Monday, September 28, 2009

Beercation - part 1

I have been back from my beercation for two weeks now. I got a little sidetracked with Oktoberfest. Who hasn't? So I have yet to write about my beer adventures in the Caribbean. I'm sure the suspense has been killing you. Since I am such a nice guy, and care so much about you, my beer swilling friends, I give you my list.

Beer 1 - Zeigen Bock. I had a 2 hour layover in he Houston airport. So I killed the time in a Buffalo Wild Wings drinking some beer. I asked the bartender for something local, a beer made in Texas. She turned around and looked at all the taps. She replied with "Well, I think Sam Adams is made here in Texas". Uhmmm, she was blond. So I said to her, "You mean Boston Lager is made here in Texas"? She had a look on her face like I asked her to perform a math question. I could tell I was loosing brain cells talking to her, so I asked her for the Zeigen Bock. Big Mistake!

It wasn't good, at all. I made notes right away. This is exactly what I wrote. "Weak, watered down taste, like a homebrew gone bad". "Has a slight chemical taste that I just can't figure out".

So I asked the other bartender about this Zeigen Bock. I asked if it was made in Texas. He told me it was, and that it was made by Shiner. I was really disappointed when he told me that. I think they make much better beers than this.

I later found out, from an informative reader, that it is a beer made by the evil empire. I had been duped! Yes, Anhueser Busch had tricked me. Those bastards!

Beer 2 - Heineken. It sucked! I talked about it a few posts back. It's in the past, and I don't want to think about it ever again.

Beer 3 - Yuengling. Loved it! I talked about it in the same post. It's in the past, and I think about it all the time. I really wish I could get it here.

Beer 4 - Pilsner Urquel. It was the first beer on the boat. It was the safe choice. I needed a beer in the worst way. I shotgunned it once I realized it cost me $4.75 plus a $1.35 gratuity. This was going to be an expensive vacation.

Beer 5-9 - Boston Lager. Yes, from Texas. I spent the first night at sea drinking with my old friend Samuel Adams. It helped drown out the sticker shock from the first one. No need to grade, we all enjoy a beer from the Boston Beer Company.

First city of port, Key West Florida. First stop, Irish Kevin's. This is where the fun began.

Beer 10 - Tucher Belgium Ale. On tap. This was my first time having a Tucher. I enjoyed it. I didn't make any notes about it. I tried to pull out my netbook and blog about it, but as I would realize much later, WiFi is a hard thing to come by. Grade - 3 1/2 Burps

Beer 11 - Murphy's Red. I have seen it before, but never had the chance to enjoy it on tap. Honestly, it was OK. It was just another beer on the list. Grade - 3 Burps

Beer 12 - Banks Caribbean Lager. From my notes, "Actually a good beer, nothing like I expected". "Has a nice malty flavor". Grade - 3 1/2 Burps

As much as I wanted to stay, and drink with our new friends "Team Ship Faced", It was time to leave Irish Kevin's. There was a brewery on the island someplace, and I had to find it.

Next stop, Kelly's Caribbean Bar, Grill, and Brewery. How cool is it to visit "The Country's southern most brewery". I know I was. And I was even more excited to try all their different beers. Imagine my reaction when my new friend Jenny, told me that all they had available was their Wheat. Of course it was. My least favorite style of beer. But I was on vacation, and dammit, I was there to drink, and write about it. So that is what I did. Jenny poured me a pint.

Beer 13 - Southern Clipper Wheat. From my notes, "Hops taste, which blends well with the sweetness of the Heffe style". "A slight sour taste". Grade - 3.5 burps

Jenny, an aspiring brewmaster informed my that they were currently without a brewmaster. She had been asking to help, and learn the skills to no avail. But she was cool enough to take me into a small building around the back. This was their brewery. She pointed out the tanks, the filters, and where they kept their grains. She said I could stay as long as I wanted and take pictures. So I did.

Jenny was cool. And I hope she gets the chance to brew someday.

It was time to move on. After a quick stop at a Bong Store to ask for directions to some bar that supposedly had 10 plus different beers on tap, we found ourselves at Sloppy Joe's. Yani. my new friend from the Czech Republic brought me beer number 14.

Beer 14 - Key West Sunset Ale. From my notes. "A slightly above average ale". "Leans to the hops side". "I could drink it as a session beer". Grade - 3 burps

Yani was awesome. She told me how to say Cheers in Czech. Not sure how to spell it, but I will tell you it is "Naa-Straa-Vee". I spent the rest of the trip saying this. I'm still waiting for my facebook friend request from her.

It was about time to head back to the boat. But I had to stop by Irish Kevin's to get a t-shirt. Imagine my surprise when we run into out old friends, "Team Shipfaced". Yep, they were still there drinking 4 hours later. And they were all wasted when we got there the first time. I want to party with them!

That concludes the island of Key West. What a blast it was. I was actually had a good time, and had plenty of beer. All of which I had never had.

Back on the boat, I proceeded to drink more beer.
Beer 15-20 - Boston Lager. It was the staple of my diet on the boat. My old friend Sam kept me happy. I learned that it was cheaper to buy them in a bucket, 4 at a time. So I would buy my bucket and carry it around with me on the boat. I'm sure I looked like an absolute alcoholic carrying around my bucket of beer. But believe me when I tell you, there was so much more horrifying things to look at. I'll show you later.

The trip continues tomorrow. Until then, Naa-Straa-Vee!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Oktoberfest, Score!

You I know I love Oktoberfest. To bad it is so far away in Munchen, and I am out of vacation time for the rest of the year. Thank God that I can get some great Oktoberfest beer here!

Every September, I start to linger around the BevMo and the Total Wine like a fat guy at the buffet. Then it happens, the Oktoberfest beers hit the shelf! Lucky for me, I was there just in time.

Yes, I scored this year. After dropping $145, this is what I brought home.

1. Flying Dog - Dogtoberfest Marzen. I have to say (and I did last year) that this is my favorite of the Oktoberfest beers. Marzen is my favorite style to begin with. So to label one as my favorite, you know it has to be good! I talk, and gush, and pander to Flying Dog. But you know what, they just kick ass!
Grade: 4 burps

2. Leinenkugel's - Oktoberfest German style Marzen. This is the first year I have tried their Oktoberfest offering. I have had a few of the Leinenkugel's brews a long time ago. They seem to brew some good beers. So I knew that I was going to like this one. It is a nice Marzen beer. I do like it. Although it doesn't do anything to set it aside from the masses. Either way, I'm sure you will enjoy it.
Grade: 3 burps

3. Paulaner - Oktoberfest Marzen. Ahh, a true German Oktoberfest beer. And I love it! This is what makes me proud to be German. You just can't go wrong with it. I have tried and tried to get a keg of this for my kegerator, but it just isn't happening. So I hate to stick with the bottles. A $1,000,000 in $100 bills is the same at $1,000,000 in $20's. It just takes up more space.
Grade: 3 1/2 Burps

4. Boston Brewery - Oktoberfest. I'll tell you a secret. I buy an extra case of this every year and store it in my auxiliary beer fridge. Because you never know when you are going to get that itch to celebrate Oktoberfest in February. So I am sure to have some on hand for such a regular occurrence. But this year, I splurged. I bought a keg of it. I added this beautiful Oktoberfest offering as the 4th keg in my kegerator. I hope it lasts until Halloween. I doubt it, but at least I have that stash in the garage fridge.
Grade: 3 1/2 Burps

5. Erdinger - Weissbrau Oktoberfest Weizen. This is new. An Oktoberfest Weizen. Honestly, it doesn't do it for me. When I think of Oktoberfest, I really don't want something sweet that reminds me of a Belgium Ale. I get it though. Some people really enjoy Heffes. I don't. I guess Erdinger figured that there was the need to make a other than traditional Oktoberfest beer for them. Overall, the beer isn't bad. It's just not an Oktoberfest, and I'm not a fan.
Grade: 2 1/2 burps.

6. Left Hand Brewing Co. - Oktoberfest. I applaud them. They pulled off a really nice tasting Oktoberfest. This is the first time I have had their Marzen. It is a differnet representation of an Oktoberfest Marzen however. But you know what, I like it. It's not my favorite, but it isn't bad.
Grade: 3 burps

I have a few other "seasonals" to try. They stopped short of calling them an "Oktoberfest". But I know what they were trying to acheive. I'll give them a shot this weekend, and let youknow what I think.

So until then, drink up, and celebrate along with the rest of the world. Happy Oktoberfest!


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Oktoberfest is here!

O'zapft! The keg is tapped. Oktoberfest is here. Now lets get dampf.

I love Oktoberfest. The temperature is dropping, and the beer is getting better. Gone are the light lagers and pale ales of summer. Bring on the Marzen. Quite possibly, the best style of beer ever created. And by no coincidence, it was created in Germany, by Germans. And you know whatever Germans make, is superior to everything else.

Everyone in the world knows that. That is why Oktoberfest is the largest festival, in the entire world! I missed it by 2 days, 2 freaking days the last time. But in 2011, I am there!

St. Patricks day is for amateures. Cinco D'Mayo is for pussies. They are Blembe! Oktoberfest is for the real beer dinker. So drink the entire Litre of Beer instead of a Quartl, of the pint or 12oz bottle the other guys do.

PS: Gotta love the Gaudinockerln!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'm back!

I am back from vacation. My much needed, and much enjoyed "Beercation". Aside from not going to work for a week, the best part of a vacation (or beercation), is trying all the new beers. And I tried a lot!

I kept a notebook from the time I left, to the time I got home. It looks like I made 3 pages of notes just about beer. In addition, I took pictures of most of the beers I drank.

Note: People tend to give you funny looks when you take pictures of yourself holding a beer.
Note 2: People give you judgemental looks when you take a picture of a beer.

I hate to leave this post without all the info, but it just isn't ready yet. I am still downloading, and editing the photos. And I am trying to decipher all my notes. I think I will be able to blog just about every night about my beer adventures.

Sorry to tease, but these are my rules.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Day one, not so bad

Day one of my "beercation" is in the books. I don't know exactly what I was expecting. I think a little more excitement. The last couple times I made the trek across the country, it was nothing more than a pit stop on the way to London, or Munich, or some other beer filled European destination.

My first stop was in Houston. Let me start with this, Texas has some good beer. However, I didn't get to try it.

Shiner brews some good beer. I have tried some of them. I wouldn't say they are my favorite, but some are good. I had a 2 hour layover in Houston, on the way to get here (Florida). So I spent that time in a Buffalo Wild wings drinking the only local brew they had on tap. No, "Samuel Adams Boston Lager" is not from Texas, as the young bartender just told me. Yes, she actually said that.

Anyways, I ended up with a brew made by Shiner called Ziegen Bock. Now how can I say this nicely? It was less than good? Honestly, I didn't like it. It was just weak. There wasn't much of a hops, or a malt flavor. The first thing that came to mind was, it is a dirty glass. Then I could taste a slight, almost chemical flavor. It reminded me of a homebrew that didn't go quite right. I was very disappointed.

Shiner - Ziegen Bock Grade: 1 burp

When I got back on the plane, I could help but think about that beer. I wanted to buy a bottle of Shiner Bock and drink it on the plane. But my wife didn't think that would be a good idea. So instead, I busted out a free drink coupon, and bought a round of the best beer the airline had to offer, Heineken. What a mistake!

I should have known better. But I'm on a Beercation, and I need to keep the beers flowing. I'm going to put it out there right now, I am never going to drink another Heineken again. It made me feel a little ill. I forced myself to drink as much as I could, but I couldn't finish it. Good thing, or I think everyone in my row would have been sick after I vomited all over them.

Heineken Grade: BAD!

I hate having the last beer be a bad beer. Just one of my things I guess. But last night ended on a good night. I was finally able to have a good beer. I have had one before, but it was a long, long time ago. So I never had the opportunity to really appreciate it.

Yuengling. Damn it was good. I really liked it. I only wish I knew which one it was. I believe it was their Lager. The sweetness from the caramel malt is what I enjoyed the most. It was a nice, balanced flavor that finished with a slight honey taste. It reminded me of my sweet, sweet, Tennent's (which I don't drink anymore because it is owned by Bud). I only wish I could get Yuengling on the west coast.

Yuengling - Lager Grade: 4 Burps

That was day one. It wasn't what I wanted it to be. But today is another day. And I plan on drinking many, many, many more beers.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

My beer vacation begins, now

After a quick 3 hours of sleep, I am up at the but crack of dawn, getting ready to head to the airport. I am tired, but the excitement of a much needed "beer vacation" (a.k.a. 7 days of non soberness) has me running on adrenaline.

I know I am flying through someplace in Texas. I hope they have some Shiner in there for me to start the day with. I do have free drink coupons for the plane, but I just can't drink a Bud, Corona, or some other cheap beer. Besides, it comes from a can, and they pour it in one of those little plastic cups. It is just vile.

I hope to blog a lot this week. Remember, I'm better when I'm drunk.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Florida Breweries, here I come

I'm heading out on the road. A quick stop off in Texas, then another in Florida on the way to my super, secret destination. So what is a beer guy supposed to do when he visits another city, place, or time? Drink some local beer, with some local people comes to mind.

I have been working on a list of the best places to drink beer in the Key West area. So far, I have found a few that look interesting. I hope to make it to 3 or 4 establishments, and try as many different beers as possible.

WiFi willing, I hope to write reviews and post pictures during, and soon after my visits.

I'm looking for recommendations. If you know of a place I just can't pass up, please let me know by Friday night. If I am lucky enough to make it to one of your favorite spots, I will be sure to give you "props".