Thursday, September 24, 2009

YOW! Getting Spicy with Rogue's Chipotle Ale

I haven't tried many from Rogue brewery, in OR, although I often admire their lovely bottles and interesting sounding varieties. So imagine my delighted surprise when my gf came home with a bottle of Rogue's Chipotle Ale "just because." And she does not even drink beer. Swoon! I was not sure if I'd like it, but when we decided it was taco night, I decided I needed to try it.The bottle was decorated with a rendition of author Juan de la Cueva who wrote of a recipe using beer and chipotle seeds. Hence, chipotle ale!
The appearance was lovely. Amber with large sudsy off-white foam creating a large head that dissipated into a foamy ring around the top and lots o' lace.

The smell was mild. Sweet malts and just a bit of spice. Not as powerful and spicy as I thought it would be.
The taste: At first a nice sweet malty amber ale. And then - just the delightful flavor of chipotle (ripe and smoked jalepano peppers). There definitely was spice, but not in a super hot way. More like the flavor of the peppers. I could feel some heat though, and wondered if it was the spice, or the alcohol. Looking up the ABV - only 5.5% So the warmth was definitely spice-related.

If you like spice and chipotle flavor, you should definitely try this brew. Especially at taco night.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

More on Oktoberfest: Flying Dog's Dogtoberfest

Good people drink good beer - Hunter S. Thompson (used as Flying Dog's logo)
Oktoberfest has been celebrated in Munich since 1810, when a prince organized a horse race in honor of his upcoming marriage. It was celebrated with the race, and lots of beer. It's still a big party, albeit with a lack of horses. Current celebrations have over 6.5 million people and serve over 6.5 million liters (or something) of beer. WHOOOOOH! Par-tay. I prefer my quiet living room with the company of my gf and cat, thankyouverymuch.

I really have not tried Oktoberfest styles of beer, or Marzens, besides a couple of small samples last weekend. I randomly picked up this 6-pack of Flying Dog's Dogtoberfest. I never tried Flying Dog either - it's an interesting brewery. It started in CO and now distributes out of Maryland, as well. The packaging is known for having unique cartoon designs, created by a friend of Hunter S. Thompson (who is friends with the brewery's owner).

This Dogtoberfest looked like liquid caramel as it poured from the bottle into a pint glass. The thin brown head quickly fizzled away and left small spots of lace. It smelled mostly of sweet caramel malts, along with apples.

The taste: sour caramel apples, sweet malts, wheat or rye bread, and bitter hops towards the end. I tend to like hoppier beverages, but I liked this the more I drank this. It felt smooth and was not overly carbonated. It "sat on my tongue for a spell", coating my mouth with deliciousness.

Later I enjoyed the beverage alongside a feast. I made it myself. Chicken (fake for me, real for the gf), falaffel, hummus wraps, brown rice with tabouli and feta, yogurt-cucumber sauce, roasted garlic and stuffed olives. Impressed, no? NOM NOM.

Overall, this was a fairly sweet but balanced brew. On the Flying Dog website, I learned that they import all German products (hops, malt, yeast) for an authentic Oktoberfest beer. It was a pleasant drink and with 5.3%ABV it's easy to have several, particularly alongside some oom-pah music. I'm not sure I love the style of the Marzen, but I definitely enjoy this brew enough.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stimulating My Economy with Golden Anniversary Beer

Sorry to be gross. But I did stimulate my economy. Ahem. I am totally unfamiliar with Genesee Brewing but it bought Fred Koch's Brewery in 1985 (which was originally founded 100 years earlier)in Rochester, NY. Anyways, it has a reputation in New England, mainly for being affordable, and when I came across a 6-pack of Golden Anniversary Beer for $3.49, my wallet said YES PLEASE.
It poured the color of watered down lemonade. Even a very gentle pour created a huge head of mounds of white foam. It left spots of lacing on the pint glass. The smell was mild; corn, wheat, minor amounts of hops/malts. The taste was also mild. Watery. A metallic edge, but also a sweet edge. Bread/corn - some fairly nuetral carby taste.
It's thin and watery, but well-carbonated. Just 4.4% ABV, so it's on the light side of booziness.

Honestly, it's a basic American Lager. But I do enjoy it more than Budweiser/Miller/Coors. There is a light, slightly sweet, flavor that makes it more refreshing that BMC which tends to gross me out more than not. And at 58 cents a can...It's a helluva bargain.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Weary, Beery Weekend: Pumpkin Head, Oktoberfest, Tom Robbins

Ah, 'twas a good weekend for swilling an ale or 3. Now that it's getting to be Autumn, some maltier brews along the lines of Oktoberfests and Pumpkin Ales are coming out.
Part One:
I LOVE PUMPKIN. And after getting to recently try Southern Tier's Creme Brulee Stout I was eager to try their heavily lauded Imperial Pumpkin Ale - Pum King.
I poured the very attractive orange-peach color ale from the 22 oz. bottle into a wine glass, forming a small sudsy head that left decent lacing. The smell was awesome. Cinnamon, pumpkin, nutmeg, cookies, Autumn, back-to-school, Halloween. All of that. The taste? Gingerbread cookies and pumpkin pie atop a mild ale of malts and hops. Sweet, but not as much as you'd think. Started sweet, but the spice is what really stood out, especially the nutmeg, and then it ended on a bitter note. YUM. This is definitely an Autumnal treat. I drank the bomber over 3 hours. At one point I had a chocolate cupcake with it, which was awesome. The alcohol was not noticeable in taste, but I could definitely feel the 10%ABV after a while.

Part 2: The next day I stopped by a local Oktoberfest. It was pretty funny, and a nice (charitable) event, despite the drizzly rain. There was a strength contest - the ladies had to hold full steins out in front of them for as long as possible. The gentlemen had to hold kegs out in front of them! There was some traditional music, pretzels, and beer sampling. So what makes beer October/Oktober-style? Well, education: back in the day, brewers could not keep beer cold enough to brew in the summer, so they'd make a special beer in March, keep it cold in caves or caverns over the summer (some of which still are used in Germany)and then busted out to enjoy when the weather began to get colder once again. March = Marzen, so Oktoberfest beers are also called "Marzen". They are malty lagers, but that's about the only generalized characteristic that I can find. I sampled Sam Adams Oktoberfest and a Post Road Pumpkin Ale.

Part 3:
A trip to the public library and a glance in the new book room lead me to find this new book by Tom Robbins. I've never actually read anything by him, even though I know I've started Even Cowgirls Get the Blues multiple times. I should do something about that. Anyways, this is a "children's book for adults" about a smart 5 year old girl who learns about beer and life. It's actually pretty educational about the brewing process (as told by a Beer Fairy) and several micro-breweries get shout-outs. It's an odd little book, but entertaining enough and one I'd recommend to beer fans. Plus the little girl is sassy and kicks a drunk dude's ass at one point.

Pum-King Ale: A
Oktoberfest: B
B is for Beer: B

Monday, September 7, 2009

Day of Labor: With Dogfish Head's Burton Baton

Happy Labor Day! I'd say I have a good work ethic, and therefore deserve a day off like my other fellow Americans fortunate enough to be employed. It was LOVELY having a 3-day weekend, although busy. I'd really like to learn how to kick back and do nothing. You'd think I'd be good at that, what with this beer hobby of mine, and all. But no. Still a good weekend. I picked up a new piece of furniture, cleaned the apartment, hung some art, played with the kitty...Good times!

I did celebrate with some Dogfish Head Burton Baton. A mixture of their DELICIOUS 90 minute imperial IPA with an oak-aged English strong ale to create...An oak-aged imperial IPA. What the heck is the point of oak aging beer? Well, it mellows it out. Adds some woody-ness. Just in case beer needed yet another sexual innuendo. I love a lot of what Dogfish Head does, but I also have been disappointed with them. I was really looking forward to trying Burton Baton.
Appearance: Very pretty. A hazy reddish-amber. The thin fizzy head quickly disappeared leaving just a rim of bubbles.

Smell: This is when I started to get nervous. Upon opening the bottle, the smell of alcohol just poured out. This was replaced by sweet malts. Where are my hops? The smell was slightly reminiscent of their (disappointing) 120 minute - too much sugary malts and alcohol.

Taste: The smell made me apprehensive, but the taste, for the most part, improved things. It definitely had some caramel-malts going on with the wood-y taste balancing some pineapple-citrus and floral hops. Some tastes were nice and mellow and I could see what the beer could be. Other sips were too strong in alcohol taste and malts.

Mouthfeel: actually really nice. Felt soft with somewhat low carbonation.

Drinkability: Pretty good, especially for a 10% ABV. It's a sipper with rich complex tastes. I would rate it higher if the alcohol was less prominant and if the hops did not get lost in the sweet malts. It was $16 for a 4-pack. One bottle I put in my "aging box." It will be interesting to see how it fares with time.