Monday, August 18, 2014


There's a whole big procedure I go through when I'm introducing a new brew at home.

I take sh!t ton of photos - before, during, and after the pour.

I always hand the first glass to hubby. Then like a script, the following conversation ensues:

He says, "What's this."

I reply, "Beer."
"What kind of beer?"

I typically respond with some vague reference to the beer. Like what color it is or where it came from or the style.

In this case, I said, "Black beer."

He held it up to the light and none penetrated the brew.

"It is black", he said.

And it is. Literally.

Schwarzbier (6.00% ABV) by Agner & Wolf Brewery is a black beer, or more precisely, a German dark lager beer.

It pours a dark, dense brown with a huge floofy tan head that, surprisingly, left behind practically no lacing.

The aroma was mildly roasty and malty with a faint whiff of metal.

The taste is gentle flavors of coffee, dark chocolate, and roasted malts - think light stout. A good balance of bitter and sweet. Tasty. The finish is malty.

The mouthfeel is amazing. So creamy it's almost nitro-ish. Smooth and wonderful.

Schwarzbier is a great example of the style. Dark, rich, and delicious.

Overall: very good.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Voodoo Doughnut Pretzel, Raspberry & Chocolate Ale

I'm a big fan of Rogue Brewing. I am especially fond of their VooDoo  Doughnut series.

I guess I'm not the only.

Failure to Fire is an online graphical serial comic strip type thing.

Imagine my delight to find a Rogue Voodoo Doughnut beer depicted in a panel!

The synopsis leading up to this . . .

Mick worked in his uncle's gun store. The uncle met some hippie chick and sold the store to run off with her. Mick's crazy ex-girlfriend and his current punker bi-polar girlfriend pooled their money and bought the store, and then rethemed it to cater to women.

Mick got to keep his job and was made manager. He hired a chick who is awesome at selling guns but is a pothead. The profits doubled since he hired her, and she supposedly doesn't smoke on the job. There’s all kinds of lots of controversy over whether to keep or fire her.

While that is going on, someone apparently attempts to break into the gun shop by ramming a truck through the loading dock but the place explodes. KABLOOMEY!!

Buh-bye gun shop.

Then the ATF gets involved, and by luck of draw, they get assigned an agent that normally specializes in gun running. The dude is a real bad ass. As such, he investigates further than they normally would – you know like break in goes bad, end of story.

No, this guy pulls surveillance tapes from various sources and sees someone else leaving the building right before the attempted break in and the resulting explosion. So he thinks it might really be arson.

Mick is a wuss and blathers to the ATF agent in an interview, but doesn't seem to be lying. The crazy ex lawyers up and the current psycho girlfriend is MIA.

The guy Mick is talking to with the Voodoo Doughnut beer is his bisexual Jamaican best friend . . . 

Anyhoo, about that beer . . .

Voodoo Doughnut Pretzel, Raspberry & Chocolate Ale (5.40% ABV) is an American Brown Ale.

It  pours dark amber brown with about floofy tan head. The foam lingers but leaves little to no lacing.

 The aroma is just like what the label promises - pretzels, raspberries, and sweet chocolate. Remarkable!

The taste is, amazingly, just like that too! Milk chocolate and fruity raspberry are way up front with a biscuity pretzelness teasing the back of the palate. The roasty malts also give a hint a fresh brewed coffee. Well, what's a doughnut without coffee. Am I right? Of course I am.

The mouth feel is medium-ish and smooth.

Voodoo Doughnut Pretzel, Raspberry & Chocolate Ale is a well put together and tasty brew. It's just right and the flavors are spot on. Well done, Rogue!

Overall: very good

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

OId Stitch

Once a year, a bunch of us bloggers from the north east get together for a day of camaraderie and shootin' goodness. Coincidentally, it's called the North East Blogger Shoot. Clever huh?

This year one such blogger - Excels at Nothing -  made the trek all the way up from Virginia. Among other things, she does colonial era reenacting. From making her own garb to shooting reproduction period weaponry. Nancy is super cool. And cute, too.

Although, most of us brought modern firearms, she brought her Brown Bess to the shoot. Brown Bess is a muzzle-loading smoothbore flintlock musket.

I have to admit that shooting black powder is wicked good fun. I own a couple modern black powder guns, myself.

I never shot a flintlock musket before.  Nancy was kind and generous enough to show me how to load it and let me shoot it. Woo hoo!  Smoky blastin' boominess.  Woot!

Serious awesomeness.

Nancy was also sweet enough to bring me a beer that is exclusive to Colonial Williamsburg! Like I say, I have the bestest friends!!

She brought me Old Stitch which, like Brown Bess, is a brown. A brown ale, that is.

Old Stitch (5% ABV) is brewed by AleWerks Brewing.

Since this brew and I were brought together by shootin' goodness, it seemed only appropriate to open it with my .50 caliber bottle opener.

Old Stitch pours a clear rich brown.

The aroma is mild and malty.

The taste was surprising! It was gently roasty with hints of cocoa and coffee. Much like a stout but not quite. Pretty darned good! The finish is clean and roasty.

The mouth feel is light, smooth, and playfully effervescent.

Admittedly, I am not a big fan of brown ales. They're usually pretty meh. Old Stitch is really quite good, actually. Flavorful and super refreshing. I could drink a bucket load of these. And, with such a low alcohol content, I might just be able to.

Overall: very good.

That is my mentally deficient husband photo-bombing.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Coconut Porter

When my friend Lindsay came back from a recent business trip to New Hampshire she brought me back a couple a growlers of beer from a brewery that was local to the area she was visiting.

I have the bestest friends, I swear!

As a Clinical Applications Specialist, she has to the opportunity to work with physicians from various facilities. Sometimes she works with them enough to become friends or at least a little friendly.

She was going to the cafeteria on day to pick up a spot of lunch and asked the doctor she was working with if he'd like something. He asked her to grab his usual tuna fish sandwich.

She picked up a couple sandwiches. When she got to the checkout counter the Asian cashier asked if the tuna sandwich was for the hot doctor.

Lindsay was like, "Yeah, he's pretty good looking, I guess."

The cashiers says, "No. The hot doctor."

Lindsay's like, "He's okay. Not really my type, though."

The cashier says emphatically, "Hot, HOT."

Suddenly, a light bulb turned on over Lindsay's cute little head. Oh!! She realized that the cashier was saying 'heart' not 'hot'. Whoops.

Anyhoo . . .

Lindsay, brought me beer from Seven Barrel Brewing which is located in Lebanon, NH. A coconut porter, to be more specific.

Mmmm, sounds good! I couldn't wait to bust into that bad boy!

Coconut Porter (4.7% ABV) poured a rich dark brown with ruby highlights topped with a dense mocha colored head.

The aroma was low key roasted malt with a metallic twinge.

The taste, frankly, was disappointing. For a porter it was watery and thin. It was lacking the flavors I would expect from a dark roasted malt beer - specifically coffee, cocoa, etc. But there was nary a hint of coconut. There was an off flavor I couldn't put my finger on but there was a definite metallic aftertaste.

Great concept. Unfortunately, it looked way better than it tasted.

So sad.

Overall: phooey

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cooking with Beer - Beer Marinated Steak Tacos

If I've said it once I've said it a hundred times, beer makes an excellent marinade for meat. It tenderizes, it flavors, it rocks. 

Enough said.

This recipe combines beer with lemon juice and spices to create intoxicating Mexican flavor.

I used a dark lager in this recipe to add the taste of beer but not overwhelm the other flavors. 

Beer Marinated Steak Tacos 

with Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Corn and Black Bean Salsa (see recipe below)
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
6 Ounces Dark or Amber Lager
2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic
1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
Hot Pepper Flakes
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
2 Pounds Skirt Steak
6 Flour or Corn Tortillas
2 Fire Roasted Green Peppers, Julienne
2 Green Onions, Thinly Sliced
2 Cups Mexican Cheese Mix

In a small bowl (I use a Mason jar) combine combine lemon juice, beer, garlic, oregano, cumin, hot pepper flakes (to taste), salt, and pepper.

Place steak in a plastic resealable bag and pour the marinade over it. Seal and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. I marinated mine for about 16 hours.

Grill or broil steak to desired doneness. Place steak on a cutting board and cut across the grain into thin slices. 

Place however many tortillas will fit on a large baking sheet (I did two at a time). Put about 4 ounces of steak in the center and sprinkle with cheese. Top with a few ribbons of roasted pepper and sprinkle with green onions. 

Place the sheet in a 400°F oven and bake until cheese has melted (about 2 to 5 minutes).
Remove tortillas from oven; sprinkle with salsa. Serve immediately.

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

1 14-Oz Can Black Beans, Rinsed And Drained
1 14-Oz Can Whole Kernel Corn, Drained
1 Small Red Bell Pepper, Seeded And Chopped
1/2 Spanish Onion, Chopped
1 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
1/4 Cup Minced Fresh Cilantro
1/4 Cup Minced Fresh Parsley
2 Teaspoons Hot Sauce
1 Lime, Juiced
2 Tablespoons Grapeseed Oil
Kosher Salt And Fresh Ground Pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Let stand at least 15 minutes for flavors to combine.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

7BB Double Red

My friends love me. Okay, I'm not sure if they actually love me. But they bring me beer when they travel and that's good enough for me.

My gal pal Lindsay recently went to New Hampshire for work. She asked if I'd ever been to Seven Barrel Brewery. Uhm, no. No I hadn't

So, Lindsay brought me beer! And a story. Lindsay always has an amusing tale to tell. This one is too good not to share.

Her job is to teach physicians and staff how to use new medical equipment. She was on a particular job where this one doctor avoided her. She would greet him every day and he wouldn't even acknowledge her. Well, Lindsay had a job to do and, doggonit, she was going to get that job done!

So, one day she stopped this doctor and said, "Listen, you and me we're going to be friends. You don't have to like me but we need to get this thing done."

She did her job and showed him how to use the new-fangled technology and the doctor was impressed.

Thereafter they were buddies.

So one day a co-worker says, "You like dogs, right?" Lindsay does indeed love dogs. So the person says, "You should ask Dr. so-and-so about his dog."

Lindsay says, "Are you trying to get me into trouble or something?"

"No! No! He just got a new puppy! You should ask him about it!"

Lindsay goes up to her new doctor friend and asks, "You have a new puppy??!"

"Yes I do."

"Ooooh! What kind of dog did you get."

"A poodle."

"What? They didn't have any dogs for men?"

You could hear a pin drop.

Lindsay put down her head and was like 'oh f^ck!'


She looked up sheepishly, "I'm lucky you like me?"



Double Red  (7.9% ABV) is one of the two growlers Lindsay gave me. We drank it after an afternoon in the garden.

It poured a clear reddish amber with a smallish head.

The aroma was mildly malty.

The taste was all malt. It was slightly sweet but more bitter. The alcohol was well concealed. The finish was a linger after taste of malt and bitterness.

The mouthfeel was medium with moderate carbonation.

I wish I had more to say about this brew but it is a pretty straightforward red ale. Not bad but not outstanding either.

Overall: good

Friday, July 25, 2014

Maple Coffee Brewtail

When hubby and I were in New Hampshire for vacation we stopped at Fuller's Sugarhouse to pick up maple syrup. While browsing the store I spied a bottle of maple cream soda made by Squamscot in the cooler. Next to the cooler were six pack of said soda pop.

I grabbed a cold bottle for then and the six pack for later.

On our way to our next next destination, I commented to hubby that I'll bet the soda would make an awesome mixer for a beer cocktail. Specifically, mixed with a hearty stout.

So, when we got back home whipped up this amazing drink with Granite Ledge Stout which is brewed by Canterbury Aleworks (a New Hampshire nana brewery).

Maple Coffee Brewtail

1 1/2 - 2 Oz Patron XO Cafe Coffee Liquor
6 Ounces Maple Cream Soda
6 Ounces Expresso or other Stout

Pour the ingredients into a pint sized glass. Stir gently. Enjoy responsibly.