Thursday, December 23, 2010


Grand Teton Trout Hop Black IPA! I first had it on tap at Cato's, and loved it, so tonight the Lumberjack found me a bottle for an early xmas present. YUM.

Smells super hoppy - piney & a little citrusy. I especially like the strong bouquet while sipping. Tastes like piney hopes, with a nice malty base. A little sweet, a little spicy. It's everything I love about Black IPA. Perfect balance of a dark smooth stout and a lively hoppy IPA. Strongly suggested! Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Difference of Opinion

Tastes like bandaids wrapped in bacon. Translation? I find it revolting, the Lumberjack loves it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Abita Christmas Ale. It's good. I would write more, except I already did and then the draft disappeared while I was checking on whether Drake's spells it "Jolly Roger" or "Jolly Rodger" (it's the former). So now I'm annoyed. But basically this beer is good. A brown ale that tastes more like a red (that's where "Jolly Roger" came in). Spicy, warm. And only 5.5% ABV, so nicely drinkable. The end. Thanks, Louisiana.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Making Beer out of Lemons

While I'd rather not be in Florida, seeing as how a family emergency brought us here, the silver lining is...Cigar City Brewing!

Upon our arrival into Tampa, we went to The Independent which I found on BeerFly. It was hilarious to walk in and see Lagunitas on tap!

The bartender was awesome - very friendly and welcoming. When I asked for something local, she suggested Cigar City, and I tried Jai Alai, an IPA. So delicious! Pretty honey colour, smells sweet and hoppy. Slightly syrupy, nice mouthfeel. The hops are fruity and nicely balanced. I didn't check the ABV, but it seemed like the deceptively strong kind of beer!

Then we had Marshall Zhukov, an imperial stout. This beer is THICK, pours like motor oil. Very strong. Smells sweet and a little smoky. Tastes intense, like getting smacked in the face. Typical malty flavour, with a hint of prunes and raisins. This beer is definitely meant for sipping!

It's unclear how much longer we'll be here - but definitely long enough to try a few more locals.

Monday, November 8, 2010


City Beer Store, Friday evening. Tried a black rye IPA from somewhere local, but didn't have my notebook so I didn't write anything down. I thought I would remember - I WAS WRONG. Dammit. This beer was DELICIOUS. The black IPA is quickly becoming my favourite style, and this one was exceptional. Dark, sweet, nice hoppy crispness. Delicious coffee and tobacco flavours around the edges. Every sip had a hint of something new - it was one of the most complex beers I've had in awhile. Unfortunately City Beer is closed today so I can't figure out what this masterpiece was. Insert frowny emoticon here.

UPDATE: thanks to my friend via Facebook, I now remember that this is Iron Springs Black Magic Rye Black IPA.  It's not listed on Beer Advocate, which is why I couldn't figure it out.  Iron Springs is an awesome local brewery (up in Fairfax).  You should go, and drink their beer.  You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cato's Ale House

Grand Teton Black Cauldron Stout, and Bombay by Boat IPA on cask.

Holy shit. Friends, I live in Beer Nirvana. aka this beer is AWESOME.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

At Falling Rock!

It's cool & dark in here, and we have huge comfy chairs to eat our
burgers in. Unfortunately I let the bartender pick my beer for me
(usually this yields exciting surprises), and he poured me a Stone
IPA. Oops. I guess I should have specified that I wanted something
that doesn't come from the same place as me!

We're in Denver!

A quick flight from Oakland and the Lumberjack & I are in Denver. SO EXCITED.

Last June, I bought the LJ a ticket to GABF for his birthday, since he had been talking for as long as I'd known him about how badly he'd always wanted to go. I was excited about taking a trip, and thought the festival itself would probably be okay. If only I had known!

GABF is awesome. Unlike a lot of other festivals I've been to, it's not dominated by douchebags. There was water everywhere, and a lot of the brewers were present and happy to chat (briefly). I think GABF played a big part in my craft beer passion, so I'm thrilled to be going back - and this time, I have a year of knowledge/experience more.

Being the Virgo that I am, I printed out the festival map and list of brewers, so on the plane we mapped out our plan of attack. Like last year, we're leaving out the Pacific region, since we can get all that at home. Last year we hit everything we wanted with about 5 minutes to spare, so it was good that we skipped the Pacific!
I also printed out tons of maps of our area, and walking directions to all the stores, breweries, and museums we want to visit.

Today we'll be lunching at the Falling Rock. Yay Denver!

Friday, September 3, 2010

IPA Extravaganza at a Dinner Party

I love beer.  More than drinking it, I love tasting it - trying different samples, even ones that I hate, comparing & contrasting different styles, making up phrases with dramatic adjectives to describe it (even if I usually end up with "NO" or "WOAH").  This activity is always way more fun with companions.  The Lumberjack is an excellent beer tasting companion.  This is why I date him.

It's also fun to taste beer with large groups of people.  I like hearing multiple perspectives on each beer - often, someone else's description helps me clarify my own opinion, or someone else will taste something (recently Spitfire yelled "basil!" after I yelled "eucalyptus" and her description made the basil flavour become suddenly apparent to me - and after that, I kinda felt like I was drinking a salad.  but that is for another entry.) and it helps me get a broader view of the beer.  So when my friend Axe invited the Lumberjack & I over for dinner and put us in charge of the beer selection, I was thrilled.

[Spoiler Alert: it's really not a good idea to drink a bunch of IPAs back-to-back, as they ruin your palate and then you sit there thinking "uh, I think this is good?" and feeling foolish.  Or maybe that's just me.]

First up was Hops of Wrath from Dust Bowl Brewing (American IPA, 6.6% ABV).  I immediately liked this beer for the simple reason that the brewery is in Turlock, CA, which is where my family is from.  Unfortunately, that was the high point of the beer for me.  It was bubbly, but felt a little too pinchy on my tongue.  The flavour was too light, and there was no aftertaste.  It just didn't have enough attitude for me.  Nike agreed with me and thought the name was misleading, as the hops were far too mild.  Axe also found it mild, but thought it was more bitter - she liked it but wouldn't drink a lot of it.  Ms. Mars and the Lumberjack were much more descriptive, finding it fruity and interesting - Mars even tasted lychee?  I think she might have been lying.

Nike and Mars pulled out their Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen (Belgian IPA, 9% ABV) next.  It had a huge, fluffy head that looked like a soft cloud on top, and smelled like hay.  Nike and Mars both liked the floral, jasmine scent.  The Lumberjack pointed out that the yeast was much more interesting here than in the Hops of Wrath.  I pointed out that anything is more interesting than the Hops of Wrath.  Axe thought it tasted like summer days at the pool.  She also liked that it didn't have a bitter finish, unlike her other experiences with IPAs.

During dinner (delicious homemade pizzas), we had the 4th Anniversary Double IPA from Port Brewing which is one of my favourite IPAs; it has a really nice malty base to it.  Nike liked it too - it was his favourite so far - and Axe thought "the end is like fireworks."

YuleSmith Summer Holiday Ale (DIPA, 8.5% ABV) was a hit among all of us.  It smells like fruity hops (my favourite kind!), and has a huge head that calms down to a nice density, at which point it has a sweet honey scent.  It's bubbly, a little less solid than the Anniversary DIPA above, with a nice spicey kick.  The Lumberjack also thought it was fruitier.  Axe might have been getting a little intoxicated at this point, as she thought it "smells like bananas and tastes like abandonment."

Our last IPA was the Elysian Immortal (IPA, 6.2% ABV) which was smooth and subtle, and slightly spicey on the tongue.  Axe described it as the opposite of Coyote Ugly (instead, this beer is "Rabbit Beautiful") because, when waking up next to this beer, you would be thrilled at how much cuter it was than you thought.  Yes, this description made a lot of sense at the time.

After dinner, we pulled out the "dessert beers" - basically, an excuse to bring more things to taste.  I first pulled out Beer Geek Breakfast (Imperial Stout, 7.5% ABV), which remains one of my all-time favourite beers.  It's just SO GOOD.  Smells gently of hops, tastes thick and sweet with a nice coffee flavour, and the oatmeal adds a lovely viscosity.  Axe thought it tasted ashy, Flippant liked the charcoal flavour.  Mars liked the coffee/oatmeal combo, and thought it would make a great breakfast.  I couldn't agree more.

Then, we had Older Viscosity (Imperial Stout, 12.1% ABV).  I'm not a huge fan - it's just a little too dense and rich for me.  The Lumberjack loves it.  Axe, however, had a different option.  As her verbal description was a little too foul for my blog, I'll let her before and after pictures tell the story.


After that, she acknowledged "it gets better as you keep drinking."  Interesting.

The last beer of the night was Sierra Nevada's 30th Anniversary Helles Bock (8.3% ABV).  You may remember how much I love the 30th Anniversary Imperial Stout?  So much!  Because it's delicious.  Well, that's what I thought this one was.  I grabbed it off the shelf, planning to share one of my favourites...then the Lumberjack pointed out my mistake.  Oops.  However, this beer was pretty good too.  It was nicely balanced, with a very mellow feel to it.  It was tasty and calm - a good end-of-the-week beer.  Very relaxing.  It was a little wheaty around the edges, but I didn't mind too much.  Had a little spiciness, too.

The next morning Axe claimed to be affected by "beer allergies."  I see.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Rye Beer is Good Beer

I generally thought I didn't like rye beer because I can't stand rye bread. Yes: to me, that made sense. But lately I've been enjoying every rye beer I taste, so I think it's time I admit that I'm a fan.

We brought He'Brew (the chosen beer) Bittersweet Lenny's RIPA to the bbq today, and it's delicious. Malty and slightly sweet, with a spicy kick. The hop flavour is tasty, and the malt balances it nicely, giving it a more solid feel than IPAs usually have for me. I think that's due to the rye malt? Maybe. It's 10% ABV, so I can't drink too much of it, but I'm really enjoying my one bottle.

Also, I cooked my own burgers for the first time. Success!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Beer Advocate bottle share/tasting at Beer Revolution

Last night a bunch of Beer Advocate members met up at Beer Revolution in Oakland to share beers from our cellars.  Each person was supposed to bring two 22oz bottles, or the equivalent, in rare or out-of-region beer, and then we opened everything and tasted away.

The Lumberjack & I brought Cigar City Big Sound Scotch Ale (Scotch Ale, 8.5% ABV) and Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan (Brown Ale, 4.5% ABV), as well as two other bottles that we received as extras in past trades, and whose names have escaped me.  It was a little nerve-wracking to pull out the beers, since I wanted desperately to impress people, and of course everyone else didn't even really notice what I brought.  Anyway.

There ended up being around 20 people there in our group, which means I tried probably 35-40 beers last night.  You wanted notes on all of them?  Ha.  No.  I do remember rambling at the Lumberjack as we wandered home (but stopping for a hotdog first outside the Uptown) about a few, though, so that's what you'll get.

Kern River Citra DIPA (Double IPA, 8% ABV).  This was the first beer I tried, which might explain why I remember it so well.  But also, it was delicious.  It was pretty foggy, sort of honey-coloured.  It was poured from a growler, but the carbonation held up quite well.  Smells delicious, fruity and citrusy.  It was very smooth, not bitter at all.  It had a little bit of piney hops flavour, but not too much - there was enough of the citrus hops to balance things and make me like it.  I might have gone back for a few more tastings, once I realized everyone had tried it and there was still extra.  This DIPA is delicious and very drinkable, even for IPA-hating newbies.

chuck's on the left, and the right is troy?
trevor? either way, he's very nice.
Lost Abbey Veritas (Sour Ale, 8% ABV).  That is one damn sour beer.  Don't drink it unless you want your mouth to pucker up uncontrollably.  One of my new friends (I can't remember anyone's name, of course, especially since they were almost all one-syllable dude names like Chris and Chad and Dan) just laughed and said "there's no way to NOT pucker while drinking this."  Very true.  I can't remember much of the flavour or specifics, just that I found it very enjoyable, even as it felt like I was losing all moisture from my tongue.  Definitely worth trying out, although if you don't like sours you'll probably not enjoy it.  And since it's from Lost Abbey, be prepared to shell out a bunch of $$$ for the pleasure.

blending the stout with the red
...something that was too smokey, a nice but forgettable IPA, a blackberry lambic that was super tasty, BELGIAN RED! BELGIAN RED!, something-something-Duchess which I loved, and was then told by the Lumberjack that I tasted and hated it last year, a couple of porters and stouts that were pretty tasty...

Oh!  A few people tried out beer mixing, which was fun.  I poured half a taster of BELGIAN RED! and added Smuttynose Stout on top, and it was a tasty blend - kind of like chocolate-covered cherries.

thanks, dude.
I had a dorky beer moment when I realized that someone had brought Black Tuesday (Imperial Stout, 19% ABV - yes - NINETEEN PERCENT HOLY CRAP), which is somewhat of a celebrity in the beer world, I am learning.  I remember this guy was one of the Chrises (Chriss?  Chris?  Chris's?  names that end in S confuse me), and he was very nice.  Getting a Black Tuesday is apparently near-impossible, so having a chance to taste it and see what it's all about was pretty exciting.

And?  Wow.  That beer really is worth all the hubbub.  It was super boozy, as one might expect from being NINETEEN PERCENT ALCOHOL, and that definitely smacked me in the nose when I took a sip, but the flavour was awesome.  Very smooth, very delicious.  It was quite oily and thick, which would make it hard to drink a lot, but nice to have a small sample.  I can't imagine anyone drinks much of this anyway, seeing as how it's NINETEEN PERCENT.  This seemed like a perfect beer to share.  As you can see, we were pretty psyched.

In the end, I stumbled home a little bit drunk but very happy.  Of course I had to be up bright & early to give a work presentation this morning, which was a little rough.  But the other presenter and I talked beer for a bit, I gave my speech and got the whole room laughing about health insurance, and was approached afterward by a woman who says I was the best presenter she's seen, so I guess everything turned out okay.  But my head still hurts a bit.

GABF special event!

Just bought tickets for a "Ladies in Craft Beer" Brunch on Friday during the Great American Beer Festival weekend!

I've been meeting a lot of beer strangers lately - last week I met up with other Bay Area beer bloggers, and last night we had a Beer Advocate bottle share/tasting at Beer Revolution - and overall everyone's been nice and fun to talk to.  However, except for two women last night, it's been all dudes, all the time.  I certainly don't mind the guys, and I enjoy talking to them and have noticed that they all seem happy to talk to me without any weird undertones (people online, however, are a totally different story).  But it would be really nice to meet more of the ladies.  I know they're out there.  I don't need any "girls only" spaces, but having a few more women present would make me happy.  I wish this brunch was local, so that I could meet potential drinking friends, but I'm excited anyway to have an event that is specifically attempting to bring out the ladies.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Great American Beer Festival

A little over a month away.  So so excited.  The end.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lamb Takedown at the Thirsty Bear Brewery

For our Anniversary, I took the Lumberjack to the Lamb Takedown, a new (?) event at the Thirsty Bear Brewery in San Francisco.  I had never been to this local brewery but always meant to go, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity to not only try out their beers, but also try some interesting edible treats.

It was sort of an Iron Chef event, where local chefs all had to do something exciting with a bunch of lamb.  My favourites were teams that had put some work into their display (see #14, tiny lamb cakes with pine nuts - they were delicious, yes, but also such a cute display!).

It was a pretty good set-up in the brewery - certainly crowded, but enough room to walk around and try some of everything.  My only concern was that there weren't a lot of places to stand where you could put down your plate &/or beer, which meant we frequently had our hands full.  Since I had wanted to try beer/lamb pairings, this made things tricky and a little frustrating at times.  But still, the food was delicious.

My two favourites both involved pickled things, which was surprising to me since I'm still learning to like the pickled flavour.  My number one choice was #9, the "Braised Lamb Buns" which had pickled radish, cucumber, and apricot/sriracha bbq sauce.  SO DELICIOUS.  The best part was that they provided little cups of extra sauce.  And that sauce was damn good.  My second choice, which I believe was the Lumberjack's first choice, and which earned Fourth Place in the People's Choice voting, was #16: Braised lamb with bluecheese and lemongrass and pickled onion on a little polenta bed.  Holy crap, so good.

And then, there was the beer.  I had the Howard Street IPA (IPA, 7% ABV).  It had a pretty honey colour, and just a little lacing.  It smelled like apricots, and tasted nice and fruity.  It had a sparkliness to it, which was a good match for the spicier lamb choices.  I really liked the hops, which were light and gentle, and added to the bubbly/sparkly nature of the beer.  Overall: I am a big fan.

The Lumberjack had Kozlov Stout (Dry Stout, 5% ABV).  It was quite solid and dark, with just a little foam on top.  It was nice and dry, very toasty.  The website says there's chocolate and coffee in there, but I didn't taste that - just the same, it was a really solid stout.  It wasn't too heavy or thick, which made it a good match for a food competition.  The darkness of it blended nicely with the dark lamb meat, especially on the heavier options like pastas and stews.

Later I tried their ESB, which I thought was tasty, and I think it was nitro because it was very smooth and soft.  But after drinking half the glass I got a little bored (as is probably obvious since I didn't take notes), and traded it with the Lumberjack for the rest of his IPA.  So good.

Final thoughts: fun event, good food, tasty beer.  Now I want to go back and get a flight so I can try the other options!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Oh look, a wheaty beer I like!

Last night we went to Ledger's, originally just to pick up some extras for a beer trade shipment we're sending out this weekend.  But, SPOILER ALERT, we bought some more beer just for us.  And by "some" I mean "a fuckload."  When the proprietor said "did you get everything?" I said "huh...there's still beer in your store so I guess not."

I picked out some personal favourites; they had a case of Abyss 2009 which was super exciting, since we can't find that anywhere anymore (and we totally controlled ourselves by only buying 2 more bottles).  I also grabbed a 6-pack of Mirror Pond, which I had for the first time up in Tahoe over the Fourth of July weekend, and was very pleasantly surprised by it.  Sweet and malty, this is a perfect afternoon beer to have while hanging out.

But!  The point of this post is: Reutberger Heller Bock (Heller Bock, 6.7% ABV).  Despite the lackluster reviews on Rate Beer, I thought it was really good.  It's light gold/amber, with a thick head at first that takes a while to die down.  Sort of a dusty, lemon/honey scent.  At first it tastes like wheat and honey, then a nice malty sweetness kicks in.  It's very pleasant, a little syrupy, with a nice subtle malt aftertaste.  I usually dislike beer with a strong wheat flavour, but the malt and honey in this really tamed that to the point where I could enjoy it.  It was $4.95 for the pint, which seems to be a pretty reasonable price.

Also tonight the Lumberjack picked out this bizarre (meaning: sounded weird to me, but I'm sure you chefs think this is totally ordinary) chicken/apricot/tarragon recipe that turned out delicious, and complemented the beer nicely.  Try it out!  The light beer went well with the light meat, and the sweetness in the beer matched the apricot quite well.  Hooray for leftovers!

Friday, July 23, 2010


This entry is dedicated to Andie & Rebecca, who want to know more about my beer thoughts.

Today I left work early, because I could.  The Lumberjack is having a less-than-stellar time these days, so when he told me to pick out a beer from the fridge, I chose Bailout Bitter (Extra Strong Bitter, 5% ABV), since the label calls it "a bitter beer for bitter times." Perfect!  We received this beer as part of the "Beer of the Month" club at Healthy Spirits, which I love - every month they pick out four beers so I'm forced to try a variety of styles, but they've got great taste so I trust them (almost) every time.

Upon first sip, I thought "ugh."  Because it tasted like a pilsner, and my opinion of pilsners is that they are Miller Lite, they are PBR, they are "the champagne of beers" ie they are DISGUSTING.  But the Lumberjack thought it was good, so I sat down at the computer to taste it again while simultaneously reading its glowing reviews online, and I found that...I might even like it.  A bit.

It smells like generic beer to me.  That stale, frat party, foosball table smell.  But people online said it smelled like pine, and malt, and slightly sweet, and I think I might be able to see (smell) that.  Sort of.

It tastes wheaty, and sort of bland, but there's a little bit of a spark to it that stays interesting.  People online said it tasted like lemongrass, and suddenly I tasted that too.

It has pretty lacing, and is bubbly in a tasty, nice-feeling way.  It's pale gold, and looks nice in my glass.

So, maybe I'm just getting a little drunk off the...uh...5% ABV.  But I actually find it to be a little complex, and sort of interesting.  I don't think I'd order it at a bar, especially not if there were some good IPAs (oh my god did I just say that?) or stouts on tap, but I'm enjoying it right now.  So, there's that.

Also, did I tell you how horrendous my public transit commute was this morning?  You don't want to know.
Multiple people have now given me a hard time for not updating in so long.  This harassment comes from love, as does the blog itself.
The other day we drank two more beers that we received as "extras" (meaning: we didn't request them, and didn't know what was coming - this makes it much more experimental & exciting) in trades.  I wish I remember who sent them, but I didn't think to record that.  Oops.

Old Rag Mountain Ale (Scottish Ale, 7% ABV).  Dark brown colour, light brown head that dissolves pretty quickly.  Smells vaguely familiar, kind of sour.  Flavour is a weirdly interesting mix between a sour beer and a strong scottish ale - there's the scottish base that tastes heavy and dark and sweet, with a sour bite to it.  Throws me off a little.  The Lumberjack called it "tangy."  I like it, but just for tasting - I wouldn't order it at a bar on a regular basis.
Hopslam (Imperial IPA, 10% ABV).  Honey-coloured, foamy head that leaves pretty lacing.  Smells strongly of banana and apricot.  Strong hops in both the scent and the flavour.  Tastes fresh, light - a hint of malt to keep it from being too bitter.  Nice slightly syrupy consistency.  Obviously brewed with honey.  Excellent for summer weather, of which we get none in the Bay Area and instead wear parkas in July.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Dieu du Ciel: Aphrodite

Memorial Day means staying in bed all day making the Lumberjack watch Veronica Mars.  It also means trying a new beer!

Dieu du Ciel Aphrodite (Stout, 6.5% ABV, also called Aphrodisiaque) is delicious.  It's the chocolatiest stout I think I've ever had, but the chocolate flavour is nice and delicate.  It would be great with vanilla ice cream if I was still allowed to eat sugar.  The beer is dark dark brown and very viscous; it really coats the glass.  It's sweet, but not too syrupy, and has a hint of roasted notes to it.  It has a nice low ABV - which is especially good since it would be easy to drink a lot of this.  It's a little pricey, though - $6 for a 12oz. bottle.  But hey, it's Canadian.

Bella was not quite as excited about it as we were.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Back at Pacific Coast, having the delicious Maharaja again. The hops
are so fun - definitely present, but delicate and tasty instead of
acidic. Has a strong lemony/citrus scent. Syrupy on my lips after
sipping. Tastes almost like lavender and honey. Clear, amber - very
pretty. Definitely a hit!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Infamous Pliny the Younger!

We originally went to Beer Revolution, before I remembered (as we stared at the shut door) that it's closed on Mondays.  Oops.  Luckily Pacific Coast Brewing is right up the road, so I was still able to get a beer with my newly unemployed friend Repeat.

He knows and likes beer on his own, but clearly was entertained by me giving him suggestions.  I started looking at the menu, and...HOLY SHIT.  The tap list was out of control.  It included Stone Vertical Epic, Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz & Ken Ale, Angel's Share, Speakeasy Scarface Stout, Old Rasputin, Maharaja, and...Pliny the Younger.

Now, those of you (all 3 of you?) who read this know that I used to hate IPAs, and am only recently discovering a few delicious ones.  But even I have heard all the hoopla about this Pliny the Younger.  It sold out in like 36 minutes during SF Beer Week?  Or something equally ridiculous.  People are obsessed with this beer.  So to see it casually listed on the menu meant I simply had to try it.

Although HOLY CRAP that's an awesome tap list - and that wasn't even all of the options!

So, I got Pliny the Younger.  ABV 11%!  Our server actually reminded me how strong it is.  I guess he didn't think the little lady could handle it?

I have to say: eh, it's pretty good.  It smelled VERY strongly of hops.  My nose is not fancy enough to decipher the different scents - to me, it was just super hoppy.  It was light amber/gold, with no real head to speak of.  It was sweet and watery when sipped, but had a syrupy feel on my lips afterward.  It was nice, sweet, and subtle.  It "rinses clean" as Repeat said.  Overall, the first half of the glass was really nice.  However, after just stopped being all that great.  Maybe the hops killed my palate, I don't know.  But it's not a beer I would drink a lot of.

Repeat got the Scarface Stoute (OR SO WE THOUGHT), and I liked it, as usual, although it had a strong Kahlua flavour that I didn't remember from last time I had it.  For our second beers, I had the Fritz & Ken Sierra Nevada which was delicious as usual, only more tobacco-y this time than before.  Repeat got Maharaja at my suggestion, which was just as amazing as the first time I had it.  This time the dried nectarine/apricot flavour was more pronounced.  So delicious!

It was a pretty nice evening, until the bill came.  Everything was fine except they charged us for a $12 Rasputin instead of the $6 Scarface Stout.  When we pointed that out (the server who had taken our order had gone home, so the server giving us the bill didn't know for sure what we had ordered), she said she would have to check with the bartender...then he showed up a few minutes later and said "what do you want me to do with this Rasputin?"  Repeat said, justifiably "uh, charge us for the beer we ordered?" and the dude gave us really weird attitude.  Finally he left without saying what was going on.  At that point I realized why Repeat's "Scarface Stout" tasted different than it had before - oops.  But I've had Rasputin, and this wasn't familiar at all.  Oh well.  Finally the server brought us the correct bill, but was kind of snotty about it - then wouldn't give us change forever, as if she thought she was getting a 40% tip for her troubles.  When Repeat finally went up and asked for change, the bartender just slid the change at him down the bar and ignored him.  Hmm.

Pacific Coast Brewing: delicious beer options, but could definitely use some work in the customer service field.

Odonata Saison (on tap) at Beer Revolution

We went to Beer Revolution for a "Meet the Brewers" event Saturday, May 22.  Those events are always a little weird, since it's hard to figure out what exactly to say to the brewers other than "hey man, this beer is really good."  I chatted briefly with Peter, the brewer, and Rick, the sales/marketing guy, and they were very nice as I told them that indeed, their beer is good.

REALLY good.

Odonata Saison (Saison, 6% ABV) is incredibly delicious.  It's foggy and honey-coloured, with a fluffy white head that dissipates pretty quickly.  It has a faint, dusty smell.  It feels great, syrupy and gentle, really soft in the mouth.  It's almost a little chewy, if that makes sense.  It tastes sweet (but not sugary) and lemony.  The aftertaste is lovely - it really fills up your whole mouth and is almost slightly peppery.  Overall it's delicious, and I like how complex it is.  Drinking it was very enjoyable, and I had a lot of different thoughts and impressions.  That's always fun.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of it.  So instead, here's the Lumberjack trying to fly my kite when we went up to a vinyard yesterday.  The Saison makes things feel rosy and summery like this photo.

(side note: locals should definitely keep an eye on this newish brewery in Sacramento - I'm super excited to see what beers are still to come!  Odonata Beer Company seems quite promising.)

We each ordered a Saison (even got the glasses to go with it!  yay glassware!), then both tried an additional beer:

I had Brasserie de Silly Scotch Silly (Scotch Ale, 8% ABV).  It had the strongest honey scent I've ever smelled in a beer - it seriously smelled like someone just poured a bottle of honey inside the glass.  It had a really pretty, dark ruby colour.  It mostly just tasted like water & honey - the honey flavour was so intense that it made any other flavours just seem watery and non-existent.  The aftertaste had a little more yeast/beer in it, which was nice.  But overall the honey was too overwhelming.

The Lumberjack had Eel River Triple Exultation (Old Ale, 9.7% ABV) which I thought was delicious.  It smelled strongly of bourbon/liquor, but was very sweet and pruney, slightly like raisins.  It was very smooth, and very tasty.  Quite drinkable, but a little high in the ABV to have too much.

Unfortunately it wasn't until our last few sips that we realized we each preferred the other's beer.  Oops.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Jai Alai - more beer trading!

Our second mystery beer from Kevin in Florida is another IPA. This one's from Southern Tier, and it's pretty tasty. It smells floral and hoppy, and like maple syrup. The flavour is nice - the hops have a slight bite, but it tastes a little like honey so it's sweetened up.  The aftertaste is a little bitter, but overall I really like it.

It's a good beer for a summery day, but also works well at 11pm on my bedside table while the Lumberjack works in the other room and listens to opera. If this is what cohabitation is like, I'm looking forward to July 1.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Weyerbacher by TRADE!

Our third trade box arrived yesterday, and had a ton of exciting beers from the South/East Coast for us to try.  First up, Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA (Imperial IPA, 9% APV).

Look, I am pouring it carefully into the Lumberjack's glass (that's show makeup, not my usual face - don't be alarmed).

After the first sip, we both said "woah."  Which is a good description of this beer.  It smells like a barleywine, sweet and caramel.  It's a pretty honey colour, and leaves pretty lace foam on the edges of the glass.

And the taste!  Oh, IPA, you are delicious.  I had no idea.  It's light, but also thick, and it almost had a coffee stout flavour to it - as if there was a little Speedway Stout mixed in.  Definitely hoppy, but in a nice, pleasant way - nothing kicked me in the teeth.  Very drinkable, and all around awesome.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

boyfriend and glassware

We try to always use correct glassware with our beers.  We are slowly purchasing all the different styles so that we can always use the right glass with the right beer.  This really does make the beer taste better...but also it's just fun for my little Virgo brain.

However.  Sometimes it's good to break the rules.  Yesterday, the Lumberjack surprised me after work with an impromptu picnic, complete with New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red (Fruit Beer, 5.1% ABV) which many of you may recall is impossible to buy in California (or anywhere outside Wisconsin).  Served in paper cups.

After a couple of difficult, stress/anxiety-inducing days, drinking Impossible to Find but So Delicious beer out of a paper coffee cup, while looking at the the Bay, with my Lumberjack: totally perfect.

And holy SHIT that beer is good.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Firkin Beer Festival - April 24, 2010 at Triple Rock Brewery in Berkeley

Firkin Beer!  It's thicker, less carbonated, and more syrupy than usual.  I find this delicious.

Triple Rock had a great beer festival - only $20 for 6 samples, but the "sample" was actually almost a half-pint.  This meant that the Lumberjack and I were able to share samples and thereby taste a LOT of beer.  Perfect!

Lagunitas Little Sumpin Wild (Belgian Ale, 8.5%ABV): this was one of my favourites.  It smelled like flowers, and the hops were just subtle enough to be delicious and not overpowering.

Iron Springs The Malice (Barleywine, 10% ABV): this one was way too much for me.  It's aged in french oak, and smelled very strongly of wood.  I thought the oak flavour was far too strong and overpowered the beer.  I compared it to being slapped in the face with an oak panel.  The Lumberjack viewed it more as getting one's mouth washed out with a 2x4, but apparently he thought that was a good thing.  Duly noted.

Green Flash Le Freak (Belgian IPA, 9.2% ABV): one of my favourite beers from the bottle or tap, so I was super excited to try it Firkin-style.  The hops were more subtle, and it was more syrupy.  Had a sweet, pineapple/clove aftertaste.  Delicious, as expected.

Ale Industries Ryed Piper (Red Ale, 5.8% ABV): no thanks.  It was bitter, and the alcohol flavour was too strong.  The malt wasn't toasty enough for me, and it almost tasted like buttery tobacco.

Drake's Expedition (American Strong Ale, 6.8% ABV): it's been hopped with Horizon, Cascade and Chinook, and at first the strong hop smell turned me off a bit.  But the flavour was actually really nice - it was syrupy and had a sweet/bitter combination - grass/flowery with a hint of peach and honey.  It's one of those beers that has a second, stronger flavour after you swallow and give it a second.  Overall I really enjoyed the sample, but think the hops are a little too strong for me to drink a lot of it.

Blue Frog Arf & Arf (Red Ale IPA, 7.6% ABV): a lovely blend of IPA and Red Ale - the Lumberjack called it "the best of both worlds."  I called it a wine cooler, but I meant it in the best way!  I love wine coolers!  It's sugary, and smells like bubblegum.  I know the Librarian will mock me for this description, but it's true - it smelled like double bubble or bazooka, that hard pink bubblegum from the 80's (do they still exist?).

Speakeasy Payback Porter (Porter, 7.6% ABV): delicious!  A good, smooth, coffee stout.  A little lighter than Speedway Stout, with a hint of raisin and bourbon.  Kind of mapley.  Very drinkable.

Ballast Point Sea Monster (Imperial Stout, 10% ABV): good god.  That 10% is nothing to scoff at.  I found it bitter, and the alcohol was way too intense for me.  Shocker: the Lumberjack loved it.  He said it had a nice caramel/toffee scent, and that he could "taste the whiskey" to which I said I KNOW.

Pizza Port Ernest Silky Smoove (Sweet Stout, 5.6% ABV): oatmeal stout!  oatmeal stout!  I love oatmeal stout!  This beer smells AWESOME.  It has a nice "mouthfeel" and so delicious and syrupy.  Oatmeal stouts are amazing, and this one is one of the best.  The end.

Half Moon Bay Moonglow (Barleywine, 9.8% ABV): so tasty!  We had seconds of this one.  It was sweet and mild, and tasted like pineapple.  It was amber, malty, and "light & sparkly" according to my notes - since this came after tasting a number of other beers, take that description with a grain of sparkly salt.

Marin Brass Knuckle (Double IPA, 10.2% ABV): I wrote "sweet, honey, smooth, hops are gentle, I am tipsy."  The end.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Speakeasy Scarface Stout

At Rosamunde with Prius. We both got the Speakeasy Scarface Stout (Imperial Stout, 10.5% ABV), which we both found delicious. I exclaimed "wow, this is so good!" and she responded by throwing hers on the floor. Oops.

It had a delicious, deep roasted malt flavour.  Subtle on the coffee, like Speedway Stout - it's there, but it doesn't feel like you've got espresso grounds at the bottom of your glass.  This beer is very rich, and very smooth.  If it wasn't quite so high in ABV I would want to drink it all the time!  ...okay, who am I kidding - I want to drink it all the time regardless.  It's pretty damn good.  Luckily the bartender was very sweet and gave Prius another glass due to her excited accident.

It's only a special/seasonal release, so try it while you can!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

15 Romolo

Happy Hour with the Lumberjack and the DMV. But they're late, so I can blog on my phone!

Green Flash (brewer of some of my favourites, like Le Freak) Hop Head Red (Amber Ale, 6.3% ABV). A little too hoppy for me at first sip, but once swallowed it's very sweet and mellows out instantly. Kind of like a science experiment in my mouth. Fun for tasting, but I don't think I would order it on a regular basis. But this is definitely a good beer, just not to my ideal taste.

Okay, time for my boys to show up.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Friday afternoon at Rosamunde

For a Friday afternoon treat, the Lumberjack and I headed over to Rosamunde for sausages and beer.  This is the best way to my heart.

I had Lost Abbey Red Barn Ale (Saison, 6.% ABV) which was quite delicious.  It was really pretty in the glass - a rich, honey colour with nice lacy foam left on the glass.  The flavour was much fuller than saisons usually have (in my opinion) so it had a nice weight to it.  There was a distinct lemon aftertaste.  Very smooth, no bitterness.

Basically, it's the perfect beer to drink on a warm spring early evening with breeze coming in the open windows at a restaurant, when it's still light outside.  I like matching my beer with the weather, and this pairing was a perfect 10.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Beer Revolution: Impromptu Stout Fest 2010

Stout stout stout.  My favourite kind of beer.  Last night Beer Revolution had a Stout Fest, and sadly the Lumberjack was unable to attend with me.  Luckily my new friend Prius who I met at Beer Revolution two weeks prior was going to be there, so I had a date after all!  Let's go drink stout.

The first time I met Prius, I was a little drunker.
Also!  I recently discovered the Hipstamatic iphone app, which photoshops my phone pictures into vintage-y looking images.  Doesn't my beer look so much classier now?
Shown in the brandy glass: my first stout was Haandbryggeriet (that's right) Dark Force (Imperial Stout, 8.5% ABV), Prius' was Port Brewing Hot Rocks Lager (Dunkel, 6.5% ABV).  Dark Force smelled like whiskey, with a smokey aftertaste.  It had a slight bite to it, and it numbed my tongue slightly for a second or two after each sip.  It was very thick and syrupy - when I swirled it in the glass, it created a film on the sides.  It was a little too soy saucey after awhile - while it was good for sipping at first, I found myself losing interest near the end.  The Hot Rocks had a spicey bite to it that I liked, and was a really pretty ruby colour.
I tasted the Allagash Black (Foreign Stout, 7.5% ABV) but was unimpressed - it tasted too wheaty, and was too light (for me).  I like a heavier stout.  I also tasted the Bison Chocolate Stout (Stout, 6.1% ABV), which I had tried to get when I was there two weeks ago, but the keg was kicked and all I had was tasty foam.  This time Prius had a full glass, so I was able to try it for real.  The chocolate flavour is very subtle.  Overall it's very toasty and malty, and I thought it was pretty good.

My second order was the North Coast Old #38 (Dry Stout, 5.6% ABV).  At first I thought there wasn't enough flavour to it, but after awhile it picked up.  I was drinking it with my cheeseburger (burgers go SO WELL with stout!), and it warmed up a bit.  It's very drinkable - if I didn't have my eye on something else, I could definitely have had another.

However, it was time for...Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz & Ken Ale (Imperial Stout, 9.5% ABV) aka Holy Shit This Beer is Delicious.  I mean, seriously.  Holy shit, this beer is DELICIOUS.  The Lumberjack and I had it a few weeks ago and my brain nearly exploded it made me so happy, so I was especially thrilled to try it on tap.  As I learn more about beer, I notice that it tastes so different on tap vs. in the bottle.  It's fresher and a little more exciting on tap.  This beer tastes great in both situations, but it was fun to notice the subtle difference.  You should try this beer!  It has more carbonation than most stouts, which really livens it up.  It's syrupy, without being too thick.  It smells dry, then fills your whole mouth with rich, coffee-like flavour.  Slightly chocolatey, awesome roasted malt.  I love this beer.

While perusing the bottle selection, I noticed two bottles of The Bruery Papier (Old Ale, 14.5% ABV) available.  You may remember that the Lumberjack loves this beer - the last time we were at Beer Revolution, they had a few bottles for sale, and since this is a limited release and not widely available, we bought them all.  I quickly texted the Lumberjack to see if he wanted me to grab these two bottles, to which he of course responded "YES," but a few minutes later I noticed someone at the barrel/table next to me drinking it.  Oops.  Only one bottle left.  I grabbed it quick, and now it's ours.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Barrel-Aged Jupiter & Triple Rock: Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I meant to type up these notes, and it never happened.  So instead, here are photos of beer I had and loved, burgers I had and loved, and a Lumberjack who know.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

First Day of Spring!

Today we saw "Green Zone" (eh - best part of the movie was the Lumberjack totally guessing what was supposed to be a surprise right before it happened, then hearing the guy behind us go "oh my god I never expected that!" right after), and are now drinking Alameda Black Bear XX Stout (Foreign Stout, 6.8% ABV).

We're having it in the snifters we got from the Triple Rock Barrel-Aged tasting (yeah yeah yeah I swear I'll type up those notes soon) - according to my newest book, this is the best glass for stouts.

This stout is delicious!  The coffee flavour is a little lighter than I usually like, but it's so thick and syrupy and not too sweet that I don't mind.  It smells great, and the dark brown colour is so pretty.  Hopefully we'll find it down here - this is one of the last bottles we brought down from Portland last November.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Beer Revolution - flying solo

At Beer Revolution, waiting for my softball team (shut up) to arrive
and talk killer strategy. While I'm here, I'm trying 50/50 Old
Conundrum Barleywine (9% ABV), and it is delicious! Slightly muddy,
amber colour. Smells strongly of alcohol, but the flavour is subtle.
Sweet, but not TOO sweet the way most barleywines are. Tastes and
smells slightly of dried cherries. A little hoppy - just the right
amount. I usually don't like barleywines much - I think I have a new
favourite! The only problem is that it's so good, and tastes so
gentle, it's easy to forget it's 9%. This could be a problem!

Pickles & Beer

Last night was a No Boys Allowed Club meeting wherein we pickled things, drank beer, and discussed the merits of Britney Spears.

Pickling things: not as hard as you might have thought.  One absent member of the club who had to go hang out with her boyfriend (the Club did not approve) was going to bring strawberries, but without her we were also without berries, so we pickled WAY too many cloves of garlic, some radishes that I kept calling beets, and one lone cucumber.  Basically you put the soon-to-be-pickle in a jar, heat up water with salt & sugar & some other spices in it, pour the "hot brine" in the jar, and seal it up.  Ta da!  Pickles.

The Pickle Pact states that we cannot open the jars until all have agreed.  I will keep my one Tulsa reader posted on how they turn out.

My new friend Thor brought a number of beers to the party, so I got to try some new things.

First up!  Brasserie Fantôme Printemps (Saison, 8% ABV).  It was a little more sour than I was expecting, but I found it delicious.  A hint of lemon (Thor pointed out that saying "a hint of" instead of just "lemon" makes me sound much more worldly), and not too watery.  I vote yes on this saison for spring/summer weather.

After that, we tried a beer I found at Trader Joe's when they were out of my beloved Oatmeal Stout.  Black Hart Stout (Dry Stout, 5.5% ABV).  It was only $6 for a 6-pack, so I figured this was a poorman's version of Guinness, but I was pleasantly surprised!  I found it way better than Guinness (which I'm not that big a fan of anyway).  Full-bodied, nice coffee flavour.  Slightly syrupy, but not too thick.  The best part was its low ABV - it makes a good session beer.  As far as cheap stouts go, this one's now my favourite.

I recently discovered a delicious Belgian Trippel from Green Flash, a southern California brewery.  And last night, my new friend Thor introduced me to an awesome combination of that Trippel with an IPA!  Green Flash le Freak (Abbey Tripel, 9.2% ABV).  It was SO GOOD.  I generally don't like IPAs, but I thought the hoppiness added a really interesting flavour to the Belgian style.  I really loved this beer, to the surprise of the Lumberjack who texted me "Who are you and what have you done with my girlfriend?" when I told him what I was drinking (right before the Club informed me that No Boys also meant No Texting - picklers are a harsh group!).  I really like this beer, and think it would go well with any meal - it would match a nice dinner just as well as an outdoor picnic.  Oh, picnics.  I miss you.

Finally we were on to Ommegang Hennepin (Saison, 7.7% ABV).  I wasn't too impressed by this one.  Maybe it's because I had it last, after the other beers that I was so crushed out on, but it just didn't seem that exciting.  It tasted slightly sour in the bad way, and wasn't very engaging.  But I also don't think I gave it much attention since I was going to be driving home shortly thereafter so I only wanted to taste it and not drink much.

End result: hooray for pickles, Thor picks out good beer, and Trader Joe's really does have good bargains.