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.
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!
Well, welcome back friends. We’ve taken a few weeks off of writing, but we certainly have been maintaining a good buzz over the last three weeks.
Not too much to write home about, but we did make a trip down to Escondido, CA to visit heaven on Earth…I mean…Stone Brewery. We ate some food, drank some beer, learned some things about beer, then drank more beer. I think there was a third round of beer drinking, but hell, I don’t remember. Oh, and I got a proper camera to document our adventure in alcohol, so you should be seeing some marginally better pictures until I get things all figured out. And lastly, we got some proper glasses, so you can all stop harassing me about the crap we were using before.
Anyway, on to what some of you really care about, BEER! This week, I picked up some drinks on my way to Emily’s to attempt to get back on track with our writing. I have pictures, but no notes, so I’m entirely to blame if this turns out to be a piece of crap.
I picked up The Left Coast’s Voo Doo American Stout. The Left Coast hails from just south of me, in San Clemente, and you can find TLC brews at Oggi’s restaurants in Orange County. The skeleton-badged brew weighs in at a modest 6.8% ABV, and leaves a thin, but prominent head, which I’m starting to realize is mostly how I pour the beer, rather than the characteristics of it – oh well.
Voo Doo has a mild nutty aroma, which seems about par for the course. However, the bit of surprise is in the beer itself. While it is, by definition, a stout, it really doesn’t feel like one. It has a very light and airy body, not thick and viscous like many other stouts. The taste reminds me of Cheerio’s, for some reason that I can’t really put my finger on. Emily claims there some burnt orange in there, too, but I was unable to pick up on that one, mostly because I’ve never had a cooked orange, much less a burnt one.
Being a bit out of practice, we kinda left out the whole what does this go well with part, but Emily mentioned meatloaf, so we’ll go with that. An American stout for an American meal.
I couldn’t decide on a rating for Voo Doo. It’s good, but not fantastic. Definitely above average. 6.7?
Well, unless there’s some natural disaster*, we should be keeping this on track for the next several weeks.
*At the time of writing this, I was totally unaware of the 7.9 earthquake in Japan. Hope all of your friends and family are okay, if you have anyone over there.
As we enter our second week of an excuse to drink, Max and I have come to the realization that we’re going to run out of beer rather fast. So many thanks to all of our friends, especially Essie Snell, for sending their recommendations. We appreciate you only choosing the expensive bottles that need to be shipped from the other side of the country.
However, until we have gotten ourselves together (read: until Max has ordered some damn beer), we shall continue to raid the local BevMo with mixed results.
This week’s picks made Max unhappy, but let’s be honest, no one cares when the men are unhappy. He chose the Demolition Belgian Style Golden Ale. You know he chose it because it was called “Demolition” (supposedly referring to the destruction of the strip mall surrounding Goose Island’s brewery – why a brewery would be named something that ridiculous is a totally separate question). As it turned out, the name was not indicative of the beer’s power, in either ABV or taste. At 7.2%, it’s unlikely to have the upside of getting you wasted quickly. And while the citrus aroma was pleasant, the overall flavor was pretty weak. We decided it was summer BBQ fare – you know, after you’ve had a few bottles of the good beer at the party, and your tastebuds have decided to take the rest of the night off.
To no one’s surprise, my choice fared slightly better. Black Magic is the creation of Left Coast Brewing, conveniently located just down the coast in San Clemente (this is the brewing arm of Oggi’s, for those in the know).
The label informed us that it was an “American style stout”, which I’m pretty sure just means “not as good as Guinness”. It also tagged the beer as dry, which neither of us agreed with. Max and I both agreed with the prescribed flavor notes: toasted barley, chocolate, and coffee. Oddly, it smelled strongly of chocolate – it tasted much more like coffee. Go figure. It gets a little sweeter as you drink it (by the end, Max was of the opinion that it was “like drinking a Hershey bar”), with a hint of almond to round out the flavors. Definitely not as dense as other stouts, which is my preference, but for those who don’t like to chew their beer, this is a decent choice. We thought it would be really good with a serious pastrami on rye…also sushi, but we couldn’t figure out why that sounded good. In retrospect, maybe just the deli food. I also want to note that I took points off for having a spelling error on their label. REALLY?
We look forward to trying all of your suggestions – continue to send them along! Clearly, we’re making this top priority…
Demolition Belgian Style Golden Ale: 5.6
Black Magic Stout: 7.8
PS – I realize the formatting is crappy. I’m still playing with it so the pictures correspond with the post. Also, Emily, we should definitely include pictures of the beer in a glass, just for presentation, next time. You have the camera, so it’s up to you.