Archive | July, 2010

This Beer Reminds Me

27 Jul

Reason number 657 that I love beer: it brings back memories. I think we all have a story or two of “The first time I had…”or “I remember when drank…” I had a Stone Smoked Porter on Sunday at Bar Pink. Although I was using it as a little hair of the dog from the night before, as soon as I had my first sip I immediately was sent back to a few months ago to the first time that I ever had that beer. My parents had come to town for a visit to check out my new apartment and explore North Park. While my mom was napping, my dad (who I get some of my better vices from) wanted to go check out a bar I had mentioned earlier. So, we head out, round the corner and park it at the bar at Bar Pink. Now its about 3 in the afternoon on a Friday; so it’s just us, the bartender, and two regulars. Perusing the tap list, we went “Oooh! Smoked Porter!” at the same time. Pint in hand, a quick clink, and the first taste. To quote Frank the Tank, “Once it hits your lips, it’s so good!” We were both kind of awed, chatted about all of the fun tastes happening, and relaxed into the beginning of our vacation. As we sat there and enjoyed a few more pints, I had one of the best times I’ve ever had with my dad. There was a terrible old movie playing that we MST3K’d, and chatted about random things. We rarely spend solo time together, and it was really nice to just be relaxed and goofy with my pops for a few hours. So, every time I have a Stone Smoked Porter I think “The first time I had this beer, I had an amazing afternoon with my dad in the dive bar around the corner.”

What’s your favorite beer memory?

Summer School #3: Wheat Beers.

20 Jul

Purely in the interests of academic integrity, I spent a little time out and about this weekend. The subject: Wheat Beers.  A Wheat Beer is a beer that has a significant portion of their malt grain wheat (30% to 70%) The Naked Pint tells us that wheat beers all share a few characteristics, “Wheat has a lot more protien than barley, which contributes a cloudy haze, and creates a thick, long-lasting head”

So, we start with the most popular style of wheat beer, a Hefeweizen. A Hefeweizen is a majorly wheaty beer (50% -70%) with a special yeast strain left unfiltered. I went with Weihenstephaner’s Hefe Weissbier:

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Here’s what I came up with.

Appearance: Medium gold color, hazy. Big foamy head (the photo is after it calmed down a little!)

Aroma: I could smell the unfiltered yeast first, then a citrusy/fruitiness, and then something with a bit of a spice. Not a SPCIY spice, but something clove-y.

Texture: It was definately a creamier texture, with a little little driness, and a good amount of carbonated tingle.

Aftertaste: fruity, banana, clove (go, nose!) and a slight tang after.

Overall: I’ve had hefeweizens before, so I kind of thought I knew what to expect going in, but I was wrong! Up until now, I’d always been served a hefe with a big old lemon or orange wedge, and although fruit is delicious, it definitely masked a lot of the flavors going on in this beer. But now, knowing the different flavors that can come out in this beer, I’ll never use a lemon again!

And the second half of the Wheat Beer lesson moves us along to Witbiers. Witbiers, I guess are basically the same as Hefe’s in the sense that they’re unfiltered, made with wheat malt, and light in color. But unlike Hefeweizens, they don’t stick to the purity laws of the good old Reinheitsgebot (google it). 

On Saturday I went to Toronado and got a Konings Hoeven Witbierimage:  

Since I forgot my trustly little notebook, I don’t have the best notes. Oops. Here’s what I DO have:

Aroma: Fruity and quite spicy.

Appearance: yellow, hazy, lots of carbonation.

Body/texture: tingly with a creamy texture.

Aftertaste: something spicy, and a lot of fruitiness.

Lets see what Tasting Beer says should have been apparent: I should have smelled spicy yeast, with subtle notes of orange and coriander; noticed a milkshake texture that’s a touch dry. Hmmm…

Also, because I wasn’t an A+ student with my note taking I did some extra curriculars:

-Alpine Nelson

-Green Flash Matt’s Bitter

-Russian River Pliny the Elder

-Green Flash 30th St. Pale Ale

-Ommegang Hennepin

AND

-Alesmith Horny Devil:

So A Girl Walks Into a Bar…

17 Jul

…and sits there by herself reading a magazine and drinking a beer! A HA HA HA! Get it? Ok, not a great joke, but it is the description of what I did Tuesday night. After having a less than awesome day at work all I wanted was a beer, to not think about the pile of laundry in the corner, and to read the back issues of Food and Wine I was falling behind on. So, I grabbed the stack of mags and walked up the street to Toronado, parked it at the bar, and enjoyed two Pliny’s while reading food porn. For a minute or two, I was really self conscious about sitting alone at a bar while there were people all around me talking and laughing with each other. I had that flash back to junior high where you all of a sudden feel everyone’s judging you, panicked and almost ran out of there with my periodicals fluttering in my wake.  But then, I took a minute and thought, “I don’t really care. I’m having a great time” and I was. It felt nice to just have a little selfish time. It’s also really quite freeing to not feel like you have to be with people to be out in the beer drinking world. I know there’s probably some sweet prejudices about a girl alone at a bar, but I don’t think I gave off the sad alcoholic vibe or made it clear that I was there in a “professional” capacity. Maybe its just me, but hookers probably don’t do a lot of note taking while reading culinary magazines. Moral of the story: I will definitely be instituting Self Date Night once a week from now on.  It was a great way to push the boundaries of my comfort zone, and allow me an excuse to get out to all of the bars and restaurants in my area that I’ve been looking to try. So, if you see a chick with brown hair and maybe glasses sitting at a bar in San Diego reading something nerdy, it’s probably me. Say hi!

Summer school #2: Blondes, more fun?

12 Jul

Ding! Ding! Class is in sesh again. Next on the agenda is Blondes. This is a style that’ll fit right under the category “Pale Lagers”. The Naked Pint calls Blonde, “a vague and confusing category” with Belgian styles being higher in alcohol content and American styles “tend to relay attributes that we Americans often apply to blond people, like bubbly, bright, light and easy.”

I went with Mission Brewery Blonde:

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Here are what my notes say:

Appearance: Nice clear golden color, crazy foamy head. The foaminess was nice because it was a lot easier to get down to business with:

Aroma: It smelled really fruity, almost ALMOST like smelling a juice. It was a tarter smell… some green fruit.

Body/Texture: it had a but of a dryness but then I had a different tongue coat-y feeling. I’d call it sort of a creamy feeling. Not a whole cream texture, more like a glass of 1%.

Aftertaste: Had a tanginess, and crisp. It ended with a sweetness, not a sugary sweet, but not bitter.

Overall: it was very refreshing, I definitely tasted fruitness-a taste that echoed the tart fruit aroma like a green grapes I thought it was also pretty balanced, a teense on the hop side. All in all, enjoyable.

So, I guess it kind of hit on all of the American views of this beer, it was bubbly, bright and light!