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Wychcraft Blonde Ale

Well, here’s a new one for you – Wychwood Brewery’s Wychcraft Blonde Ale. Straight out of Oxfordshire, England for some of that other-side-of-the-pond style.

It is, so far, one of our more modest beers, topping out at 4.5% ABV. Wychcraft, which is recommended to be served a bit of a warmer temperature, pours smoothly into a glass, producing a thin head that retreats rather quickly into the ale.

Wychcraft has a mild apple and other associated fruity tastes to it, while still maintaining a standard lighter ale taste, giving it a bit more depth to your tastebuds, but not enough to really leave a strong presence post-swallow. It looks, and tastes, a bit like a hefeweizen whose citrus flavors have been muted significantly.

The general consensus of Wychcraft seems to be that it was pleasant and enjoyable, but weak in comparison to the other brews we had tonight [the others will be posted later this week]. On its own, it was rather unimpressive, but it may be paired well with food with significant taste presence, like Indian.

Our score? A solid 7.

Until…probably tomorrow – cheers!

Max

Bayhawk Chocolate Porter

Sorry Emily, but I did my first solo run tonight. For those of you who don’t know, I play softball on Tuesday nights, and we decided to hit The Lazy Dog Cafe after our game for some food and beer. Seeing this as an opportunity to do some Much A’brew work, I took some notes on my phone.

I decided it was time to branch out from my usual choices at Lazy Dog and try some of their house brews. Their house brews are done by one of two local microbrews. Their Blonde, Pale, and Amber brews are from Firestone Walker [San Luis Obispo, CA] and their Porter and Hefeweizen are from Bayhawk Brewery [Irvine, CA]. Having not tried their Porter before, I decided to give it a try.

I didn’t know much about it when it arrived at our table. Everything about the beer outside of what I could deduce with my senses had to be looked up; no menu info at the restaurant, no beer bottle. The Chocolate Porter weighs in at a comfortable 6.7% ABV and has a pleasant and mild nutty/hoppy aroma. It pours with a nice thin head [as pictured] which is prevalent through most of the duration of its consumption.

It is listed as a “chocolate porter” with tastes of coffee and chocolate. However, I didn’t really pick up on the coffee taste, but the chocolate was there, but only mildly. There was certainly no “drinking a Hershey bar” feelings here. It was definitely a fuller-bodied beer as compared to some of the others we have written about so far. It was full-bodied, but very smooth, as noted by several of us who tried it. It has a mild hoppy kick then goes down smoothly. I only had one at dinner, but I could comfortably enjoy more than one since it seemed very easy to drink.

I’m not great a food pairings, but what I can tell you is that it went very well with my double grilled cheese sandwich and fries.

Overall score: 7.5

See you later this week. Cheers!

Max

Black Magic & Demolition

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…

Overall Grades:

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.

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!

Mind, Body, and Spirits

Congratulations.

Somehow, you’ve managed to find yourself in the beginnings of what may or may not be a fruitful venture, but an interesting one, at least. What you find yourself amongst is 3 friends having a drink. We enjoy the company, we enjoy the conversation, and we enjoy the booze. We’ll try to share one or two of those things with you from each of our gatherings. If whatever we’re drinking turns out to be crap, maybe we’ll shed some light on some of the lovely conversation we have – who knows?

This is about as far as the plan goes, at this point. So, join us. Sit down. Have a drink. Let’s see where this goes…