Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Time to Get Serious with Hobgoblin




Okay, it's time to get serious. No more joking around with half-assed beer tasting. I'm doing some research, and learning some lingo, and here it goes.

A seasonally appropriate Wychwood's Hobgoblin, a dark English ale. I'm not messing around anymore. I even purchased a glass from the dollar store just for the purpose of this blog. I believe it is a Weizen glass (see helpful photo). Unfortunately, according to BeerAdvocate.com, Weizen glasses are for several types of brews, Dark English ales not being one of them. I should be drinking Hobgoblin in a pint glass. Perhaps another trip to the dollar store is in order. Now, American Dark Wheat Ales are acceptable in a Weizen, so this will have to do for tonight.

I chilled the glass. This has some controversy. The naysayers think possible odors from the fridge or freezer being left on the glass and tainting the delicious drink. Also the condensation could spoil the balance of the beer. But most people say it's a good idea and drinks should be cold! So I took a risk, and stuck the Weizen glass in the cheese drawer for half an hour or so. As far as I can tell, there was no cheese smell OR condensation on the glass. SUCCESS.

I try to pour the beer correctly with the tilted glass and swirling of foam. Most guides say there should be a "finger of foam" at the top of the glass. Um, what does this mean? I think I got about a knuckle's worth.

Then you must enjoy the beer with all your senses. I admit, this one is pretty! And not just the bottle this time. It's a nice amber color, I suppose from the amber waves of grain, but the British version. There is supposedly a chocolate and toffee malt flavor. One challenge for me so far is understanding what this "malt" is and how to recognize it. I mean, to me it just smells like beer but good beer. Maybe the fact that I read the bottle influenced me but I can almost smell the chocolate...

Overall, I am delighted with this beverage. It is a good treat after a hard day's work. And yes, I was attracted to it due to the label, but also did not realize until afterwards that it was seasonally appropriate...Speaking of which, pumpkin beer tasting is soon to come!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Melbourne Bros. Apricot


OMG, how cute is this bottle?! I saw it in a local liquor store with a wide variety of beers sold individually. When one is not too familiar with the beer lingo, one goes with things like packaging and price. In this case, the packaging sold me but I could not find a price. When I brought it up to the cash register, which had several people working behind it, they all inspected it with strange looks. Clearly none of them had seen this beverage before, and they certainly did not know how much it cost. The barcode did not work, so one ventured, "$4.99?" and the other replied, "How about $3.99." This did not instill confidence.
Back to the packaging - it's kind of old fashioned looking, with lots of pictures of apricots and interesting script. It tells me it is made in Great Britain. The bottle itself is also a unique shape, and heavier than normal...Sturdy, which gives the illusion of quality. I like old-fashioned, fruity stuff so I gave it a shot.
This beer sat in my fridge for a few days, casting a spell of cool mystique among its less-cool peers. The withered spinach, the leftover stuffing just shrugged back into their corners, knowing they could not compete with a bottle like this.
Okay, but onto the tasting. It's hump night, so why not?
I crack it open. This time I do have a clean glass so I pour it in and take a sip. My initial thought? Gross with an even grosser aftertaste of plastic. Bleh.
But I'm not one to give up. I go over to the sofa to sit with my girlfriend. When I bring the glass up to give it another sip, I believe her actual words were, "Oh my god that smells fucking disgusting get that away from me." Now, she is not a beer fan and does not enjoy the smell on my breath or otherwise. But this was a little extreme and did not win the beverage any extra points.
I continue to sip it over the course of a couple of hours. I actually like it more over time. It's extremely sweet and fruity. It basically tastes like fermented marmalade. I believe this is considered a "lambic" which means fruit, in this case apricot, is added towards the end of the brewing process. If beer has fruit in it, does it always have to be a lambic? I do not know.
Overall, I would not try this again, but I regret nothing.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sapporo


I purchased a nice chilly 22 oz. can (if it's in a can rather than a bottle, does one still call it a "deuce?")of Sapporo, a Japanese brew that I've had once or twice but not in a while. I drank this while watching "The Office" and eating Chinese food. Unfortunately, I had no didn't have any clean glasses so I drank from the can. My first thought was that it was bitter, which cut the sweetness of the duck sauce nicely. It was also very cold, perhaps due to the bi-metal can, which the website explains is why you cannot squeeze it like you can a regular aluminum can. Let's face it, with Sapporo it's all about the package. There is something very appealing about the curvy shiny silver sexy can. I also learn that there is a small amount of rice in this beverage, which I would guess is not common in beers. I learn this is a "light-bodied lager."
My conclusion: Meh. It's fine. It tastes fine, I really like the can, but for 22 oz. I would expect to feel at least a little tipsy which I totally don't. But that could also be due to the large amount of vegetable mu shu that it mixed with in my soon-to-be beer gut.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Intro

I've always enjoyed a beverage or two. But beer is something I have never really understood. Oh, I have drunk it. And I have enjoyed it. But to understand it...that is something else all together. To the point where I've been out with an acquaintance and ordered something like a Blue Moon or Killian's...Something affordable, drinkable, and leading to a buzz. You know, a freaking beer. And then said acquaintance will comment or, worse, ask me a question about my preference of hops-to-barley ratio/Belgium vs. German style/short vs. stout/handle vs. spout... And I get overwhelmed and look around frantically for a television with a football game (which for me is truly an act of desperation) or something to change this disastrous route of small talk.

Looking back I realize that my choice of beer has always been influenced by outside sources. In college we drank Leinenkugel's honeyweiss. I'm not sure why, except maybe we thought it tasted like honey and was cheap yet showed more depth than PBR or Bud. At the lesbian bar it was Miller Lite. I recall being told that that was The Lesbian Beer. Who even knew?

But I find myself nearing my 30th birthday. I am a professional, educated woman. I think, perhaps, it's time to grow up. And figure out what beer I truly like.