lining up for them by like 8am.  Apparently even beer dinner tickets are turning into rare commodities (although to be fair I'm not sure this is that rare for the more popular ones at Monks).

I started my lunch off with the Bourbon Barrel Abbey Dubbel although I meant to start with the Exit 13 and was misheard by the bartender.  Ah well.  You win some, you lose some.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Unmarked Bottle of homebrew from Pete G

Sorry about the hiatus, but I'm finally back after moving to my new house and getting internet installed.  For my triumphant return, I'm just doing something simple, an unmarked homebrew from my buddy Pete.
He gave me this bottle a while ago and I quickly forgot what style it was supposed to be.  Instead of just texting him to find out, I decided to see if I could guess.  At least it was well carbonated as you can see in the picture.  Slightly perfumy hop nose, mildly pine.  Some hop notes, a little malt, a little caramel, and maybe a little banana (but that may have just been my imagination).  My basic guess is that this is an Amber / Red Ale.  Not as hoppy as an IPA, but too hoppy for a scotch ale.  Just like Troegs Hopback, this is a nice mix of the two without either overpowering.  Tasty homebrew.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

IPA Block Party outside Hawthornes Cafe

This past Saturday, Hawthornes Cafe held their second annual IPA Block Party.  They claimed they had 24 different IPAs on draft and I had no reason to doubt them.  They were also supposed to have something special from Dark Horse, but unfortunately that never made it.  However, I was still able to try a bunch of different IPAs I've never had before and finally got to meet the owners of PhillyTapFinder so it was a pretty great day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sly Fox Route 113

To warm up for the IPA Block Party outside of Hawthornes (post incoming tomorrow), I opened a can of Sly Fox Route 113, an IPA.
Sort of a perfumy bitter nose.  Not citrus or pine, but maybe grapefruit?  I honestly couldn't tell and Jo wasn't around to help.  Bitter up front, followed by some grapefruit notes, some of the perfume notes from the nose and finishing a little bitter.  As I drank more, the sweetness slowly overpowered the bitterness and it started becoming a little cloying.  Not sure why that happened as usually the bitterness overpowers everything but maybe it's a result of having it after a coffee stout.  Who knows.  Wasn't bad, but I've had better ones recently.  I definitely enjoyed it more when I had it on draft at the brewpub a while back.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Williamsburg AleWerks Coffeehouse Stout

I finally finished up the last bottle my friend Chris brought me a month or so ago, the Williamsburg AleWerks Coffeehouse Stout.
Big coffee aroma without any acrid coffee bitterness.  Inviting for a coffee stout.  I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting a ton from this but it was actually pretty good.  Flavor was reminiscent of mocha, a nice mix of coffee and chocolate.  There was a little hint of sour from the coffee but it faded quickly.  Really quite enjoyable and at like $25 a case, really worth it dollar for dollar.

Friday, May 6, 2011

14th Annual Manayunk Brewfest

For the 14th year in a row, the Manayunk Brewery held their brewfest on the last Saturday in April.  This was the 8th year in a row I've gone to it as it's generally a whole lot of fun.  It's a brewfest so there's of course a lot of different beers to drink, there's lots of interesting people and the pourers are a lot of fun to talk to.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Birthday Dinner at The Farmer's Cabinet

While Jo and I went to The Farmer's Cabinet for the first time for drinks with my Canadian buddy, I had originally planned to make my first visit my birthday dinner.  Walking into the restaurant the beer bar is on your left with a bunch of bar stools in front of it.  There are wooden signs on the wall with the draft beer options plus a spot reserved for the beers that will be brewed by Terry Hawbaker of Bullfrog Fame which I absolutely cannot wait to try.  The bartender, Chris (who also happened to be Terry's roommate), said the brewing equipment is set up but there are still some things to finish up so it'll still be a bit.  One cool thing was that they already have a rack of barrels set up on the restaurant wall for him to age stuff.  It'll be neat to see when they are full of delicious beer.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Alpine Pure Hoppiness

Alpine is a small brewery in Alpine, California (near San Diego) that gets a lot of news for their IPAs.  I was lucky enough to be given a bottle of their Pure Hoppiness, an IPA, as an extra in my latest trade.
The aroma was piney along with some slight lemony bitterness.  Initially slightly bitter up front then followed by some hoppy pine notes.  Very dry finish and surprisingly the bitterness doesn't linger at all considering how much of it I found in the aroma and the flavor.  Quite an enjoyable IPA and I found it to be very balanced and pretty tasty.