Friday, April 30, 2010

Bootlegger's Brewery Review

I thought I would write a more in depth review of the actual 23beers I tasted at the Bootlegger's Brewery 2nd Anniversary Tasting.

The first thing I want to make absolutely clear was that ALL of the 23!/30 beers I tasted were really good. Did I like all of them? No, but there was not a badly made beer in all of the beers I tried. Pink Funkasaurus(By Bootlegger's own admission)? In a word, funky. But, it tasted EXACTLY how it was described. Ok so it wasn't sweaty sweet strawberries but I new it was going to be weird going in.

That was definitely a very pleasant surprise with every single one of the beers. All of them, and I mean all, tasted exactly how they were described. If it was supposed to taste and smell like liqourice and molasses I could close my eyes and unbeknownst to me, be handed the Blackstrap Porter and pick those exact flavors and aromas out of the beer. So many beers nowadays seem to just have the merest suggestion of the flavors and smells but Bootlegger's does flavors big, and without being cloyingly sweet or overpowering what a beer should taste like.

I'm not one for fruit infused beers but their Plum Riot smells salty and fresh with a hint of plum on the nose and enough on the tongue to make it be noticed but not NOTICED. I enjoyed it and it was the best out of the fruit infused ales.

The lambic #2 was fruity and sweet and funky like a good lambic should be but the sweet didn't overpower the sour and vice versa. I haven't had too many lambics but this was the first one I've enjoyed.

If I had to pick one fault with the beers that I tasted it would be that all of the IPA's and dry hopped beers had nearly the exact same aroma and level of bitterness. I don't know for sure but I would bet the same hops were used for all of them. Whether they were supposed to be over the top or lightly hopped they had the same wonderful grapefruit aroma, not much pine, and the bitter bite didn't fluctuate from brew to brew. That's not to say they weren't good. They were, they were great IPA's. The best being the Dr. Tongue. I grew up in NorCal so pine is no big deal to me but I love when the citrusy grapefruit is there to balance the bitter.

Being an anniversary there had to be a special anniversary brew. I didn't come to(if there was one) last years bash but they had last year's brew on tap and they couldn't have been more different. I liked that they were different too. Where's the fun in brewing a slightly modified version? Last year's 76 Anniversary Ale(on the right) was a malty sweet coffee colored brew with coffee on the nose and suspended sediment that coated your tongue. A really good drink. This year's 77 Anniversary Ale was a hoppy, citrusy, bubbly IPA style brew that I actually ranked as my top IPA of the day even though it wasn't labeled as such.

All in all the best beer of the day for me was the Black Phoenix which is a coffee chipotle stout that I reviewed in the previous post on Bootlegger's. It tastes just like it sounds with the perfect level of each ingredient and at 6.7% this will be my next growler fill.

Thank you Bootlegger's for your well crafted and imaginative beer. I may not have liked them all but I guarantee each beer was liked by someone, because the only funk there was, was intentional, and there was not a fault to be found. Go check out Bootlegger's if you are in Southern California

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

23 Beers! Bootlegger Anniversary Tasting

Yes, 23 beers, and we didn't even taste them all!

I was introduced to Bootlegger's by The German because he went to school with the Head Brewer Aaron Barkenhagen.

Located in Fullerton, California a little off the beaten path of the downtown strip Bootlegger's Is a 7 barrel brewhouse with 3 fermenters offering a WIDE variety of styles. All of them were on display for everyone to try for their 2 year anniversary.

Aaron and his dad built the brewery from the ground up. They put in plumbing, electrical, and all the inner workings of a full scale microbrewery. It's truly a family affair with Aaron's wife being the Vice President of the company.

We were a little disappointed about the food truck that was at our later session. I had been looking forward to the gourmet truck from Vizzi's but we ended up with a sort of half staffed, half stocked "gourmet" sausage joint. It was just ok, and not what we had expected nor was it what I would consider worth the price of the ticket.

All three of us(Myself, D, and The Girl of Jewish Descent, as my Mom would now like me to call her(Now to be known as, Tofu? I don't know, Other friend maybe? Suggestions?) were very pleased with the beer offerings. Yeah, there were some weird ones, Pink Funkasaurus? But that's what you do when you come to a tasting like this, broaden your horizons. I'm just glad my horizons don't run as broad as what Talya described the aforementioned funk as, "Sugar and bubbles added to sweaty strawberries, steeped in a gym sock." Funky.

However, the "Plum Riot" was the best fruit infused ale I've ever had and the Lambic #2 was also a standout in the sweet category.

One thing we definitely noticed about ALL of Bootlegger's beers is that they ALWAYS tasted how they were described. The beer of the night for both Tofu/Jew/Other Friend and myself was the Black Phoenix which is a coffee chipotle stout. Pefect balance between earthy coffee and chipotle with just a hint of heat on the back end of. The best thing was that this wasn't 7-11 quality coffee, it wasn't burnt or roasty toasty. This was more like artisinally brewed Italian coffee that you get in a taza in Rome while you eat a bit of bread and listen to the old men's morning banter. The body was velvety but not too thick, perfect amount of carbonation and the deep black liquid with light tan head was just nice to look at.

I enjoyed every minute of the day. The sun was out, D was with me, Seitan(not Satan)/tofu/Something was there. Random people in Utilikilts were making me laugh.

Which, funny enough, I am totally familiar with since my beer loving and brewing cousin wears one all the time. Is it weird that I think I might too if I could get away with it? Imagine me coming to school in a "dress kilt." I don't think that would go over too well. Yet again, I might spark a craze. ANYthing is better than those too tight pants that my students wear now.

Thank you Bootlegger's we had a great time! You have renewed my interest in filling the growler that has been collecting dust in my pantry. I see a Black Phoenix in my future.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Young's Double Chocolate Stout

 It's always nice to be able to geek out with someone who appreciates beer. I mean, don't get me wrong I have friends who "appreciate" beer, but Miller, Coors, Bud, Wizzwater leave a little to be desired in the appearance, aroma, taste, finish, and composition categories. They score a big zero for me. So when JD from Lost in the Beer Aisle and I were able to hook up for another transcontinental beer brainstorm I was excited. This time we reviewed Young's Double Chocolate Stout. Which, as you will read, was a little deceptive in its packaging. What follows is the transcript from our discussion as well as a repost of Lost's blog.

Tonight I had a beer brainstorm scheduled with Tyler from Foodmented. When he logged on to start the brainstorm, I was smack-dab in the middle of watching the Bruins game. In sudden-death overtime no less! I was a trooper and multitasked. The Bruins ended up winning in a second overtime in dramatic fashion. It was one of those "jumping up and down in your livingroom while your wife looks at you like you're raving mad" kinda moments. I just had to tell that story before getting on with the brainstorm of Young's Double Chocolate Stout. :)

Lost_in_Beer: I've had my bottle out for 25 minutes
Lost_in_Beer: Figured it would be better warmer
BreworFerment: mine came out about 7 minutes ago
BreworFerment: usually but I do like to have sort of a gradient of temperatures
Lost_in_Beer: I'm cracking the bottle
BreworFerment: Watch the head I poured already. It falls like guiness from a nitro bottle or at least mine did
Lost_in_Beer: Big fluffy head?
BreworFerment: not really big and fluffy no lacing and it didn't really stick around much but it had that nice looking cascade did yours?
Lost_in_Beer:'s like two different beers :)
BreworFerment: well you did have yours out for a LOT longer then mine before you poured
BreworFerment: Mine doesn't have a whole lot of aroma, a little bit of roast with a HINT of chocolate on the back end
Lost_in_Beer: I'm getting chocolate overload on the nose
Lost_in_Beer: Let us drink
Lost_in_Beer: Surprising body on it
BreworFerment: coffee, roast, and chocolate on the back
Lost_in_Beer: Not as thick as I expected
BreworFerment: yeah not as thick but it has a lot of carbonation for a stout
BreworFerment: at least the ones I have been drinking of late
Lost_in_Beer: About the coffee...kinda odd eh? I expected a chocolate explosion and nothing else
BreworFerment: that will tone down the body quite a bit
BreworFerment: Yeah I'm wondering if they actually used any chocolate in the brewing
Lost_in_Beer: "chocolate malt and real dark chocolate are combined..." From the label
BreworFerment: Im not getting a whole lot of that chocolate but the bitterness of the dark choclate sure sticks around. loooooong finish
BreworFerment: It's sweet on the front end and then finishes real bitter
BreworFerment: I'm wishing it wasn't as carbonated
Lost_in_Beer: I think the carb gives it something special
Lost_in_Beer: This stuff goes down fast
Lost_in_Beer: I'm guessing it's pretty light on the ABV. Maybe 6%?
BreworFerment: yeah its only 5. something I think
Lost_in_Beer: 5.2 I guess
Lost_in_Beer: There is such an insane difference in beers sometimes. You can have a crazy thick, high ABV stout and then you can have something like this
BreworFerment: yeah I was reading about the beers they actually drink in Belgium and most of them are in the 4 maybe high 5 range and every bit as much flavor
Lost_in_Beer: I could probably drink a few of these if I was chilling at the bar.
BreworFerment: definitely a great Saturday afternoon hanging out at the bar watching a game beer. I can picture myself relaxing to this one with friends. A nice sipper
Lost_in_Beer: I will say that there's a little false advertising going on here
Lost_in_Beer: When I see "Double Chocolate" I want chocolate
Lost_in_Beer: Not coffee with some chocolate tones
BreworFerment: It should have been double espresso
BreworFerment: it tastes like a chocolate covered coffee bean that only has half of the bean covered
Lost_in_Beer: good analogy!
BreworFerment: I think I like it but it bugs with the label....It's kind of like when you think you know whats in a glass and you drink it and for a second it sort of tastes like that but then you realize it's something else and you are disappointed
Lost_in_Beer: I'm guessing that there isn't coffee in the brew. It's prolly just really dark roasted malt with the dark chocolate combining to make the flavor
BreworFerment: yeah its chocolate malt, crystal malt, English hops, and dark chocolate
Lost_in_Beer: Well I kicked my 12oz bottle
Lost_in_Beer: My summary thoughts....
Lost_in_Beer: Minus the false advertising, it's a surprisingly drinkable. Not as sweet as I had envisioned...actually quite balanced. A solid A- or B+ kinda brew.
BreworFerment: Mine:
BreworFerment: If I let the label go I think it's really good
BreworFerment: I'm relabeling it, " Young's Half Covered Espresso Bean Stout" though
Lost_in_Beer: nice
Lost_in_Beer: :)
Lost_in_Beer: You should call or write them
BreworFerment: I just might
BreworFerment: Ok well I'm being yelled at for food!
BreworFerment: Good luck on the game and thanks for the tasting let's do one of your sweet beers some time
Lost_in_Beer: thanks man!
Lost_in_Beer: Hope something good is on tap for dinner!
BreworFerment: beef stroganoff!
BreworFerment: Think it might actually go well with this
BreworFerment: Keep in touch
Lost_in_Beer: will do
Lost_in_Beer: I still owe you a guest review!
Lost_in_Beer: I will get to it soon.
BreworFerment: me too!
BreworFerment: ditto
BreworFerment: good night
Lost_in_Beer: aight bud
Lost_in_Beer: later

Just like last time I had a blast being a nerd drinking beer and talking to my virtual tasting buddy. I also got a pleasant surprise when I was done. Not only had my beautiful and wonderful fiance cooked up a fabulous meal of beef stroganoff, The Jew had brought over a 22 of Victory's Wild Devil IPA. This one is the same formulation as their Hop Devil I reviewed recently except it is totally fermented with Brettanomyces, or, "Brett." This gives it a very interesting sour taste and aroma that she will be guest reviewing for me soon. Till then, Cheers!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bootlegger Brewery Anniversary Dinner

D and I are heading out to what sounds like is going to be a GREAT beer tasting tonight. It's for a Brewery in Fullerton, Ca called Bootlegger's. The brewmaster is a friend of a friend and I've been there before. He makes really great stuff so we are excited that he's celebrating his 2nd anniversary. Here's an intro to what we are getting to taste and eat tonight. I'll post more and pictures later.

      -          20+ house beers on tap
-          A band and a DJ
-          10 taster tickets
-          Unveiling of a new 77 anniversary ale, a Belgian-style barley wine.
-          Food ticket for the gourmet food truck
-          A special collaboration desert with the gourmet food truck
      -          Plus more

A Partial list of beers that will be on tap are as follows:
-Palomino Pale Ale
-Old World Hefeweizen
-Golden Chaos
-Black Phoenix
-Rustic Rye IPA
-Dr. Tongue IPA
-California Uber Alles IPA
-Knuckle Sandwich DIPA
-Prohibition Mild
-76 Anniversary
-Old School 76 Anniversary (soured in a barrel)
-77 Anniversary
-Double Dry Hopped 77 Anniversary
-Strawberry Sour
-Blueberry Sour
-Blackberry Sour
-Cherry Sour
-Cherry Chernobyl
-Bourbon Chaos
-Brandy Chaos
-Kentucky Wild
-Old World Dunkelweisen

Friday, April 23, 2010

J Winery at Disneyland's Wine and Food Festival

 D and I's favorite sparkling wine in a close run with Mosby's Stelline is J Winery's Cuvee 20 from the Russian River Valley. Their iconic swooping yellow J on the voluptuous bottle jumps out at you from the shelves and screams, "Pick me!" So when D found out that the vintner was going to be doing a FREE tasting and discussion at the yearly food festival at California Adventures in Disneyland we dropped our plans and headed over. This is much easier when you have a yearly pass like we do.
The festival draws a "veritable pantheon of culinary giants" to quote Alton Brown and Iron Chef America. There are all kinds of celebrity chefs giving classes and demonstrations. It's over a month long and the offerings run the gamut from beer education to 5 star restaurant dinners with pairings.

D and I had the opportunity to sit on the J tasting where we were lucky enough to taste their pinot noir(WAAAY too oaky), their pinot grigio(surprisingly tasty, although it still smells like feet), and their flagship Cuvee 20 sparkling(Delicious, biscuity, yeasty, goodness). We got a free cheese plate from a Disney worker before we went in to taste too! Score!

Here's a picture of my tasting notes.

They also serve a smattering of dishes throughout the festival. D tried the beer cheese soup and I had some seared ahi. The ahi was meh but the cheese soup was great according to D

 Ahi, pale, pale ahi. Can you find it? The slaw was good though.
The Beer Cheese Soup in a Bread Bowl

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Belhaven Scottish Ale

I had this one at The Olde Ship in Santa Ana. We were there for Other Asian's birthday. This is the third year in a row that we have met at this very classic British pub. It serves the classics like fish and chips(fries), bangers and mash, and some token Indian dishes in homage to the role that culture has played in their shared history. The portions are huge and the prices are not bad.

The taps are all European and they only have a couple crappy American macro brews in bottle. If you are going to a pub why are you drinking that stuff anyway? They have a 6 taster option but our waitress ever so nicely hinted it wasn't a good idea, how did she put it, "Don't get too fond of that because I don't want a lot of people ordering it." Ok so I guess one pint it is!

I was in the mood for an ESB(Extra Special Bitter) but they keg was dry. What? Grrrr. So I opted for the next best thing, a nice Scottish Ale. I love whiskey and the malty smoked peat flavors in the Scottish Ales always cheers me up.

Unfortunately this one didn't quite come through on the smoky peaty goodness. It was a little sweet like most, a tad bitter, and a little flat. I liked the mouthfeel which was medium and velvety. The head was decent, and the finish left before it began. Needless to say this wasn't my favorite Scottish ale. It was just OK. Satisfying, I will leave it at that. The title of favorite Scotch ale still belongs(amazingly) to Sam Adams Scotch ale which I reviewed previously. I'm glad I didn't come JUST for the beer. Other Asian is always fun to see and the vibe of the place just seems homey like any good pub should. D brought her a cake again this year. Though not as elaborate as last year's Hello Kitty Beach scene cake, this one was a 2-4 person, elegant mini that she prepped during the epic Wedding Cake Weekend. I can gladly say we are both glad that one is over.

Overall: 2.5/5

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Victory Brewing Hopdevil

I won't lie, I picked this one up because I liked the picture and the name. I mean what's not to like about a devil made with hops cones? Awesome. It helped that it was brewed by Victory which I've enjoyed in the past but really it was all about Beelzebub.

This was pretty well balanced leaning towards the bitter side. Just enough malty sweetness to render it a 1 or 2 bottle drinker if I had bought a six-pack.

Appearance: Dark copper, hazy, large slightly off-white head

Aroma: Pine, but not as much as some of the more recent IPA's I've been tasting. Some grapefruit and a little floral. Nice smell. It didn't smell like a Hop Hand Grenade like so many of the West Coast IPA's.

Taste: Really good. Not as balanced as the Deschutes Hop Henge(#1 IPA in my book). It didn't have that malty sweet note that tones down the bitterness but it wasn't an all-out taste bud assault either. Somewhere in a nice place in the middle between Hop Henge and West Coast IPA from Green Flash. Believe me, you do NOT want to be more bitter than that West Coast IPA was, unless of course you don't feel like tasting your food afterwards.

Overall: 3.5/5 This is probably my 3rd favorite IPA of all time. Hop Henge #1 and Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA #2. Really good company to be in.

Monday, April 19, 2010

North Coast Brewery Pranqster

Ok so I made a decision based on money and the fact that I could get this one in 12 oz bottles instead of 22's. There were 4 in the pack and I figured hey, they won MULtiple World Beer Cup awards it's gotta be good right? Note to self, don't EVER make a decision between two beers based on a couple bucks and what kind of bottle it comes in.

It's not that this Belgian golden ale was bad, it is just that it is completely bland. No character. Not in the appearance, not in the aroma, not in the taste. Boring. Boring. Boring.

So boring in fact that I almost don't want to open another to take a picture. I had one the other night and scored it without taking a picture figuring I had three others to crack open for just that purpose. I'm really kicking myself for that one. It's almost worth it to clear room in the fridge to just sacrifice one down the drain for the sake of photography. Blasphemy! I know, but my fridge room is precious.

Appearance: Golden with lots of bubbles. This is where I should have stopped because it went downhill from the true to style color

Aroma: Pretty much nothing. Oh I guess it smelled like beer, kinda.

Taste: Booooring.

Overall: 1/5

Friday, April 16, 2010

Black Hart Irish Style Dry Stout

Sorry about the Iphone pic but we had a lot of people over and I didn't trust myself with the good camera, having already gotten a decent buzz on.

This is a random Irish Stout that I've had in my fridge for about a month now. We had all of the "Condo of Awesomeness" people over Saturday night and I pulled this out to drink because I was severely dissappointed in my Pranqster Belgian Golden Ale. How the hell did that win World Beer Cup Awards for years? Totally unremarkable.

This Irish Stout is pretty unremarkable too. Not real thick on the mouthfeel. Low carbonation helps with that. Roasted taste and smell. Really more smokey than roasted though.

It was ok.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Belgium 1554

I'm not sure what makes this beer "enlightened" as New Belgium calls this Black Ale they could have called it morally deficient or even soulless and I wouldn't care because it is so good.

There is a lot of nostalgia associated with this one because the German and I used to drink this on our man nights before he went from being All-American to transplant German, Married, and Super Dad-Like.

D and I cannot wait for them to get back for so many reasons. Weekly food, beer, wine, TV, zone out sessions. Trips to the swapmeet for sausages on Saturdays. Auntie D and Uncle T "trainer baby" nights. We can practice on little H and then give her back at the end of the night. Hey, we're on a six year plan and nobody operates a rental baby service that I know of. I think that's called slavery or something.

ANYway. The beer. Right. Good.

Appearance: Really dark, opaque(can't see through it). Slight red highlights along the rim. Offwhite head

Aroma: Roasted, Biscuity, Chocolate, a little bit of spice, earthy. Is "good" on the aroma wheel?

Taste: The toasted malt comes through along with a hint of coffee and chocolate. A little bit of the bread from the belgian yeast as well. The body is a little thin for the taste but I think that is because there is quite a bit of carbonation which makes it crisp. I think it's more of the perception that since this beer is so dark it's going to be heavier than it is. It's actually a really refreshing, slightly dry brew. At 5.5% ABV this is 6-pack quaffable
though I'd punish myself in the gym the next day.

Overall: 4 out of 5 it needed a little less carbonation and a little more body. Still my favorite New Belgium Brew by far

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Candy Core 2004 Late Harvest Grenache

This was the second pour of the night after the first attempt at an after dinner drink failed. We had held onto a late harvest zinfandel from Mt Vernon Winery for a little too long although I thought it was WAY to early for it to be bad.

The great thing about it going bad though was that we got to open up this wine. I like to call my late harvest wines, "ports with training wheels," because they don't have that alcohol bite but they have that jammy, raisiny, syrupy feel to them. This one would have gone great with a cigar as it had a nice smoky taste, a little bit of spice and leather.

If you are up in Santa Ynez, Core Winery is DEFinitely worth a spot on your list of tasting venues. It may look unassuming but the wines and the family that owns it are both top notch.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mt. Vernon Winery 2004 Late Harvest Zinfandel

This was such a disappointment. Mt. Vernon Winery is a little operation in Northern California in a small mining town called Auburn. It's a bit North of Sacramento and it has some fabulous wines. We've been cellaring this for about 2 years now and we decided we should open it up as an after dinner treat in honor of the brisket the Jew brought us. Yes, the Jew is a vegetarian. No, this was not Briskoy or Tofrisket. This was meaty, fatty, wonderful goodness made with love by a Jewish mother, for two Goyem. Yes, I know some Yiddish.

The reason this was a disappointment had nothing to do with the brisket, it was, word of the day, unctuous.  The disappointment was the fact that the wine had turned. I knew something was wrong when it poured out fizzy into our brand new port glasses(I love getting married). This was definitely NOT supposed to be a sparkling wine. First taste, maybe it's ok? Maybe not. I'm hoping I can use it as very expensive vinegar to cook with. Hopefully.

Tomorrow's review will be ANOTHER dessert wine from our new favorite, Core Winery, a late harvest grenache. We had to open that one after this disaster. MUCH better.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Deschutes Brewing Hop Henge IPA

This is the second beer in Deschutes lineup called their "Bond St. Series" that I have reviewed. The first being their ode to fresh hops, Hop Trip. Let me start off by saying that I am a bit biased towards Deschutes, having grown up skiing at Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Or. I have had many a Black Butte Porter from here and in fact that is my mom's favorite beer.

I shared this 22 with The Jew as she had brought us brisket over for dinner. No, I am not kidding, she is a vegan Jew who brought D and I brisket. Who am I to say no to brisket from a Jewish mother's kitchen? I have all kinds of Yiddish rolling around in my head right now. Anyway, being the hop head that she is she was stoked to have some of this.

Appearance:  Caramely, coppery with an off white head

Aroma: MMMmmmmm....It's an IPA so of course there is pine but it's not overpowering. There was a floral aspect to it and a little citrus. I knew right away that this beer was going to be balanced despite being 93 IBU's because I could smell the malt mixed in with the herbaceous hops. I was really stoked to dive into this one.

Taste: Can I say MMMmmmm again? Redundant, but MMMmmmmm...this is so well balanced! If you are a hop head it might not satisfy you but I was in heaven. Slightly creamy body, perfectly light carbonation. Caramel and a little sweetness on the front end and piney bitter on the back end. Looong finish. I did not want this 22 to end. I KNOW it was good because the Jew refilled her glass before I had finished mine. That. Good.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 I have to leave room for improvement.

Oh and the food at their brewpub is outstanding if you are ever out in Bend it is definitely worth a lunch time trip. The Black Butte Porter Mustard? I think I would drink it if I thought people wouldn't lock me up in a mental institution somewhere.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Kuyam 2008 Sauvignon Blanc from Core Winery

This sauvignon blanc from our new #2 winery, Core, in Santa Ynez is from their Kuyam line up. The owner was nice enough to uncork a bottle for us to taste even though it wasn't on the menu of the day. D and I love us some SB and we weren't disappointed after the tipple so we bought a bottle to add to our already overflowing car on our Santa Ynez jaunt.

We opened this one up about a week later and were just as happy as when we bought it. There wasn't as much of that tingling acid feel present in so may of the SB's out there but D was extremely happy with the smell. Cat Pee! I mean, who doesn't find cat pee appetizing? It is such a great aperitif to a good meal. Kidding aside the vegetal, ammonia(ish), smell is something we both love, although it had to grow on me.

Made in stainless steel and neutral wood with 18% orange muscat, this wine expresses that citrus, grapefruit flavor with a bit of orange. The cool thing about this wine, at least, to me was that it sort of ended up being two wines in one. The first night it was very obvious SB but the second night the color had changed to a deeper gold and it now tasted like a chardonnay. D and I have not been huge fans of chardonnay of late but I really liked the flavor of this Sauvignardonnay as I am dubbing it.

This is another winner from a great find of a winery, Core.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Green Flash Brewing Imperial IPA

So the Jew came over 2 nights ago to begin preparation for what I am calling "The Great Girl Wedding Invasion" of 2010. See, The Jew is also a very accomplished makeup artist who is coming with us to Maui and staying with us in what I will dub, "The Condo of Awesomeness." Not only is she a good friend but she will be making the girls look even more beautiful than they already are for our ceremony.

The Jew is also a lover of all things India and Pale and is a willing guinea pig whenever I have something odd to try. She graciously provided this Imperial IPA from Green Flash in San Diego, Ca for us to share. I have to say I was a little worried when I saw this sitting in my fridge. I've only tried one other beer from Green Flash, their "West Coast IPA." My tastebuds are still recovering from that bitter nuclear bomb, so when I saw IMPERIAL on the bottle my PT(IPA)SD kicked in.

This poured out a hazy coppery color with a one finger fluffy white head on top. So far so good as being true to style. The first wiff brought pine(obviously) but there was something that neither I nor the Jew could identify. It was this earthy, sweet smell, familiar and I couldn't place it.

I took the first sip and was pleasantly surprised. Bitter, yes but balanced, my tastebuds breathed a collective sigh of relief. I'm not kidding I could actually hear them exhale. This beer was good and was not overkill for an imperial but that smell was still bugging me. I smelled again, and again, and again, and suddenly it came to me. Weed, this beer smelled like marijuana. Not smoked marijuana but fresh in the bag green. Weird smell, even weirder that I recognized it. Has anyone else ever gotten that aroma off of a beer? Am I crazy or is this a normal thing? Let me know in comments!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock

I hadn't had a bock in a really long time so I figured now, during lent, was as good a time as any to jump right in with both feet and review a quintessential doppelbock.

In the time honored tradition of naming doppelbocks this one ends with "ator." If you are ever at a loss for what type of beer something is and it has a name like "Terminator," "Optimator," or "Mast..." ok I won't go there but you get the idea. Doppelbocks always end with ator.

Bocks stem from monks. What's with the monks and their obsession with beer? My kind of guys. Monks brewed these extremely malty brews during the 46 days of Lent in which solid food did not pass their lips. Bocks are basically liquid bread. They provided the sustenance the monks needed to survive on basically no solid food. So don't let anyone tell you beer is bad for you! If it's good enough for monks it's good enough for you.

Doppelbocks are basically strong, dark, versions of regular bocks. Doppel means double in German.

I poured this one out for weekly man night over at the lawyer's. VERY appropriate choice of beverages(sometimes we like something stronger, scotch makes an appearance quite regularly) since we were watching Beer Wars. Great movie. Great beer.

If I poured a Celebrator and a Diet Coke into two identical glasses, I challenge you to choose which one is the bock. The head was that rocky, larger bubbled fizz you get from soda and didn't stick around too long.
The aroma is where you can begin to discern between these two. VERY malty like it's supposed to be. Sweet, sweet, bready, yeasty, earthy, whole wheat, you get the idea. Liquid Bread

It was good, but I wouldn't want to drink more than lets say, two of these. I would not be a good monk.