Big Thanks To Insurance Companies

Left Hand Warrior IPA 2009

October 5th, 2009 beckel

My fridge is awfully full (hard life I know) so I figured it’s about time I start playing some catch up. I found this beauty on the shelves of The Four Firkins earlier today and couldn’t help but pick it up. Left Hand is a delightful brewer out of Longmont, Colorado that makes some delicious brews, I particularly enjoy their Milk Stout and Jackman’s Pale Ale. Many breweries have been experimenting with Warrior Hops as of late but this years brew is a bit extra special. I quite enjoyed Left Hand’s 2008 version of their Warrior IPA and I’m sure this year will be no different because aside from a nice new label they have also brewed this batch with 100% fresh hops from local farms in Colorado. This ale pours a very translucent light red hue and produces about three fingers of tight off white head that lasts for many minutes, slowly dissipating and leaving a good deal of lacing around the glass. The aroma of this brew is absolutely marvelous. Smells of sweet citrus, floral and fruity hop notes that are incredibly robust, lots of passion fruit. Moderate bitterness is present but quite minimal for something brewed largely with Warrior Hops. Flavor is even more robust and complex than the aroma. Full of passion fruit flavors as well as other citrus and fruit hop notes. Malt imparts some additional sweetness but allows the fresh hop flavors to shine. Warrior, Cascade and Goldings appear to be the major hop varieties used in this brew and boy can you tell. A nice gentle bitterness is present mid sip and grows stronger as you finish adding a nice character to the flavor of this brew and showing you what Warrior Hops are all about. Though this is one hoppy brew it is more floral and fruity than bitter, which somewhat surprises me, but is wonderful and makes this 6.6% ABV beer approachable for even those who aren’t accustomed to serious IPAs. Body is medium and the mouthfeel is quite crisp. Frankly I expected this beer to be more bitter and less approachable but who cares about expectations. This is one tasty brew that has unquestionably been kicked up a notch by the use of fresh hops and will be a refreshing delight to all of us hop heads out there particular those who are getting a bit tired of being slapped in the face with brutal bitter hoppyness, not that I would ever complain. Definitely one of the most wonderfully balanced brews I have consumed with Warrior Hops playing a major role. Hop head or not. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Left Hand Warrior IPA

Entertaining Posts From The Beer Blogosphere #5

May 31st, 2009 beckel

Beer and Taxes has been a hot topic as of late and over all I think the responses from the (craft) brewing industry have been appropriate so I have largely left the topic alone on this blog. But I would like to take this opportunity to commend the work of the many that strive to keep Craft Brewing a successful industry in our country and provide you with a few solid examples of our wonderful community at work. First Mark Stutrud from our local Summit Brewing sent out a nice email (which Stu so kindly posted) detailing how increased excise tax would hamper his companies ability to grow as well as illustrating how heavily beer is already taxes and what these increases really mean once your beer gets to the liquor store. Some of the best writing on the topic I have read has been by Jay Brooks of The Brookston Beer bulletin. First he points out that three of the thirteen people called on to testify about how to raise money for Obama’s health care plan suggested raising taxes on alcohol and proceeds to debunk their logic in addition to posting this action alert. Later he touches on the proposition to level taxes among alcoholic beverages which will greatly increase the tax on beer and wine while leaving spirits pretty much the same. Luckily the Brewers Association has taken a forward approach on this situation and recently introduced two pieces of legislation H.R. 836 and S. 1058 cited as Brewers Excise and Economic Relief Act of 2009 which are intended to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to reduce the tax on beer to its pre-1991 level which is half of the current rate of taxation. Thanks to Charlie Papazian for the heads up and most recently this posting (pdf) which further details the efforts of the Brewers Association. So for now I will continue to be optimistic as it seems the community is trying their best to inform the masses that raising beer taxes is simply unnecessary as history has shown us it is not particularly effective and I see no reason to burden a single industry so heavily for such little (or no) gain. Realistically some taxes will have to be raised as we are living in a massive deficit but I hope our government can be realistic and rational when they make these decisions and really think how they will impact our country and its people as a whole.

On to some more humorous observations we have a post from Bill of It’s Pub Night that simply made me laugh out loud. The Beer Review Generator, fill out a few radio buttons and there you have a review for whatever you happen to be consuming. Some people might find the concept a bit offensive, but frankly if you do, I couldn’t care less. Beer may be a wonderfully complex and delicious beverage that is deserving of serious analysis but we should also be able to laugh at ourselves. If you can’t do that you definitely need another beer and should buy me one while your at it.

Awesome Beer Bike Rack

I found this gem over at The Beer Runner’s website where Tim Cigelske writes for Draft Magazine. All the more reason to get a cargo bike, if only he had them chilled it would be prefect.

On the topic of bikes, this year I am riding the Tour de Cure to benefit the American Diabetes Association and the Larkin Hoffman MS150 to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society. The Tour de Cure is a 45 mile ride on June 6th from Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis through Downtown Minneapolis over to Downtown St. Paul up and down the Mississippi River in both cities and back to Lake Calhoun. The MS150 is a two day 150 mile ride on June 13-14 from Proctor Minnesota (near Duluth) to Nowthen (about 40 miles from Minneapolis). Both rides should be a lot of fun and I am happy to have the opportunity to support some good organizations. I know the economy is tough for most of us but if you are able to donate to a good cause it would be much appreciated. Thanks for your support.

Lastly some more interesting thoughts from Jay on the concept of addiction being a disease. Glad to hear someone is finally challenging the theory as I am one who believes behaviors can be changed with the use of willpower. Even sheep are relatively easily trained 😉

Southern Tier Back Burner

April 26th, 2009 beckel

I will start by stating this is the 3rd bottle of this beer I have purchased and consumed since I first saw it on the shelves a few months ago so you can be safely assured it is quite tasty, as Southern Tier’s brews tend to be. This brew speaks to the tradition of big English ales and the hearty labor required as well as indirectly referring to Small Beers made from further runnings of the mash. I wonder if they’ve ever considered crafting one with this brew’s leftovers or perhaps more so, sharing it. This beer pours a very dark mahogany color that is very translucent though it is a bit hard to tell because of its dark shade. Creme head was over two fingers and lasted for many minutes leaving a modest amount of lacing around the glass. Aroma is quite delicious. Sweet dark malts are complimented by subtle plum and other dark pitted fruit aromas and a refreshing hint of alcohol and carbonation. Flavor is a lovely balance of sweet and bitter. Smooth caramely sweetness from the light and dark caramel malts is contrasted with some bitter flavors of the dark caramel malt while at the same time citrus is contrasted with bitterness from the variety of hops used in this brew. Though sweeter malt flavors are at the center of this beer the brewers were not afraid to add plenty of hops and it is very apparent in the many wonderful citrus and bitter flavors throughout. The body of this beer is medium and the mouthfeel is a bit creamy but not too thick. With a 10% ABV there is no question you will notice some alcohol in this beer. Perhaps it could turn some off initially but this beer does not try to hide the fact it is quite alcoholic and instead compliments it wonderfully with its solid malt and hop profiles. Not the beer for those afraid of bitterness, but if you generally like Barleywines you will probably be glad to have tried this beer as it is an interesting American tribute to English Barleywines that are traditionally more malty yet is still sure to show you in their own American way that hops have their place as well. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Southern Tier Back Burner Barleywine

Entertaining Posts From The Beer Blogosphere #3

March 13th, 2009 beckel

First I’d like to give some love to a new Minnesota web site that has been entertaining me for the past few weeks that I first learned about thanks to The Four Firkins newsletter last month. The Heavy Table is based in the Twin Cities and is dedicated to informing us about happenings in the food and drink world of the Upper Midwest with an emphasis on quality and locavore. Keep up the good work.

Though I don’t drink their beer too often I’ve always assumed that the folks from Boulder Beer Company had good hearts with their creatively named brews such as Hazed and Infused and now The Full Pint further reaffirms this with news that they have become the first group in Boulder to adopt a city bike path and take responsibility of its maintenance. Props to Boulder Beer for understanding the importance of cycling infrastructure and its proper care, I hope to see others follow in their foot steps, or tire treads.

For those of you who haven’t already read a dozen posts on the subject, Beer Wars is coming! April 16th will be the live showing which is quite a unique approach. Not only will we get to see what is sure to be a solid movie about the craft we love so much but for the reasonable ticket price of only $15 you will also be treated to a live HD discussion with Ben Stein and many members of the craft beer industry who were interviewed for this film and hear their take on the video they have just watched for the first time (just like you).  Check out their website to purchase a ticket.

Though I usually leave it to others to post new beer news I can’t pass this one up The Beer Spot writes to tell us about Oak Aged Unearthly from Southern Tier (which ever so conveniently is currently in my fridge – and quite delicious I must add) but even more so an ale called Iniquity a Imperial Black IPA (also referred to as an India Brown Ale) a very rarely brewed style that I have only had the opportunity to sample one of. Which happens to be the lovely Dogfish Head’s India Brown Ale which you will eventually see a review of as I still have two bottles waiting to be consumed. So who’s stocking Iniquity first? Because I want some!

Then we have a very interesting graph that Chris over at Beer Activist links us to showing us how much water is used to produce various beverages we consume. I’m glad to see I’m doing my part by continuing to drink beer instead of coffee 😉

Water Needed

Back to some more Minnesota news MNBeer posts to let us know our own Summit Brewing will be releasing a new year round brew shortly called Horizon Red Ale that is supposed to be a nicely hopped Red Ale. I am excited to give this brew a chance and hope that they exceed my expectations with a nice hoppy but well balanced brew.

Summit Horizon Red Ale

Last but definitely not least is this awesome picture provided by Stuff About Minneapolis. I can almost taste it’s Premium quality.

Grain Belt Bitches!

Town Hall Twisted Reality Barleywine & Moylan’s Double Kilt Lifter

March 9th, 2009 beckel

So I’ve been far too busy recently, but what are you going to do, tiz the way of life sometimes. Last Tuesday I had a very enjoyable ride over to our local Brewpub, Town Hall for their Lion Brewing & Moylan’s Brewing tapping. Though I am a fan of the flavorful simplicity offered by Lions Imperial Stout and curious what they have to offer in their Imperial Lager I didn’t end up consuming either as I was distracted with the Barleywine wisely named Twisted Reality from Town Hall that had just been tapped on Monday. The ale pours a nice date like color with some nice red hues and is incredibly opaque allowing almost no light through. Aroma had a decent amount of citrus initially but it was immediately nullified by the caramely sweet malt characteristics and a solid dose of bitterness. Flavor is of delicious pitted fruits that are complimented with rich smooth malts and a good dose of bittering hops to round it off. Enjoyable floral and citrus notes are present but very subtle due to the massive bittering, I detect mostly orange. Head is a creamy tan color but not much was present as it was a bar pour into a modest sized sniffer. Body is quite light for a Barleywine and the mouthfeel is smooth making this solid 9.9% ABV brew very drinkable. I was quite pleased with the brew and would encourage anyone else who likes big beers to try it. The balance of flavors was done very well and I am a big fan of the wonderful hoppy bitterness present. After my first Barleywine I couldn’t help but try some Moylan’s Double Kilt Lifter as I have never had the opportunity to try the double strength stuff and thought the original Kilt Lifter was decent. The aroma was quite sweet with some malt coming through but largely sugar and a cherry like scent as well as other pitted fruits and a hint of sherry. Color is very deep but bright red and slightly translucent. Flavor is sweet and relatively fruity, almost a bit tart. Body is amazingly light and this brew goes down pretty smoothly. Alcohol is a bit more noticeable than some ale’s because of the sweetness but not particularly intense considering its 11% ABV. I did not realize this until now but apparently it was a special for their 1000th batch brewed. Similar to what Town Hall just did with their Imperial IPA, though unfortunately I missed that. The Double Kilt Lifter was a bit too much on the sweet side for me, but you have to get those sugars to ferment from somewhere. Not a bad beer I could just do with a bit more bittering to balance. I ended up finishing the evening with a few more Barleywines and another, this time full pint size glass of Moylan’s Double Kilt lifter when the distributor arrived with a few of their brewery glasses for us to take home. I also ended up with a good amount of Lion Brewing schwag including a small or medium womens shirt….so if anyone has a gal that likes Lion Brewing let me know, though I’m tempted to wear it just for good measure. Hooray for good beer, good conversations, and a safe ride home. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Town Hall Twisted Reality Barleywine

Town Hall Twisted Reality Barleywine

Moylan's Double Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale

Moylan’s Double Kilt Lifter & Sweet Potato Fries

Entertaining Posts From The Beer Blogosphere #2

February 17th, 2009 beckel

First Dan of The Full Pint has posted a poll asking you to choose the “Best East Coast Craft Brewery“. For me it was a bit of a pickle to decide as I adore many on their little list but I made my contribution and you should too, poll closes February 26th.

Bryce over at beer.about.com brought up a very funny topic, apparently the genious executives over at Coors UK do not understand why their beer doesn’t appeal to women. Apparently they have concluded women find their beer too bitter but any craft beer fan can immediately reconize they are off their rocker. He links to a lovely and insightful response to Coors written by Carolyn Smagalski. Perhaps Coors should consider listening to those who they are trying to market to, its amazing how helpful people can be when you give them an audience, though the first step to better success in my oppinion would simply be to stop producing piss beer, but what do I know. A lovely example of executives showing they know almost nothing about the buisnesses they are charged with running, cheers.

Chris of Beer Activist points us to a lovely website called Wallstats where a guy named Jess creates some very neat posters and recently one that is beer related. I had previously seen his most famous work titled Death and Taxes but today we are here to talk about his post entitled 50 Billion bottles of beer on the wall. He does a wonderful job of illustrating in a simple manner facts that are very relevant that we often ignore and others that are just fun. Here are some of my favorites:

We Drink Beer Good
We drink beer good.

Stimulating The Economy
Stimulating the economy.

Or That Heath Care Thing...
Or that health care thing…

Beer Is My Biofuel
Beer is my biofuel.

I can’t believe I’m even linking this disgusting display but I can’t help it particularly because of the lovely photographic evidence of this event. Georgia Hardstark writes about a strange craving that herself and friend Alie had been having, a post last call desire for McNuggets. What must have been going through their minds when they created this concoction I will never know but at least it appears they had fun with it which I fully respect. McDonald’s + Vodka gut rot can not be pleasant.

McNuggitini's for two

No puking please

On a local note our buddy Ryan from MNBeer points out an article from WCCO talking about a resolution that the city council is considering to end happy hours. The proponents of the change suggest that cheap drinks encourage binge drinking and irrisponsible acts related to consuming so much alcohol. This is ofcourse as stupid as stupid gets. Though it is the argument many people riase it has no merit what so ever. Sure something costing more means people may be more hesitant to purchase it but not allowing discounts on something is not going to stop people from consuming it. Not only does limiting happy hours not allow responsible drinkers to enjoy a cheaper night out it will do more damage to those people this amendment is claiming to protect. As a college student or person of any age, if you want to drink alcohol and can not aford it at the bar it will certainly not stop you from binge drinking. If anything It will encourage people to go to the liquor store and buy the nastiest bottles of $10 vodka they can find and bring a bunch back home. Now we have people consuming poor quality liquor and doing so in a unsupervised situation, which will not only encourage binge drinking (because it tastes like shit and you gotta get it down quick) but also underage drinking. Good job. Talk to your city council (wo)man and make sure they are not fools.

And now to stray for a bit of beerless news:

GlaxoSmithKline the worlds 2nd largest pharmasudical company is pledging to provide drugs to the worlds poor for 25% of the price we pay here in the U.S. or UK. While this is wonderful how about we start decreasing the prices of pharmasudicals for everyone! I know crazy concept, what am I thinking. Stop wasteing money on advertising and pattents and lets instead spend our money on things that will actually help our world. Thanks.

I.O.U.S.A. a sundance movie that looks to be a real charmer. OK maybe its not positive content, but it is stuff you need to open your mind to if you haven’t yet. I only hope that films like this open peoples eyes and make them realize that we can not live our lives in the excess we do. Please teach your children to save money, or there will be no one to save you.

Now on a lighter note April Winchell shares with us some lovely recordings of Obama for the audio tape of his book Dreams From My Father, a good book by the way. The last recording never fails to make me laugh.

Entertaining Posts From The Beer Blogosphere #1

November 28th, 2008 beckel

Here are some interesting posts that I have come across in the past month. First from Jay Brooks we have a very cool alcohol based art exhibition and then a lovely commentary on beer and taxes in California.

Alcohol Art

So many people have posted the Buddhist temple built from beer I don’t know who to give credit to, but here it is anyhow thanks to Tree Hugger.

Buddhist Temple

And lastly we have a humorous post from Knut Albert about silly coyotes trying to smuggle immigrants in a fake piss beer, I mean Budweiser truck.

Piss Beer

Imbibers One Hundred

November 26th, 2008 beckel

Inspired by the Omnivores One Hundred Darcy of Art of Drink has outlined a Imbibers One Hundred, a list of one hundred beverages you should try in your life. The rules are simple, bold the items you have tried and cross out those you refuse to ever consume.I got 47/100, guess I’ve got some drinking to do. How do you score?

1. Manhattan Cocktail
2. Kopi Luwak (Weasle Coffee)
3. French / Swiss Absinthe
4. Rootbeer
5. Gin Martini
6. Sauternes
7. Whole Milk
8. Tequila (100% Agave)
9. XO Cognac
10. Espresso
11. Spring Water (directly from the spring)
12. Gin & Tonic
13. Mead
14. Westvleteren 12 (Yellow Cap) Trappist Ale
15. Chateau d’Yquem
16. Budweiser
17. Maraschino Liqueur
18. Mojito
19. Orgeat
20. Grand Marnier
21. Mai Tai (original)
22. Ice Wine (Canadian)
23. Red Bull
24. Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
25. Bubble Tea
26. Tokaji
27. Chicory
28. Islay Scotch
29. Pusser’s Navy Rum
30. Fernet Branca
31. Fresh Pressed Apple Cider
32. Bourbon
33. Australian Shiraz
34. Buckley’s Cough Syrup
35. Orange Bitters
36. Margarita (classic recipe)
37. Molasses & Milk
38. Chimay Blue
39. Wine of Pines (Tepache)
40. Green Tea
41. Daiginjo Sake
42. Chai Tea
43. Vodka (chilled, straight)
44. Coca-Cola
45. Zombie (Beachcomber recipe)
46. Barley Wine
47. Brewed Choclate (Xocolatl)
48. Pisco Sour
49. Lemonade
50. Speyside Single Malt
51. Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
52. Champagne (Vintage)
53. Rosé (French)
54. Bellini
55. Caipirinha
56. White Zinfandel (Blush)
57. Coconut Water
58. Cerveza
59. Cafe au Lait
60. Ice Tea
61. Pedro Ximenez Sherry
62. Vintage Port
63. Hot Chocolate
64. German Riesling
65. Pina Colada
66. El Dorado 15 Year Rum
67. Chartreuse
68. Greek Wine
69. Negroni
70. Jägermeister
71. Chicha
72. Guiness
73. Rhum Agricole
74. Palm Wine
75. Soju
76. Ceylon Tea (High Grown)
77. Belgian Lambic
78. Mongolian Airag
79. Doogh, Lassi or Ayran
80. Sugarcane Juice
81. Ramos Gin Fizz
82. Singapore Sling
83. Mint Julep
84. Old Fashioned
85. Perique
86. Jenever (Holland Gin)
87. Chocolate Milkshake
88. Traditional Italian Barolo
89. Pulque
90. Natural Sparkling Water
91. Cuban Rum
92. Asti Spumante
93. Irish Whiskey
94. Château Margaux
95. Two Buck Chuck
96. Screech
97. Akvavit
98. Rye Whisky
99. German Weissbier
100. Daiquiri (classic)