Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Final Four

The race for the U. S. presidency seems to be down to 4 candidates. There's much less pressure this time, knowing that any candidate even mentioned will be a significant upgrade of the current disaster. Check out the story:

Here's the bigger question. Which local beer would each of the remaining candidates opt for?

Hillary: An Allagash Curieux, which she'd slip to Bill in an attempt to get him drunk. That in an attempt to get lucky for the first time in years.

Romney: Poland Spring Water, which he'd try to pass off as Vodka. But we'd know better. He's still a Mormon Masshole but he looks better every second now that it appears McCain will get the nomination.

McCain: Redhook ESB, brewed by the Anheuser-Busch owned Redhook brewery in close by New Hampshire. Since McCain's wife inherieted the diistribution rights of Anheuser-Busch in Arizona, he's never had to hold a private sector job. Helps explain his goofy but true quote, "I don't know anything about the economy."

Obama: Shipyard Export, which straddles the micro/macro brew line and is, in effect, neither. It's also neither light nor dark. Wide appeal, smart, successful. Not devisive, a uniter.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Beer-Related Super Bowl News

It's Super Bowl week, the week before our most over-hyped sports event. So far, the biggest story of the week is a bit strange: New York Giant lineman Grey Ruegamer disclosed that he had a summer job castrating lambs--with his teeth! His rationale:
"There was beer."

Click here for the full story.

Fortunately I am a beer locavore and there is no local beer--even the marvelous Curieux and despite my Scottish heritage--that could ever convince me to go anywhere near a lamb's privates.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

And Tripeling Up

What would I do without Allagash! What a wonderful brewery!

The Tripel is a wonderful beer: malty and yeasty and flavorful.

Belgian Dubbels were used by the monks as a vehicle for fasting, and I get that. Dubbels are full bodied and malty and comparable to liquid bread (setting aside the high alcohol content).

Tripels, on the other hand, are traditionally drunk during celebrations, like when the Red Sox win the World Series. It was in the aftermath of one of these celebrations that the monks invented the Jesus light switch, pictured here. The Allagash Tripel, by the way, weighs in at 9% alcohol, so a 4-pack of Allagash Tripel is roughly equal (alcohol-wise) to drinking 9 pints of Guiness (or something like that). And if you warm up with an HSA, as I have, you are likely to post offensive material on your blog, as I have. Sorry.

A Rant, Only Marginally Beer-Related

More of a whinge really, since life is too short to rant.

My mouth watering for frites, I braved the cold and arrived at Duckfat only to learn that they were closing (it was 7:55 PM). Duckfat is owned, as I understand it, by Rob Evans, a critically acclaimed and by all accounts brilliant chef. I just don't understand the thinking of being closed on Saturday night. It must be the latest gastronomical trend. I also don't understand why the majority of the seats in Duckfat face the wall, but that's a different topic, I suppose. The food is quite good there and I'll go back if I ever catch them open (rumor has it that the moon and stars are set to align soon).

A short walk to Benkay did the trick however. Ando-san (the ita-san) makes sure things are done right and my sushi was fresh and good and very reasonably priced. Another minor whinge though--no local beer on the menu. It was a good night for hot sake' anyway. The glow from the food and the heat from the sake' fortified me for my walk back up the hill.

While whingeing about local eats I had a promising meal turn to disappointment at One-Eyed Jacks. The fish tacos feature many fresh items and the portion is large but here's the catch: the fish is deep-fried and the tortilla is covered in catsup! What a horrible thing to do to any fish. My bad for straying from the pizza.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Dubbeling Down

This is a really nice beer from my friends at Allagash. I am sipping and blogging. It's malty and, well....malty. But the finish is surprisingly (a pleasant surprise) clean and neat and crisp.

Actually, there's nothing too surprising about this beer since I have drunk it many times. I have always enjoyed it.

From here I'll continue the Belgian trend with a walk down the hill to Duckfat where I'll violate my main food rule (more of a guideline, obviously) and have some frites. The food rule is: never eat anything deepfried. At Duckfat I believe I'll be stuck with a beer downgrade since they don't have a locavore offering as nice as the Dubbel. I guess I better fortify myself by sipping a second Dubbel before I go. Actually, my guess is that it'll be closer to gulping than sipping but I'll enjoy it nonetheless.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Session Beer

Any beer that contains no higher than 5 percent ABV, featuring a balance between malt and hop characters (ingredients) and, typically, a clean finish - a combination of which creates a beer with high drinkability. The purpose of a session beer is to allow a beer drinker to have multiple beers, within a reasonable time period or session, without overwhelming the senses or reaching inappropriate levels of intoxication. (Yes, you can drink and enjoy beer without getting drunk.)
The Sebago Red I drank last night fits this definition. It's not particularly special beer. But it's somewhat flavorful, reasonably priced, and I could drink it all night and still follow the plot lines of The Biggest Loser. Not sure Sebago Red passes the "high drinkability" test, however.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Growler

On Sunday I went for a run, it was cold, and when I returned I needed a recovery beverage and a recovery activity. I had the perfect solutions readily at my disposal: a growler of Freeport Brewing Company's Ex-Wife Bitter Blonde Ale; and American Football on the television.

I've posted a picture of a growler. It's not the beer I drank, however. It is a beer from Green Bay, Wisconsin, which happens to be the home town of the Packers, one of the teams I watched (they lost).

The beer was good: a blonde ale with enough bite to drink year round. The Growler was $6.99, which transltes to about 8 bucks a six pack. I think there are better values out there.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Answer Is

Brooklyn Lager! And, her Scottish cousin, Brooklyn Winter Ale.

These beers were quite tasty. The venue, a large resort specializing in corporate functions, was guilty of that shopping mall restaurant flaw: they served the beer so cold and in such frozen glasses that it was difficult to taste properly. Nonetheless, I continued to try. But, after 7 or 8 attempts, I gave up.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What's a Beer Locavore To Do?

I have a road trip (business) to Rye, New York. My beer options there are a complete mystery at this point. Applying the 100 mile radius rule to Rye yields some potential fine beer choises. But I fear that the options provided during the business cocktail hour and dinner will be limited to Newark Bud. Should I switch to wine? What if there's a wonderful beer available there that is brewed more than 100 miles from Rye? Do I give up my principles and imbibe?

I fear that I will face very difficult decisions. I'll report the results when I return.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

While the Winter Storm Raged

I took shelter by the fire and nursed a Smuttynose Winter Ale or three. This beer gets panned by the experts. Fortunately, I'm not an expert because I quite liked it. It's a Trappist-style Dubbel that is flavorfully malty and rich. It's dark brown. It goes down smooth. It provided comfort from the storm.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Winter Ales

I'm enjoying a nice porter from Shipyard: Longfellow Winter Ale. There's a nice quote from the man, who may be Portland's most famous native son, on the label.

Often I think of the beautiful town That is seated by the sea.

We did have a wonderful, sunny, warm (40 degrees F) winter day today, and Portland did look lovely. We have a winter storm coming tomorrow. I better drink a little more Longfellow and rest up for the storm.

I Am Curieux (Yellow)

And so can you!

This is an obscenely delicious beer. It's gold rather than yellow (I just liked the cheesy post title) and the Bourbon barrel ageing comes through loud and clear. So do other flavors: it's malty and slightly fruit in a nutty kind of way. At 11% ABV it packs a wallop.

Beer this good doesn't come cheap--$15 for 750 ML--but fair enough, it's worth it when one is in the mood to splurge.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Cooperstown, NY and Rye, NY are more than 200 miles apart. The beers of Ommegang will have to wait.

Oh well, I think I'll make it a Belgian style weekend anyway and enjoy some of what our friends at Allagash have to offer.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

An Early Locavore Challenge

And a potential solution.

I have a road trip! Specifically, I have a business trip to Rye, New York. What are my eligible (brewed within 100 miles) beers in Rye?

There's a great tool on one of the internets that I'll use to solve this problem. A possible carrot: the beers of Ommegang! These delicious Belgian-style beers are brewed in Cooperstown, NY. Is Cooperstown within 100 miles of Rye? I can check!

In other news, I was in a local tavern recently and one of my fellow patrons referred to me as "Mitt Romney", the Mormon Masshole running for president. I drank some more beer and pointed out some differences between Mitt and me. Among them, our respective panties. Can distinguish my underwear from that which is modeled by Mitt, in the photos on this post?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sampling the Local Stuff

I waded in to a bit of Geary's HSA, which I really like. It's a malty brew but it remains crisp and hoppy and flavorful. The Geary's Winter Ale is a bit of a downgrade but certainly passable. Gritty's Best Bitter leaves me hoping I never run into the second best (or worse). There's just not enough flavor for my taste. Allagash Dubbel remains a treat, it's a classic Belgian style beer that is strong and flavorful enough to render food unnecessary (the monks used to fast by surviving on Dubbel, and I could too, if necessary. But I ate anyway). Old Thumper remains my favorite Shipyard product, and it is brewed less than a kilometer from my flat. Finally, Stone Coast's 840 IIPA is well above average.

And all brewed here in Portland. I enjoyed every one of them to varying degrees. I believe my beer locavore commitment will work!

There are certainly sacrifices beyond the Dogfish Head mentioned earlier, but there are beer locavore benefits as well: no Italian beer (the reason the Italians drink wine); no Indian beer (the reason India is always pissed off at Pakistan--they have to blame someone for their shitty beer); and no Chinese beer (3 billion people and no potable beer, this is the hidden reason behind the Tiananmen Square protests).

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Local Beer

There are 8 breweries in Portland, Maine. There are many others within the 100 mile radius that defines local consumption. I should be okay. But it means no Dogfish Head IPA (the 90 minute IPA is my single favorite beer). So, I will suffer for my principles. I'm going to have another Geary's HSA and cogitate that.