Festival of Hops
Sunday, January 24, 2010
One unfortunate side effect of being cash-poor but house-rich is that I haven't been able to try different craft beers as often as I'd like: expensive hobby. But I did pretty good budget-wise this month, so yesterday I called up Markie and Matt and we went to the Festival of Hops at the Muddy Pig. Lots of hoppy beers at $8 for 3 5 oz tasters.
I had three flights and sampled the more interesting stuff that Markie and Matt ordered. Here's what stood out:
Flying Dog Snake Dog — I didn't like their Doggie Style APA, but I can usually count on Flying Dog, and this IPA was really good. Where some other IPA's are content to hit you over the head with hops, this beer had all sorts of fun stuff going on.
Furthermore Knot Stock, a peppery American Pale that I'd love to try alongside some venison or my brother's famous prime rib. Probably not sessionable but much better than the overwhelmingly peppery Rosee D'hibiscus that I had in Canada.
La Trappe Isid'or. Nice of the Pig to have a Belgian Pale in the mix. I'm a sucker for this sort of thing, but luckily not everyone is. I traded my Rogue Yellow Snow (decent but not exciting) for Matt's taster of this.
21st Amendment Back in Black. Markie had this, according to Beer Advocate it's an IPA (and I'm sure they're right) but yesterday afternoon it tasted like an unusually smoky black lager.
Boulder Mojo. I had a taster of Bell's Hopslam to start, and I'm not sure any beer I had topped that, but this was a nice IPA in the same general taste area. If it's cheaper than Hopslam (and how could it not be) I'll probably give it another go.
New Holland Existential. I don't think I could finish a bottle of this Imperial-ish IPA, but this is one of those beers (like Rauchbier) that everyone should try just because it's so weird. It took us a bit to figure this out, but the overwhelming impression we had was of butterscotch and I didn't even know a beer could do that.
(Note to self, avoid these beers: Rogue Mogul and Founders Cerise. I think I've ordered both of these beers before too, and both times I could barely finish them. Bah.)
The little cooler and the Sugar Room
Monday, September 8, 2008
On my way to go camping this weekend I stopped at a liquor store to get some beers; unfortunately, my cooler is too narrow for regular bottles, so it was between Red Stripe and Negro Modelo. I do want to revisit Red Stripe at some point (it's been at least two years), but I had to go with the dark, caramel goodness of Modelo.
Whenever I buy something like this — that is to say, something I'm used to getting at the bar — I always feel especially thrifty. I mean, six beers for what I would normally pay for one?
(Why did I refuse to buy that six-pack of Hopslam again? Was it really because it was as expensive as two pints of Hopslam at the bar?)
PBR and Premium were there for us when the Modelo ran out, but without any game or other real reason to keep drinking, I stopped well before I got too drunk, i.e. the point where I would be hungover the next day. This is progress.
I went to Mankato on Saturday, and The Sugar Room there turned out to be kind of a cool bar.
(Although they apparently cleared off Brooke's friend Wes' drink when it was still 2/3 full, which would be beyond strange. I have an easier time believing that someone stole it.)
I had a Summit EPA, my second-favorite Summit after the Great Northern Porter, and because I was feeling adventurous I followed that up with a Guinness.
That... wasn't very good. Guinness has a reputation as a finicky beer ("have you had it on tap," "have you had it in Europe," etc.) and for whatever reason this particular draft didn't impress me.
Yesterday with dinner I had my last New Glarus Organic Revolution. I kept grabbing those from the fridge because I didn't want to drink anything too dark or too special, but it's actually really good.
It's a Summer Honey Saturday
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Oh Summer Honey. Last time you were lousy, and now you're tasty again. WHAT am I going to do with you.
I think the reason I like this so much today is the food pairing: leftover tomato pizza. Last time I was eating chocolate or bacon or something that really fought the light, upfront sweetness in this beer.
Island Party beers (and beers)
Sunday, July 20, 2008
My parent's annual Island Party was this weekend; I was in the front yard directing traffic at the start of the party, so to pass the time I sipped a Chapeau Pêche from Brouwerij De Troch. I offered my mom a glass (I thought it'd be just her sort of beer) and after pouring yet another glass for other people, I ended up with only a third of the bottle for myself. Luckily this beer is easy to find.
It was very good, not as good as the Apricot methinks, maybe better than the Chapeau Exotic (i.e. pineapple), but certainly better than the Lindemans peach lambic. When I bought this some liquor store clerk tried to convince me that I should get Lindemans instead because it's made with real fruit, but the Chapeau website says, "The beer is made up with real fruit and natural fruit juices," so I'm not sure he knew what he was talking about.
Also, I just listened to the Fruit Beers episode of Beer School, so I don't think extract would be a huge deal in any case. Incidentally, that same episode completely validated my low opinion of the Longshot Grape Ale.
I'll have to seek out some of the other fruit beers they mentioned: New Glarus is just next door, after all, and apparently their raspberry and cherry beers are a Very Big Deal. They also mentioned an intriguing Coconut Porter that I thought was from "Miami Brewing," but which is in fact from "Maui Brewing." (Sorry Ben, but the search for great Florida beers continues.)
I'd only parked a few cars before I was out of lambic, so I moved onto a Boulder BeerHazed & Infused, another beer that didn't make the cut for Josh's mix-pack but that I'd brought up north that weekend anyways. It was mediocre, meh with some hops in it. One of Matt's friends is a big fan of the brewery, but I've yet to have anything from Boulder that impressed me. The problem is that I never realize that something is from Boulder until I'm taking off that black bottlecap of theirs.
After that beer was done, I walked down to the lake and spent the rest of the night drinking from my dad's keg of Michelob Golden Light. I think maybe 10 cups all told? Fairly tasteless compared to a lot of stuff I drink, but I'm not about to pretend that it was disgusting. Or that I didn't wake up hungover: after all that, I stupidly decided not to drink any water before I went to bed.
I also made another stop at Spirits of Nisswa while I was up north. I'm sure I'm making this place out to be a bigger deal than it actually is, but it's better than any of my usual liquor stores down here in the Cities. I got a Rogue XS Imperial Stout from their Rogue display stand and a bunch of delicious WeihenstephanerHefeweissbier Dunkels to replace the ones we drank on Thursday. It turns out that dunkelweizen pairs quite well with Army of Two.
Summer beers, a missed chance, and a new bar
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Because they were on sale at Big Top, I picked up another six pack of Big SkyTrout Slayer, an American Pale Wheat Ale that was just as good as I remembered, and a six pack of their seasonal Summer Honey APA.
I've only had one Summer Honey so far, but I think I like that one too; I wish I had a Leinie's Honey Weiss around to compare it with.
I tried to get to Town Hall this week to try their Chocolate Milk Porter, but when Graham and I went there yesterday night it was already gone. I tried their Pursuit of Happiness instead and it was decent, which is saying something for a beer that tastes like blueberries — but as with that Longshot Grape Ale, the blueberry flavor was pretty darn subtle, and I feel like if you're adding weird fruit it should do a bit more.
I also had the Liberty, a red American Pale Wheat Ale that was pretty tasty. After that Pursuit of Happiness, it was nice to have something really flavorful.
I think that the 1800 Old English IPA, Eye of the Storm, and pumpkin ale are still my favorite Town Hall beers (is there a dark beer I'm forgetting?), but our server said that the chocolate might return, so I'm keeping an eye out.
Afterwards we went to Pracna, where I had a tiny little glass of Paulaner Hefe-Weizen. Purists take note: they served it with a slice of lemon. I don't care about the lemon, but I wouldn't go there to drink as often as I do if it weren't so conveniently located.
I couldn't pull anything out of the Two Brothers, though I had the nagging sense that it was good on a less perceptible level. ("Like hearing a party two apartments over," is how I put it at the time.) Nora seemed to like it, and I'm guessing her sense of taste is better than mine, but as far as Biere de Garde go, I definitely prefer the Flying Dog Garde Dog.
Peak Organic Pale Ale
Monday, June 16, 2008
Last night for dinner I had a PeakOrganic Pale Ale with my greasy burger. Surprisingly good. Fruity, and buttery alongside the burger.
Is there some sort of setting I can apply to Beer Advocate so that the scores only take into account taste, mouthfeel, and drinkability? Because smell and appearance are not 40% of what I care about. That is my main complaint, I think.
Probably my last grape beer ever
Monday, June 9, 2008
I finished my last Longshot Grape Ale tonight. I'm still not a huge fan, but this time (perhaps because I did a proper pour, a fantastic pour, really) I could pick out the grape flavor. It was subtle, but it was there.
Both beers were good, but dubious in sequence, and both suffered from comparison with similar beers I like more. In the case of the Pêche, I had a great Apricot lambic last time we watched Lost (that was somehow... "thicker" is the word I want to use?) and the peach flavor reminded me too much of all the bad peach schnapps I used to drink.
I know I like Old Rasputin, so this may just by my impression because I was following a lambic, but... Surly Darkness has a fullness I don't get here. This has a nice rich finish though, one that gets better as it warms.
Once it gets cold out again I think I'm going to visit the Imperial stouts; it's a bit weird drinking them in the summer.
Top Chef and a cookout at Jenna's. I had one of each of this year's Samuel AdamsLongshot offerings, the Weizenbock and the Grape Ale. The Weizenbock was interesting; there was other stuff going on, but it reminded me most of a cream soda.
The Grape Ale... I think that was a pale ale? I didn't really taste much of anything, so that's my assumption, but in any case I'd like to do a better comparison, alongside a regular beer. This might be another beer that's too subtle for me to really appreciate right now.
I really liked last year's Longshot stuff, so these beers were a little disappointing.
On my way up north this weekend I stopped at Spirits of Nisswa — possibly the last good liquor store if you're heading up north&mdash and picked up a mix-pack of New Belgium and a growler(!) of Rogue Dead Guy Ale.
The New Belgium mix-pack had 1554, Fat Tire, Mothership Wit, and Mighty Arrow. I discovered that I don't really care for Fat Tire, which I've had many times before but never been so disappointed by, and Mighty Arrow was a standard pale. There's not much those can do from what I can tell.
I enjoyed the subtlety of the 1554, which didn't destroy my taste buds with its coffee taste, and I ended up really liking the Mothership Wit, albeit not quite as much as I like Springboard.
Do not attempt to finish a growler alone on an empty stomach. I probably won't be able to have Dead Guy for a while now.