Friday, May 20, 2016

Here’s to alcohol, the rose colored glasses of life.

I’ve been known to imbibe on occasion . . . sometimes more occasionally than others.  

When I’m drinking with someone else we always toast each other; even if it’s just to clink glasses.  I mindlessly touch my glass with the person I’m with and at the very least simply raise the glass to the other; symbolically clinking . . . after all, that IS what is done.  But why exactly do we perform that little ritual?  Does the toast only really matter if you actually touch glasses?  Does raising your glass and saying “clink” to the people you can’t reach count?

Russian tradition is that the only time you don’t clink glasses is when you’re drinking in honor of the dead.  Conversely, if you fail to clink when making a happy toast means that someone is going to die.  It seems a small thing to do to keep someone else (or yourself) from an untimely death, no?  Russian’s also believe that the toast only matters if you actually touch glasses.

Note to self - do not ever go vodka shot for vodka shot with a bunch of Ukranian dudes. It happened once. The result wasn't pretty.  :)

What could be worse than death?

It is a widespread European superstition that failure to make eye contact with your drinking companions as you clink results in a bad sex life for a year.  That sounds pretty risky to me.  

Apparently, it’s also pretty perilous to clink with an empty glass and clinking across someone else’s arm. Seriously bad luck!

Many believe that sounding the bell can help ward off evil spirits . . . the clinking of glasses after a toast was a way of getting rid of devils while drinking.

Another school of thought is that the point of striking glasses together was meant to be done so that some of the liquid from each glass would spill into the other . . . to deter someone from poisoning you.

Perhaps it is nothing more than a silly drinking game; happily clinking away as much as possible.

Whatever the reason, raising a glass and striking them together demonstrates harmony and friendship.  And is a nice exclamation to punctuate the toast.



Thursday, May 5, 2016

St. John Brewers revisited

A year ago I visited St. Thomas with family. During that trip we ventured to St. John for the day to experience the beautiful white sand beaches and clear blue waters. We ended up at the Tap Room in Mongoose Junction. It was here that I got a real taste for St. John Brewers beers.

This year hubby and I decided to take a vacation to St. Thomas. For a day trip, we took the ferry to St. John. We drove the wicked windy roads, saw the sights, swam in the sea. All the typical touristy things.

Of course we stopped into the Tap Room for some cold brews and a meal. There were some beers on tap that I hadn't had before; that's always a good thing!

I started out with a Liquid Sunshine, a Belgian Blonde (5% ABV) which I'd seen listed on beer menus everywhere on St. Thomas but everyone seemed to be out of. It was light and delightful and I wish I could have had more of it.

Hubby got a Roundabout Coffee Stout; which he was sweet enough to share. Especially, since we both appreciate a good coffee stout. It was a good, smooth brew with just the right amount of coffee flavor.

This was followed up with a Hard Cider which was tasty and refreshing.

But, hands down, the best beer we had was Mongose. As the name might implies, it is a gose (5.1% ABV). I'm a fan of sours and more recently goses. My local brewery, Two Roads, makes a wicked good Gose that is a collaboration with Evil Twin. So, I was very interested in comparing and contrasting the two.

The Mongose is a richer, golden color. The taste is fuller and has a fruity character, mango perhaps, that is absent from  Geyser Gose. Similarly, it's mildly salty, as a gose should be. I asked the source of the salt; salt ponds was the reply; ew. Nonetheless, Mongose is a refreshing, delicious beer. Though quite different in flavor, Mongose and Geyser Gose are comparatively delicious. We had more than one. Yum!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Two Roads Garden Party

Two Roads Brewing is so prolific with introducing new and interesting brews and hosting so many awesome beer events that I don't blog about them very often. Otherwise this would end up being a blog about my favorite local brewery.

That being said, Two Roads hosted a Garden Party that was just so much fun that I find myself compelled to write about it.

When I arrived at Two Roads' hop yard, I was handed a random packet of flower seeds and a ticket for my first beer. Which, I of course, used to obtain the new limited edition beer called Roads Garden.

Roads Garden is a hefty saison coming in at a weighty 8.9% ABV. This amazingly aromatic beer is brewed with a variety of edible flowers; including lavender, chamomile and calendula. The flowery aroma fronts a boozy brew encompassing all the aspects of a traditional farmhouse ale. Tasty and truly remarkable.

Amid the lawn games, the little farmers market, and the bands were fun and creative floral exhibits that complemented the spirit of Roads Garden quite nicely.

There were performance artists dressed as flowers languidly undulating within lovely floral arrangements.

And there were stations set up to create cozies made up with fresh flowers. They were clever and lovely accompaniments to accent the beer.

Two Roads always manages to put together a festive event; well organized and lots of fun.

Overall, it was a lovely day with good beer, good friends, and good times.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Frenchtown Brewing Company

Hubby and I were in St. Thomas for vacation. I'd been to the island last spring with family and the only brewery in the USVI at that time was St. John Brewers.

Aside from St. John Brewers, the only beer widely available on the island are brews such as Carib, Presidente, and the like - basically, the Budweisers and Coronas of the Caribbean.  I admit I had my fair share of those every time I've been in St. Thomas, they're light and easy drinking. But, the availability of locally brewed craft beer is clearly lacking.

Imagine my excitement when I discovered a brandy spankin' new brewery just minutes away from where we were staying.

Nature abhors a vacuum and Frenchtown Brewing Company fills the craft beer void. Of course, I had to drop in and say "hey".

FBC is a 3-barrel nano-brewery. They are located in the Frenchtown section of Charlotte Amalie down Hop Alley and up a narrow back-alley staircase.

We were early for the regularly schedule tour but we were warmly greeted and admitted for a tour. Which basically consisted of a look at the shiny brewing system and drinking lots of samples. No complaints here! Mmmm, so good!

We got an opportunity to speak with Kevin Brown, the founder and brewer. One of the challenges with brewing beer on the island is the availability of water. Obviously, they are surrounded by an ocean of water but fresh water isn't readily available. So, I asked him about about this.  The salty sea water is purified by the process of reverse osmosis; desalination  removes the salt and other minerals from sea water to get fresh water. This process basically gives the brewer a blank canvas to create a water profile to fit any style of beer.

We sampled three different brews and they were all remarkably true to style. Positively tasty too!

Rooster Brown Ale - 5.5% ABV - is a smoked brown ale that is brewed for the The Smoking Rooster; a local barbecue restaurant. I'm not a huge fan of smoke beers, but this one was quite nice. It is tasty brown ale with a hint of smoke. It was very smooth and drinkable. I imagine it would go down very well with a big honkin' pile of barbecued meat. Nom!

Frenchie Farmhouse Ale - 6.2% ABV - is a saison. True to style, it was a cloudy straw colored brew. It was nicely carbonated for a lively mouthfeel. It had the lovely fruit flavors imparted by the yeasts, banana and bubblegum flavors were pleasantly represented. A very nicely done Saison.

Hop Alley IPA - 7.1% ABV - is a west coast IPA. This was, without a doubt, my favorite! Brewed with a plethora of  awesome hops - Citra, Warrior, Columbus, Amarillo, and Simcoe - the hop profile is amazing and the brew is oh-so tasty. Tart, fruity, deliciously bitter. Mmm, mmm good!

I will definitely be visiting again the next time I'm in St. Thomas! I can't wait to see what they come up with next!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Not Your Father's Root Beer Float

Hubby love, love, loves Not Your Father's Root Beer. Frankly, I refuse to try it. I hate, hate, hate root beer in any form. Blech.

But since he loves root beer, I made him something extra special. A Not Your Father's Root Beer Float made with Yuengling Root Beer ice cream. Double double root beer goodness.

Not Your Father's Root Beer Float

1 Pint Yuengling Root Beer ice cream
2 Bottles Not Your Father's root beer
1 Shot Calico Jack Whipped Rum

Pour the vanilla rum and Not Your Father's root beer into a tall glass.

Add a big honkin' scoop of ice cream on top.

Watch it get all foamy and suck down the foam before it drips down the sides.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Corsendonk Christmas Ale

Every Christmas it's almost guaranteed that I'll receive a bottle of Corsendonk Christmas Ale as a gift. An appropriate gift to be sure and always happily received.

Allow me to tell about the perfect accompanying gift - the Decapitator bottle opener. Described as The coolest bottle opener. Ever. It is, indeed, wicked cool. It opens bottles quick and easy with no fuss, muss, or mutilated caps. Especially cool if you save the caps. And, it's kind of fun to use to. Highly recommended for the beer drinker who wants to add a little excitement to their bottle opening experiences. I love mine! This is NOT a paid adveristment.

Corsendonk Christmas Ale (8.50% ABV) is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale brewed by Brouwerij Corsendonk.

As the name would suggest, this is a good Christmas beer. For a strong ale, the alcohol is well concealed and this brew goes down way too easy.

This Christmas ale has a lot going on flavorwise. The smell and taste are malty with hints of dark fruit, burnt sugars, and seasonal spices like nutmeg and clove. The sweetness is offset by a mildly bitter finish that balances out the flavors The spices linger pleasantly on the palate after the beer is gone.

If you're a fan of Belgian brews, Corsendonk Christmas Ale is something to look forward to every year.

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Beerd'd Grinch

This cocktail came up in my Facebook feed I thought to myself, "This sounds yummy but I can make it better!"

"How?" You  might ask?

Beer. Duh.

I added beer, omitted the soda, and reduced the amount of orange juice. The result was a less sweet, boozy-ish green drink. Very festive! 

I used Roy Pitz Best Blonde lager. I think a hefeweizen or a fruity wheat would work well, too.


 The Beerd'd Grinch

3 Oz Peach Schnapps
3 Oz Bacardi Puerto Rican Rum
3 Oz Blue Curacao Liqueur
10 Oz Orange Juice
12 Oz Bottle Beer

Mix well. Pour over a glass filled with ice and top with a cherry.

Ho Ho Ho, bah humbug, or whatever.