Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Restaurants and Craft Beer

Below is a video starring Stone Brewing's Greg Koch from the website SellingCraftBeer.com.   The video's target audience is restaurant owners, and it explains the benefits to a restaurant's bottom line by offering craft beer.

This blog has tried to make the same point from a customer's point of view.  Restaurants that want a reputation (and repeat customers) for good food, need good beer.  I try to avoid restaurants that aren't serious about their beer selection.  I believe that if a restaurant is not serious about its beer (and wine) than it can't be serious about its food.  I'm not unreasonable, I am not asking for every restaurant to have twenty craft taps, just a few well thought out selections is all I need. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

British Beer

I found this article in last Saturday's Financial Times interesting.  The story is worth reading if only for the quote below from Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) co-founder Michael Hardman:
“Everybody’s different. I reckon if my mother-in-law drank 14 units a month she’d be dead, she just couldn’t take it. If I had to cut down to 14 units I’d be dead, because I’d be bored stiff,” growls Hardman.
I am guessing units are pints.  The article did not do much to change the impression that Camra is just a bunch of rocky middle-aged men.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Deschutes The Dissident

I drank a 22 oz bomber of Deschutes' The Dissident last night, a beer that I hadn't tried before.  The Dissident is a Flanders Oud Bruin, or a tart brown ale.  I have had several sours lately and like their unique flavor, but I am no means an expert in this expansive style.  The Dissident is brewed with cherries, which kind of gave it a sweet and sour characteristic.  The beer poured clear, with a copper color, imparted with a red hue from the cherries.  There was just a wisp of foam and no lacing.   The Dissident is the biggest sour I have tried, weighing in at 10.5% abv.  You could detect the alcohol throughout, but it never dominated.  It is a bigger beer than it drinks, which is important to know if you ever have it on draft.

You immediately taste The Dissident's sour yeast, which flows directly into a sweetness from the cherries, and finally to a subtle hop bitterness for balance.  The Dissident is a mild sour.  I did not detect a specific cherry flavor, but you can't help but notice the sugars from the fruit.  For such a big beer, the mouthful was markedly thin.   The mild finish was marked by alcohol and yeast.  I am always amazed when a brewer can mask such high alcohol in a beer.  That's a true testament to Deschutes' skill.

I thought The Dissident a very good beer, but I would not call it great.  Deschutes only brews it once a year, which should keep its cult following high.  I was expecting a more sour, tart beer.   I need to try more beers in this style.  I have had and really liked Ommegang's Zuur, and want to get The Lost Abbey's Red Poppy.   I will be searching out The Dissident this fall.

(The Dissident's label has a restrained coolness to it, but I don't get the meaning of the black crows.)

Duvel Green

I have blogged before about well known beers I have not tried.  I am not proud of the gaps in my beer knowledge, but not troubled enough to attempt to try a new beer every night.  Beer is a journey, not a sprint and the quest is half the fun.  Tonight I had a chance to shrink my beer experience gap.  Ocean Beach Pizza Port sponsored a Duvel Keep the Glass Night, and I thought it was a good excuse to try the renowned Duvel Golden Ale.  Well, I mis-read the announcement, and it was a Duvel Green event, not the famous Duvel Golden Ale.

Well, I'd never tried Duvel Green either, so it was a good excuse to try an new beer and pick-up a cool Belgian beer glass in the process.  I was struck by Green's decidedly macro taste.  The initial Belgian yeast was light, just like the mouthful.  Green is the mildest golden ale I have tasted (I'd almost question the categorization of Green as a golden ale).  I noted a bit of anise, and it had a slight skunkiness to it, like a Heineken.  The finish, which was longer than I would have expected for such a slight beer, was marked by a hint of metallic flavor.  Green is an approachable, drinkable beer, fitting with its marco profile, and I am glad I tried this beer.

(The picture I took was too blurry, so I borrowed the picture above from  BeerMenus.com).

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Regents Pizza

I love finding obscure places that serve great beer.  I found Regents Pizza while waiting at a doctor's visit.  Regents is tucked in a ground floor suite, next to other eateries and shops, in a medical office building.  It is not far from UCSD, but squarely in the University Town Center section of La Jolla (i.e. east of 1-5).  This small pizzeria had three taps and an extensive selection of bottled craft beer.  The taps were Ballast Point's underrated Big Eye IPA, Alesmith's Lil' Devil and Telegraph Brewing's California Ale. You can't get much better than that with only three taps.  The taps are apparently rotated on a regular basis.  Some of the bottled beers included beers from Alesmith, Stone, Karl Strauss, Ballast Point, Alpine, Lost Abbey / Port, Russian River and Rouge.  The pizza is good, too.  Regent's serves up New York and Chicago style pizzas and offers whole pizza and pizza by the slice.  The only bad part finding Regents was that I found it in the middle of the afternoon on a work day, so no beer for me. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fantome's Saison D'Erezee Printemps - Inverse Beer

I bought Printemps, my first Fantome, last summer unsure whether it was the flagship Fantome Saison - it wasn't.  I got around to drinking it early last month.  It poured a beautiful, cloudy orange with a just a wisp of foam.  The first few sips, however, were tough, not matching the beer's external beauty.  It had an earthy funkiness to it, like all good saisions, but it also had a strong spice I could not place.  But as Printemps warmed, it mellowed out and I really started to enjoy it, and with each taste it became better.  When I finished the bottle, I was disappointed and wanted more.  Typically, with flavorful beers like Printemps, the first half of the bottle is better than the second, with the second half sometimes bringing on palate fatigue.  Not so with Printemps, as I worked my way through the bottle, it blossomed and became more approachable, the opposite of many beers.  Primtemps is not a starter saison, but I highly recommend this beer.  I have not seen it at Olive Market for several months, but it is good enough to keep a lookout for it.

Exponential Hoppiness

Alpine Brewing Company is releasing its triple IPA, Exponential Hoppiness, tomorrow.  Here is the announcement from an Alpine email:
On Friday, February 4th, at the crack of noon, as our doors open, we will be offering one of the most delectable, superbly delicious, best batch ever, mathematically complex beers ever produced on the face of this earth “Exponential Hoppiness.” (EH) We did an exponential move on some late addition and dry-hopping tricks that elevated the aroma and hoppiness to their proper levels. Yes, it’s that good because we care, damit.

The ways to purchase EH are thus:

22 oz bottles available at the BREWERY – $8.99 -  Max 6 bottles/per person/day (unless abused)

22 oz bottles available at the PUB – Max 3 bottles/person/day. (don’t be  that guy)

Growler fills at the brewery only, no growler fills at the pub. We don’t fill growlers at the pub, just the brewery.

Maximum growler fills: 6 growlers per person/day of EH.

The first time I see growlers of our beer on a “public auction site” we will no longer sell growlers of EH. Ever. Protect your privilege.
Exponential Hoppiness was, or is, called the most dangerous beer in the world. That is because its alcohol is around 11%, and it is so dang drinkable that if you're not careful, it'll knock you flat.  Pliny the Younger may get all the triple IPA hype, but to me, Exponential Hoppiness is a better beer.  It is smoother and not as boozy, hence the "dangerous" label.  I have heard that bombers of Exponential Hoppiness will be available at some of the stores that sell Alpine beers.  I may post which ones after I get my bombers.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Don Younger - Publican

Don Younger, the pioneering craft beer publican past away last night.  He owned the iconic Horse Brass Pub in Portland.  You'll probably recognize his picture below.  He was usually photographed with a cigarette in one hand and a pint in the other.  There are some good blog posts below discussing Don.  I borrowed the picture from Beervana.


Pete Brown

Brookston Beer Bulletin