Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Beer Chemistry in the NY Times

Arthur passes along a piece about the relationship between the geology of an area and the beer styles it has historically produced. (Bypass NYT registration here.)

They get a couple of things half-right...particularly on what makes an IPA an IPA (it isn't just the mineral content)...but interesting and accessible reading nonetheless. Plus, that the science of beer is being covered by the Times at all is a very good sign that real beer is here to stay in the U.S.

Of course the best part of the article is that the geologist lecturing on geology and beer is named Dr. Maltman. You just can't make that up...

Monday, December 06, 2004

Winter Ales: Bridgeport Ebeneezer Ale

Tonight I'm having Bridgeport's Ebeneezer Ale, one of my favorites from last year.

I got to visit Bridgeport's pub in Portland a few weeks back. If you ever get to Portland (and if you are reading this page with even the slightest interest--you should, because Portland is the North American Mecca for beer drinkers), Bridgeport is a must-visit in city jam-packed with brewpubs. Busy, cool crowd, good service, good food, and great beer. Don't miss the ESB.

But back to old Ebeneezer...

The thing I like most about this beer is probably the same thing that might put off the casual beer drinker. The beer tastes almost like it could be a really well-made homebrew. It has a subtle complexity of flavor tempered by the mellow, soft mouthfeel of natural (in bottle) carbonation. Dark brown (they describe it as "mahogany") with a creamy, thin head that dissipates quickly but clings to the sides of the glass all the way down. The aroma is mild and roasty. It tastes primarily of roasted malt with a bit of fruitiness in the background, but almost paradoxically finishes dry and lingers long on the palette. Not as spicy as some winter ales, and actually a bit more hoppy (40 IBU) than most. Bold alcohol (6.4%) throughout--it'll warm you up! This winter ale is a real treat for a hophead like myself.

Friday, December 03, 2004

And in this corner......

Having been recently bestowed with the honor of contributing to this blog, I'd like to que off of Brian and Chris' previous posts by providing an introduction of my own.

Growing up on Long Island, you're not exposed to a variety of different microbrews. Sure, there's a few here and there, but it isn't nearly as widespread as out west. I guess like most of the country, Bud, Miller, etc. saturate the market to the point where micros don't stand a chance. Also, people back east aren't, as a whole, as passionate about beer as people out west. The people out west seems to be pickier with their choice of beers and for good reason. When I look back on the beers I drank in high school and college, beers I don't like anymore, I'm glad I've opened my eyes to the brighter side.

I'm an architect and structural engineer now working in the beautiful city of Portland, OR. Lisa and I just moved here from Tucson after our wedding in September and we love it here. I started brewing last year after Brian, Marsha and Sara gave me a home brewing kit for my birthday. Many, many thanks to them. While I've only brewed one beer since then (a cranberry nutmeg holiday porter), it was one hell of a first beer and I definitely plan on brewing many more now that we've moved into our new

Portland has so much to offer and home brewing is no exception. Lisa and I are heading to the Portland Holiday Ale Festival tonight and I'll probably check it out tomorrow and Sunday. There are 29 different beers to taste and, if all works out to plan, I'll have a review of each and every one of them. So stay tuned.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Winter Ales (Part 1 2 of several)

Rather than wallow in jealousy of my friends in Portland who will be attending the Holiday Ale Festival this weekend, I decided to take the initiative, head to my local purveyor of fine ales, and pick up a good sampling of this season's offerings.

And if I can stay on task, I'll pass on this information to you.

Tonight I'm beginning with Flying Dog K9 Cruiser Winter Ale. The color is deep, slightly reddish brown, with a dark cream-colored head. Rich, slightly roasty aroma. Spicy attack, immediately followed by a mellow maltiness. Finishes somewhat grainy. Hop presence is very much limited to the background. It goes down very smooth--which could be deadly (6.8% ABV). Overall, it's a smooth, well-balanced ale, perfect for a cold night. However, it doesn't leave much of an impression if you are looking for something truly unique or bold. Still, very tasty.

It would go extremely well with a basic, steak-and-potatoes kind of should any good winter ale.

(Note: this is technically part 2, since Chris' review of Sweetwater Festive Ale also fits nicely in this theme.)