Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Bruery's Black Orchard

I just did a quick search of this blog looking for a previous post on The Bruery's Black Orchard and could not find one. I know I had a Black Orchard last summer, and thought I had discussed this beer before, but apparently not. I should have, it's a good beer. I had another Black Orchard tonight. I bought it a month or so ago when it went on sale at the Olive Tree Market. (For some reason, this beer is not a big seller at Olive Tree.)

The Black Orchard is a black wit. The best part this beer, to me, was that it did not taste too witty. The Belgian yeast imparted a dry taste throughout the beer. It was spicy like a traditional Belgian beer, but the roasting process that gave the beer its dark color also gave it a caramelized sweetness. This beer was more carbonated than many beers and it had large amounts of foam, but it quickly dissipated. Black Orchard is very smooth and drinkable, and except for its mild roasted flavor, you'd be hard pressed to tell this was a "dark" beer. This is a year-round offering from The Bruery and it is approachable enough (5.7% abv) to drink on a week day night. It is one of the best wits I have tasted.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA

I received the Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA as part of a trade with the Drunken Polcak last spring. I tried it tonight. It is a big, piney beer. I was looking for a taste similar to Ballast Point's Sculpin since both are brewed with simcoe hops, but they are too different beers. The Weyerbacher is a richer, maltier beer than Sculpin. Double Simcoe tasted like a Rouge beer, and not unlike the Southern Tier IPAs I also received as part of the trade. While this is clearly a big double IPA, its 9% abv is buried in the flavors, which makes it a drinkable beer, probably too drinkable for such a high abv.

I could not pick up the simcoe hops, at least as I am familiar with through Sculpin. It was an excellent IPA, so I did not care. I made the mistake of having this beer with Wings-n-Things' chicken strips, which may have muted some of Double Simcoe's subtleties. Double Simcoe held its own with the spicy strips (although I imagine Garret Oliver would be cringing with that food pairing). I need to seek out more Weyerbacher beers.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Juxtaposition Black Pilsner - None Shall Pass

Stone Brewing, Cambridge Brewing and BrewDog teamed up for the latest (and third) Stone collaboration beer, the Juxtaposition Black Pilsner, a 10% abv monster. This beer was announced on April 1st and the idea of Stone collaborating on a pilsner was thought of as an April Fool's joke. No joke. This post from the Stone Blog tells the story of Juxtaposition, which is an interesting read.

I picked up the Black Pilsner last night and had it with dinner tonight. This was a hectic weekend - chores, chores, chores - and I was beat at dinner. I'll admit that I did not have high expectations for the Black Pilsner. (Pilsners are nice, but rarely exciting.) Boy, was I mistaken. as this beer tasted like no pilsner I've ever had. It was dry, peppery and hoppy, and plenty of other flavors were competing with my taste buds. I could not identify all the flavors or smells, but it smelled great. This was a balanced beer, even though it has 100 IBUs. To me, the hops were not overpowering. The alcohol was non-existent, despite the 10% abv. This was a big beer, but strangely drinkable and enjoyable, even though it's unique. Apparently this beer was brewed in limited quantities, so if you are able to get this beer, don't hesitate or it will be gone soon.

Ok, "None Shall Pass" has nothing to do with this post, I just wanted to get a Black Knight reference in this post since the name Black Pilsner reminded my of the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hit By A Boomerang

I like finding new restaurants that have good tap lists. I have not conducted a scientific study, but my anecdotal research shows that restaurants with good tap lists usually have decent food. (And if the food sucks, at least you can have a good beer.) Tonight we went to Boomerangs Gourmet Burger Joint in the Clairemont area of San Diego. It had excellent hamburgers, made to order with a variety of toppings and mixtures. It had plenty of side dishes and appetizers, and all were served in a relaxed atmosphere.

Boomerangs had fifteen taps. It had some clunkers, like Bud Light and some other AB distributed beer, but it also had Stone's Smoked Porter and IPA, Alesmith's X Extra Pale Ale, Oskar's Mama's Little Yella Pils and Bear Republic's Red Rocket Ale. Not too darn bad, but it gets better. Every night from 4:00 to 7:00 is happy hour and the 22 oz beers are $4.75.

I had the Red Rocket Ale. I like this beer, it's one of my favorite red ales. It has plenty of hops and I noticed a smokey flavor in the finish. The Beer Rovette had the Little Yella Pils, which I tasted and was good, too. It did not have the skunk taste so many pilsners tend to have. It was light but flavorful. I think I will be heading back to Boomerangs in the near future.

Beer Solves All Problems

Pete Brown's brilliant post on why beer is so important is here. I liked this section:
Why would Obama invite both men for "a beer here in the White House" rather than simply invite them to get round a table and discuss it without stipulating what refreshments were on offer? We all know why. But I'll spell it out anyway.

Because beer is the most sociable drink in the world.

Because in every single culture where beer is drunk, to invite someone to share a beer with you is not just politeness; it symbolises an offer of friendship. It's a clear statement that when you meet, this will not be a formal negotiation or dressing down, but a more relaxed meeting of equals.
I have a few suggestions on what beer serve. Arrogant Bastard would be an excellent starter followed by some much needed Tongue Buckler.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Blind Lady's Honest Pint

The Blind Lady has been certified by the Honest Pint Project. Here is the Blind Lady's blog post proclaiming its certification. The Blind Lady and its owners are serious about proper pours and proper glassware. I am glad they were certified.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Gift Horse's Mouth

We went to dinner at The Blue Parrot Bar and Grill in Ocean Beach last night. Monday has happy hour all day with $3.00 pints and $2.50 tacos. It's a good deal. I have talked about The Blue Parrot and its twenty-plus taps before. You have to love a taco shop that serves up North Coast's Parnqster and Le Merle, Stone's Sublimely Self Righteous and a host of other great beers. With all the great beers I probably should not complain, but I will. First, the Beer Rovette feels the restaurant is dirty. I am blinded by the tap list, but it's hard to argue with her when tables are always sticky. My second complaint is the faux pint glasses and sloppy pours. The picture on the right is Pranqster, which must be about 12 ozs. For $3.00 I don't make a stink but I call out all the restaurants that give fake pints, so I need to be consistent. I don't like the trend of these sneaky non-pint glasses. Restaurants need to let people know the pint glasses are fake. Heck, why not offer two sizes, a real pint and 12 oz glass. (The picture on the left is Green Flash's Hop Head Red and the pour was better than the Panqster.)

I like the food at The Blue Parrot (usually getting it to go) but have a hard time paying non-happy hour prices for an almost pint. You'd think that a restaurant with more than twenty taps has a passion for beer and that this passion would translate to a real pint glass. The Blue Parrot is always packed so not too many people are upset about the fat bottomed pints.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Starbucks to Sell Beer

I read that Starbucks is testing a format (in a coffee shop not called Starbucks - WTF) where it will sell beer and wine to attract more customers later in the day. I hope this format works (and eventually moves to shops named Starbucks) and that Starbucks models its approach on Portland's Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Stumptown, a cool coffee house, has a few taps with some Belgians and a small but excellent selection of bottled beers with an emphasis on Belgians.

NY Times English Pub (and Beer) Article

Here is a good article on pubs in and around Cotswolds. The article is well written and makes you want to go to England. The author discusses Hook Norton Ales. I have never heard of Hook Norton (not that that is a great surprise) but its beers sound good and all look like session ales. (BeerAdvocate reviewers don't have the same opinion as the ranking of the Hook Norton beers are Bs and Cs.) It is strange how the pubs in England are owned by the brewers (not to be confused with brew pubs). It would be like having Anheuser Busch and Coors owning the majority of the bars in the U.S. That would be awful. I think England is on the cusp of a beer revolution as publicans demand better beer and more selection.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Random Beer Notes

Real life work has taken time from beer blogging. I've had several beers over the past week, so life's not been all work. Two were kind of duds, and one was exceptional. I still look forward to the annual release of Alesmith's Summer Yulesmith, a double IPA. I tried this year's version last week and was disappointed. Sure, it had the hops and malt you'd expect from a DIPA, but the alcohol was too prominent. It overwhelmed all other flavors, and the beer was only 8.5% abv. I have had multiple IPAs over the past year with similar or higher alcohol levels that were not dominated by an alcohol taste. I like a brewer that can make a high abv beer and hide the alcohol flavor. I am sticking with what I wrote last winter that the Winter Yulesmith (imperial red ale) is my favorite of the two Yulesmiths.

I split a Lightning Elemental Pilsner over the weekend. This is a big, flavorful pilsner, and not your dad's fizzy yellow beer. For some reason, I just did not find this beer that enjoyable. Not sure why, maybe the style, but despite its bold flavor I did not care for this beer. I liked its boldness, however, and will try other Lightning beers.

A friend brought over a growler of Alpine's Duet IPA for a Sunday barbecue. This is a great beer. It has the distinct "Alpine" taste that runs through all Alpine's IPAs. This beer hit me as near perfect, great hops, great balance, and great favor. I need to get more Duet so I can write in further detail. I know Alpine is expanding its production. I hope it plans to bottle this beer.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Stone 13th - I'm Not Sure

I had the Stone 13th Anniversary Ale on Friday night. My personal opinion is out on it. I need to drink another to determine whether it's worthy enough to join my Stone special release pantheon along with Tenth Anniversary and Vertical Epics 08.08.08 and 03.03.03, or if it's just another solid Stone beer. Thirteenth is big, malty, and hoppy. Stone's blog says Thirteen is Stone's hoppiest beer ever, and I'm not going to argue against that claim. It hit all the right elements for an imperial red ale. The alcohol is 9.5%, and was prominent throughout the bottle, and more imposing than I was expecting. Despite the malt, hops and aggressive nature of Thirteenth, too me, something was missing. Maybe its balance was off, with the hops overwhelming the signature malt of a red ale, or maybe it was too boozy. I am not sure, which is why I need another. I will say that when I finished the bomber, I was sad to see it empty and was ready for some more.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Stone IPA Confirmed On Weeds

Just watched the latest episode of Weeds. (See previous post.) In the opening credits, Andy was drinking a Stone IPA at a bowling alley. The bottle was partially blocked so I don't imagine it's a Stone product placement. My guess is that someone on the production crew likes Stone.