Red Ale

Great Lakes Brewing Co., Part 2

Max and I were grouchy on Monday.  For those of you who know us, this doesn’t sound important, because we’re usually grouchy.  But we both just had God awful days, and were therefore far more abrasive than usual.  So it was a good night for good beer.

We finished off the six pack Max’s delightful cousin had sent out from Ohio, and I, for one, would really appreciate it if he would send more (directly to me, please).  We were slightly more impressed with Part 1, but we wanted to give you a complete look at the Great Lakes Brewing Company, for any of you who were thinking you’d fly to the Midwest for your next night out.  So here you go!

Their IPA, Commodore Perry (different Commodore Perry) was decent.  Max is more of an IPA fan than myself, but we both agreed that this bottle was a bit unusual.  For one thing, it was orange, and more frothy like champagne than foamy like a beer should be.  However, it was also slightly less intense than your standard IPA, and less bitter.  So for those who want a decent intro IPA, this may be a good start (with a healthy 7.5% ABV).  I said it would be good with tacos.  Max said it would be good with another beer (again, he was REALLY grouchy).

Conway’s Irish Ale (whoever Conway was) got our lowest recommendation.  Didn’t taste like much, though I suppose if you favor alcohol content over taste, this might be OK (admittedly at 6.5% ABV, it isn’t the best choice).  It almost tasted like milk, with a little maple syrup in it.  I suggested it had an aftertaste of tangelos, but the grouchy one glared at me for that.  He also informed me that this bottle would go well with a better beer…so we went on to the one we had truly been looking forward to.

Both being big porter fans, we were most excited for the Edmund Fitzgerald (not a clue, so don’t ask).  It smelled divine…a lot like when your dad used to soak mesquite chips in the backyard.  However, when we sipped, we found it tasted like a flat Coca-Cola.  This actually wasn’t awful.  The beer was pretty good!  But the flavor notes in the background were very similar to what Coke would taste like if you took out all the sugar and most of the carbonation.  Maybe with a little oatmeal flavor towards the middle (I began suggesting other grains, but Max glared at me, so I stopped).  We decided it would go really well with brownies…that may have been because we were eating brownies.

Thus satiated, we both were able to depart in a better mood.  We were pretty fair in our ratings despite our case of the Mondays.

Commodore Perry:  6.5
Conway’s Irish Ale:  4.5
Edmund Fitzgerald: 7.8

A little bit of everything.  🙂

And we promise to be friendlier next time…right, Max?


St. Patrick’s Day Special: Irish Style Red Ales

Some people like to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by heading to the local pub.  But Irvine is really short on pubs, and I prefer to avoid obnoxious drunk people whenever possible (I, of course, am never obnoxious when drunk – ask anyone).  So Max and I said, hey, let’s get some Irish beer to drink for Much A’brew!

We failed, kids.  Our BevMo had nothing but Guinness as far as the eye could see.  Now we both love Guinness, but let’s be honest, everyone has had it.  And I mean everyone.  I think 5 year olds drink it at birthday parties these days.  We were therefore forced to think slightly outside of the box (read: cruise the aisles at BevMo for 15 minutes), and finally decided on two “Irish style” red ales.  Close enough.

The first was a Rubicon Irish Style Red Ale, which we both decided was superior.  The beer was very cloudy (as theoretically captured by Max’s fancy new camera), and it smelled like a field of hops, but didn’t taste that way at all.  The taste was definitely floral, with grassy notes and an orange aftertaste.  Rubicon’s Irish Style Red Ale was medium bodied, 7% ABV, and I must say very tasty.  Max says it goes well with fish and chips, but we all know how culinarily unadventurous he is…I think it would go with just about anything.

Our second choice was Moylan’s Danny Irish Style Red Ale (apparently, calling it Danny’s makes it extra Irish).  Oddly enough, it tasted nothing like the first, which just goes to show you that you can’t always trust the label.  This ale was very sweet, and slightly metallic – it reminded me of pineapple juice.  A strong scent of malted barley went with the caramelized taste and hints of vanilla, all of which caused Max to deem it “too fruity”.  I didn’t mind it, but I think you’d have to pair this bottle with something spicy – maybe Mexican or Creole food.  Definitely nothing Irish.  The ABV was 6.5%, and it was a fairly light beer, which may have also contributed to our rather lower rating.  Still not terrible, though.

Finally, we had one English beer to taste – it was leftover from the Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes I was making.  Samuel Smith Old Brewery makes a “Celebrated Oatmeal Stout” that we enjoyed very much – we really haven’t met a stout we don’t enjoy.  It was light for a stout, but they were not kidding about the oatmeal – you can taste it!  Apparently theirs is the original oatmeal stout, and the imitators just don’t match up.  It was amazing how much much that grainy taste came through.  We both approved, though Max did comment that it looked either like molasses or motor oil.  Either way, very tasty with a hearty roast beef sandwich, or in this case, in chocolate cake batter.

Overall Ratings

The Celebrated Oatmeal Stout: 8

Irish Style Red Ale: 6

Danny Irish Style Red Ale: 6.5

Hope everyone else had a fun night and made it home safe – slainte!

Jolly Roger & Judgment Day

So, here begins our adventures in alcohol. Emily and I strolled over to BevMo to take a look at their selection of craft beers. Drake’s Jolly Roger caught my eye, purely because of the bottle; I won’t lie. Emily chose the Judgment Day brew from The Lost Abbey. Why? I don’t know; I don’t question womens’ choices.  Um, actually Emily chose it because she’s heard good things about Lost Abbey, a brewery in San Diego she intends to visit this year.  And I was going to take you, Max!

After snapping a few pics (clearly, not enough), we popped the tops and got to work. Judgment Day is a Belgian Dark Quad Ale from The Lost Abbey brewery in San Marcos, California, and comes in a cork-topped 750ml bottle. With a healthy 10.5% ABV (awww, someone’s jealous!), it has a nice dark coloring and pours smoothly, but produces a lot of head that takes some time to dissipate. I know a lot of people enjoy a nice, thick head, but I’m not one of them. Then again, Judgment Day wasn’t my beer choice.  Then why are you the one discussing it?  It was a solid B in my opinion – easy to drink, not terribly exciting.

Judgment Day has a pleasant, sweet aroma – almost floral. Turns out that is attributed to the “Ale Brewed with Raisins” clearly printed on the label (in fairness, I read the label in the store, I just forgot to point it out to you). It’s a bit fuller-bodied beer, as compared to the Jolly Roger, which I’ll get to shortly.  Good with cheese plates and tapas plates.  It still tastes sweet and goes down smooth, and the fruity brew has a very strong presence in your mouth.  Hey, women like our beer like we like our men – exotic, strong, and a little sweet.

Next, was my pick. Jolly Roger comes from Drake’s Brewery in San Leandro, California. It is a 8.0% ABV Imperial Red Ale that comes in a 750ml capped bottle (ladies, please note the obsession with ABV, I think it’s very telling). Upon initial pouring, the golden-red brew produces a thin head that fades relatively quickly.

In the aroma department, Jolly Roger has a bitter, nutty scent; heavy on the hops. If you’re not a fan of hoppy, malty brews, this probably isn’t for you. Upon first taste, it has a rather strong, bitter presence, but fades quickly into a thinner body and smooth swallow. It’s just strong enough to give you a mild kick on the tip of your tongue, but smooth enough to enjoy with an entire meal; perhaps a good burger and fries, or fish and chips.

Overall ratings:

The Abbey’s Judgement Day: 7.7

Drake’s Jolly Roger: 8.3

Next time, I’ll do better with the pictures, I promise.  Next time, Max will let me use my camera like I requested.  Tell me why we ever trust boys with anything even mildly artistic?

Until then, cheers!  Saludia!