Friday, June 25, 2010

Slim Chance - RedHook Ale Brewery

What are the odds I get to hang out down in here in Florida for another week? Slim Chance ha….well that’s what we get this Friday, Slim Chance from RedHook Ale Brewery. I wanted to either get a local brew or a summer brew non-Corona, non-Bud Light Lime, non-Miller Chill, you know, a craft beer summer brew. Well, I found a local Irish Red that is brewed down here in the gulf, was just about to grab a sixer when my wife tells me I have to back in the grocery store next door to show my ID. You see, I left her with the groceries and credit card while I ran next door to the beer store, not a good idea. When I got through with the over anal cashier I forgot all about what beer I was looking at and found this.

Now, I have said it here and I am a true believer that beer is meant to be poured, consumed out of a glass, but there is just something about sitting on the balcony at the beach that makes me drink the beer out of a bottle, and honestly, I did have it first out of a glass and I must say I like it better in the bottle. I also usually write these reviews as I drink it for the first time and without checking out any info on the beer. Well, this is the fifth on of these this week so that is out of the window but at least I still have yet to visit their website on this beer. You can do that here if you like. So I’m not sure if it is an ale or a lager, seems pretty light for an ale but you never know. The initial taste gives you a slight tingle on the tongue followed by a nice refreshing crisp summer taste with a slight citrus tang to it. No malt at all and very little hops yet it still taste like a craft beer, not at all like a mega-brew mass appeal beer, which I know it’s not. It is even a light beer coming in at only 125 calories and 3.9 % ABV. This could be my new summer beer for sure, easy to drink, good quality taste, doesn’t fill you up, three thumbs up all around.

So I must say, in this time of global warming (not), it’s just the sun dude, this is the beer for all my fellow beer geeks, craft brew lovers to try. I know I will be grabbing more. Cheers!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lone Palm Ale - Margaritaville

Wow, my second post in a row were I had to take the picture with my cell phone, from a restaurant on the ocean, I doubt very seriously that I will ever be at two different beaches/oceans two weeks in a row. Last week I was on the coast of South Carolina in the Charleston area, this week I’m in the Gulf of Mexico in Panama City Beach. Granted I was working last week but still, pretty cool. So we go out to eat tonight at the Famous Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and I see on the beer list ‘Lone Palm Ale’, I inquire and find that it is a Margaritaville exclusive that they only sell at the restaurants, well that means one thing, I have to get it and the $6 souvenir glass right.

So, it comes to me in the tall 20oz glass with a nice head and a deep amber color, just begging to be consumed. Well first I must take a few pictures, make sure they look ok, then my two oldest want me to take their picture too, well ok, if I must. I took a few more pics after taking a few sips. The beer has a semi-sweet caramel smell but nothing very strong or overpowering. The taste is actually kind of dull at first but then you get the semi-sweet roasted caramel taste with some hops hiding faintly in the background, you almost have to concentrate on tasting them. Kinda of odd to see such a malty ale marketed as a summer beer but oh well, it was decent enough. Unfortunately like I said I ordered the 20oz size and spent too much time taking pictures and trying to determine the smell/taste and taking notes so it got a little warmer than I like. I know several people that actually like their ales to be a bit warmer than normal but not me, now I don’t like them as cold as I do lagers but I still like them cold, so maybe that is why I didn’t like it as much by the end as I did at the beginning.

Well, this is just Wednesday and I will have another summer craft beer coming up this Friday. I already have it, I have even had some of them, I just haven’t spent the time to right some notes and take some pictures. Cheers beer friend till this time Friday.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Kind Bud...emm I mean Beer.

Kind Bud..I mean Beer. That’s this week’s brew. I’m a sucker for the small local brewer that barely hangs on and probably could make tons more money doing something else (that he hates). This is the only brewery that I have actually been to; it was to buy home brew supplies nit tour the brewery (wharehouse). Pretty cool to go in and have the brewmaster ask, “Can I help you”, and right there in a small corner of their brewery was all of the home brew supplies. I saw some guy boxing up the empty unlabeled bottles, another guy getting the hand trucks ready. It really was a 3-4 man operation, really cool, I almost hated to bother them by asking for some supplies but they were more than happy to help.

Now, the brewery is Thomas Creek in Greeneville, SC. I’m not sure if Kind Beer is theirs or if they just contract brew it for someone else that doesn’t have a brewery yet but I still like to support them. Oh and they do have good beer, so when I saw this at a Vickery’s in Mount Pleasant, SC this week I had to get it. I normally do these reviews on Friday night but I knew my time would be very this Friday as I’ll be headed to Panama City Beach to play in the oil come Saturday morning. So, given that I found a craft beer on Wed and it was from a good small brewery, problem solved right, just type my notes into the Blackberry and then write it up real quick on Friday.

So to the beer, Kind Beer Belgian Style Red Ale, here's the brewer link also.

It poured a really nice color of red with a thick, creamy off-white head, even if I did have to pour it this old style beer mug instead of the more elegant Belgian style tulip glass. I immediately smell the strong yeast that should accompany a Belgian style ale. If you’ve ever brewed your own beer and taken I whiff of the yeast before you pitch it, this is what this beer smells like. The first taste is the sweet taste of malts that quickly gives way to the yeast and almost no sign of hops. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy but very smooth and drinkable.

Now, I’m off to the beach and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of drinks to keep me hydrated in the Florida heat. Your job, relax cause it’s the weekend and be sure to have a drink on me and if you decide to fire up that grill, I like my steak medium rare, just tell me when and where. Cheers!


Friday, June 11, 2010

La Crosse Lager

This week’s review is kind of a double treat for me. As I mentioned last week I had a friend bring me back some beers from up north from his fishing expedition at Lake Erie. This is a beer I had never heard of before so it was an extra I didn’t even know to ask for, then on top of that it is supposedly the original recipe for the one beer I did request he bring back, Old Style.

La Crosse Lager – City Brewery, La Crosse, WI.

So the story is that MillerCoors owns the naming rights to Old Style but City Brewery uses the recipe for this beer. Now, I can’t say if it is better or worse than Old Style as I have yet to try the one can of Old Style he managed to bring back. I will say it pours the typical golden yellow that most American lagers do, and creates a very nice, thick white head that even leaves a bit of lacing behind. I get a slightly sweet scent of corn, very similar to roasted corn on the grill from the smell. Taste and mouthfeel are very light, not as crisp as other American lagers but refreshing none the less. Slightly sweet taste with a bit of bitterness kicking in at the very tale end and not leaving any after taste.

Before I started this journey of tasting as many different beers as possible I might have taken the first sip and gave this one away or even turned it down completely. Now that I have been brewing beer and enjoying the Craft beer boom, I have come to really try and appreciate what any and all beers bring. What it is the brewer is trying to give us. Now, I’m no fool and I don’t think for a minute that this beer is nothing more than a thirst quencher made to please the masses, but still, someone somewhere had to develop this recipe and then perfect it. So I can now mark off another beer of the list, expand my experience a little and think about how sad it was in the early 1900’s when this style dominated the U.S. Not that this is a bad beer but one that doesn’t really bring much to the table, alah Miller Lite, Coors, BUD, etc…

I do however have some pretty cool pics to post. One from about crazy ads, and another from reader JF about how serious Ireland is when it comes to alcohol consumption. Which just serves to remind me that time is running out for me to make the trip I have always wanted to make, visit Ireland.

Well, it’s the weekend and I have no baseball games to attend as my son’s All-Star team is finally finished, it was fun but tiresome, so that means it’s time to relax. Cheers beer friend!


Friday, June 4, 2010

Little Kings

Ok, this blog is normally about craft beer but I am also just a fan of beer, history of beer and just about anything to do with beer. I think it is awesome how brewers take 4 simple ingredients (for the most part, water, barley, yeast and hops) and develop so many different tastes. Ever since reading ‘Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer’, I have been on a quest to find all of the old beers, Schlitz, Stroh’s, Old Style, etc… I know that some of these brews are not owned by the original brewery but still I have hopes that it is the same recipe. So when my buddy made his yearly trip to Lake Erie, I gave him a mission, bring me back some Old Style and anything else you can find that we don’t get down here in the south. Well, tonight’s review is just that, one of those old style American beers we can't find in Georgia.

Little Kings by Hudepohl-Schoenling brewing Co. – Cincinnati, OH.

Pretty cool little 7oz bottles which is why you see two of them. Pours a nice golden yellow with a surprisingly thick head that also stays around leaving nice lacing down the glass. The smell definitely reminds you of when you were a kid and you would sneak a scent of your grandpa’s beer. Nothing like today’s craft brew, but I never expected that. Very light smelling, maybe just a bit of barley, straw, and hops hanging around. The taste is also basically what we grew up tasting when we would get someone to buy us beer before we ‘legally’ allowed to, but much better than the other King of beers. It is crisp, light, refreshing, nothing overpowering, your’e not going to be blown away by the hops or the sweetness of the barley, although there is a slight sweetness to it. I’m not sure this would replace my go to everyday beer that I drink when I plan on tailgating or partaking a backyard grilling feast but I could drink this or a couple of these on a nice summer day. I probably should have poured one in the glass and kept the other in the bottle for a comparison, you know, kind of how the old Coke you get in the small 8oz glass bottles seems to be the best ever tasting Coke. Oh well, I like a full glass of beer instead.

So cheers my friend and I hope this weekend finds you sitting on the back porch with your grill a flaming and your cooler full of cold beer.