Monday, April 30, 2012

Russian River Sanctification

Last Tuesday, my traditional visit to Kite & Key got me a glass of Russian River Sanctification. This was left over from the Savage Sixtel Sunday held earlier in the week.
I've definitely had this before, but I think it was just a small sample at Russian River and didn't totally remember it. Without a useful reference, I thought it was just a mild introduction to sours. Boy, was I wrong. Nice tartness in the nose. Not weak at all. Pretty tart up front with an interesting brett funk mixed with some hop bitterness. The latter two are actually the major flavors with the tartness appearing mostly just at the beginning of each sip. Still, this was actually much more unique than I thought it would be and I'm glad I got a chance to try it.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ballast Point Indra Kunindra

This was another bottle given to me by my friend out in San Diego. I'm pretty sure he sent it to me because it's hugely polarizing and wanted my opinion. Considering he likes it though at least he's not playing a trick on me. The reason this beer is so odd is that it's made with madras curry, cayenne pepper, cumin, toasted coconut and kaffir lime leaf with a 9% foreign / export stout base. So, yeah, kind of bizarre.
Smelled like cumin and curry with a hint of coconut. Really strong cumin smell. I like cumin, but it was still a bit off putting as it's not a smell normally associated with a beer. Luckily, the flavor wasn't dominated by the cumin but instead by coconut with some chocolate and roast from the base stout. There was a little hint of lime and the finish had some cumin in it but at that point it blended well with the rest unlike the nose. As I drank more, my lips started tingling a bit which was a result of the cayenne pepper in the beer. It's not something you notice flavor wise as there's no spiciness, but it still manages to make its presence known.

I drank the whole bottle myself so I'd say I enjoyed it, but not sure I'd be interested in drinking a second. It was one of the most unique beers I've ever had, though, that's for sure. I do find it funny that there are reviews complaining about too much cumin, too much spice, etc. I mean, what did they expect? It's not like Ballast Point hid what this was. The ingredients are written right on the bottle! Silly people. Like complaining a sour tastes sour or a coffee stout tastes like coffee.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cheddar, Beer, and Mustard Pull-Apart Bread

I've recently become obsessed with the website Smitten Kitchen. I mean, how could I not? The pictures are awesome, the write-ups interesting, and the recipes are generally easy to follow. As such, I've been flipping through the archives for entertainment and came across the coolest bread: cheddar, beer, and mustard pull-apart bread. Look at that first picture! Doesn't it make you want to run to the kitchen and bake up a batch? Okay, well, maybe not you, but when we needed something to pair with some soup Jo made Sunday, I decided to give it a try.

Since you should just go to the link to see the recipe, I'll just go through my preparation and pictures instead without many specifics. It starts with combining beer and butter and heating it in a saucepan.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another Savage Sixtel Sunday at Kite & Key

Feels like it was just yesterday that I went to the previous Savage Sixtel Sunday but it's actually been almost a month. Time flies, eh? This time the lineup was impressive with two from Russian River, two from Dogfish Head, an Alesmith, and a couple other rarer sixtels to round out the lineup. The really cool thing was that I finally got to check out the Dogfish Head Randall, their weirdo filter like contraption that lets bars flavor beers in different ways. For this event, the Kite & Key was running Dogfish Head Worldwide Stout through a mix of coffee and vanilla beans. Doesn't that just sound delicious?

I ordered a glass of the Alesmith Speedway Stout since starting with an 18% monster seemed wrong in some way.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Baking with Beer at Cook

This past weekend, I went to a class at Cook. I'm not sure how to describe it totally, but Cook is a studio that has about 12 seats around a horseshoe bar that wraps around a kitchen area. They offer a variety of classes with various teachers. Back in March, Jo saw they were having a Baking with Beer class and so bought it for me for my birthday. The teacher was Liz Begosh (as you can see in the picture above) and she has a bunch of experience using beer in various confectionery concoctions.

As I said the room was set up to house 12 people sitting around a bar.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Maine Beer Company Lunch

I finally got my hands on some bottles of Maine Brewing Co. Lunch, their IPA. This is one I've been wanting to try for a bit as I've heard great things about it and I wasn't disappointed.
Wonderful citrusy nose, very bright and inviting. Big orange juice flavor with some mild bitterness in it on the first sip. A nice dry finish followed with some lingering bitterness but very pleasant, no astringency at all. As I drank more and got used to the bitterness in the body, a little more sweetness appeared and kept it from drying my mouth out completely. All in all, very delicious with a lot going for it.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Beer Tasting 5

I've been lax in having my friends over for some simple sharing of beers so I made up for it last week. If you're interested, you can read about the first four at these links: one, two, three, four. For those that are new to my beer tastings, the basic idea is I invite some friends over and they all bring something they've wanted to try or just something they find on the shelf and then we share them. Pretty simple. Sometimes people choose beers based on the label, some times they actually want to try something specific, and sometimes it's their homebrew. Really, it's just an excuse to get together and make some of my friends try new things. Heck, my friend Jeff picked up a bottle at the Sam Adams brewery in anticipation of one of these nights. It's nice to know I have an affect. Hmm, effect? Affect? I probably should just use a different word. Oh well. (edit: My wife has informed me it's effect. So grammar issue solved.)

Here's the first set of bottles we opened. Really like the barrel structure of the Samuel Adams bottle on the right.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Holland Dragon's Milk

A friend sent me this bottle of New Holland Dragon's Milk around a year ago, I think. It's an imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels.
Really wonderful vanilla, chocolate and bourbon nose. Nice aroma. Medium bodied. Quite strong bourbon presence in this with an almost milk chocolate flavor backing it. Definitely stronger on the bourbon flavor than some others though not in alcohol heat. The bourbon faded a bit as I got used to it with the chocolate and vanilla coming to the forefront, making this quite enjoyable. This is also relatively readily available (or at least I think it is though it has been a while since I looked) so it would make a good choice for someone interested in trying bourbon aged stouts for the first time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Green Flash Palate Wrecker

There were actually a few things on draft yesterday at the Kite & Key that I could have chosen, but I decided to go with the Green Flash Palate Wrecker. Considering I haven't liked most of the hoppy Green Flash stuff before, I'm not sure why I chose it but the sample I had seemed decent so I went with it.
Very bright pineapple nose. Not too hoppy smelling though there is some bitterness there. Medium bodied, not thick but not thin either. Started with pineapple mixed with some grapefruit and finished with a decent amount of bitterness. Luckily, fresh at least, the fruit notes from the hops overpowered the bitterness because there was no sweetness at all in this one. The bitterness isn't too astringent like some of their others which helps too. Definitely wrecks your palate so it's aptly named at least.

I also should mention that there is going to be another Savage Sixtel Sunday at the Kite & Key this coming Sunday (April 22nd). Possible appearance of the Dogfish Head Randall plus other fun stuff!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Beer Four All Seasons - Spring Version

It's Spring now and there has been a little more than three months since the last Beer Four All Seasons from Dock Street and the Four Seasons. What that means is it's time for the second one! The first, if you remember (which, well, you might not), was a Truffled Old Ale and was quite good which made me excited for the next one. The first we heard about the collaboration was a tweet of a picture of two chili peppers and that was some time in March I think. It turns out the newest one is called Caliente Golden Ale and it's a Belgian Strong Ale brewed with Agave Nectar which was then aged on two types of chile peppers (Guajillo and Ancho to be specific).

Monday, April 16, 2012

Nodding Head's Spring Fling

It's the middle of the month which means it's time for Nodding Head's Second Saturday event! This month's theme was Spring Fling though I'm not really sure how it relate to the the beers. But, whatever. Since I can't drink the theme, it's the beers that matter and there were a few gems this time.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

Last night I opened a bottle of Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. This is the double IPA in the family of minute IPAs from them. The name refers (for the most part) to the number of minutes Dogfish Head spends hopping each beer through the initial brewing of it. Or at least I'm pretty sure that's true. I sometimes think things are true only to find out I totally made them up.
I had some trouble putting my finger on the actual hop profile as it was kind of mild. I wrote down that it reminded me of citrus, but it had some other notes too which I couldn't pinpoint. Started with some bitterness with some sweetness immediately after to balance it. The hops were woodsy, piney and almost smokey. I don't think it's something I'd order at a bar but I wouldn't say no if it was free nor am I disappointed I have two more bottles.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A

I've finally managed to finish the last of my brother's Hanukkah beer gift, the He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A, a really strong rye ipa. I'll admit, I should have drank this one earlier but I just never got around to it. At least I drank one of the two he gave me a month or two ago so I did get a sense of what it's like in a fresher state.
Sweet nose with some aged hop notes and some rye spiciness. On first sip there was some caramel, bitter hops, some more rye spiciness, and a lot of alcohol. Basically continued that way though the rye spiciness and alcohol were at odds with the caramel sweetness at times. Decent enough after four months (well, at least four months) but this is one that should be drank closer to its bottling date even if it is 11%. The previous bottle was a bit more balanced with the hops covering the alcohol better.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Farmer's Cabinet De Struise Pig Dinner

About a week and a half ago (the last Thursday in March whenever that was), the Farmer's Cabinet held a ridiculously awesome beer dinner. I first heard about it in February and even though Jo and I were heading to Beer for Beasts the weekend directly after the dinner was being held, we decided I should go to this. Urbain (pronounced urban which I didn't actually know), the head brewer from De Struise brewery in Belgium, was coming to brew with Terry of the Cabinet Brewhouse (the Farmer's Cabinet brewery) and so they asked him to attend a dinner at the restaurant while in town. They bought a 300 pound pig from outside Lancaster, PA, brought it in and made every single course of the meal from a different part of it. With each course, they also paired a different beer from De Struise. Just a really impressive idea. If you expand the menu, you should be able to get an idea of the different courses.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Lost Rhino Rhinoel

Okay so this is the second to last bottle my brother gave me for Hanukkah. Yes, I realize that was back in late December, but, well, you should already know I drink incredibly slowly. I blame drinking slowly for the bottles collecting in my basement more than my innate need to buy things I can't find when I'm on vacation. Or at least that's what I tell myself.

Lost Rhino Rhinoel is a dubbel.
The first surprise was that it was sealed with a cork hidden under the cap. I'm not totally sure why they felt the need for a cork but be prepared for it when you do buy the beer. Malty sweet nose with lots of bread notes. Really nice aroma for a dubbel. Sweet malt, mild fruitiness, and some clove follow. There was also a slight undertone, almost a smokiness, that brought it all together. Basically tasted like a real dubbel from Belgium. Really impressive actually. I quite enjoyed this and thought it was one of the better American dubbels I've had in a long while. Seriously, though, the cork seemed a bit unnecessary.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Beer for Beasts

For an introduction to Beer for Beasts, see my preview post here where I wrote a bit about what it entails and such. To summarize for those too lazy to click a link, it's a beerfest held by BeerAdvocate and Sixpoint where 50 or so beers were brewed specifically for the event on Sixpoint's small batch system. The brewers ranged from various home brewers to friends of the brewery to our own Philly native Sean Mellody of Mellody Brewing.

After spending the afternoon wandering around NYC, we hopped on the subway to head to Brooklyn. While it should have taken 40 minutes or so, the various trains we took kept deciding to just stop or change their line designations so it took a bit longer than that but we still managed to make it there in plenty of time. At least the trains never changed directions I guess. When we arrived, the line was already pretty long but at around 5:45, they started handing out bracelets and checking IDs so when 6 hit we got into the Bell House in about 5 or 10 minutes. Not bad getting like 100+ people in there that quickly that's for sure.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace

Some nice turnover from last week at the Kite & Key meant I had quite a few new choices. Since I had liked a saison brewed by a friend of mine made with Sorachi Ace hops, I decided to give the Brooklyn Sorachi Ace saison a try.
Pretty wonderful nose. Bright and juicy with lots of tropical fruit. Taste followed though unfortunately not quite as nice as the aroma. Mostly fruity with some malty breadiness underneath but that was about it. It just wasn't as strong as I would have expected and wanted. Decent enough but I won't be revisiting it any time soon.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Samuel Smith Imperial Stout

Last night I opened one of my bottles of Samuel Smith Imperial Stout.
Sweet, slightly salty nose. Medium bodied, poured pretty nicely. Started with some roasty bitterness and followed by more of the sweet and salty flavor. Finished with more bitterness and some chocolate notes. Decently tasty though the saltiness is a tiny bit much at times. Probably not for everyone because of that but these kinds of stouts appeal to me at times.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Downtown Joe's Bar and Grill

It's been a while since we were actually there, but I have a few pictures and took some notes so I figured I'd write a little bit about Downtown Joe's Bar and Grill in Napa, California. We stopped here for lunch during our day of wine tasting and it made for a nice break, at least for me. It's located directly in Napa and is really hard to miss as it was right at the end of the main street. I'm pretty sure you can't miss it if you're driving through the town.