Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pyramid Thunderhead IPA

It's been a few years since I visited the Seattle area, but when I was there I met some friends at Pyramid Brewing Company.  As I recall it was a great beer drinking experience.   

It wasn't until very recently that I've been able to buy Pyramid beer all the way here on the east coast.  When I spotted it, I picked up a six pack of Pyramid Thunderhead IPA at my local beer store.  Happily it's as good as I remember it being, if not better.

Thunderhead is a hearty 6.7% ABV.  It pours a rich golden color with a fluffy quickly dissipating head that leaves behind lots of lacing with every sip. It has all the elements of  an IPA that makes me love them so much . . . a sharp citrus bite, a bit of floral and hoppy bitterness.  It's not super hoppy but the hops are definitely IT with this beer.  But hops are not all there is to Thunderhead . . . the malt lends a light caramelly sweetness that adds balance and character to the beer.  Overall this is a fairly mild IPA as compared to a lot of the other West Coast IPAs I've had that go for BIG, HUGE and sometimes ENORMOUS amounts of hoppiness.  This is right in the middle . . . somewhere between mellow and big . . . and I like it.  I like it because when combined the relatively light mouthfeel it is an very drinkable beer that goes down easy.

The six pack didn't last very long, I can tell you that!  I like it, I love it, I want some more of it!


Visit Pyramid's website or check them out on Facebook.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Guinness Cream Soda

I found a recipe for a cocktail using Guinness.  It's called "Guinness Cream Soda".  I don't know if that's what *I* would have named it because it tastes more like a ginger beer, but who am I to criticize.    I've altered the recipe somewhat . . . basically because the original recipe called for Navan Vanilla Liquor which is extremely expensive and not easily acquired in the US and Domaine De Canton Ginger Liquer which is also expense.  I wouldn't consider either of these suitable mixers for mixing with beer.  My results were delicious!  

Also, I recommend using the Guinness Draught from the can as opposed to Guinness Extra Stout in the bottle.  You will have better results . . . basically because the bottled version is meant to be drank straight from the bottle and not poured (see this blog post for more information)

It's interesting to note that you can have two distinctly different drinking experiences with this cocktail.  You can float the Guinness much like is done with a Black and Tan.  Or, you can mix it all together with a gentle stir.  Either way is good . . . just different.

Guinness Cream Soda 

2 Ounces Ginger Liqueur
2 Ounces Vanilla Liqueur
1 (12-ounce) Can Club Soda, Chilled
1 (14.9-ounce) Can Guinness Draught, Chilled

Combine the liqueurs in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake to chill then mix with club soda, stir gently to combine.

Fill a chilled pint glass halfway with the club soda mixture. 

If floating the Guinness, hold a spoon over the glass, slowly pour the Guinness over the back of the spoon until the glass is full. 

Otherwise combine half the club soda mixture with half the can of Guinness.  Stir gently if.

Serve immediately.

Makes two cocktails

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Portsmouth Brew Pub

Over the summer hubby and I were on vacation in the beautiful state of New Hampshire.  On the one rainy day we had during the week we took a drive to Portsmouth to check out of a couple of the local breweries.  

A must visit on the list was none other than Portsmouth Brewery.  The brewpub is cozy with a very pleasant waitstaff and you can watch the brewers work as you enjoy your food and drink.  

Since this wasn't the only stop on our little beer tour we decided to get a sampler . . . mmmm, okay we both got a sampler.  I have to say of all the places where I've gotten a beer sampler Portsmouth, by far, has the most generous sample pallet . . . ten beers, all told.  A mix of beers from Portsmouth Brewery and Smuttynose (a sister brewery) and an odd man out from Tuckermans.

The first on the pallet was the Dirty Blond Ale (4.5% ABV).  A bright lemon color with a frothy white head.  A light, sessionable brew.  Citrussy, a little sweet with a touch of hoppiness.  Refreshing and exceptionally drinkable . . . a very nice summer beer.   Overall . . . very good.

Whipper Snapper (4. ABV%), an American style IPA, was up next . A rich amber colored brew.  This was one of my favorites. This had all the mouthwatering citrus hoppiness that I love so much in an IPA.      It's not as big as a lot of IPA's out there which means you can drink more than a couple and still keep your wits about you.  It also means that because it isn't overpoweringly bitter and hoppy this would be a beer for a novice IPA drinker.  Overall . . . awesome!

Onward and forward . . . Belgian Wit (4.5% ABV).  A hazy golden color with a fluffy white head.    A lot over wheat beers that's all you can taste . . . wheat.  But this a nice wheaty beer with distinctive floral notes.  Interesting and tasty.  Overall . . . very good.

Ah the dark beer,  Black Cat Stout (5.5% ABV).  I'm not a big stout drinker but I can appreciate a good one.  This is one of those.  This beer is dark, smooth, creamy and a little bitter. The best part?  Black Cat is chock full of coffee flavor . . . uhm, drooooool. Overall . . . very good.

Saison (6% ABV).  A hazy golden beer . . . it tastes like it looks.  Slightly sweet honey, some pineapple and a touch of citrus.  It tastes like summer and is very refreshing.  Delish!  Overall . . . very good.

Rye?  Rye Not (5.5% ABV).  The rye is evident in the aroma . . . along with some malty goodness.  Another good summery beer with refreshing hops and citrus.  In fact, to me, this was more IPAish; something you won't here me complain about.  There was a bit of fruitiness that balanced out the beer quite nicely.  I liked it.  Overall . . . pretty good.

Smuttynose Finest Kind (6.9% ABV).  Another American IPA . . . another one tops on my favorite list here.  What can I say? I'm an IPA kinda girl.  This beer starts out a with a malty caramel sweetness the morphs into something in between floral and citrus then  ends with a crisp hoppiness.  A wonderfully complex and delicious beer.  Overall . . . awesome!

Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale (5.5% ABV).  This is an American Pale Ale.  A lovely coppery red color  . . . definitely the prettiest beer in the bunch. It tastes like it looks.  That is, toasty caramel maltiness which compliments something subtle and fruity . . . hmmm, apple maybe?  It finishes crisp and clean with a touch of hoppy bitterness.  Yummy!  Overall . . . nearly awesome!

Smuttynose Star Island Single (5% ABV).  A Belgian Pale Ale.  A hazy straw color with a poof of foam on top.  It's like drinking fresh bread and a touch of jam . . . yeasty, fruity . . . mmm.  It finishes crisp and clean with bitter notes.  Goes down easy, very tasty, easily sessionable.  Overall . . . very good.

Last but nowhere near least . . . Tuckerman's Pale Ale (4.75% ABV).   What can I say about this beer?  I can tell you it's made by one of my favorite New Hampshire micro-breweries!  And also that this is my favorite of their offerings.  An American Pale Ale that is light and refreshing with citrus and bitter hops but not quite IPAish.  It's lightly carbonated and exceedingly drinkable!  So good!  Overall . . . nearly awesome!

Visit the websites for Portsmouth Brewery and Smuttynose and Tuckermans.  Or, check them out on Facebook herehere and here respectively.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chillin' with Chelada

Have you ever seen anything so terribly compelling that you couldn’t turn away . . . say like a train wreck?

Well, while I was in my local beer store I was poking around looking for something new and interesting to try.  For me that means a new micro brewery or something seasonal.  You know . . . something good!

What I hadn’t ever remotely  anticipated purchasing was an Anhueser Busch product.  And certainly not of the Budweiser variety.  Least of all a Budweiser with . . . dare I say . . . clamato juice. 

Ack!  I said it!  Yes, I bought it.

The 16 ounce can sat in my refrigerator for weeks.  Looking me square in the face every time I opened the door.  Mocking me.  Taunting me to try it.  For the longest time, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Hell, I wasn’t even sure why I bought the thing in the first place.  Talk about buyer’s remorse!  Not that it cost all that much money; it was the principle of the thing!

Last night . . . in a moment of awful weakness, I gave in and broke down an popped open that wretched can of . . . *gulp* . . . beer.

It poured a sickish kind of pink color.  As the can emptied out more of the reddish clamato juice poured out.  I swished the can a bit to get as much of the stuff out as I could . . . if I was going to do it, I was going to do it right!

Mmmm . . . clamato juice.

I’ve never actually purchased Clamato juice.   It  is a drink made of reconstituted tomato juice concentrate flavored with spices and clam broth.  My only recollection of ever seeing this product in someone's home was my grandmother who used it to mix up her bloody mary’s.

Anyhoo . . . 

So, the glass of Chelada . . . that’s what they call it . . . sat on my counter as I contemplated drinking this concoction of beer, tomato / clam juice with a supposed splash of lime.  I finally mustered the courage and took a sip.

Hmmm . . . 

And to my complete and utter horror I actually liked it.  For shame . . . it is a pretty tasty train wreck.

Shocking, I know . . . I have nothing more to say for myself.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Beer, bacon and bourbon

Plan B, a local restaurant that specializes in burgers, beer and bourbon, is celebrating their one year anniversary.  And they're going hog wild!  Literally!  They are  celebrating with bacon . . . it's Bacon Week!  On special this week is “The Divine Swine” aka “Drop Dead Burger,”  (100% ground bacon burger topped w/ thick sliced bacon, bacon aioli, bourbon bacon red onion jam, and a fried egg all sandwiched in between a grilled cheese) to Bacon Candy Bars, Bacon Cotton Candy, and Bacon infused Bourbon cocktails . . . and more.

I like bacon . . . who doesn't?  So, a visit to Plan B to celebrate their anniversary was a must.  I didn't try everything . . . that would be completely gluttonous and I might have fallen into a bacon induced coma.  I did, however, sample a few baconny items.  AND a few of their ever rotating taps . . . alas, no bacon beer.

I started out with a finger of Woodford Reserve bacon infused bourbon.  The bourbon itself is nice, smooth and warming.  The infusion definitely added a subtle baconness that wasn't the least bit detracting.  It was a little smoky with a nice hint of bacon.  All in all . . . quite good.

I ordered the Divine Swine burger for my meal with a side of green fries (flash fried green beans).  Was this burger over the top?  Completely!  But I guess that's kind of the point.  Every bite of this burger screams BACON!  If you love bacon, as I do, this is something you'll want to try once in your life.  It was good but would I order it again?  Mmm . . . probably not . . . I think I gained five pounds just thinking about it!  

The beer at Plan B is always good . . . they are constantly rotating their taps so there's always something new to try.  This week's list was impressive and it was tough to choose what I wanted to try.  I sampled thee different beers and I wasn't disappointed with any of them.

I started out with a Raging Bitch from Flying Dog.  Basically, because I can pretty much relate to the name.  Well, that and because it's an IPA.  Raging Bitch is a strong Belgian style IPA (8.3% ABV). Amber in color with a loose, bubbly head that laces the glass with every sip.  This is a very tasty beer with an expected amount of hoppy citrus, a surprising hint of caramel and a nice crisp finish.  Despite the alcohol level I didn't taste any booziness . . . just a delicious beer that I would definitely go for again!

With that crazy bacon burger, I had a Coney Island Mermaid Pilser from Shmaltz Brewing Company.  Wow!  Very nice!  This pilser is a light (5% ABV) and exceptionally drinkable beer.  It tasted of malty caramel, fruit, a hint of hops and . . . rye.  None of these elements overpowered another . . . it is a nice balanced beer that goes down easy and simply tastes great.  Go for it!

At our server's suggestion we ordered a bottle of  Stoudt's Fat Dog Imperial Oatmeal Stout.  He said it was of the best stouts he has ever drank . . . who can argue with a recommendation like that?  The beer was as black and dark as beer gets.  There were clear coffee, chocolate and malt flavors . . . as I expect from an imperial stout.  This is a big beer . . . it is strong (9% ABV) and dark  . . . but it is also fairly smooth tasting and very flavorful.  You can taste the alcohol but it doesn't take away from the overall taste or experience of the beer.  I would say this is a great beer for anyone who appreciates a good, strong stout.  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Six Point Apollo

Six Point Brewing is new to Connecticut only becoming available here for the first time in June.  We were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the famed Apollo.  When it arrived I snagged three four packs in anticipation of its awesomeness since it came very highly recommended and got excellent reviews.  

Additionally, Untappd was offering a special badge for drinking Apollo . . . double incentive!  Not that *I* need much of an incentive to try a new beer . . . but it doesn't hurt to get that extra push.

Apollo is a summer wheat beer that is a sessionable 5.2% ABV.  It pours a bright golden amber color with a quickly dissipating head. There's no questioning that this is a wheat beer . . . it's very wheaty but that's not the only dominating flavor.  With each sip I could clearly taste lemon and banana and . . . check this out . . . bubblegum.  Yeah, I said it . . . bubblegum, it's subtle but very much there.  Interesting.

As far as wheat beer goes, this is a good one.  For a newby, a beer like Blue Moon is a  good entre' into wheat beer with is very mild wheatiness . . . but if you want something with a more intense flavor profile then Apollo is it.

A nice, drinkable summer brew named for the Sun God!  And, yes . . . I got my Ray of Light badge from  Untappd  for drinking two Apollos and then the Sun God Badge for drinking two more . . . it was a struggle but I managed to force them down. **wink** **wink**

For more information about their different beers check out Six Point's website or visit them on Facebook.