Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Beer Swapping

I did it. Last week I made my first beer swap with a friend. I will tell you now, I am hooked. Beer swapping is so much fun. I'm going to do it again, and again, and again. In fact, I think I might have even found a new Beer Swapping partner. This is going to get addictive.

I have a friend, we will call him "Chef". He lives on the east coast. We spend a lot of time talking about beer. Drinking beer, making beer, different beers, beers we like, beers we wish we want to try, and beers we wish we could get.

That last one is what got us started. I read on other blogs about all these different beer from regional breweries that I can't get out here on the west coast. Chef has the same problem. He wants to try all the beers from all the breweries here on the west side of the country. Thus, we decided to trade.

It started off easily enough. We each made lists of the breweries and certain beers we wanted to try. But we decided to choose a few of out favorites for each other. Kind of like a surprise. Boy, was I surprised.

I got 9 beers I have never tried before. 5 were from regional breweries I have never even heard of. Here is the list.

Cape Ann Brewing Company -Fisherman's Brew Lager
Victory Brewing- Hop Devil Ale
Brooklyn Brewery - Pennant Ale
Troegs Brewing Company - Hop Back Amber Ale
Bell's Brewery - Two Hearted Ale
Bell's Brewery - Oberon Ale
Clay Pipe Brewing - Hop-Ocalypse India Pale Ale
Dogfish Head - Aprihop Ale
Dogfish Head - Palo Santo Marron

So far, I like what I have tried. In fact, I liked them a lot! Some more than others, but I still enjoyed them. As of 5 minutes ago, I only have 1 left of the original 9. But don't worry, I took notes on each one. Come Saturday night, I am going to review them all for you, my blog reading fans.

In the meantime, I leave you with this. Imagine walking up to your front door and finding a package. This is usually a good thing. But this time, it's something special. This time, Brewmaster Santa left you a special Christmas present. Beer! And not just any ole beer. This is special beer that you can't get. How cool is that? So, are you ready to trade yet? I know I am!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Beer snob?

I was talking to a blogger friend about being a "Beer Snob". For the most part, I agreed with everything he was saying. Yes, I would consider myself a "Beer Snob". And most people who read my blog are fellow "Beer Snobs". But is that a bad thing? Come to think of it, it might be construed as an insult.

Guys, take a minute and think back to high school. How cool was it to score a 6 pack of Bud light back then? But that isn't where I am going with this story. Every school had one. Every guy knew one. That girl. That super hot chick that every kid in school thought was "Hot".

You know who I am talking about. What was her name? Jennifer? Or was it Lisa? What about Heather? Or was it Bambi? Yes, Bambi. That was it wasn't it. Remember how she dated the Quarterback, or the rich kid, or the guy you just didn't like? And do you remember what you called her?


But was she really? To be honest, you didn't know her that well. She might have been the nicest person in the world. Sure, she might have been a little self absorbed, but was she really a snob? Is it possible that she was just far more advanced than we were? (D's in High school? I would say yes!) Or was it that she just had a better idea of what she wanted than we did?

Fast forward to that last time you stood in the beer section, looking at all those different beers. To the left, we have the math club members (Bud, Miller, Coors, etc,). In the middle, we have those people we all knew and were friends with (Heineken, Becks, Stella, New Castle, Smithwicks, etc.) Those were the people who thought they were cooler than they really were. Just like these beers. For the most part, they are like the Big 3, but think they are better. But we all know they are owned by the Evil Empire.

Then there is the right. The special. They are where you spend most of your time, and where you wished you would have spent most of your time in high school. You have the Dogfish Head, Stone, New Belgium, Flying Dog, Sierra Nevada, Left Hand, Laguintas, Deschutes, and so on. That group that is special indeed. That group that is so different, that you have grown to love, and appreciate.

Why is that? Because they are "Snobby"? No, because it is just a better place to be. Does that make us "Beer Snobs"? I don't think so. It just means that we know what is good, and what isn't. At this time in our lives, we know what qualifies as good, quality beer instead of that watered down, flavorless, piss water that they call light beer.

It might have taken us a good 10 or 20 years to realize what Bambi knew all those years ago in High School. But it is our time to shine. We have arrived. And there is nothing wrong with being a so called "Beer Snob". Come to think about it. Snob was just the name that we gave to that "Hot" girl who wouldn't give us the time of day. And now, "Beer Snob" is the name that all those Bud, Miller, and Coors, drinkers give to us because we are on a higher level that they are.

So celebrate being a "Beer Snob". We are a special kind of people. And be willing to share, or point and laugh when some band geek buys a sixer of Bud Light. We have earned our stripes. We have done our time. And at that 20 year High School reunion, buy Bambi a real beer.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tale from a beer line.

This is going to be short, and sweet. It has been a long day, and I feel like going to bed. But dammit, said I would do this, so here it is.

I was looking through the beers yesterday at, the BevMo. And I noticed these three Frat looking guys. They pushed the shopping cart up and down the rows a few time. Ultimately, they picked up a case of the usual college brews, Bud Light and Miller Lite.

I wasn't judging. They are young, and stupid. But I didn't realize just how stupid they really were. One of the three seemed to have a little style with his beer choices. He walked over and picked up a 6 pack of Samuel Adams Boston Lager. I thought to myself, good choice young man. You are have a future in the beer world.

But I soon realized how screwed we all are. He showed the 6 pack to his friends, put it in their cart and blurted out this gem:

"I drink Sam Adams because he makes good beer, and was a good President".

Wow. The public education system did it's job well, didn't it. Because I really doubt this genius made it into college, or "colege" like his shirt said.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

New plan of attack

To be honest, I have a hard time keeping up with my posts. I forget to write, or I don't feel like writing, or I really have nothing to say. But today, I made a decision. That is about to change. Here is what I plan on doing.

Beer talk will be on Tuesday. It will be called "Tales from the beer line". I am going to talk about the what conversations I might have overheard while I was standing in line, for a beer, or buying beer at the BevMo or Total Wine (where I buy most of my beer). I always seem to have a conversation with someone about beer. And I almost always end up having a story to tell.

Saturday nights will be my beer reviews. That seems to be the night that I have the most time to write about the beers I drank during the week. Not to mention, Saturday night seems to be the night I drink (I mean, taste) a large amount of beer. For example, tonight I have tasted the following:

Hacker Pschorr - Munich Gold finest Lager
Dogfish Head - Punkin Ale
New Belgium - Mothership Wit (Organic Wheat Beer brewed with spices)
Dogfish Head - Raison De' Entre
Dogfish Head - 60 Minute IPA
Stone Brewing - Pale Ale

How does this sound? If you like my plan, come back on Tuesday and you can read the latest story I overheard while I was standing in line for a beer at the baseball game. Then come back next Saturday, and you can read my full review of each one of these great beers I have been drinking this week.

I forgot to mention. I went to the premier of "Beer Wars" on Thursday night. I loved it. Tomorrow night, I am going to tell you about it. It was a great movie. I loved it. And I changed my opinion of beer after watching it.

Thanks for being a fan of "Good Burp".


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I scored!

How cool is that feeling when you get a deal? And how cool is that deal when you get it on Beer? All the better I say! And that is exactly what happened to me. I scored. I got a deal. However you want to say it, I was able to pick up some Dogfish Head Punkin Ale for $1 a bottle. Yes, I know, I am cool.

How was I able to score such a deal? Well, I told you that I am on a first name basis with the people over at the BevMo. It is like the mall to me. I can spend hours in there, and buy nothing. Who am I kidding. I have yet to walk out of there without buying at least 1 bottle of something. But I do spend at least 30 minutes trying to make up my mind.

So, last week I went in to pick a out a few brews for my friend on the east coast. After an hour of walking up and down, up and down, up and down the rows of beer, I made my decisions. As I stood in the check out line to pay, I couldn't help but second guess my choices.
"Was there anything that I missed"?
"Did I choose the right beers for him"?
"I hope he likes these".
"Should I check one more time, just to be safe"?

That is when I was them. Under the checkout table, two rows over, I noticed 2 four packs with a familiar logo on the side. It was Dogfish Head! And I could tell that from the color, that it was the Punkin Ale, which I really enjoy.

Me: "What's up with that beer over there"?
Manager: "Which beer"?
Me: "Those 2 four packs under the checkout table over there".
Manager: "I don't know, let me see".

He walked over and grabbed the two packs and brought them over.
Manager: "It looks like they might have been old".
Me: "What are you going to do withe them"?
Manager: "I don't know. Why, you want them"?
Me: "I might".
Manager: "I will make you a good deal".
Me: "How much of a deal"?
Manager: "Uhmm, how about $1 a bottle"?
Me: "SOLD"!

To be honest, I was going to buy them at retail. You can't get these anymore. And I really like this beer. I even thought to myself, that is has been aged for 6 months. All the better.

So, here is my review:

Dogfish Head - Punkin Ale

I did review this beer some months back. And I liked it. But it was kind of a vague review. So here is my full write review. It is good. When it comes to pumpkin beers, this is the best. I am not a big fan of additives in beer, but Sam and the guys at Dogfish Head know how to do it. And I love them for it. It has a great mouth feel, and a nice clean finish. I really enjoy the way that the pumpkin flavor mixes with the cinnamon and brown sugar. Who would have thunk it? And to have it fall on the Malt side of the scale just solidifies my opinion that I like this beer.

Grade: 3 1/2 burps


Friday, April 10, 2009

What was on tap this week? Not much. I have been busy going through all the multiple bottles I have in my beer fridge. I did have a few new ones, but the majority are those 2-6 bottles that seem to add up every time I bring home a new bottle or multi pack of bottles of the newest brew.

The first ones I went through were the Dogfish Head 60 IPA. Who doesn't love this beer? People who don't like beer. That is about it. 60 Minute is possibly one of the best beers ever created. So why would I stop there? I didn't.

Next, I moved on to the remaining bottles of Punkin Ale from Dogfish Head. I was able to score 2 four packs on "clearance" some time ago. But having 7 bottles in a little fridge isn't something a beer loving man can do. So I have been drinking them. I am going to leave a single bottle in there for the day I am "Jonesing" for it. That should be some time in July.

The next brewery on the list was Samuel Adams. Admit it, you have bought that variety case at one time or another. I gave away those horrid Cranberry Lambics a long time ago. But I still had a couple of the Old Fezziwig Ale and Black Lagers bottles. So I drank them. Not bad, but neither one makes my top 10 (or 20) list. However, I would rather drink these than a Miller any day.

After a bad day, when I needed to go to my "Happy Place", I cracked open a few of my Hofbrau Originals, from Munich. It is like a magic potion. No matter how bad my day was, Hofbrau makes it better. But when it was a really bad day, I opened the Hofbrau Dunkel from the bottom of the kegerator.

Hofbrau Munchen - Hofbrau Dunkel
I love German beer. It runs through my veins. So my opinion is completely biased, and I admit it up front. Therefore, I loved this beer. It reminded me of a Marzen. I think that is why I enjoyed it so much. On the malty side, with the expected caramel and light hint of hops. And a great, clean finish.

Review: 4 1/4 Burps

I do have a list of a few new one beers. I will write my reviews tomorrow.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Still going. Although a little slower

I am sorry. I had no idea it has been over a week since I last blogged. Please accept my apologies. I hope my latest beer choices will make up for lost time. I was finally able to track down a few I had been looking for, and one that I have been saving for a while. So, without further wait, here is my latest reviews.

Flying Dog - Horn Dog Barley Wine style ale.
I am drinking it right now. This is my third beer of the evening. And I will tell you a secret. I am feeling it. It rings it at a powerful 12.0 Alc/Vol. I know that because they print it on the side of the bottle. They also printed the IBU: 45 as well. Good thing. As much as I wish I could tell what the levels were from just a taste, I can't. I'm not that good. But what I can tell you is that this beer is good. I expected that slap of alcohol taste, but it didn't happen. It was surprisingly subdued. I wouldn't exactly say, absent. However, it is far from distracting. In fact, I am really enjoying it. I would say it leans more to the malt side than hops. But it is a even spread across the palate.

I really love this brewery. If I was to cheat on Dogfish Head, it would be with Flying Dog. And the more I try their brews, the more I think they might be take over the top spot on my top 5 list. More and more, I find myself recommending Flying Dog to anyone willing to try a new beer. Their beers are just so different, yet so good.

Grade: 4 Burps

New Belgium - 1554 Enlightened Black Ale
New Belgium is a brewery that keeps climbing up my top 5 list. They aren't in the "extreme" beer category of the Dogs. What they do is make good beer. Beer so good, that I have friends request it on the east coast where they can't get it. So in my attempt to review every beer they make, I started with a bottle of the 1554 Black Ale. I don't know what it is, but most of the beers I have been drinking come from the dark side. That explains so much.

I liked this one, just as I thought I would. It was very flavorful, and didn't linger on the palate. It was a heavy malt with a clean finish. Honestly, I expected the usual fruity taste of a Belgium ale, but the coffee and toffee flavors covered it up. I was surprised how mellow and smooth it was. I think this is why so many of my friends turn to New Belgium when the decide to break into the world of Micro Brews. They are a safe choice. And that is Ok. They make good beer. Strike that, they make really good beer. In fact, I think that missing keg I have yet to replace in my kegerator, might be filled with New Belgium Fat Tire. But don't tell the Dogs I said that.

Review: 3 1/2 Burps (very close to 4 burps though)

Samuel Adams - Imperial Series, Imperial Stout
I have been dying to try the newest creations from the Boston Beer Company. Samuel Adams has created 3 new brews for us under the "Imperial Series" label. The first one I was able to try was the Imperial Stout.

I really liked this one. Yes, I am a fan of Jim, but all biased aside, this really is a good brew. In fact, of the three (reviews to follow), this was my favorite. It is just a good, big, beer. That is what I like. It rings in at a quality 9.2% Alc/Vol. in a 12 oz. bottle. And it is just about perfect. I actually had another one before I decided to try one of the other 2.

It pours a beautiful dark color which I loved. An ever so slight hint of alcohol as you might expect from a brew of this caliber. The slight aftertaste and drinkablility (I hate that word, but it fits) is the only thing I could find to describe as faults. It wasn't as "thick" as I expected. Aside from that, it is a damn good beer. If you can find it, buy it.

Review: 4 Burps

Samuel Adams - Imperial Series, Double Bock
The next in the Samuel Adams Imperial Series, Double Bock. This might get a little old, but yes, it was good. Nearly as good as the Imperial Stout. However, I think it is just a notch below. Coming in at a 9.2 Alc/Vol, it is a quality beer. If it wasn't for that, this could be a good session beer. It has a great flavor, and an enjoyable aroma. This is a brew I would share with friends. It has the usual flavors of malt and coffee. But the alcohol was just a little stronger than the Stout. I think I am going to age a bottle or two and to see what happens.

Review: 3 1/2 Burps

Samuel Adams - Imperial Series, Imperial White
This is the third offering from the Imperial Series. And it is the third on my list. Normally, I am not a big fan of this style of beer. I did like it, but not as much as I wanted. This one rings in at a powerful 10.3% Alc/Vol. And you can tell. There was that alcohol aftertaste. But it wasn't as distracting as some other beers at this level. I might be biased, but I don't enjoy the citrus aftertaste. I am a malt and hops kind of guy, Thus, the unfair bias towards Witbiers. So if you are a fan, then try it. But if you are a hophead, or a true Ale kind of guy, go for the other two.

Review: 3 Burps

There you have it. I do have a few more, but I this is a long post, and I have to save something for the next review.