Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday Pint Night

I did the normal Wednesday night pint night down at Max's.  I have been fortunate this week to have a great beer week with the Siren Noire (Heavy Seas) beer social and then a good Wednesday pint night.  The beer tonight was Moosehead, which was not the highlight.  The highlight was the rest of the list.  Max's still has some great Belgians left on tap and I was pleased to partake of a few (even though they have the Siren Noire still on cask, which is great, I went with others on tap).

After the Moosehead, my friend convinced me (ok, she just mentioned it) to have a La Trappe Isid'or (Trappist Ale).  Such a good beer.  This is the type of beer that makes me extremely happy to love beer. 

After the La Trappe, I gave the Haanbryggerier IPA (Norwegian IPA) a whirl.  I must say that it was a disappointment.  I like big, bold IPAs.  This just wasn't it.  The best I can describe the beer is tangy.  The beer was just not was I was expecting (I must admit that I was looking hop bomb).  It just didn't do it for me.  I will give this beer another chance when I have an open mind.

After the Haanbryggerier, I needed something that I knew I would like.  I went with the Beer of the Year, Flying Dog's Raging Bitch.  This beer soothed my south, and allowed me to get back on track.  Thank you, Flying Dog.

I was looking to leave, but after striking up a conversation with an out-of-towner, I decided to grab another.  The beer that I chose was a De Regenboog Vuuve (Belgian Wit).  I was thinking about going with the Lagunitas Dogtown Pale on cask, but changed my mind (I have already had that).  I was thrilled that I changed my mind.

The Vuuve was a delicious, refreshing beer that allowed me to finish off a nice night (that included the queso dip, courtesy of my friend who joined me). 

What are you drinking tonight? What should I get out there and try?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday Beer Social

The fiance is in Reno this week (hopefully I can get her to pick me us some beer), so I was able to head down to Max's for the Tuesday night beer social.  This was one social that I was looking forward to.  If you follow the blog at all, you might notice that I do not feature stouts very often.  It isn't that I do not like stouts, but I prefer lighter ales, especially Belgians.  Well, this week has been for stouts.

Sunday night, I cracked open my bottle of delicious Southern Tier Mokah.  A mix of the Chokat (chocolate) and the Java (coffee).  This beer gives a great mixture of both of the beers, smooth and delicious.

Tonight, the beer of choice was Heavy Seas Siren Noire.  I preceded that beer with Oliver's Bishop Breakfast.  Both of the beers were delicious, but I would have to give the Siren Noire the edge, due to it being from a firkin and the lack of carbination really developed the beer into something that was extremely drinkable.  Both were beers that I would drink in a heartbeat.

The other beer that I sampled tonight was the BrewDog Tokyo, an 18% stout that doesn't show its strength.  I could taste the raisons and other dark fruits, but the high abv was well masked.  This is a beer that would get me in trouble if I didn't know what I was getting into.  Try it, you will like it.

What did you have tonight?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Zotten off market?

Pulling from a Beer Advocate thread, Weyerbacher's Zotten will be pulled due to a settlement with Bierbrouwerij De Halve Maan.  Apparently, there is some issue with Zotten's labeling being too similar.

This is upsetting news, as Zotten is one of my favorite beers from last year, and I was looking forward to it again.

Original article here, in Google Translate.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Baltimore Sun coming in with some news

Somethings that we can actually care about from the Baltimore Sun:

Dining@Large, which is a restaurant blog, tells us about a Grilled Cheese, Beer and Wine Festival happening up in Carroll County.  That just SCREAMS awesomeness.  Place that on your calendar.

The man behind Stillwater Artesian Ales, Brian Stumke, is introduced to Baltimore by Rob Kasper, who had the Kasper on Tap blog in the Sun, which was discontinued but continues on here.  I was lucky enough to get some of the Stillwater Stateside Saison at Max's Belgian Beer Festival this past weekend, and it was one of the highlights for me.  The beer is absolutely delicious, and I cannot wait to see what this talented brewer can come up with next.  (This article also appeared in the Wednesday, February 17 print edition.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

BrewDog on top, again

How can you not like the guys at BrewDog. They do their best to produce crazy beers.  No one knows what is coming at them... until they make a movie about it.

Sink the Bismarck! from BrewDog on Vimeo.

I love their movies, and their creativity really helps them produce a lot of buzz for their beer (like blog posts).  I believe that this buzz helps out all craft beers.  As much as the neo-prohibitionists would love for people to believe that beers like Tactical Nuclear Penguin (32%), Sink the Bismark(41%) and Schorschbrau (40%) will be drank by underage binge drinkers (since they can afford it), most people realize that it is different.  A unique beer, which was taken to the extreme.  Here is another article by Fox News that names a few other extreme beers. 

As many of us know, that article doesn't show part of the number of beers that are high in alcohol.  For example, Dogfish Head has produced at least 12 beers (from Beer Advocate stats, including 3 that are 18%) that are above 10%, and may others 8-9%  and Avery Brewing has produced 17 over 10%.  High percent beers are becoming, might I say, common in the beer world.

What is your favorite +10% beer?  (Mine has to be Scaldis Noel.)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Belgian Beer Fest 2010

Max's Taphouse hosts the Belgian Beer Festival every year (second weekend of February).  As most of the city is paralized by the snowstorm, Max's was roaring with people, and the beer was flowing.  I was able to walk down, a perk of living in the city.

I was able to meet up with other beer fans, bloggers ( and twitterites (@beerinbaltimore, @cdoubleIPA, @beersfordinner, @siana506).  Thanks go out to them for the great day.

Below is the list of beers that I was able to enjoy, hopefully you can get out (or have already been out) to enjoy the beer.  Most of the beer I had were in the smaller sample size.  The only full beer that I had was the Stillwater Stateside Saison, a great beer made by a local guy just breaking into the brewing business.  I am glad to be able to get his stuff from the beginning, because he is going to be big.

The Bruery Two Turtle Doves (cask)- Belgian Dark Ale

Stillwater Ales Stateside Saison (cask)
Silly Saison de Silly- Saison
Geants Urchon- Brown Ale
Sint Carnas Pere Canard- Winter Strong Ale
Sint Carnas Triple
De Dochter Van De Korenaar Emblasse- Strong Dark Ale
De Dochter Van De Korenaar Courage- Dark Wheat
De Dochter Van De Korenaar Noblesse -Pale Ale
Cantillion Iris- Fresh Hop Lambic
Cantillion Gueuze
Cantillion Rose de Grambrinus- Raspberry Lambic
Cazeau Tournay- Blonde
Cazeau Tournay Black- Stout
Cazeau Tournay de Noel- Dark Saison
St. Bernardus Wit
Kerkom Bink Triple

Friday, February 12, 2010

Stop, Collaboration and Listen

I was going through my beer box the other day, and saw that I had yet to drink the Nogne O/Jolly Pumpkin/Stone collaboration Special Holiday Ale.  So a placed it in the fridge and waited for the night to drink it.

The three brewers are taking turns brewing this beer. 
This is the second release of Special Holiday Ale, which was first brewed in San Diego in 2008.  Each brew is following the same recipe, including Michigan chestnuts, white sage from southern California and Norwegian juniper berries, but differences in brewing and aging practices produce different beers.  Cheers to being different! Ska!
The beer pours a deep mahogany, small head that disappears quickly.  The smell is dominated by the sage and juniper, but I could smell a hint of the chestnuts.  On the first sip, I could get the sage (the minty taste was first thing I noticed) and juniper upfront, and the chestnuts came about as the beer warmed a bit.  The malt is hidden by the spices, but is still present (I was tasting a sweetness that I figured was from the malt).  The alcohol is also well hidden, as I expected more from a 8.5% beer.

The Special Holiday Ale was silky smooth in my mouth.  It is a little thinker than I would like, but very very smooth.  I would love to have this beer again, it was a spice bomb, yet very drinkable.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Beer with Tea and a Jack's Bistro Update, Again

I posted a question on twitter the other day, why aren't beers brewed with tea.  I couldn't think of any at that moment.  @cauderus mentioned Sah'tea from Dogfish Head, @beertodd mentioned brewers preference,as well as some are brewed with green tea and said some tea would get tannic and astringent when boiled (he is the brewer at Copper Canyon in Michigan).  Low and behold Jack's has a beer brewed with tea on their new tap list.  I will have to get down to try it out.

Apparently, all my mind will function to post are the Jacks Bistro update emails that I receive, since some of you couldnt get on the list. Here you go.

Jack's Bistro
3123 Elliott St.
Baltimore, Md. 21224
(410) 878-6542

Hello Everyone! If you are close enough to walk, come keep warm and keep us company tonight.

Jack's will have food and drink specials all evening for those brave enough to venture out.

Reservations for all size parties are being accepted for Valentines Day. We will be offering the whole menu with some additional specials.

Beers on tap this week:

Brewer's Art "Ozzy"- Belgian Style Golden Ale- Baltimore
Synbrychoff Porter- Finland
Great Divide "Hercules"- Double IPA- Colorado
N'ice Chouffe Winter Beer- Belgium
Glazen Toren- Saison- Belgium
Rogue Chocolate Stout- Oregon
North Coast "Brother Thelonious"- Abbey Style Brown Ale- California
BFM Tarry Suchong- Amber ale brewed with tea leaves

To answer a frequently asked question: We honor our happy hour every night (even on the weekends). The happy hour is $2 off all wines by the glass, beer, original house cocktails, and appetizers at the bar stools only from 5-7pm & 11-1am for the late nighters. Our kitchen is always open until 1am. Bottles of wine are half price from 5pm til 6pm.

Hope to see you soon!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Jack's Bistro Update

For those who let me know they were not able to get on the e-newslett list.  Here is their offering.  I may go down for dinner as Steak Frites (my favorite dish of theirs) is on special tonight.  The Tap List is a must check out!

From the E-Mail:

Jack's Bistro
3123 Elliott St.
Baltimore, Md. 21224
(410) 878-6542

Happy Winter to all-

Rest assured that we are open tonight, Sun 2/7! Stop in for happy hour, or to watch the superbowl & have a tasty $12 or $15 entree special- one of which is steak frites! No worries about getting a table or bar seat as we are not a sports bar.

We are accepting reservations for all size parties on Valentines Day. We will be offering our regular menu with some additional specials.

Beers on tap this week:
Brewer's Art "Ozzy"- Belgian Style Golden Ale- Baltimore
Synbrychoff Porter- Finland
Great Divide "Hercules"- IPA- Colorado
N'ice Chouffe- Winter Beer- Belgium
Glazen Toren- Saison- Belgium
Rogue Chocolate Stout- Oregon
North Coast "Brother Thelonious"- Belgian Style Abbey Brown- California
BFM "Tarry Suchong"- Amber Ale brewed with tea leaves- Switzerland

To answer a frequently asked question: We honor our happy hour every night (even on the weekends). The happy hour is $2 off all wines by the glass, beer, original house cocktails, and appetizers at the bar stools only from 5-7pm & 11-1am for the late nighters. Our kitchen is always open until 1am. Bottles of wine are half price from 5pm til 6pm.

Hope to see you soon!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snowy Day Blues

This would suck, hope they had a beer ready.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Snow, Snow, Go Away (Heavy Seas style)

I decided to fight the storm with a Clipper City, I mean Heavy Seas, Mutiny Series, Yule Tide.  I took the picture next to the "fire".

I really like this beer, and wish that I had picked up a few more bottles.  It isn't anything wowwing, but it is good.  Mild spices, with a lot of sweetness to it.

What are you drinking on this blustery, winter day?

Upcoming Event- Taming of the Brew

On Wednesday, February 3, I left work early. Why? To make sure I was able to secure tickets to a local beer festival in my hometown of Bloomsburg, PA. The event is a highlight for me every year, as it allows my friends and I to have a great beer night and not worry about things like getting home, getting lost or running out of cash. (I had friends try to get tickets and they were sold out 10 minutes after opening.)

The Taming of the Brew is a fundraiser for our local theatre group. They rent out two large rooms and limit the ticket sales. This combination makes sure that you have a great time, without being crowded (the number one think I hate at a lot of festivals). There is rarely a wait over 2 minutes waiting for the beer, and the people pouring are always social and helpful. From their website:

The evening will be filled with fun. Taste and learn about new beer
styles. Sample wonderful foods from an array of area restaurants and
caterers. Try tasting beer and food together to find complementary flavor
pairings. Vote for your favorite beer at the auction table (Who
knows? It could win the People's Choice Award!) Bid on a wide array
of items generously contributed by local businesses and craftspeople at our
silent auction.

The festival takes place in two large rooms. Around the outside of the rooms are booths, that go in order of food, beer, food, beer, making it so you are always close to each. At the back of the one room is normally a jazz band playing music.

The fest draws many smaller breweries/brewpubs from around the state (i.e. Berwick Brewing, Bullfrog Brewery, Old Forge Brewing, Sly Fox), as well as some of the larger breweries (i.e. Ommegang, DogfishHead, Magic Hat, Troegs)- there are also a couple of distributers that bring a selection (one brings Stone).

One great thing about the festival (many festivals) is the ability of the breweries to bring something different, or release a special beer. (At the Michigan Brewer's Guild Festival this past July, I was able to try 10+ beers that will probably never be made, like the Jolly Pumpkin Weizen Bam with Hibiscus- check out here and here.) At last year's TotB, Sly Fox released their (I believe) Odyssey Imperial IPA, and I was able to try Ommegang's Cave-Aged Three Philosophers and Cave-Aged Abbey Ale.

Overall, I like to try the smaller brewpubs that I am not able to get to very often, and then go to the regulars to see what they brought. I look forward to this event, and hopefully am able to report back with any new finds.

Chief Wiggum enjoyed some Ommegang Three Philosophers

The Session- REAL Ale

The Session is a monthly event, where one blogger poses a question and is consequently answered by other bloggers. This month's question was asked by Tom Cizauskas an Yours for Good Fermentables. His question is based around Real Ales or Cask-conditioned ales:

Cask-conditioned ale —or "real ale" as it is called, somewhat boastfully, by the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA), a beer consumer advocacy group in the UK— is defined by that organization as

"beer brewed from traditional ingredients, matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide."

Viewers of this blog have read my opinions on cask-conditioned ale, and probably once too often. So, let's hear yours, and not only yours. Why not invite brewers and drinkers and bemused casked-spectators to contribute essays for the Session?
I have strong feelings toward all beers. Some I love, IPAs and Sours, and others I hate, smokes. One beer that can go either way for me are beers out of the cask.

One of the first things that I look for when I get to my weekly relaxation at Max's is to see what they have on cask. Their list is always amazing, and it is an hours worth of time just looking at the list and trying to figure out what you want today, tomorrow or never.

I am considered one of the knowledgeable beer people in my group of friends. Before moving to Baltimore, I would try to experiment with beers, but there was nothing there. Especially not a cask. My first few trips to the bar, it was unique seeing the hand pump, and thought, why would someone want this warm, uncarbinated beer? Then I tried it. I now know.

The beer on cask that really opened my eyes to what can come was a Lagunitas Hop Stoopid. I had never tasted a beer like that tasted. I had had Hop Stoopid before, and it is a great beer. But coming from the cask, it was like an explotion of pine in my mouth. No coolness to hold it back. The bitterness was there, but that was expected. I truly thought that I had a mouthful of pine cones. I couldn't complain.

From now on, I look for that next surprise beer that does something different for me, that can blow me away. I am not saying that all cask beer is good. Some of it was hard to drink, the warmth hurt it instead of opening up the flavors (at least that is how I perceived it). But it was different. If you like it on tap, you won't necessarily like it on cask. But it is a gamble I will take.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Two Beers, One Glass

Sometimes I just don't know what to drink. I grabbed a sixer of 60 min and a 4-pack of 90 minute. Combined to make a 75 minute. It is delicious. I was glad that one day someone recommended it to me. Take the sweetness of the 90 and mix it will the rawness of the 60 minute and it is delicious.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Playing Catch Up

,A little review of the beers that I have had in the past little bit.

A while back, I was finally able to break open my bottle of The Bruery Autumn Maple. We were having steak and a sweet potato to eat that night for dinner. I didn't know what the Autumn Maple would taste like, and was surprised that the most prevalent taste to come would be yams (or sweet potato). I would call it luck, except yams aren't my favorite thing to eat. So if you like yams, find a bottle and see what you think.

A few days later, I broke open a bottle of the Brewer's Art Coup de Boule, a Belgian Strong Ale. It was a good beer, but nothing special. Spices abound in this beer, and trying to figure it out could have been an all night job. Nicely done, smooth drinking beer.

One of my fiance's favorite restaurants in our hometown serves Tex-Mex and is called Terrapin Cantina. The started serving Terrapin ales, which was a nice surprise when we went there with her family a few weeks back. I was served a Terrapin Rye Pale Ale. It was an ok pale ale, with that nice rye bite to it. It was by far the best beer they serve (normally I order a Dos Equis).

Also mixed in there was a trip to Elliotts Pour House. A great beer bar that not many know about. They have a tower with about 20 taps on in (although some are repeat taps). While there I sampled the Clipper City Holy Sheet 2010. I was fortune enough to have a pint of 2009 the week before, and I could notice that they made this abbey not as sweet as its predecessor. Other beers that I had at EPH include the Mendencino Imperial IPA (ok, typical Imperial IPA) and the Old Dominion Oak Barrell Stout (very good stout).

Other beers of note from the past couple of weeks include Tuppers Hop Pocket IPA, North Coast Brother Thelonious abbey and Max's had Stoudt's beers for a Pint Night, and I was pleasantly surprised with their hellesbock.

What have you had lately?