Thursday, November 24, 2011

Beer, Beer, Beer and, Well, More Beer

I am sad this blog has languished. And unless someone picks up the ball, it will certainly languish once more after the start of the new year as I will be alcohol-free. Might as well call me mr. big o'doul's. Heaven help me. But, while I still have the opportunity to share with you some brews I have been imbibing, I will do so.

I know what you're saying: How the hell can I remember what I've been drinking? Easy. I've been using an app called Untappd. Nope this is not a pitch for them. I'm not being compensated by them nor receiving any special perks. I just thought that some of you out there who enjoy craft and microbrews might like some way of keeping track of what you have enjoyed and what you wouldn't drink again even if your life depended on it. I know when I'm standing in front of a vast array of beers I'm not always sure what I've had let alone if I enjoyed it or not. So, I have Untappd to remind me and also suggest other beers I might enjoy based on what I've had in the past. Just a little tidbit - I'm writing this post based on what I've kept track of using Untappd.

Just a warning: this will be a fairly long list so there won't be any lengthy descriptions. I will, however, add a rating to each on a scale of 1-5 stars () - I think we're all familiar with how that works so I won't go into it. We all good? Well then, let's get to the beers shall we?

As I write this post, I'm enjoying an Abita Amber. It's smooth, somewhat malty but very low on the ABV scale at 4.5%. It strikes me as a very versatile beer that could be paired with virtually anything. ()

The other night at Buffalo Wild Wings, I had two beers. Well, wait, that's not really right. I had more than two beers, but I tried two different beers. Yeah, that's what I mean. The first was a Tallgrass IPA. (★) Tallgrass is not available in the Northeast so it was nice to have something different. It's not overly hoppy like some IPAs (not that I mind that), but it's a well-balanced beer that goes down easily. Methinks a bit too easily.

The other beer was from a brewery I hadn't had in a very long time. A quick note: Atlanta Brewing Company (now formally known as Red Brick Brewing Company) was founded by my former babysitter when I was but a wee, lower case dubya. He opened the Brewery in 1993 and the first beer that left the building was the Red Brick Ale. Well, the other night, after finishing a Tallgrass, I had the Red Brick Brewing Pale Ale. (½) I must say it was pretty nice. It was hoppy without being overly bitter and went down quite smoothly. I definitely wish I could get it back home.

Before I left for Mississippi, the family and I went to one of our favorite pizza places, Flatbread Company in Canton, CT. It has great clay oven pizza made with organic ingredients from local farms and a very laid-back atmosphere - the kids like to sit on the futon couches. Anyway, they always have good beers on tap and this night was no different.  I was happy to see they had Cisco Brewers Whale's Tail Pale Ale (★) as one of their offerings an I ordered without hesitation. It's a solid pale ale and not overly hoppy, that is to say, not too, too bitter at all. If you can pick some up somewhere, I suggest you do so. It's a very nice, drinkable pale ale.

I'm going to wrap this post up with some beers I've had recently at Backstage Eat. Drink. Live. Backstage opened a little over a year ago in Torrington, CT. Thankfully, they love craft brews and usually have 20 or more on tap and another 60+ in bottles. They even have special nights where a brewery comes in and takes over the taps. We were fortunate to be there when there were Dogfish Head and Brooklyn Brewery  takeovers. I started off the Dogfish Head night with the Namaste (½), a Belgian-style White beer that really set the tone for the night. I followed that by going to the other end of the spectrum and had the tried and true 90-Minute IPA, () the beer di tutti beers. For those of you who have had this you know I can't say anything more about it - it's about as perfect a beer as you can get. And if you haven't had it, you are doing your palate a great disservice - shame on you. Finally, I took a chance and gave the Theobroma (½) a try. Part of their Ancient Ale Series, Theobroma is brewed with Aztec cocoa powder and cocoa nibs, honey, chilis and annatto seeds. The chocolate and honey are certainly noticeable, but what it gives it its character is the slight burn/heat on the finish from the chilis. A nice offering from a brewer that never ceases to surprise.

At Brooklyn's takeover, I was all over the map. I started the night with the East India Pale Ale (½). Dry-hopped but not a terribly hoppy beer as is common in most Pale Ales. Predominantly malty flavors are balanced with a faint bitterness and the finish is very clean - certainly a worthy session beer. I quickly followed the Pale Ale with a Pennant Ale '55 () - a "lighter" beer than I usually drink, but a decent one nonetheless. It's a nice ale that goes down easy and would be a nice introduction for someone interested in English-style craft ales. I finished the night with the Brooklyn Pilsner (), their attempt at capturing the pre-prohibition German lagers. Although I usually pass over pilsners, I gave this one a shot and I wasn't disappointed. This offering is slightly more malty than its Bavarian brethren which was a welcome surprise. It's definitely not one I'd turn my nose up at.

My apologies about the banner - damn photo-sharing sites. But I'll get that fixed sometime. Also, I have some Barleywine-style beers at home that I'll be giving a go hopefully around Christmas. So, look for those reviews some time too.