Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I TOTALLY SCORED!


...Something way cooler than power converters from the finest of Tashi stations. More like, something to imbibe whilst avoiding doom in Mos Eisley Cantina.

Last year I saw "Imperial Stout Trooper" listed on a fancy beer bar's menu. It was $15. I thought "Cool name. But for $15? No way." For some reason this beer stuck with me. I love Star Wars. And I have started to love stouts and imperial stouts, at that. On BeerAdvocate.com I started to read inquiries about this beer a couple of months ago. I found out it was being released on December 21 from New England Brewing in Connecticut.
So on December 21st, I started to make phone calls. To the finest of liquor stores from Boston down to Cape Cod. Nothing. One place said they'd see if they could order it for me. This filled me with hope. A New Hope, if you will. It took them 4 days to call me back to inform me that, no, they would not be able to order any. Another place said "They might have some the next day" when the order came in. I stopped by. Nothing. I read online that this was made in a very limited quantity, hardly any came to MA, and that it was "selling like hotcakes."
I gave up. I will never be one with Imperial Stout Trooper. And then...I read online today. Again, BeerAdvocate.com. Someone mentioned that on Christmas Eve, Village Vineyards in Plymouth (5 minutes from my home!) got a case in. What?! I had called them previously, and they said they were not carrying it. But as soon as I read this news, I called. The guy said, sure, they have 12 bottles sitting right at the store's entrance.SCORE!!! I flew over to that store faster than a rebel in hyperspace. I wished I had more money. But 2 750 ml bottles at $16.50 each is already steep. But oh, how exciting.

One will be for my birthday. One...For a trade? To sell? To gift to someone extremely deserving with whom the force is strong? Who knows. This is the most time and energy I've spend on finding a beer. Totally gratifying.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I *Heart* A Good Mix-A-Six

When I first decided to learn about beer, I found a few places in my area that sold mix-a-six packs. They had a selection of individual bottles sold at individual prices, but mix a six of them, and save 10%! This is a fantastic concept for people trying to learn about the different varieties of beer. Having moved, I have not seen any places around my current place of residence that does this, however, I recently stumbled upon a place with a small but interesting mix-a-six area. Instead of having the bottles marked individually, the 6-pack was sold at a flat $10 rate.

I got 2 from the East. Sam Adams (Boston) and Heavy Seas (Maryland).

2 from the West. Avery (Colorado) and Sierra Nevada (California).



And 2 from outside the US. Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale (England) and Xingu (Brazil).



And apparently I had a holy theme going on here.

2 were oldies but goodies, one's I have had an enjoyed before - Sierra Nevada's Torpedo and Sam Adam's Holiday Porter. The others are all new to me. Whence beer shopping, I enjoy browsing. I could browse for a while. Reading labels. Pondering decisions. I usually do not have a ton of money to spend, so I make my selections thoughtfully. Therefore when the trying-to-be-helpful sales guy comes over and watches me selecting bottles with little comments about every one I look at or touch, it's annoying. I like talking beer and feel more comfortable doing so now. But dude, let me take my time and stop acting like a know-it-all. He also kept talking about how if you make smart decisions, you can actually save money on the flat rate. Yes, that is important to me, but not as important to me as getting an ineresting variety. Plus, there was some major crap - old summer ales and old bottles covered in dust. The one item I let his opinion influence me on was Avery's Stout. The only Avery products I've had were the deliciously intense Maharaja, and the scarily intense BEAST.

Reviews to come!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Beer from India: Maharaja


Not gonna lie - the cool label, the $1.79 (or something) price-tag, and the fact that it's from India is what made me instantly throw it into my shopping basket. I do not believe I have had an Indian beer, so I was excited to try the Maharaja Premium Indian Pilsner.

Now the "pilsner," if you will, is a German-style of beverage. Light in color and with some spice, hops, and possibly even some "zest."This looked like ginger ale. Light, straw-colored, and fizzy. No foam at all. It tasted and smelled like watery corn and apple. But honestly, it was kind of good. Kind of bland, kind of sweet, nothing too complex. I'd take it over a Bud any day.
C

Southern Tier's Backburner


Mmm...Another imperial treat from Southern Tier brewing. This one is a winter seasonal "barleywine" - a typically darker and high alcohol brew often fruity, sweet, and in the USA - hopped. According to the Southern Tier website, the British used to make barleywines with "the first runnings of the mash." I don't know what that means, but it is the inspiration for this beverage and it celebrates the new year and new beginnings. The label proclaimed it to be "the first brew of 2008" so it's getting close to a year old.It poured a dark amber with red highlights. The head was tight small bubbles that left tons of lace.It smelled and tasted fruity and sweet. Cherries and plums, also sweet malts, caramel and vanilla. The hops were present but not super noticeable. The 10% alcohol was felt but not tasted. This was soft and chewey, and complex. I sipped it over a long time, but it was enjoyable. I'd have another.
A-

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dear Santa, I've Been Alright:

'Tis the season bitches! (as they say). I <3 Xmas. And this blog is in no way a passive agressive hint to my true love of what to get me on the 12 days of Xmas. Not at all. No turtle doves, please. But...I do have some special wishes that may reflect what other beer lovers could enjoy.

1) Mr. Brew Home-Brewing Kit. I saw this on sale at Target. I thought it was $25, but maybe it was $50. Anyways, this is a deal. I don't know anything about homebrewing (yet!) but can only imagine it is messy and smelly and takes up a lot of space if you only live in a 1-bedroom apartment. But still.

2)Cool beer-related shirts*.("Life is too short to drink shitty beer" - in German for subtlety).Puns are always a plus.
*Note: I am trying to become a beer expert. Not a fashion expert. Don't hate.

Not to be confused with uncool beer-related shirts*.
Nope.
I am no fashion expert, but I do not believe vomit has ever been cool.No. Please, no.

3) Sam Adams' Color Spectrum/To-Do List
I've seen this on billboards, and I really like it. It's eye-catching and shows the vast array of brew colors. You can buy it as a magnet, but I'd prefer a ginormous poster of it. I don't think that exists, however.


4) Actual beer. Especially Star Wars themed. Imperial Stout Trooper comes from New England Brewing in CT and is released on Dec. 21st. Yes, I mostly want it for the bottle. But it's supposed to be a good beer too.

5) Another new brew, that does not come out until January. Flying Dog's 20th Anniversary Brew: Hey, my birthday is in January! Hmmm...So anyways, this is TMI, but a certain friend and I used to call that certain time of the month a "raging bitch." There was more to it, I'm sure, and it was more hilarious than it sounds. Duh. So when I read about a beer by that name (and it's an IPA, heck yeah!) you know I'm all over that.

6) A million Sierra Nevada Celebration Ales. Seriously, one of the best winter brews ever. It's just a kick-ass IPA. Delicious, pretty, sticky, and refreshing.
Geez, how high maintenance and greedy am I? Not very, I swear. But, these are some hott items that deserve a place on any beer drinker's wishlist.

I love the holidays. Raise your glass, feel the love, and cheers!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Warming Up with Sam Adams Cream Stout

It's already December! Yet...Not a flake of snow to be seen, and 2 days ago it was 70 degrees. What the hey! X-Mas is in 19 days! Hard to believe. However, whence shopping for brewskis it is clear the winter season is upon us. Holiday ales and winter brews abound. Something about cooler weather (at least theoretically cooler weather) lends itself to craving darker beers.

I picked up a 6-pack of Sam Adam's Cream Stout, an award-winning brew from the Sam Adam's Brewmaster Collection.
This is a lovely ale. It pours an extremely dark brown-to black, with mounds of fluffy tan head with decent retention and plenty of lace. Oooh la la! It smells like coffee with vanilla cream and dark bitter cocoa.The strongest taste is coffee, along with cream and sugar, roasted malts, and some vanilla and caramel. This is a rich beer with strong flavor, but it is not overly sweet at all like some other milk stouts.

This is a creamy, rich drink. Very good and easy to drink. It only has 4.8% alcohol which is on the low side and helps it to be a relatively sessionable stout. You could have it for dessert! Or with a fancy dessert!

A-