Saturday, October 27, 2012

Samuel Smith Organic Chocolate Stout

I've gained a bit of notoriety at the store where I normally shop for my beer.  They have an amazing selection of craft brews and I can usually count on them for a beer that I am specifically trying to find.

Almost every time I go in there I have a list of beers I’m looking for.  The staff is extremely helpful, fairly knowledgeable and never fail to ask if there’s anything they can help me find.

The recognition comes into play quite nicely.  I am greeted and suggestions are offered as to my particular tastes.  It’s pretty cool and I often find a gem that I may not have chosen for myself.

Take, for instance, last week when I was making a beer run.  I had a couple ideas of what I wanted but nothing set in stone.  As soon as I walked in the door, I was recognized and the greeter suggested Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout.

I’m not a huge stout lover but my husband is and my prior experience with Samuel Smith beer has been good so I grabbed a bottle.

I popped it open for “dessert” . . . and all I can say about this beer is WOW”!  This stout  is one of the most remarkable beers I've ever had.  Amazing.

It pours dark as night with a thick taupe head.  It is perfectly effervescent . . . light and smooth and creamy.  The taste . . . WOWZERS! . . . it’s like drinking lightly carbonated dark chocolate.  Really . . . that’s it . . . like alcohol laced liquid devil’s food cake.

O . . . M . . . G . . . YUM!

Forget the whole organic thing . . . unless that's important to you . . . this beer is nothing short of awesome.

If you like beer and you like chocolate and you’re looking for a new beer to try, move this to the top of your list.  I promise you will not be disappointed. 

For more information go to Samuel Smith's website.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Founder's Brewing Cerise

I like a good fruit beer.  To me that means a good flavorful beer that is enhanced . . . but not overwhelmed . . . by the addition of fruit.  I want to taste the beer not a mouthful of beer flavored fruit.

I selected Founder's Cerise because the bottle looked interesting and the name was enticing . . . it's all very classy.

Cerise is an ale that is fermented with cherries.  One of my favorite fruits is the dark red bing cherries that are so abundant in the summer months.  So, it was a no brainer to try this one.  I hate those sickly sweet maraschino cherries and my only fear is that Cerise would emulate the flavor of those nasty little things.

It pours a gorgeous ruby red . . . much like fresh cherry juice . . . with a head that starts out high but quickly settles into a lingering pink foam around the edge of the glass. It smells as much like cherries as it looks . . . fresh and inviting . . . with yeasty undertones.

The taste . . . from the nose I was expecting a sticky lambic.  That's not what I got.  I tasted tart cherry, malt and a surprising earthiness I'd attribute to the hops.  There was a kind of a medicinal taste to the finish . . . I'm don't know how I feel about that.  I'm  not sure if it was due to the alcohol, the way the hops interact with the cherry or something else.  It wasn't entirely bad but a little distracting.  I liked the effervescent mouthfeel which enhances the drinkability.  I also like that it's not sweet.  You can taste the cherries but you also get the hoppy bitterness of the beer.

Cerise is different from any other beer of this style I've had.  I think if you like cherries you'll appreciate this brew.  Overall, it makes for a refreshing summer beer that's worth a try.   

(6.5% ABV)

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

Monday, October 22, 2012

Plzeňský Prazdroj - Pilsner Urquell

I typically shun beer in green bottles.  Why?  Because, from my experience, they tend to be skunky tasting.

When hubby asked my to pick up a sixer of Pilsner Urquell, I was happy to do it.  

When I got to the beer store there was a Heineken promotion.  So the lovely blonde beer girl was passing out samples of icy cold Heiny and when she offered me a tastes I was like, "No thanks, I don't drink beer that comes in green bottles."

Little did I know that Pilsner Urquell comes in evil green bottles.  I couldn't tell at the store because the bottles were packed up in boxes.  I got a cold pack at the store and when I busted into them at home I was like, "Ugh, green bottles."

Since this was the designated beer for the evening I sucked it up and went for it.

I popped open a bottle;  the smell was exactly what I anticipated and it didn't bode well.  Skunk.

Let me put my commentary on hold for a moment and tell you a little bit about Pilsner Urquell.  It is the very first pilsner every made.  It was first brewed in 1842 in Plzen, Czechoslovakia; which is where it gets it's name.  All other beers of this style take their name from Plzeňský Prazdroj . . . or Pilsner Urquell.  However, Pilsner Urquell is hoppier than most pilsners . . . which gives it bonus points in my book. 

Now, back to the beer. Once I got past the smell, I was pleasantly surprised at the taste and I quickly sucked back three of them.  Don't get your knickers in a twist, Pilsner Urquell comes in at a very sessionable 4.4% ABV . . . so it's a nice light drinkable beer.  And it won't knock you on your butt.  It does have a little tiny bit of that green bottle taste but the overall flavor is a good tasty pilsner with a bitter edge.  I surprised myself by liking it.

Happy 170th Birthday Pilsner Urquell.  Cheers to the first Pilsner ever!   Good job with that!

Oh, and the topper on the cake?  I got a special badge from Untappd for knocking back three of these bad boy!

Visit the Pilsner Urquell website or check them out on Facebook.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday beer run

Mixin' Crispin

This time of year there's nothing quite like sluggin' back a yummy cider; especially a good hard cider.   

So, when hubby and I were out the other night at our favorite pub for our weekly date night and I saw their special board I was excited to see Crispin Hard Cider.  

All by itself Crispin is good . . . we had their original (5% ABV).  It's definitely crisp tasting, a little dry, a little sweet.  Yum.  

But we decided to take it to a whole other level . . . add a shot of something to it.

I thought a caramel liquor would be good but they didn't have it behind the bar.  So, we opted to try the cider with Buttershots butterscotch liquor instead.   

I poured the shot into a pint glass and then poured the cider over top.

Oh my!  Delicious.  The butterscotch flavor didn't overwhelm the apple but added a rich and creamy taste that was oh so good!

And then, in a burst of sudden inspiration, I decided to try one with Fireball Cinnamon Whisky!  Great balls of fire!  It was like drinking apple pie (without the crust)!!  Yes!  This concoction is a keeper!  Lip smacking awesomeness!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pork'n out on beer

Hubby and I have a standing date night every week.  Most times we go to our favorite bar . . . Porky’s Café in Shelton, CT . . .  because they have the best hot wings around, awesome pizza, and the staff is cute & friendly.

For all the years I’ve been going there  . . .  at least 10 years . . . they’ve had pretty much the same beer on tap.  Mostly your run of the mill big commercial brewers:  Guinness, Bass Ale, Budweiser, Bud Light, Coors Light, Blue Moon, Miller, Sam Adams.   But recently I’ve noticed a new trend towards seasonal beers and a rotating guest tap.

I’m really happy about this development because the guest tap is most often a little guy craft brew . . . my kind of beer!

Some of recent beers were new to me and I absolutely LOVE trying new beer!  

A recent tap featured Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale.  Dogfish Head is a favority brewery of mine so there was no way I was going to let this one slip by untasted.  I liked it a lot.  There was the hoppiness of an IPA that I love so much along with subtle caramel notes that add delicious complexity.  The bitterness of the hops is balanced nicely with a light sweetness.   I would definitely recommend this beer!  Delish!  (7.2% ABV)

A couple weeks ago they had a Founders Rye PA . . . mmmm.  Hophead alert!! This one is for you!  Very hoppy and grapefruity . . . my fav!  The malts contribute a light sweetness that makes for an amazing beer. A lot of hops and a touch of caramel . . . oh my sweet heaven . . . YUM!  (6.6% ABV)

And just this past week Lagunitas A Little Sumpin Wild Ale.  A fairly strong beer (8.7% ABV) with big flavor.  There’s plenty of hoppiness . . . so, I’m not complaining . . . with an interesting array flavors: spice, fruit and candy.  No, I’m not insane.  I’m not sure of everything I was tasting in this complex flavorful beer but I know I detected some banana and, dare I say, bubblegum.  That’s right!  I said it!  Bubblegum.  Just the barest hint and it wasn’t at all bad.  As my favorite Vulcan would say . . . fascinating.  Really quite good . . . scrumptious, in fact.  Give it a whirl . . . you won’t be disappointed.   

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Rogue Voodoo Doughnut

If I've said it once I've said it a hundred times . . . Rogue is one of my favorite breweries.  They have an amazing variety of fantastic beers with creative themes and labeling.  Rogue beer simply rocks!

So, when I spotted Voodoo Doughnut in it's bright pink bottle with the creepy dark eyed fellow on the label surrounded by little piggies it required further investigation.  What did this closer inspection reveal?  Maple and . . . OH MY LORD . . . BACON

Bacon Maple Ale . . . I sh!t you not!  I think I just died and went to heaven.

Needless to say a snagged a bottle (or three) . . . at $15 a bottle.

The timing of the discovery of Rogue Voodoo was fortuitous.  

Hubby and I go camping every year in the fall.  A tradition for us is that after we set up camp and are all settled in we share a beer . . . preferably a really good beer.  

Voodoo was it!  Ah, but would it meet our expectations . . . bacon maple beer?  How could it not?  What's not to love.

Voodoo Doughnut pours amber with an average head.  I could clearly smell the maple and bacon and couldn't wait to take a sip.  A smoky bacon flavor is prevalent but doesn't dominate or overwhelm the ale.  The maple is more subtle which was surprsing considering how strong it is in the aroma.  Voodoo is smooth and full bodied . . . I just wanted to eat it up.

I'm not a huge fan of smoked beers but this one rules!  It's not too smoky, not too bitter, not too sweet . . . all of the flavor are really nicely balanced and the overall taste is quite remarkable.  

I would rate Rogue Voodoo as excellent.  I can't wait to pop open another bottle!

On a side note, I wish we'd had better cups  . . . i.e. a proper glass . . . to drink Voodoo from, but it was still really really delicious.  As the label says, it pairs well with doughnuts and pork . . . from my perspective it goes perfect with camping and my homemade bacon infused bourbon.  Delish!

(5.6% ABV)

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

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Pumpkin Beer Trifecta

The season for spiced autumn beers is here.  So in celebration of this most awesome time of year I did a sampling of three pumpkin beers.  There are so many to choose from but these are the ones I selected:  Dogfish Head Punkin, Saranac Pumpkin and Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin.

Dogfish Head is one of my favorite breweries so choosing Punkin was a no brainer for me.  Punkin is a spiced brown ale. It pours a reddish golden color reminiscent of fall foliage.  The flavor?  Well, it pretty much tastes like pumpkin pie in a glass . . . pumpkin (obviously), nutmeg and cinnamon are prevalent. It's slightly sweet but not overly so.  Frankly speaking . . . it tastes like fall.  Yum!  (7% ABV )

Saranac an another brewery that hasn't disappointed me so picking up a jug of their Pumpkin Ale wasn't a difficult decision to make.  This ale isn't as pumpkin-y as the Dogfish Head Punkin but it's still a pretty tasty pumpkin beer.  This beer has a mellow pumpkin taste that is accentuated by cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg with a hint of sweetness.  There is nothing overpowering here . . . simply a good pumpkin beer.  (5.40% ABV)

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale was the biggest of the three.  It poured a rich golden red with a thin head.  The pumpkin pie spices were forefront to this beer followed by the pumpkin itself.  Not as pumpkin-y as the Dogfish Head but spicier and more alcohol-y than both the Dogfish Head and Saranac.  It's big and boozy. Like an alcoholic pumpkin pie.  Overall good. (8% ABV)