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Two Beer Trends to Try For Kicks: Spicy and Sour Beers

2 Jun

Although I try and hide it, I have very weird food routines. I love putting salt and vinegar chips in my sandwiches and I dump a bucket of Crystal hot sauce on my eggs first thing in the morning. So it’s no wonder I was drawn to sour and spicy beers and have acid reflux.

Spicy peppers + Beer = ❤

And just as I grow tired of eating the same thing every day, I have grown tired of a lot of my old favorite friends beers (bye  Old Chub). I know…#BeerGirlProblems

I am definitely one to take the challenge of spicy food. So of course I was game for a spicy beer. Think chipotle for a smokey mild indulgence and habanero for a real kick in the boobs.

I tried Rouge Chipotle Ale , which I thought was really tasty. It was smooth, slightly spicy, smoky, dark and sweet. Brewed out of Oregon, Rogue has their stuff together to say the least. The beer is only 5.5%, so I am still not sure why they served it to me in a little dinky glass.

I have also tried Billy’s Chilies, which is pretty good – just enough spice so it’s not overbearing. It’s brewed by Twisted Pine, who does a lot of experiential delicious things. 

If you really want to feel the burn Ghost Face Hillah by Twisted Pine is unbearably hot. If you are from Latin America or have no taste buds, you will probably be fine

For sours, I would recommend Duchesse De Bourgogne or Rodenbach Grand Cru  for a brown, oaky sour that leaves no aftertaste. I am on the search for a lighter sour beer. I had a home brew from Alligator Brewing in Gainesville that used loquats to add the sour taste, without having the age the beer for long.

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Leffe: The Poor Girl’s Belgian

17 Apr

While many girls “window shop” by standing in front of overpriced designer clothes and purses falling off of awkwardly naked mannequins, I stand in liquor stores and markets gawking at the imports and American craft brews that are all so delicious.

And while I CAN rationalize spending $40 on organic dog food because I am a really really good dog owner crazy, spending $8 on 12 oz of Duvel doesn’t fit into my poor graduate student budget.

So when Leffe was all pretty, brown, delicious-looking and CHEAP ($7.99 for a 12 pack at Publix), I was sold. Also, I need something delicious to feed the beer-loving boyfriend (who hijacked the last two posts) to mask my suspicious vegetarian cooking.

Now if you are going to read on, you need to learn out to say it proper. Here we go: LA-EFF-AY.

So here’s the deal, I am allowed to judge because I spend a fair amount of time drinking vacationing in Belgium. Leffe is a dark mahogany-colored abbey ale with a sweet, velvety, caramel taste. You might as well call it the Pinot Noir of beers. You can detect a light spice and woody undertone. It has thick ivory-colored foam that sits on top of the beer, holding in the carbonation. All of the carbonation makes this beer much lighter than it seems – allowing you to drink one, two or five. Mmmmm.

All around, I am a fan. No complaints, besides it being made by Anheuser-Busch, which also makes the disgusting Landshark and Natty light, and kind of put the little Trappist breweries out (poor monks!).

Also, since it’s a Belgian, you have an excuse to drink out of a fancy class. *Excuse me, it’s a chalice not a glass.

Rogue’s ‘Nectar’ of the Gods

31 Mar

I’m generally not a fan of beers brewed with added flavors — i.e. strawberry, jalapeno, pumpkin… bacon, godforbid. Give me the hops and the malts and leave well enough alone, you know? If I’m eating a steak, I don’t want it slathered in A1 sauce. If I’m buying a t-shirt, I’m not buying the one with the big effing BRAND NAME slapped across the left chest.

(And actually, I’m probably not buying any shirt anyway. I really don’t shop. Ever. Also, I’m not a girl. I’m Robbie. I like Pearl Jam, Bell’s, tight pants and the author of this blog. Nice to meet you. Moving on…)

Courtesy of A Tattoed Tale

Rogue, on the other hand, does this whole flavored beer thing pretty well. Take the Chocolate Stout, for instance. Now that’s a beer, for guys and girls. Creamy and dark as asphalt, you could give this to a 4-year-old and he’d call it chocolate milk.

And then he’d pass out.

I shared this beer last weekend from a 22-ounce bomber and, let me tell you, it is dangerously drinkable at 6% ABV. Smooth, medium bodied, like your making out with a cocoa bean, it is by far the most chocolately “dessert” beer I’ve come across – even more so than Young’s Double Chocolate Stout (hey, and it’s cheaper!). Drink it for dinner. Put in your cereal.

Okay, so now that the Chocolate Stout has hijacked this review, let me briefly tell you about another of Rogue’s awesome flavored beers (and yes, I realize hops are technically an added flavor. You snob).

Hazelnut Brown Nectar is quite clearly the product of rowdy Great Northwesterners, their coffeehouse culture, alcohol, and a particularly boring long weekend. Hey dude, what if we made these Eight O’Clock beans into a beer? How sweet would that be?

Really, really sweet. Like pucker your mouth sweet. I don’t know if that was the actual thought process behind this glorious glass of malty goodness, but whatever the eureka moment, this beer is a winner. It’s a brown ale that’s not too bitter (Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale), or boring (Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale) or strong (Dogfish Head India Brown Ale, not that I object).

The malt flavors creep up first before – thwack – a wave of hazelnut flavor roles over your palette, leaving just a bit of bitter aftertaste. If there’s a weakness here, and there is, it’s in the slightly watery mouthfeel. Think Turbodog. Still, it’s deliciously drinkable and deceptively strong (6.2% ABV).

Courtesy of 365Beer

The Hazelnut Brown Nectar is a surefire “couple’s beer” – that is, you can drink it with your girlfriend or boyfriend without either party betraying their gender. In this sense, it beats the hell out of Abita Strawberry Lager, which I was forced to drink last week and tastes of vom (okay, that’s too harsh, but I felt like I was wearing a skirt). If you get the chance to tilt this one back with your significant other, and you’re in the Miami area (the window’s really closing here, huh?), may I suggest you seek out the University of Miami’s Wetlab — a little hideout tucked away in The U’s marine biology campus. You can drink these bad boys for $3 a pop, and the view (of Biscayne Bay) and company (cool enough to know this place exists) is hard to top.

Employee meeting – Oh wait, just kidding, awesome beer tasting.

29 Mar

If you have ever worked at a restaurant or bar, you know to brace yourself when your hear “employee meeting”. It will most likely be an hour rant about high costs, over pouring, too much socializing, blah, blah blah. I get it your angry and we are all on the verge to being fired. Basically, ending with a few empty threats and making you hate your boss even more than yesterday.

So when the bar I work at called a meeting last Sunday afternoon, I reluctantly strolled in hungover a little tired, and prepared to block out what I would hear, and tried to figure out how to sleep with my eyes open.

Not the case. This meeting turned into a 4-hour beer/wine tasting, FIFA tournament, pizza party, funny-You Tube-clip-watching,  Sunday Funday that surpassed the Greater Gator Beer Festival I went to Saturday in terms of trying new beers. We got to try around 50 beers, some from far away lands, some from close by, and I came across some delicious beers and some great blog material.

The boss men claimed they wanted their employees to know what they were recommending to people. Quite the genius plan if I do say so myself.

I have many beers on the docket for review but here are a couple that were too good not mention. Try them if you ever get the chance, you’ll thank me later.

Red Brick 16 Ale (Pricey $$) (Strong :-0)

This is a bourbon-style brown ale. Super good, very very strong (11 percent). Has taste of caramel apples and whisky. This beer is sweet, smooth, bold with a smokey lingering taste.

Coronados Mermaid Red

Not going to lie, this song was playing in my head when I was trying this. Had I not been the only girl in the room, I would have been singing it out loud.

This Amber Ale pours rub red and has taste of carmel and pine. It’s not very bold, but is a light overall tasty beer.

Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted English India Pale Ale (Pricey $$)

This beer is $12 a bottle, maybe not worth it, but really good nonetheless. It’s light, grassy, slightly hoppy with hints of grapefruit flavors. Overall, really liked this beer.

 

Highland Oatmeal Porter

This is one of the only beers we don’t rotate because it’s really good and its not a an overwhelmingly strong beer. You can certainly taste the roased malts and there are hints of coffee and chocolate. I really like this beer.

Cigar City Jai Alai IPA

Like me, this beer was made in Tampa.

It possesses all qualities good in an IPA, hoppy, florally, has citrus and fruit flavors, and pours a beautiful copper orange color. This is something I recommend to people that come in. Great IPA.

Delerium Tremens (Strong :-0)

The beer with the pink elephant, you can’t miss it. Good, but not one of my favorites, personally, but I get so many complements on it I figured I should mention it.

Chrisp, spunky, Belgian style, maybe a slight peppery taste? If Belgians are your thing, you should probably try this. It will come in a fancy glass too.

Duvel

This Belgian Strong Pale Ale does a good job at keeping the classic Belgian beer taste while adding in hops, and slight fruit flavors (maybe pear?)

Raspberry Brown by Lost Coast Brewery

31 Jan

Raspberry Brown From first taste and smell this beer screams raspberry.

Lost Coast Brewery’s Raspberry Brown is a nut-brown ale with a raspberry infusion. Brown ales are a sub-category of ales and vary in taste but generally are amber to dark brown in color and have a nut or chocolate taste.

“Ale” refers to the brewing process of warm, fast fermentation and top-fermented yeast (yeast that rises to the top as opposed to the bottom, which is characteristic of a lager, but that is a different story.) Ales are generally lightly to excessively hopped, slightly bitter and more robust in taste than lagers. Ales can take on many shapes and forms and there are many exceptions to the general conception of ale, including Raspberry Brown.

This beer is a dark reddish brown color and gives off a fruity aroma. Raspberry Brown is in no way hoppy, which makes it different than most ale. The description on the bottle sums up the taste pretty well: “ A chocolate Brown Ale with the essence of ripe red raspberries, made with malted barley, chocolate and caramel malts, hops, and natural raspberry flavor.” Although the chocolate taste is only slightly detectable and the caramel taste is not detectable at all, the description is pretty much spot on otherwise.

Don’t be deceived by the dark color ladies, this beer is not that robust and not hard to drink. If you don’t like raspberry taste this beer is not for you! Although I would not describe the raspberry taste as overwhelming, it definitely dominates the taste and is not only detectable but also distinctive. It is light in body for being so dark in color. There is a slight tart aftertaste, which is expected in anything raspberry flavored.

Something in my experience I have found with brown ales is less foam and carbonation than other beers. The cream-colored foam was less than the width of a finger and disseminated rather quickly. The carbonation was minimal and this beer goes down smooth. It is like a more delicious Newcastle.

According to Lost Coast Brewery’s website, this beer ranks in at 5.0 percent alcohol, a little more than your typical light lager such as Bud Light. It is considered a craft beer and can be found at some ale houses and in markets that typically carry a lot of craft beers. Lost Coast Brewery is located out of Eureka, California.

This beer is enjoyable and mild and is worth a shot on a rainy day. However, being so sweet, it is hard to drink more than one.