Archive for the Enhance Your Taste Buds Through Learning Category

Cans are good!

Posted in Enhance Your Taste Buds Through Learning, Random drunken griping with tags , , , , , , , , on 06/11/2014 by beerbygarth

The fine folks over at http://www.CANFEST.com (https://www.facebook.com/CANFEST?ref=br_tf) are having their annual Beer Blogger Contest, and the subject matter is why cans are awesome.  This works out perfectly, because the debate over cans vs bottles continues to go on for every new member entering the craft beer community.  The age-old argument of better taste, more “draft-like” qualities, possible off flavors due to packaging, safety, and what have you continue to permeate not just the fans of craft beer, but find their way all the way up the ladder to brewers and owners, as well.  I love a good debate as much as the next guy, so it’s time to throw my two cents in on the subject of CANS!

NOT THOSE CANS…that’s a different blog altogether.

There, that’s a little better.  Slightly outdated, but you get the point.

Anytime you find yourself discussing the craft beer culture with other folks, it is very common for the debate of cans vs bottles to come into the conversation.  Many times I have heard the aspiring beer snob declare “how much better beer tastes coming out of a bottle” or “how much closer a bottle is to draft over a can as far as flavor and body.”  No matter what the defense of their newly found anti-can rant, all I hear is:

Let’s tackle some of the jabs the canned craft beer segment is regularly subjected to.

1. Bottles give you a closer experience to draft than cans
I’m pretty sure your tap lines are coming directly from a keg, which really shares an insanely huge amount of characteristics with the cans you are degrading.  I rest my case.

2. Cans give the beer an aluminum/tinny taste
Most, if not all, beer cans contain an inner coating to eliminate any alteration of taste.  I don’t know hard numbers, but I’d be shocked if there wasn’t a study out there involving some sort of blind taste test of beers in cans and bottles and how little people could actually discern a difference.

3. I’m trying to avoid the BPA that the can lining gives off
Studies have shown that the low levels of BPA contained in the can liners is safe, per the FDA.  Besides, that BPA from the can lining is also on the bottle cap you just pried off with your judgmental self.  Boom!

Now, to stray away from the jabs, and look more to the positive.  Canned beer brings a plethora of pros to the debate.

-GREEN!!!
Cans save more energy all around.  They are easy to recycle.  They do not break, lending themselves more to being able to recycle, as well as being easier to ship for distributors.  In regards to distribution, cans are lighter and smaller, allowing increased volume/decreased weight per truck, which leads to less trucks/better mileage.  No matter which way you slice it, Mother Earth wants you to use cans.

-SAVE THE BEER!!!
The biggest enemy of beer is sunlight/UV light, and we’ve all seen the pictures of how much light is deflected by the different colored glass bottles, clear<green<brown and so on and so forth.  Guess what?  Cans block it all.  (imagine a dropped microphone here)

-PACK IN, PACK OUT
Cans are universally accepted.  Most beaches are prohibiting bottles…cans are welcome and accounted for!  A lot of outdoor entertainment venues are doing away with glass (and don’t you dare bring me a plastic bottle!), so bring on those cans!  You can load a hiking backpack full of beer cans and not worry the slightest about them breaking during your trip, as well as them being lighter to carry in general.

-COST
I’ve already listed how cans help decrease shipping, well this in turn costs the breweries less money, and well all know that means less out of our pockets for these wonderful brews.

-COOKING
You can’t successfully cook a chicken with a bottle of beer shoved in it, but a can is just about damn perfect.  Do I really need to keep going here????

It’s ironic, really, that people have turned against cans, which were truly the mainstream form of transit for all beer for decades.  I’ve always wondered if the original craft beer supporters tried to distance themselves from canned beer to try to further distance themselves from the Big 3 beer makers, in some way thinking that bottles gave them an immediate step-up from the lowly swill-swiggers?

In 2002, Oskar Blues became the first microbrewery to exclusively can their products.  At the time, this was unheard of.  According to a recent article on Beerpulse.com, the number of canning craft brewers has doubled in the last 18 months, raising the total count past 500.  The largest of craft brewers resembles this statistic, as the Boston Beer Co (Sam Adam’s) has recently begun canning, Sierra Nevada has been canning for some time, and more continue to follow suit.  Canning has even reached new heights, with breweries like Cigar City and Oskar Blues introducing the Crowler, which is a 32 ounce growler (basically) in the shape of a giant can, and said can is seem sealed right there behind the bar, containing your preference of wonderful liquid awesome.

I mean, c’mon people, this is the renaissance of canned beer, and we should not leave anyone behind in this adventure!

Cans are the future.  They make more sense, both in terms of logic and logistics.  Ultimately, they impart no ill effects on the beer they contain, and impart less of an impact on this great ol’ planet of ours.  Regardless, everyone is entitled to their opinions.  What I ask of you, my loyal readers, is that you take each beer unbiased, and ultimately, enjoy it.  And as always, drink educated my friends!

Craft beer misinformation on a media destination…

Posted in Enhance Your Taste Buds Through Learning, Random drunken griping with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 01/09/2014 by beerbygarth

Well, this day was bound to happen.  My favorite pastime while in my car is listening to talk radio, specifically Opie and Anthony (I do love Ron & Fez, too).  I’ve been a loyal listener to the show for at least 9 years, and many days of driving to and from people’s homes during the work day that show has been what’s gotten me through.  I knew, in my heart of hearts, that eventually craft beer would come within the crosshairs of their attention.  There have been mentions from time to time, but the topic rarely warrants more than passing conversation.  Erock dropping some fruity beers at Opie’s beach house, local NYC brewpubs providing food during the show, etc.  Today, somehow the show transitioned from Nancy Grace and the legalization of weed to craft beer, and I cringed as I listened to every comedic blow dealt.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this show.  I will continue to love this show.  If this particular post does nothing more than open a few more sets of ears to the show then I would be ecstatic.  That being said, I wanted to jump into the ring to defend craft beer.  Ultimately, nobody even remotely associated with the show is likely to ever set eyes upon this blog, and that’s fine.  Even if they did, at this point Opie would be doing a Sudoku puzzle, Jimmy and Anthony would be gawking at some young intern walking down the hallway, and Sam would be trying to figure out which host would be easiest to knock off and replace.  Without further ado, here is the clip from the broadcast this morning.  I’ll punch out timed bullet points for all the egregious errors and stereotypes thrown about.  Start around 16:50, and if you’re at work wear some headphones because the language gets a little fucking salty at times.

For anyone not familiar with the show, there are a ton of ongoing bits and inside jokes that are really frigging funny throughout any given episode, and it really is worth checking out.  A week or so into it and you can pretty much be up to speed on most running threads.

17:06 Jim Norton: “Blue Moon’s a beer?”
As happy as I am that there are people out there that have no knowledge of this shit product existing, that simple statement takes any validity away from Jim in a beer conversation.  This fact is fine given Jim’s ongoing sobriety, which is a monumental feat, and something anyone should be proud of.  Pride and accomplishment aside, your opinions on beer now mean as much as the shit you pay trannies to leave on your chest.

17:25 Opie talks about Club Soda Kenny stopping drinking because “kid’s don’t understand hangovers.”
This is a very true statement, but what’s great is the fact that adults do have the ability to understand restraint and responsibility.  The average craft beer drinker consumes 2-4 beers in a sitting at max.  Your shit swillers may be a different story, but it’ll be a cold day in hell before I try to defend any of those sheep.

There is a topic here of hangovers and binge drinking for a few minutes which I think we can all relate to in some form or another.  Almost every fan of craft beer got their starts with the big 3, or one of their off-shoot brands, and likely have many similar stories.  The misguided keeping of a streak by The Opster is pretty goddamned funny.  They also go off the highway a bit with some college nostalgia here.  The “off the highway” phenomenon is pretty common on O&A, and leads to some great radio.  Don’t worry, it comes back to beer very shortly.

22:25 A listener calls in to rant about the shit that is Blue Moon.  Listener’s who call in are three types of people: 1)Brave, because if they have listened to the show more than once they should know that no matter how well spoken and eloquent their point they are probably going to be shit all over for some minute detail; 2) oblivious and crazy, thinking that the hosts are constantly talking directly to them through their receivers; or 3) assholes.

Anthony says “Any beer you mention that you like, someone will say what a shitty piss it is, and then recommend a beer they like.  Fuck you!”
He’s not wrong, and I wouldn’t argue that statement a bit.  One of the biggest detriments to the craft beer community is verbal and behavioral cannibalism.  Go on any beer community website and it won’t take more than two clicks and a couple scroll scroll scrolls to find some fucking troll ripping someone apart because of the beer they happen to like.

23:00 Caller begins singing the praises of Sixpoint brewery.
As he should, because Sixpoint continues to make fantastic beers!  Also, Sixpoint is one of the many breweries and beer related organizations that make it a point to give back to communities and charities through events and fundraisers, such as the annual Beer for Beasts event.

23:06 “…oldest frat boy in the world Opie…”
Great line, sir.  Seriously…great line.

23:55 This is where the caller loses some steam.  Resin by Sixpoint is a fantastic beer.  It’s one of my favorite DIPAs.  That being said, when you are talking to people who mainly consume watered down raccoon jizz, you need to offer more “bridge” friendly options, not a beast of flavor weighing in at 9.2% ABV.  Sixpoint makes some great tasting, light, sessionable beers like Apollo, Incredibly Mild Ale, Little Buzz, and so on.  You can’t throw these stalwart motherfuckers into the deep end right off the bat; you have to lure them into the waters slowly and gently.  These children of the 80s are fragile.

27:55 Anthony: “This guy’s a bore at a party, criticizing everyone’s beer…”
Again, I can’t argue.  As bad as the infighting in the craft beer community is on message boards and forums, there are way too many that love to jump down someone’s throat at social gatherings, completely unsolicited or initiated.

29:00 Jim makes a joke about “steering wheel” flavored beer in regards to wrecking a car when drunk.
Funny, but eerily similar to the stereotyping and gross generalization one cow-whore Nancy Grace was getting ripped apart for making a mere 20 minutes prior on this same broadcast.  I get it’s a comedy show and I get you need to make jokes and keep it moving, but right now I’m just being a nit-picking bitch, and that was definitely a noticeable parallel, so there. Pbbbtt!  Just because you drink beer doesn’t automatically mean you drive drunk.  I would love to see the stats on DUI and motor vehicle accidents where alcohol was involved and get a breakdown of how many were related to craft beer.  I’d be willing to bet it’s minimal.

29:30 Anthony: “You’re a wannabe kind of rich guy, but you’re a snob, hipster snob…”
All over the map here, but again, a gross generalization.  Most craft beer drinkers are not trying to look the part of well to do; instead, most craft beer drinkers are trying to conserve money, while at the same time getting more quality for the dollars they are spending.  Buying local has become a huge movement, and you truly cannot get more local than the beers being brewed in your city, or even your state, by companies that are owned by locals and make jobs for locals.  The snob comment is a tough defense, as I’ve previously admitted.  They are out there, but they aren’t all of us.  And hipster, absolutely not.  Hipsters drink PBR…just ask Pepper Hicks, that alcoholic centaur fuck.

30:20 listener “DoggyDaddy” from Rome, NY joins the conversation, and brings an underwhelming mass of garbage and mess with him.
Of course, as most follow-up callers are wont to do, he starts by saying the initial caller is full of shit.  Great gag.  Then, he states Sixpoint is made in Utica, NY and not Brooklyn.  Sorry dipshit, Sixpoint is in Brooklyn.  Saranac is made in Utica by the Matt Brewing Company.  Saranac was the beer you were looking for, you should-have-been-abortion.  If you are going to come in with a full head of steam talking shit, at least do a little fact-checking first.

Now you have two listeners talking to each other without listening, which leads to answering questions that aren’t being asked and both of them sounding like drunk-ass dipshits. #nothelping

32:40 Anthony: “…every fucking time I take a picture during the summer…someone catches the Bud Light…”
Again, the snobs and trolls coming out of the woodwork to attack the uninitiated or uncaring is not helping anybody.  Some people just don’t care, and that’s always going to be there.  It’s unfortunate, but it’s reality.  It is ironic that these guys don’t care, though.  These guys, who worked their way through terrestrial radio to get to satellite radio, a service that people have to pay for rather than free FM.  I mean, by their logic of drinking what’s cheap, light, and mass consumable, shouldn’t we all, then, be listening to what’s free, light, and mass consumable?  Saving that SiriusXM subscription money for other worthwhile ventures.  Ultimately, it doesn’t affect them…they signed their contracts, so no matter who tunes in and who doesn’t they are getting paid, but it does make for an interesting analogy.

37:37 They bring in Erock, one of the producers, who admits to being a fan of craft beer.
Hooray, a man on the inside!  This is the best bet for turning anyone on the show.  Sam is a waste, because that overgrown child is emulating CM Punk in the straight-edge category, all while blasting his eardrums with pop-music horse shit and snacking on chicken fingers and other toddler foods.  I don’t hear Travis weighing in on any of this, but the man has good taste in music and sports, so there’s always a chance there, too.

38:08 Anthony laments about wanting to drink all day, which obviously limits him to the Bud Light realm, right?
Not true, sir!  The craft beer movement is ever-changing, and one of the more popular styles, or genres if you will, coming out now is Session beers.  Session beers are generally 4-5% ABV (depending on who you ask) or below, so you can drink a shit ton of them and still pass the day pool side, beside your velociraptor statue and pre-teen co-eds.

I can’t say enough how much I love this show.  Ask my wife, because I am constantly talking about it.  If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t have gone to this much trouble to comb the hell out of a single episode.  When you really boil it down, Jimmy is a non-factor because he is dry and I can only hope he remains that way.  His comic genius needs to stay sharp and firing on all cylinders.  Anthony just doesn’t give a shit, whether it be due to laziness, cheapness, or that ingrained whiskey-tango gene that drives him towards quantity over quality.  Get on the topic of guns and that quantity over quality mantra would change quickly for our follicle-transplanted friend, but in all fairness a craft beer is not going to stop most home invasions, so that argument is fairly weak.  Although, Anthony does like Guinness, which is a gateway beer for many a people, so all hope may not be lost.  Opie is the best chance in this bunch.  He already has been dabbling in the shallow end of craft beer, and with a little push from Erock and a lot of hooks in the water, we might be able to lure that motherhucker over to our side.

The whole point of this spiel was to show how much nonsense was being spread about craft beer, despite the craft beer community’s best efforts to mass-educate in any way, shape, or form.  As I said before, I highly doubt anyone from this show or network will ever even catch the slightest wind of this blog.  If they do, I apologize to everyone I actually know who reads this blog, because I’m sure the pests of the O&A show will descend upon this blog, my facebook account, and every other online aspect of me out there, with a barrage of pictures of big dicks, Denny, and Scott & Todd references.  If it does get ignored, as I expect, just take this as a token that no mountain is too big to attempt to tackle.  As always, drink educated my friends!

My female constituents, stand together and defend your better taste in #beer!

Posted in Enhance Your Taste Buds Through Learning, Style in a glass with tags , , , , , , , , on 07/09/2013 by beerbygarth

“Best Beers for Women to Order”

This video was posted on www.womensforum.com, and was brought to my attention via a forum post on beeradvocate.com written by member Higy.  The video, both in subject and delivery, annoyed me to the point that I won’t even touch upon the fact that I am citing a source named Higy.  Jesus, if that doesn’t wreak of an inside-joke frat nickname.  Anyway, I’m getting distracted…on to the video dissection!

“I’m gravitating towards this pretty, red one…”
First off, the premise of your video is a female consumer walking into a new beer bar, picking up a beer menu, and not knowing what to order.  I have lots of issues with this in so many different ways, but let’s make the easy tackles, because I tend to be on the lazy side (as most of you can likely discern from my frequency of posts here).  One, the beer menus in beer bars do not have pictures, so the fact that you are “gravitating towards” the lambic does nothing towards helping those venturing into uncharted territories.  Also, beer bars, in general, do not have glassware full of all of their beer offerings like a dessert plate at the Olive Garden that gets wheeled around to choose from.  Now, I have been around some folks that will look around an establishment and find something that looks “yummy”, at which point they will order that, but drinks aren’t always good to judge by looks alone.  My money would be on this particular person being a martini/cosmo type person, which would lead to her being drawn to the raspberry lambic.  Am I assuming and/or stereotyping?  Of course I am…that’s the basis for the article I’m bitching about, so turnabout is the most fair play I can think of.

“I can even smell the raspberries…”
No shit.  You can smell them so much that it makes your eyes cross, eh?  Please.  I pity the significant other that has to endure your ‘faking’ through other aspects in life.  The best explanation for the raspberry smell jumping out at you may be attributed to suggestion.  Now, don’t get me wrong, lambics can be ungodly fragrant, almost to the point of sugary sweetness, but on the flipside, there is a reason judges at beer competitions drink from unlabeled vessels.  The power of suggestion is a bitch.  If I say raspberries fifteen times while describing a beer to you, there is a hell of a chance that any fruit characteristics will seem like raspberry to you.  Of course, that thing looked like a liquid ruby, and chances are there was an “odeur de framboise” spreading out from that glass like a creepy mist in a Stephen King story.

“Women tend to gravitate towards the sweeter beers…”
So do diabetics, dick.  I know that my circle is nowhere near large enough to make generalizations, however I am married to someone who prefers Russian Imperial Stouts to anything, although retains the ability to appreciate the DIPAs, IPAs, and other monsters that I sometimes drink.  She does draw the line at Sours and Farmhouse styles, though.  And in that vein, I have a female friend who has developed a penchant for Sours, Farmhouse, and funky Belgian brews.  To spread this anecdotal cross-section a bit further, I’ve volunteered two years in a row at the American Craft Beer Festival in Boston, hosted by BeerAdvocate and Harpoon Brewery, and I can tell you that all of the females do not ‘gravitate’ towards the lambics or all-pale brews, and there aren’t any ciders at the fest.  More on the cider part in a bit, but I’m getting ahead of myself…

“Lambics could also be very high, somewhere between 6 and 10%…”
Having moved on to the Belgian beer, our fearless leader in this journey of misleading stereotypes and gross generalizations reports on certain ranges of the styles of beer.  Belgians tend to have more fermentable sugar, leading to higher ABVs.  Okay, true in some instances, but there are Belgian styles coming out as sessionable ales, meaning ABVs are less than 5%. On the flipside, I have seen Quads as high as 25% ABV (although rare, but there are a couple out there).  Lambics, on the other hand, are more often lower in ABV, with some as low as 2%.  Bottom line, don’t start quoting numbers because styles are not solely based on their alcohol content.  Sessionability is an adjective.

“…and now we have ciders…”
And just when I started to worry this post was getting long-winded, we fall upon something that is not, in fact, a beer.  The title of the video is “Best Beers for Women to Order,” and the key word there is BEER.  This is along the lines of saying “…and next on the list of best cars for teens is a motorcycle…” Not going to fly.  Apples and oranges, my friend (not cider apples, either, and we’ll get to those damn oranges).

“…what about when I see the oranges…”
And now you have completely lost me.  There is a debate ongoing in the beer community regarding garnish with beer.  Some feel that the finished product (beer) should be consumed as-is, sans orange wedge/cinnamon-sugar rim/etc.  Others state that some brewers intend for the garnish to be part of the beer drinking experience.  I tend to side with the former…keep the fruit/sugar/shit out of my beer.

“…what, maybe, I can order…”
The joy of this country is that you can order whatever you want, darlin’.  Just because someone tells you “this is what most women order” doesn’t mean you have to do the same, nor does it mean that he/she is correct in that statement.  Make your own choice, build your own palate, and buck the stereotypes.

This blog entry was not an excuse to post pics of women drinking beer (although it appears to have turned into that rather hastily). It was written in defense of all of those I know whom have taken the time and effort to develop their tastes in craft beer.  Also, I wanted to let those new to the craft world know that any path they choose may be correct. People should choose their own way, sometimes with the aide of others, but never to be forced into a pigeon-holed box of norms.  Bottom line, to those new and old in the world of craft beer, drink educated my friends.

History of #Beer, Vol I

Posted in Beer Reviews, Enhance Your Taste Buds Through Learning with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 05/16/2013 by beerbygarth

There is a lot of back story to the nectar that is beer.  More and more information is being discovered all the time, pushing the limits of what we think we know in terms of styles, flavors, brewing processes, availability, and even when beer was being made.  There are a lot of hands working diligently to discover and learn as much as they can from the sometimes convoluted and sometimes mysterious histories that make up the world of beer.  Many have seen the season of Brew Masters (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brew_Masters) put out by the Discovery Channel, which put a large spotlight on beer and its origins.  Also, the writings of many beer historians provide insight into old recipes, old brewing log books, etc, etc.  I personally enjoy reading Ron Pattinson, both on his blog (http://barclayperkins.blogspot.com/) and his articles in BeerAdvocate magazine (www.beeradvocate.com), and there are many others out there putting out a lot of interesting work.  As the craft beer scene in the United States balloons to astronomical numbers, both in brewers and breweries, it is sometimes fun and educational to cast an eye back on where this entire beer journey really started from.

One of the truly interactive and fun ways to participate in a self-driven study in beer history is being provided currently by Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project (http://prettybeer.com/wp/).  Pretty Things has a series (http://www.oldbeers.com/) known as “Once Upon A Time,” in which they brew beers from historical records/documents/recipes, true to form, to open up a window into the past (of beer).  As they put it: “We do not interpret or attempt to commercialize these beers in any manner.  In fact you have our pledge that if history presents us with a less-than-desirable beer, you will taste this beer as it was. That’s our unique commitment to you.”  It’s like going back to the good old days without the shitty Delorean ride.

For today’s history lesson, I’ll talk about three particular brews from the “Once Upon A Time” series, and I’ll relay the brewer’s descriptions of the beers, as well as my experiences with each brew, all in chronological order of original brew date, as any self-respecting geek would do.

December 6th, 1855 East India Porter, 6.0% ABV

From the brewers:
“The recipe that we’re using dates back to a brewsheet from Barclay Perkins Brewery in London, from December 6th, 1855. As with our other historical beers, the EIP was brewed in a vast batch-size that we cannot hope to recreate. The “Porter tuns” were apparently over 3400 barrels in size (that’s bigger than any modern American brewhouse). So, we’re brewing at 1/34th that size, but so much else is the same.  We visited our favorite maltster, Thomas Fawcett & Sons in Yorkshire a few months before we brewed this. The Fawcett maltings has been around since the 1780s, this is pretty authentic stuff.  So we employed their lovely grain for this beer. Their brown malt is sublime; the amber was, and to some degree still is a mystery. It’s a lightly roasted malt and our guess was that it would accentuate the dryness of the beer. But why did they use it back then?  The hops are a different story altogether: 4.47 lbs hops per barrel (Kent Goldings & Spalt).  4.5 pounds per barrel! That’s a double IPA, and as many hops as the 1832 10.5% Mild had! It’s more than some of the hoppiest MODERN IPAs out there… Crazy!  So: our Once Upon a Time 1855 EIP is dry, malty beer with a substantial pipe-tobacco bitterness, dark garnet colour and 6% abv.”

From yours truly:
Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint, the beer is a dark, hazy, chestnut highlighted brown-to-black coloring with a thin, frothy, foamy, off-white head. Great bright ring on the surface of this beer the whole time you are drinking.  Aromas are heavy of roasted coffee, both bitter and a bit smoky. Flavors are very heavily roasted, with a solid profile of coffee, both bitter and rich. Very heavy coffee profile throughout, as I’m sure was being relayed already. The aftertaste is bitter and roasted, with a hint of bittersweet chocolate notes. Dry, bitter, mid-lingering finish. Solid brew, and fun to see what brews used to be like back in the day, as they say.  Coffee lovers dream!

Once Upon A Time 1879 East India Pale Ale

From Pretty Things:
“We couldn’t help but want to brew a proper period version of the beer that started the craft beer movement here in the US and Ron came up with a brewsheet that launched many OUAT firsts.  Not only does this one use English hops as would be expected, but also hops from Germany (including hops from Alsace that was only recently ceded to Germany from France) and California.  Yes, you heard that correctly.  We don’t even grow hops in California these days so it was surprise to see a Yorkshire brewery using them in the 19th century.  First ever use of American hops in a OUAT beer.  This is also our first non-London historical recreation and we’re really pleased that it lands us in Leeds, England – home of Martha and where I spent several happy years working at Daleside Brewery in Harrogate. That’s one first.  Another first with this beer is that it’s from a brick and mortar brewery that only recently closed.  In fact I went to a meeting there in 2006 and had a great tour of their brand new packaging hall.  Oh well, sometimes history is even closer than we would have liked.  That said, I could only dream to have visited at Trumans, Whitbread or Barclay Perkins!”

From this intermittently dedicated author (who is working on consistency a little more now):
Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint, the beer is a hazy, golden-copper coloring with a frothy, filmy, bright white head that eventually settles into a filmy coating. Nose of biscuits in the backbone, with a toffee sweetness, a touch of grapefruit tart, and a hint of hops bitter. The nose is very sweet, but very well blended and balanced. Flavors are balanced, too, but lend more to the bitter side. Initially toasty, with a lemon and grapefruit citrus blend that overcomes the palate rapidly, with a bitter and peppery hops profile following shortly behind. The bitterness is bold, and helps to clean the palate. The aftertaste is a bit on the bitter side, with the citrus tart still present, but slightly overpowered. The original biscuit backbone is a little lost, leading to a slightly astringent finish. Mid-bodied, which works to support the flavors, but the bitterness may “do in” some drinkers who are not fans of the hops, or accustomed to more bold flavorings. Interesting and very flavorful brew, nonetheless. I really like this series so far, it’s been fun getting to know these brews.

Once Upon A Time 1939 No. 1 Ale

From the horse’s mouth:
“This beer was originally brewed November 15th, 1939.  On that very day Franklin Delano Roosevelt  was laying the cornerstone to the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C.. Across the Atlantic a shift brewer in Edinburgh, Scotland was making one of the strongest beers his brewery had in its repetoire and it was called “No. 1.”  This dark, malty and sweet beer epitomizes Scottish beer of the day…and actually it was a peculiar recipe!  Not only does this recipe contain lactose sugar and require us to colour the beer mostly with caramel, but it also demands a “cereal mash”.  This one really is a beer from a comparatively modern industrial brewery.  So far in our list of historical beers we have beers reproduced from the years 1832, 1839, 1855, 1879, 1901 & 1945. Not one of them showed this type of complexity in the brewhouse. So it was a great joy and challenge to be able to tackle this beer.”

From a horse’s ass:
Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint, the beer is a slightly hazed, dark, amber highlighted brown colored ale with a sparse, very thin surface coat of white head. Aromas of darkly sweet caramel and a hint of nut, with a sugary highlight that gives it richness instead of cloying. Flavors are just as rich as you would expect from the nose, with a deep, smooth ribbon of dark caramel providing a backbone that is highlighted by a touch of smoke and an earthy character that provides both depth and balance to the brew. Very rich, but surprisingly drinkable. There are subtle notes of alcohol throughout, but never anything that builds or overpowers. Smooth, full body that is lightened slightly by the carbonation. Roasty and rich aftertaste, with a sugary kiss, leading to a slick, slightly lingering finish. Really strong representation of the style, and possibly a good bar to use when tasting other Scottish Ales.  This was a really tasty beer!

These three brews are a start into this area of the beer world that I want to explore more, and drag all of you with me, kicking and screaming if I must.  In all honesty, there are some really great, unique beers being created/recreated due to this look back on history.  In this particular instance, we have Pretty Things, which is most readily available in New England…so, for those outside of that area, I guess either plan a trip or find a beer pen pal.  In all honesty, it’s worth the effort.  In future history lessons I will tackle the other offerings in the “Once Upon A Time” line, as well as some of the historical styles from Dogfish Head and other breweries.  It’s an interesting way to delve deeper into the awesomeness that is craft beer.  So brush off those history corners of your brain, and drink educated my friends!

National #Beer Day in Germany…

Posted in Enhance Your Taste Buds Through Learning on 04/23/2012 by beerbygarth

April 23 is celebrated in Germany as National Beer Day.  In 1516, Frederik I of Bavaria introduced a law to guarantee the purity of beer.  The law is known as “Reinheitsgebot,” and it states that beer may only contain 4 staple ingredients; water, malt, hops, and yeast.  This law has been altered and retooled over the years to allow a little more leniency in the brewing world, including incorporating ingredients like wheat, sugar, and other tasty little components.  Originally put into law to not only keep beer pure, but to prevent price competition for rye and wheat, as well as maintain an affordable price on the beer itself.

It’s amazing to think that some of the most influential beers and beer styles came about from simply using four ingredients.  It really does help cast light on how dynamic different hops rhizomes, malt flavors, and even the different pH of water can impart unique characteristics on a brew.  Many beer experts can tell you which regions beer comes from based on the qualities of the region’s water supply and how that alters the beer that is made from it.  All of this amazement, and this crafting was occurring almost 500 years ago.  Blows my mind…and makes me thirsty.

So while I rummage the fridge for some German beer offerings, I hope you enjoy this little snippet of beer history.  It’s always interesting to see how so much can be done with limited resources while the major beer companies in the US do so little with unlimited resources.  Also, it’s always a good idea to know and appreciate history to fully understand the current state of affairs in any given subject.  Now, it’s time to celebrate German National Beer Day, so for all you folks out there, enjoy!  And drink educated, my friends!

Great website for #beer distribution…

Posted in Enhance Your Taste Buds Through Learning on 12/11/2011 by beerbygarth

So here is a little website guide that was put together to aid those in search of beers from around the country.  You can either select your state and see what beers are available to you, or select a specific brewery and find out where you can go to find it.  Well done project!

http://www.seekabrew.com/

If you have fallen in love with a beer, but moved away from it, this tool will help you find your beer, and rekindle that spark!  Drink educated my friends!

For your viewing pleasure…

Posted in Enhance Your Taste Buds Through Learning on 02/08/2011 by beerbygarth

Hey, don’t get me wrong.  Reading hurts sometimes.  For those of you who have adverse reactions to holding a book and trying to gleam meaning from the groups of letters and words, here are some visual stimuli to also enhance your drinking experience…

“Beer Wars”  http://beerwarsmovie.com/

If you are in the mood to watch some interesting beer reviews, either to compare to your own tastes, to find a new beer to try, or just out of morbid curiosity, check out:

“Jay’s Beer Reviews” http://www.youtube.com/user/jjrudy41