Free Scotch!

[ Comments Off ] Posted on 11.30.10 under Alcohol, Free Booze, Tasting

Running a beer blog, every now and then I get an offer for free beer for review. Sometimes it pans out and sometimes not.

So a few weeks ago, I got an email offer for some free booze to review. It’s Drinks by the Dram from the United Kingdom. They’ve got tons of awesome single malts and other incredible whiskies and whatnot for sale online. They have a new program where they will sell a 3cl dosage of a variety of their finest spirits as a sample.

Before you gotta spend $90 for a whole bottle, you can spend $5 for a single sample. (disclaimer: quality and accuracy of currency conversions could vary)

Samples for sale! Great idea! Read the rest of this entry…

Wine… Apple Wine

[ 3 Comments ] Posted on 11.12.10 under Alcohol, Apple Wine

Photo: Five Islands Orchard

I know, this is a beer blog. Why would there be a post about wine? What do I know about wine?

Admittedly, not much. But I might start to learn one day.

Every journey must start with a single step. For me, that first step of my journey into wine making is an almost trivially simple recipe for apple wine. The recipe’s author actually calls it “Apfelwein” – German apple wine.

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[ Comments Off ] Posted on 08.06.10 under Alcohol

So I just read that MSG is autolyzed yeast.

Seems strange to me that autolysis is a nasty off flavor in beer yet it could be such a guilty pleasure in food from “Chinese” to chips.

Not that I’ve ever had, or necessarily believe in all that much, the migraine. But under the BBQ sauce trigger, they call out that another name for MSG in the ingredient list is “autolyzed yeast”, among some other things I wouldn’t even necessarily call foul against.

In the end, the article is a bunch of rubbish, but my advice is to eat a lot and drink a lot and sleep a lot. And if what you’re drinking contains alcohol, you should also drink a lot of water.

Good Dog

[ 1 Comment ] Posted on 07.23.10 under Alcohol, News

So many people are hating on Brew Dog for their latest stunt. Packaging 55% ABV beer in dead rodents.

That’s right, I called it a stunt, but I’m not about to lash out at them.

On the surface this latest move is wrong on several levels:

  1. At 55% ABV, I think it’s a stretch to call it a “beer”
  2. This is clearly just an attempt to gain attention. In a way, Brew Dog is like the middle child in the birth order of today’s breweries.
  3. The beer comes packaged in a dead rodent that’s been preserved and stuffed.
  4. You have to pay 500 pounds (the English currency, not the SI unit for weight) just to get one bottle. And the bottle is only 12 ounces large. Apparently taxidermy is rather expensive.
  5. There were only 12 bottles made of this. Total. Twelve bottles. Talk about a limited production run!

But you know what, I just can’t get enough of the insanity that seems to drive their crazy ideas for huge beers. As if 110 proof isn’t enough (that’s stronger than almost all distilled spirits on the market) it’s packaged in dead animals and costs a fortune and is impossibly rare. I love it!!!

I wonder if they have an equivalent to PETA* over there? And don’t they have a TTB*?

At any rate, this sort of thing still hasn’t gotten old to me. Even if most of the commentators out there are not happy about it. But in the end, for every person spilling their guts on the web about the move contributes a drop in the bucket of Brew Dog’s marketing machine, which is the whole point.

* PETA=People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. In other words a bunch of American hippies that refuse to eat animals.

* TTB=Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. I wonder how they decided on TTB. Why not ATTTB? Or even ATB? Anyway they’re the folks that regulate labeling, taxes, permits, etc. in the US for beer.

Ice Ice Baby

[ Comments Off ] Posted on 02.17.10 under Alcohol, Fun, News

Once again Brew Dog has done it. They’ve gone and raised the ire of all wings of the beer and political communities. Not complacent to be second best, it’s time to make the world’s strongest beer… again!

First off, Sam Adams Utopias is the strongest beer, when it comes down to it. By American legal definition, a beer can not be fortified by any method, including “ice distillation”. Sam Adams is cooked as normal wort and fermented as such by yeast all the way to its nearly unnatural 27% ABV. All others higher than that, to my knowledge, are done by ice distilling.

Read the rest of this entry…

What Kind of Beer is That?

[ Comments Off ] Posted on 12.02.09 under Alcohol, Barley Wine, Brewing, IPA, Style Profile, Tasting

IIPA or Barley WineI pull a half-pint of my latest monster – a 10% ABV beer, pale in color, with a moderately high bitterness and lots of late hops. A huge nose of Amarillo and Centennial hits me right away – floral citrus notes assault me like Coltrane’s Sun Ship. Then I take a sip. Bitterness is not that strong, and alcohol dominates the flavor. This beer was meant to be an IIPA. But now I am not so sure.

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[ Comments Off ] Posted on 11.08.08 under Aimée, Alcohol, Tasting

Brewers, if you’re reading this, I’m begging you. Please stop putting all your big beers in big bottles.

I am struggling with a bomber of Weyerbacher Blasphemy. I love twelve ounces of it. But the prospect of that second half of the bottle is sort of scaring me right now.

I understand that a big bottle makes a beer seem more special. And I think there’s a psychology that makes it easier to spend $10 on a bomber than it is to spend $20 on a four-pack, even though it’s pretty much equivalent.

But the thing is, my wife isn’t too into oak aged Belgian Quadrupels. If this were an IPA, like Avery’s Maharaja, then I could get some help from her, but it isn’t every day that you can find a beer-loving friend to split one of these big bottles with.

Brewing Results Are In!

[ 5 Comments ] Posted on 08.06.08 under Alcohol, All-Grain, Brewing, Hops, IPA, Stout, Tasting

Three weeks ago, I made two beers. One was an IPA, called Newport Jazz Fest. It is bittered with Newport hops I got from Northern a while back when the panic of hop shortage first hit me. The panic has passed, but the hops remain. I am still not sure when I’ll use those Pride of Ringwood hops I have… The other beer was a Stout, called Midnight Moon Stout. Named after a “Jack and Annie” Magic Treehouse book, and my daughter drew the label for me.

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Session 18 – Anniversary Time

[ 1 Comment ] Posted on 08.01.08 under Aimée, Alcohol, Pairing, Tasting, The Session

This month’s session is hosted by The Barley Blog, and the topic is “Happy Anniversary”, where we’re all popping the cap on a very special beer and giving it the review treatment.

Avery is one of my favorite brewers these days. It’s got a lot to do with the Maharaja and the Czar and their other gigantic beers. Even their normal beers are pretty good. I dunno, I just like Avery. Maybe it’s the foil around the cap that gets me? This session was a perfect excuse to open one of my cellared bottles of Avery Fourteen. That’s the 14th anniversary beer from our friends in Boulder. This beer was bottled in 2007.
Read the rest of this entry…

Unearthly Hot

[ Comments Off ] Posted on 07.20.08 under Alcohol, IPA, Tasting

Coming home from a day out on the town with the family, a natural first action is to reach for a beer. I thought Southern Tier Unearthly to be a perfect idea. I love big beer, and an 11% IPA sounded great.

Unearthly smells a little boozy and a bit hoppy. It’s crystal clear coppery golden. Just barely a heat of alcohol is surrounded by a big dose of bitterness, plenty of hop flavor, and a mild chocolatey maltiness that comes as a surprise. Maybe it’s the hops. The carbonation is subtle and the mouthfeel is overall thick and slick and sticky. Unmistakably an IIPA. In a good way.

Sitting there sipping the beer, I began to wonder if there were any chores I should take care of. Then I noticed the lawn. That’s one of those things that I never want to do, but it’s best to do it now rather than later, once I’ve realized I have the window of time to do it.

Unearthly Imperial IPA: my new lawnmower beer?

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