Hello Chateau!

This Dogfish Head brew that I sampled the other day was so amazing, even Liz wanted a little pour of my 22oz. bottle. The grape juice is prevalent and gives the beer a wine-like flavor. I would say it is in the background, but you get a taste of it right away and somehow still gives an undertone. Overall, I give it a 4 out 5, or an 8 out of 10, or 85 out of 100. However you look at it, it’s pretty good. I would definitely get more of this, and long-term drinkability is strong with this one.

The tasting continues daily…


St. Vrain Tripel Ale – named after a creek, modelling good monk brewing techniques!

At DaDa today in Delray Beach I got to try one of their Micro-Brews of the Week. The St. Vrain Tripel Ale comes from Left Hand Brewing (links to follow once I’m not blogging from my phone).

This beer got my wine-loving girlfriend to have two sips and say that she would drink it.

Drinkability is very high with this one. It pours a pale lemonade yellow with a bit of cloudiness. We had a 22oz, and at 9% abv it is nice little beer.

I love this beer and it may be my new favorite of the moment.

Thank you DaDa for keping the beer drinking elite in mind.

Stay tuned, as I will be linking this post up in the near future.

Nice head on a Pike…no, it’s not Lord of the Flies!

The damage we did.
Six fine selections from Pike Brewing

Our beer tasting begins with Chickadees,  savory cheesy crackers much like Goldfish, if not exactly, but they can’t be called Goldfish you know, because they are Chickadee shaped and calling them Goldfish would just be weird. We also have a goat’s milk brie which has a really nice light tang, and a softer texture than regular brie, which tends to have a thicker consistency. There are six women tasting the beers tonight. Let it never be said that women don’t drink beer! And we have a new taster imported from the lovely state of New York. Our tasting tonight was single minded in that we had six different beers from the same brewery, and today it was Pike Brewing from Seattle. I was able to get all of these at Total Wine on special for $3.99 each large bottle of 1 pint 6 fl. oz. Thank you Total Wine!

We had ourselves a little  Naughty Nellie to start with, and really who hasn’t had that little trollop. She was light pale golden yellow color, and a very easy to drink flavor. Our newbie astutely comments that the first draught tastes like lychee….interesting! Pike agrees that you will get some mild fruity esters. What’s an ester? Overall it starts with a very floral nose and flavor, and ends without any bitterness. Highly drinkable! This beer is also highly carbonated. The bubbles tickle the tongue when the slightly opaque pale yellow amber is held there. 

For the second ale we have the Kilt Lifter, but it’s not lifting our spirits thus far. The beer has a strong alcohol flavor according to one of our tasters despite having only 6.5% alcohol. Pike says this is a Ruby ale, and we don’t know what that means, but after some discussion we agree that the aftertaste is kind of like bitter coffee. I don’t know about that assessment, but see what beer advocates have to say. This beer definitely does not go with my spectacular grilled cheese on steroids. For the purposes of this blog, grilled cheese on steroids is defined as two pieces of light sourdough sandwiching cheddar cheese, herb chive cream cheese spread, and roma tomatoes. Can you say, “Dee-lish! After having that lovely flavor in my mouth, the beer tasted even more bitter than it had previously tasted. No thank you Pike!

 The party continues and then we realize we need to start extinguishing candles as they start to drip on our snacky treats. Don’t nobody mess with our snacky treats, not even nice mood enhancing candles!

 The next beer we sampled is the Pike Pale Heirloom Amber Ale. While this beer still has some very light tangy notes, it is much more balanced than the Ruby Ale. Rose petal is the first note picked up by my fellow tasters. Then a nice mellow full bodied beer comes through with a slight bitterness that is not at all unpleasant. T-squared says hoppy, like a rabbit. Just kidding. She just said hoppy. I think it was one of the better beers of the evening.  

Next is the Pike Tandem Double Ale. I can’t pinpoint the flavor, because I don’t have my BD (Beeris Doctorate) yet, but there is something in this beer that reminds me of a winter ale. Not sure what it is, but I like it. Since E loves the wheat beers, and some of them have that slight winter spice characteristic, it is no surprise that she likes it.. Please read this first BeerAdvocate review by snaotheus. It explains in many words that end in “y” everything I can’t, which is kind of cool-y. Actually, not, but it is comical.

 Beer #5 is the Pike Monk’s Uncle Tripel Ale. This definitely reminds me of a barley wine flavor, which I assume is the honey and spice. This one has a higher alcohol content coming in at 9%. Highly drinkable, says the group here tonight. It has a lighter citrusy berry flavor and no bitter after taste. After consideration this was the nights favorite, but we still have one more beer to sample. Let’s be fair.  

Cold. Black. Coffee. “Excuse me miss. Can I get some sugar and cream over here?” This last beer is the Pike Stout Extra Stout. If we are to assume anything by the plethora of x’s on the label, this beer is a dirty girl. Actually, this stout has a very strong burned flavor. Smoky and thick like oil, it pours from the bottle with a very creamy look and feel to it. Not even the sweet twice baked rum cake bites dipped in chocolate could combat the smoky roasted coffee flavor of this stout. Nonetheless, I drank it up, as did everyone else. Who are we to waste the spoils of an evening with Pike Brewing?

To sum up, my top two were the Monk’s Uncle and the Heirloom Amber. Least fave were the XXXXX Stout and the Kilt Lifter (even with the cool name), and lost in limbo we have the Tandem Double and Naughty Nellie.

Six ladies ventured into the sordid world of Pike Brewing...and they all made it out with...well, with six new beers under their belts.

Six ladies ventured into the sordid world of Pike Brewing...and they all made it out with...well, with six new beers under their belts.

ChocoVine – not beer but still surprisingly tasty

This is my first post from the field. I am at a housewarming party and they have this strange new “wine” made with “fine Dutch chocolate and red wine”.

Truth be told it is not as vile as it sounds. It actually tastes like Godiva Liquor with a higher alcohol content. It comes in a wine bottle and actually has 14% alcohol by volume.

Tastes great with whipped cream on the rocks. We intend to put it in a blender next time.

Stay tuned for the next post which will indeed by about beer!

Field Trip to the Biltmore…definitely not roughing it!

Cool dude dj spinning on his mac. Hangin' tough if you know what I mean!

For my next beer-venture, I got to hit the Biltmore Hotel with my parents and their excellent friends. It was definitely more like a casual cocktail party than a beer tasting, but I did not complain. The DJ looked happy enough to switch between the hits of today and Smooth Operator by Sade, so I let him.

Many of the beers they had at the tasting were ones that I had had before, like Newcastle and Tsing Tao and others. There were also some that I had never seen, we’ll get to that one later…

The first beer I tasted was the Brooklyn Lager 1. This comes with a champagne style cork and Total Wine currently has the 750mL bottle priced at $8.99.  This was a really nice beer with a medium light amber color and a nice head. There were fruity flavors and a nice alcohol flavor, likely due to the 9% ABV (alcohol by volume). The website says pairs well with ham, cheeses, and seafood. Although I did not have my laptop strapped to my neck like a 1940’s era cigarette girl,

It would come in handy if I could blog and walk at the same time...

I instinctively paired it with the smorgasbord of German sausages and cheeses they had available. Of course, I didn’t have any other options.

The next beer in the Brooklyn Family was the Local 2. A darker beer with a chocolate and slight orange flavor. It is what I would consider a very good dark beer. It did not have a nasty aftertaste, nor did it linger too long for my liking. This one also received high rating from the BeerAdvocate contributors/drinkers with an A- overall rating. You’ll spend the same $8.99 for either this one or the Local 1 at Total Wine.

The next beer I tasted was Harviestoun Old Engine Oil Black Ale. While this ale has received awards and high reviews on BeerAdvocate, I could not agree with the high marks it received. I would be willing to try this beer again, and let’s face it, I complained the whole time, but I did not stop drinking it.  (That may say something about me.)  My first taste of this beer reminded me of waking up in someone else’s house my freshman year of college, finding an almost full beer next to me and having such cotton mouth that I start to drink it, only to realize that someone had used this beer for an ashtray. Yes, I said it! It tasted like an ashtray, and I have drunk random beers in my long career of beer drinking. My Father thought this was a very astute observation. I could not get over the fact that it was so ashy tasting, and he said he could definitely pick up the smokey flavors. I know that taste is affected by many things including foods I’ve eaten, so I’m definitely willing to give this another ol’college try…hehehe. Also, if we believe that our taste buds regenerate every 10 to 14 days, I could be tasting a totally different beer next time. Total Wine did not have this in their extensive list, so I may have to find another purveyor for a second shot at this beer.

Lastly, I had the pleasure of finishing the evening with a Spaten Optimator. Somehow the peeps at BeerAdvocate rated this one overall worse that the ashtray beer, but 1) there is no accounting for taste, or taste buds, as previously stated, and 2) the highest rating was higher, but the lowest rating was lower, so the average was skewed, thereby proving that there are 3 kinds of lies; lies, damn lies, and statistics! Perhaps it was so pleasant when compared to Old Engine Oil or maybe it’s because Spaten has been doing their brewing since 1397 and Harviestoun was founded in 1985, I can’t say. Total Wine has a six pack of 12oz bottles for $7.99. Definitely worth it. What I will say is that the Optimator had a rich mouthfeel and no nasty aftertaste. It had a nice flavor that lingered for a bit and then went away which kept you drinking more just to keep the nice caramel flavor in your mouth. It was a nice way to end the evening.

So thus ends another fun adventure into the world of beer, and food, and more beer. My birthday is in December, so feel free to get me some beer…(this is a hint)

This or any other beer, but not the ashtray, please!

Wascally Wailua Wheat Wahines and other beer words that don’t start with W

Five little brewskis all in a row

There were five beers in the line-up, and they were all very different. The first one was Captain Sig’s Northwestern Ale from Rogue Brewery. I think I see the patterns of “likes” establishing with my crew during the beer tastings we’ve had, and I’m sure that we will all continue to develop our palates around darker beers. Our determination of long-term drinkability was “definitely not!” Actually not everyone said that, just the majority. My Dad I think would drink a 6 and I could drink a 6, but there will be precious few that don’t fall into that category for me, so it’s almost unfair to ask me. The dark color and strong hoppy flavor were very intense. The beer had a fragrant and flowery scent. We noted the tingling that many other people have mentioned in the BeerAdvocate reviews.

What’s that you say? You haven’t registered as  a member at www.beeradvocate.com? What the heck are you waiting for? I could bogart all of that wealth of information and make a blog just from that! But I won’t, because this blog is not just about how intelligent I can sound while drinking beer. This blog is about friends and family getting together, tasting beers they like (or not), and talking about what they like (or don’t), and tackling the daunting and awesome task of sampling  the over 1000 beers carried at Total Wine. We shall prevail!

That's me in the back double fisting, and E-Diddy in the front with a bottle on her head...way to go Big Daddy D!

So back to the Nor’wester. My Dad was the only one that placed this in his top two. I thought it was definitely up there, but I also value my LTD, so I couldn’t in good conscience rank it too high. It was very tasty though and had a good flavor, but I would have to say that the LTD was compromised by the long-lasting aftertaste.

Beer number two was a local organic beer from Jupiter Florida called Monk in the Trunk. The website doesn’t say much more than the label does, but can’t you blame them, they’re organic. Actually, this beer was really good and probably the overall favorite of the evening. Four of the six tasters had this beer in their top two. I think my only complaint with this beer was that it wasn’t big enough on flavor. I totally commend Inlet brewing for creating something that the market is definitely going to be attracted to in the near future. There is starting to be a global shift  toward local, organic, and cruelty free foods (Did you feel that? I think it’s the world changing.) So I am proud to say that no hops were harmed in the making of this beer or this blog. There, don’t you feel good about yourself? The beer was clear medium light amber in color and had nice hop undertones that did not linger, thus making this a number 10 on the LTD scale. I could definitely kick these back at a summer barbeque that started at noon and ended at midnight. The label graphics were fun and I’m sure that as this beer and company grow and gather steam there will definitely be some improvements to the website.

Third in the line-up had a very sexy label with someone I’m sure we all know…the devil! I’m speaking of  course of the White Rascal Belgian style Wheat Ale from Avery Brewing Company. You’ll have to click on “Our Ales” from this link or hit the White Rascal bottle at the bottom of the page. Not trying to dumb this down, but I don’t want you to feel lost. (I’m your tour guide, I’m here to take care of you.) The Rascal had a cloudy appearance with a light lemon color. We struggled for a bit, but then we were able to place the coriander flavor that was perplexing us. It had a flavor we all knew but could not place in that regard. Long Term Drinkability was mixed on this beer however, with many people saying they could kick back a six, but a minority of others said they would only do 2 before they had to move on. They obviously didn’t want to dance with the devil…at least not for too long anyway. The flavor was bright and somewhat refreshing in my opinion. If you like wheat beer, I definitely recommend you give it a try.

Beer numero cuatro (that’s number four for those outside South America and Little Cuba aka Miami) was also a wheat beer. This one hailed from Hawai’i in name only as it is actually brewed in New Hampshire. This is taken from the Kona website:

“Under strict guidance, Kona Brewing Company also produces its bottled beer and mainland draft beer in Portland, Oregon, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, as part of its partnership with Craft Brewers Alliance Inc.”

The beer is Limited Release Wailua Wheat from Kona Brewing Company. Be sure to click on Brew Specifications to get the digits, y’all. What sets this wheat apart is that it is brewed with Passion Fruit, which gave it a serious wine flavor, at least in MY mouth. I drank this beer and thought I had a slightly fizzy dry chardonnay – it was great. This was definitely one of my favorites, as well as my Mother’s. She loves light beers and holds Coors Light in the highest regard. This should imply nothing about anything, just that she likes Coors Light. Moms other favorite was the Monk in the Trunk. The label is nice and there is a nice little wahine walking up to a waterfall – it makes me want to go back to Maui. AHHHH Maui…….oh sorry just reminiscing. Overall the crew thought LTD was high, but we did have a dissenting opinion. You can never please them all you know, which is evidenced by the range of reviews on BeerAdvocate, with the high at A+ and the low at F.

OK, last beer of the evening was The Chosen Beer except that 4 out of the 4 Jews present said it was definitely NOT their chosen beer. I am speaking of none other the He’Brew Genesis Ale from Schmaltz Brewing Company. The label design was great and it is all put together on the website too. I thought the beer itself was alright, but nothing to write home about. It was not anyone’s fave which means it did not have any advantage at being last thereby swiftly destroying the theory that the drunker you get, the better they taste. I will state for the record that no one was drunk and we all drove home without incident. LTD wasn’t impressive either with this one, with only half of us saying we could power through a six if necessary, or if it was just in the fridge for a while and none of our friends wanted to try something different, or if we had already shelled out the cash and didn’t have the heart to throw it out or give it away. Otherwise, it was great. L’Chaim! To Life!…as they say.

So that rounds out another fun time with ME and my beer loving crew of awesome people.

Keep in touch as the next tasting is a field trip to the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables! Did everyone get their parental waivers signed? We’ll need those before we let you on the bus, no exceptions!

Rogues, a Dead Guy, and a Horn Dog…not a bad start