Breweries "Visited"

Friday, August 31, 2012

Beer 265: Central Waters Peruvian Morning

It's football eve! How awesome is that??? And the weather forecast is not going to give me heatstroke so I may actually have fun at the first game of the season for a change! Nice.

Today I'm drinking the Peruvian Morning from Central Waters Brewing Company. Interestingly after checking out their website today, I've learned that they issued a voluntary recall for this beer. It seems that some of the bottles have turned and are revealing an off-taste. Lucky for me, my bottle was just fine.

Brewed in Amherst, Wisconsin, the Peruvian Morning is a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. I didn't notice the barrel aged part and managed to pour out all the sediment. It was opaque black with a cocoa color head. It smells of bourbon and roasted things...not necessarily coffee or malt, just roasted organic stuff.

The flavor is rich and chocolate and cola. I'm not necessarily finding the bourbon in the taste but there is definitely a boozy warmth. This is a good beer.

The label states that it's made with freshly roasted Emy J's coffee and has flavors of vanilla, tannins, and coffee that meld together to create a flavor as deep as the ravines of the Peruvian Andes. I would agree with that statement wholeheartedly.


The Calm Before the Tailgate Storm

Beer #265 Le Petite Prince / Jester King Craft Brewery, Austin, TX

Brief update, as it's one of my favorite days of the year - the night before the first home PSU game.  Campus is alive again, the weather is stupendous, and the tailgate should be in full force.  Let's do this, people!

Today's beer is Le Petite Prince, a farmhouse ale from Jester King Craft Brewery.  This beer has a pale yellow color, and the aroma is light and funky.  You get light flavors of lemon, with mild hops and some peppery spice.  Easy drinking, and quite tasty.

Pay no attention to the man on the bottle

This is another example of a great tasting beer with a very reasonable ABV - a meager 2.8%.  Much less than your typical macro lite beer, in fact.  Is the artwork on the bottle a tad bit creepy?  Sure, it's hugely creepy, but don't let that stop you from buying and drinking this beer.  We're visiting Texas later this year, and we intend to stop by and pay this brewery a visit.

Thing to Think About Today:
So, we're down to the final two movies of "college week", and I've obviously saved the best for last.  Today's movie is Revenge of the Nerds - a movie that made me very seriously consider the fact that I probably wanted to join a fraternity in college.

This classic movie is an "us vs. them" tale, as nerds get kicked out of their house when the jock fraternity house burns down after a party.  The nerds realize that they won't be on a level playing field until they join a fraternity and get a seat on something called Greek Council.  When no other fraternity will allow them to start a new chapter... well... because they're nerds, they look to bring a new organization to campus, Lambda Lambda Lambda.  Once they move in, it's war between the jocks and the geeks, culminating in the Greek Carnival, where the Tri Lams eventually find themselves victorious courtesy of their superior intellect.

This movie boasts an incredibly star studded cast, a killer soundtrack highlighted by the Talking Heads, some gratuitous nudity, elaborate pranks, improbably awesome characters, and huge amount of quotable lines.  It's an absolutely amazing movie, and stands the test of time - it's as funny today as it was back when you first watched this film.  Get back into the spirit of college, and check this classic out again soon.

And, just because it's a mind blowing scene and I have this song on my iPod, I present this song:


Thursday, August 30, 2012


Beer #264 Kissmeyer PilNZer / Kissmeyer Beer, Charlottenlund, Denmark

And so, the offseason ends.  Tomorrow, we pack the car and head for State College, and try to resume some level of normalcy, whatever that means.  We typically keep it quiet on Friday, and then set up shop the moment the parking lot opens on Saturday.  It's been a long off-season, and I can not wait for football to resume.

Tonight's beer is another that came on draft at TJ's in Paoli - this one is the Kissmeyer PilNZer from Kissmeyer Beer.  In the glass you see a clear gold color with a thin head, and your nose picks up a light aroma filled with grain.  The taste gives you wheat, but not much in the way of hops, and there's a metallic taste in there as well.  Sort of like drinking a beer with a penny in the glass.  This beer checks in at 5.5% ABV, although it certainly tastes much lighter than that.  Looking for something light, or something from Denmark?  Congrats, you've found your beer.

Hard to get info on this brewery, although it appears the force behind it is Anders Kissmeyer, who has apparently spent time both in Europe and America honing his craft.  Have more info?  Send it my way.

Thing to Think About Today:
One of the highlights of any debauchery filled college career is the road trip.  You and your closest friends decide on an absurd destination, pack up the car, and head off in search of adventure and memories.  One of my favorite road trips from back in the day was the Thursday before PSU played Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1994, when a group of decided that we should road trip out to the game.  No tickets, but we wanted to see our undefeated team march on towards a national championship.  Armed with a vague sense that we could probably sleep at our fraternity's chapter house and a night worth of beer pong, we made the call..  Seemed like a perfect idea, which is why eight of us executed it at midnight on Thursday, arriving in Ann Arbor at about 8am on Friday.  After making lots of new friends on campus that night (read: no we didn't), we ended up running into someone's uncle (or something) on Saturday morning, who let us tailgate with him in his tv-equipped van (a big deal in 1994, mind you) just a few rows back of the stadium.  Also important - free beer all day.  When PSU locked away the win in the fourth quarter, the party was officially on, and every PSU fan leaving the stadium stopped by to celebrate.

Yes, we drove 400 miles through the night to watch a game on a 15" television.  We could hear the plays happen before they scrolled by on our tiny screen.  But that wasn't the point - we were able to live through an adventure, share an experience outside the norm, and come out unscathed on the other side.  That, my friends, is exactly the point of the road trip.

So, your thing to think about today is of course Road Trip, a movie that tells the tale of a college student who treks across the country to see his long-distance girlfriend who attends another school.  Why?  Because he accidentally mailed her a sex tape of him with another girl.  Hey, honest mistake - could happen to anyone.  Hilarity ensues as Josh, played by Breckin Meyer, enlists two friends and a guy with a car to race to her campus before the tape gets delivered.  This movie also features a great soundtrack, featuring Eels and Run-DMC.  The quality of the clip below sucks, but the movie?  Legendary.  It's an appropriate review for tonight, as tomorrow... tomorrow we road trip......

"What else am I going to do - stay here and learn?"

Beer 264: Gaffel Kolsch and a Good Day

Ever have one of those days where you just get shit done? That was me...or I should say is me today. The productivity continues into the evening hours. Dinner is on the table. A new beer is in my glass. I have ideas for this weekend's posts. Two loads of laundry are done. I hung a bulletin board.

Although I just realized the guys haven't been fed. A clue should have been this...

...chasing me every time I moved. Sorry, guys! (He has a tail. It was just wagging too fast for the camera!)

Onto the beer! It's the Gaffel Kolsch from Privatbrauerei Gaffel Becker and Company. That's in Germany if you couldn't guess from the name. This kolsch has an ABV of 4.8%...making it very drinkable. I'm a big fan of the kolsch style, but this one isn't doing it for me.

It poured a bright clear gold with very little head. It smells a little skunk-like. Did I get a bad bottle? It has a nice full mouthfeel but a very bitter taste. Again did my bottle turn? I'm not loving this one.

After writing this, I went to read other reviews. I really think I got a bad bottle. The other reviews note honey, floral hops, grass. Hmmm....I need to start a list of beers to revisit. This may be one of the first.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Alternative to Lite Beer

Beer #263 Guineu Riner, Ca l'Arenys, Valles de Torrella, Spain

Tonight was the last concert in Valley Forge Park for the summer, so a picnic dinner and some beer helped close out the season.  Added in a late night stop at TJ's for some additional blog beers.  Need to keep feeding the beast that is this project!

The beer for the night is one I actually had last week at TJ's, the Guineu Riner, a pale ale from Ca l'Arenys in Spain.  This beer has a light, hazy gold color with a fluffy white head.  The aroma has notes of grapefruit and grass, and the taste has a nice amount of hop bitterness, with some citrus in there as well.  It's very thin and easy drinking, and I think this would be a great, thirst quenching beer on a warm summer day.

One of the things that grabs you about this beer is that it's very flavorful, yet it has a very tiny 2.8% ABV.  You could literally drink this beer all day.  This is what infuriates me about macro brews - people say they want something light, yet don't realize or care they can drink something that doesn't taste like wet cardboard.  People just need to try harder!

Plus, this beer has a fun sleeping fox on their label.  Who doesn't want that?

It's a fox, not a cat.

Thing to Think About Today:
So, clearly my favorite movies about college tend to revolve around some legendary party guy doing epic party things in some absurdly glorious fashion.  This being said, it's also quite possible those are the only movies about college being made, but I guess there could be others.  I wouldn't know.

An underrated selection in this genre (in my opinion) happens to be Van Wilder.  To no one's surprise, this movie is the tale of a college veteran who only remains enrolled so he can... wait for it... throw parties and live the lifestyle.  All well and good during his seven years as an undergrad, until his father pulls the plug on his tuition payment, causing Wilder a bit of a problem.  A reporter from the school newspaper writes an article on Wilder (played by Ryan Reynolds) and his antics, during which our hero tries to woo the reporter (played by Tara Reid back when she was pretty) and steal her away from her boyfriend.  Hilarity ensues, but not before Wilder gets his act together and finally gets himself that diploma in the process.  Hooray!

In an awesome bit of casting, Tim Matheson plays Van Wilder's father - this is important because as you all know, Matheson also played the role of Eric Stratton in Animal House.  Another movie we just might be checking in on in this space.....

Beer 263: Nonsequitor. Winnie the Pooh. Ass Kisser

“What day is it?"
"It's today," squeaked Piglet.
"My favorite day," said Pooh.

Have you ever read A.A. Milne quotes? Especially from Winnie the Pooh? They are remarkably inspirational. I read this one weeks ago and it's been my focus ever since.

Now prepare yourself for a rough transition because I'm switching gears from lovable childhood character to a brewery named Ass Kisser Ales.

I'm drinking the Tight Ass -- a hefeweizen with an ABV of 5.8%. It's brewed in San Jose, California and purports itself to be a clean style wheat beer that has a sense of style of its own. It goes on to claim that it provides clove and citrus aromas with a clean and spicy finish and will push the pain of the day away.


It poured a cloudy straw color with a lumpy white head. My advice is if something is in a style, don't mess with that style. There's probably a reason it's a style and the odds of you improving it are pretty slim. If only I met this beer when it was an idea. The addition of Canadian barley doesn't help. This is a weak example of the style.

My summary: smells of wheat and tastes like grass. I don't taste cloves or any spices other than pepper. I'm having a hard time finding the citrus as well. On a positive note, it looked really good in the glass. Cheers.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Nerd Dorm; Not That Great

Beer #262 Layover in Berlin / Cabinet Artisanal Brewhouse, Alexandria, VA

Disappointing day today, as we lost in the Final Four of the summer league.  Yet another year will go by without cutting down the net.  No shame in the loss, as we took the #1 seed to overtime, but couldn't close the deal.  I play in other leagues during the fall and spring, but something about the work league just makes it far more interesting.  Bragging rights, I suppose.  Next year, we win it all... I promise.

Tonight's beer is the Layover in Berlin from Cabinet Artisanal Brewhouse, the house brewery for The Farmers' Cabinet.  Previously, the only served their beers in the restaurant, but they've recently started shipping to other bars in the Philly area, which makes them a viable candidate for review on this blog.  This Berliner weisse was a hazy yellow color with a thin white head, and your nose picks up a tart, funky aroma with a touch of grapes.  The taste is dry with lemon, and a nice earthy funkiness and hints of green apple.  Really nicely done, and I can't wait to get back for another.

Oh hai!

Thing to Think About Today:
As we keep rolling through the list of best college movies ever, I need to highlight a movie that is at once thrilling and disappointing - Real Genius, starring Val Kilmer.  It's the hilarious tale of Mitch, an uber-genius who graduates high school early to enroll in prestigious college honors program.  He ends up sharing a room with Chris, the resident genius in the program whose knowledge of science is only surpassed by his ability to party and to not take school seriously.  Their project, a super laser, gets used without their knowledge by the military, so the geek and the party guy team up with their other nerd friends to get back at the professor in charge of the program and his lackey grad student.  Hilarity ensues.

So why is this great movie disappointing?  Because I lived in the nerd dorm (Atherton Hall) my freshman year courtesy of my enrollment in the University Scholars (now Schreyer Honors College) program.  Thanks to Real Genius, I thought it was going to be this awesome place with crazy pranks, high-tech hi-jinx, and braniacs who knew how to party just as hard as they hit the books.  Wrong, wrong, and WAY wrong.  The only things that happened in my dorm were people practicing the clarinet and/or playing Magic the Gathering in the tv room, or yelling at me to keep the noise down because they had to study..... on a Friday.  No reassembling a car in someone's room, no freezing the hallway with liquid nitrogen for a winter carnival, no hot tub in the laundry room.  NOTHING.  Thanks for completely skewing my expectations of the fun you can have in the nerd dorm, Val Kilmer.  You too, guy who played Lazlo and lived in the steam tunnels under the building.

Anyway, if you haven't seen it lately, it still holds up as a pretty awesome movie about college - some of Kilmer's finest work, no doubt.

And just because it's a classic scene from the movie, let's check in on Jesus' visit to Kent:

"This is JESUS, Kent, and you've been a very naughty boy...."

Beer 262: Geary's Pale Ale

So we have a new roof and new siding. We finally replaced the old, beat up bathroom window. And yet every time I come home, I want to barf on my front door. Partly because it couldn't look any worse than it does now but mostly because it looks like hell compared to all the shiny and new stuff. Where are those goddamn house fairies? This front door isn't going to paint itself! And now it's football season and I really need those fairies to come take care of things because my schedule is about to get hectic. Word to the wise...condo association!

Although if I were to get my act together and paint that door myself, I would definitely want a D.L. Geary's pale ale while I'm doing it. This is another one of those beers for that other Portland...Portland, Maine.

It poured amber with a light tan head of medium consistency that left significant lacing behind. The smell was sweet and floral with some caramel. It has a slight piney and floral hop flavor. There's also just a little wheat.

The pale ale would make a great summertime or picnic beer. Or even outside project beer! Perhaps it's just their marketing but I could totally taste this going well with lobster. I could picture it now...a little seafood shack on the coast of Maine...perfect bread, buttery delicious fresh lobster and a Geary's pale ale.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Beer 261: Pike Brewing Scotch Ale

I caught the Counting Crows' Rain King on my way home tonight. Maybe it's the weather, which is currently perfect. Or maybe it's the anticipation of the first home game of Penn State's new season. But there is something in the air and it's giving me some wanderlust. But not wanderlust for a particular place but rather a time. I want to go back to 1996 or 1997 when I could sit on the patio at the Cafe and people watch on Friday afternoon, and when happy hour rolled around, order a tea and go dance like a fool in front of John Cunningham.

I absolutely love to hear JC perform Rain King. It's slightly sad, but hopeful. What I wouldn't give to be in that dark back room, drink in hand and to have the chance to throw my head back and sing along, wildly off key without a care in this world. I guess my singalong in the car will have to suffice in washing away the serious, grown up things that have piled up since the last time I sung off key at the Cafe. The mortgages and car payments. The cancer and death and dying. The celebrations. Addiction and depression. Marriage, divorce and love the second time around.

Life is complex and simple all at the same time. Every time you think you have it figured out, it gets more mysterious. And just when you've had enough, it sorts itself out and clarity is yours. Just like that...

I haven't a clue how to segue into a beer review.

Pike Brewing Company's Kilt Lifter scotch ale is my beer of the night. Pike is based in Seattle and we walked right by when we were there in June. If we weren't running through a typical Seattle rain storm, we definitely would have stopped in. But an oyster happy hour was calling our names.

The Kilt Lifter poured a cloudy chestnut color. It smells of lemons and raisins. It drinks with lots of body. The flavor had lots of malt with just enough hop bite and what I could only describe as chamomile. After about half the glass I also swore I tasted some smoky mesquite...odd. This is a good beer.

I belong in the service of the queen. I belong anywhere but in between.


Political Correctness!

Beer #261 Grimbergen Blonde / Brouwerij Alken-Maes, Alken, Belgium

Today, it began in earnest: tailgate planning!  During the week of a PSU home game, it's a Monday tradition to kick around some emails with our core tailgate squad to discuss menu, weather, signature drinks, beer needs, and whatever else needs to be planned out.  We leave nothing to chance out there - redundancies abound as we double down on key items to make sure the tailgate doesn't come to a screeching halt.  It's my favorite part of game week, with the exception of actually rolling into State College to get the party started.  Good Monday, indeed, and the week should continue getting better.

To celebrate, tonight's beer is the Grimbergen from Brouwerij Alken-Maes.  In the glass, you get a hazy gold color with a thin, lingering head.  The aroma is light and sweet, with some notes of grain.  The taste is really quite good, with flavors of candi sugar, malt, honey, a bit of spice, and grain.  It's easy drinking, but flavorful. Nice find, and I'd certainly order another one.
Got through half the beer before I remembered to snap a pic

Alken-Maes came about from the merger of two Belgian breweries in 1988, although the brand Grimbergen actually seems to come from another brewery, Union, that Maes purchased along the way.  The entire conglomerate is now owned by a joint partnership of Heineken and Carslburg.  Welcome, corporate overlords!

Thing to Think About Today:
From yesterday's classic look at college in the 80's, we'll switch gears and take a look at college in the 90's, courtesy of a little film called PCU.  In this epic tale, a high school senior comes to a campus where political correctness has run amok, and he finds himself spending his time with the residents of The Pit, a former fraternity house now occupied by a band of misfits, led by the always awesome Jeremy Piven.

Along the way, said bright eyed high school kid manages to irritate nearly every student group on campus, which causes some small problems and threatens his safety.  Along the way, Piven, a young Jon Favreau, and rest of the stoners, drunks, and geeks at The Pit stand to lose their house to a group of snobbish elitists (read: Beta brothers) who used to call the house their home.... unless Piven and his crew can throw a legendary party to bring the campus together again.  For people who didn't go to college in the 90's, yes - this is how people used to dress.  Boots, flannel, ripped things, thermal shirts.  It was a sad time for fashion. But, don't let that stop you from realizing this is a great movie about college!

"Hey hey, ho ho, this penis party has got to GO!"

Sunday, August 26, 2012

College Week is Here!

Beer #260 Straffe Hendrick Brugse Tripel 9° / Huisbrouwerij de Halve Maan, Brugge, Belgium

I'm multi-tasking tonight, as I'm in the midst of writing a post and participating in a fantasy football draft.  Fantasy football is a great way to stay engaged with games I'd otherwise not pay attention to, but really it's an opportunity for a group of fraternity brothers make fun of each other.  Non-stop.  This being said, I love it and wouldn't have it any other way.  Appropriate, I'm spending the evening (virtually speaking) with college friends, as students were returning back to campus all over the country this weekend.  The fall semester is upon us, people.  This time of year always makes me nostalgic, and I'm eagerly looking forward to getting back on campus this Saturday.

Tonight's draft is being washed down some Straffe Hendrick, from de Halve Maan.  It pours with an amber color and fluffy white head, and gives off aromas of fruit and yeast, with some sweetness.  When you take a sip, you're greeted with apples, sweet malt, caramel, and honey.  Really nice Belgian beer, and I think this brewery is one we might visit on our bicycle tour of Belgium next summer.

Don't draft a kicker too soon!
This brewery dates back to 1856.  It feels like my fantasy football draft started around the same time.

Thing to Think About Today:
All this week, I'll be running down the top seven movies about college.  I'm not going to lie - many of these formed the expectations for how college life would be during my formative years.  Okay, so real life didn't always live up to these expectations... but sometimes it did, and it was glorious.

We'll start off the week with Back to School, starring the legendary Rodney Dangerfield.  Dangerfield plays Thornton Mellon, a rough around the edges businessman who never went to college, but decides to enroll when his son has questions about whether to attend college or not.  Dangerfield immediately becomes Big Man on Campus, throwing huge parties and even joining the diving team long enough to drop his patented 'Triple Lindy' on the fans.  But what happens when he actually has to.... learn?  Regardless of whether you've seen this one before or if it's new to you, please make it a point to check this one out soon.

Beer 260: Raven Special Lager

I've had a headache for two days. My legs were useless on my ride today. Instead of enjoying this glorious Sunday, I'm hiding in the dark. Today is decidedly not Sunday Funday.

I'm dipping into my reserve of reviews and giving you my thoughts on Baltimore Washington Beer Works Raven Special Lager. Check out this beer's story at the brewer's website. Who knew a beer with all those Baltimore references actually started in Germany! (Not included in this photo is a shot of the cap which had an image of Edgar Allan Poe.)

Raven Special Lager is billed as a Euro pale lager. It poured a deep golden straw color with a bubbly white head. It smells like beer which is what I write every time I smell a lager. It has a thin mouthfeel. The flavor is lemony hops and malt. Well balanced. It does seem a bit watery but I think it's still a good beer. And at 5.5% ABV, it's a solid tailgate candidate.

Of course, I couldn't let a post referencing Baltimore go by without a Wire mention. Yo, Omar's coming. And I'm going to get myself a beer. Cheers!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Beer, Grunge, and Beer.

Beer #259 Kilt Lifter / Pike Brewing Company, Seattle, WA

Busy but good Saturday in the books.  Got out on the bike for another long ( and this time faster) ride down the Schuykill River Trail, ran some errands, and had a small, small group of friends over to drink some of the plethora of beer accumulated in our fridge.  You see, sometimes we find single bottles of beer we want/need,  but sometimes we buy six-packs or receive beer gifts from friends.  All of which have been accumulating in the fridge for some time, so we figured we were due to liquidate some inventory.  Plus, with tailgate season just around the corner, we're now overstocked with good beer for game day.  We used to bring up what we called the "VIP cooler," which contained craft beer we weren't willing to share with the masses.  This year?  It might all be VIP.  Have I mentioned that football is now just six days away?  Not that I'm counting.

Speaking of beer, tonight's beer is the Kilt Lifter from Pike Brewing out of Seattle.  During our vacation to the West Coast, we actually walked right past Pike's outpost downtown, but couldn't stop as we were on our way to a dinner reservation elsewhere.  Thankfully, they distribute to the East Coast, thus solving that problem.  In the glass, the beer is a hazy auburn color, with  fluffy white head.  There are aromas of sweet malt and citrus, and you pick up flavors of malt, toffee, tea, and lemon.  Nice beer if you're in the mood for something with a good malt backbone.

No kilts were harmed in the making of this photo

Great brewery history here - Pike was founded by Charles Finkel, who was exposed to European beer and found himself in the wine distribution business through the 1960's.  He started contracting other breweries (there were only 40 in America at the time) to produce beer to his standards in the 1970's.  After being one of the first people to import Belgian beers into the U.S., Finkel and his wife ultimately started the Pike Brewery in 1989, just around the corner from the famous Pike Place Market.

Famous Pike Place Market sign

Thing to Think About Today:
Like it or not, a fair amount of my time in college was spent during the Grunge era.  The music was great, the fashion.... well I'm sure lots of people still wear thermal shirts, flannel, and baseball hats everywhere they go.  Of course, they might be homeless people.  However, one bright spot in all of those layers of ripped jeans and thermals was this incredibly happy song from the Flaming Lips.  I defy you to listen to She Don't Use Jelly and not sing along with a smile, regardless of whether or not you went to college in the 90's.

Did you know the Flaming Lips once appeared on Beverly Hills 90210?  I do.  Because I did in fact go to college in the 90's.

Beer 259: Mendocino Eye of the Hawk

My time management skills are terrible, but Gary's are even worse. Who will arrive first? Friends for our barbecue or Gary with groceries for said barbecue.  At least the beer is already here!

Today I'm reviewing Mendocino Brewing Company's Eye of the Hawk.  It part of their Select Collection and for whatever reason, they're all named with hawk in the title.  The label tells me this beer is a premium American classic from a pioneer brewing legend.  Having started brewing in 1983, they have a pretty decent run in the world of craft brewing and I'll give them legend status.

The Eye of the Hawk -- an American style strong ale at 8% ABV -- poured a deep amber with a thin white head.  It smells a little nutty and of malts.  The flavor is mellow hops and malty roundness.  Kind of a nondescript beer flavor but crisp and satisfying.

Cheers! Now go pray the rain holds off...I want to do some outdoor drinking today!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Once, There Was this Boy Who....

Beer #258 St-Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale / Brasserie McAuslan, Montreal, Canada

It's Friday and I was in a conference room for the entire day, so I'll dispense with the silliness and get down to business.  Tonight's beer is a great summer time choice, the St-Ambroise from Brasserie McAuslan in Quebec.  This beer shows off a clear golden color, with aromas of apricot and summer time.  It has a clean taste, with clear notes of real apricot flavor.  One of the risks with fruit beers is that overly-artificial flavor, but you're safe here.  Very real, and quite nice on a nice summer night.  Find it?  Drink it.


In case you're wondering about the beer name, this brewery is located on St. Ambroise street in Montreal, Quebec, and has been brewing craft beer since 1989.  Now you know.

Thing to Think About Today:
Students are returning back to college campuses this weekend, which always makes me think fondly back to my annual arrival in State College for another semester of class.  Let's go ahead and weave Canada into this post along with some memories of freshman year.  Obviously, I'm talking about the Crash Test Dummies here.  These guys were one hit wonders with their smash (?) hit Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm.  Maybe not the most popular song from freshman year, but the lead singer of this band was the long lost twin brother of the RA on my dorm floor freshman year.  So much so, that we dubbed him "Dan Test Dummies" for his totally 90's straight, grunge-y, long hairdo.  Dan Test Dummies was okay in my book, as he completely looked the other way when he would walk into our room and see us doing something absolutely, positively against dorm policies, such as our floor to ceiling stack of beer cases (the spoils of war from a raid on a rival fraternity's basement) or the perpetually in the mini-fridge pitcher of Great Bluedini flavor Kool-Aid and whatever hard liquor we could score.  Dan Test Dummies was good like that, but that might be because he was stoned pretty much around the clock.  Here's to all dorm RA's being good people, and here's good luck to the incoming freshman.  You might need it.  And if anyone can find me a packet of Great Bluedini, I'll bring the Vladimir brand vodka.  Just like the old days...

"His.. hair.. had turned from black into bright white..."

Beer 258: McAuslan St-Ambroise Apricot Wheat

Oh noez! I forgot.

A perfect day like today calls for a summertime beer. I think Brasserie McAuslan's St-Ambroise Apricot Wheat fits that bill nicely.  It poured a golden straw color with a thin white head. The aroma is sweet fruit and orangey apricot. The flavor is sweet apricot and wheat. There's also a lot of peach flavor as well. It has lots of refreshing carbonation and all that fruit is well balanced by a nice wheat tang. I really liked this beer.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Eyes Have It

Beer #257 Eye of the Hawk / Mendocino Brewing Company, Ukiah, CA

Feeling much better about the world today, thanks for asking.  Sorry for being grumpy yesterday - I know you all have challenges in your life, and you click on this website for mirth and merriment.  I'll double down on mirth and merriment over the next few days to make it up to you.  Thanks for sticking around.

On the heels of a big summer league win tonight, we're through the Elite Eight and onto the Final Four next week.  Should be intense.  I've been playing in this league for longer than I care to admit out loud, and have never had the pleasure of cutting down the nets.  As a company, we need to quit hiring 22 year olds - that would greatly even my odds.  The beer to celebrate tonight's win is the Eye of the Hawk from Mendocino Brewing.   It has a nice amber color with a dissipating white head and an aroma of malt and plums.  The flavor is rich, with sweet notes of toffee, malt dark fruits, and (maybe it was just me) but a hint of citrus in there as well.  It's potent at 8% ABV, but it's not too heavy to drink - quite nice, indeed.  In my notes I described it as a "Belgian Quad, Jr."  If you find it, drink it.

If you move, it's like the hawk eye follows you.  

Mendocino has been brewing craft beers in California since 1983.  We didn't get to visit or drink Mendocino during our West Coast trip, so I'm very glad I was able to find some here on the East Coast.

Thing to Think About Today:
Yes, the beer is tasty, yes, "hawk eyed" is a well known phrase, but if we're sitting in the suburbs of Philly and drinking an "Eye of..." beer, I need to put on some theme music for one of this city's favorite sons, Rocky Balboa.  For those of you who don't live in Philadelphia, there's a statue of Rocky, oddly placed outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art, near the steps where Rocky famously ran up.  This being said, tourists in Philly run up all sorts of stairs, jutting their arms into the air in mock victory at the top, regardless of whether they're at the Art Museum or not.  Enough talking, it's time for you to get the Eye of the Tiger, courtesy of Rocky III.

Beer 257: Invercargill Boysenberry and the Wall

I hit the wall at about 4:15pm today and I'm not sure how I'm going to pull it together and make it through another day tomorrow. I knew it was all over for the day when I shouted, "I wield all the power!"  At least I have friends, beer and barbecue waiting for me on Saturday as a reward for acting like a productive member of society on Friday.

I write about beer and friends this Saturday as if that's not how I would have described last Saturday or the Sunday before that.  I have a lifestyle.  It revolves around beer.

I have two more reviews left from last weekend's beer bonanza but one of them is being saved for a special occasion in November.  (Hopefully you'll have stuck with me for that payoff!)  I discovered the Invercargill Brewery's Pitch Black Boysenberry Stout thanks to The Farmer's Cabinet.  It's brewed in New Zealand with a 6.5% ABV and great fruit flavor, this beer was very easy to drink. It poured a red-tinged chocolate brown color with a slightly pink head. At least I thought I saw pink under the candlelight of The Farmer's Cabinet.  It smelled like figs, but the flavor was red berries, chocolate and roasted coffee.  It's flavorful but dry.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Quoth the Raven...F$&K

Beer #256 The Raven / Baltimore-Washington Brew Works, Baltimore, MD

Today sucked and I'm not getting into the details.  Moving right along, nothing to see here.

I'm drinking The Raven from Baltimore-Washington Brew Works.  It pours with a bubbly copper color and a lingering white head.  The aroma is light, with some sweetness, and there's a nice flavor of barley, and grain, with a bit of sweetness from the malt.  In all, if you're looking for a lager, this is a nice choice and worth a sample.

The label isn't quite glued on right, but the beer was good.

This beer got its start overseas in Germany, where it was first brewed.  Production moved to Baltimore in 1998.  Obviously, this beer is named in honor of legendary author Edgar Allen Poe, one of Baltimore's most famous residents. But let's keep it real, Baltimore - Poe also lived in Philadelphia, and you can still visit his former home on Spring Garden Street.  While Baltimore does happen to be where he wrote The Raven, it's also where he..... married his 13 year old cousin.  Just saying.

Thing to Think About Today:
Yeah, I could put some of Poe's work in here, as it's obviously legendary for a reason.  Instead, if it's another Baltimore beer, it's another clip of the greatest show ever to grace a television screen, The Wire.  Let's go with possibly the greatest scene from this show, where McNulty and Bunk re-examine an old crime scene, and use a rather limited vocabulary in the process.  I hereby announce this video not safe for work, unless your employer loves profanity.  So watch it at home, people.

Beer 256: Guineu Riner and Kitten Mittens

Confession time: I hate promoted tweets on Twitter.  For whatever reason...mostly because I'm a child...I started replying to them with a quote from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  It's inappropriate and immature and eventually I imagine someone will get wise to me and I'll get banned from Twitter.  Can that happen?

Anyway imagine my delight when I got this reply earlier today:

Holy hell, someone has a sense of humor! So as I sit here giggling, I also do so with the knowledge that there are other lunatics out there with access to Twitter.  Thanks Ring Central Care. I needed that laugh!


Today's beer comes to me via Barcelona, Spain and TJ's in Paoli (PA).  Brewed by Ca L'Arenys, the Guineu Riner is a pale ale weighing in at a very respectable 2.8% ABV. Yes, that ABV is correct.  Despite the very low alcohol content, this beer packs a lot of flavor.  It pours a bright gold color with a full white head.  It has a very hop forward aroma.  The flavor is very perfumed, very strong on hops.  There are citrus pith notes along with bitter grass.  I also noticed some white grape underlying it all.

The brewers calls it a half pale ale.  I call it delicious.  It has a distinct tartness but is also incredibly smooth.  Like TJ's tweeted today, get it before it's gone!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Already Looking Ahead...

Beer # 255 Helles Lager / Fordham Brewing Company, Dover, DE

We're just shy of 70% of the way through our beer adventure, and still trucking along.  I'm already gearing up for next week, as it's going to be a banner week - if you don't follow along every day (and you should, but whatever), make sure to check back in starting on Sunday.  Why?  Because I'm firing up "back to school" week here in my corner of BlogNamedBrew.  No, I won't be drinking any beers which are/were popular with the beer pong set, although more power to anyone who can knock back a case or two of Golden Anniversary or Mil's Best Ice and still function the next day.  Instead, you loyal readers will get plenty of other excitement, culminating with the home football opener for Penn State next Saturday.

For those who don't know me in real life, I live for football season.  I've been going to PSU games since I was about seven years old, and tailgating is embedded deeply into the fiber of my DNA.  While it's been an absurdly challenging off-season for Nittany Lion fans around the world, I feel that getting back out in our parking spot, firing up the grill, and enjoying a few (read: many) beers with friends will bring back a world of normalcy.  Looking forward to it, if you couldn't figure that one out.

Enough looking ahead, let's stop and focus on today.  After a busy day, it's nice to come home and relax with a beer.  Today's offering is the Helles Lager from Fordham Brewing from our neighbor to the south (and home to Total Wine!), Delaware.  In the glass you see a crystal clear golden color, with plenty of bubbles.  There are aromas of grain and malt, and flavors of grain, crackers, and a touch of hops.  There are some hints of sweetness in there, too.  Very easy drinking with a clean finish, and at 5.4% ABV this beer should definitely be on your list for tailgates or picnics.

There was originally a Fordham brewery in Annapolis back in the early 1700's, although there's no direct tie to the current edition, which opened in 1995 in Annapolis and later moved to Dover.  Their logo seems to be a peacock, although no word on the website if there's any significant level of significance attached.  Hey, who doesn't love a peacock, am I right?

Thing to Think About Today:
This song was going to be the thing to think about yesterday, in the spirit of my car needing a state inspection.  However, the iPod and fate intervened for some Afternoon Delight, and instead you get the thing to think about yesterday to think about today.  But there's still a connection.  Ford(ham)... Ford cars... cars.... My Hooptie.  See what I did there?  Yeah, or not.  Sir Mix A Lot, go get 'em.

Beer 255: Three for Threesday...I mean Tuesday

I'm inadvertently celebrating a Two fer Tuesday Three for Threesday...I mean Tuesday. Sadly the beer beers I had planned to review turned out to be too directly related to the Grimbergen Pale Ale -- and Leipziger Gose that I reviewed a mere 11 beers ago and months ago.  Rats, I say! Rats!

The beer originally planned for today was the Mort Subite Kriek Lambic.  This was one of the beverages enjoyed at SourFest at Devil's Den on Saturday.  While decidedly not sour, this lambic was sweet and tart. Depending on who you asked at our table, the tartness varied greatly. Also interesting is that the fact that I tasted more strawberry in the flavor than cherry.  It poured a pretty rosy brown color with a barely pink but sticky head. It was tasty but I can't imagine drinking more than one.

The Mort Subite Kriek was followed by the Bayerischer Bahnhof Leipziger -- a Baltic porter with Brettanomyces.  Of the porters, Baltic porters are my favorite. I love beers with Brettanomyces. The description of this one sounded oddly like Jolly Pumpkin's Madrugada Obscura. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

It's brewed in Germany at Gasthaus & Gosebrauerei Bayerischer Bahnhof. It appeared to be a very dark brown, almost black in the glass with a thick craggy head.  It smelled like dark fruit. No earthy funk in the nose.  The flavor was roasted and slightly smoky. At first the tartness wasn't there for me but as it sat I noticed more tartness coming out along with some strong hops.

Pardon the profanity laced interruption. MOTHERFUCKER. I ALREADY DRANK THIS GODDAMNED BREWERY IN FEBRUARY. How does my beer addled brain not pick up on any recollection of that bizarre, impossible to pronounce name??? I EVEN MADE FUN OF IT BACK IN FEBRUARY.  SHIT. Damn. Poop. Hell.

I may actually cry.


Seriously this is the last review I'm writing tonight. If I find out that I already reviewed Fordham Brewing, you will never know. NEVER.  Fordham is brewed in Dover, Delaware but claims heritage dating to 1703 in Annapolis, Maryland.  It appears that the brewery was founded way back in 1703, operated for years and was shuttered for a number of years until an enterprising group of brewers reopened it in 1995.  The Helles Lager poured a golden straw color with no head.  It had medium carbonation. It smelled of sweet caramel malt and grains. The taste is very malt dominant but clean and crisp. It has a nice hopped finish with a taste of biscuits every now and again. It's quite easy to drink.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Sour, But Delightful

Beer #254 Tart of Darkness / The Bruery, Placentia, CA

Great day today, as I took a vacation day instead of going to work.  Managed to run some errands, get my car inspected (thanks, Berger Family Dealership!), make another batch of homemade pickles, and just take a breather from work in general.  Ended this day with an opening round win in the summer league playoffs, so I'm feeling pretty good right now.  I can't stop sweating, but I imagine that should eventually subside.  Right?

Another beer from the Sour Fest is your beer of the day: the Tart of Darkness from The Bruery.  It has a pitch black color, and a thin tan head.  I picked up aromas of plum and roasted malt, and flavors of sour cherry, roasted malts, and earthy dark fruits.  Very tart and delicious.  As readers of this blog may recall, I really don't drink many stouts or porters, but I can definitively say I'm always game for a sour stout, and this one was incredibly well done.  It reminded me a bit of Jolly Pumpkin's sour stout, the Madrugada Obscura, which Marci has previously reviewed.

The best kind of stout = sour stout
The Bruery cranks out some really enjoyable and unique beers, but every time I hear or see their name, I immediately think back to The Brewery, a legendary basement bar in State College (read: dark cave with sketchy bathrooms).  Many, many, many of my Tuesday evenings in college were spent in said cave for Pitcher Wars, where $1.75 got you a giant pitcher of any beer on tap, including my go-to option, Yuengling Lager.  You also got a mason jar to drink out of, although seeing people just drink from the pitcher as they rocked out to whatever band was playing was just as common.  Now, if they start serving beer from The Bruery on tap there, I'll gladly make a re-appearance next time I'm in town.

Two State College bar scene references in back to back posts?  Must be getting close to football season...

The Thing to Think About Today:
Sometimes the iPod goes above and beyond in its random selection of shuffled music.  Like today, when I was in the midst of having the day off, driving home from Hazleton, and heard a song about... a blissful way to spend your afternoon.  Yes, I'm talking about Afternoon Delight by the Starland Vocal Band!  Okay, so the lyrics are describing a more... ahem, shall we say... pleasurable way to spend the afternoon with your loved one than running errands.  Regardless, it's a great song for a sunny afternoon not spent at work.

"My motto's always been: when it's right it's right / Why wait until the middle of the cold dark night?"

Beer 254: Cantillon Gueuze

I have not been kind to myself these past few days and it's catching up to me.  SourFest, extra spicy pad Thai, three courses of Creole deliciousness, every pickled vegetable known to mankind, chili for lunch and chili for dinner.  That sums up what I've consumed in the past three days. Perhaps it's not my allergies making my eyes itch like crazy...they just may be melting from the inside out from all the spiciness.  Tomorrow I swear I'm eating nothing but iceberg lettuce.

Saturday's SourFest kicked off with a Cantillon Gueuze. This is the holy grail of gueuzes. Check out the process to come up with a finished product here. That is a whole lot of care and craft and you can taste it in every sip!  The Cantillon Gueuze poured a bright beautiful gold color with a white head that settled down rather quickly.  It had a smell that was earth and minerals.  The taste was dry with lemon tartness.  There's mineral notes and some additional tart a very green apple. It's very light to drink and the carbonation is perfection -- bubbly but not aggressive.

This is the standard bearer for the genre. Cheers!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Day I Made a Friend

Beer #253 Cantillon Gueuze / Brasserie Cantillon, Brussels, Belgium

I woke up early, and couldn't get back to sleep this morning, so I did what any other sane person would do at 5:30am - laced up the Sauconys and went out for a long run.  It felt like a fall morning out there; crisp, cool, with a little breeze and (once the sun came up) beautiful blue skies.  I did stop staring at the sunrise long enough to notice a cat chasing me.  Not a stray dog, not a paperboy out on his route, a cat.  Eventually, I stopped to see what was going on, because I've never been chased by a cat before and I wasn't sure what to do.  The whole episode struck me as unusual.  Once he caught up (it didn't take long, I don't run very fast) he casually did that thing cats do where they figure eight around your legs, rub themselves on your shins, and purr a lot.  We sat for a few minutes on the curb, with me scratching his head, as though everyone who came by had to pay a toll before moving on.  Eventually, he found something else to distract him in another yard and moved on to his next morning activity.  But for a moment, we were the only living creatures out in the world, enjoying a beautiful morning and welcoming the sunrise together.  Felt kind of nice.  Wish I brought my phone to snap some pics.

Saturday was a huge success, as we managed to cross a good number of beers and breweries off the list courtesy of the amazing beer lists at Devil's Den and The Farmers' Cabinet.  Even if you're not a ridiculous beer geek, if you're in the city of Brotherly Love and want some fantastic beer options, either place is guaranteed to have something you like.

When we reviewed the list of beers from our West Coast vacation, I conscientiously saved the best ones for last.  For yesterday's adventure, I'm reversing that and starting with one the best beers I had all day, the Cantillon Gueuze.  This beer is referred to as "the champagne of Belgium," not so much because the taste resembles champagne, but more so for the status of champagne being a superior beverage.  In the glass, this gueuze has a clear, effervescent color and a thin white head.  Your nose is greeted with a tart, funky aroma, and when you take a sip you instantly get tart and sour.  There are flavors of lemon, grass, and green apple, with a very dry finish.  Just amazing.  Definitely one of the best beers I've had all year, and it is definitely moving to my Top 25.

That's nice....

Cantillon was started in 1900 by Paul Cantillon, and the operation has continued relatively unchanged since then, with the exception of switching to organic ingredients in 1999.  The next time you hear a macro-brewery cite "fresher beer tastes better" in their ad campaign, you can go ahead and laugh out loud at them - a bottle of Cantillon can be aged for over 20 years.  Shitty beer tastes better fresh, perhaps.

Thing to Think About Today:
In the spirit of my new friend, Sunrise Cat, I hereby close out today's post with Morning Sky by Dan Fogelberg.  Can't even begin to pretend I'm a big Fogelberg fan, but this song was always in the rotation when John Cunningham would play his acoustic sets in various bars around State College.  I am, as is everyone who graduated from Penn State from 1990 - 2002 or so, a huge John Cunningham fan, and because I can't find any JC videos on Youtube, you get the original:

Beer 253: Cabinet Brewers' Layover in Berlin

Sourfest at Devil's Den rolled right into late afternoon/early evening beers at The Farmers' Cabinet. It was at The Farmers Cabinet that I found today's beer. Brewed by their own brewers at Cabinet Artisinal Brewhouse in the burbs of Washington, D.C., the Layover in Berlin was delightful and well worth a trip into Philadelphia to experience.

First I will apologize for this photo, but I was about four beers -- four strong beers -- in and picture taking always suffers at that point.

The color was a hazy gold and it had a minimal white head. The smell was sweet and funky. The flavor is amazing...lime and brine with farmhouse yeasty funk, wheat. It was satisfying but refreshing. Crisp and clean but with a lingering acidity. Honestly it was the perfect beer to follow all the bigger, bolder and tarter beers that I had earlier in the day. But those are another story for another day!

In case you were curious, Cabinet Artisanal Brewhouse is a tiny operation and is currently only supplying The Farmers' Cabinet. They brew beer utilizing a unique strain of saison yeast and rely on nature and the elements. They have no control over fermentation temperature and brew seasonally, in a more natural setting, creating interesting challenges and ultimately more unique ales of distinction. They also do some barrel aging and have quite a few interesting ones in the pipeline right now.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bittersweet and Sour

Beer #252 Freigeist Abraxxxas / Gasthause-Brauerei Braustelle, Cologne, Germany

Brief update today, as we're headed out to a Sour Beer Fest in the city.  Some ridiculously ridiculous beers on tap, including some rather hard to find brews.  Can not wait.

With this in mind, I'll go ahead and review a Berlinerweiss, the Freigiest Abraxxxas from Gasthaus-Brauerei Braustelle.  This beer is hazy yellow with a thin head, and gives off the aroma of bacon.  I'm not even kidding.  Bacon.  The taste is an unexpected mix of smoked meats with a tart and sour undercurrent and a clean finish.  The best word I can use to describe this beer: interesting.  Wasn't bad, although I'm not sure I'd order these on a regular basis.  Might be a good beer to pair with brunch due to the bacon element.  Marci's take on this unusual beer can be found here.

Doesn't look like bacon.

They claim to be Germany's smallest brewery, for whatever that's worth.  Their website is tiny, that much I can say.

Thing to Think About Today:
Instead of sour, we'll close out today with something bittersweet.  As in, Bittersweet by Big Head Todd and the Monsters.  And we'll just go ahead and use their concert footage from Red Rocks, because I've been there before.

Beer 252: de Halve Maan Tripel

My good friend Kelli won the weekend at 8:20 a.m. for the funniest comment:

So if you get dressed for a wedding at dawn, then stop for gas and breakfast, everyone thinks you're on a walk of shame.

Now while I continue to chuckle at her misadventures, I'll leave you with today's beer review.

The Straffe Hendrick tripel from de Halve Maan in the heart of Bruges, Belgium. Also a place that I'll be visiting in less than ten months!

The tripel poured a light chestnut color and had a hazy, dense look. It also had a bright white, thin head. It smells of plums and fruity sugar. The taste is well balanced. You notice the warmth from the ABV right away. (9%) The flavor is Belgian yeast, candi sugar, biscuits and some fruit. It also has a prickly level of carbonation.

I'd call this a good tripel but definitely not the best one I've ever had. Cheers!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Bikes and Blondes (But Not at the Same Time)

Beer #251 Valeir Blond / Browerij Contreras, Gavere, Belgium

We're slowly becoming bike people.  I'm not entirely thrilled with this idea, because from years of running on the Schuykill River trail, the bike people were always complete douchebags.  Hopefully we're becoming better bike people than the average bike people, anyway.  Today, we bought and installed a bike rack (and trailer hitch) to make transporting our bikes a bit easier.  I now own bike shorts with the padded seat, which I'm occasionally embarrassed by.  Don't judge us - we need exercise.  Drinking beer every day is, as you can imagine, not the healthiest lifestyle to lead.

This being said, today's beer is the Valeir Blond from Browerij Contreras.  It pours an effervescent apricot color, with a lingering thin white head.  Your nose picks up earthy, funky aromas of yeast.  The taste is crisp and dry, with apple, biscuit, and a mild bitterness on the finish.  Nice beer if you're a fan of Belgians, and quite frankly, you should be a fan of Belgians.

Fun little bottle.

This brewery has been in operation since 1818 (as Brouwerij Latte), and the Contreras family took and renamed it in 1898.  The name Valeir comes from a legendary warrior who fought in an epic battle back in 1453.  So, now you know.

Thing To Think About Today:
This came on the iPod on the drive home, and  it's about as good of a song for a beautiful, sun drenched Friday afternoon as there has ever been.  Yes, it's Rusted Root and the always fun Martyr.  No, it's not an official video, but all of the live versions of this song on Youtube seem to suck, so hey - close your eyes and imagine it's 1994 all over again.

Beer 251: A Song and a Kissmeyer

I sat at my desk this morning typing away and fantasizing about tomorrow's Sourfest at Devil's Den when I heard someone shout, "Say cheese!"  A chorus of tiny voices yelled cheese but it escalated quickly into screaming at which point I thought, "Seriously. There is no need for that much screaming when taking a photo." What will their angelic little faces look like? (Screaming devils would be my best guess.)

But as quickly as the cheese screaming began, it subsided into a lovely rendition of I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee.  Some lyrics if you will: 

     I'm bringing home a baby bumblebee,
     Won't my mommy be so proud of me,
     I'm bringing home a baby bumblebee,
     Won't my mommy be so proud of me!
     Ouch! It stung me! (Spoken)

     I'm squishing up the baby bumblebee,
     Won't my mommy be so proud of me,
     I'm squishing up the baby bumblebee,
     Won't my mommy be so proud of me!
     Ooh! It's yucky! (Spoken)

     I'm wiping off the baby bumblebee,
     Won't my mommy be so proud of me,
     I'm wiping off the baby bumblebee,
     Now my mommy won't be mad at me!

What I didn't realize is that the lyrics go on for a few more verses ending with this child bringing home a baby dinosaur (where does this kid live???), who ends up eating him. Violent, no?

In case you were wondering, yes I did sing that damn song all day.  I may have even reenacted some of the dance moves that go with it.  And on that note, I really wish I had a honey based beer for tonight's review.

Instead I give you the Kissmeyer Pilnzer from Denmark.  It's very easy to drink at 5.%5 ABV.  It poured a light straw color with a thin wispy head.  It smells like an undetermined preserved fruit. The flavor is fig, honey and coins. Both Gary and I thought there was some metallic notes in the flavor.  He claimed general metal but I thought coins was a more apt description.  As it warmed, I noticed more and more lemon tartness. All in all, a very unusual pilsner but quite tasty.

That's all for now. I'm off to squish up a baby bumblebee!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Beer 250: Haters Gonna Hate, But Not on Urthel Tripel

Penn State dropped this tidbit of information in a PR release yesterday:

Penn State ranked among top 50 world universities

Wednesday, August 15, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) has released its 2012 ranking of the top 100 world-class universities and has ranked Penn State at No. 49. Penn State is one of 53 highest-ranking institutions in the United States, 30 in Europe and 17 among Japan, Israel, Canada and Australia. Penn State is one of five Big Ten universities and one of only two Pennsylvania schools to make the top 50.

Researchers at the Center for World-Class Universities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University conduct the annual ARWU ranking using six objectives. According to its website, these are: “the number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, number of highly cited researchers selected by Thomson Scientific, number of articles published in journals of Nature and Science, number of articles indexed in Science Citation Index - Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index, and per capita performance with respect to the size of an institution.”

Researchers also break down rankings by some individual fields. Engineering at Penn State ranks 11th in the world, while Penn State’s social sciences ranks 23rd, economics and business is 33rd, physics is 37th and natural sciences/mathematics is 44th worldwide. Penn State mathematics, chemistry and life/ag sciences are in a group ranking of the top 51 to 75 programs in the world.

The complete ARWU list is here and detailed methodology can be found here.

But wait! The NCAA told me -- and the world -- that football was the only thing that mattered at Penn State.  How could our engineering program rank 11th in the world? IN THE WORLD!?! In a nation that is failing to educate its students in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math), how could Penn State be excelling like this? Perhaps it's because football is not the end all, be all.

Maybe, just maybe, Penn State should be lauded for having a cadre of educators who can impact the abysmal state of STEM education.  Perhaps everyone needs to lay off the Joe Paterno was a pedophile / kill Penn State football / fine the hell out of all of us rhetoric to step back and realize what an amazing institution Penn State is in the Commonwealth and the nation...and the world.

(puts her soapbox away and takes a chill pill...)

Tonight we're drinking multiple beers because I have nothing in my back pocket for use in a non-beer drinking emergency.  It's a scary place to be if you're writing about a new brewery every single night. I'm planning on rectifying that situation at TJ's in Paoli tonight.  I may also try to lure Gary into a little Quizzo.

For the review, let's talk Urthel Hibernus Quentum -- a tripel ale from De Leyerth Brouwerijen in Flanders, Belgium. It poured a hazy apricot color with a bit of head that was off white in color.  The nose is fruit and honey. The flavor is more rich and mellow honey. The mouthfeel is full. There's a strong malt profile but also a warm, straight out of the oven bread thing happening. The flavor also has some fruit to it, but there's also a tartness that I really like.  This tripel is just different enough to warrant a place in my top 25.

Interesting note: If you see a bottle of this anywhere, BUY IT. This beer was originally brewed as a seasonal beer and after a number of years has been retired. I have no idea where we bought this bottle.  Rats.