Thursday, January 26, 2012

It Won't Take Me 60 Minutes to Drink This

"60 IBU, 6.0%, over 60 hop additions, over a 60-minute boil". I like how they name their beer.

I got to try Dogfish Head's 60 Minute IPA in Chicago.  It was the first and only Dogfish Head beer I'm yet to have, so this was a nice little treat.  ..I'm still dying to try the Google beer they've done..

Now, I've labelled this beer as "strong" cuz it's over 5%.  I was surprised, since this WAS only 6%, that the label "strong" came to mind with this beer though; I could clearly taste the difference when drinking it.

This was a really crisp IPA.  It was pretty bitter, and I personally wouldn't be able to knock these back through a night, but one or two to start out is deeeelightful.

All too often to I say this, but to yet another American brewery - Dogfish Head, please come to Canada.  We need you up here.

Side thought - Dogfish are pretty cool combinations of animals, so I've thought up a few more:

- CatBird ..would it chase itself??
- HippoCock .. hahah seriously, how funny would a hippopotamus + peacock look?
- IguanaRaffe .. HOW FRIGHTENING would an iguana + giraffe be, eh?!

My Recco's
Food: Crab encrusted seared tuna, side asparagus
Music: Lagwagon

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chocolate Stout, Need I Say Any More?

I don't need to, but I will.

A few years back, Young's Double Chocolate Stout was the first chocolate stout I'd ever had.  Now it makes its way onto my winter shopping list every year.

This chocolate stout is one of those guilty pleasures that I enjoy when I'm going through a "I'm on a diet and can't eat any chocolate!" phases.  I mean, technically, it's a stout, so, I can keep my hands off the Nestle and Cadbury, and keep my sanity.

This sweet, UK chocolate stout is my favourite chocolate stout that I've had to date.  I usually pair it with brownies, chocolate cake, or decadent cookies, but for a contrasting effect, I've been known to have it with a rich Camembert or creamy blue cheese.

I'll leave the fine wine's to the sommelier's, but try pairing this 5.2%er with some of your favourite creamy cheeses and let me know what you think.

While on the note of pairing, give this chocolate stout a go while listening to some classical music. Preferably, piano focussed.

My Recco's
Food: Rich, creamy Camembert or blue
Music: Chopin

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ruination Inspired Poetry

If my last post was about being stoned, I've definitely upgraded my stash.

I was lucky enough to be given a Stone Ruination IPA this month (thanks Ryan!), which was an upgrade from my last post about Stone IPA.

This is what I thought from my sample:

- Over 100IBU's made it nice and hoppy.  Not too hoppy, where you think you'll taste hops for a month, but bitter enough, and yet, with a smooth finish.

- 7.7% but no crazy "why is this beer so strong, it would be good if it wasn't" taste!

There's something about the way Stone brews their beer that I can't help but want to move to California to have direct access to it at all times... not that one would need more of a reason than the constant sun and palm trees.  Plus, have you seen the Hotel Del Coronado:   An ice rink right by the beach!! All I would ever need.

To say that the Ruination is "a liquid poem to the glory of the hop" is a wonderful thought to have in mind while drinking one. such, I've written Stone Ruination a haiku, for your reading pleasure:

Strong hoppy flavor
Bitter like cool summer nights
Smooth malty finish

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Stone'd for the First Time

I was lucky enough to see Stone IPA on the menu at Timothy O'Toole's in Chicago back in December.  Of course, I jumped on the chance for any Californian IPA, but this one was special.. for you see, I did not know too much about Stone Brewing Co.

I'd had a Stone brew before, without knowing it - its Arrogant Bastard Ale (ps, that's an awesome beer).

But the Stone IPA - Guess what.. LOVED IT.

77 IBU's and kickin', this 6.9%er was what I like to call a drinkable IPA.  It had a sweet tinge to its bitterness which made me think of palm trees and basking in the glorious sunshine on what I can only imagine the west-coast looks like.

Maybe it was just because I was picturing glorious beaches, and me, laying on the beach with this IPA in hand, but the sweet, hoppy aroma given off by this brew was enough to make anyone want to fly out to California to get one straight out of the barrel.

Hopefully I won't be imagining it for much longer, (or Google Street Viewing it just to feel like I'm actually there) as I'm tentatively planning a Spring visit to the sunshine state.  If I do make it out that way, I'm definitely going to visit the brewery.. if they do tours.

Also, I was lucky enough to have a friend offer up one of his Stone Ruination IPA's this past week... You'll hear more about that gorgeous bottle from me in the next few days.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Local AA Chapter

Kensington Brewing Company's Augusta Ale (AA as they call it) was on tap at a local, Fynn's of Temple Bar, so I tried it out.  I had asked for Alexander Keith's Harvest Ale, but alas, they were all out. :(

When I asked the bartender what it tasted like, she replied "It tastes like a craft beer."

At first I thought, "Hmmm, crafty, eh?... Do all craft beers have something in common that I haven't noticed?"

Maybe they do, maybe they don't.  I'd like to have someone tell me if they do though, because I feel like I should know.

All in all, it was a deeply hoppy beer.  I'm afraid to try the Augusta Ale Extra Hoppy (AAXH as they call it) for I may never be able to lose the taste of hops from my mouth.  Not that that would be the worst thing in the world.... there could be worse.

Like that *awful* dressing my periodontist put in my mouth after doing some minor surgery a few weeks ago.  He put this stuff in my mouth that looked liked gum over top of the 13 lovely stitches I had just been given, and told me to keep it there until it naturally falls out.

It tasted like hot garbage covered in poop.

...and made everything I ate, taste like hot garbage covered in poop.  It was a really disgusting two weeks for my taste-buds.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Revolutionizing Beer: Accessories and Social Marketing

...Wear your brew-passion.

Dogfish Head Brewery just posted a link to a bottle-opener pendant whose design depicts different American brewery locations - how cool!

So of course, this got me thinking two things:

1. Perfect time to shamelessly self promote my super gorgeous bottle cap earrings, and

2. What other possibilities are out there?

Now, we've all seen those coasters of city maps similar to these of brewery locations, bottle opener rings, and credit card shaped bottle openers, but what if it doesn't have to stop there?  What if breweries banned together to create some sort of a "Craft Beer Collect 'em All" line of products that would enable fans of breweries to get acquainted with brews that they may not already be familiar with, and incentivize them to interact with all of them?

Think about it, a charm bracelet for the ladies, with charms that you can pick up at each brewery.  They  might even have slots where each charm fits into.  Rings with the brewery logo or shield on them.  Bottle openers with the same.

From here, why just wear your brew-passion.  Why not have it take you places?

With each "Craft Beer Collect 'em All" item comes a QR code, or a PIN that you can enter online at each of the breweries' websites.  The result wouldn't even have to be a prize per say, but could be a cool tidbit of information about an upcoming brew --- or think even bigger, it could be a nation-wide scavenger hunt where you collect pieces of a digital puzzle whenever you enter a PIN on a brewery's website, and once all the pieces are together, it reveals the location of a huge beer event, one where only those who have collected enough pieces of the puzzle can attend.... The possibilities.. they're endless!

Whoa... ok... that was intense.

Feel like discussing this with me over a nice craft?  Sure; it'll be on you, of course.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Ranger From The South

My first Coloradonian.

Naw, not really, but I just wanted to say that.

Got to try New Belgium's Ranger IPA from their Explore Series when I was at a friend's house in Chicago in December.  I'd love to know why it's called the Explore Series..

It was a really bitter IPA, and I think I'd have enjoyed it even more served extra cold in a pint glass.  I had it out of the bottle, which was a lot slimmer than most.  Checked it out though, and the malt gave it a nice caramel-like colour.

If you're a typical hop-head you'd love this IPA.  It had that lasting hoppy flavour that reminded you that you were drinking a real beer - a flavour you don't get when throwing back ... mass produced American beer.

A cool thing was that the Ranger was 6.5%.  I may not be a cicerone or anything (...yet... =O! ) but I couldn't taste that extra 1.5%.  Sure it was bitter, but most good IPA's are.

Coming as a fun surprise to me, this bad boy is from the same family as Fat Tire, which is a fruitier amber ale that I like to dabble in when I find it on tap.  ...segway!  My next post will depict a draft line up with just that.