Tuesday, March 24, 2009

This is Grin and Beer It, Not "Bock Scallop!"

I'm really into the TV show Top Chef. Now I am not normally a huge reality show fan, but I do enjoy the drama, the delicious food, and the cuteness of Top Chef. One of my favorites from last season was Jamie, who was a cutie and a member of "Team Rainbow", as she put it. She cooked a lot of scallops. Another contestant made a snippy remark once about how "This is Top Chef, not Top Scallop." BURN! I get that phrase in my head from time to time, and you can actually purchase shirts with it.

Tonight I decided to be a Top Scallop. I have never made scallops ever and do not even understand what they are exactly. Apparently a small creature in a shell. I avoided all eye contact with my pet snail "Shorty" during this time. I did my best to follow this recipe and holy butter and sugar, it turned out delicious! I served it with garlic bread and mixed veggies.

Onto the beer - to wash down this delicious dinner I opened a Einbecker MaiBock. Frankly, it was an awesome pairing. It poured a nice orange with a finger of fluffy off-white head. At first there was a whiff of skunkiness, but then nothing but lemon and sweetness. It tasted sweet at first, but then there was a little spicy and hoppiness. I'd say it was "well-balanced." The mouthfeel was nice and crisp and drinkability was fantastic, I finished it off quickly. Education: Maibocks are considered to be a Spring beer (perfect!) - lighter than the average Bock, and more hoppy as well.

For my next German delight, I got a Paulaner Salvator Double Bock. Education: Double bocks are darker, stronger, and fuller versions of Bocks. Of course, I should have started with a plain old-fashioned Bock but it's too late for would-a, should-a, could-a's. It's nice. A similar orange color with small foam that dissipates quickly. It smells of caramel and fruits. Not a lot of carbonation, and a 7.9% ABV make this one more of a sipper. Not too sweet or too bitter, and definitely pleasant.

I am excited to finally be learning about German beers! And perhaps even honing my cooking skills. Hells yeah.

Einbecker Mai-Ur-Bock: A-
Paulaner Salvator Double Bock: B
Scallops: A-
Top Chef: A

Monday, March 23, 2009

Beer Wars is Coming

I'm totally going...Are you?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Nerds: Raisins and WOW: Raison D'etre

Well, I started playing WOW. My main motivation is to bond with my sister. And, I admit, curiosity.

WOW is complicated. Not to play, but to install. It takes many hours to get onto your computer. There are lots of "patches". I tried to install it last night and stayed up late but finally went to bed. Then today I had to work but tonight...Oh, tonight. I got to play! I'm already a Level 3 Dwarf Priest. I admit, it's REALLY fun.

To accompany this nerdy game, I needed a nerdy beverage. What is a nerdier snack than the humble raisin, I ask? Raison d'etre is a French phrase meaning "reason for being." Now, the raisin may be humble, but this phrase is not. So I have high hopes for the Dogfish Head's Raison D'etre. It is pretty enough. It pours a nice dark amber and is deep red when held to the light. 1 thick finger of sudsy off-white foam. I am not a great smeller. But I think I smell some spices and raisins. It's an interesting taste. When it's cold it has a little bit of tartness that is not there when it gets warmer. There is sweetness, raisins, caramel, and definitely a strong alcohol presence after a while. It's a definite sipper. It's interesting. I do enjoy it, but it's a special occassion drink. Like, you know, playing WOW. B

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patty's!

Alright. I'm not Irish. Nor will I ask you to kiss me. However, I respect all things Irish and an excuse to drink a beer.

Today I went to Yankee Spirits which is a huge local liquor store with an overwhelming (but fun) beer selection. For $11 you get a "mixed case" of surprise craft beer. I never got one before, but I got some decent stuff! A couple of Smuttynose IPAs, some German dark ale - Optimator Spaten, and a few others. I also splurged on an Avery's Beast. I'm excited about that one. Not sure how long I'll be able to wait to try it. But it's 16.4%abv and super dark and complex. That one will be an event.

But tonight, it's smooth and easy refreshment.

Included in the mixed case was the answer of "What to drink tonight?" Wachusett's Quinn's Amber Ale, complete with four leaf clovers on the bottle.

Question: the use of the 3-leaved shamrock was to symbolize the holy trinity. So why is the 4-leaf clover "lucky?"

Irish red ales are a little sweet, a little hoppy, a little tea-like, and easy to drink.

This one is no exception. It pours a lovely amber, 2 fingers of foam, and lots of visible carbonation and lacing. I have a cold and can't smell much. It is very smooth and easy to drink, a "high drinkability," if you will, with a little bit of nutty sweetness at the front, a little bitter towards the end. Nothing too startling, a nice and pleasant beverage.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

More Wet Hops: Harpoon 100 Barrel Series, Catamount Maple Wheat

This is an "American Pale Wheat Ale" brewed with real maple and wet hops. I was SOOOO looking forward to this one. Then I got upset about some stuff today and realized a beer (and Sunday night animation domination) would help.

I've been into Harpoon lately, I must say. They make limited edition beers and this is their 26th version of "100 Barrel brews" - Catamount Maple Wheat. I LOVE maple. I once got my BFF some local sugar maple liqueur and we were disappointed that it was more alcohol-y than maple-y. I was hoping that this beer would be like a maple and hops coated punch in the mouth. It wasn't.

But it was beautiful. Amber on the stronger side of orange, clear and bubbly, with a thick off-white head and decent lacing. The smell was not strong, but had a little bit of citrus. It tasted of citrus, with a little bitter edge, and a caramelly-sweetness at the end. It's decent and has good drinkability...But I really do not taste any of the maple which saddens me. Next time I'm just going to do a shot of syrup.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Land Of Chocolate: Harpoon's Chocolate Stout

Okay, this one is very simple to review. You may notice a theme.

The Harpoon Chocolate Stout is a limited edition beer, only found in variety cases, so I was excited to find some sold individually (and at 75 cents a pop!)

Appearance, Smell, Taste, Mouthfeel can be summarized by this picture:

Drinkability? Depends on how much you like chocolate. Luckily, I like it a lot. But the overt chocolately sweetness and 6.3%abv makes 1 bottle plenty at a time. If you like chocolate but would like something a bit more complex, I would go for this one.

But really...Boozey chocolate? I like it. B+

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Belgium Stout and a Belgian (style) Ale and Puns

1) Omegang Witte. The Omegang Brewery is from Cooperstown, NY and makes Belgian style Ales.

I was excited to bust this bomber open. It is my first beer sealed by cork!

Appearance - cloudy light yellow, small head, dissipates quickly
Smells - citrus, not strong
Tastes - light, wheaty, mild spice
Feels - very light and crisp
Drinkability-very high, could have a couple. This is light, crisp, and refreshing, would be a good "session beer" in summer. This is a new term I learned - "session beer" =
a beer you can have several of without getting drunk and/or sick of it.

I enjoyed this with Fudgy the Whale which was a good luck gift to my sister who is auditioning for music schools. Total sophistication.

2) The Belgian Stout was a De Dolle Export Stout which is made primarily for export to the US, so it seems.

It's an odd bottle, old fashioned looking, as it's a 200 year old beverage. It's 11.2 ounces and 9% ABV.

Upon cracking it slightly open, foam starts pouring out slowly but thickly. It's slow enough that I can run it to the sink without spilling too much. Why does this happen? It was in the fridge, and then sat on the counter for 20 minutes or so. I didn't shake it or do a dance with it. Anyways, it took forever to pour. No matter how gently or how much of an angle I used, the foam was crazy. Even when the bottle was half-empty, it peaked up through the top like a worm. After reading a few reviews of this, I see I am not alone in this. Besides that, the appearance was pitch-black and the thick, mountainous worm-like foam was brown. The smell was of dark fruits, grapes, coffee, dark chocolate. The taste was bitter, dark, and roasty-toasty. It feels thick from the foam. Drinkability? This one is a sipper and feels like a meal. I wanted to like this but it was too much trouble, and too bitter, for my taste. I think I'm starting to learn that I don't like strong/bitter stouts. This is good!

Omegang Witte: A-
Fudgey the Whale: A
De Dolle Export Stout: C-