Friday, November 30, 2007

Drinkin' Is Drinkin', Right?

Haven't been around these parts in a dog's age. Yeah, I don't know what that means either, but let's just say I haven't posted here in a looooong time. July? Holy crap, I suck. I'd say I have an excuse, but not two month's worth of them. I have an excuse now I can make public for not drinking much wine, but I really have shirked my responsibilities as a member of this fine site. Anyway....

This is not a wine post. For reasons mentioned above, we haven't been drinking any wine and I'm not one to go opening bottles and finishing them off myself. Well, not anymore. Let's leave the past in the past, shall we? Great. Moving on. I've been drinking more microbrews. That's not to say that I've been flogging my palate with Bud talls or Mich Lights and have only recently seen the light and the errors of my ways. Nooooooo. I've just been branching out and trying breweries with which I'm not all that familiar. I could extol the virtues of Sam Adams Octoberfest until the cows come home, but I thought I'd share some of the others I'm enjoying.

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
Oh, Lord has there ever been a better tasting IPA? I like hoppy beer. Scratch that - I have grown to love hoppy beer. There was a time when I was all about blondes and reds and "crispy" beers. No more. I'm all about the hops now. Dogfish is one of those brews I never paid any mind to - it's rare you find it on draft anywhere and when confronted by a slew of other offerings, I'm always tempted to stay with what I know: Hooker, Red Hook, Harpoon, etc. But, TwoBusy posted about a particular Dogfish a while back so I was intrigued. I grabbed this offering (a four-pack), encouraged as I was by the quote: Esquire Magazine calls our 90 Minute I.P.A., “perhaps the best I.P.A. in America.” Well, color me curious. You know what? It's good. Really good. But if you're not a fan of hops, you might want to stay away as it's up there on the International Bitterness Units clocking in at a 90 (for comparison: Guinness is in the 45-60 range and typical IPA is 40 and above). It also has an ABV of 9.0% - not quite the potency of EKU 28, but up there nonetheless. In short, well worth the purchase and added to the "buy again" list.

Magic Hat #9
I had my first Magic Hat #9 about seven or eight years ago. I remember I thought it was good, but didn't pay it much mind after that. Fast forward to this summer. I purchased the Magic Hat Variety Pack which offered Fat Angel, Circus Boy, Hocus Pocus and #9. A very good selection of beers, but I fell in love with the #9. The #9 is "not quite a pale ale" of the English Ale variety. It's malty and sweet and finishes both hoppy and fruity. See, Magic Hat adds apricot. But this is no fruit beer a la Dogfish's ApriHop - it's just a little extra flavor that if you concentrated hard enough you'd notice, but neither overpowers nor defines this great beer. Along with Fat Angel, goes on the "buy again" list.

I might start drinking some wine by myself for the next few months to maintain some posts here from the Dubyas, but I might also throw in some beer reviews from time-to-time as well, if you all don't mind.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ol' Reliable

We’ve actually had a few bottles of wine since I’ve last posted. But none of those bottles have made it through to a review. I’m guessing that all of us get a little busier as the holidays get closer and posting wine reviews is one of the first things to go.

There are a few standby wines that we buy when we want to be sure we’re getting something good—a favorite Rioja or Chianti or any one of a few California wines. A great, moderately-priced and interesting red blend that we love is Red Truck.

Red Truck is a Sonoma blend that we’ve had many times. Recently though, Sue found a Red Truck Pinot Noir. I also learned from their website that Red Truck makes a Merlot and Cabernet. There’s also a White Truck blend, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and a Pink Truck. (All of the “Truck” wines are a division of Cline Cellars.)

As claimed, the 2006 Red Truck Pinot Noir was smooth with a mix of fruity and spicy tastes. I actually could make out the cherries that the label said were in there too. Sue and I both enjoyed this wine and, although we’re not great at describing tastes in detail, we recommend it. All of the Truck wines we’ve tried have been good and they always seem popular at our local wine stores too—even though the Red Truck name has only been used since 2002. The website seems fun too and you can sign up to become a “Friend of Red Truck.” I sent in my email address. If I get anything good, I’ll let you all know.