Monday, December 12, 2011

Lake Michigan Beer Tour Map

Just thought I would share this map I created in a cartography class. I tried to stay fairly close to the coast for the most part. I know there are a few I left out as well; those I either couldn't find any information on or they were chain breweries that I figured most people would not be interested in seeing if they wanted to do a geographically unique brewery tour. I wanted to include a wider geographic area, but there were already 55 on my list, so I left it at that. All of the data in the table I either took from personal experience or from what I could gather via their website and beeradvocate.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Port City Optimal Wit

Belgian style white ale.
BA Score: B+

Port City is a microbrew in Alexandria, VA, just 15 minutes from my apartment.
Brewers description: Optimal Wit is brewed in the Belgian Wit Bier tradition. It is brewed with raw wheat and oats and steeped with coriander, orange peel and grains of paradise. This ale is a pale golden color with a bit of cloudy haze from bottle conditioning. This unfiltered ale offers layers of complex nuanced flavors that evolve in the glass. It finishes crisp and refreshes the palate.

It pours with about 1 finger of head (my 6 pack ranged from almost none to about 1 inch) and has a definite cloudiness (at first I though I had poured the sediment in on accident). You can definitely smell the coriander, orange, banana, and a host of unnamed spices. The best and worse thing about the beer is how much it changes. As is often the case for unfiltered microbrews, each beer is slightly different, and each sip can accent different flavors. I had 1 bottle with almost no carbonation, and 1 with a lot (beer flavored Sprite anyone?). But the complex of spices and fruit make it exciting to drink and before you know it, it's gone. The BA score is fair because there are some glasses that are an A- and some that are a C -- especially if some of the sediment is mixed in since it's unfiltered. It's not unique enough to be anybody's favorite Belgian, but it's good. And props for being a small time local brew.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Favorite Breweries

Name your 3 most favorite breweries in order. I know it is tough, but if you could only drink beer from 3 breweries for the rest of your life what would they be?

1) Founders (don't think I could live without their delicious stouts)
2) Two Brothers (love their wide array of styles they do)
3) Three Floyds (hate their distribution, but love their beer, anything they make is just delcious)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The obvious

Can I just say how much I love Oberon?
'Cause it's pretty great.
Even though its name is Oberon.

Lagunitas Lucky 13.alt Review

Hasn't been a beer review on here for awhile, so I thought I would post one that I put on beeradvocate earlier.

Lagunitas Lucky 13.alt

This is supposedly a blonde version of the normal Lucky 13 version (Large Mondo Red).

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into an English pint. Actually thought I was trying the other version at first (Large Mondo Red) and then realized that this is the .alt version.

Pours a sort of clear golden color with a slight amber hue. Not much of a head on there, carbonation seems prominent.

Aroma has sort of a sweet malt scent with a very distinctive kind of hops that I can't remember which one it is (Amarillo?). Some elements of citrus/grapefruit.

Hmm, taste is more complex than I was expecting. The hops hit you right away, citrus/grapefruit, with a little spiciness. This is followed by a sweet malty taste, which then has a little bit of a dry and bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is great, perfect carbonation, medium bodied. That sweet malty taste with a hint of the hops sticks to your mouth minutes after a sip.

Overall it is a pretty solid beer. This reminds me of all Lagunitas' beers. Above average, but nothing that blows you out of the water. Solid beer, would definitely drink again.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Homebrew Belgian Tripel IPA

I now feel comfortable enough with my latest beer to write something about it.  I took a recipe found elsewhere on the Internet and slightly modified it to match what was available to me.

One difference from that recipe was an extra 1/2 lb of candi sugar because it was sold in 1 pound bags and I didn't want any extra sitting around.  The other was because I could not find Amarillo hops.  I semi-arbitrarily replaced them with U.K. Challenger (somewhat similar AA%) hops, which worked out fairly well.

Since I was borrowing equipment and was limited in what was available to me, I simply fermented for 3 weeks in primary (bucket).  I was able to get a separate bottling bucket from Tim when the time came, but in a fit of laziness ended up not using it and instead auto-siphoned straight from the primary into our bottles.  The result is a significant amount of sediment, but that has settled out nicely and with a careful pour will mostly stay in the bottle.

Finally, a note on carbonation.  I added priming sugar to the batch during the bottling process, but it has not seemed to kick it up much.  It remains a little flat even after 3+ weeks in the bottle.  Sadly, I suspect it will stay like this.  Fortunately, I have noticed very, very slight carbonation build up on the walls of the glass for the last couple bottles I have had even though no head forms.

My main theory for this issue is a lack of healthy yeast survival to this point, and the beer could have used additional yeast at some point.  3 weeks in the primary and a high ABV (estimated 10-11%, but I didn't take readings) might have tired them out.

In the end, there are things I would change, but the flavor is there.  This is definitely a very hoppy, high alcohol beer.  Even with its problems, it tastes good!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Epic Beer Commercial

I tweeted this the other day when I came across it in my Google Reader:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oberon Day

It just passed us, but Oberon dropped at midnight Sunday, going on Monday, and I was down at the release party here in Ann Arbor.  A Bell's representative was there, and purchasing any Bell's beer resulted in tickets that were drawn to win t-shirts and the like.  Unfortunately, I didn't win anything - I am not the King of Oberon for the next year, but I did get some bumper stickers and pins.  Also, what kind of party would it be without temporary tattoos?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Open Thread

What are you doing today? Drinking?

I have had a Smithwick's, Harp, and Boddingtons at the bar in between classes + 2 bottles of Two Hearted while enjoying spring on the porch.

There will be more after tonight I'm sure.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Upslope Brewing Company

Another Brewery from my trip to Colorado, Upslope is the newest in Boulder.  It is located on the north end of the North Boulder area of town.  Being a little out-of-the-way the trip took a little while, but it was worth checking out.

Upslope is essentially located in what looks like a strip mall that is also home to a winery.  The taproom is very small and was standing room only while I was inside.  There was a large wall-size window that overlooked the production floor, and the door to the floor was cracked open, so the wonderful smell of brewing beer wafted throughout the room.  I sat at a counter in the rear that had various beer books and magazines on it, so I flipped through a couple issues of BeerAdvocate magazine while drinking my beer.

I tried their IPA, which was really solid, but nothing truly unique.  In fact, it was pretty standard.  However, Upslope approaches the microbrewery business a little different than many.  It isn't necessarily trying to make a unique beer.  Unlike most microbreweries that use bottles, Upslope cans their beer.  To some beer geeks this is a sin, but the reasoning for it is pretty neat.

Aluminum is an easily recyclable material, and it's opaque, so no light can get in to ruin the beer.  Also, bottles are much heavier than cans.  A bottle is around 40% of the total weight of a beer.  A can is much lighter and has a little give in it with denting.  These are the keys for Upslope, but why?

The answer: Upslope is making beers for people on-the-go.  Light weight, easily carried cans that can be consumed on the trail while backpacking, or enjoyed after going on a bike ride.  Upslope is there for active people, and that is really cool.

Related: Eco-Friendly beer drinking.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Southern Sun Pub & Brewery

While in Boulder, Colorado for Spring Break I managed to stop by a few breweries in the area.  The first was Southern Sun.  Southern Sun was opened on the south side of Boulder as a second location of Mountain Sun.  It offers up more space than the original, and offers up the same delicious beers.  There is also a third location, the Vine Street Pub, in Denver.

Southern Sun is located near the intersection of Broadway and Table Mesa in the upper level of a very nondescript building in what amounts to a strip mall development.  However, do not be fooled!  This place is very good.

My first trip here was with my friend Jon and his housemates to celebrate my arrival the day before and the end of Stout Month.  I had the Girl Scout Stout, which tasted like a Thin Mint.  I talked with some people who claimed it was far more minty than the year before (and worse because of it), but I found it to be more subtle.  The mint complemented the bitter hop character and sweetness of the beer well.  Plus, any beer that tastes like an already delicious cookie is good in my book.

I made a second trip to Southern Sun Friday night as my week in town was drawing to a close.  I grabbed some dinner and a couple of beers.  For dinner I had one of their specials of the day, the Phryday Phish Phry.  A couple of pieces of fried Alaskan cod with slaw was delicious, but the kicker was the hand cut fries.  They were top-notch.

As for beers, I had a XXX Pale Ale, an FYIPA, and a taster of Blackberry Wheat.  The XXX Pale Ale was pretty straightforward.  Much like many other pale ales there was a slight citrus aroma and taste to it along with decent hop bitterness.  Next, the FYIPA had one of the most pleasant aromas of any beer I can remember.  It was fantastic, and it hid the fact it was an IPA - until you drank it.  It. Was. Hoppy.  From one of the most pleasant aromas to some of the harshest hop bite encapsulated in one beverage was phenomenal.  I haven't tried all of their beers, but if you plan on only getting one, I would recommend the FYIPA.  Finally, I had a taster of Blackberry Wheat, which I was not a huge fan of.  It was a little sad to end on a lower note, but I also chalk it up to not having much experience with Blackberries in general.  It tasted similar to other fruit beers, but it came off a little odd to me and I probably wouldn't get it again.

At this point I remembered what drinking at a higher elevation entails, so I finished up and called it a night.

Overall, I really enjoyed my two trips to the Southern Sun Pub & Brewery and would recommend people try it out.  I think either here or the Mountain Sun is a must-stop while visiting Boulder.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout

I got this stout on tap at Hopcat. It is brewed by Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma, CA. Seemed to have a decent head and was a deep brown color. It had a very distinct cappuccino flavor at first which faded as the tongue got used to it. It's a little heavy at 8.8%ABV but is still very drinkable. It is one stout that I will try again.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Beer and the White House

We know that President Obama enjoys beer, especially his Goose Island from Chicago.  He traded beer with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom over a bet on the World Cup.  Now, he is apparently the first resident of the White House to homebrew!

AMERICA!!! [NSFW *lyrics*]

90 Schilling - Odell Brewing Co.

90 Schilling is a very good amber ale.  It pours with an ever-so-slight head that stays around for quite a while.  It has a very nice smell with slight citrus aroma.  The color is a fantastic "copper" according to the bottle, and I would have to agree.  It has a medium body, right in the perfect drinking zone where its not too light and watery and not too heavy and chewy.  Balance is the name of this game.  It leaves only a minimal amount of lacing on the glass.


Note: Distribution from Odell sticks between the Rockies and Mississippi River for now.

Monday, February 14, 2011

New Brew

Hi all,

I finally again am looking at making a home brew. Who wants to help me decide what to make? I am open to suggestions for types of beers and also on the ingredient specifics.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A-B InBev + SABMiller Merger Possibility?

Hooray for independent analysts jumping ahead of either company in speculation.

Also, check out this spreadsheet if you intend to avoid buying from the "Big Two" via the BeerAdvocate Forums.

The United States of Beer

GOOD takes on the challenge of representing craft breweries around the country on a map.  Choices were based on reader recommendations.  This all, of course, happened after another map was made by the Houston Press that included such delights as Keystone Light and PBR...

The only problem with the new one is that apparently Bell's completely blew other Michigan brewers away for the easiest win.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

How Beer Saved the World

I've often thought to myself that beer is one of the greatest inventions. I always thought that just because of how damn good it tastes, and it turns out I was right, but for the wrong reason. A couple of weeks ago, a program aired on Discovery Channel called How Beer Saved the World. I missed it, but fortunately I found it online. This program is pretty insightful on how beer played a part in human history, and its importance in the advancing of civilization. While some parts of it are a bit of a stretch, most of it seems to be sufficiently and scientifically supported. I really think that if this show was segmented into different episodes and more time was spent on specific periods in time, it could be much more convincing. Nevertheless, if you enjoy beer at all, this program will keep you smiling and educated. I would highly recommend grabbing a beer at watching it now. Cheers.
Here is the link below:

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tsingtao Beer

Brewers Description:
Tsingtao Lager (Pronounced "CHING-DOW; 4.8% ABV) has a crisp, slightly malty flavor and nutty sweet taste which complements spicy or flavorful Asian cuisine. Tsingtao Lager is brewed with the finest all-natural ingredients including domestically-grown hops, high quality barley and spring water from China's Laoshan mountain region.

I've never had Chinese beer before, so I can't compare it to anything else from the region. One of my friends brought this over for dinner (Chinese food, hence the Chinese beer). By taste, it is a watered down, sweeter version of Heineken. I was disappointed by this fact until we started eating. The beer is intentionally very light and generic so that it compliments the meal without overpowering it. Because Chinese cuisine usually has it's own spice and flavor you don't need a strong beer. Consequently, my friend and I had finished the six pack in no time.

It's worth trying once, if for no other reason than to have Chinese beer with your Chinese food. I would not recommend it without a spicy or flavorful food paring. It won't be anybody's favorite beer, but I doubt anybody could really hate it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bell's Hopslam

Commercial Description: A biting, bitter, tongue bruiser of an ale. With a name like Hopslam, what did you expect?
I decided that I had to review the much anticipated Bell's Hopslam, because well it is only available (at least in Chicago) for about one week a year. I will admit I have extremely high expectations for this beer because of all of the hype it has been getting on beeradvocate.
It smells like a double ipa, real hoppy, but this one has a slight honey smell and a somewhat earthy aroma as well. An alcohol smell is slightly there but not overbearing.
The first sip is delicious, the first tastes to hit are the bitter hops (but not overbearingly so) and floral flavors. It finishes sweet and honey-like, as expected from the aroma. This is an extremely well-balanced beer. The problem with so many double ipas is that the hops just completely eliminate all of the malt and other tastes. This one is perfect, hops are not overbearing at all. Also the bitter hop taste doesn't coat the inside of your cheeks like so many other dipas do.
This beer is way too drinkable at 10%. Most of the other beers in this category is a one and done situation for me, but this one you could drink all night. If only this beer was available for more than a week a year...