Friday, December 12, 2008

Gettin Sloppy

If you drink a lot of beer, especially during the winter months, you might set yourself up for ultimate relaxation, deep warmth and inescapable procrastination. All worthy causes. But if you insist that such activity necessitates a "positive result," have no fear. Because by drinking all that beer, you'll be giving yourself the greatest gift of all: An excuse for failing to buy anyone Christmas presents.

Genius, right?
Probably not.

25 November 08
Beer: Brooklyn Winter Ale
Location: Zip’s Ave C, NYC
Price: Gratis, Cohen Imperial Importers Inc.
Grade: 6.2

Weird, stale juniper berry taste to it. Sandalwood, wheaty yeast and touches of Bing cherry. Some notes of pine as well as an almost almond or chestnut essence. Weak medium body with boring carbonation and lacking in life. Small head (.5”) with only so much more to offer afterwards. Smooth, yes, but not really in a good way. A sugar coated gulp that slithers down the tongue and sticks around afterwards – but not in a good way. Like the “friend” who came to the party only because you had to invite him, but then stays until the end – and still doesn’t leave until asked three times. But nonetheless, it has character, if not forced upon it. Not the best for Brooklyn this winter.

28 November 08
Beer: Scaldis, Dubuisson Bros. Belgian Ale
Location: Central Market, Houston, TX
Price: $4.99/250mL
Grade: 8.3

Orange, bready, spice and a floral with a bit of hibiscus thrown in. Raspberries, rose, a smidgen of rice and thorough yeast taste. Sweet apples with a full body, nice mouthful and quite robust. Very nice bite to it all. 12% ABV also.

28 November 08
Beer: Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale
Location: Unknown, CYP, TX
Price: Gratis, via C. Harden Ale Suppliers
Grade: 7.8

A rather enjoyable beer that is dark, hefty and knocks around more than a couple good flavors here and there. Though I should’ve poured it in a usual glass, this one still provided ample enjoyment straight from the bottle. Has a similar taste to a Pinot Noir if it were in beer form, as sill as that may sound. A somewhat heavy mouthfeel that sits around after each gulp, which at times can be pleasant, yet also unpleasant.

29 November 08
Beer: Pike Tandem, Double Ale
Location: Central Market, Houston, TX
Price: $4.99/650mL
Grade: 8.2

Smooth, woody taste without a nasty alcohol kick. Very subtle yet with a very nice bite, chew and taste to it all. Dark ruby red color mixed on the brink of mahogany, nice 1” head. Notes of dark fruits with spice but also a more appealing blend of cocoa, roasted malts and nuttiness. Add a dab of brown sugar and then some creaminess and you get the Pike Double Ale. Dark and doughy and not all that bad. Basically like a nice, darker red ale combined with a hearty brown ale.

29 November 08
Beer: Belhaven Scottish Ale
Location: H-E-B Louetta, Klein, TX
Price: Gratis via M. Beg Drinking Corp.
Grade: 7.7

Swell English beer. Creamy but not “creamy like Boddington’s.” Very nice nonetheless with sweet caramel, malts and a dose of mustiness. Light, light nuts to it with even a bit of bitter grapes popping in.

4 December 08
Beer: Palo Santo Marron, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Inc.
Location: Whole Foods Bowery, NYC
Price: $14/4pk
Grade: 8.6

A smokey, oaky, molasses coated nose. Half inch head the color of dark sienna. A full yet not overly heavy bite with slick traces of a dark syrup, dark fruits, lots of great spice, but so soft and blended together so well. Almost dips into Imperial Stout territory, seeing that it’s so damn dark – almost a brown-black. Amazing balance with doses of controlled malt, smooth mouthfeel and a bit of a sticky finish to the end. So often beers like this incorporate the plum and raisins but end up becoming like a liquid fruitcake or something of the sort, but this is a very well thought out beer that has the finesse of a great beer. A bit muddled if you were to compare it to a distinct Belgian beer, but it makes up for that with the overall sense of comforting enjoyment. You taste the caramel notes with a bit of roasted wood that adds that touch of vanilla to it. It’s like a really good cookie that you love to sink you teeth in and bite through each bit. Whether you chew through it, swallow it in a gulp or let it slide down your tongue – you get a different taste and experience with each mode. I’d throw in a bit of acorn or hazelnut also, but I figure that the nuttiness is at the far end of the ingredient spectrum. Instead the emphasis is on the well-structured brown ale, intricate ingredient additions and the overall balance of a very fine beer. Well done Dogfish. 12% ABV, by the way.

5 December 08
Beer: Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale ’08-09
Location: Whole Foods Bowery, NYC
Price: $4.99/650mL
Grade: 7.7

A fine ale, good gulp with nice yeast, hops and a bit of roasted malt. Fair amount of bitterness at the end that is quite complementing.

6 December 08
Beer: Monster Ale, Barleywine Beer, Brooklyn Brewery
Location: Whole Foods Bowery, NYC
Price: $12/6pk
Grade: 7.5

Barley, alcohol and a punch in the mouth.

6 December 08
Beer: Smuttynose Winter Ale
Location: Whole Foods Bowery, NYC
Price: Gratis, via Mroczka Bros. Brewmeisters
Grade: 7.1

Dark, not too heavy and rather enjoyable.

11 December 08
Beer: Black Dog Ale, Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.
Location: Key Foods Ave A, NYC
Price: $10/6pk
Grade: 5.5

Sucks. What a shame. Skunk smell off the bat, sticky aftertaste and mouthfeel with toffee-like malts and caramel. A little bit of raspberry and spiced grass. Little chemically though, with an artificial, acrid citrus mixed in. Sloppy bitters with a sludgy dose of floral mush. But hey, it gets you drunk!

11 December 08
Beer: Grolsch Premium Lager, Grolsche Bierbrouwerij N.V.
Price: Gratis, via Cohen Beer Boy Inc.
Grade: 5.0

There once was a story of two beers. We’ll name them Beer A and Beer B, respectively. Each aspired to be a great beer – something that boys and girls would love to chug, pound, beer bong and dip small ping-pong balls in. These were the Dutch masters: The kings of King’s Cup. But one day, as the boys and girls were chugging and pounding both Beer A and Beer B on the back porch of a suburban setting in Suburbia, U.S.A., one of them decided to piss out back. So they pissed all that shit out and realized how eerily similar that piss looked in comparison to both Beer A and Beer B. The only difference is that this stuff wasn’t canned or bottled. It didn’t have a cute little mini-keg container like Beer A. And it didn’t have a provincially inspired label and light green bottle like Beer B. But it had the essence of the two – the true element that really matters. So after zipping up, heading back to the back porch table and popping open a new brewski, Bro #1 decides to tell the rest of his bros and bitches that he’s had a eureka-inducing revelation. While pissing, he came to the realization that what they had been consuming within their green bottles and mini-keg containers were on level with the piss he just soaked his bro’s backyard with. Beer A and Beer B were just as potable as his fountain of youth. And thus, the bros and bitches cheered with joy and told him to “Shut the fuck up and pound another.” So, he did. But from that day on, the crew knew that the Dutch masters who created these two fine fluids of frat party fame were worthy of being held on par with human urine. And that alone, at least for them, was convincing enough to buy another case of Beer A, Beer B or whatever other beer could get them incessantly inebriated, fo’ lyfe.

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