Sunday, January 27, 2013

Happy Birthday to Us! Birthday lunch at Growlers.

 My twin sister and I, at Growlers. We are now 34. It seemed like Growlers was playing music just for our demographic. Weezer, Green Day, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana...
My sister is awesome at planning activities for her out-of-town relatives. She got a groupon for Growlers; this is our first flight - 3 IPAs and 2 stouts. Anderson Valley Hop Ottin', Avery IPA, Flying Dog double IPA, Keegan Joe Mama's milk stout, Young's Double Chocolate stout. Some of our comments (I took notes): the Anderson Valley was all grapefruit, the Flying Dog douple IPA had noticeable alcohol warmth, Keegan Joe's Mama's milk stout smelled and tasted a lot like espresso, and Young's Double Chocolate stout was very smooth and much sweeter than the milk stout.
 Charming quote on the menu.
 Me in my happy place.
2nd flight - Kolsch lager, Bluepoint lager, Bronx black pale ale, Southern Tier's Eurotrash pils, Avery's White Rascal. Notes: The Kolsch was very light, and my sister enjoyed how well it went with her bacon-heavy brunch. The (Southern Tier) Eurotrash pils was light on the tongue, light in flavor, and refreshing.

 Oh, and food! French toast with potatoes and duck sausage.
 My BLT with a fried egg and cheese.
 
We got 2 glasses of our favorites. The Bronx Black Pale Ale, and Avery's White Rascal. My nephew is named Avery, so it was pointed out he is a rather White rascal. I enjoyed the Bronx Black Pale Ale enough to get a pint of it. I found it to be nutty, hoppy, chocolaty, and roasty with strong flavors.
Cheers, twin!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Innis & Gunn - a birthday treat.

I'm in NY! Visiting my twin sister and her beautiful family. My sister encouraged me to try some new beer! So we picked up a gift set of Innis & Gunn's Oak Aged beers. I don't believe I've ever had Innis & Gunn before - they have a neat story. A whisky producer wanted to make an aged whisky flavored with ale...Said ale was born, used to flavor the whisky, and sadly thrown away. Luckily someone tasted the ale after it was aged in the whisky barrels and noticed it was delicious! Yay - thanks for the delicious accident, fellas.
We got to taste the original, a rum cask aged ale, and a winter porter.
1) The original. 6.6% ABV (alcohol by volume) aged for 77 days. 
It poured a clear light orange-amber, with low carbonation.
Strong nose. Oak and vanilla. A little caramel and hops. Sweetish, pleasant. Easy-drinking. 
2) Rum-Cask aged. 
A wee heavy.This one poured a dark ruby red/brown with light brown head. Very pretty. A stronger nose and flavor than the original - rum and vanilla! Definitely more of a sipper than the original. 7.4% ABV; matured for 57 days. As it warmed, the vanilla stood out in both nose and flavor. Lovely.
3)  Winter beer.
A porter brewed with molasses. 7.4% ABV and matured for 39 days. Very dark brown with ruby highlights and a sudsy brown head. Flavor was heavy, and not like a typical porter. The molasses was definitely noticeable along with some dark fruit, vanilla, and oak.

Overall, all 3 were delicious and fun to taste with my family. My dad and I liked #2, the rum cask beer the best. My sister was partial to the original.

Glad I got to try these! Thanks twinny.

#1) The Original - A-
#2) Rum-cask aged -  A
#3) Winter beer - B+

Kombucha...Ginger...Beer

Well, it's a new year and that means resolutions. My dad and I are both trying to get in shape. He's riding his excercise bike, I'm taking walks, we are eating our veggies...And for the month of January we vowed to cut out both beer and ice cream. And, we've both cheated. But just a little!!
I did cheat with one beer that was hardly beer. It was kombucha. I've had kombucha a few times. I don't really get it, but I know it's super healthy and has weird floaty yeast/bacteria strands. This one was from Unity Vibration Living Kombucha Tea LLC in Ypsilanti, MI. The bottle informed me that it is oak barrel aged, open-air fermented, bottle conditioned, with fresh ginger and full leaf hops.
Appearance: did not really look like beer or kombucha. No floaties. Pale yellow. Little carbonation. Cloudy.
Smell: Fresh ginger! Lemon. More kombucha-smelling than beer-smelling.

Taste: Ginger up the wazoo! (I love ginger). And kombucha. And vinegar. And alcohol. So weird. The bottle says there is "crushed fruit" but not what kinds. I pick up lemon and maybe apple. The oak flavor is barely noticeable as are the hops. Ginger/Kombucha dominates.

Mouthfeel: Thin and crisp.

Drinkability: Surprisingly good. Drank this faster than I would a normal kombucha. Maybe I drank this faster even than a normal beer.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It is not like a typical beer. It was very refreshing and tasty. And perhaps had some health benefits. Perfect for semi-cheating on my new year's resolutions.
A