Saturday, February 26, 2011

2 Ladies, Eh?: Sofie and Matilda

I picked up these 2 beers for a couple of reasons. One, Goose Island from Chicago has a good reputation, and I have not had much from them. Two, their simple yet elegant labels. One labeled "Sofie," one labeled, "Matilda," both labeled, "Belgian-style Ale." I picked up one of each (One of Each!) on Friday and brought them home to me pops.

We cracked open the Sofie first, a farmhouse ale or "saison." Btw, you should totally click on that link; Goose Island has a great website including short informational videos about each beer! I hadn't had a saison in a long time and had to remind myself of their origins: bottle-conditioned beer made by farmers during the winter to be stored until the summer. This Sofie was brewed in 2010, has 6.5% alcohol, and can be stored for up to 5 years. 20% of the beverage was aged in wine bottles with orange peel; this was a highly citrus-y brew.

It poured a very cloudy pale yellow, with a huge billowing head that left a ton of lacing. The nose was strong and very pleasant - banana, lemon, and pepper. Upon tasting my dad declared, "This has lots of flavor, or should I say flavorS." Well said! Lemony, zesty, tart green apple. Yeast, bitterness, very tasty. Lots of strong flavors that worked well together.

This beverage was crisp, tingly, and had a little warmth from the alcohol. Great drinkability, I found myself drinking my glass pretty quickly. That being said, after splitting the one 12oz bottle, my dad and I felt satiated. Nevertheless, the show must go on, so I brought out the...
Matilda! And again, my dad and I split a bottle. Matilda is a Belgian-style Pale Ale with 7% alcohol. This poured a darker orange, still cloudy, with a small fizzy white head. The smell was not as strong as Sofie but sweeter.

The taste started bitter, then citrus and Belgian yeast stood out. A little floral, overall this felt "muted" in both taste and smell. Aftertaste funky.

The body was medium, soft, and light. I've had other Belgian Pale Ales that I've enjoyed a little more than this. It was tasty and pleasant, but I think I like stronger flavors. Overall, both were enjoyable and I dig Goose Island's style.
Sofie: A
Matilda: B+

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Crappy Beer on Business

I'm in Orlando on bizness. It's actually really cool, it's for a very huge conference on Health Information Technology. First of all, I just need to define the things I find funny at professional conferences. Men in suits on Segways. Obviously. Men in suits getting their shoes shined. It's the equivalent of a pedicure and makes me feel funny. There's always lots of walking, yet many women wear heels and are limping horribly by the end of day 1. Funny giveaways - I got my photo taken with a cardboard Barack Obama, fancy post-its, and a light up bouncy ball!

Anyhow, tonight I decided it was time for a beer break. My first night at the hotel suite I sought out the on-site convenience store and purchased a 24 ounce can of bud lite lime, figuring it would come in handy. I don't think I have had this before. Obviously Coors, Miller, Bud...All the same. Yet, I have associations with each one, whether fair or not. Miller is a lesbian-friendly beer so it's top choice of the three. Coors is working-class, so that makes it the #2 slot. But Bud...It's just frat to me. So Bud Lite Lime would be sorority. Maybe those connotations are not fair, but that's what they are, I'm just a victim of society, man.

It poured a golden color with a large sudsy head. It smelled of lime. It tasted of lime. Which *is* a big improvement over regular bud taste. The mouthfeel was thin, but surprisingly not as watery as I expected. It actually had a little body! Hot. Overall, this was surprisingly palatable. Cold, wet, and lime. More actual beer flavor and a higher alcohol content would improve this greatly. But for what it is, I can't complain. C

Next it was onto the hotel bar! The choices were awesome (no)- Bud, Bud Lite, or Yuengling, which I went for. I texted a beer buddy of mine, who informed me that Yuengling is President Obama's beer of choice. I could feel my inner-beer snob emerging, but I liked this enough to have 2 glasses. This was also due to the friendly (and cute) girl who was chatting me up at the bar. This lager poured a brownish-amber with a thin white head that instantly disappeared. Not much odor, just mildly malty. The taste was sweeter than other macro lagers. Caramel malts stood out with a bit of bitter hops. This was medium-bodied, very smooth, with low carbonation. I declare Yuengling supremely average, but still better than Bud. C+

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Lil' Sumpin and Walgreen's Beer

Why haven't I tried Lagunita's Lil' Sumpin Sumpin ale before? The name is fantastic, the label is adorably sexy, and I've enjoyed Lagunita's beverages in the past. This is lovely - a clear honey-amber with a solid white head with great retention that left a lot of lacing. The nose was nice and strong - heavy on lemon, citrus hops galore, and a little pine.The flavors are strong! This is a wheat ale and a summer seasonal. Strong flavors of citrus, bitter hops, sweet malts, and wheat. As it warmed up the flavors mellowed out but were still strong and really pleasant. This was smooth and soft feeling. Great drinkability; it was nice to have a strong (7.5% ABV) summer ale on a cold's winter day. A- So, on an entirely different note, a good buddy of mine brought me a gift a couple of months ago. A six-pack of Big Flats, a beer carried exclusively by Walgreen's. $2.99 for a 6-pack. I admit, this sat in my garage for a good 2 months. I figured it would be bad. Real bad. Tonight a different friend who works at Walgreen's asked me if I had tried it. I knew the time had come. First of all, the label and name are terrible. Who wants a "big flat" beer? Anyways, I poured a can of this and noticed it was far from flat. Extremely pale with a massive sudsy head. Not much smell. Not much taste, just a little odd sweetness. So basically your typical macro lager but blander and sweeter. I did not pick up on any alcohol content either, although it's listed as having 4.5%. Thin, watery, bland. Honestly not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. And for 50 cents a can, it's cheaper than bottled water. C+