Monday, June 29, 2009

How to teach an old dog a new beer

I love to teach people about beer. Normally, it is my friends. However, lately it has been my father in law. It was a little intimidating to teach the wine lover, the finer points of beer. But guess what, it's working.

I am lucky enough to have a cool father in law. Don't get me wrong, he used to scare me when I was a kid. When I explain to people what he is like, all I have to say is Red Forman. Yes, my father in law is Red Forman from That 70's Show. Looks like him, talks like him, drinks like him, and was probably in the same platoon with him.

For as long as I have know him, he has enjoyed a beer from time to time, but wine has been his drink of choice. We usually talk about sports, cars, and money. But we have been talking more and more about beer. The last few times he has come over, he has had a beer, or two with me. And you know I am not giving him cheap beer. He really liked the Flying Dog Old Scratch Lager. I think he had 2 pints during the game. Funny thing, he was done. I don't think he was prepared for the punch of a high alcohol beer.

Yesterday, we went to the baseball game. What better way to enjoy a baseball game, than with a beer. How cool is it that we have a Gordon Biersch beer stand at the stadium? So that is all I drink. So I asked him if he wanted a beer. He said sure, and told me to point the way. I asked him what kind of beer he wanted. "Whatever you are having has got to be good". So I ordered up two of my favorites, Marzens. It is my favorite style of beer, and Gordon Biersch makes a good one.

Cut to the chase, he liked it, a lot. He commented on it several times. By the 3rd inning, it was gone. Now I know the guy can drink, but I was impressed, and a little proud. That one beer was enough for him. I could have used a few more though. We played like the Bad News Bears. Honestly, it was the worst game I have every watched. I was so mad. We made a run late, but still lost.

When we got home, he told my mother in law about the beer he had at the game. He told her how much he liked it, and that he really enjoyed it. He then told her that she needs to quit drinking that piss, I mean Michelob Light. I told him if he wanted to try another beer, I had a great one upstairs in my kegerator he might like. He was all for it.

I poured him a half pint of the Avery Russian Imperial Stout. This is a big beer for most people. But he drank it like a man. He commented that it was a little thick for him, but he still enjoyed it. Next time, I am going to pour him a pint of the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. I doubt he will like it, but it just might grow on him.

I sent him home with my normal list of beers he should try. Stone, Rogue, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, and Gordon Biersch. He said he was going to pick some up and give them a try. I think he is going to enjoy them. Who wouldn't?

I think I represented the Beer Snob well. I have converted yet another to our team. Not to pat myself on the back, but when you convert a Red Forman, you did a great job.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Beer Doctor

It's fun to talk about beer. I can have a conversation about beer with just about anyone. In fact, I think I have. Sometimes the conversations are fun, and interesting. Then there are other times where I leave thinking that the other person must think I am a raging alcoholic.

But the other day, I had a conversation about beer with someone I never thought I would. My doctor. Yes, my Dr. Who knows how conversations jump from one topic to the other. It is kinda like the Kevin Bacon game. You know, name an actor, and within 4 movies, you can connect them to a movie with Kevin Bacon.

I think it started with allergies, then medications for allergies on vacation, to my vacation in Munich, to the beer in Germany. See, I did it. It ends up that my Dr. likes beer. Who wouldn't? But for a doctor to talk to you about how much he drinks and the beers he really likes is a first.

He told me that he likes to drink authentic German beers at some little Bavarian restaurant down town. I have heard about that place, but never tried it. He raved about the beer, and the fact that you can get the beer in Liter size mugs. Guess where I am going to dinner?

We talked about beers we really enjoy. He really enjoys the beers of New Belgium. Fat Tire is a beer he drinks on a regular basis. But his favorite is "1554". If I wasn't impressed before, I sure was now. Of all the beers New Belgium brews, 1554 Black Lager is my favorite. We talked about a few other breweries, and some other beers we really enjoy. When he asked for a list of breweries he should try, I mentioned a few of my favorite breweries like, Dogfish Head (of course), Stone, Lost Abbey, and Rogue. Then I told him where he could get them.

How cool is my doctor? I know you are jealous. To top everything off, he told me that he is related to the Widmer Brothers. Well, his dad is. I guess one of them is his cousin. I wounder if it is beyond the Dr.-Patient relationship to offer beer as payment. It's worth a try.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Another BEERFEST, in the books

Saturday was Draft Magazine's Craft Beer Festival. A beerfest for some rare, and special beers. How could I pass an event up like this? I was planning to head up north for the Made in the Shade Beerfest, but I have been there, and done that. Although, I will continue to go there, and do it again, the Craft Beer Festival was going to be different. And the beer didn't disappoint.

How about I just get to the list.

Dogfish Head - Sahtea. I watched the video on the website. I cringed as I watched Sam try to scoop up the molten rocks with a shovel, and drop them in a bucket. All I can say it that I hope OSHA never watches that video. But how was the beer? Good! I liked it. It was a different tasting beer. I tried to label it with a style, but I just couldn't do it. I could taste the berries, which Dogfish Lou told me were Juniper berries. It had a nice mouth feel, and was smooth for a 9% beer. Then again, most Dogfish Head beers are. I really enjoyed it. I am planning on buying a couple bottles. One to drink, and one to age.
Grade: 4 burps

Flying Dog - Woody Creek White. As soon as I saw Flying Dog, I got in line. This was my first taste of their Summer Seasonal. Normally, I am not a big fan of Belgium style beers. However, this one I liked. It was light, and crisp, with a nice citrus flavor. It wasn't over the top like I would have expected. It was just right. Dare I say, a session white?
Grade: 4 burps

Avery Brewing - 15th Anniversary Ale. Wow, how can I describe it? "Funky"? Yes, that is the word, funky. Can I tell you that I didn't like it. Well, lets say that I didn't enjoy it. It had a sour like taste, and a strong one. I'm happy I tried it, but I won't buy it.
Grade: 2 burps

Great Divide - Belgica. A "Belgian Style Indian Pale ale". Ringing in at 7.2 abv, I enjoyed it. It is a different style, and had a bit more of a citrus flavor than I expected. The hops helped to even out the taste. I would say that it is an above average beer that I would drink from time to time. I would recommend that you try it though.
Grade: 3 burps

Lost Abbey - Brandy Angel's Share. Oh my God, I love this beer. The flavor is absolutely amazing. It is 10% abv. but so damn smooth. It must be all that malt and caramel that gets to party in the barrel for a year. This is officially my new favorite beer. But guess what, I can't get it. Nope, it is only available at the brewery. I am so upset about this. How can they tease me like this? So if you happen to be at the brewery, and feel it in your heart to buy a bottle, I will happily accept is as a gift. Hell, I'll pay you for it! Either way, if you can get your hands on it, Buy it!
Grade: 5 burps

Draft put on a good show. The beer was why we were there. But people had to pay $60 to get in. For me, the beer was worth it. However, it was promoted as a beer and food event. Uhmmm, I think I speak for 90% of the people when I say, the "food" just wasn't up to par. Sure, it was some nice, high quality cheese, and bread, and salami. However, I could only eat so many little cheese cubes, and cracker sized pieces of bread. The salami was good, but I had to put 3 slices together so it was no longer transparent. Imagine a see through pepperoni. If you were lucky, you were given 3 pieces to go along with your 6 or 8 cheese cubes.

Basically, the food line sucked! People were upset about it. Everyone thought there was going to be food to eat, not just samples from Hickory Farms. I eat more trying the free samples at Costco. Here we are drinking some serious high abv. beers, and no food....and no water. Yes, there wasn't any water either. I did see a few people who managed to find a glass of water someplace. Some of the breweries brought bottles with them. I watched Dogfish Lou give his own bottle of water to an older woman who obviosly needed it. What a guy.

Overall, it was a great event. I will make sure that I am there again next year. I just hope it isn't on the same day as the other beerfest. I hate missing a beerfest...even for another one.

I do have notes on another 12 beers in my little notebook. I will pick through the important ones and write about them in a day or so.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Is it ok to drink cheap beer, if it is free?

I have mass quantities of beer in my house. That is a normal thing. However, I seem to have amassed even more. After the party last weekend, I keep finding bottles of beer in my fridge, that I didn't buy. How do I know? Because it is beer I wouldn't buy, anymore.

As a "Beer Snob", my craving for new beer is never ending. There is always a new beer on the shelf to buy. A new beer in my fridge to drink. A different beer to write about. However, this is not the case.

My fridge is full of beer that a "newbie" beer drinker would buy in an attempt to move up the Beer Snob ladder. Beers that are to the right of all the Bud, Coors, and Miller dominated shelf space. Beers like Becks, Smithwick's, Guinness, Moose Drool, Samuel Adams, Pyramid, Alaskan, etc.

They knew better than to show up with anything other than something that would qualify as an import, or microbrew. For most of them, this wasn't their first time to one of my parties. For the others, lets just say that they were warned.

I need to clear off some shelf space for the new seasonals. But how can I do that? The only thing I can think of is, drink the beer. Is that wrong? Am I going against everything I believe in? AB owns a few of these breweries now, but I didn't buy it. But is it wrong to drink it? I don't know. I am torn. So far, I have downed the Moose Drool, Sam Adams, Smithwick's, and Alaskan. What do I do with the Becks, St. Paulie, Stella Artois, and Blue Moon. Do I dump them, save them for the next bash, or drink them?

There are a few Dogfish Head left from IV. But don't worry, I am going to enjoy those. In fact, I think I am going to crack one open right now. It might help me make up my mind. Decisions, decisions, decisions.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Damn, I throw a good party!

Has it really been 10 days since my last post? Did I really drink that much? (Yes, I did). I have been shying away from most things beer since the big bash last weekend. I'll tell you a secret. I have had only 2 beers (yes TWO) since that fateful night. That is how good my party was.

This little get together for 40 of my closest friends. After the one we had last Christmas, everyone was excited for this one. It was the place to be. And I think all who remember being here will agree with me. It was a blast!

Since I carry the torch of "Beer Snob", it was vital that I had some great beer on tap. I had to take some time and really think about what the masses would enjoy. I had to consider taste, experience, and ABV. I needed to choose a variety of different styles of beer so people would have a choice, as well as the option to try a really good beer that they might never have chosen on their own. Besides, it give me the opportunity to educate the "Beer Rookies", and the girlyman who brought the Smirnoff Ice.

What did I choose as my means of education?
1. Sierra Nevada - Summer Lager. I wanted a beer that the women would drink. A beer that would be a little on the normal side. This was the first time for 8 or 10 of them, and I wanted to make sure there would be something they would enjoy.

2. Dogfish Head - 90 Minute IPA. Honestly, this one was for me. I was willing to share, but it is mine. I think there were a few pints pulled by some of the fellas. For the most part, they avoided it, and chose keg 1, or 3. What was keg number 3?

3. Avery - Russian Imperial Stout. Yes, that is right. How cool am I that I would hook up a keg of this beer, and let people drink from it for free? It can't be measured. But hey, that's how I roll. It is quite an amazing beer. It was the most popular beer of the night. Even the guy who tried to buy his way into my inner circle by bringing a 6er of Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale, spent the night "enjoying" (aka POUNDING) the Avery.

At first, the ABV of the beers was my little secret. However I realized that there was way too much alcohol in this house, and it was flowing like a river down my stairs. However, by the time I told the guys that the Stout was about 12% alcohol, it was too late. Most just kept on drinking it.

The party was a huge success. The cops didn't show up. But one did throw up in my front yard. At last count, there were 5 guys who were unable to hold on to their alcohol that night. 3 of them didn't even make it to the car. At least they did it in my yard and not my living room.

O ya, I almost forgot. Remember that guy who brought the Dogfish Head, and spent the night trying to become a real life Russian? He spent the night hooked up to an I.V. But all is well. He is fine.

That is the story, and I'm sticking to it.


Friday, June 5, 2009

The Beer Dork

Ok. How can I say this without sounding pretentious, or like a flat out beer snob? I don't think I can.

Hey, beer dork. Shut up. You don't know what the hell you are talking about. You sound like an infomercial for Miller Lite. Are you seriously telling the people sitting with you that "triple hopping" was invented by Miller? Did you just describe the taste of Hops, as "Hoppy"? Yes you did, I heard you. I nearly shot my Stone Arrogant Bastard out of my nose.

What was that little gem you just spewed? Budweiser is the oldest beer in America? Are you serious Cliff Claven? Where are you getting this information? I think you are spending to much time watching the logos and commercials on Nascars. All that turning left must have made you dizzy. I need to ignore you now.

But I can't. All your bull shit is violating my ears. No, you can not tell the beer was made with rice because of the color. No, dark beer isn't made with brown rice. That's it. I am done.

You are just a dumbass. That's it. Nothing more. And it is idiots like you that make real "Beer Snobs" like us, look bad. So how about you actually put down your so-called "micro brew" (aka, Blue Moon) and try a real beer.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My BevMo kegs, almost home

I have been waiting to tell the ongoing story of my dealings with the BevMo. I thought it would have been all finished by now....but it isn't. It is close though. So far, I have picked up 2 of the 3 kegs I ordered. Tomorrow, the last is supposed to be there. As soon as I pick it, and tap it, I will let you guys know what about my "deal".

I will tell you this little tidbit. The Store Manager took it upon himself to order me 2 kegs. Dogfish Head 60 Minute, and 90 Minute. I didn't want to order both of these fine brews. I never got the chance to actually order either one of them, remember. I was going to order the 60 Minute, until I found out 90 Minute was available.

After my initial talks with Alan Johnson, I received a call from the store manager. He informed me that he had ordered my kegs. My Kegs? I didn't know I had ordered any kegs yet. I didn't even know what I was going to order yet. He took it upon himself to order both the 60 and the 90. Ok, I guess I will take them, just to alleviate the problem. I decided I would order a 4th keg so I would still have 3 different styles of beer on tap.

So I drive on over to the BevMo to pick them up. The store manager called to let me know they were in. But guess what, someone messed up. I loaded the first keg into my car. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. Now it was time to load up the 60 Minute. As I am ready to load it into my car, I noticed that the 60 Minute was not 60 Minute. It was actually another 90 Minute. Can you believe that?

Anyways, I am in possession of one 90 Minute IPA keg. Keg number 2 arrived on Tuesday. I picked it up and it is chillin in my kegerator right now. Tomorrow, I will hopefully pick up my 3rd keg. I'm crossing my fingers.