Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
My sister's friend generously brought me back a couple bottles on her recent trip to England. She asked a beer store guy to recommend a couple beers which could not be bought in the US, and this was one of the beers he recommended. It's called Viru and it's an Estonian beer. The first thing you notice is the pyramid shape of the bottle. It rates a D+ on BeerAdvocate (with only 6 reviews) but you know what, I liked it. I didn't know what it scored before I drank the beer and I would have guessed higher than its D+. I enjoyed this beer with my Domino's Pizza. In terms of light lagers there didn't appear to be anything really wrong with it. Kinda tasted like all the others, but it had a nice sweetness to it.
Posted by Steve at 7:35 PM
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Screw the Acidophilus supplements you can buy at the store, my probiotics come directly from Russian River. Batch 002 of Beatification is doing great. It's got about 16 months of age in the bottle now and it seems like it has picked up an extra mustiness to me. I noted some sort of light fruity type of character in it a year ago when it was relatively young, but I can't find any of that sort now. It's still intensely sour, of course.
And it goes really well with cheese. Fontina is a little too weird tasting for me, but an extra sharp cheddar or a parmesan-like Fontinella are both excellent. BeerAdvocate recommends a peppery or pungent cheese with this. This beer being so similar to a Geuze, Garrett Oliver would recommend a tangy goat cheese or his favorite, Stilton.
This 3 week old growler from Stone Oaked Arrogrant Bastard was as close to fresh as you can get. It is possible to store growlers in the fridge this long, I've done it many times, with no loss of carbonation and no detectable loss of freshness. Oaked AB is rounded out in flavor, compared to regular AB, and very delicious.
Posted by Steve at 4:39 PM
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Today's Lakers vs. Nuggets game called for a couple brews. We first started off with a bottle of Stone Cali-Belgique IPA which I've only had once before on tap at Hollingshead's. This is a good beer. I really like the Belgian IPA's that use citrusy American hops (ie this beer and Green Flash Le Freak). The ones from Belgium that use European hops aren't very appetizing to me (ie Houblon Chouffe). The citrus orange character comes out nicely here to combine with the Belgian yeast phenols that wake up your senses a bit and add some strange complexity. I do recommend this beer but I'd go with the Le Freak first.
Today's brunch wasn't consumed between breakfast and lunch, it was at dinner time. This being the Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch that was so graciously given to me by the fellas at boozereviews.net. I recently tried their Beer Geek Breakfast stout and was mildly impressed but not blown away like so many others have been. From what I remember of the Breakfast, Brunch was pretty similar. Both had a pretty intense dry coffee flavor. Both had a rich dark malt body and each had a subtle berry or fruitiness to it. Other than the type of coffee used (that from the shit of a weasel for the Brunch), I don't know if I can detect much of a difference. Brunch might've been a tad thicker, with an ABV of 10.9% compared to 7.5% for the Breakfast. All in all it was an enjoyable beer and quite the conversation maker when describing it to my friend's wife and mother-in-law.
Posted by Steve at 11:05 PM
Friday, May 22, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
Posted by Steve at 4:46 PM
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Dr. SOB is finally gonna be out of school. It only took me 9 years after high school to get a couple Bachelors and a doctorate. After state board exams in a couple months I'm actually gonna have to enter the workforce, something I hadn't ever really thought seriously about until recently. One good thing that'll mean is more money for beer!!
I'll be twittering and maybe blogging away during graduation tomorrow. School-wide ceremony is from 8:30-10:30 in which we'll listen to our Governator Arnold speak, and my specific pharmacy graduation is at 3pm. I may find a minute somewhere in there to have a beer, and if I do it'll be on SOB.
This blog started at the end of my second year (May '07) and has been a really cool outlet- amidst all the studying- for discussing that of which has become a major hobby of mine in the last 4 1/2 years. Without the handful of regular commentors (75% of which I've had the pleasure to meet in person) around it probably would've been a lot more boring. Tip of the cap to my friend and fellow USC alum Brian for starting his own beer blog last year to keep some cool banter going between our coasts.
Still tryin' to figure out what I'll be toasting with after I get home from a long 12 hours of graduation tomorrow night...
Posted by Steve at 7:19 PM
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
This time we've got a 2 week old bottle. Bottled on 4/29/09. I believe this is the freshest Pliny I've gotten my hands on. I've generally been unimpressed with the taste of Pliny coming from bottles compared to a fresh tasting tap version (and not every pour from the tap is always good, it's possible to have less than stellar Pliny on tap every so often).
While this isn't a bad beer by any means, it isn't the Pliny I learned to love the last few years. Only one bottle I've ever had has been. At $4.50 a bottle I'll probably divert my cash in another direction. I've noticed Pliny's brother, Blind Pig, is awesome even with a handful or even a couple months on it, as long as it's been stored properly.
The problem with these bottles is they seem to have a staleness to it. It's not cardboard I don't think, but it's something musty or dull where the grapefruit and greenery is trying to come out from mid to late sip. And the smell doesn't give you that feeling of walking though a forest, as a good draught pour of Pliny often does. When I think about it more, the taste and aroma have this big "minty" quality. It's the same thing there every time pretty much.
Again, after having consumed at least 20 bottles of Pliny in the last 8 months (yeah I know some of you out there trump that number), I think this is really only good for a bottle-every-few-months purchase just to see how it's doing. I would seriously promote Blind Pig over Pliny. Blind Pig's aroma or amazingly citrusy/bitter taste is not compromised in the bottle (in fact it has often tasted better, more vibrant, in the bottle than it has up at the Russian River brewpub).
I retain my stance that Firestone's Union Jack IPA is a much better bottled DIPA (yes I'm calling Union Jack a DIPA... barely) for a much better price. In fact it may even be a push tap vs. tap, fresh vs. fresh, but we'll leave that for discussion another time.
Posted by Steve at 8:01 PM
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Gotta see how Graduation Wit is holding up week to week.
Wow, this bottle was an explosion. Gusher. Tastes great though, no infection that I can tell. None of the other bottles have been over-carbonated, so I'm not sure what happened here. The head retention on this is some of the best I've ever seen. Looks like a whisked egg white.
Opened up a second bottle that had normal carbonation.
Posted by Steve at 11:41 AM
Monday, May 11, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
At about 2:45 we left O'Brien's and headed up to the Port/Lost Abbey anniversary part which was to start at 3. When we got there the line was loooooong. Like Angel's Share release long. This crowd made a Pliny the Younger release at O'Brien's look mild. It was weird because for the first two anniversaries there was never a line to get in, or at least not a substantial wait if there were a line I forgot about. When we finally got through the door we crammed our way towards the bar but soon realized that getting a taster was going to be harder than getting in had been. We decided that this was not going to be worth the trouble and the musty heat inside the room of hundreds of smelly beer geeks, so we got a refund on our way out and headed over to Stone. As much as we love to, and wanted to partake in the amazing Lost Abbey beers, this particular instance was just not going to be worth it, especially since we weren't going to be staying in SD real late into the evening. I'll have to wait to try some of the 3rd Anniversary Strong Ale when it hits stores soon.
At Stone we found a very solid beer list. I started off with a newly released Deschutes Mirror Mirror barleywine. High gravity beers are still being poured in those crappy mini-pint glasses which mute almost all aroma. The beer had a standard sweet barleywine smell to me, nothing out of the ordinary. The taste wasn't as sweet as I would expect, but it was pretty malty rich and slightly fruity. There was a bitterness there but it was very soft and not overly aggressive. A good barleywine but not really my favorite type of beer anyway. Oh, back to these crappy mini pint glasses Stone uses, not only can you not smell much aroma from them, the choice of what beers they put in them are a little strange. For the most part it looks like anything over 8% abv, but then they serve The Bruery's Hottenroth Berliner Weisse, at 3.1% ABV, in one as well? For a light, low alcohol, easily chuggable beer like Hottenroth, that's like 2 sips in that tiny glass.
The next beer I had was a fallback to good old Bear Republic Apex IPA. Now that is a great tasting IPA. I liked it the first time I had it but realized how very good it is today. Probably the best effort I've seen in terms of making an IPA/DIPA that has a nice malty sweetness to combine with the big hop flavor (we generally hate any substantial malty sweetness in our IPA's to compete with the hop flavor because it meshes weird- ask Vinnie Cilurzo). Steve and Adam also ordered some desserts, one being a very strange jalapeno cheesecake with balsamic vinegar and some sort of jalapeno jelly. Not my cup of tea.
JTH also met us over at Stone after leaving the Lost Abbey party (he and his sister actually got in fairly early and got some beer). He brought a pretty amazing present from he and his fellow Booze Reviews crew. An amazing collection of beer they crammed into this little monkey bag and were generous enough to give me. Can't thank you guys (JHam, JRhode, JTH) enough for that.
Ok enough of the mushy stuff, I came home with about 75% of the beer for the party next Saturday. Gonna pick up a couple growlers sometime this week... maybe at The Bruery or Pizza Port if I can make it down to these places in my week off here.
Posted by Steve at 6:00 AM
Saturday, May 9, 2009
We had a great night at Lucky Baldwin's... They were still running their Strong Ale fest like 2 weeks after it should have ended, so the taplist was saturated with barleywines and strong belgian ales.
Started off with a Telegraph Rye-Wine. 10% ABV... I've never heard of a "rye-wine" before... wheat-wine yes, barleywine yes, rye-wine no. Both bartenders verbalized their dislike for this beer but I didn't find anything too off-putting about it. I don't generally like the strong ale/barleywine category unless it's very highly hopped or Belgian, but this was interesting. Definitely couldn't drink more than this 6oz, and I don't think it was intended for more.
Hair of the Dog Blue Dot is never a let down. GREAT beer. I wish these bottles didn't run $8 in stores, kinda like Sculpin. I guess the last few years have seen prices of craft beer evolve to where you have to really put forth the $$$ to get great beer (in many cases).
This is for you Spencer. Hope Monika had a good birthday celebration tonight. :)
This was an Avery Hog Heaven, still don't like this beer, on my second try. I think Pat drank most of this taster when I was in the bathroom.
My last beer was a Brasserie des rocs grand cru which I hadn't had in a very long time. I told the bartender Lisa to surprise me and that's what she brought. A pretty good beer, although very sweet and grape-like.
Great night. Thanks to Loren, Pat, Veronica and Paul for great company. Lucky B's is always a great time.
Posted by Steve at 12:07 AM
Thursday, May 7, 2009
PS- about 75% certain I'm just gonna get 5 gallons worth of growlers instead of a keg.
Posted by Steve at 5:00 PM
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Last night my friend Steve and I headed over to Redlands (40 min drive East) to meet our friend Adam at Hangar 24 in Redlands. I had seen solid reviews of this brewery, their IPA and Orange Wheat seem to pop up pretty frequently at places like Hamilton's or Blind Lady in San Diego. When they can get their beers on taps down there you know they're for real.
We got out there at 7:30 last night, about 30 minutes before closing, thanks to Steve overshooting the freeway off ramp by about 3 miles, and then having to off-road for about a quarter mile where we got stuck at the very top of a hill in his Highlander to get to a good road that led up to the brewery. The brewery is in an airport hangar, very similar in setup to the Lost Abbey. I ordered up the IPA right away, it came served in a clear plastic cup. The IPA was pretty tasty, if not a little too toasty in the malt profile for my tastes. I also had a taster of their Helles lager which tasted very nice, although the smell was a bit off. Adam had their Altbier which I took a sip of and was excellent. There was also a Porter on tap, and their flagship Orange Wheat and Pale Ale. I will definitely go back to this place to check out the rest of their beers.
The only thing I was disappointed in was the price for growlers. Refills of all beers were $10- a very good price. But for the first fill it was about $35 total. That means the glass actually costs you $25, a bit too much for a growler in my opinion. They are a growler style which you don't see used around California that much. It's a swing top type but looks different than the style Stone or Russian River uses. I do think their "growler tap" accessory is pretty rad, but probably a waste of money when all you need to do is tip over a growler and pour 4 glasses.
One pretty cool thing I noticed is that you can get their Orange Wheat and Alt on tap at Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Angels single-A club) games. That automatically gives them just about as good of options as Angels games, which only serves Firestone Double Barrel Ale last I checked.
As for today, just finishing up my last bottle of Nugget Nectar while I listen to the Sunday Session on The Brewing Network. Still quite good when kept in the fridge for 3+ months. My fridge runs at about 34F or so.
Posted by Steve at 6:02 PM
Friday, May 1, 2009
Took this DVD called Role Models up to my buddy Spencer's house since everyone has said it's a really great movie. The movie was pretty awesome, the beer almost topped it.
This was a 2 year old bottle here, I bought this bottle of 10 Commandments at the Lost Abbey first anniversary party. It was roughly refrigerated 50% of the time and sat in my closet the other 50%. It was still damn good. One of the best Belgian Dark Ale's I've ever had. It was surprisingly roasty with a definite coffee flavor, but after a while that went away and I just got a really nice chocolatey and sugary dark malt base to it. The raisins came through mostly just in the aroma, but somewhat in the taste too with the sugar sweetness. Great balance and really tasty.
Of the 17+ Russian River brews I've had, I've never really drank a whole Salvation. Both times I've been up to the brewpub I've never ordered a glass, although I've taken sips before and didn't think too much of it. Tonight I realized this a really good Belgian Dark Ale. This is batch 006 bottled on 1/24/08. Highly chocolatey and caramelly, and the body is actually quite light/thin- like authentic Belgian Strong Darks. Really enjoyed this one.
Lastly was a bottle of Cuvee de Tomme from last year's release (2008). CdT is never a let down, this beer was as good as always. Cherry, bourbon, wood, all within a tart body. It doesn't get much better than that. This is an amazing beer. I was saving this for a special occasion but I have another bottle and Spencer has been begging for this so it sounded good to me.
Posted by Steve at 11:26 PM