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.