Monday, May 26, 2014

Mckenzie's Black Cherry Hard Cider

I was at my friend's house for a picnic. We wiled away the day drinking beer, eating dogs, roasting 'mallows, puffing cigars. All in all, a good relaxing day well spent with awesome friends.

I was ready for a change when my host offered me a drink of something different. A McKenzie's Hard Cider of the black cherry variation. Hmmm, okay. Twist my arm. Ow! Ow! I said 'okay!!'.  Sheesh.

Black Cherry Hard Cider (5% ABV) by Mckenzie's Hard Cider in a 12-oz brown bottle.

It pours a honey gold with a small head and minimal lacing.

The aroma is very very black cherry.

The taste is the perfect combination of black cherry and hard apple cider.  It is sweet and tart and mouth watering. This is a seriously tasty beverage!

The mouthfeel is light, cool and refreshing.  Exceptional drinkability.

Mckenzie's Black Cherry Hard Cider is a winner!!

Overall: excellent.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Beers of Greece and Croatia

So, I have these awesome friends that do a bit of globe trotting and are sweet enough to bring me a brew or two from where ever in the world they wind up. Once it was beer from Ireland. Another time it was from St. Maarten. And once it was from Costco at a barbecue in their back yard.

This time they went on a Mediterranean Cruise and I got a beer from Greece and Croatia.

There was also a rather amusing tale to go with the beer.  One that is too much fun not to share.

When James and Lindsay arrived at the port of Santorini they had three choices to get to Fira, the town situated at the top of a hill, walk up 588 zig zagging steps, pack into an aerial tram, or ride donkeys. If it was me, donkey back would be the way to go. Much to James' chagrin it was also Lindsay's choice.  When they got off the boat and headed to the ass transit he said, "I just want you to know that I don't like this one bit."
The donkeys walk up those same winding stairs as everyone so, consequently, they are covered in donkey doo-doo. To one side is earth and mountain, to the other a steep drop off to the rocks and water below. As they plodded along, James' donkey walked perilously close to the 800' cliff side. All the while he's looking completely pissed off and miserable and he's all like, "I think I'm gonna puke." And Lindsay in her ever cheerful way is all like, "Suck it up buttercup." They all made it to the top intact and no worse for wear. James stated profoundly, "At the end of the day it's a wild animal and they all have their breaking point." Lindsay bought him an ice cream cone and the terror of the ride was forgotten and all was forgiven. Πού είναι η τουαλέτα

Mythos (4.70% ABV) is a European Pale Lager which is brewed by Mythos Brewery in Greece. Mythos Brewery is owned by Carlsberg.

It pours a pale gold with a fluff of white foam that dissipates with loose lacing.

The aroma is sweet malt and some grassy hops. It kind of smells like an American Adjunct.

The taste is very much like an American Adjunct beer. Sweet malt and grains, gentle hoppiness. The finish is clean and crisp.

The mouthfeel is light and effervescent.

Mythos isn't anything special but it super drinkable. It's perfect for one of those time you want to just kick back and slam some brews.

Overall: good

Ozujsko Pivo (5.0% ABV) is a European Pale Lager which is brewed by Zagrebaèka Pivovara in Croatia. Zagrebaèka Pivovara is owned by Molson Coors.

It pours a light sunny yellow with a big floof of white foam that leaves behind bunches of lace.

The aroma is sweet grains, some fruit, and mellow hops.

Much like the Mythos, the taste is very much like an American Adjunct beer. Sweet malt and grains, gentle hoppiness. The finish is clean and crisp.

The mouthfeel is light and effervescent.

Ozujsko Pivo is smooth and ultra quaffable. It goes down easy.

Overall: good

Once again I happily thank James and Lindsay for thinking of me and my passion for beer.

Cheers guys! I love ya!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Meet the Brewer - Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso

Two Roads hosted the second of their "Meet the Brewers" events. The first one featured the beer guys at Two Roads. You know, those adorable and hardworking fellows who make all that beerific magic happen.

This time they featured the well known and much respected gypsy brewer from Evil Twin, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso. Evil Twin is known for excellent creative beers and Two Roads contract brews several of Jeppe's recipes.

Jeppe is low key and reserved and he quietly participated in the event. Graciously speaking to people who wanted to chat with him and generously allowing photos to be taken but declined to hop up on the bar and speak to the crowd.

I was delighted to find three of his brews on tap for tasting. A grabbed my sampler of three without hesitation.

Hipster Ale (5.5% ABV) is an American Pale Ale.  It pours a clear rich honey gold with a clingy froth of foam the left behind lovely lacing. The aroma was tart and fruity with floral and spicy hop notes. The taste was immediately brisk and mildly hoppy. Flavors of juicy citrus, biscuit, and caramelized sugars compliment and add character. The finish is dry and gently bitter. The mouthfeel is light, crisp, and effervescent. Lovely! Overall: very good

Yang (10% ABV) is an Imperial / Double IPA. It pours a clear cherry read with a thin layer of foam. The aroma is malty, boozy, and incredibly mouth watering. The taste is big and boozy. Biting citrus hops, earthy pine, juicy fruits, sweet malt, and cracker offset the burst of, well, big booziness. This is a complex beer with intense flavor. The mouthfeel is medium with tight lively carbonation. Overall: very good.

Ryan and the Beaster Bunny (7% ABV) is a Farmhouse Ale that has, dare I say, the most awesome name ever. Also, I dare say, this was more like a hefeweizen to me than a saison. That's not a bad thing, just an observation. It is sunny gold in color with a fluffy head that laces up quite nicely. The aromas is sweet and yeasty and gently funky. The taste is soft and wheaty. Mildly spicy and malty. There are also flavors of banana, bubble gum, and clove which gives me the impression of a hefe. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. This is an exceptionally drinkable beer. I'm a hop head but I favor this brew over the others. It simply rocks! Overall: excellent

If getting the chance to sample those yummy brews on tap wasn't awesome enough, a bottle of Bozo Beer magically appeared. Like magic, I say! I was thrilled to be invited to have a taste.

Bozo Beer (17.2% ABV) American Imperial / Double Stout. Holy Moly this is an amazing stout. Think of everything you like about a stout and this is pretty much it. WOWZERS. It pours as dark as thick black oil with a dense mocha head. The aroma is malty, coffee, cocoa, and sweet spices. The taste is complex and wonderful. Coffee, sweet & dark chocolate, oak, vanilla, nuts, chili peppers, cinnamon, light and dark sugars. So many flavors combined so well; it's hard to grasp them all. What's most impressive is that the alcohol is so remarkably well concealed. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy. Wow, what a great beer. Get some! Overall: Excellent

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cinco De Mayo!

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican defeat of the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

How this celebration of a victory against an invading force translates to beer, I don't know. But who am I to argue.

Perhaps because Grupo Modelo has been promoting it as a beer holiday since the 1920's.

So, I decided to celebrate this Mexican holiday with my favorite gringo and a couple of Grupo Modelo brews.

Modelo Especial (4.40% ABV) although an import it is considered an American Adjunct Lager. It is pale and effervescent. It's light tasting, inoffensive, and easy drinking. It's certainly nothing special, it is what it is, but it doesn't suck. And, it's cheap. If you want something cold and wet to slam down on a hot day, you could do worse. Overall: Okay

Victoria (4.00% ABV) is supposedly a Vienna lager. It is a light clear amber. It was malty, grainy, and a little sweet but with a metallic twang that was very off-putting. Disappointing. This is a beer that's been produced since the mid-1800's but I can't imagine that what I'm tasting now is what they tasted then or it wouldn't have survived this long. Overall: meh

Happy Cinco De Mayo!!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Firefly Hollow

After attending Shebeen's anniversary party, we decided to swing by Firefly Hollow. Why not? We were in the area and Firefly Hollow kicks some beer butt!

There was a healthy crowd at the bar but there were plenty of cushy comfy seats so I grabbed a couple flights and pretzels and got all cozy.

I got one of each pretzel from Harvest Bakery - a jalapeno cheddar and a stout. I dare say these may be the best pretzels ever. Soft and flavorful. They went perfect with the beer, too! And oh so happy! Just look at that smiley face on the Jalapeno Cheddar!!  It's only mildly weird that it looks suspiciously like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Just sayin'.

But I digress.

Anyhoo . . . I'd had a couple of the beers on the list during a previous visit but was happy to drink them again and try the new-to-me ones.

Wisp Single Hop Pale Ale (5.5%)

As the name perhaps implies this is a light and gentle pale ale. Mildly sweet and malty with some juicy fruit presence. It finishes dry and a little bitter. A drinkable for anyone brew. I like it! Overall: good

Crazed Copper Ale (4.9% ABV) 

This classic and a good example of the style. This is not by favorite style but it's not bad and I liked it. The hops make their presence known in the finish with a little bite. This is a good, quaffable brew. Overall: good.

Moonrise Amber (6.3% ABV) This one was a bit of a pleasant surprise. An amber with a hit of hops. That's my kind of amber! It's also has nice fruit characteristics; a little juicy, a little tart. Nice all around flavor and a pleasant divergence from your every day amber ale. Overall: good.

Toadstool Oat Stout (5.8% ABV) 
bursting with fresh roasted coffee flavor and sweet milk chocolate. The finish is mildly bitter and pleasant. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Very nice. Overall: very good.

Nymph IPA (7.1% ABV) is hop forward but it is gently bitter. The hop profile is fruity and juicy. This is an IPA that anyone can enjoy. It's mild and tasty. The mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation. Overall: good.

Dire Chinchilla (9.8% ABV) is big. Not for the light weight beer drinker. It boozy for sure. But that's not all. Malt, hops and caramelized sugars are pronounced. This is a bold flavorful brew. Nice! And I like the name, too. Overall: Good.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Happy Birthday Shebeen!!

Could it possibly be a whole year since Shebeen began brewing beer for public consumption?  Wow!

The tap room manager, Marissa, asked me to come to the anniversary party. Of course I would be there! A keg party!! Woot!

I arrived early with my posse and there were a few folks hanging around. Marissa immediately poured me a brew. My friends and I went into the new but unfinished tap room expansion to enjoy our beer.

Not too long after we got there the tap room was packed with people clambering for beer. Outside they were playing a beanbag toss game quaintly called cornhole; appropriately, the game is also known as lawn darts for drunks. Folks were also enjoying brews at the picnic tables and on the porch.

By the time we were ready to leave, we had to elbow our way to the door. I'd say the anniversary party was a raging success! The beer was pretty good, too!

Here's  to another great year of brewing beer at Shebeen!

Cucumber Wasabi (4.5% ABV) is a hazy honey brown. It smells and tastes just like both cucumber and wasabi. Impressive but weird.  I liked it but I'm definitely not in love with it. It's interesting to drink, for sure, but I don't think I could drink more than a glassful. This a brew worth trying, if for no other reason, than that it's it is unlike any other beer. Tasty but odd.

Pineapple Wheat (5.1% ABV) is a fruit / wheat beer. This is a darned good beer. It pours a clear honey gold with a nice lingering bubbly head. The aroma is boldly wheaty and big on pineapple.  The taste is a burst of fresh pineapple backed up by wheat and sweet malt. This is a pleasantly sweet, refreshing beer with not a hint of bitterness.  I once even made Beer Zucchini Bread with it. NOM!

Cannoli Beer (5.2% ABV) is an American Pale Ale. Served with a rim of powdered sugar and a sprinkle of cocoa atop the foam, this is a Shebeen favorite. The aroma is, well, like a cannoli. The taste is wonderful! The airy sweetness of the sugar and subtle cocoa enhances and sends the spicy ale over the top. This is the first time I had it on Nitro. I have to say I like it better without it. The nitro does something not so great to the otherwise awesome brew, in my ever so humble opinion.

Grand Cru (6% ABV) is a witbier. It pours a deep amber color. Smooth, fruity, juicy.  I think this was my favorite of the day. Smooth, fruity, juicy. Mild grains, malt, and sweet citrus combine to make an easy drinking brew. Nary a hint of bitterness. Perfect for a hot summer day. Wonderful.