Monday, October 11, 2010

New blogs and New Beers

This last weekend was great for me.  I had my mom in town for her first visit to Seattle and I think we did alright.  Had a trip to the Market and Pike's Brewing on Saturday and Black Raven, Bottleworks and Brouwer's on Sunday.  I was hoping to get Stone's Vertical Epic 10-10-10 at Bottleworks but they didn't have it, but a Firestone Oaktoberfest was a nice consolation.  I also have to give some good words to Black Raven and their Wet Hop Ale, go by and grab one if you dare.

On another note, I was poking around the web and found this blog by Patrick Rue of The Bruery.  It is a great resource of info for someone thinking of starting up a brewery.  We all know how successful The Bruery has become and it is great to see the ups and downs of a start up and to see how it can be done.  I posted the link to the section of the blog related to the start up, but you check out the rest if you wish.

Finally, I wanted to give some exposure to a new beer project by blogger Beer and Nosh.  He has started a project with a friend called Almanac Beer Co. and they have a new beer release coming out in a couple months.  It is a Belgian Blonde aged in barrels and fermented with a variety of berries.  It looks like a great new venture and can't wait to try it out.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

To review or not review, that is the question.

After finishing up my last post I decided to have a beer that my girlfriend bought recently.  I put it in a nice glass and was about to set up the bottle to take a pic for a beer review as I usually do, but unfortunately I tasted it and changed my mind.   This beer is from a microbrewery in the pacific northwest that is still trying to make an impact in the craft beer world.  I am a huge proponent of supporting microbrewers and with that being said I find it hard to give negative feedback on any brewery that makes craft ales.  Getting to my point, the beer was bad, not I wouldn't drink this beer if I was on stranded island bad, it was just really off in so many ways.  So here is the dilemma, should I still review the beer and give negative press (assuming more than 20 people actually give any credit to my reviews) or do I ignore this beer and just focus on supporting those beers that can actually give craft beer a good name.  I realize that last week I gave some poor reviews of Unibroue beers, but they are a larger company and I did say that poor storage of the beer thanks to Trader Joe's more than likely was the reason for it's poor taste.  Even though I am not a practicing Buddhist, I am a firm believer in karma and with the hope and dream of someday opening my own brewery, I wouldn't want some shmuck giving me a poor review.  I started this blog to educate and promote beer and brewers that not many people may have heard of. I realize that if  I did anything to negatively impact a hardworking brewer, I don't know if I could take myself or this blog seriously.  So what should I do?  What would you do?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Beer Review: Dieu De Ciel Peche Mortel

After a nice long aging I finally decided to pop open Peche Mortel by Dieu Du Ciel.  Peche Mortel is an Imperial Stout brewed with coffee and a whole lotta love.  I bought this at City Beer in SF, also know as my favorite place in the world.  I have been waiting to tap this for a awhile, but I always feel I should let huge beers like Imperial Stouts a little aging time to mellow out the flavors and after the long wait was not disappointed.

Peche Mortel come in at a staggering 9.5% abv. and yet is so well balanced with the malt and the coffee.  It pours out pitch black with a nice brown head.  Aroma is roasted malt, chocolate and of course some coffee which reminded me a nice freshly brewed pot in the morning.  Taste is malt, malt and more malt, huge coffee flavor and a great bitterness that coats the back of your tongue. There is  a subtle hint of the alcohol, but don't worry the roasted chocolate malt is there to take over.  It has is a medium body, medium carbonation and a nice mouthfeel.  Overall this a drinkable beer, but I do think one would be enough for me. I think the coffee was a bit overpowering, but if you really like big, roasty, coffee flavored beers, this is one for you.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Session #44: Frankenstein Beers

This months topic is Frankenstein beers:

Many craft brewers are like Frankenstein. They have become mad scientists obsessed with defying the laws of brewing and creating beers that transcend style guidelines. These “Frankenstein Beers” challenge the way people perceive beer. They are freaks of nature — big, bold and intense. The ingredients resemble those of a beer and the brewing process might appear to be normal, but some aspects of the entire experience are experimental, unorthodox and insane.
An altercation with these beers produces confusion in the eye of the taster … is it a beer, or a monster?

I am really excited to have this as my first Session topic.  I have always been a fan a pushing beers to the edge.  I feel that brewing is an art, and each artist has his or her own view on what a beer can be.  Now whether or not you agree as to whether Frankenstein beers are a good idea, I think the market has spoken.  Dogfish head, Brewdog, Stone Brewing and others are pushing for these extreme beers, with interesting new ingredients and brewing methods.  I guess the only question is how far can you go and where will it stop?  There is currently a war for the highest alcohol content in a beer and honestly couldn't care less.  I think it is great that new methods for brewing are being adopted and created, but I am a consumer and when will I be able to try these beers?  On the positive side I think it is great exposure for craft beer, as long as beer is being talked about in a positive way, it is a great thing for all of us. 

 On the other hand it is great to sit down and enjoy classic styles that helped me fall in love with craft beer in the first place.  I think in order to create extreme beer styles you should know how to create the original style first.  I had the pleasure of working for Peter Catizone at Faultline Brewing in Sunnyvale and learned the importance and difficulty of brewing traditional styles.  Some may actually argue that to brew a great Pilsner is harder than brewing some of the Frankenstein beers.  I may have to agree with that because it's always harder to make something stand out that is made simply.  A weird comparison would be for a chef to make an omelet, a seemingly simple task that takes a huge amount of skill and knowledge to pull of well.  

Whether or not you agree that Frankenstein beers are a good thing,  I do believe they are good for the craft beer industry in general.  I still love my classic styles, but I really do love to try new things. Aside from making great blog material, it makes for a great experience and drinking a well made beer should be an experience.  I always think that there really is no right or wrong with beer aside from supporting craft beer and rather than mega beer, but I think that goes without saying.   So if you haven't yet, go out and have a DIPA, BIPA, Barrel aged beers or a Sour beer, you may find something enjoyable and new. 

If you have had any Frankenstein beer that you want to recommend leave a comment.  I think this would be a great time to share some beer stories and maybe leave your opinion on the matter.