Untappd

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fort Collins Brewery - Z Lager

Been kinda quiet around here lately. Between Christmas and a bit of travel, I've been too busy to do any new reviews. Now, I'm fighting a cold and can't taste anything. Boo.

Fortunately, I took notes on a beer I had last week, so I have a new review to add today.

Bio
Z is a a smoked amber lager from Fort Collins Brewery. It is a German-style rauchbier, which uses barley that has been dried over an open beechwood flame, giving it its smoky flavor.

5.5% ABV

Appearance
Z has a clear appearance, bright copper color and a foamy, cream head.

Aroma
Yeasty, with prominent smoke and caramel aromas.

Taste & Feel
Very complex flavors at work here... it starts with a subtle caramel sweetness punctuated with smoked wood. Quite a bit of carbonation, too. A hops bitterness emerges in the medium body before fading into a dry, smoky finish. It leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Verdict
This is a good beer. The smoke flavor has a tendency to dominate the others, but that's OK because it will stand up nicely to a flavorful meal , especially a heap of good barbecue.

As a side note, my cat loves it. I found her ears-deep in my glass, happily licking away at the sweet, smoky treat inside.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Atwater Block Brewery - Vanilla Java Porter

I had been hunting this beer for two months since first tasting it at the World Beer Festival in Durham. You could only get a small two-ounce sample at the event, but the Vanilla Java Porter was one that I made a point to return to sample a second time. Since then, it's been at the top of my must-revisit list.

While shopping for singles at Total Wine & More last night, I decided to check out the six packs. Surprise... they had it. Early Christmas for me!  

I was extra pleased, because I hadn't been able to find it at my usual Total Wine location.


Bio
Vanilla Java Porter is one of nine year-round offerings from Detroit's Atwater Block Brewery. They describe it as:
"a robust porter made with chocolate malt.  We blend it with Vanilla and Java beans, and balance it with U.S. Golding Hops."
6.0% ABV

Appearance
Looks like a typical porter. It has a very dark brown color and nearly opaque appearance with just a bit of light shining through around the very edges of my glass. There seems to be a decent amount of carbonation, which forms a frothy tan head that leaves a nice amount of lacing.

Aroma
This beer has a sweet and syrupy aroma that strengthens with warmth. Vanilla is most prominent. It also has a slightly metallic quality which, combined with the vanilla, reminds me of pipe tobacco.

Taste & Feel
Medium-full body, significant carbonation. It starts off with a brief, but lively, bubbly burst. The robust maltiness is highlighted by very smooth vanilla, caramel and roasted coffee flavors. It has a sweet, rich vanilla bean finish with a bit of a coffee aftertaste. Very desserty.

Verdict
I found this to be a good, flavorful beer. Drink it at a higher temperature, since it gets sweeter and more aromatic as it warms. I'm eagerly awaiting my wife's coffee cake to finish baking... this should go great with it.

Lion Stout

This is the third beer recommended to me last week by Ken over at East Wake. He's been quite reliable when suggesting porters and stouts, so I'm expecting good things.

Bio
This one is an import, produced by The Lion Breweries (Ceylon) in Sri Lanka. That's right....Sri Lanka.

8.0% ABV

Appearance
Dark, black, opaque. Dense, thick mocha head. Ample lacing.
Pours with a muffled sound... now, that's thick. 

Aroma
Interesting. Lion has a rich, sweet and syrupy aroma full of vanilla, cocoa and caramel scents, with a hint of black cherry.

Taste & Feel
Sweet, malty flavor. Strong toffee tones. Some roasted coffee. A bit of a lightly tart, fruity bite. Dark chocolate finish.

Thick, full body. Almost chewy texture.

Verdict
Ken was 3 for 3 on last week's picks. Lion is an extraordinary stout.

I'm certain it's the best beer brewed in Sri Lanka, but I have to say, it holds its own against anything the U.S. and Europe have to offer.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. - Old Leghumper Robust Porter

Bio
This is the second of three beers purchased last weekend during my stout and porter shopping spree.

Until finding Old Leghumper, I had never heard of Akron,Ohio-based Thirsty Dog. Not surprising, considering their limited distribution area covers just 11 states in the Great Lakes, mid-Atlantic and parts of New England. Still, it's available if you look for it.

This porter was a 2002 World Beer Cup Gold Medal winner.

6.7% ABV

Appearance
Old Leghumper is dark, but not completely opaque. Enough light passes through to give it a cola-brown coloring. It has a dense, creamy head that leaves heavy lacing.

Aroma
Sweet, bready malt; dark, bittersweet chocolate and smooth cappuccino are all very prominent. In fact, it smells exactly like a Caribou Coffee Chocolate Mocha granola bar (which are delicious!). Absolutely decadent... I'm getting full just off the aroma.

Taste & Feel
Nice. A good amount of carbonation creates a velvety texture. It has a medium-full body, robust with sweet and roasted malt flavors and a semi-sweet chocolate finish.

Verdict
Silly name , but great flavor and a fantastic aroma. If you can find this beer near you, I highly recommend trying it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Bison Brewing Co. - Chocolate Stout

Temperatures dropped below freezing for the first time this weekend, which means it's officially dark beer season (as if I needed a reason). I stopped in to East Wake Wines & Craft Brew (which added to it's selection in the past week) on Saturday and picked up two varieties of stout and a porter. This is the first...

Bio
This is one of five beers produced by Bison Brewing of Berkeley, CA. It's brewed with organic malts and infused with cocoa, and won a Silver Medal at the 2005 Great American Beer Festival.  Ken at East Wake highly recommended it.

5.0% ABV

Appearance
Like all good stouts, Bison is opaque and black. It appears to have quite a bit of carbonation and forms a dense, mocha head. Doesn't leave much lacing.

Aroma
Two distinct aromas are very prominent. The first is a rich, roasted malt that has a subtle charcoal character. If the label hasn't already spoiled the surprise, the other standout scent is a heavy, sweet cocoa.

Taste & Feel
The flavors align nicely with the nose... a superb blend of roasted malts and cocoa. The carbonation makes its presence known as a lively burst of bubbles right at the tip of the tongue. That soon subsides, allowing you to enjoy the full, smooth, creamy body before it finishes with a dry, roasty, dark chocolate aftertaste.

Verdict
This is an excellent, enjoyable stout. The smooth texture, low alcohol content and sweet cocoa flavor combine to make this a very easy-to-drink beer.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Going public

When I first launched this blog in August, I kept it pretty quiet while I slowly added content. Now that I've built up some mass and have been getting regular visits, I'm ready to start publicizing it.

Today, I added a Facebook fan page and began telling friends. For those of you who found this place on your own or through Twitter, I thank you and hope you'll keep visiting.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Knightdale Seafood & BBQ

Despite living in Knightdale, it's been quite awhile since I ventured over to Knightdale Seafood & BBQ. The owners must have been visionaries, because the restaurant first opened in 1988, quite a bit ahead of the growth spurt that Knightdale is now experiencing. The current building opened in 2001.

The outside is a somewhat sterile brick building, typical of many local shopping centers. Inside, however, the  place has a nice small town restaurant atmosphere with big, wooden booths. Old advertising signs dot the walls, and with fish netting and patio lights, the attached oyster bar feels like a beach hangout.

The staff was very friendly and attentive, adding to the feeling that this is a family run establishment. I got the feeling that if I showed up more frequently than once every two years, they'd probably greet me by name.

I ordered my standard rib and pulled pork combo with mashed potatoes and okra on the side.

When my food came out, it had a nice, smoky barbecue aroma. I tried the pork first. I was a bit disappointed that they serve chopped pork instead of pulled. I've found that that chopped is usually a bit too fine for my liking and has a tendency to dry out quickly. Not to mention to psychological hurdles posed by looking like tuna. After tasting it, though, my concerns were eased. The meat was nice and moist, and had a subtle smoky and peppery flavor.

The ribs were good, too... meaty with just enough fat to make them tasty. The meat was moist and pink and had a good amount of smoke flavor. For the most part, it pulled cleanly from the bone. The only downside was the sauce. It was sweet, but not spicy or smoky and appeared to be brushed on as an afterthought, where a bit of cooked-on charring would have added flavor and character. Much of the sauce flavor was tomato and brown sugar, which failed to enhance the flavor of the ribs. On the other hand, the sauce didn't overwhelm the ribs, either.

Overall, Knightdale Seafood & BBQ is a decent place to grab a meal. The food isn't my absolute favorite, but it's good and the reasonable prices and friendly, courteous staff make it a welcoming place to eat.

Stone Brewing Co. - Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale

Bio
Oaked Arrogant Bastard is a strong brown ale aged with oak chips. I've found it in six-packs and singles at Total Wine and have seen it on tap (although I think it was the regular AB, not the oaked) at Tyler's Tap Room in Durham.


As if the name of this beer wasn't cocky enough, the bottle it's packaged in steps up the arrogance. On the front, the image of a scowling, muscular gargoyle hoisting a mug full of what I assume is this ale, but could very well be devil piss.

But, the absolute clincher is the message on the back. It includes, among other things, the following disclaimer:
"This is an aggressive ale. You probably won’t like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. We would suggest that you stick to safer and more familiar territory – maybe something with a multi-million dollar ad campaign aimed at convincing you it’s made in a little brewery, or one that implies that the their tasteless fizzy yellow beer will give you more sex appeal. Perhaps you think multi-million dollar ad campaigns make a beer taste better. Perhaps you’re mouthing these words as you read this."
You can read the full diatribe at www.arrogantbastard.com/oaked/design.html. San Diego-area Stone Brewing Company is the outfit responsible for this bottled pomposity.

7.2% ABV

Appearance
AB pours a deep, rich amber-brown color. It has a translucent appearnce,with significant carbonation and a thick, pilowy tan head that leaves ample lacing.


Aroma
An aggressively hoppy aroma, rich with a hearty fruit and wood essence that give it an almost whiskey-like character.


Taste & Feel
Bam! The medium body is loooooaded with a strong hops flavor. It starts off with a caramel maltiness. Then, a sweet, fruity flavor briefly tries to sneak through before being completely overrun by the relentless hops. The fruit and hops flavors combine to give it a grapefruit taste. It finsihses with a dry, woody bite and leaves a lingering bitter aftertaste both in your moth and on your lips.

Verdict
Arrogant is an understatement. This beer punches you in the mouth and then sits there laughing while trying to get you to cry about it. It thinks you're weak, and knows that there are only two types of people who will even step up to try it - beer snobs and arrogant bastards.

I love being both... and that's why I thoroughly enjoy this beer.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dogfish Head - Midas Touch

Bio
It's rare that I come across a beer with such an interesting story behind it. According to Dogfish's website, Midas Touch has ancient roots:
"This recipe is the actual oldest-known fermented beverage in the world! It is an ancient Turkish recipe using the original ingredients from the 2700 year old drinking vessels discovered in the tomb of King Midas. Somewhere between wine & mead; this smooth, sweet, yet dry ale will please the Chardonnay of beer drinker alike."
 2700 years old... that's a classic brew!

9.0 ABV

Appearance
This is a great-looking beer...the golden honey color has an nice, warm glow.It has a nearly transparent appearance and a thin, white head. Doesn't bubble much, but a good swirl releases a good burst of carbonation.

Aroma
Rich, warm and fruity. At first, I caught a strong whiff of banana. Drawing in a deeper sniff reveals honey and grape scents.

Taste & Feel
Liquid gold. It has a smooth body and warm honey flavor. Don't confuse that with being too sweet... it actually has a dry, malty finish heavy with barley flavor. The higher alcohol content gives it a slightly boozy feel and leaves a soft warmth at the back of the palate

Verdict
This is a beautifully crafted  beer. Kinda makes you wonder what the hell we've been working toward for the past 2700 years... seems to me, the ancients pretty much nailed it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rogue - Dry Hopped St. Rogue Red Ale

Bio
I always like Rogue ales... they tend to be flavorful, hoppy and well crafted. The St. Rogue is exactly what the name indicates... a dry-hopped red ale.

5.2% ABV

Appearance
This one has a dark copper-chestnut color and translucent appearance. The cream head is tall and foamy, and leaves some serious lacing.

Aroma
There's a lot going on here... it has a strong, hoppy aroma complemented by a lighter roasted maltiness that puts out sweet whiffs of caramel with a bit of woodiness mixed in.


Taste & Feel
Good amount of hops flavor and bitterness, but not so strong that you'll be overwhelmed. It actually has a smooth, medium body. The hops are balanced with a sweet malt flavor that gives way to an evergreen and citrus finish. It leaves a bitter taste on the lips, but only a modest aftertaste.

Verdict
A good beer. It's flavorful, but not overly aggressive. Rogue suggest pairing it with Kobe beef, but my frugal ass will settle for a good burger.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mendocino Brewing Co. - Black Hawk Stout

Bio
The second beer I picked up on my visit to East Wake Wines & Craft Brew was Black Hawk Stout, a traditional Irish stout put out by the Mendocino Brewing Company of Saratoga Springs, NY.

Appearance
Looks good right from the pour... it has a dark black-brown color and is nearly opaque. From what little light is getting through, it appears that it is quite bubbly for a stout. Small bubbles rise to form a modest, frothy mocha head. Not much lacing.

Aroma
At a distance, I first picked up a bready, yeasty aroma. Getting closer, it became easier to detect a complex blend of deeper roasted malts. It has a lot of brown smells...coffee and bitter chocolate, with an underlying essence of chicory and molasses.

Taste & Feel
This one has a quick, dry bite.  I'm pretty sure I felt the bite it before I tasted the flavor.

Still, the flavor is there. The full, creamy body is rich with coffee flavors. It has a hoppy finish with a strong and sustained espresso aftertaste.

Verdict
After having a few lighter beers recently, it was nice to get back to my deep, dark comfort zone. This is a tasty, classic stout that I'd gladly buy again.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Beerlao Lager

Yesterday, I visited a new wine & beer shop in town, East Wake Wines & Craft Brew. While their focus is wine, they also have a small, but interesting, selection of beers.

Normally, I'd have skipped past the Beerlao, but it was one brews being sampled by the shop. It's tough to make a judgment based on just one sip, especially since I like to try at least two bottles before making a decision. Figuring it warranted a full review, I purchased a couple bottles. (That's the neat thing about East Wake... they have six packs and singles, so you can buy just a few if you want to sample.)


Bio
This lager is produced by the Lao Brewery Company, a joint venture that is half-owned by the government of Laos and half by Carlsberg.  LBC claims to have 99% market share in Laos. 

5% ABV

Appearance
Beerlao is crystal clear and yellow-gold in color. It has a thick, pillowy white head that leaves significant lacing. Very bubbly.

Aroma
There's a faint, spicy-pungent, floral aroma. Think marigolds.

Taste & Feel
Definitely a lot of rice in this recipe. It has crisp and light body, but doesn't have a lot of flavor. I'd put it on par with any of the mass-produced American lagers.

Leaves a mildly bitter aftertaste.

Verdict
If you've never had beer from Laos, it's worth trying, just to say you've had beer from Laos. Other than that, I'm not very excited about this one. Like I said, it's on par with the major American-style lagers, so if you're looking for something bold or different, this isn't it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Big Boss Brewing Co. - Angry Angel

Bio
This Kölsch style ale is year-round favorite from the hometown heroes over at Big Boss and is readily available throughout the Triangle.

4.5% ABV

Appearance
Angry Angel has a light, golden straw color and cloudy appearance. A steady stream of small bubbles rises through it, but there's an absolutely minimal head, just a thin white froth.

Aroma
This beer has an airy, light, yeasty aroma. It smells like a very fresh loaf of bread. After it warmed a bit, I was also able to pick out the honeylike scent of its sweet-floral hops.

Taste & Feel
A nice balance between a light, bready malt and subtle, floral hop. White bread and honey are the strongest flavors.

Not at all aggressive, Angry Angel has a light, crisp body and drinks very cleanly. It does have a somewhat bubbly tingle across the tongue and a dry finish, but isn't bitter and leaves almost no aftertaste.

Verdict
Don't let the name fool you. This beer isn't angry at all. I suspect, however, that Agreeable Angel wouldn't carry quite the marketing punch. It's a nice, clean-drinking beer that will go well with a light fare, spicy food or even fruit.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rogue - Hazelnut Brown Nectar

I stopped at Lowes Foods on the way home from work tonight in order to pick up beer for Thanksgiving. (If you're curious, I opted for New Belgium 1554 and Big Boss Angry Angel.)  Because it was the day before Thanksgiving and every other person in town was getting in a last minute grocery run, the store was packed. The line for the express checkout reached back into the beer aisle. Convenient for me, since where I was and where I was going magically intersected.

Standing there, waiting patiently, I found myself staring face to face with the beer singles. I tried to ignore them but, I swear, they were whimpering at me like shelter puppies, just begging to come home. I picked out the 22oz. Hazelnut Brown Nectar and offered a warm place for him to spend the night.... in my belly.

Anyway....


Bio
Straight from the Rogue website:
A nutty twist to a traditional European Brown Ale. Dark brown in color with a hazelnut aroma, a rich nutty flavor and a smooth malty finish.

4.8% ABV

Appearance
Nice looking beer... it has an attractive, reddish-brown color, bubbly body and a thick, pillowy head that leaves modest lacing. It's slightly hazy in appearance, and allows plenty of light to pass through. 


Aroma
Sweet first, then malty, then nutty. Actually, not as aromatic as I was expecting. 

Taste & Feel
This beer has a medium body, and offers up an energetic, bubbly mouthfeel.

It has a mild flavor. A complex maltliness is most prominent, which is fitting because this beer packs in a variety of them. That is followed up by a noticeable hazelnut finish before ending with a slight bitter aftertaste


Verdict
Rogue rarely disappoints and this brew is on par with their other offerings. Not my favorite Rogue beer, but still an enjoyable one. Enjoy it alone or with a pork or beef meal, but nothing with strong or spicy flavors that might clash with the nuttiness.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Peace Street Market

A few weeks ago, I saw this video and immediately decided that I needed to see it firsthand. Yesterday, I made my first trip.

On the outside, Peace Street Market looks like a dumpy little convenience store. On the inside... yeah, it still looks like a dumpy little convenience store. But the beer... oh, my god, the beer.

I was blown away by what I found. The selection is huge, and most of it is cold. Most stores have a large stock of cheap, mass-produced crap and a small selection of the good stuff. This was the complete opposite... huge selection of crafts and imports, including a lot of stuff I'd  never seen before. 

The commercial junk? ...tucked away in a far corner. Beer justice.

Bell's Cherry Stout

I made my first trip to Peace Street Market yesterday. Huge selection. After getting through the initial wide-eyed, kid in a candy store phase, I picked the Bell's Cherry Stout.


Bio
A rich stout, available as a winter seasonal in only 12 states. Fortunately, NC is one of them.

7.0% ABV

Appearance
No surprises. This beer has a thick, dark brown appearance... completely opaque. The pour looks a bit like thinned out Hershey's syrup. It has a thin, dark mocha head and leaves minimal lacing. 

Aroma
Again, few surprises. There's a strong essence of dark, tart cherries and chocolate. I also caught light whiffs of a heavily roasted malt and a slight sourness.

Taste & Feel
Now it gets interesting. The flavor is very complex. Initially malty and slightly bitter, but mid-sip, the sweet-tart cherry flavor comes through... boldly. The full body is dry and lively, and it finishes with a wine-like dance across the top of the tongue.

Verdict
I like it, but the cherry tartness takes some getting used to. It starts off tasting like a beer, ends tasting like a red wine.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Brooklyn Brewery - Black Chocolate Stout

I'm already a fan of Brooklyn's Brown Ale, so when I saw that The Pit had the Black Chocolate Stout on tap, I wasn't about hesitate to try it. 

Bio
Brooklyn's imperial-style stout, brewed for the fall and winter seasons. I haven't seen this one in stores, yet.

10.1% ABV

Appearance
Ominous. This beer is thick and dark, with an opaque black coffee coloring. The head was surprisingly short, but dense and velvety, creating the illusion that someone had floated a thick cut of suede atop my beer. With its rich, caramel-mocha coloring, the head on this stout was darker than some of the actual beers that I've tried.

There was minimal lacing, but when I swirled it around my glass, the beer clung to the sides slightly, giving it an almost oily appearance.

Aroma
Sweet, sticky molasses.

Taste & Feel
Heavily malty, with a strong bittersweet chocolate flavor. It has a very full body that evenly coats your mouth,  has a dry bite and leaves a light bitter aftertaste on your lips.

Verdict
Very good. The Black Chocolate Stout is probably best enjoyed on its own or alongside a sweet, rich dessert. However, I had my second pint with dinner, and it held up nicely next to a smoky, flavorful barbecue meal.

The Pit

Finally getting around to posting a BBQ review. Since launching this blog, I've been incredibly slack about getting my fill of sweet, smoky pork goodness.  Fortunately, that drought has come to an end.

Last Saturday, we ventured to The Pit, arguably one of Raleigh's best places to get your fill of awesome barbecue while washing it down with one of the great brews they have on tap. In other words, my kind of place.

Located in an otherwise unassuming brick building at 328 W. Davie Street, The Pit is just a few blocks west of downtown Raleigh's core. Even though it's nestled among several other brick, former warehouses, it's still easy to find; just look for the NC flag and the crowd of people on the corner. The Pit offers valet parking, which stubborn me should take advantage of. Parking on the surrounding streets can be hard to find, especially if you get there when it's busy. Speaking of busy, make reservations if you don't want to wait. Of course, if you don't mind waiting (I think ours was 30 minutes during Saturday dinner), the time passes quickly at the bar.

Inside, The Pit is anything but your traditional Southern BBQ joint. White tablecloths, dim lighting, plush booth seating and a wall of wine bottles will make do a double-take. Don't worry, you're not the only one who's under-dressed. The atmosphere is very welcoming, and when we were there, everyone seemed to be having a great time.

The food, on the other hand, is as traditional and Southern as it gets.  Pitmaster (emphasis on pit, emphasis on master) Ed Mitchell has become somewhat of a legend, attracting national attention. Bobby Flay even stopped by earlier this year to challenge him to a rib Throwdown. Ed handily won.

For our most recent visit, I went with the double combo, paying extra to substitute ribs to accompany pulled pork, with fried okra and mashed potatoes on the side. I washed the whole thing down with a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, which we'll talk about later.  The Pit isn't cheap, but well worth the price.

The pulled pork was very good. It was juicy and tender, with just a subtle hint of smoke. I lightly doused mine with the The Pit's western NC-style sauce, giving it a rich, peppery, smoky flavor. The thing I appreciated most was the fact that it was really pulled pork. Big, meaty chunks. I'm often disappointed at how finely chopped many places tend to serve theirs.

The ribs were excellent. I thought I ordered baby back, but these seemed to be the Carolina-style. I wasn't complaining, though; I love the The Pit's ribs. They're always thick, meaty and juicy, with a smokiness that penetrates deep into the meat, making them fall-off-the-bone tender.

With so much attention put into tending to the meats slowly smoking in the pit, it would be easy to overlook the sides. However, that wasn't the case. The okra was perfect... fried just enough to crisp the breading while leaving just enough firmness to the veggie inside. The mashed potatoes were light and creamy, and served with a generous puddle of rich, brown gravy.

Despite the bar and restaurant both being packed, the big guy himself ventured out into the dining room a few times to greet guests. At one point, I made a wrong turn heading to the restroom and stumbled upon Ed serenading someone who was celebrating their birthday.

Overall, I'd suggest putting The Pit into your regular restaurant rotation. The food, drinks and atmosphere combine to provide a wonderful dining experience.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

New Belgium Brewing - Mothership Wit

I've been on quite a New Belgium kick lately. We do most of our grocery shopping at Lowes Foods, and they regularly stock NB's offering, making them an enabler of sorts. Straying from my usual choice of dark ales, I decided to give this one a try.

Bio
Mothership is NB's first attempt at brewing a beer from all organic ingredients. This Belgian white takes its name from the company's nickname for the brewery itself.

4.8% ABV

Appearance
This pale white-gold brew has a hazy appearance, characteristic of most wits. Tight bubbles float upward to form a loose, foamy head that leaves modest lacing.

Aroma
Coriander dominates an herby, perfumy, very floral bouquet. There's also a slightly citrus attribute to it.

Taste & Feel
Sometimes, appearances can be deceiving.  Not in this case. Mothership's flavors are as light and bright as its color, with celery and allspice being the strongest. This is a refreshing beer, with a thin, smooth body.
 
Verdict
Not bad. A nice contrast from the stouts and porters that I enjoy so much. 

I've never been a big fan of wheat, but I'm finding that wits are far more tolerable than hefeweizens. This wit in particular has a certain appeal. At first, one might assume it's a light, summery ale, but with a flavor and aroma that compliments stuffing, I can easily see this at our Thanksgiving dinner table.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Stockyard Oatmeal Stout

Bio
A new Trader Joe's just opened in Raleigh, so we had to stop in and brave the crowd. It was packed, but we decided to tough it out. Along the way, we picked up a box of beer bread mix, which meant I also needed a six pack. (Actually, I only needed one 12 oz bottle for the bread; the other five, bonus for me!)

Their beer selection is small, and pretty much a variety of brews packaged especially for Trader Joe's.  Among them, I found Stockyard Oatmeal Stout, I figured it would be ideal for the bread... not to mention a rainy fall afternoon.

Appearance
Stockyard has a very dark, black appearance. It's almost completely opaque. In fact, no light passes through except for a small sliver at the very bottom of my pint glass. Even then, only a dark mahogany halo is evident. It pours with a dense, foamy tan head and leaves light lacing.

Aroma
This beer has a strong, malty aroma. The most prominent essence is that of a dark, roasted coffee. I also picked up a very slight sourness, especially after giving it a good swirl. 

Taste & Feel
Rich and surprisingly aggressive. A healthy sip reveals heavy roasted malt and Espresso flavors, then it finishes with a dark chocolate aftertaste. Stockyard has a medium-full body, but it's not as creamy, and much bubblier, than most stouts that I've sampled.  It's not very bitter, but mid-swallow it does give a quick bite across the top of tongue.

Verdict
I was caught off guard by this one. I expect a stout, especially an oatmeal, to be a bit creamier and a have a smoother blend of flavors. This had a stronger bite and the flavors were distinct. With a slightly lighter body, it could pass as a porter.

That said, it's a decent autumn or winter beer. My wife baked the beer bread and has a nice batch of beef stew simmering, and I trust that this will make a nice accompaniment for tonight's meal.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dogfish Head - Raison D'Etre

Bio
This is the first time I've sampled a Dogfish. The Delaware-based brewery's ales are readily available in my local supermarkets, but I don't recall seeing the Raison D'Etre before, even though it is part of their year-round offering.

Anyway, the company describes it as:
A deep, mahogany ale brewed with beet sugar, green raisins, and Belgian-style yeast. As complex as a fine, red wine. 8.0 ABV
Let's give her a try...

Appearance
This ale pours a nice, deep, golden-amber color. It has a clear appearance and is quite bubbly. The cream-colored head is light and foamy, and leaves a moderate amount of lacing.

Aroma
Raison D'Etre has a complex aroma. It's a balance of malty , fruity and sweet. I picked up strong whiffs of raisins and brown sugar.

Taste & Feel
Very sweet and fruity. I'm definitely tasting the raisins, while detecting another fruit flavor... plums. This is a solidly malty brew; very light on the hops.

It has a full body and great mouth feel. It gives a bubbly nip right at the tip of the tongue and finishes with a nice, boozy,  post-swallow warmth at the back of the palette. Sugary residual taste on the lips. Very little bitterness.

Verdict
I like this. A lot. Their website claims it pairs well with duck, among other things. Understatement... it actually makes me hungry for duck.

This is a great ale. Sweet, liquid gold. I suggest trying it. Half of you shouldn't have trouble finding it. It's available in 25 states. 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Red Hook - Late Harvest Autmn Ale

This is my first Red Hook.

Appearance

Late Harvest has a Clear, golden honey- amber color. I'm not sure why, but Red Hook's website calls it a "deep chestnut". I suppose their marketing folks are colorblind. Either that, or chestnuts in Portsmouth, NH are light orange.

A steady stream of carbonation props up a modest, creamy head. A quick swirl leaves thin lacing.
5.9% ABV.

Aroma

I usually expect autumn brews to have a hearty nose. This has a relatively mild aroma. It is mildly spicy, with a light maltiness and very faint hints of fall fruits. I caught whiffs of apples and pears in the pour.

Taste & Feel

It has an energetic, light-medium body with a bubbly burst across top of tounge. Feels like a lot like a lager.

Balanced, slightly malty taste. Light on flavor intensity, especially for a fall seasonal. Not as rich and smooth as most ales.

Verdict

Good, but not great. It's a decent drinker that will go well with a steak or a campfire.

-- via BlogPress

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Takeaways from the World Beer Festival

Yesterday, I spent four glorious hours sampling a fine selection of beers at the World Beer Festival in Durham, NC. Three beer tents, 108 booths, hundreds of beers. It was like taking my tastebuds to Disney World.

The 2-ounce samples were too small to provide adequate reviews, but were just enough to give me a decent idea as to whether or not I'd like to try each beer in a larger quantity. The hardest part was picking which to sample. I wanted to limit myself to 24 different beers. Anything beyond that, I'd probably start to lose the ability to differentiate tastes. At that point, you're not sampling; you're just drinking.

Anyway, I tried 26. Here's a quick recap (I left off the few I didn't like).

On the To-Review List:
  • Abita Andygator
  • Aviator Breweing Co. Old Bulldog ESB
  • Aviator Breweing Co. Hot Rod Red
  • Bellhaven Scottish Ale
  • Big Boss Harvest Time Pumpkin Ale
  • Breckenridge Brewery Avalanche Amber Ale
  • Deschutes Brewery Black Butte Porter - sadly, this one isn't yet available on the East Coast
  • Dogfish Head Punkin Ale
  • Foothills Brewing Oktoberfest
  • Left Hand Brewing Sawtooth ESB
  • Natty Greene's Old Town Brown  - I also learned that they plan to open a taphouse in Raleigh later this fall.
  • North Coast Brewing - Brother Thelonius Belgian Style Abbey Ale
Best Impressions:
  • Abita Abbey Ale
  • Duck-Rabbit Baltic Porter -  a gold medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival.
  • Fort Collins Brewery Chocolate Stout
  • Left Hand Brewing Milk Stout
  • LoneRider Brewing DeadEye Jack Porter
  • Mother Earth Brewing Weeping Willow Wit - Light, crisp and clean with a refreshing celery taste.
  • New Holland Brewing Co., Charkoota Rye - a flavorful, smoked rye dopplebock
  • Redstone Meadery Sunshine Nectar - I like dark, heavy beers, but this light, sweet mead was a nice break.
  • Rogue Chipotle Ale - woooo. Spicy, smoky. It was like drinking BBQ.
Biggest Surprise:
Bud Light Golden Wheat - I wouldn't have even considered trying it, but I was talking to one of the local craft brewers and he told me I'd be surprised. I'm not much of a wheat fan, but I found this macro to be on par with several of the craft wheats that I've tried. Nothing spectacular, but much better than anything I've come to expect in a Bud product.

Favorite Stout, Biggest Disappointment:
Old Dominion Brewing Oak Barrel Stout - Great beer. I went back for seconds... then I found out that they're pulling out of NC. Sad me.

Favorite Overall:
Atwater Block Brewery Vanilla Java Porter - Rich, robust malt flavor with a syrupy-sweet vanilla-caramel flavor. The sweet, strong aroma reminded me of pipe tobacco. It seems to get mediocre reviews online, but I'm not sure why. I found it to be a great beer. Not a meal accompaniment, but it would go nicely with a sweet dessert or on it's own as a slow sipper. I have to get my hands on more of this.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

World Beer Festival

In a couple short hours, I'm heading over to Durham for the World Beer Festival. Finally! The past several years have been a disappointment for me, because I've always either had a scheduling conflict or the event sold out before I could get tickets.

This time, though, there's no stopping me.

Should be a great event. The weather is perfect, as is often the case in North Carolina, especially this time of year.

The plan is for 120 brewers to set up at the old Durham Athletic Park. I don't anticipate being able to hit every tent, but my goal is to visit as many as I can in four hours.

The sample sizes are small, just a couple ounces each, so I won't be reviewing anything today. However, I expect to be able to add a few dozen beers to my ever-growing list of brews to purchase, savor and then blog about.

I'll try to post a recap of the event this weekend. At the very least, I'll be tweeting from the event all afternoon.

-- via BlogPress

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Flying Dog Brewery - Road Dog Porter

My first Flying Dog. I picked up a six pack of Road Dog yesterday afternoon and then came home to learn that Flying Dog had won Best Mid-Sized Brewery at the Great American Beer Festival earlier in the day. No pressure on this review, right?

Bio
This beer was at one point the subject of a 5-year battle between the brewer and the State of Colorado over the brew's "Good Beer, No Shit" label. In the end, Flying Dog won.

Part of Flying Dog's year-round offering, Road Dog is available in 46 States. Needless to say, you shouldn't have trouble finding it.

6.0% ABV

Appearance
Road Dog Porter has a rich color and clear appearance. It has a dark, mahogany-cola, brown color. Some light gets through, but there's no cloudiness. Pours with a pillowy cream head constructed of medium bubbles. The head dissipates after a few sips and leaves modest lacing.

Aroma
This is a mildly aromatic brew. Slightly yeasty. I picked up whiffs of bread with some caramel sweetness. It's also very lightly sour. Wierd, but I actually pick up hints of puppy. That's right. Puppy.Maybe it's the sweet/sour. No worries, I like it.

Taste & Feel
Thinner and not as strong as most porters I've experienced. I had to do a double-take. Dark beer, but it has a light body and mild flavor.

It's malty and nutty with just a bit of tart fruitiness. Feels bubbly on the tongue and then has a light clean, finish. Leaves a slight bitterness on the lips.

Verdict
For a dark beer, Road Dog had a far lighter body and taste than I was expecting. Very drinkable and should pair well with a flavorful meal. It will go nicely with red meat.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Breckenridge Brewery - Oatmeal Stout

Bio

This is an old favorite that I haven't had in a while. A year-round offering from Colorado-based Breckenridge Brewery, the Oatmeal Stout appears to be widely available. I've never had trouble finding it, anyway.

4.95% ABV

Appearance
Thick, dark, black. I love and have sampled hundreds of dark beers, but this is perhaps, by far, the absolute darkest beer I know of. Even holding it directly up to a lamp, nothing shines through.

It has a dense, root beer float-like head. Heavy lacing.

Aroma
The Oatmeal Stout has a soft, bready aroma with hints of fresh cream and whispers of molasses and pure cacao.

Taste & Feel
Thick, smooth, very creamy. Dare I say...comforting?

The flavor is robust, but not aggressive. It has a nice, roasted malt flavor that finishes with the dry smokiness of a very dark, bitterweet chocolate.

Drinks easy; Too easy. I love to savor it, but can quickly down a pint. Ooops... two pints.

Verdict
I always like catching up with this old friend. Get to know it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Otter Creek Brewing - Copper Ale

Bio
Otter Creek is a small batch brewery located in Middlebury, VT. Copper Ale is their flagship beer.

It is, according to their website:

"...a medium bodied, amber ale inspired by the Altbiers of Northern Germany. Brewed with six different malts, three hop varieties and our special house yeast, Copper Ale is characterized by a well-balanced blend of malty notes and mild bitterness."

Appearance
Slightly cloudy with a bright, well.... copper color. Pours with a light, foamy head. Leaves minimal lacing.

Aroma
The Copper Ale has a mild, hoppy aroma with hints of citrus and honey.

Taste & Feel
Very carbonated, but light on flavor. It has a mild bitterness and is lightly hoppy with a slight metallic taste that gets enhanced by the carbonation. I also picked up hints of apple and brown sugar.

Verdict
Decent.

The Duck-Rabbit - Barleywine Ale

Bio
While I'm a fan of The Duck-Rabbit's offerings, this is one I hadn't tried before. The Barleywine Ale wasn't listed on the brewer's website, so I can only assume it's part of their seasonal selection. I found it in the singles section of Total Wine & More, which has a pretty good selection of imports and craft brews (I just wish their refrigerated selection was as good as their warm shelves).

11.0% ABV

Appearance
This has a nice deep, golden-amber, brown color, much like real Vermont maple syrup. It's dark in color, but transparent.  Pours with a medium, foamy head and leaves a decent amount of lacing around the glass as it drinks down.

Aroma
Pungent, powerful. My wife can smell it from across the room. I can best describe it as sweet and malty, with a bit of sourness. Initially, I smelled honey and sourdough bread. By the time I reached the bottom of the glass and it had warmed, it smelled more like a bourbon glaze I like to make.

Taste & Feel
Rich, bittersweet. Actually, bitter-sweet-bitter. This has a strong barley taste with a bit of earthiness, almost peaty. I'm definitely picking up a honey flavor. In fact, between the heavy body and the sweetness, it has a syrupy taste experience.

This brew delivers quite a kick. Initially, the high alcohol content creates a slight, burning tingle on the top of the tongue. Following that is a slow, burning, warmth all the way down. By the end of a glass, I was warm all over.

Verdict
Sweet aroma, strong flavor, warm booziness. It's good, but holy crap it's strong. This is definitely a sipping beer. Enjoy it on a cool fall night.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Big Boss Brewing Co. - Bad Penny Brown Ale

Bio
Another favorite of mine. Big Boss is right here in Raleigh. If you're local, check out the brewery tour on the second Saturday of every month.

Bad Penny is part of their regular lineup. It's fairly easy to find in stores around the Triangle, and I've seen it on tap at a growing number of local bars.

5.5% ABV

Appearance
Bad Penny pours a beautiful, deep, coppery brown. It's dark, but still translucent.
It has a modest, cream-colored head, with uniform bubbling.  Sticks nicely to your glass.

Aroma
A light aroma. I picked up a yeasty scent, like fresh-baked rolls.

Taste & Feel
Bad Penny has a smooth, blended malt flavor with a bit of sweetness to it, especially in its caramel finish. It offers up a medium body, with a very mild bite, nips just the tip of your tongue.

Verdict
Buy it. Drink it.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Duck Rabbit - Milk Stout

My blog rules dictate that every brew gets a fresh review, no matter how many times I've enjoyed it, which gave me a great excuse to pick up a six pack of this local favorite for the opening week of football.



Bio

The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery is a small batch outfit operating out of Farmville, NC. They specialze in dark beers, which are available throughout North Carolina and parts of eastern Tennesee.

The Milk Stout is a traditional stout, brewed with lactose.


Appearance
Liquid Darth Vader. Very dark and opaque. Pours with a thick, frothy head, but leaves minimal lacing in your glass.

Aroma

For a dark, strong beer, Milk Stout gives off a fairly mild aroma. It's yeasty, lightly bready and only strengthens a bit as it warms.

Taste & Feel
Ah, the important stuff.  This beer is delicious. It boasts a full, lively body with a sharp bite. It grabs your tongue aggressively before it slowly dissipates.

Flavorwise, Milk Stout is much more complex than what the aroma may lead you to believe. It has a strong, malty flavor with a sublte and enjoyable sweetness. I picked up hints of coffee & pumpernickel in the sip, while coffee dominates the aftertaste. Leaves a carmel sweetness on your lips.


Verdict
No doubt, this is a fantastic brew. Easily one of my top five favorites. 

Oh, for the record, I see the rabbit first.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

World Beer Festival tickets still available

I just got an email saying that there are still tickets available to the World Beer Festival in Durham on October 3. More than 150 breweries will be there.

Don't know about you, but I'm excited!

http://www.allaboutbeer.com/wbf/tickets.html

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sin City Stout

When you're sitting at a bar in Vegas at 10:30 a.m. and have just found yourself reviewing a local beer, there's only one sensible thing you can do... try another one.

Bio
Sin City Stout is another offering from Sin City Brewing Co. Having already enjoyed the flirty redhead, Amber, I was eager to sink into their traditional Irish dry stout.
 
Appearance
Everything a stout should be. This brew has a very deep, dark brown color. Thick, too... completely opaque. In fact, it may have been sucking light from the surrounding area.  I'm not sure if I was drawn in by its attractive appearance or if it, in fact, had its own gravitational pull.

Even if it was gravity, I wasn't afraid, for I was certain to have a soft landing in the thick, creamy, mocha head.  

Aroma
I was worried that the dry desert air would handicap my sniffer, but that didn't hurt this beer. It offers up a robust aroma... roasted, smoky, almost woody.

Taste & Feel
Beautiful. Sin City delivers a very dry, smoky flavor that momentarily grabs your tongue before letting go to a a slightly bitter finish. I detected just a taste of coffee and a toasty, mildly charred aftertaste, like getting the perfect crust on a campfire marshmallow.

Great body, too.Thick and velvety. 

Verdict
If you're in Vegas and only have time to for one drink, go with the Sin City Stout. You absolutely must try this beer; it's a work of art.


-- via BlogPress

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sin City Amber

Just  got back from a trip to Las Vegas. We stayed at Planet Hollywood, which has a mall attached to it. Among the numerous storefronts was a small bar/storefront, aptly named Sin City Brewing Co. They offered four brews. I sampled two, the Amber and the Stout, while my wife tried the Light.

Let's talk Amber first...

Bio
Sin City is a Las Vegas-based small-batch microbrewery. All of their beers are brewed locally and available exclusively in the Sin City area.

The Amber is a full-bodied, Oktoberfest-style  lager. 5.7% ABV

Appearance 
This beer has a light, copper color and very clear appearance. Despite being straight from the tap, it was served with only a minimal head. A few large bubbles rising from the bottom of the cup, but overall not very carbonated.

Aroma
Smells wonderful. Amber has a nice, yeasty aroma. Definitely smells like a good fall beer.

Taste & Feel
I'll admit, I initially judged it a bit unfairly based on the appearance. The lighter color and thin head led me to assume it wouldn't be flavorful. I was wrong. Amber (apparently, I'm referring to it as if 'it' was a 'she' now) tastes great. It has has a hearty, bready flavor, medium body and a slightly bitter hop finish.

Verdict
I can honestly say that my trip to the bar paid off much better than my stay at the casino tables. For one, I lasted longer there. Also, the roulette wheel left a much more bitter taste in my mouth.

Amber, for being an Oktoberfest brew, drinks well in 107-degree heat. Good on flavor, but not too heavy. I'd recommend it. 

You can only get Sin City brews in Vegas, so if you're there, be sure to check it out. They have two retail outlets, one in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood and another at The Flamingo. 

-- via BlogPress

Friday, August 28, 2009

Peroni

Italian restaurants are known for their wine selection, not their beer lists. Often, if they have beer, Peroni is the only brew on tap. Enoteca San Marco at The Venetian in Las Vegas is no different, making my most recent Peroni experience very much like all the rest.

Bio
Easily the most-recognized Italian beer, this 163-year-old brew is now owned by SABMiller.

Peroni is a light lager. 4.7% ABV

Appearance
Peroni pours a clear, pale yellow with not much head beyond a thin frosting of bubbles. It gives off a subtle floral aroma, with just a hint of apple or pear.

Taste & Feel

This beer has a very lively body, giving an almost champange-like feeling on the tongue.

There's not much complexity of flavor to it. Clean, crisp, hoppy. Any initial taste is overpowered by the bubbly mouthfeel, and it finishes with a mild bitterness.

Verdict
If you like dark, smooth or rich beers, this won't be the brew for you. However, everyone should try it once.

I suggest having it the next time you're eating at a nice Italian place and nothing else is on tap.


-- via BlogPress

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kona Brewing Co. - Longboard Island Lager

I first discovered Kona brews at a charity event last winter. I headed to the bar expecting the usual boring event selection, when the Pipeline Porter bottle caught my eye. Actually, it was hard to miss. I was pleased with the beer on its own, but the marketer in me was more intrigued by the bottle. Kona's unique look stands out in a crowd. Since then, I've noticed their brews gradually showing up in my grocery stores and have purchased the porter on a few occasions.

Anyway... on to the lager.


Bio
I already established that Longboard is brewed by the Kona Brewing Company, on the big island. The website calls this lager "exceptionally refershing":

"Longboard Island Lager is a smooth refreshing lager fermented and aged for five weeks at cold temperatures to yield its exceptionally smooth flavor. A delicate, slightly spicy hop aroma complements the malty body of this beer."
5.0% ABV


Appearance
Longboard poured with a very slight, lightly foamy head. It has a light, golden color and mostly clear appearance. Not much carbonation. I can tell right away that this is going to drink a bit too easily.

Hell, it even sounds light and refreshing as I'm pouring it. When you try it, listen to the pour. That's a light beer.


Scent
Not much. I had to get my big nose way down into it in order to pick up any hints of the crisp, mild spiciness. Hints of citrus. This beer has a very clean, light scent.

Taste & Feel
No complexity here. Longboard is Mild. It offers up a very light body. Cold, crisp, refeshing.

Drinks clean, dances briefly on the tongue and swallows easily, leaving only a mildly hoppy aftertaste detectable on your lips, but not your mouth.

One deep sip immediately conjures up memories of slipping under fresh cool bed linens after a long day in the sun.

Verdict
This beer was built for the masses, as it's not going to offend anyone's pallete. I can't come up with a better word to descirbe it beyond... clean. This might be the cleanest-tasting beer I've ever had, although that also makes it a bit too mild for my taste.

However, I understand why someone wouldn't mind downing a nice, ice cold one on a hot afternoon. It's a summer brew that might be ok for outdoor entertaining. I can see this pairing with a spicy dish, or something light off the grill. It defininetly won't overpower your meal.

It appears as though Kona beers are available nationwide. I would assume that if your favorite store carries their products, Longboard is certainly among the mix.

Monday, August 24, 2009

If you're ever in Omaha...

Two years ago, while traveling to Nebraska, we stopped into the Upstream Brewing Company in the Old Market area of Omaha.

If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend trying something from their cask-conditioned selection. When I was there, it was a Scotch Ale.

Since then, I've thought about that beer too many times to count. Have you ever met a great girl one time and never saw her again, but find yourself thinking about her from time to time?

Yeah, that's me and that beer.

New Belgium Brewing 1554 Enlightened Black Ale

My first official review. This isn't the beer that inspired my doing a beer blog, but it is its first cousin. 

Bio
Brewed by New Belgium Brewing Company, Fort Collins, CO.   5.6% ABV

An interesting beer in that it uses a lager yeast, yet calls itself an ale. It has properties of both. According to their website:
"Born of a flood and centuries-old Belgian text, 1554 Enlightened Black Ale uses a light lager yeast strain and dark chocolaty malts to redefine what dark beer can be. In 1997, a Fort Collins flood destroyed the original recipe our researcher, Phil Benstein, found in the library. So Phil and brewmaster, Peter Bouckaert, traveled to Belgium to retrieve this unique style lost to the ages. Their first challenge was deciphering antiquated script and outdated units of measurement, but trial and error (and many months of in-house sampling) culminated in 1554, a highly quaffable dark beer with a moderate body and mouthfeel."

Appearance
This beer offers up a rich dark, brown body with a slightly reddish hue. It's dark, but not opaque. Poured with a foamy, but not a very thick head comprised of small, tight bubbles that dissapated after a few swirls. If the head didn't cling lightly to the glass, one might mistake it for a Coke.

Smell
1554 has a light, sweet, caramel aroma. Rather welcoming.

Taste & Feel
For a dark beer, it's not overly strong on flavor. I enjoyed the lightly malty, smooth body with a fruity flavor and a subtle bite. I picked up hints of its lager roots. It's not nearly as crisp and hoppy as a lager, but a bit more crisp than most ales.

Its self-described dry, chocolaty finish is dead-on. The overall  experience is like eating a dark chocolate truffle.

Verdict
I'd absolutely buy this again, and would very much like to try it on draft.

I purchased a six-pack at Lowe's Foods, and have seen it at Harris Teeter. When I find it on tap, I'll post an update.  According to the company's website, it's readily available throughout the Midwest and West, and had made inroads into the Carolinas, Tennessee and Georgia.

The rules of reviews

A few disclaimers, disclosures and CYA BS...

  • I'll try to keep it simple. If you're reading this, you probably want to know 1)how it tastes and 2)where you can find it. If I ever mention gravity or start identifying yeast strains, I've strayed too far from my course.
  • Even though I've sampled hundreds of beers, for the purpose of this blog I will only post a review after a fresh sample. Generally speaking, a sample is two bottles or two pints.
  • The exception to the above rule is reminiscing about something like that one cask-aged scotch ale I had that one time in Omaha. Not a review, but I don't mind talking about it and making a recommendation.
  • The same is true for BBQ. I might never make it back to Amarillo BBQ, but I can still dream about those beans. Trust me, they have the best beans on the planet. 
  • On second thought, I should probably just visit Nebraska again.
  • Speaking of barbecue... unless it's known for a particular dish, reviews of any barbecue place will be based on the pulled pork, brisket or ribs. Sometimes two meats; I like a good combo.
  • I don't actively solicit free samples. 
  • However... I will accept beer samples if offered, and will disclose in my reviews if any have been provided.
  • Acceptance of samples is by no means is an agreement that your beer will get a favorable review, or that the review will be posted at all.  It's merely an agreement that I'll taste it.
  • On the other hand, I will not accept complimentary meals to review. It's tough to make beer better on my behalf, but meals and service can be skewed. I prefer to eat anonymously if I'm going to blog about it afterward.
  • Recommendations are always welcomed. Email me, tweet at me, post something on my Facebook page. Get my attention; I'll check out your suggestions.
  • I won't post negative reviews. If I'm not crazy about something, I'll at least try to be objective and, if I can see how someone else might enjoy it, I'll post it. If I truly hate it, you won't see it here.
  • Just because you don't see something posted, doesn't mean I hated it. I probably just haven't reviewed it yet.  Be patient... it's just me and one liver here. We'll get to it eventually.
  • Please drink responsibly. If you're under 21, don't drink. If you're over 21, don't drink and drive.
  • Drinking and blogging, on the other hand, is very much encouraged. Have a beer or BBQ blog of your own? Send me a link.
That said, I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, August 23, 2009