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Archive for July, 2009

btl_DBThe summer has been a wash out. Today with the rain pounding down and a damp chill descending on the house I thought about the whimsical 4 pack of Sam Adams Imperial Series Double Bock lager I purchased the other day while stocking up on my summer volume beer, Pabst. (See other posts for the story)
I packed some venison sausage, whole grain macaroni and a fresh egg from under one of our hens into a bowl, popped the mix into the microwave and grabbed a Double Bock from the fridge. As the turntable hummed around, I drew in a long sip of the mahogany lager. Wow! this beer is ultimately smooth! On the label Jim Koch tells us that this “lager reveals a deep mahogany color and velvety smooth flavor.” Well I wouldn’t use the words velvet but I get the image. This double bock is silky smooth. 9.5% ABV is hidden inside this superb brew. Not a hint of harshness; the malt is huge. Drink this for dessert period.
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With the Sam Adams Imperial Series and Harpoon’s Leviathan we have a bundle of the finest kind right here. More to come, Sam has an Imperial Stout, also.
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Ah! A cold Pabst can to finish as le Grand Boucle draws to a close in Paris. It has been a long three weeks of the world’s longest and toughest bicycle race. Pabst was my mainstay with a few Harpoon and Smuttynose IPAs thrown in.

Today I discovered an exceptional brew, Lobster Ale by Belfast Maine Brewery. This red ale was served up on tap at the local Lobster Trap Restaurant on West Side Road in North Conway. This ale had deep taste with a gentle hop zing, smooth on the way down, easy aftertaste. A classy surprise.
When I read the fine print on the brewery’s website it turns out that it is brewed now by Shipyard in Portland which was at one time partly owned by Miller. The original owners bought back from Miller that share and now continue as an independent. That is a twist I wasn’t expecting.
The Lobster Ale is still first rate and it has a cousin, McGovern Oatmeal Stout, which may be worth investigating.
HaveAnother

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Summer has arrived finally. The warm, somewhat humid, sunny day brought me to the beer store or, more correctly for the Live Free or Die state, the regular old grocery store, Hannaford. I rolled past the cooler windows looking for the just right brew for this bright summer day. I slid past all the IPA’s: Harpoon, Smuttynose, Red Hook, etc. I even passed up the thin little slot where the Harpoon Leviathan brew Imperial IPA sat. I went past the Guinness Extra Stout and even past the Sam Adams summer ales – summer this, summer that – wimp beer I say.

Pabst-1I know what was really on my mind – summer quantity – the volume pack – in cans – cold – budget priced, but… had to have the taste that came through in an ice cold can. Well it could have been Bud, which certainly fits that bill pretty much, except my summer brew secret is Pabst Blue Ribbon!

I’m not going to tell you that I would pour it into a pint glass and watch the head form, or remark on the grand color, or describe the array of tastes it releases. No, it is a thirst quencher first and foremost. It is crisp and clean, a touch of hops, a dry after taste but nothing to write home about. Pabst is durable and, unlike Bud, the last ounce in a slightly warmed up can doesn’t get skunked. None of that bad Bud aftertaste from the dregs.

One might wonder where Pabst has been over the years. They proudly write of the America’s Best award from 1893 on the cans. However as the Best Big Brewery they garnered awards in 2006 and 2007. Pabst serves as the brewery behind many old brands including Ballantine, Schlitz, Shaeffer, Olympia, Blatz and on and on.ourPortfolio-1

HaveAnother
Pabst six

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If “Hiking the Appalachian Trail” is the new way of saying “I am having an affair with a hottie from Argentina“, after today stepping up to the bar and saying “I’ll have a Guinness” might pique the interest of some adventurous bar patrons and possibly give you a story to tell for years to come…

*** WARNING!!!  VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED ***

 

HaveAnother

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Grey Lady Ale by Cisco Brewers in Nantucket MA pours a pale cloudy, yellow/grey and finishes in the glass with a thin head.  The aroma is thickGreyLady and yeasty, almost like sniffing a waterlogged loaf of Wonder Bread, with the distinct smell of banana.

The first sip starts smooth but has minimal effervescence and is quickly bogged down in the middle of your mouth feeling more like a thin fruit smoothie than a beer.  From that point forward I struggled to choke the beer down.  Grey Lady Ale is thick and creamy.  In my opinion even an American version of a Belgian Wit Ale should be relatively light and refreshing, only slightly creamy, with a crisp finish.

In full disclosure I must admit that I don’t like bananas.  In fact if they became extinct tomorrow I would not mourn the loss of diversity in the fruit world.  Likewise I would not be sad if Grey Lady Ale suffered the same apocalyptic demise.  Others may feel differently, but please keep your bananas away from my beer!

KeepAway

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Brown Shugga’ Sweet Release is listed on the Lagunitas Brewing Company’s website with an approximate release date of October 2009.  So how BrownShuggadid we get a bottle in July?  We could say “Ancient Chinese secret” or “Membership has its privileges” but honestly it was dumb luck for us and that is GOLD FOR YOU!!!

The first thing I noticed after popping the cap was the deliciously sweet and woody molasses/caramel aroma.  Pouring this brew into a pint glass only enhanced that aroma and made my mouth water.  The ale maintained a great head (see image to the left).  The sweet aroma is tempered by a hoppy bitter flavor that gives this ale a  gentle grittiness that is appealing to the nose and puts your other senses on high alert. 

The firs taste of this beer does not disappoint.  Sweet molasses and the woody hops blend perfectly and do not conflict or separate in your mouth.  The lingering aftertaste of brown sugar and caramel sticks to the roof of your mouth long after the glass is empty and with an ABV of 9.5% you will be reaching for a second bottle before you even finish the first.

This beer is definitely worth it!

HaveAnother

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