Friday, October 8, 2010

With a little help from my friends

One of the nice things about nice people, is that they will share.  I was able to stop into Max's on Wednesday night, and while enjoying a couple of beers, Bob opened up a bottle of Sierra Nevada Estate Homegrown Wet Hop Ale.  This is the beer that has ingredients they grew on their property.

First off, when a brewery waxes the top of the bottle to completely seal it, it looks awesome.  I have no clue whether or not there are any advantages to it, but it looks awesome.  It also gives it a superiority feeling to the bottle; maybe the bottle looks at the other bottles and laughs, who knows?

Bob then offered to give me and the couple next to me a taste.  Of course I accepted, and this is what I got from my small sample.  I cannot say what drinking a pint of this would feel like, but my sample definitely showed huge, fresh hops (which it was supposed to have) and a sweet malt (caramelly- I don't think that is a word, but I used it).  The hops were the big flavor, coming hard with the piney taste and a bit of grapfruity flavors.  I could see this being a very good beer, and something that I will go and try to pick up.

In regards to trying samples from other people's beers, I have found that 95% of beer geeks offer up a sample when you are talking to them.  I have no problem sharing at any time, and I love sharing a bottle.  It is another part of the beer community that needs to be recognized and applauded.  Go to most Buy-as-you-go beer events, and you can see the community sharing between each other.  It puts a smile on my face, just knowing I joined the fun.

Beer for NFL Teams

I would bet that 99 out of 100 blogs that do Beer and Sports teams together place BMC or other Macros associated with BMC as most of the teams.  Today, I was happy to find a blog that was that 1.  In comes Tailgate Advice and their post Best Beer for Tailgating (although they did throw a couple of BMC beers in the mix).  Nice list of beers, many that I have heard of, some that I haven't.  It is worth a look.  As for the Ravens:

Baltimore Ravens- Heavy Seas Beer, Big DIPA The Ravens are personified by players like Ray Lewis, tough and rugged. So when you go down to M&T Bank Stadium, you need a real tough guy beer. Saying that be careful how many Big DIPAs (TRIPLE hopped DOUBLE IPA) you order. Too many of these monstrous beers and you will be streaking on the field and getting slammed by Ray Lewis!
 Can't go wrong with placing Heavy Seas as the beer for a Ravens game.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Baltimore Beer Week

Starting October 7, Baltimore Beer Week takes over the city.  Being the week before and the week of my wedding, I will probably not be able to attend many events (if any).  But there are a couple that I would like to highlight, that I wish I could get to.

Two the intrigue me deal with local awesome brewer Brian Strumke of Stillwater Ales.  Stillwater ales will be the featured beer for a couple of beer dinners in the city.  The first will be at the Metropolitan on Wednesday, October 13.  This beer dinner will be a Stillwater/12% Imports event.  12% Imports are the distributor who has helped Stillwater to become in demand in the NCY/Philly/Baltimore markets.

The second beer dinner is the event that I wish I could go to out of all of them.  Held at Jack's Bistro and paired with Stillwater ales on Thursday, October 14, you cannot go wrong.  Jack's Bistro is my favorite restaurant in Baltimore.  The chef consistently comes up with great new menu items, and we have never had a bad meal there.  I am sure he will cater to Stillwaters strengths, and the food will be delicious.

I wish I could attend these events, and I hope you can make it to one of them.

Quick Review- The Bruery Orchard White

Even though it is a cold night, I decided to think of summer.  In comes the bottle of The Bruery Orchard White that is in the beer box.  From The Bruery's website:
Orchard White is an unfiltered, bottle conditioned Belgian-style witbier. This hazy, straw yellow beer is spiced with coriander, citrus peel and lavender added to the boil and whirlpool. A spicy, fruity yeast strain is used to add complexity, and rolled oats are added for a silky texture.
I will open, sample while cold, and then make notes as it warms:

Poured a bright yellow, with the smallest amount of orange.  Huge head hangs for a bit, then diminishes to a quarter inch on top.  No lacing remains.  In the nose, the beer comes with a lot of yeasty spiciness.  Also gives off a scent of lemon (peel?) and rosemary lavender (decided to read the bottle).

Initial taste:  Carbination jumps out of the glass and doesn't allow the coriander and lavender to flourish.  Yeasty spice comes through, and combines with the nice malt to create a nice backbone.  Lavender holds on to the finish.  The combination mends well together, creating a drinkable beer (even though the carbination may be a bit too much).

The 5.7% abv doesn't effect the beer, and it might as well not even be present.  Seems like a beer that I could easily have a few of.

Slightly warmer, the carbination calms down, the citrus (lemon?) turns up.  Coriander also becomes more of a featured taste.  With the lavender continuing to dominate the finish.  As the beer continues to warm, the coriander becomes dominant, as the other flavors mellow.  The yeasty spiciness disappears, and the lavender and lemony flavors are subjected to the background.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Session- Frankenstein Beers

To begin this awesome month, Drink With the Wench asks us about Frankenstein Beers:

"Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a blog post on "Frankenstein Beers." There are no rules about how to write about this topic — feel free to highlight a Frankenstien brewer, brewery, beer tasting notes … or just your opinions on the concept."
I may sound like an old fart on the subject (which I am not). Or maybe just some traditionalist (again, which I am not). The reality is that I have no problem with crazy beers. I love trying new and experimental brews. Popping open the Saison du BUFFs from Dogfish Head/Stone/Victory, ordering whatever is weird from Max's or finding something brewed with herbs and spices I never heard of at the Michigan Brewer's Guild Summer festival, I have never shied away from the different. 

But at the same time, many times I would just rather have a basic simple beer.  I love getting a Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA and knowing what is coming at me. Pour me a Prima Pils, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Bear Republic Racer 5 or Old Rasputin and I will never complain. It may not be as fun, but it is still enjoyable. 

For every Frankenstein beer that comes out, every crazy new fad (goze, sours, RIS, hop-bombs)- there will always be solid basic beers that will win people to craft beer, and keep beer geeks/snobs happy. My favorite beer is the one in my hand, and I would be happy to share it with you.