Friday, June 23, 2006

Off for a bit

As I mentioned previously, I'll be doing some work-related traveling this week. Blogging will be even more sparse, unless I get inspired and have access and time. Of course, there are other bloggers around here somewhere that might pick up the slack...

My one non-working night is tomorrow, and I intend to spend it at the Publick House in Brookline, Mass from about 9pm eastern until probably closing time. If you're in the neighborhood, feel free to seek me out. I'll be in the company of a merry Englishman and tossing back as many Belgian beers as I can handle.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Summer Beer

Yesterday it hit 106° in Tucson. Porter-drinkin' weather this ain't.

When it's so hot out that it hurts to breathe (and please don't start with the "it's a dry heat" nonsense...only people who don't live here in the summer say that...when the ambient temperature is higher than physiological temperature, you feel it) lesser mortals are often tempted to forgo flavor for sheer cooling ability. They head for "lite" beer.

Might as well drink water. (Which is not a bad idea, anyway.)

But when it's time to drink beer, real beer drinkers still drink real beer. Beer can be flavorful and refreshing. Recent offerings at the Tucson Chapter of the SudsPundit Lounge (aka, our patio) include:

--Session Lager from Full Sail. Proving that short and stubby can be beautiful, Session lives up to its name by combining solid flavor with sheer drinkability. This is the kind of beer our grandparents drank before we went crazy.

--Bridgeport Supris (that's "su-PREE", but don't give your bartender a hard time about it) I've already covered, but it bears repeating. The Big Lebowski of beers, I like this more and more every time I go back to it.

--Polestar Pilsner from Left Hand is, in my opinion, the closest thing I've had to a great German pilsner from an American brewer. Grainy and grassy, with a lovely aroma of noble hops. Bready in the back of the throat. Most importantly--and this is what sets the Germans apart from most of their American imitators--is the gravity-defying head retention. It pours HUGE and maintains all the way down the glass, keeping the aromas nice and stirred up for your nose with every pull. This one, as in Germany, is best when not ice-cold.

--Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema from Anderson Valley defies all notions of what summer beer ought to be, and does so in style. A copper ale with spice and hints of vanilla, this one just flat-out works. I had my first one last night, but I look forward to seeing how it pairs with burgers from the grill.

So...what's your favorite summer beer?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Travel Bleg

I will have an occasion to spend one night in Boston soon, en route to a meeting in New Hampshire. I'm looking for one good beer joint, and by all accounts, I can't do any better than The Publick House, so that's the current plan. But I'm open to other suggestions, if you have any (especially if they are closer to downtown and/or Logan).

Also, I'll have three hours to kill at O'Hare, and I seem to recall that there are a few places there...if there's a place worth changing terminals for, let me know. Ideally one that will be showing the World Cup.

Beer Labels

At Plaza, the place where Brian and I most often get our beer, you can mix your own six. I love being able to do this, and my six usually consists of some combination of Mexican lager (Pacifico, Tecate or Dos Equis), something yummy from Left Hand (Polestar Pilsner, JuJu Ginger, Milk Stout), and then sometimes I throw something into the mix that I've never tried before (if I don't like it, Brian drinks it).

For the unknowns, I either buy something made by a brewery I know/like, or I just simply pick based on the label. In fact, that's how I ended drinking Left Hand.

I recently came across these.


Now they just need to actually put them on a beer. I'd buy it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Chimay Grande Reserve (Blue)

What can say? It's been too long since I tried and reviewed some new beers. So I dropped some change at the ol' beer store this past weekend, and have a few things on tap, so to speak...

Chimay is relatively ubiquitous in the American market (you can get it at Trader Joe's and Albertson's in Tucson, for example) so a lot of beer geeks are quite familiar with their products. What's funny is, I've seen Chimay Grande Reserve (as well as the "Red" and "White") so many places that I've never gone out of my way to actually, you know, try it.


My loss. This is a real beauty.

Upon opening, earthy, yeasty aromas drift upward. The beer pours a reddish mahogany color with a dark, cream-colored head. Holding it up to the light sets off a pinkish hue around the edges. In the glass, ripe fruit and sugary smells predominate. My first taste was a bit too cold to catch all of the subtleties in the flavor--I should have let it warm up a bit before opening it--but as it warmed in the glass, the true nature of this masterpiece became apparent.

I suppose I could try to dissect the flavor into its components, but I think the best way to describe this beer would be "symphonic". ("Symgustic" would actually be more correct, but this term has the decided disadvantage of not actually existing.) My point being that the flavors harmonize perfectly. You know that you are encountering many things at once, but it is the combination them that makes Chimay Blue such a pleasure to drink. So rather than do my best impersonation of a chromatograph, I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the rest of it as work on what I'm actually supposed to be writing right now...

As a footnote, I think this would be an excellent introduction to fine beer--even to people who "don't really like beer". The exquisitely balanced flavor would be accessible to almost any palette, I think. And for all its complexity and strength (9%--don't say I didn't warn you), it is an extremely drinkable beverage.

He's Back!

Good lord, I've totally forgotten about this site. Good things the others were here to pick up my slack.

Not much happening lately in the brew house. Did a "Kitchen Sink Porter" in early winter and what was supposed to be a Witbier that ended up as more of an eclectic American wheat that I dubbed "Christie Beer" after the person that commissioned it back in March. Doing an interpretation of Fat Tire as soon as the ingredients get here. Ordering by mail is much cheaper for shipping than the gas would cost to drive to the nearest supply store. Anybody recommend a good online store that has competitive pricing? I've been using Northern Brewer but I'm not inflexible. Especially if it's a little closer to Atlanta. The reason for imitating the Fat Tire is because it's not for sale in Georgia and I've been jonesing for it for about a month. Hell, it's been almost a year since my last at Brian's wedding.

And damn it, now I've got to bust ass to try to make it up to Oregon for the brew fest now. Summer temp jobs, here I come!

Yes, I'll take a warm-up, please!

Not that we encourage or condone excessive drinking here at SudsPundit, but by way of public service:

DRINKING coffee could help protect you from liver disease caused by alcohol, research shows.

People who drink one cup of coffee a day are 20 per cent less likely to suffer alcoholic cirrhosis than those who drink none.

And the protective effect increases with the more coffee you have: those who drink two or three cups a day are 40 per cent less likely to suffer cirrhosis, while people who drink four or more cups are 80 per cent less likely to get the disease.