Archive | June, 2010

Summer School

30 Jun

I think its time for a little structure in my beer drinking life. Up until, well, now it seems as thought I’m just randomly drinking beer and doing a little review. That should be fine, but the whole point of my being out here talking about said beer drinking was to expand my knowledge and palate, and drinking with no structure or purpose won’t really help me in that endeavor. So, it is now time for the first She Likes Beer Challenge: Summer School. I’ve recently ready The Naked Pint by Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune, and they have a roadmap of sorts to get to the palate expanding. As they say, “We believe that the right path to fully assimilating your palate means starting out with the lighter, more delicate beers. This will train your palate to recognize the most delicate of flavors…will teach your palate to pick up on nuance and quality.” So, stay tuned for Summer School: Pilsner!

Summer School #1: Pilsner

30 Jun

Alright kiddles, Summer School is officially in session. Lesson #1 is Pilsner.  The Naked Pint tells us that a Pilsner is a beer first created by the fine people of Plzen, Bohemia (Czech Republic) when they tired of their heavy dark brews turning sour, thus making a beer that was “crisp, clear, light straw to golden in color, biscuty, clean and dry.”  And Tasting Beer tells us that Pilsner is a lager, meaning that it is fermented cool and conditioned cold, slowing down the yeast metabolism. Right. This makes the flavors in lagers “cleaner, less complex and more focused on the malt and hops.”

Alright, so lets venture into the world of tasting.  I found a bottle of Lightning Elemental Pilsner at Bevmo:

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It’s a German Style Pilsner, which should be a little hoppier than its Czech cousin.

Here’s what I noticed:

Appearance was a very clear, golden color with a nice amount of foam. The photo makes the color look darker than it is, I’d say it would be about a 14k gold.

Aroma: pretty mild, but clean and “beery” which is what I call malty, and a little hoppiness.

Body/texture: light, crisp

Aftertaste: a malt taste followed by a slight hop bitterness. There was also a tinny taste in there, not really sure what that was all about. Maybe that was my brain’s way of classifying another taste I couldn’t quite pick out.

Tasting Beer says I should have been able to smell a “clean malt plus good dose of herbal hops,” taste “crisp smooth malt; and herby Hallertau hops,” and have an “even or dry/bitter, clean finish”

So, besides the mystery metallic taste, this one pretty much hits on all of the points of the style. Overall I have to say this isn’t my favorite style, I like a touch more complexity in my tastes, BUT it was very refreshing and would be good on a hot day.

Bar Sheview: Toronado SD

24 Jun

Today I’ll be Sheviewing not a beer, but a bar: Toronado San Diego, or Tornado Alley as my best friend prefers to call it.

 Details:

 4026 30th Street

San Diego, CA 92104       

 619-282-0456

info@toronadosd.com

Toronado is my local haunt, its about 5 blocks from my house so I tend to go here the most. They just celebrated their 2-year anniversary, so it’s starting to feel broken in and is developing its own sense of character. The sterility of a new place with only beer posters on the wall is wearing off as more and more local band stickers make their way onto the wall and jukebox selection gets a little more neighborhood personal. They have a good-sized tap selection, and a pretty impressive bottle list with a wall of glassware behind the bar to go with it. I like the set up of this place, there’s a nice long bar along one wall, tables along the other and a good-sized patio in the back. And ladies, the bathrooms are clean. If I’m there solo or with a buddy I prefer to sit at the bar. Reasons I like sitting at the bar: purse hooks, stools with backs and listening to everyone order. Listening to the staff dole out recommendations is like going to class, they’re all really knowledgeable and willing to share that with you. In fact, the staff is just really great here. In some beer bars, you get that smug “I know more about beer than you” attitude from the people behind the bar, and nothing makes my beer taste worse than poor service. At Tornado Alley, I’ve never had a bad experience with service. From the bartenders to bussers, everyone’s been kind and helpful. Yesterday when a girl went up to the bar and said, “I don’t know what to have!” the bartender asked her what kind of beer she normally drinks, and brought her something she really liked…oh, and they smile. Weird.

They also serve food here. They don’t have a huge menu, which is nice. They do sandwiches, burgers and have a great selection of sausages. The food is just really good. I’ve had their burgers, sausages and the BBQ pork sandwich. All of which are delicious. Get the coleslaw.

Slight bummers about Toronado are that they close at midnight, and sometimes the crowd gets a little hipster-but that goes with being in North Park. All in all, I am a huge fan of Toronado. You should be too.

Sheview: Alesmith X EPA

10 Jun

I bet you all are tired of looking at a blank review, huh? Lets see what my notes say about this beer I tried  little while ago before my houseguests (parents) were here for a week…more on that beerventure later. Lets get to talking about Alesmith X.

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Lets see what I can decipher from my notes…

Appearance: Golden, more on the brown side than yellow, not overly carbonated, but has small bubbles thanks to bottle conditioning.

Aroma: Really zingy, fresh fruity aroma, nice and crisp. Cannot wait to taste! Sliiiight bitterness.

Body/texture/mouthfeel: Slightly dry, light and a bit of carbonation-y tingle. My tongue was left with a velvety feel after swallow.

Aftertaste: A little bitter but nice and crisp. There was a bit of something perfume-y, it tasted a bit like green apple?

Overall: it was really refreshing! I will enjoy this time and again. Scrawled on the bottom of my notebook was “the perfect summer afternoon patio beer!!!” That’s a pretty high complement, one of my most favorite things to do ever is sit on a patio with friends and drinks.

Sheview: Lindemans Framboise Lambic

10 Jun

Last night, my best friend and I celebrated her newly announced promotion with Lindemans Framboise Lambic. She happened to have a bottle at her place, offering me the perfect opportunity to celebrate her very hard earned workplace victory and  take some notes for a sour beer Sheview.

So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty:

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Here’s how we drank it: in red wine glasses so we could get our noses all up in its business and smell this: a tart fresh aroma, with a very evident raspberry scent.

The mouthfeel/texture was really crisp and tangy. Sweet with sourness following, there was that Sourpatch Kids saliva pooling thing going on. But not overly so, the sweetness kicked in.

The aftertaste was almost a jam taste, I felt like I was eating a sandwich in second grade when only raspberry preserves would suffice.

Appearance: A really pretty red, with a good amount of carbonation and the head was nice and thick to make for a good amount of time to work out the aroma.

Overall: A little sweet for my tastes. The raspberry being the main flavor made it more of a sipper for me, although it was enjoyable I was mostly done with it after the first glass.

Lets see what Tasting Beer has to say about it: “It’s as weird as beer gets” has got to be the most intriguing description ever. A lambic should have a “sharp acidic palate with amazing complexity” I’m not sure if it was the flavor we were drinking, but I feel like the sweetness of the berry really overpowered the sourness and sharpness that the “spontaneous fermentation” should have presented in this brew. I will definitely look forward to trying other lambics to get to the true sourness that should apparently be shining through here.

Sheview: Alesmith Anvil ESB

6 Jun

Hello, and welcome to the first ever She Likes Beer review. A Sheview if you will. I have fin ally gotten through Tasting Beer, and am now into the beers by. style section. This is important because that means its time for me to start drinking beer with a specific purpose. We’re starting with Alesmith’s Anvil ESB:

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Looks good, no? Also, please note my pink bottle opener, gotta keep it a little girly. Well, let’s get right into it. For the first Sheview, I’ll be going by the tasting review guidelines given by Tasting Beer, at least until I find a way that works better for me.

Aroma: My nose is still a little off after my last cold, but this beer had a bit of a bitter aroma, and something a little like a green grape? It smells really tasty, I’ll tell you that much.

Appearance: It’s a nice clear brownish amber, that shows a really pretty red held up to light (actually its the exact color of my sofa, so bonus points for that). The head doesn’t hang out for very long, but the carbonation keeps on going with these adorable little bubbles that meander to the top of the glass.

Body/Texture: Nice and smooth texture, after the swallow there’s a bit of a tingle from the carbonation. That was a fun little surprise.

Aftertaste: Slightly bitter, with a little taste of caramel- reminds me of this awesome handmade caramel from a candy shoppe in my hometown.  It’s nicely balanced.

Overall: A really enjoyable brew. I will admit, I’ve had this beer before and knew beforehand that I enjoy it. Yet, sitting back and actually processing why I like this beer really made me sit up and pay attention. There’s a lot of good to say about it. It’s not too over the top, not too sweet and not too heavy. It’s just a really nice beer. It goes well with food. And I love food.

So, lets see how my new book learnin’ paid off. Here’s what Alesmith has to say about this one:

“Bright copper color with light tan head. Malty slightly hoppy aroma. Caramel and malty flavors with a perfect balance of imported English hops.”