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...