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.
Max and I are forward thinking people. We’re smart, liberal, and tech savvy (well, that’s mostly Max). And we are proud to proclaim, as next generation Americans, that we stand against Valentine’s Day and all the expensive ceremony that accompanies it. Therefore, instead of spending $100 on dinner (for one), we spent $15 on beer. And it turned out to be our most successful beer week to date!
As Max is working diligently to introduce himself to previously unknown styles of beer, I considered it my responsibility to provide him with his first sour ale. Now, I won’t say that I spent a lot of time choosing the sour – I got the one that was on sale. But as it turned out, Hermitage Brewing Company’s One Door Flemish Style Sour Ale was a good starter for anyone who hasn’t tried a sour (I’m looking at you, everyone not in my immediate family). The texture was light and airy, and while the traditional tart bite was present, it was balanced by a certain sweetness, probably from the dominant cherry notes. I felt that there was a certain woodsy flavor, almost a cedar background to the beer. Max felt it was like drinking a tangy soda with a 7% ABV. We also decided that it would pair well with any and all Italian food, which would have the zest and spice to balance out the sourness. Possibly this was because we were eating pizza.
Our next choice was Tied House Brewing’s Cascade Amber – both beers are native to Northern California. Now the Cascade Amber started out entertaining, as the bottle read like a romance novel. Who knew an ale could have long crimson hair? I expected it to be a little spicy – instead, we found it to be extremely creamy. It lacked depth – the only real taste was of vanilla – and was almost the alcoholic (5.2% ABV) equivalent of cream soda. As odd as it may seem, we categorized this beer as a brunch beer. I know there aren’t a lot of you drinking your pints before noon, but the best thing with this beer would be waffles. Maybe a side of bacon. So next time you really don’t want to face the morning, but you have a few Eggos in the freezer – consider Cascade Amber. Currently on sale at BevMo, and you can read the full romance novel (or at least the short story equivalent) online.
Finally, we got to the piece de resistance…ROGUE. Max and I are both big fans of Rogue Ales, which I had the opportunity to visit during my last trip to Portland. You should all go, their beers are delicious. This particular bottle, First Growth Creek Ale, is one of their GYO brews (Grow Your Own – part of their booze revolution). They grow the hops, barley, and malts themselves, controlling the beer’s quality from start to finish. And I think it’s pretty hard to argue with the result. First Growth Creek Ale was actually similar to the One Door sour – both had cherry flavors and a tangy bite. However, the mouthfeel of the Rogue was (I think) much richer and more filling, with a burst of sour goodness mid-sip. There was also a nice taste of carmelized grain and a hint of peat moss, making the taste much more complex. Even the pour was different – rich and cloudy, and with a musty scent of wood in the rain. It would be perfect for a picnic, and at 6% ABV, you could still hike home.
Our Ratings – and yes, we will standardize these at some point.
One Door: 8
Cascade Amber: 6
First Growth Creek Ale: 7.3/8.4 (Emily preferred the Rogue!)
We apologize that we didn’t get through the draft beer – we made poor choices, and we apologize. However, we have been granted a second chance with our field trip to Stone Brewing Company in Escondido this weekend. Who could ask for anything more?
Until we write those bad boys up, spend your time with those you love – drinking. 🙂
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.
Overall score: 7.5
See you later this week. Cheers!
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.
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.
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!