Archive for March, 2011

I’m finally over my cold enough to try the Delirium Nocturnum I’ve been holding on to.  It’s a strong dark Belgian ale and is triple fermented with the final fermentation occurring in the bottle.  So the taste of this one can actually change a bit over time.

This beer’s a dark ruby/brown with a sparse cream-colored head.  Like the Delirium Tremens, the sweet fruit scents hit me first.  Then the malt came through with a bit of creamy dark chocolate.  Now it get to taste it…I’ve been looking forward to this for awhile now…  Hmm.  Interesting.  Very spicy.  A little coffee.  Some dark fruitiness.  Not nearly as sweet as it smells.  I’m not sure how I feel about this just yet.  I really don’t think I could drink a ton of this at once.  It’s a fairly complicated flavor assortment.  For mouthfeel, it’s pretty smooth without a ton of carbonation and hides it’s 8.5% ABV pretty well, though as nears room temperature the alcohol and hops come out.  Really, it’s far too complicated a beer to be an easy drink.

Overall, I found this beer rather enjoyable, though I really prefer the Delirium Tremens over the Nocturnum.  I wouldn’t recommend this for the novice beer drinker unless they’re fans of spiced wine.  I’m not sure I’d choose this again unless the other options were completely unremarkable.  I really wanted to love this beer, but the point of this blog is partially to help me figure out exactly what kinds of beers I like and this is proof that a nifty looking bottle and clever name don’t necessarily translate into an amazing beer experience.

 

 

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Downtime

Posted: March 14, 2011 in Informational

Sorry about the downtime, but I’ve been fighting off a nasty cold.  I don’t want to try a new beer without being able to smell it.  I should be good to go in another day or two and will start working on my backlog.

St Arnold’s is a fairy small (29 employees) brewery on the north side of Houston, TX that has been in business since 1994.  They claim to be the oldest craft brewery in Texas, but in order to make that claim they must not consider the Spoetzl Brewery to be “craft.”  As I mentioned previously, the Spoetzl brewery has been open since 1909 and has brewed Shiner Bock since 1913, so St Arnold’s is already kind of on my bad list for discounting Shiner Bock as a craft beer.

This was the second beer I had in the Houston Airport during my layover last week and I was really hoping for a strong showing from this one so I could have an awesome Texas beer to brag about.  This is an American amber ale, a similar beer to an American Pale Ale but brewed with a proportion of crystal malt to give it a deeper color.   It was served on tap at the airport bar and was a clear orange/gold with about a finger of cream-colored foam.  I was really expecting a darker color from this beer; it was definitely the lightest amber I’ve encountered.  I took a good deep whiff of this beer and then had to check the patency of my nostrils to make sure I wasn’t congested.  Where’s the smell?  I got nothing on this one.  At all.  Weird.  The initial taste was light malt and citrus with a floral hop finish.  Hops are definitely the dominant flavor of this one.  Overall, it was light and bubbly.  Very drinkable especially if you like hops but don’t want to be punched in the mouth with hops by an IPA.  Not a bad beer.  Nothing amazingly special, but I’d drink it again.

Thanks for reading.  Comments are very appreciated!

I was at the Sacramento Airport getting ready to board a plane for Nashville and found myself with enough time to enjoy a beer before my flight.  I selected this Hefeweizen brewed in San Jose, CA and the results were quite interesting.

This beer was a cloudy golden orange color with an off-white head to it.  It left just a little bit of lacing on the glass as I drank it.  My first impression of the scent was sour which I found a little confusing, but on second smell I got strong cloves and a fruity scent with a bit of banana.  The banana and clove strengthened in the tasting and really the only taste to this beer was spicy bananas.  The taste did linger a bit after drinking.  Overall, a very smooth drinkable beer if you like bananas.  I typically avoid banana-flavored anything, so won’t be drinking it again, but if you enjoy that flavor this could be a great option.

Comments are very much appreciated, as are recommendations for new and exciting beers

 

Delirium Tremens is a Belgian Strong Ale made at the Huyghe Brewery in Belgium and is named after the delirium associated with acute alcohol withdrawal.  The bottle and glasses feature dancing pink elephants which amuse me to no end.

I stumbled upon this in a beer pub I just discovered, so I had to have a bottle.   It was a beautiful yellow/gold with a very fluffy head on it and quite a bit of suspended sediment.  The smell was very fruity, like ripe apples and pears.  My first impression on tasting was of applesauce, but there was definitely some pear in addition to the sweet, spicy, apples.  It has a smooth, bubbly feel and hides the high alcohol content well (it’s 8.5%!)  This a an amazing beer and I highly recommend it to anyone whether they like beer or not.  I’d drink this again in a heartbeat.  It’s my favorite so far.  Seriously, if you find this beer, drink some!

Since I recently spent time in an airport in Houston, I took the opportunity to have a mug of Shiner Bock.  You see, Shiner Bock and I have some history. In beer circles, people talk about their “One Beer,” that one beer they had that made them realize there’s more to beer than Budweizer and it’s clones.  Shiner Bock is my One Beer.  I actually spent college avoiding beer.  I’d go to club 616 in Memphis and dodge frat boys who were all either spilling their cheep beer on me or trying to make out with me and their foul beer breath.  The result was that I wanted no part of the swill they overflowed with.  I decided that margaritas and vodka drinks were much more my style.  That choice served me well for years until I found myself at a party where the only adult beverage available was a keg of Shiner Bock.  The rest is history and Shiner and I have been solid friends ever since.

For those of you not from Texas, I feel some additional background about Shiner Bock is warranted.  It’s made at the little brewery in Shiner, Texas; the Spoetzl Brewery may be the oldest independent brewery in Texas.  Shiner Bock has been made there since 1913, making it one of the older craft beers in the country.  If you go into any bar in Texas, even the real dives, you’ll be able to get a Shiner Bock.  At many bars, it even approaches the market share of the big three.  Shiner Bock is a very important part of Texas culture in a way that I’m not sure people from elsewhere can really understand.

I had my Shiner on tap and served in a mug at Houston Intercontinental Airport.  It pours clear and is a golden brown, the color of strong iced tea.  It had one finger of off-white foam that dissipates quickly without leaving any lacing.  Shiner really doesn’t have much of a nose, there was a bit of a sweet malty scent, but it was pretty faint.  It’s definitely a sweeter beer with a bit of malt and a hint of hops.  It has a smooth mouthfeel, not too watery or too carbonated.

Overall, it’s not a very interesting beer to drink compared to some of the others I’ve been sampling recently, but when the alternative is a Miller Lite it’s definitely a winner.  It’s a great gateway beer for people who are bored by what the big three have to offer.  I’ll continue to drink this when I need a comfortable beer to drink while playing cards or pool when I don’t want to think about my beer.