Happy Hour at the Blue Door Pub
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Met Jess and Cari at the Blue Door Pub after work yesterday: I didn't have the money for such an adventure, but I've been wanting to check that place out for a while and this seemed like it would probably be my only shot.
The Blue Door Pub is fairly small, and I wouldn't recommend going there when it's busy. When I arrived at 5:20 there was a 20-minute wait for tables.
Since I wasn't sure if I'd be back, I got the weird stuff: Spam Bites (deep-fried balls of cream cheese, pickle, and Spam) and a Jiffy Lucy (a Juicy Lucy with peanut butter, mayo, pickles, pepper jack, and bacon). The Spam Bites were actually pretty boring, but the Jiffy was tasty and interesting. Like something from the State Fair.
The Jiffy destroyed my palate, so the beer info is pretty meaningless. I started off with a Brrr from Widmer Brewing, another freakin' Winter Warmer. There was zero nose that I could tell (I finally found instructions for testing your sense of smell objectively, so this will be my last hypochondriac post), but the beer itself was decent.
My second and final beer was a Surly Cynic — out of season, but I needed something light after that ridiculous food — and that was good, although I didn't notice the strong pepper flavor that's usually there.
The girls offered to let me owe one of them for the tab, so at around 7 or so I ducked out and made my way to a former coworker's holiday party, where I had, in retrospect, far too many screwdrivers. A little hungover today.
The Gnome and Raspberry Tart
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Let's review two different methods of not getting too drunk:
Stopping after two beers at happy hour: smart Overeating at the company picnic: not smart
I was stuffed, and so while I enjoyed the conversation with Jess (and eventually Barb and Markie and Shelley) at the Happy Gnome yesterday, I was in no condition to enjoy more than the first half pint of my beloved Fatty Boombalatty, and I had to nurse the Surly Cynic I ordered afterward.
Barb really likes the Tyranena Scurvy. It takes all kinds, I suppose...
At Barry's I excitedly poured everyone a half-glass of New Glarus Raspberry Tart. It was good, maybe very good, but personally I didn't think it lived up to the rather extreme hype it got from Beer School. I'd like to try it again at some point, as a first beer rather than a end-of-the-night affair on a full stomach, and I'm excited that there's a good, relatively inexpensive domestic framboise... but I'm not a Raspberry Tart apostle just yet.
(I also got to try a bit of Barry's Flat Earth Convention Ale. It might be a bit too smoky for me.)
There are some localish breweries around here, namely in Atlanta and other large Florida cities, but nothing in Tallahassee. Although one of the bars here has 85 cent tap beers every night, so who am I to complain?
Ben and Nora's Going-Away
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Went to the Happy Gnome tonight for a final happy hour with Nora and Ben; plenty of other people showed up to see them off as well. I started off with a Golden Cap from New Holland.
I'm not sure, but this could have been the spelt Saison we had at the Four Firkins. If it was, then I liked it more, it was decent, but I couldn't identify any of the flavors (maybe honey?) and I'm not sure that I'll have it again. There are plenty of Saison beers that I like more.
It turned out that they were out of the second beer I tried to order, so I panicked and got the Schell's Bavarian Forest Dampfbier, from their 150th Anniversary Series. I should have known better, as I don't think I've ever really liked anything from Schell's: the beer tasted like caramel and little else. (Standard caveats about my stuffed-up nose apply.)
In any case, this will quite likely be my only exposure to the Dampfbier style.
I pondered over the menu for a while tonight, but I think I may have tried everything at the Gnome that I'm interested in. For my last beer I went with a Surly Cynic. It was delicious as always, and bold enough (especially for a Saison) to stand out even as the last act.
Wednesday: good beers once more
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tonight for Wednesday happy hour Ben and I went to the Muddy Pig. I started with a Surly Cynic (a nice panic beer if ever there was one) and then, on Ben's recommendation, tried a pint of Tilburg's Dutch Brown Ale.
It was very good, especially for a style that doesn't usually stand out for me, but I'm still surprised to discover that this beer is brewed for export by Koningshoeven, a.k.a. La Trappe, one of the seven Trappist breweries.
For Project Runway we each had a bottle of the Flying Dog Kerberos Tripel. There wasn't much to it that I could tell, but then again there's something going around so my taste buds might be pretty lousy this week. At the very least this was better than when I had it before, poorly paired with a bacon-and-spaghetti dish.
I just remember malty deliciousness. And at 8.5%, Jenna's claim to have gotten drunk off a single sip of it seemed, if not at all plausible, then at least more defensible.
Saison class at the Four Firkins
Friday, July 25, 2008
Tonight Ben and I went to the Beer Evangelist class on Saison over at the Four Firkins. This could well be our very last beer snob outing before he and Nora move to Florida.
The "beer evangelist" pitch seemed kinda weird, since everyone there already reads MnBeer or shops at a specialty beer store — that is to say, it seemed like preaching to the choir. But hey! It was a good time, and there's something special about a group of people brought together by geeky enthusiasm. I don't think I've ever been around a group of strangers that friendly.
We learned about the beer's history and sampled five or six progressively better Saisons. It's apparently a very broad style: over the course of the evening I tasted mustiness and citrus and apples and honey and various unidentifiable spices. Other people were able to pick out additional flavors, but my palate wasn't up to that task.
(I also don't think that I can get a really good sense of a beer, certainly a light one, from a single tasting glass. I submit that I'd like several of these Saison beers more if I went to the Gnome and ordered a pint.)
We also tried the Jenlain, a stake-in-the-ground Biere de Garde, because the style is similar to the Saison. I liked the Jenlain more than the weak Saison that preceded it, and more than the impenetrable Two Brothers Biere de Garde I had a few weeks ago, but ultimately I still would much prefer the Flying Dog version.
My still-favorite Saison and our last beer of the night was the Surly CynicAle. Very assertive compared to the other beers on offer.
I almost bought a 4-pack with the $15 in store credit we got with our $15 tickets, but instead I purchased a Southern Tier Imperial Cherry and a 4-pack of the Flying Dog Kerberos Tripel. I am set for beer now, thanks. I mean, I was before too, but now I really mean it.
Happy hour at the Blue Nile
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Ben, Nora, and I got together at the Blue Nile for happy hour today. Two-for-ones on drinks under five, patio, good service, no crowd. The food didn't impress, but then again none of us ordered an Ethiopian entrée.
Nora had some decent wine, I don't recall the name, and Ben and I started off with Surly CynicAles — I completely forgot that I actually like that beer, with its fruity peppery flavor, and now I'm really excited for the Saison class we're attending on Friday.
And for maybe getting some delicious Cynic in cans later this summer, once I work my way through all those Lakemaids. Drink locally and all that.
Surly beer roundup: I dislike the Bender, I think I like Furious (grapefruit!), I despise the Coffee Bender, I don't understand the Surly Two, and I love the Darkness and the Cynic. I always mix up the Bender and the Furious, but Ben set me straight tonight, so I'll have to give the Furious another shot at some point. I think I liked it back before I started paying attention to beers, and I haven't really had it since.
My second and final beer was the Imperial Cherry Saison from Southern Tier Brewing. (Incidentally, this is probably the best brewery website I've seen in a while.) The fruit flavor was as subtle as advertised, but it was there, and once again the beer was delicious. Not as peppery as the Cynic, but even I could tell that they were in the same genre.
I see that it's 8% ABV, which would explain how it kicked my ass. That "Imperial" in the name was obviously an important clue.
At Ben's while waiting to watch Project Runway, I had a Paulaner — it's so satisfying to have only delicious beers all night — and he drank a Schneider-Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse. That beer has a somewhat interesting backstory.
His beer wasn't as tasty as the Paulaner, but it was nevertheless (easily) the best Weizenbock I've ever had. I really, really don't understand that style. I've been wanting to read Garrett Oliver's beer-pairing book for a while; if he was involved with this, I take that as another sign that he knows his stuff.