Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rain Rain Go Away with Pollinator

Sigh...There has been some mad rain here. The weather is like 70 degrees and sunny one day, and 30 degrees and stormy the next. It messes with my Seasonal Affective Disorder, for sure. And screams for some Spring-like delights. Such as this Pollenator from Long Trail brewing in Vermont.
It sure looks Spring-y. Pollen is all about the birds and the bees and flowers. This is a limited release beer, in celebration of Long Trail's 20th anniversary. It comes in a 22 oz. bottle, and was inexpensive at $2.50. The color was lovely - a golden amber, slightly hazy, and with a small white head with some nice lacing. The smell surprised me; it was more malt-dominant than I expected for a pale ale. There was a bit of hoppiness as well, and some citrus. The taste was also malty, with sweet lemon and honey. There also was a bitter hop bite but that was a minor aspect of the flavor. I don't know what pollen tastes like, but I detected something that could be pollen. The Pollenator was light and crisp, refreshing, and tasty. A different kind of pale ale.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Beer Geek/Beer Snob

You may find this amusing:
How To Tell If You Are A Beer Snob

I'm reading a great book by a fellow (lady) Beer Geek: The Naked Pint. It's one of the more entertaining and informative books on beer I've read thus far.

I still don't find myself at the height of beer geekdom. But I am making progress in my learnedness. The other day at the bar, I was ordering a Sam Adams Noble Pils and a guy asked me "What kind of beer is that anyways?" I answered, "Well, it's basically a hoppy pilsner. I find it to be rather floral, which is appropriate as its their spring seasonal." He said, "Ah." Yep.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Running Through the Foret

Back in the olden days, folks in Belgium made special beer in the winter to keep through the summer in order to be consumed by hard-working farmers during harvest season. They are generally bottle-conditioned (meaning unfiltered OR filtered but added with extra yeast at the end); either way they end up being "conditioned" in the bottle. They tend to be earthy, fruity, tart, and spicy. Back in the farming times they were made with 3% alcohol in order for the farmers to be refreshed but not inebriated. Now they tend to be more like 5-8% alcohol. These are called "Saisons" or "Farmhouse" style.

I never had one, but got this Foret from the Belgian Brasserie Dupont. Check out the adorable label. There's a unicorn on it! And beautiful trees, butterflies, and doggies. Cute! It also proclaims to be Belgium's only completely organic ale. Whoo-hoo!

Well, I'm no farmer but I do work hard in an office. And enjoyed this after work one evening. It poured a delightful peach color, completely hazy, and with a small white head that left minimal lacing. The smell was mostly Belgian yeast. It tasted like a nice Belgian ale with some strong peppery spice. Some mild citrus and lemons as well. It was tasty. The spice is what made it stand out as a little unique to me from other Belgians I've had.

A new style is always fun; hopefully I'll get to try more!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

EVIL STOUT: Mephistopheles

Hmm, there seems to be a devilish trend of several brews I've had. This is 1 of Avery Brewing Company's series of 3 "Demons of Ale." I previously had another one from these series: the Beast.
It pours black as night, black as your soul, black as the chest cavity where Satan's heart would go. The smell is rich but mild. Dark coffee, bitter chocolate, nuts, dark fruits. As it warms, these flavors all grow strong, but also include a definite alcohol presence in both feel and taste. Towards the end both the alcohol and the dark fruits (figs, grapes) are very in-your-face, making it a little difficult to finish. A beer this big (over 16% alcohol and over 100 IBUs) definitely requires a sinful snack. I don't know much (yet!) about pairing food and beer. But I can tell you what does not go well together. Mephistopheles and Dorito's 2nd degree burn. You would think they would compliment each other perfectly. A satanic stout with chips hotter than the fires of hell, right? Wrong. My mouth was burning, and the beverage did not help. But chocolate ice cream with this stout? Totally delicious. The sweet chocolate went excellently with the bitter coffee and dark chocolate flavors of the beer. Both had creamy textures and cooled off my scorched tongue. (Yeah those chips are really hot).

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hott Like Fire: Cave Creek Chili Beer

Yee-haw! Thanks to a kindly beer geek in Texas, I got hooked up with a bottle of this crazy brew. Cave Creek Chile Beer. (Check out the website! There's an educational cartoon about the masculinity of chile peppers. It's entertainment.) I was pumped to try this notorious beverage! Yet scared. I thought it would be hella nasty, stomach turning, vileness. It actually was kind of good in a bad way, you know?

I like spiciness. This is some spicy beer. My experience with chile beer has been limited to Theobroma and Rogue's Chipotle Ale. Cave Creek is, shall we say, less complex than both of these.

The appearance is the worst part of the beer. It's crystal clear yellow, kind of flat, and no head. Then the fun part - a sketchy looking chile pepper floating in the bottle (and then my glass). Seeing that pepper bob up and down, floating dangerously close to my mouth...Bleh.

Smells: bell peppers, chile peppers, hot sauce.

Tastes: like the same. The pepper and spice totally overpowers the "beer" characteristics. It's like chile pepper juice.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly thick for the appearance and flat.

Drinkability: Do you like spice? And not much else? If so, this is really not that bad. I got through 2/3 of the way through before pouring the rest down the drain. No it's not complex. No, you probably wouldn't serve this at a fancy lobster dinner with the pope. But for a novelty item, it's kind of good and even a little refreshing. I wish I had some tacos or nachos or something to eat with it. I'm glad I got to try it.