Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Flavor from Bud Light

Tampa bay Devil Ray Jonny Gomes inadvertently discovered a way to actually taste the beer-like substance known as Bud Light by drinking it through teamate Dioner Navarro's protective cup. That's right, the same cup that Navarro wore while squating in the Florida heat for 3+ hours. It seems like an extreme measure to drum up flavor from the Bud Light but it may be a new trend. We'll watch in '09.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

An Experiment

In reviewing my beer consumption over the past year I find that I've spent a fair amount of money on beer. The economy is tight, there's a need to cutback. Before panicking and switching to PBR, however, I thought I'd have a go at brewing my own. A challenge is that I have no confidence in my brewing skills. I'm not very meticulous or scientific. I appealled to my friend Chris, the bastard crow, who is. And we brewed up a batch. We cooled our wort in the snow, and it's fermenting nicely. Note the photographic evidence.

over the next few weeks we'll bottle and sample. I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Food/Beer Delimma

Is the quality of food in Maine watering holes indirectly proportional to the quality of the beer?

I strayed off the peninsula yesterday. This is generally a mistake but I was in search of underwear. I swap out my panties once a year. So, I was in Freeport, and after a grueling half hour at the Jockey store I was mighty hungry and thirsty.

The Gritty's in Freeport features draught 21 IPA and Cask 21 IPA and both are terrific! I am a huge fan of this beer and I hope they continue to offer it. The cask beer poured perfectly and even though I love rough edges and lack of balance (in favor of hops) the smoother cask gets my vote, ever so slightly, as the better of the two beers.

But I was hungry. I ordered the special: a burrito fajita or a fajita burrito; ignoring the fact that Gritty's is a brew pub, not a Tex-Mex place and the fact that these items (burrito and fajita) are two different things. The combination might've worked, actually, had there been any discernible flavor in the food at all. And had the meat (steak, purportedly) not been reminiscent of LL Bean boot factory seconds. And had the wrap (tortilla? pita? wonder bread?) been fresh this week.

But the beer is great, and worth the trip.

I got to thinking though, at Ebenezer's I had a wonderful beer experience and a lunch (the house special burger which features cooler than room temperature coagulated tomato paste) that I still have the occasional nightmare about. At the GLB, enjoy the beer and be very, very careful when ordering the food. At Novare Res, the food is fine but how many olive plates does it take to make a meal?

Does great beer have to mean bad food?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Visit to Novare Res

I'm looking forward to a
Novare Res stop this evening, for a few beers with some old friends. I noticed that they have Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA--now certified as locavore compliant--on tap. I know what my first beer will be.

Also pictured, some troubling non-beer related news from the far north. I hope that this doesn't dampen the Christmas spirit in any way. I also suspect I'll hear from a few of the loyal readers who object to the occasional political content of this blog

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Yellow Snow

So I almost made it. I had a couple of fresh rolls, some nice greens, a tomato, and some red sauce in my hands. I didn't need, or even want, anything else. I was secure in my knowledge that I had HSA waiting at home. I set my goods down on the checkout counter at the Rosemont Hilltop market and glanced just slightly to my left. And there it was: yellow snow.

Was this fair? They have candy-free checkout counters in the grocery store. Why was this bottle of beer--the latest IPA from a marvelous, world class wrong Portland based brewer--placed right in front of me, as if it were a temptation from the gods. I thought long and hard, difficult thoughts about inner strength and self discipline. A full nano-second after this lengthy and thoughtful meditation I moved the bottle from its tempting display to my pile of goods. And I bought it. And I have now drunk it.

Occasionally, I haved stretched the concept of local in my 2008 locavorian purity. In fact, I have suffered a suspension order as a result of a regrettable spring transgression. Here I offer no rationale other than this: it was there, and I drank it.

And it is terrific: a beautiful beer, cloudy yet crisp, with hints of fruitiness all captured in an overwhelming bitterness--wonderful bitterness--that screams American IPA. It's fabulous.

In a few short weeks I will transition from 2008's pure beer locavore to a locavore-friendly 2009 beer consumer. I consider this a step towards that transition and acknowledge that I have jumped the gun a bit. I await the ruling from the governing bodies

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pure Locavore Heaven

I indulged in the perfect locavore meal: Gritty's marvelous 21 IPA as a warming up beer. It's great, wonderful hoppy flavor, crisp and clean yet sophisicated enough at the finish to leave me with a bit of a headscratching "what is that flavor?" question. A question that demands another to solve the riddle. But because I have tremendous will power I moved on and poured myself a glass of Geary's Wee Heavy. A very different beer. Full-bodied, full flavored, an adult beer made to stand up to the main course: lobster!

With locally grown salad fixins and freshly baked rolls from the Hilltop Rosemont market, my free-range feast was almost complete. Another Wee Heavy washed down the last little bit of tomalley smeared roll. The switch back to the 21 IPA as a palate cleanser was perhaps unnecessary but I drank it anyway. And enjoyed every bit of it.