Monday, July 27, 2009

New review

Ok I havn't written a review in a long time so in an effort to see if anyone reads my blog I'm asking for suggestions on beers to review I could spit out one on either Westmalle Dubble or Roquefort Dubble pretty easily as I ha e both of them in my fridge right now. I recently drank the wacko from Macic Hat as well. You can suggest other beers as well just put your suggestions in the comments and I'll either choose one that gets an overwhelming response or one that intregues me. Please keep them reasonable though something I can aquire here in the 'Burgh.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Chimay Grande Reserve Magnum 2007 vintage

It's been a long time coming but I'm bound and determined to do a review of one of the most famed beers in the world, the Trappists.

First some background on me acquiring this bottle then on the Trappists.

A few weeks ago while I was in Chicago I got some very interesting news, it seems my girlfriend was pregnant and we didn't know it and she was in labor ( gave birth to the most adorable baby girl ever names Zoey, we aren't sure who the father is yet though.) Well me being out of town there really was very little I could do so I continued working. During some of my free time I wandered about the city looking for something to do, this particular day I found a little place called Sam's it was a beer/wine/liquor store. Me loving most things alcoholic I decided to wander about a bit. I decided to see if I could find a bottle of USB ____ wine witch is not sold here in the great state of Pennsylvania, sadly there was only one place in Illinois who carried it. Then I decided to go upstairs where they kept the Beer. Now being from the great state of Pennsylvania I am unaccustomed to Beer Wine and Liquor all being in the same store as we have an odd separation of wine and liquor from beer. We also have case laws. For those Unfamiliar let me lay this down for you. When you want to purchase beer in PA you must go to either a bar or a beer distributer. what about grocery stores and six pack shops you say? Technically bars since you must be allowed to drink any beer you purchase on premises. Why is this so strange you say? Because at a beer distributer you must buy a case or more (24 cans/bottles at 12oz. or 288oz in any combination this includes Kegs), and at a bar you must buy less then a 12 pack (six pack under each arm). Oh and the beer in bars' price is over inflated. Now what gets even stranger is that if you walk out of a bar with 12 beers, throw them in the car and walk back in, guess what, you can buy 12 more beers (12 12oz bottles cans ect. so 144oz or less in any combination.) Anyway where I was going with this was that the singles and six packs were nice and cheap here. Walking through I saw the Belgian section, my eyes lit up like a kid in a candy store. Orval, Roquefort, Westmalle, Chimay oh my! I quickly snagged a 1 Liter bottle of Westmalle Dubbel for $11 and a 12oz of Roquefort for $4 and when I looked up I was greeted by the sight of a magnum of Chimay Grande Reserve 2007 for only $26. Now for those of you out side of PA no big deal but for me, that's huge! To give you some Comparison at one of my favorite beer bars here that same bottle goes for $130 and at a six pack shop it's about $67. That's when I realize my girlfriend loves Chimay and that this bottle will make a wonderful congratulations gift.

Now I have mentioned a few time the Trappists, and I'm sure you are wondering just who or what these Trappists are. The Trappists are an order of Monks that follow the order of St. Benedict albeit a relaxed order. They are allowed drink and are allowed to sell it (along with other goods) in order to support the monastery. There are about 170 odd Trappist monestaries in the world and not all of them make amazing beer, but the ones that do certainly did it right. The distinctness of the Trappist ales is generally in the yeasts they use, they bring a certain unique flavor to the party that I just can't describe, it's almost a bread-e-ness.

This beer in particular was just incredible, the Grande Reserve or Bleu is a darker ale with a nice thick head. I loved the nice balance of hops and malt, it's not overly dry nor is it so heavy you can't drink another glass. It has a sweet but deep flavor, carmel figs cherries and the like with some spiciness too like a little touch of cinnamon. I would recommend this to anyone who is feeling like getting pampered, because that exactly what drinking this felt like.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Three Floyd's - Gumballhead

Last week I spent some time in Chicago on a business trip thanks to the little bit of free time I got and coworkers who share my love of beer I was able to try a few things I couldn't get here in PA.

The first one I want to talk about was a little something called Gumballhead, "Gumballhead you say?" Yes i say Gumball head, mainly cause I like to say Gumball head. Alright I admit it sometimes I do like to order beer based off of the name alone, I'll drink any beer once and I like to tell people I drank something I couldn't pronounce, had so many umlauts that it put metal bands to shame, or was just as strange and unique as Gumballhead. That being said I've had some disappointments in my time, and i have disproved my German friend's theory that more umlauts equals more better. Not this time though, I was not disappointed. though I have to say I was a little surprised.

I was at a little bar called Kasey's in printer's row with one of my coworkers having a few beers while watching one of the games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I had just finished off a Hop Devil and just found the tap list. Scanning quickly I couldn't pull my eyes from that name for some reason, I knew I had to try it.

Fast forward to today I know know that Gumball head is made by three Floyds Brewing in Indiana (imagine that) and it's considered an American pale wheat ale. That right there is what surprised me.

This is the first wheat I've ever reviewed and for good reason. I don't drink many wheats. Don't get me wrong it's not like I hate wheats or anything it's just, I usually find something else i like better and would much rather go for something maltier or hoppy-er (honestly I'm not sure if either of those are real words or not but they work for me.)

Whell when it came to my table I was amazed to see this brew with a pale yellow hue and thick white head (ok not so surprised about the thick white head.) I looked through the glass or at least attempted to as it was quite hazy. I got a big ol' whiff off the top of it almost putting my nose into the foam, rather citrus-ey I must say. Finally I took a sip and it's got a bit of hops I taste nice and crisp something I wish I got from more wheats. Honestly this is what I want when I order a wheat a nice refreshing beverage. Extremely drinkable went down nice and easy. If I can find this in PA I'm defiantly keeping it around for an outdoor drinking experience.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tom Seefurth's Mamma Mia Pizza Beer, yea that's right i said Pizza Beer

So this weekend I got to go to one of my favorite restaurants in the area, Bocktown. Now Bocktown doesn't have the largest selection of beers on tap or anything they have quite a nice cooler and good food to boot. I got myself a nice heaping pile of fries with "onion crisps" on top, one of my personal favorite beers, Tröegs' Trogenator Dopplebock, I got to try the Moylan's Kilt Lifter, and I even left with a Rogue's Chocolate Stout. However I am not going to talk about these beers, no not yet because they were overshadowed by another, Pizza Beer.

I can see the confused look on your face from here, it's probably better that you don't know how I can see it from here, but believe me i can. Pizza Beer, brewed with tomato, basil, and garlic for a most... unique beer experience.

Alright you got me I didn't say delicious or wonderful or any of those adjectives, it wasn't exactly the greatest beer I've ever tasted nor was it the worst. I do need to give them credit however they set forth to make a beer made with pizza ingredients and by god they did it and despite the madness that brought about this brew it's not too bad.

Now to the tasting, while I didn't have the privilege of drinking a whole bottle of this I did get a big enough taste to pull out the flavors. The first thing I tasted right away was basil then after that died down a little I got that nice garlic kick finally finishing off with the dueling flavors of tomato and well a beer that kind of reminded me of Miller Light. One of my comrades at the table (the one who ordered the fabled drink) described it saying that it was like someone through pizza lunchables in a blender along with a cheap beer, and I have to say I'd agree.

So now that I have tried pizza beer I can rest easy knowing that one of the strangest beers ever created has passed across my taste buds. I suppose I will have to review Dogfish Head's Midas Touch to compete with this one.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Guinness - A unique taste...

Alright I know what you are thinking right now, "Guinness everyone has had Guinness why do you have to review that. Two reasons, one to let you know it's Guinness stout not just Guinness and two because this beer was a year old...

I agreed to meet up with my girlfriend for St. Paddy's day and share a beer or two while watching some DVDs. So I get there knowing she has the majority of a case of Killian's Irish Red, not quite the most Irish beer on the block despite the name (It's brewed by Coors a company I have a love/hate relationship with, but mostly hate.) I get there bringing a four pack of Pepsi Natural witch I had been waiting for as I had to drive home at the end of the night and didn't want a DUI on my record, when my girlfriend tells me that she found four bottles of Guinness Stout Draught in her fridge, left over from last St. Patricks day. She laughed about it and was about to throw it away when I grabbed her and said na I'll drink it, after all it's been in a closed drawer in your fridge so no light has gotten to it and Guinness is a pasteurized drink so I doubt it would get too funky over the year.

Well I was kinda right, it stayed pretty close to taste and the widget still worked, but something was just off... It had gained a little bit of an almost sour note in the aftertaste not necessarily bad just, not what I was expecting. I was unable to get her to try it witch I find kind of funny since she is more willing to try foods then I am, though I guess I'm better at trying beverages then her. well I hot about 1/4 of it drank on her couch (from a blue hexagonal glass she had since there were no pilsner glasses around) when it tipped backwards and coated my lower back and ass with the frothy brew. I was able to change into a pair of scrubs she had laying around and I was able to finish off the other 1/4 that had not spilled out.

So what's my final word on this experience... Well if pressed I would have to say if you decide to try a year old bottle of Guinness Stout, make sure your girlfriend has a pair of scrubs.

Yea that makes perfect sense.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Magic Hat #9

Trifecta of party beers that is.

Magic Hat has really done something wonderful here, they have created a micro you can find damn near anywhere.  Their other offerings are not bad but the #9 is the shining light of their brewery.

I brought a case of this to a christmas party thrown at my friend's house while her parents were out of town.  It was quickly ripped into and the drunken debauchery began.  

Imagine if you will a nice light pale ale with just the slightest hint of dried apricots.  It's a simple explanation of the taste for a simple concept.  nice and dry this beer is drinkable all night long.  when you are looking for something to give that friend of yours who wants something just a little fruity.

Flying Dog Brewery's Old Scratch Amber Lager

Ah Old Scratch, as I mentioned in a previous post Penn Dark is a good party beer, as is this.  I brought a case of this over to my friend's first house party.  I got thrown alongside a case of Sam Adams honey porter.  By the end of the night 6 bottles were left and that's about it 3 of each.

Flying Dog Brewery founded in Maryland as a brewpub and another in Aspen a little later.  They soon opened a brewery in Denver and later another in Maryland as demand increased.  They are pretty well known for their love of Hunter S. Thompson so much so to hire Ralph Steadman to do all their artwork as well as dedicate a brew to Hunter himself, but now is not the time or place for that.

Old Scratch is a sassy brew with a nice bite to it (ya see what I did there ha ha ha sorry.)  in all seriousness it is rather sharp in it's initial flavor with some nice carmel backup and a fairly smooth finish nice and sweet.  It's very nice for those people who you are trying to get to shy away from Yeungling for something a bit better.

And now for the trifecta...

Penn Dark

Ah Penn Brewery a microbrewery close to my heart... literally I live like 15 min away.

It opened in 1986 so it's pretty save to call it an adolescent as far as breweries go.  They produce the quintessential American style Pilsner, you guessed it Penn Pilsner.  not much to be said about this establishment other then they have a pretty B.A. German restaurant on site and they host a wicked microbrewery festival.

First time i had this brew was believe it or not at my great aunt's funeral.  My uncle was head chef at the restaurant where the wake was so typical Irish we are there was an open bar (funny I went for a German beer though.)  Right after the wake my father, three of my uncles and I moseyed on over to the Penn Brewery for the previously mentioned micro brewery festival.  

On to the beer.

Well the name does not disappoint this beer is nice and dark, about a quarter inch of foam on top (I'm drinking from a basic pilsner glass) other then that almost no light to be seen through there.  It's got a nice carmel toffee (general burnt sugar but in a good way) flavor to it with just a taste of hops in the after taste.  Very drinkable but nothing terribly special.  Great if you are going to a party and want to bring something good without alienating the miller and coors fans too much.  Which brings me to my next review...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Grimbergan Dubbel

Another Belgian...

Grimbergan was an abbey in Belgum famous for well... getting destroyed, in the 1500's it was a casulty of a local war. The abbey has been rebuilt and restored since.

If I say this once I'll say it a million times, monks know how to make a mean brew.  I love abbey beers and Trappists and I'm sure you will be seeing quite a few reviews of them on here.  My story with this beer goes back to one of the first time's I have gone to The Sharp Edge, I wanted something nice a smooth and this was reccomended to me.  I recently found a distributer in my area up at Save on Beer in Cranberry, great selection.  I grabbed this on my way home to go watch the AFC championship game, Steelers vs Ravens.  I had only had this on tap before so it was refreshing to find that the bottle wasn't far off in flavor.  The pour is nice with an off white head and nice lacing left behind.  This beer is smooth it goes down as easy as a glass of milk.  Since this brew is a brown you can expect a nice malty backbone with chocolate and carmel flavors in there too with just a hint of fruityness.  I think I chilled mine for a bit too long as the flavor and nose got better as it warmed up although I've noticed this when I get it at the bar as well.  I have a certian fondness for this beer, I think it may be how smooth it is.  This is my regular when I get out to The Sharp Edge while there are many choices out there this is the one I tend to fall back on the most, when I'm not in the mood for something new this is like an old favorite blanket something you just wanna curl up with from time to time and forget about everything else.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Leffe Blonde

Only real notable beer I had this weekend was a simple favorite of mine, Leffe Blonde.  Leffe is a Belgian abby that has fallen on many hardships over the years fire, flood and even the hell that is war.  Now a days Leffe is brewed by InBev one of the largest beer based companies on the planet.  Now back to the beer itself, Leffe Bonde as  you would expect is a nice light brew really creamy and smooth.  Maltiness and a vague fruit flavor are probably the most prominent and there are definite buttery hints in it as well oh and as with most Belgians you can defiantly taste the yeast in there.

I'm rather fond of this beer, light taste with a low alcohol content makes it a wonderful everyday style drink.  It's my choice when sitting around at my friends house watching bond movies or playing video games.  On a side note this is one of the few beers I can get my mother to drink besides Miler Light (yea I know)