Monday, September 26, 2011

Other beers in my travels

I had the opportunity to try a few other beers and take advantage of the New England location while up in CT.

Had a couple Brewtus Maximus beers at Max Burger in West Hartford.  Allegedly, it's brewed specially for them from Thomas Hooker Brewing.  It was tasty and went down oh so smooth.

I also picked up, at the beer store, Sebago (in Maine)'s Local Harvest Ale. It was hoppy, malty, tasty deliciousness.  Damn, that shit was good. Highly recommend.  Look how pretty!

As the Alström Brothers say, "High marks for bringing hop flavor to new heights, lordy be, this is an amazing beer."  I don't think I can say it better than that.  Maine, you totally rule.

At the Atlanta airport on the way home, my gate was right next to the Sweetwater Brew Pub and I went in there and ordered a Sweetwater 420, which is a Pale Ale I enjoyed during our vacation in Florida.  I looked at the big board before ordering though, make sure I wasn't missing out on anything. It listed the 420, their IPA, their blueberry wheat, and a brown.  I was sipping on my 420 when I noticed this poster across the way from me:

I looked it up on my phone and discovered it was an ESB!  Which is very exciting for me because I love a good ESB.  I asked the bartender if they were actually serving the Motor Boat or if the poster was just put there to taunt their clientele.  He responded in my favorite way, by pouring a sample for me to try.  Ooh, it was so good!  I still had 2/3 of a pint of the 420 and only about 20 minutes before my flight started boarding but I couldn't help it, I ordered a pint of the Motor Boat. Fantastic!  As you can see, it's much darker than the 420:

So it was a bit maltier but beautifully balanced with hops, which adds a spicy and gently bitter kick to the toasty malty notes.  God, it was amazingly drinkable.  When I was done I was both elated that I had had the chance to drink this beer and seriously annoyed that I wouldn't be able to have another one anytime soon, if ever.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sampling sample size samples.

My beer at Willimantic Brewing Company. Forgot to take a picture till I finished my first pour, the cask Octoberfest.  So we have four of the five pictured!

Willimantic Brewing

While in CT, my wanderings brought me to Willimantic Brewing. Since I am here alone and it's about a half hour on back roads, I decided the best course of action was to get the five 4 oz samples. They all looked awesome, but here's what I got:

1). Overseas Mail Octoberfest - on cask.  Very helpfully described as a garnet bier brewed with German malts and hops. Way to be specific, guys. 5.8%. Anyway. Cask is served at proper cellar temperature. Mild malt, light hops. Biscuit aroma. Easy drinking. A nice beer, and god knows I'm grateful for the cask. A bit too subtle in flavor for my personal tastes. Glad it's on cask, I think if it was served any colder it would have been rendered even more subtle still. By the end of my 4 oz, though, I really was enjoying the flavor. Heh. (I'm liveblogging so you are going through the journey with me!)

2). Weiss is Nice. "An unfiltered tart Wheat bier loosely based upon tbe Berliner style." 3.3%abv. Beginner berlinerweiss. Tartness is very understated. Mouthfeel has that tart acidic feel though. No discernable aroma. A mild wheat. Obviously no wheat beer yeast esters, as it's a different style. Once you take the yeast flavor often found in wheat beers, there's not a whole lot of flavor left. Very pale in color. Wish there was a little more flavor characteristic in the malt bill or the tart/sour aspect, but as it is, it's a good way to get the BMC crowd to a weiss. That said, I imagine it would be very refreshing on a hot day. And at 3.3%, you could drink it all day long.

3) Simon Saaz-On. "Unfiltered Saison accentuating Czech Saaz hops and our Saison yeast." 5.7% Familiar saison yeast aroma. Oh! Interesting. The typical fruitiness of the saison yeast is prevalent throughout, but it's beautifully tempered with the Saaz hop bitterness. Saison flavors at the front, bitter saison flavors in the middle, and a hint of hop floral at the literally bitter end (I mean that as a good thing.) Mouthfeel: subtle, bright carbonation,almost tart. An interesting combination of rustic and sophisticated. Gold color. Cloudy due to not being filtered.  Some lacing, not much though. Quite delicious.

4) Saison Noir "unfiltered dark saison with 5 malts and hopped with Crystal, Cascade, and Sybilla for that wonderful farmhouse flavor." Hm. Sybilla? Am I a Philistine for not having heard of this hop before? Is it grown in like some Baltic country or, uh... Alaska? Anyway. 6.1%. Ok well I'm annoyed because it was a sloppy pour and now I am wearing several dark drips on a light colored shirt. Beyond that though,  the saison aroma is not as apparant as the previous beer... The malt mix makes this a very dark and intriguing beer indeed. Easy drinking. Very balanced saison. Dark as a stout or a schwartzbier. Complex flavors. I really like this beer. Even though it's a bit boozier than the others I've tried, it doesn't taste it. Though upon closer inspection, it is a bit warming. But not hot or boozy. I pronounce it: YUM.

Last but not least, the Hurricane Party Pale. I assume it has something to do with Irene? Kegged it that weekend or.something? Otherwise, I dunno what that's about. Anyway, it's described as "an unfiltered pale ale brewed with Pilsner and Crystal malts and plenty of Columbia and Cluster hops tor tbat tropical grapefruit kick." 5.6%. Ooh, interesting. They weren't kidding abput that tropical fruit flavor. I would describe it more as a pineapple rather than a grapefruit though. Aroma- floral hops, lovely. Taste- well balanced but plenty flavorful. The malt bill and the hops marry well. Makes a very enjoyable and drinkable pale ale. Bitter on the finish, complimenting the tropical fruit at the front. Lively mouthfeel. Another winner.

Sadly, I now must depart. But those were some very nice beers. Even the most mild of the group were easy drinking and quite pleasant. Glad I made the trek out! As always, WBC is definitely a great beer destination.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chickie Wah Wah

JustInteresting on draft- NOLA Blonde and Abita SOS, of all things. Taceaux are excellent, even though they only have the Seoul Man, a chicken taco with pickled vegetables and sirachi aioli. Really tasty.

Tom is sticking happily to the Blonde (just like a man) while I started with the Blonde and have moved to an LA31.  Nothing fancy, but we're gonna listen to some music and it's all good.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

All Cantillon pours open

Ok all ticket holders have gotten their beers and the Cantillon pours are open to anyone with $6. As of around 3:30, there are still Zwanze 2010 pours are still available. Which is bananas in its awesomeness.
Go get you some!

Zwanze frenzy over and done.

Well, we came, we waited, we drank a lot of sour beer. Cantillon FTW- Zwanze 2010, Zwanze 2011, and Iris were all home run winners. Really excellent.

Better pictures and full writeup to come. For now, we are enjoying an Ommegang BPA and the Pub Pils out on the back patio. Next: lunch.

Zwanze 2010 bottle.


First tastes

Zwanze 2010- (the paler beer on the right) man that is good. That is Tom's JAM! (Remember, he doesn't like sours) More tart than sour, well balanced, crisp, refreshing, mild tartness and subtle. Like a belgian berlinerweiss. Wheat is turned all the way up. Smooth. Biscuits and lemon juice, in a good way. Dances over the tongue leaving a trail of tartness behind.

2011- fruit lambic- grape. Lighter than the St. Lamvinus, crisper, more balanced, in my opinion. St. Lamvinus was a little overwhelming and intense. This is more fun and drinkable. Rose colored. Tart with full fruit flavor.

In conclusion: some seriously tasty shit.

Standing in line

Cantillon Iris

A gueuze that has been brewed with hops instead of wheat. A sour that Ton doesn't hate. Progress!

Tart, sharp, a subtle hop bitterness on the finish. The sour and atypical bitterness marry well. Very refreshing while retaining the traditional gueuze sour characteristics.

Recommended for sour lovers and sour skeptics alike.

Cantillon St. Lamvinus

Picture of the St. Lamvinus, a Cantillon grape lambic.

List of beers for Zwanze tapping

The purpose of this post is to a) test out my liveblogging photo options and b) show the list of beers for the 2pm tapping so I don't have to type that shit out on my phone. Enjoy!


We've been moved to the balcony to clear out space for later arriving beer geeks downstairs.

Zwanze Day - liveblogging experiment

So I am here waiting on the tapping of Cantillon's Zwanze 2011. As previously mentioned, The Avenue Pub is only one of NINE bars in the US to get a keg of of this for the simultaneous worldwide Zwanze day tapping. It's a huge honor and I'm so psyched to be here for it.

I'm experimenting with liveblogging the day as it unfolds. So far today we had a lovely breakfast at The Irish House (where our waitress is also a sour beer fan, so that was fun!) and bellied up to the bar to wait for the tapping and our turn at the Balcony kegs.

Drinking Theriez Extra dry-hopped farmhouse ale right now. Pacing myself for an exciting day of beer drinking.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Interesting news from our neighbors to the very far North

Picked up the latest issue of Offbeat Magazine last night while hanging out on Frenchmen Street and found something of great interest to me in the Letters to the Editor section:

First of all, thanks for a great magazine. You have helped me so much in learning about the music and culture of New Orleans.

On Friday we start the first ever New Orleans Festival in Sweden at my club in Stockholm [Akkurat Bar & Restaurant]. I have beers coming in from both Abita and NOLA Brewing Company. To my knowledge, it’s the first time these beers have been shipped on draught outside the United States.

We will fill the empty barrels with Swedish beer and ship them back to Polly at the Avenue Pub on Saint Charles Avenue, who is doing a wonderful job for the beer culture. Hopefully we can have a continuous exchange program working in the future.

We also got loads of food like po-boys and of course crawfish, which are in season in Sweden right now. Yes we eat them here too.

—Stene Isacsson, Stockholm, Sweden

I am VERY INTRIGUED by what Swedish beers may be headed our way! Can't wait to find out. Also, glad to see Polly and The Avenue Pub getting more well-deserved international props.