Sunday, April 24, 2011

F*@K You Easter Bunny!

Hello Everyone and happy Easter! I was planning on reviewing multiple beers tonight at one of my favorite Oakland bars, but unfortunately the bar was closed in observance of "Zombie Jesus Day". But fortunately I was able to find a bar that was open and was willing to serve me a nice cold glass of frothy-goodness... so here is my story.

Earlier this week I was asked to go to a bar tonight with a friend, I agreed to this outing and was thinking that I could kill two birds with one stone and review a couple beers for this blog. I told my friend that I would meet them at Cafe Biere at 7:00pm tonight... When I got to Cafe Biere, I saw a hand written sign in the door that said that the bar closed at 3:00pm tonight. Unfortunately I was forced to resign to my "plan B", which was located in Jack London Square. A nice brewery by the name of Linden St. Brewery... after driving all the way down to Jack London Square, we were surprised to find that "plan B" was also closed due to "Zombie Jesus". What the hell, do people not drink beer on Easter Sunday? Well, we had to fall back on "plan C". Plan C -- just so happened to be located in Jack London Square as well, and is a nice quaint little bar, by the name of "Chop Bar", where they have a VERY small selection of beer, but they currently have a very nice keg in that selection, a Linden St. Triple. Earlier today I was eating brunch at the Chop Bar and decided to flavor this Linden St. Triple, which weighs in at over 9% ABV. The Linden St Triple is not a traditional Belgian Triple, it is much darker and doesn't have the same stereotypical citrus flavors that are normally associated with a Belgian Triple. The Linden St Triple was smooth and didn't have an over-bearing alcoholic flavor to it, even though it touts 9.5% ABV. The Linden St. Triple is deceptive, but a good deal, you can get yourself a pint for $5 at Chop Bar in Jack London Square Oakland California. Who knows how long this keg will last. I am going to give the Linden St. Triple a 3.5/5 star rating, it's not my type of Triple (one that has nice notes of citrus and a flavorful after taste), but it is VERY nice for a "non-Belgian" Triple, give it a try and see what you think.

So the night ended with me and my friend going to the Chop Bar and kicking back a few cold ones... so even though it was "Zombie Jesus Day", we were still able to find an establishment that was willing to serve us. Thank you Chop Bar for being open and having wonderful beer on tap, even though your beer selection is comprised of four beers.

See you at the bar!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Brasserie Dupont - Moinette Brune

Hello Everyone and Happy Sunday! Today I am going to review another Belgian beer, this one is from a brewery in Belgium called "Brasserie Dupont", and I am reviewing their Brune (Brown). This beer has a nice look to it, the label is a nice blood red and the bottle that the beer comes in, is heavy and nicely shaped. The first thing that I noticed about this beer was how much it looks like a Trappist beer, but unfortunately it is not a Trappist. This beer set me back about $9 at my local Whole Foods. I am not sure if this is the norm, but this bottle was VERY carbonated. I barley had to pull on the cork and it popped off like I was pull the cork on a champagne bottle. When I poured this beer it produced so much head that I had to take a picture with the beer in that condition... the picture to the left was generated with me pouring a very modest pour. The head on this beer sticks around as well, I had to wait about 5 minutes for the head to go down enough for me to fill up my glass. The head on this beer is not quite a brilliant white, it has a small hint of yellow to it. The first whiff reminded me of Affligem's Triple, nice hints of citrus and other various spices I can't pin. The color of the beer is amazing, a nice dark amber at the top of the glass, that fades to almost a yellow at the bottom of the glass. The taste of this beer is a delight as well, the first sip was darker than I am normal for a beer this light, and included aspects of the spices that I smelt. The carbonation is not overbearing either and helps to lighten this dark beer. The ABV of this brew is 8.5% and you really can't tell by the flavor that it is that strong. I am going to give this beer a 3.5/5 stars on the Belgian Beer Scale... remember that I am biased on this scale against darker beers -- as my favorite type of Belgian beer is a "Triple" the lighter more alcoholic beers usually get higher ratings. Well, I would recommend this beer if you are new to darker Belgian beers and you would like to have something that is dark, but has a very light flavor.

See you at the bar!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Saison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse Ale

Hello Everyone, Tonight I have a light summer Belgian beer, from "Saison Imperiale". This beer is not a trappist beer, but it is a Belgian Ale. I couldn't find a home page for the brew house, but I found many reviews regarding this light summer ale. This beer was about $9 at my local Whole Foods and was purchased on a whim when I was there to buy groceries yesterday. This summer ale has a very nice dark amber color to it and was poured with a nice frothy white head... that lasted about 5 minutes after the pour. This beer is higher on the alcohol scale than most summer ales, coming in at 8.5% ABV. There are very subtle hints of citrus in the smell, with a slight hint of the standard Belgian alcohol smell. The first sip was light, but not very flavorful, I sensed a slight after taste of spice in this beer. I am giving it 3/5 stars on the Belgian Beer scale, it is light enough for summer, but not flavorful enough to start the day off for my tastes. I would definitely crack this guy open as a second Belgian beer on a nice summer day on the patio.

See you at the bar!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Telegraph - Stock Porter

Hello Everyone and happy Sunday! As I still haven't decided which type of beer I will be focusing on for my Sunday afternoons, I will be posting which ever beer I decide to purchase and review. This week I will be reviewing a beer from a Santa Barbara brewing house called "Telegraph". I have seen this beer in my local Whole Foods and have wanted to pick it up, but have been busy sampling other beers. I thought this particular flavor would be a good juxtaposition to the Lambic that I reviewed last night. This beer has a nice dark amber color, but poured just like many other American beers pour... very lightly. As I have been drinking mostly Belgian beers over the last couple months, I forgot that I would need to pour a beer of this type vigorously to produce the desired head, so if you are sampling this beer, remember to pour away from the glass. At first sip, I tasted a small amount of what a standard porter tastes like, but was bombarded by a sour after taste. The second sip, the sour after taste was not as prominent, but still much more prominent than I would prefer. I am giving this beer 1.5/5 stars on the porter scale, but I will have to revisit this to see if the sour taste is the norm, or if I purchased a bad bottle. I honestly thought about pouring this beer out, it's that bad. This beer is somewhat pricey for a local beer as well, I purchased this for just under $9 at my local Whole Foods. So stay tuned for my next review to see if I would recommend giving this beer a sample or if I would stay clear.

See you at the bar!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Timmerman's - Strawberry Lambic

Hello everyone, hopefully everyone had a nice day out in the sun today (most of the readers I know about are in California and the weather was BEAUTIFUL today). Tonight I decided that I would get two beers, one for tonight and one for tomorrow. The beer that I decided on for tonight is a Lambic, which is a Belgian table beer infused with fruit. One of the most popular Lambic's is Timmerman's, the beers that I could find that they produce are a cherry, strawberry, and raspberry (framboise). This beer is a nice amber color, and usually comes with a white to medium yellow head. This beer is 4% ABV, which is much lower than I normally drink, but that just means that I can drink TWICE as much. Immediately after opening this beer I could smell strawberries and was bombarded by the smell when I started the pour. This jem ran me $5.99 at my local whole foods, for an 11.2 ounce bottle, so it is not the cheapest flavored beer you buy... but after you have tried one, you will never be able to go back to a wine cooler or an American fruit flavored beer again. After my first sip of a Lambic, I knew that I was spoiled beyond belief. I took my first sip of this beer and was pleasantly surprised at the light strawberry flavor. I am giving this 3.5/5 stars on my Lambic beer scale, I do prefer the Framboise, but the strawberry is better than the cherry. If you are looking for a light flavorful fruity beer, then pick up one of these at your local bottle shop or specialty grocery store, it is well worth the $6-8 you will pay for it. I personally would recommend starting the night of with one of these and then moving into a Triple, as this will get you loosened up and ready for the %10-12 ABV most Belgian Triple's have to offer.

See you at the bar!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The LAST Belgian Beer Sunday's - Westvleteren - 12

Hello Everyone and welcome to the last Trappist Belgian Beer Sunday! Today I had the pleasure of tasting one of the rarest Belgian beers in the United States, Westvleteren 12. Westvleteren is the only Belgian Trappist beer that is not available commercially, so to get your hands on this beer, you either have to go to the Abbey, or purchase a bottle off Ebay. Last time I wrote that I was going to go to Beer Revolution (a VERY nice bar in Jack London Square [Oakland]) and share a bottle of this brew with a nice female bartender... well due to complications, we were unable to meet on Wednesday. However, we were able to meet today and crack open a bottle of this brew. The younger bartender's name is Rebecca, and she is the owner of Beer Revolution. She was kind enough to call her husband and have him bring us this bottle from their house. Unfortunately I tried this beer after I had the other beer I am reviewing today, so I didn't remember to take a picture of this beer, but I will post one later, when I review this beer for the second time. Well here it is, the review of the last Trappist Belgian beer and by-far the most difficult to get.

This beer comes from the Abbey in un-labeled bottles, so this was no exception. The way you can tell which version you are getting is by the bottle cap. The bottle cap on this one was a nice gold with a black circle around the edge (which tells us that it is the 12 and has a ABV of about 10%). This beer had a gorgeous thick white head, that lingered for about two to three minutes after the pour. Most people that purchase this beer and bring it back from Belgium let it sit around for a while, they think that this beer grows better tasting with age. The first smell I took of this beer, I could smell carmel, and what I would think a nice aged beer would smell like... I had a friend taste-testing with me today (Mark), and he said that it smelled like a nice aged cheese (or an attic :p). After seeing the dark color of this beer and taking a nice whiff of the aroma, I was ready for something that was going to be heavy... but this beer is actually a lot lighter than it would seem. The first sip tasted of hints of caramel and did not have the alcoholic Belgian beer aftertaste. After smelling this beer many times and taking many sips, I was amazed at how light it tasted and how light it was on my lips and my tongue, there was no lingering after taste. After about five or six sips, I started to taste more caramel and citrus, but the flavors are very difficult to detect and taste. I am going to give this beer 4/5 stars, It is unfortunately less flavorful than I would have thought it would be and it is VERY difficult to acquire. However, I would definitely recommend picking one up if you are in Belgium, or you would like to spend $40+ on Ebay, this is one of the lightest tasting and darkest Belgian beers I have ever had. I prefer a flavorful citrus Belgian beer, but I could see people enjoying this beer for it's color and it's light flavor.

If you are looking for a nice selection of beers and good food, check out Beer Revolution in Jack London Square, very nice selection and tending staff. Thank you again Rebecca for the beer, it was very nice of you to help me out in acquiring this beer. :D

See you at the bar!