Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Leinenkugel "Big Eddy" Russian Imperial Stout

Raj told me about Leinenkugel rolling out a new brew about a month ago. I noticed it at D&W the other day and had to grab it.

I had this beer in the fridge, so I left it out for about 45 minutes to let it warm up a bit before drinking. I think I'll place the remaining 3 in the basement.

This beer pours a deep black with a thin chocolate brown head (one finger). Aromas of chocolate and roasted malt are prevalent. Lots of sweet chocolatey malt flavor explode in your mouth with a little bit of the bitter hop aftertaste. It has a smooth, creamy mouth feel.

I'm not a big fan of the bitterness of hops. I prefer a very balanced beer and this one hits both extremes hard. It is very bitter-sweet, yet drinkable. I can't say I'd have more than one in a sitting, nor would I drink it too often at $10 for a 4-pack, but I'm already looking forward to my next bottle! Very good beer!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Blue Moon Full Moon Winter Ale

So I saw this Blue Moon Seasonal on the shelf at Meijer and decided to try it. The description on the bottle is "Abbey Ale brewed with a hint of dark Belgian Sugar" and "This full-bodied ale is brewed with roasted malts and a hint of Dark Belgian sugar for a perfectly balanced taste.

It pours a deep amber color with quite a bit of head - literally half of my pilsner was head from the pour, but it faded pretty quickly. I'm a little stuffed up right now, so the aroma was difficult to decipher. The only thing I can really smell is yeast.

The taste is a litter bitter and little sweet with a nice balance of the two. Not having the best olfactory function right now, I can't pick out all the flavors, but it tastes good!

It has a thin, crisp mouth feel.

It is a very drinkable beer - perhaps even chuggable.

Overall, a decent seasonal by Blue Moon (Coors). I may purchase again, but there are plenty of other seasonals to try...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Cask Ale?

Ok.. so I'm still a relative n00b when it comes to enjoying good beer. I was reading my latest issue of Beer Advocate and happened upon an interview with a gentleman who promotes to consumption of cask ale in America (New York specifically). My first thought (besides "mmm.. beer") was "WTF is cask ale?" So I went to the website of CAMRA, the big group behind promotion of "real ale" as they call it. Not a great source of background information at a brief glance. So I then went where I should have to start with: Wikipedia. Here's a great article on cask ale just in case you were curious.

Also, just got a 4-pack of Great Lakes Nosferatu. It's a *deep* red beer (hence its name). Very hoppy, but at the same time it wasn't a hop assault on the tastebuds that I find most IPAs to be. I'm glad I tried it (but I'd say that about most Great Lakes beers). If it makes its way towards GR, it'd be worth picking up a 4.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

More Beer

Hard Tail Ale, Brewed by King Brewing Co., in Pontiac, Mi. - This is an OK pale ale with a a little malt flavor to counter the hoppy bitterness. This IPA ranks near the lower end of IPAs that I have had from Michigan. Actually, I am pretty sure I could brew a better IPA than this one.

Harvest Moon, by BMBC, Toronto, Ontario - The spices in this beer give it some nice flavor and they aren't overpowering. It is also has a very smooth finish similar to the regular Blue Moon. This beer would be a great compliment to most dinners.

Summer Bright Ale, by Breckenridge Brewery - Very good summer. Did not have a lot of the added spices like other summer ales, but had a nice balanced flavor. It had a nice malt flavor, similar to Sam Adams Summer Ale, but it did not have the spices to over-power the balanced beer flavor.

Sweaty Betty, by Boulder Beer Company - Not as fun as the last Betty I had, but at least I didn't have to listen to this Betty complain that I wasn't spending enough "quality" time with her. Very simple summer wheat ale with not a lot of malt or spice flavor. This would be a nice beer for those hot summer days.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Horrifying End to a Wonderful Vacation

I have just returned from a wonderful vacation with my family visiting the upper parts of lower Michigan (if you're confused it's because you aren't a Michigander). Upon our return I opened my fridge to find my fine selection of beers from Trader Joes (see previous blog entry) to be mostly missing. One lone beer sits in the door, five empty slots surround it. That's not entirely true, sitting on the top shelf was a full six pack of Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat which I had purchased for our house/dog sitter. I am really the one to blame as I simply stated that there was beer in the fridge. With that said, my next will apparently be on the Sunset Wheat.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

JosephsBrau Brewing Co. Hopfest German Style Pilsner

So my folks made the annual summer trek to New Jersey this last week. It has become a tradition to stop at Trader Joe's in Ann Arbor, MI on the return trip. They have a good selection of beer and even a line of their own label. This time my dad brought back a new one to us, the Hopfest Germany Style Pilsner from JosephsBrau Brewing Co. (actually Gordon Biersch). I cringed at the name "Hopfest" as I am not a big fan of really hopped up beer. As you can see in the picture, this pilsner has slightly darker hue than many others. Very clean and clear, with a nice head, exactly what I would expect of a pilsner. I was very surprised by the first taste as it had more body than other pilsners. There is a definite hop flavor, but not enough to gag on. I would not rate this as a chuggingly refreshing beer for a hot summer day like today but instead as something to relax with infront of the tube. Not bad for a German beer made in San Jose, I guess.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Breckenridge Vanilla Porter/Hitachino Nest Beer Sweet Stout

I picked up some Breckenridge Vanilla Porter during my first of many trips to De Schullers. You can definitely taste the vanilla. It reminded me a lot of Hitachino Nest Beer's Sweet Stout. Hitachino's had smoother finish and less of the malty flavor compared with Breckenridge's. I beleive Breckenridge is a little higher in the alcohol content as well.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Honey Beers

You won't find very many honey beers with a strong honey taste or aroma. Between the boiling and fermentation process nearly all of the honey flavor is gone. Even mead's don't have a strong honey flavor to them. If you do come across a beer that does have a strong honey flavor it is probably artificailly flavored with honey.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Blue Moon Honey Moon Summer Ale

I was just asking the guys about this beer today and how I had not been able to find it. Lo and behold, it was on the shelf at D&W when I stopped on my way home from work!

Now, I like Blue Moon and Oberon..... a lot. As Todd and Raj know, I like a wedge of orange in my Oberon, too. It intrigued me that this beer is brewed with honey and orange peel. I had to give it a shot, even though it was a rating of only 21 on and 78 on

It pours an orange-gold color, very clear (not cloudy at all) with a thick head. Not much by way of aroma to this beer. I can barely detect the orange and a bit of spice, but I can't smell the honey. It has a steady stream of carbonation rising from the bottom.

It tastes slightly of malt and honey and some wheat. Overall pretty bland in flavor, but it has a nice crisp, refreshing feel to it. It's easily drinkable, but not overly special. It would be nice for a hot summer day on the boat, but I can think of a few other beers I would buy for that occasion instead.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Beer or lemonade?

I came across Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy and decided to give it a try. The lemon flavor was too overpowering, almost to the point one could think they were drinking a bad tasting lemonade. It had a very thrist quenching and refreshing finish; it would be nice to drink on a hot summer day. However, so would a lemonade.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Sweet Chocolately Goodness

I was wandering aimlessly through D&W when I spotted a beer they haven't carried until now, Arcadia Ale's Cocoa Loco. It's a triple chocolate stout brewed with chocolate, molasses and lactose. Mmmmmm mmmm.

As you can see in the photo, it pours a deep black/brown color with a nice creamy head that dissipates pretty quickly to a thin layer of bubbles and bit of lacing on the glass.

The aroma is mostly of chocolate. I couldn't pick up the molasses or malt very much..... but then again, what does molasses smell like?

You can definintely taste the chocolate in it and perhaps the molasses. There is a touch of hoppy bitterness that keeps it from being too sweet.

It's pretty medium bodied. Not too thin, but thinner than I was expecting.

It's a decent beer, but $6.99 for a deuce? I'd rather pick up a sixer of Arcadia Scotch Ale for that price.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

3 down.. 22 to go

So I was taking a look at the Top 25 Domestics list on Men's Journal and decided that I wanted to try some of them (hey, look at me.. excuse to drink!). So I knocked off some low-hanging fruit:
  • 7 Great Lakes Holy Moses White Ale
This one was damn unique. I enjoyed it, but I'll admit it was tough to conquer even one. It was pretty heavy on the spice. The best part of this beer was the pour. I did a slightly turbulent pour which resulted in a funnel cloud in the middle of my glass.. not a temporary one, mind you. I almost didn't want to drink it.. it was too cool. I briefly considered getting another bottle and drinking that while I stared at this one. Not wanting to commit alcohol abuse, though, I did eventually imbibe and enjoy.
  • 14 Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale
You know my dislike for Pale Ales. This was no different. It sucked. Damn bitter.
  • 2 Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
I saw this on tap at a bar I went to a couple weeks ago. The only thing I hate worse than Pale Ales are IPAs. The only reason I had the bartender pull one of these was because it was 2 on the MJ list; so I gave it a shot.
It was awesome.
This is one beer I could have several of in a sitting (and would have if I weren't driving home). Very enjoyable. Not bitter.. just a great taste. It definitely merits its spot on the list and would make a proud addition to my fridge (which currently holds 6 different Great Lakes beers.. I'm jumping into this being a Clevelander thing :-) ).
Don't walk.. run to your local beer store and grab a 6-er.

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Road.. Err.. Air Trip Time!

So I just read over on the Guinness Blog that they're beta testing a new variety of Guinness: Guinness Red.

We must go.

(via Dethroner)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Samuel Adams Double Bock

Yet another beer given to me by Raj - Samuel Adams Double Bock.

Pours a deep, cloudy amber with a thin head that dissipates and leave almost no lace.

The aroma is malty, sweet and maybe a little fruity.

Holy $%&#! The flavor explosion hits your mouth like a kick in the teeth! A lot of malt sweetness (but not too much) and bit of caramel make this a delicious drink. The mouth feel is of medium thickness. The carbonation is pretty subtle.

This ranks high the drinkability scale.... truly delicious!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Shiner Hefeweizen

Raj gave me this beer as part of a sampler-pack-Thank-You gift for filling out a questionaire for a company he applied for a new job at. He compared it to Bell's Oberon Ale, stating it was just as good, or better, while at the same time being a good year-round wheat ale. Let's see....

It pours a hazy gold-amber with a medium head that dissipates quickly, leaving a thin lacing.

The aroma is citrus and wheat - it kind of reminds me of that sickly sweet smell of rotten wheat from my days (way back) working in a flour mill.

It tastes of citrus and wheat with quite a bit of carbonation giving it a light body. It feels a little watery compared to Oberon.

Overall a very drinkable beer and a refreshing break from the norm. I'm not sure it's an apples-to-apples comparison to Oberon, but I think both will share some shelf space in my fridge. Thanks Raj!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Yuengling Original Black & Tan

T: yeah, you know, as an engineer four they pay me so much freaking money that I have to spend it quickly else there would be a global financial collapse due to my interest alone.
K: uh.....
I must be doing something wrong then
T: sorry, beers talking
I'm having a Yuengling Black and Tan.... claims to be the oldest brewery in america, since 1829
K: eh?
Yuengling? wheresat?
T: penn
pottsville, pa
my dad picked it up on his way back from NJ
K: censored
T: yar
T: yeah... censored
K: if only censored had more of this type of industry......
i don't want to do freaking manufacturing controls
T: or dashboards... oops, wait, JC is shutting down aren't they
K: haha
that just eliminates another place we could go
T: I promise to hire you when I start my brewery... just need to find some money
K: haha
T: maybe we all need to find a sugar momma?
K: i already have one......
T: yeah, but could she fund a brewery?
K: mmmmm, prolly not
T: I doubt that she can even support your habit
K: ha!
T: We need to find us a rich ol' lady, get N to sweeten her up a bit... get some funding
K: haha
he'd be the guy to talk to
T: trolling?
K: hahahahah
hey, you should blog that beer
T: not worthy of a blog, but maybe. it was rather boring
K: yea, but we need to get that back off the ground
T: happy?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Coca Cola Blak

Well, I just had to try the new Coka Cola Blak. The bottle states that it is a "Carbonated Fusion Beverage".

From the official press release:

Coca-Cola Blāk is an invigorating and stimulating blend that has a perfect balance of the effervescent taste sensation of Coca-Cola and natural flavors, with real coffee. The lightly carbonated, mid-calorie beverage, which is designed to appeal to adult consumers, is yet another example how The Coca-Cola Company reaches out to new audiences and addresses new beverage occasions.

It definitely had the sickly sweet flavor of regular Diet Coke with strong accents of coffee. I wouldn't say that I'd crave it, but it was interesting. I doubt I'll pay another $8 for a four pack, though.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Too Much Work, Not Enough Brew!

It's obvious that we're all working way to hard and it has to stop. It's having a negative impact on this blog!
After a month in the bottle my brew has reached maturity. This scotch ale is very dark and very amber. The only scotch ale that I can compare it against is Founder's. It is very tasty but no Dirty Bastard. I'll save the critique for the rest of the crew as my pallete is biased. It has a full body with a crisp finish. But that doesn't say much of the flavor.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Farting Yeast and Drowning Bottles

Back on December 29 of 2005 I started my first batch of home brewed beer. On that day I started the wort for my Scotch Ale which requires boiling two gallons of water to steep various grains. This was a very aromatic process (read: the house smelled like A$$ all day)! Once the wort was complete it went into the fermentation bucket along with and was capped. The airlock gave immediate indication that my yeast was farting. YEAH!

Today is bottling day. Sanitization is a great concern when homebrewing. Introduction of bacteria at any stage can kill the entire batch. With that in mind, I am drowning my bottles at this very moment. From the picture you can see the wide variety of the contributors :) Highly biased to New Belgium (I like there bottles best), second place to Bells... even a pumpkin beer from Lake Front of Milwaukee. Ewww, is that a New Holland Mad Hatter? That's going to contaminate everything! They are soaking in about 3-4 gallons of hot water with bleach and TSP. I'll let them soak there for about two hours before rinsing and drying. Then the fun will begin. I'll try to take at least one picture of the bottling process and publish a post-bottling entry here.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Liveblogging the BCS Championship Game.. At Least The Beer's Good

The best defense is a good.. ahh screw it.. don't worry about defense..

That seems to be the motto of the championship game.. boo. The one redeeming quality is my choice of beverage for the night: Leinenkugel's Big Butt Doppelbock (yeah yeah.. two Leinie's in a row). Bocks tend to be my favorite type of beer (read: get you drunk quick.. :-) ) and this is my second favorite bock behind Sam Adams Double Bock. Big Butt (no, I will not make a Sir Mixalot reference) has a nice bite to its texture; definitely not a chugger. It doesn't have the chalky taste of some overdone European bocks I've enjoyed before. The best way to describe the taste is like a porter without the offensiveness. It has a nice dryness at the end but is a bit too yeasty on the aftertaste.

All in all, a good bock and a good winter beer. Too bad the college football season is over.. this would have been a very nice beer to enjoy with some Buckeye football.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

A Flavored Leine's That Doesn't Suck?!?

It used to be that if you liked drinking carbonated syrup out of a bottle with a beer label on it, Leinenkugel's could hook you up with a Berry Weis or a Honey Weis.


With this in mind, I was quite skeptical when I saw the new Leinie's Apple Spice beer at Meijer. Being a sucker for a seasonal and also a whipping boy for anything Leinie, I picked up a 6-er.

In moderation, it kicks ass. It tastes like a good spiced cider and a beer. In this case, the combination works. I'd compare it to a less-sweet hard cider like a Strongbow. It's not too sticky on the aftertaste, but I don't think I could have more than one or two at a sitting. It's a good sipper. I'm already on my second 6-pack. It's also good for get-togethers as a conversation beer. Definitely recommended.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Founder's Taproom

In our quest to sample and critique EVERY brew available, we, the b33rm3 crew, braved the Michigan winter and sought out the Founder's Taproom. The Taproom, situated in the old Brassworks building down on Monroe Ave, offers an extensive variety of Founders offerings and a glimpse of the brewery itself through a glass wall.
The atmosphere was typical, hard wood floors, dark, smokey, loud... except for the smoke an excellent atmo for tasting. The food menu was lacking, but sufficient, peanuts and pretzels (or was it nachos?). The beer menu, however, was extensive, offering 12-16 brews. Perhaps 8-10 of the available brews were the standard Founders fair, porter, IPA, strong ale... The remaining brews you will likely never find in a bottle with names like Rubaeus, Bad Habit, and Nitro Maple Stout.
I tried the Breakfast Stout and the Bad Habit. I'll let the other crew members post their findings.

Breakfast Stout
I'm not normally a big stout fan so I was surprise how smoothly this one went down. This heavy stout has hints of coffee and chocolate. I would order it again, but maybe as a second pint instead of the first.

Bad Habit
I really enjoyed the Bad Habit, their version of a Belgium Quadrupel. Very smooth, slightly sweet, and full of flavor. I just wish they'd bottle it :)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Beer vs. Cancer

Biology News is carrying an article detailing research from Oregon State University wherein beer was found to contain a cancer fighting agent. From the article: "A compound found only in hops and the main product they are used in - beer - has rapidly gained interest as a micronutrient that might help prevent many types of cancer."

Friday, November 25, 2005

Fortify the ancestral tradition of feasting by complementing it with beer!


Fortify the ancestral tradition of feasting by complementing it with beer!

It's been documented in voyage journals that the Mayflower abandoned its voyage and landed in Plymouth due to running out of beer. That one of the first establishments constructed within the Pilgrim colony was a brewery, and that most of its passengers were also separatist farmers, poorly educated and without social or political standing. Given these facts, do you honestly think that they drank wine at the very first Thanksgiving in 1621? Hell no! They drank beer!

So as the holiday season creeps up yet again, some of you will ask your hosts what to bring to Thanksgiving and Christmas. You can go ahead and be that same boring person that shows up with that cheap bottle of Chardonnay, thinking that it will help you swallow down hunks of dry turkey. But that's just plain rude, man. Cheap and boring is not the way to go.

What you really need is some quality craft-brewed beer to liven up the festivities. Impress the hell out of everyone when you whip out bottles of intriguing beer and reel off brief explanations of what they are. Fortify the ancestral tradition of feasting by complementing it with beer. Suggest a beer pairing with dinner. Hell, make it an all-day event, and remember there's nothing wrong with drinking at 10am. Beer goes with every meal and minute of the day!

Here are some brief suggestions ...

Apéritif (before dinner)
Try not to kill palates too early in the day, by starting off with a nice light-bodied (not lite in soul) Pilsner or Lager to introduce the evening and guests with. Offer something that will arouse appetites and slowly awaken the senses.
* Brooklyn Lager or Pilsner
* Otter Creek Vermont Lager
* Sam Adams Boston Lager
* Thomas Hooker's Munich Style Golden Lager
You could even try a Belgian-style Strong Pale Ale along the lines of Duvel. Its light-bodied fluffiness and higher alcohol will loosen minds into conversation.

Hors d'oeuvre Hour
Kick things up a notch with a moderate level of hops. The hoppy characters in Pale Ales will pair nicely with salads, a slew of cheese varieties, fruits, and many hors d'oeuvres, without overwhelming any flavors. But don't go too bitter.
* Anchor Liberty Ale
* Harpoon IPA
* Smuttynose's Shoal's Pale Ale
* Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Eating poultry, gravy, stuffing, etc? You could kick the day up a notch by pairing your meal with some strong Belgian-style ales. Their higher alcohol percentages cut through fats and starches, provide an edge of sweetness, and boast very diverse and complex flavors that lend themselves very well to this pairing.
* Allagash Grand Cru
* Avery's Salvation
* North Coast's Pranqster
* Ommegang's Rare Vos
Another recommendation is to reintroduce more Pilsners and Lagers, as they will not only act as a palate cleanser in-between bites, but their lightness and spicy tones complement poultry and the contrast with gravies and stuffing is often welcome.

In our opinion, the best course in which to pair beer with. However, the last thing you want to do is kill a beer with a pairing that is too sweet, so ensure that your beers are sweeter than your desserts. Rich and big Stouts are our favorites, and tend to work very well.
* Brooklyn's Black Chocolate Stout
* Great Divide's Yeti Imperial Stout or Oak Aged Yeti
* Stone's Russian Imperial Stout
* Victory's Storm King Stout

Digestif (after dinner)
Time to kick back and let that food digest. No doubt you are bloated at this point, so the moment calls for something smooth and numbing. Enter Barleywine-style ales, or a similar, big, complex, malty and alcoholic beer. Simply decant some into a snifter, sip, and appreciate life, and your swollen gut.
* Berkshire's Holidale
* Stone's Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale
* Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot Barley Wine Style Ale
* Dogfish Head's Immort Ale or Raison d'Extra

Now our examples are certainly not the bible in pairing beer with food, but they should give you head start. In time, you will find that nearly every beer pairs with most types of food, some more than others with certain styles of food, and others less. Just remember to be experimental with your pairings and make sure to have fun doing it. And with that, we'll leave you with a 16th century English proverb:

Wine is but single broth, ale is meat, drink and cloth.

Respect Beer.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

New Belgium Abbey

This Belgian double abbey from New Belgium Brewery poured to a nice deep brown, slightly amber, with a lasting head. One sip and I've found my new favorite beer. True to the Belgian style dubbel, this beer was full flavored and slightly sweet. A strong roasted, nutty, malt flavor that lingers momentarily before giving way to a crisp finish. I got my 6 pack at D's, get them while you can. I'm sure the family will wipe out my stock tomorrow so I'll be returning for more. I'd pick this over their Fat Tire any day.

Hey, I see Bell's has a Winter White Ale on the shelves. Has anyone tried it yet?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Budweiser Wild Blue

I decided to try this beer after someone sent me an e-mail announcement about it. It's being tested in the highly conservative West Michigan market and probably won't go anywhere after that.

First off, this "beer" came in a full pint and poured dark purple like grape juice. It has a thin pink-purple head and blueberry aroma. It has a very sweet, blueberry flavor with a hint of hops ruining the pop-like taste. Overall a bad combination, even for the fans of the popular malt beverages. It's not nearly as disgusting as Leinenkugel Berryweis, though.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Congratulations Raj!

One of our esteemed beer connoisseurs, Raj, is now a proud father of a little boy. I'll tip one in you honor :) It's a New Holland Brewery Mad Hatter... I'm not fond of pale ales and this one is a India Pale Ale. Good color, looks very appetizing, but quite bitter. I'll be able to finish it, but it will be tough, but I'll do it for you Raj!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Work, Drink, Post (maybe)

Well, it looks like we've all become way to busy to post at any length beer, cuz I certainly know we didn't stop drinkin 'em! I just wanted to post a quick list of the brews that I have sampled recently if to only stir some creative response from the others.

Bell's Porter *****
Bells did it again. Put this one right up there with Oberon!

Founders Dirty Bastard *****
Kris supplied this during the fall seasonal beer swap (although it is not seasonal). Very tasty, somewhat creamy. I will definitely buy this one again.

Founders Red's Rye **
something in there that I just didn't like.

Leinenkugel's Oktoberfest **
This was Raj's contribution to the beer swap cuz he had it in the fridge already :) Nothing to see here folks, just another beer. Nothing outstanding about it. Drinkable though, but then again so is water.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale

Ok, following through with my pledge to try a seasonal pumpkin beer I purchased (and shared) a six pack of Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale from D. Schulers. While I stand very firm on my stance against fruit in a beer my wife has reminded me that a pumpkin is a gourd, a vegetable... so I'm having an easier time liking this one. The pour produced a decent but short lived head. The color is a golden amber. The first scent that I can detect is cinnamon with hops coming in second. The pumpkin scent is there, but it's either hiding or being drowned out by the cinnamon. I can definitely taste the cinnamon... clean finish... pumpkin? Oh, wait, there it is, it's lingering in the back. Being a fan of pumpkin pie I would say this is not "mom's pie in a beer" as it was advertised to me. I won't complain, however, as I am enjoy it well enough. Is it worth the $8.00? Maybe, I'm not regretting it. I might buy it again for a party just for the novelty. Hey, my wife actually liked it too.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

New Belgium Blue Paddle

I am currently tasting a New Belgium Blue Paddle Pilsner. They are located in Colorado, I had my first Fat Tire (their amber offering) while living in the south west, delicious. This pilsner started with a good head, maybe a half inch, just right. Nice golden color and a crisp scent. As the brew disappears the foam walks nicely with long legs down the glass. This is a chuggable beer, but sippable as well as some flavor can be found. Definitely bitter, perhaps slightly toasty. The finish is swift and clean with no lingering after taste. This would be a good all-around barbecue beer. A good bet not to offend many palettes. My wife even tried it and said it wasn't bad, she generally hates beer. This better not be a trend, I don't need any refrigerator competition for my beers!

After a bit of persuasion, it sounds like one of the local distributors will be getting a few cases of Fat Tire. I hope to provide a home to at least one of those. While I'm there I will try to locate this Saranac Pumpkin that we've decided to try, it could be too early though.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

A Night at Grand Rapids Brewing Company

I spent last evening with a dozen or so colleagues celebrating, the venue of choice was the GRBC. The GRBC makes six or seven beer varieties on site and offers a decent food menu as well. The food was definitely not the focus last night. The beer variety covers the full spectrum, from a light offering, a pale ale, an amber, a dark, and even a czech. I tried two, the River City Red and the Lumberman Dark.

River City Red
I'll state again that I'm a sucker for a redhead any day. This is a very red amber. This brew is easy on the pallette and easy to drink but is lacking any outstanding flavors or scents. Compared to other mass produced american ambers I would say this had more flavor than a George Killians but not much more. I would give this redhead a 3.5.

Lumberman Dark
I washed down the aforementioned Red with this dark brown brew. This brown ale had a great presentation, dark full body with half-inch head. Unlike other darks that I have had this ale had a quick finish and didn't interfere with the flavors of the food, I'm giving it a 3.9.

Friday, September 09, 2005

More beer news

Friday, September 02, 2005

New Holland Ichabod Ale

After Todd and Raj mentioned some pumpkin flavored beer, I went in search of it. I ended up finding pumpking beer from two different brewers at International Beverage on East Paris, just north of 28th street.

Ichabod Ale is New Holland Brewing Company's Fall Seasonal. A very interesting flavor to say the least! It pours a hazy golden brown with little to no head. It smells of nutmeg, maybe a little cinnamon, maybe a little flowery. It almost smells just like pumpkin pie mix in the can.

The flavor is very interesting.... I started this post after only three drinks, but after several more drinks, the flavor has really begun to develop on my palette. It's a thin beer with a slight hoppy bite to it and a hint of bitterness. A very pumpkin aftertaste.

Overall a decent beer, it's well worth a try.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Beer News and Pumpkin Beer

A quick search for more beer news sites provided some interesting hits.

Celebrator looks like a beer magazine.

News from BeerAdvocate

a good read :)

Another beer mag

Ok, so I'm reading the aforementioned beeradvocate news and come across this article about more pumpkin beer this autumn. I'm not sure yet if I want to rant about this yet. I've got this thing... this thing that used to be summarized as "keep that F'ing fruit out of my beer!" But now, thanks to Anheuser-Busch I may have to adapt that to include berries. And given my previous experience with pumpkin beers, do I expand that to gourds as well? From the article it is obvious the brewer was trying to mimic a pumpkin pie, searching out unique flavors of various pies. Pumpkin pie is my favorite. However, I can't say that I every want to wash one down with a brew. Do I really want to drink a gourde/beer blend? Well, maybe I'll save the real rant until later and actually try the stuff if I can get my hands on some. Perhaps I should search out some cranberry beer to wash it down? Hey, is anyone making a turkey beer yet? Something with giblets?

Monday, August 29, 2005

New Anheuser-Busch Beer

Received via email from Anheuser-Bush:

Wild Blue Contains Juice from Nature's Perfect Fruit - Blueberries.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (August 22, 2005) - Grand Rapids, Mich. residents are being treated to the distinct taste of Wild Blue - a unique new blueberry beer that is brewed by Anheuser-Busch and test-marketed at select on- and off-premise accounts throughout the city.
Wild Blue is brewed with two- and six-row barley malt, cereal grains, and a blend of domestic and imported hops and blended with all-natural blueberry juice, resulting in a boldly refreshing drink with the taste of ripe blueberries. Geared toward contemporary adults, primarily men ages 21-27, Wild Blue will be available in sleek blue
16-ounce bottles and on draught.
"Nothing says summer better than fresh blueberries, and now we can deliver the full flavor of the season's perfect fruit in a cool new way to adult beer drinkers," said Mic Zavarella, Director of Innovation, Anheuser-Busch Inc. "Research shows that contemporary adults are interested in unique flavor combinations and Wild Blue, with its big blueberry taste, is just that."
Wild Blue offers adult beer drinkers a bold, tart taste with a balanced blueberry sweetness with a pleasant aroma. Brewed at Anheuser-Busch's St. Louis brewery, the deep-burgundy-colored product contains 8 percent alcohol by volume per 16-ounce serving.
Just as brewing great beer has been a family tradition at Anheuser-Busch for more than a century, the history of the blueberry dates back to the early settlers who used the fruit as a staple ingredient in foods. The berries were eaten fresh off the bush, as well as added to favorite recipes.

Based in St. Louis, Anheuser-Busch Inc. is the leading American brewer holding 50 percent of the U.S. beer market. The company is American-owned and brews the world's largest-selling beers, Budweiser and Bud Light. Anheuser-Busch also holds a 50 percent share in Grupo Modelo, Mexico's leading brewer, and a 27 percent share in Tsingtao, the No. 1 brewer in China. Anheuser-Busch ranked first in the U.S. beverage industry in FORTUNE magazine's 2005 "America's Most Admired Companies" and in the top 30 on FORTUNE's 2005 "Global Most Admired Companies" list. The company is one of the largest theme park operators in the United States, is a major manufacturer of aluminum cans and is the world's largest recycler of aluminum beverage containers. For more information, visit

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Lakefront Brewery Cattail Ale

To end our northern Minnesota and Wisconsin vacation we have stopped in Milwaukee to visit some family. If I don't post about a beer while in Milwaukee my colleagues will certainly flog me when I get home. I'm currently sipping a Lakefront Brewery Cattail Ale, actually my second. I've been told by the locals that it is hard to come by outside of Milwaukee which may not be a bad thing. It is not a bad ale, but there is nothing distinguishing about it. No subtle flavors, nearly no scent... The only real reason that I'm drinking a second is, well, cuz there are four more left. It is refreshing, I'll give it that, but not something to drink when looking for flavor.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Worldly Beer Info

I found this... beer forum (for lack of a better name) from worldly travelers. Might be a good resource for our annual Beer of the World Tour (we really need to start that tradition).

Carlton Draught Beer Ads

I stumbled across The Big Ad by Carlton Draught (by the makers of Fosters). If, like me, this ad actually makes you want a Carlton Draught you'll be sorely out of luck. It's just for the Aussies. I've never spotted it on the shelf locally and D. Schuler's didn't have a clue. They have another spot that delves into the fine details of brewing. Well worth the bandwidth.


Sunday, August 14, 2005

Projects I'd love to help.. umm.. construct

Now why can't we make cool things like this?

MIDI-Controlled Beer Bottle Organs : Gizmodo:

The idea of a beer bottle organ was born some time in the 1800s; I’m guessing those who were there didn’t recall the details too clearly, because you naturally have to drink the beer before the bottles are ready for use.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

New Look

Hey guys just a little status: changed the template, uploaded a new header background, drinking a Killian's, life is good.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Bell's Oberon

As I tip back the last sip of the last bottle of Bell's Oberon I am saddened by the fact that there isn't another waiting for me in the kitchen. I chose not to refrigerate my 6-o Bell's as it was recommended to me warm. I too will recommend this beer at room temperature (or possibly at any temperature). The last few weeks here in Grand Rapids Michigan have been very hot (don't give me any crap about that, I've lived in Phoenix, I know heat). Warm or cold this beer has proven to be very refreshing. I'm going to have to change my definition of chuggable as this beer was very chuggable. However, it was also full of flavor. The brew had a slight sweet, citrus flavor but not enough to offend my palette. I can see now why many recommend it with a slice of orange. However, I'll be damned if I'd be spotted with a piece of fruit in my beer. The flavors are accompanied by a slight creamy texture which goes down smooth and ends with a dry finish.

I will miss you Oberon... until the next sale that is.

Check this out! The Bell's online store is finally online! WOOHOO! They even have a cycling shirt for you k^2!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Super Chiles

Super Chili
Originally uploaded by tpepper.
Ok, so it's not a beer... but soon you'll really be needing those beers. My super chiles are looking great! This heat wave has done my garden well. This is the only bush of supers and is also the most plentiful of my chiles. I think they will be red and ready by the end of the month. Also in the garden are two jalapeno and two thai dragons. I can't think of a better beer companion than a big pot of chili. Maybe beer-chili even? I'll have to work on that one!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ale Showdown (or An Excuse To Drink on a Tuesday Night)

After having a couple more of the New Holland Red Tulip Ales, I realized that my first review of it might have been a bit harsh. I looked for an excuse to blog about it again to no avail. Then the answer came to me as I browsed the beer aisle at Meijer:

A 1-on-1 Ale Deathmatch!

Yes, our first beer comparison. This one is between two ales: New Holland Brewery's Red Tulip Ale and Goose Island's Honker's Ale. This is gonna be one damn fun weeknight. Let's get on with it.

As I mentioned in my previous discussion about Red Tulip Ale, it's defintely striking as you can see. It has a very photogenic red hue that is much brighter than most ambers. In comparison, the Goose Island Ale had a very pale color. It looked very much like a Sam Adams.

The Red Tulip (how can I make that sound like a manly beer?) has a very rich, thick smell. It's not overpowering, but it definitely leaves an impression on you as you raise it to your mouth. There were a lot of subtleties in its scent that I couldn't quite pick out (damn allergies). The Goose Island, on the other hand, was definitely straight-forward. It had a light, hoppy scent and made absolutely no qualms about its sharpness. This is defintely an ale that's gonna kick your ass.

The texture of Red Tulip is definitely consistent with its scent. It feels very smooth and creamy (kind of like a good Double Bock) with just a hint of carbonation at the end to let you know it's there. It's definitely very rich and doesn't match the texture of most other summer seasonal beers. It was in texture that the Goose Island separated itself most from it's Ale-ian brother. It had a very rough and dry texture and left me almost parched-feeling after a normal sip (more on this later). It's definitely not at all diplomatic in texture.

Red Tulip left me confused. It says on the bottle that it is an ale, but if I were drinking it blindly, I'd think it were a non-bitter porter. It was very malty and I could almost detect a hint of chocolate (although nowhere near porter levels). The surprisingly complex taste makes me classify it as a porter light. It would definitely be a good beer for someone who's just starting to get into darks. The Goose Island had a very bitter, biting taste. It reminded me very much of Sam Adams without the sourness. In fact, just as Red Tulip had me thinking it was a porter, this ale kept me thinking it was a lager.

If you don't mind tasting your beer after you've already swallowed it, Red Tulip has a very nice aftertaste. It subtlely lingers. Nothing very powerful; it's more of a reminder. The Goose Island had no beer aftertaste, but it definitely left a strong bitterness on the palate.

Other Notes
Red Tulip was a neat beer. I noticed a slight flowerly scent after taking a sip (no doubt an homage to the festival after which it's named). This scent (just like all the other qualities of this ale) was slight and just enhanced the complexity. There was also a pleasant chalkiness at the end of a sip. I still can't believe that this thing isn't a light porter.

At first, I thought the Goose Island was a very direct, simple beer. Then as I took some larger gulps, it measurably and surprisingly changed on me. It got much smoother as I took more at a time. I also found it to be more refreshing than the Red Tulip as I was drinking it, but it definitely left me dry afterwards.

The easiest conclusion to draw from this showdown is that I'll sleep very well tonight. :-) I definitely enjoyed both these beers and discovered while drinking them how versatile ales can be. I found the Red Tulip to be much more complex and a fine beer to have by itself as you're winding down the day (read: drinking alone because your wife is pregnant). It's porter-ness still astounds me. The Goose Island ended up being a very different ale. It would definitely accompany food very well. It has a sharpness in taste and texture to set itself apart from a meal and its bitterness on the aftertaste could be easily toned down by the next bite of food. While I liked both beers, I would definitely have to give the nod to the Red Tulip Ale as it was just a more enjoyable ale to drink.


Monday, June 20, 2005

Father's Day

My parents gave me a father's day card (from Carlton Cards... just to make sure we get all the copyrights and BS in place) that read:

A lot can be understood
by what a man doesn't say
rather than in what he does say.

Kinda like when you say,
"Beer... now... dammit."

Happy Father's Day
('nuff said.)

I thought that was worthy of a post.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Flog me (in a way I wouldn't find fun)

I am a very bad person. There are people in this world who don't even get to have Guiness and here I am wasting it.

Let me tell you my story.

Last Thursday I went to my local watering hole for a burger and a pint of Guinness. A few minutes later the waitress shows up with a pitcher of the black elixir (discussion about the inappropriateness of serving Guinness in a pitcher is beyond the scope of this discussion). I inform the waitress of her error and she whisks away my beverage. A minute later she returns with the pitcher saying that they probably wouldn't sell anymore tonight, so it's all mine. At this point I have two problems:
  • I'm the only one there who can drink
  • I'm the only one there who can drive my 5-speed Cougar home
So I tried to drink very slowly, logic which flies in the face of what I'd just read about in A Guide For The Un-initiated To Buying Guiness In An Irish Pub:
A science of rings is developing - the instance that comes to mind is determining a persons nationality by the number of rings (a ring is dependent on a swig of Guinness each swig leaving it's own ring). An Irishman will have in the region of 5-6 rings (we pace ourselves), an Englishman will have 8-10 rings, an American will have 17-20 (they sip) and an Australian won't have any at all as they tend to knock it back in one go!
But alas I had to try something so that it wouldn't go to waste (the beer getting warm was no problem, it's Guinness!). I even went around to other patrons at the bar offering up my windfall. I had no takers (even the gentleman who ordered a Guinness/Double Diamond black-and-tan turned me down).

At this point, I could try to make excuses, but I won't. They'd be hollow. With a tear in my eye, I left an unfinished pitcher of Guinness at my table and walked out.

I'm gonna take the guilt to my grave...

Monday, June 13, 2005

New Holland Red Tulip Ale

What can I say, I fall for the gimmicks. Anytime a seasonal brew hits the beer aisle, it usually finds a place in my fridge. Today's catch was a 6-pack of Red Tulip Ale from New Holland Brewing Company. It's a seasonal brew inspired by the annual Tulip Time Festival in Holland, MI. This amber poured very well with a light head and a strikingly bright red hue. Unfortuately, all this beer has is its looks. It seems to spend most of its time trying very hard not to offend and ends up being unremarkable. I found it to have a lighter taste than most microbrew ambers; however, nothing seemed to take the place of this reduction in taste. It also had a fairly watery texture like any mainstream brew. I find that beers with a creamier texture (say halfway between a Miller Lite and a Guiness Draught) just feel more substantial and satisfying, important when you're paying $9 for a sixer. It had a slightly bitter aftertaste as most ambers do. The weird part about this one is that the bitterness seemed more reminiscent of a Sam Adams lager than a microbrew amber. The aftertaste was fleeting, though; so the beer could be easily accompany a meal.

If you get a chance to sample this one, by all means go for it; it's a seasonal. I'd find it very difficult to purchase it in a 6-pack, though; it's just not that great.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Arcadia Scotch Ale

Raj was going on and on about his favorite beer, Arcadia Scotch Ale, so I decided to try it.

I wasn't overly impressed with the first bottle, but I gave it another shot on another day with a clean pallette. Much better the second time around. This beer had little to no head when poured into a glass. It has a slightly sweet, chocolate aroma and maybe some caramel? The finish has a thick body and drinks rather smooth.

To use one of Todd's metrics, it's definitely not a chugging beer.

Samuel Adams White Ale

I picked up a 6-pack of Samuel Adams' spring seasonal beer on the way to a barbecue Saturday: Samuel Adams White Ale.

Similar to Blue Moon, Samuel Adam's White Ale is a Belgian wheat ale. I thought it tasted very similar to Blue Moon or Bell's Oberon with a little more spice to it.

Overall a great choice for a barbecue! Don't let it get warm, though. It's pretty bitter at warm temperatures.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Something from the Road

Today I'm posting from the Cherry Tree Inn in Traverse City Michigan. We are on one of our annual northward migrations. Whenever I'm up here I make sure to stop at The Bayside Market on Front Street. They have an excellent selection of beer and wine and will steam crab and shrimp for you while you shop. Today I decided to try something a little different from my normal selection. I purchased a pint of Wycwood Hobgoblin. It was yummy. I drank it warm as it is an English Ale and I couldn't bring myself to refridgerate it. Definitely not a chugging Ale, this full bodied amber was very flavorful. The label proclaimed hints of chocolate and toffee, I didn't get the chocolate, but I did taste a bit of a sweetness and perhaps a little fruitiness. It washed down the king crab and shrimp nicely.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Today I split a bottle of Ommegang Abbey Ale with my father and father in law, figure that way we could get three opinions in one post. As I poured I noted that hit had a great red hue and carried a lasting head. In my opinion it was not as sweet as many other other Abbeys that I have tried, but then again this was not a double or triple abbey, just a simple Belgian Abbey. Overal very tasty, with many "hidden" flavors. My fathers thought it had a very full pallete, was not overly sweet as we had all expected, and gave it a thumbs up. My father in law simply asked "Where's the rest?" as we each only got about 5oz in our cups. He looked a bit disapointed when I told him we'd split the only bottle, he grumbled a bit more and proclaimed that I now "owed him one". I'll take that as a fairly good response to the beer. It is a bit on the pricey side however.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Need a Little Courage?

I sampled a bottle of this John Courage Amber Ale, purchased from our local World Market. After a few sips I deemed this one to be too "chuggable". I would recommend this to any college student looking to step away from the MGD or Bud, but not yet ready to grow up for any real beers. This one was to watered down, not enough real flavor. It was, however, refreshing on a hot day. So I would put it into the same catagory as a Killians, but carrying a heavier price tag. So, what to do with the rest of the bottle? Make beer boiled brats! Boiling the water (and alcohol) out of the brew did concentrate the flavors and made for excellent brats.

Some Links

Just wanted to post some good beer links. Raj, we should have these added to the sidebar.
Beer Advocate
Sprechers Brewery

Friday, June 03, 2005

Ingesting Beer Through Multiple Orifices

Well, if Pepper can do one of those /.-boi first post things, then I'll waste a post on beer pools.. I think the nearly naked guy in the photo kinda kills any desire to go for a dip. I'll have to make do with a Sam Adams..

The Beer Pool : Gizmodo:

it appears that the city of Tarrenz now has a pool filled with sweet, sweet liquid bread. But don’t try drinking from the beer pool directly—according to this Babelfished translation, you don’t swim in a cool, crisp lager but in filtered, yeasty wort. Yum!


Bell's Amber Ale, A Good Start

Originally uploaded by tpepper.
Ok, boys, we might as well start this off right with the good stuff. This is one of my favorites (I'm a sucker for a redhead). It's not a beer to chug, too much body for that. However, it doesn't have so much body that you gag on it. I ended the suffering of this lone bottle, my fridge is now bare. A run to D's is in order.


First Post!