The Belgian Beer Fest at the Pig
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The Muddy Pig had its first annual Belgian Beer Festival this weekend, and Jess and I stopped by for the True Lambics seminar on Saturday. At noon.
(Aside: I don't get why putting cherries in your beer a hundred-odd years ago because you were a cheapass (as we learned) is totally authentic and awesome, but adding some other fruit (like Chapeau's pineapple, or even Miller Chill's lime, if you have my brother's tastes) because it tastes good is a total breach of brewer's etiquette. Maybe this is because I started drinking with Colaweizen — delicious, delicious Colaweizen — but it bothers me when beer snobs go from "there's a lot more to beer than Budweiser" to "Oh no, you can't do that to a beer.")
The tasting itself was a little frustrating. I was still stuffed up and the guy kept talking about how important it was to smell the beer.
I know! I wish I could!
A lot of what he said was familiar, but there was some cool info, e.g. that the cherry pits actually dissolve when you're fermenting this cherry lambic. And (without getting into specifics) we got to try some beers that I guarantee I will never see ever again.
There were a few people (including Jess) who were taking notes, which is #1. pretentious and #2. something I want to do more often. I've got the perfect craft project in mind too.
Anyways, I didn't pay too much attention to beer names, since I wasn't really equipped to adequately taste these beers, but there were a few standouts I'll try to revisit. (Note to self: get the names of those from Jess.)
After trying 13 beers we hung around for a few more hours, talking with Mike and his daughter Jessica, who was intrigued by Jess' Book of Lists. We talked a lot about the beers we were tasting, but there was some interesting conversation too (although "as a libertarian" I'm always very nervous when talking to public schoolteachers).
Mike paid for our beers when he left, which was amazing. Jess and I stayed for a few more rounds and then I drove home to nap and get ready for Graham's b-day party in Minneapolis.
I finally understand the whole "I'm tried from drinking all day" thing.
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?
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.
It was pretty cool (or should I say, "awesome"?) to finally meet Alvey after spending so many hours listening to him and Philip on the What Ale's Thee? podcast. He gave us plenty of beer suggestions... and provided the prices for beers we were curious about. Pricing is still a work-in-progress.
Remembering how delicious Colaweizen is, I also picked up some Sierra Nevada Wheat Beer for mixers later. I was taught that there was a difference between a Diesel and a Colaweizen, something about proportions maybe, but the Internet does not seem to have my back on this. The English-language Wikipedia page on mixed beer is an abomination.
Probably I could find a lot of this without going to St. Louis Park (sooo much Sierra Nevada...), but I also could've walked out with a $100 in obscure and hard-to-find beer if I'd really wanted to.
A few bottles of the really good stuff is enough for now; hopefully we'll have some nasty cold weather now that my fridge is full of so much dark heavy stuff.
Afterwards Ben and I went to Town Hall. We both started with an 1800 IPA, a huge hoppy beer made with British hops and malt (it's a "Welsh Coast IPA," if you will... or... well just nevermind) that was really good. Maybe just because we were hungry and had planned a day around beer without having drank any as yet.
My next beer was a framboise from somewhere or other. It was decent but not spectacular. It wasn't cloying (which I gather is the typical complaint with fruit beers) but the taste kind of missed a beat in the middle.
Ben had a West Bank Pub Ale, which I tried. It was waaaaay too biscuity for me and way too biscuity and boring for him.
We met up with Jenna and Barry at Acadia, ditched immediately because of the terrible live music, and went to Matt's Bar, apparent birthplace of the Jucy Lucy. The four of us split a pitcher of Newcastle that I didn't really care for, watched and/or listened to the Twins fail, and went our separate ways.
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.