Archive | September, 2010

Temptation. Very Tempting.

29 Sep

A few weeks ago I got my mitts on a few bottles of Russian River Brewing Co.’s Temptation Batch 05x1E at Mesa Liquor.  Going in I knew this was one of their barrel-aged beers, but that’s about it. Fortunately for me there’s a nice little blurb on the label:

 Temptation: “Aged in French oak wine barrels for twelve months with distinct characteristics of fruit and subtle oak” sounds more like a description of wine than beer. However, Temptation is indeed beer. Temptation is a Blonde Ale aged in French oak chardonnay barrels with Brettanomyces. Flavors of wine and oak absorb into the brew throughout its aging. Temptation is re-fermented in the bottle to create its carbonation–a process commonly used to make fine champagne and sparkling wine. Spent yeast forms a thin layer of sediment to remain in the bottle.

 Sounds interesting, but what are Brettanomyces (besides a fun word to say)? I took to the Russian River website to see what they had to say. “Brettanomyces (also known as Brett) is feared by most brewers and winemakers alike…Brettanomyces is actually yeast, it ferments and acts the same as every other “conventional” yeast, it just has the propensity to continue fermenting through almost any type of sugar, including those natural sugars found in the wood in an oak barrel. Brett is very invasive and if not handled properly can become out of control in a winery or brewery, but, if used properly with care, it can add rich aromas and flavors of earthiness, leather, smoke, barnyard, & our favorite descriptor-wet dog in a phone booth.” So, this is what gives a lot of sours that funky taste! It’s the Old Gregg of yeasts: it has the Funk.

 Alright, now that we’re all learned up on the Yeast of the Day. How was the beer?

 Appearance: poured a really pretty golden yellow, clear, but not a lot of carbonation considering the re-fermentation.

Aroma: light and fruity, like a white wine.

Taste/Aftertaste: really nice and light, a slight tanginess, and the oak comes through at the end with nice subtlety. Fruity, but not sweet. It reminds me of a dry white wine.

Overall: A really nice sour! It wasn’t overly tangy, and with the 7.5% ABV, I can have more than one and not get as tipsy as Consecration makes me. I really recommend it!

I also have one waiting I’m hanging on to for a while to compare how it ages. I’ll be doing a series of beers that I’m cellaring in about a year or so. Look forward to revisiting a few of these I’ve had recently!

Summer School#4: Ambers

24 Sep

Holy Cow! I didn’t realize exactly how far behind in my Summer School beer education I’d become. I’m such a truant. Ok, so back at it. The Naked Pint states that I’m a sophomore in my Beer Education, and that means we move on to Ambers and Red Ales. The Naked Pint says Ambers, “often have a caramelly, nutty profile with a varied degree of hop bitterness.” Tasting Beer gets a little more into it an says Ambers should be drinkable by, “using hops in a way that is assertive without being tiring; building a malt base that is profound but not cloying. The emphasis should be on bitterness rather than aroma, although some aroma is a good thing.”

So, Lets see what I found. I went with an Owyhee Amber Ale from Bear Valley Brewing Company.

Appearance: Amber in color, how weird! A little side note says “matches my bracelet from Grandma” so I guess its true to the color. Not much of a head out of the bottle.

Aroma: Very malty. Nutty. And “there’s something going on that reminds me of Spaghetti-O’s sauce. Like tomatoy acidy.” Yes, this is how I write notes.

Taste/Aftertaste: Very caramelly. Something reminiscent of a licorice candy, and a little hop bitterness at the end.

Overall: I didn’t really like this beer. As I drank it got a little more enjoyable, but I didn’t finish the bottle. It’s probably not a beer I’d try again, I couldn’t really get past the Spaghetti-O’s smell, although everything else seemed to be on par for the style. I’ll have to explore another Amber again to see if maybe Bear Valley was just trying to appeal to the Chef Boyardee Lovers niche market, or if it’s a style thing.

A Bad Day calls for a Bad Boy

16 Sep

Where have I been lately? Recovering from personal trauma, that’s where! After my downstairs neighbors moved out and took their free wireless internet with them, I was left writing drafts on my laptop at home and then sending them on the sly at work. So being the busy little beer-drinking bee I am, I was cooking away on getting new posts written photos uploaded and ready to impress you with all of the beery stuff I’ve been up to. So I was all set last Saturday night to get up and go to Tornado Alley with my laptop, enjoy a breakfast beer and unload via their free WiFi. Turns out someone else had other plans. I woke up and heard my windchime tinkling away, which is odd considering its hanging inside my house. Turns out someone had wondered by in the night, popped the screen off of my kitchen window and shimmied it open then helped themselves to my laptop and the six bucks I had in my wallet. I’m thinking it was sabotage. Since all of my credit cards, iPod and super fancy camera were left in my purse, I figure someone wanted all of my blog posts! So keep an eye out for someone else posting about Summer School, Temptation, and Eleven San Diego! To deal with the loss of my laptop, and more importantly the loss of my feeling of security (its still been a struggle to sleep soundly) I did head to Toronado later in the afternoon. Being there put a sense of normalcy back into my world, and some Bad Boy IPA in my tummy.

Yes, that's a sparkly bacon tshirt. I enjoy cured vampire.

Bar Sheview: Eleven

16 Sep

A few months ago I heard that the owners of Small Bar and Hamilton’s had taken over ownership of a little San Diego rock club, the Radio Room. Having been to and loved both of those establishments (do yourself a favor and go to brunch at Small Bar) I was certainly intrigued as to what was going to become of the dingy club that at one point went by the name The Zombie Lounge. Turns out they did an awesome job and produced Eleven. Why? Well its one more, isn’t it? I went to join my friend, Bekah, and her husband, Mike. Getting there at 6:00 put me smack dab in the middle of happy hour, which goes until 8:00. Beer was priced well topping out at $6.00 for Delerium Tremens, and getting a dollar off made it even better! The winner special of the happy hour at Eleven is the big mug of Eleven Lager, which is brewed locally for Eleven by Gordon Biersch and will set you back a whopping $3.50.

Although I knew going in that the smallness of the venue means no kitchen, I was still a little bummed that there would be no snacks as areHoly Hell I need a better phone available at Small Bar and Hamilton’s. So it was a pleasant little surprise to see that happy hour also included “Free Crock Pot Nosh” which, on Tuesday, meant franks and beans. Surprisingly tasty, even if I couldn’t stop quoting There’s Something About Mary after that.

As far as a revamp of the place, Justin- the amazing bartender, told us that they completely replaced the bar and booths. The walls are covered in album art, and the bar is made of a thick layer of lacquer over old concert fliers. Very cool. The best addition in my humble opinion was the tap tower behind the bar. It’s a cute little cluster of some really yummy beer. Throughout the night, I had Avery’s Seventeen Anniversary(an Imperial Black Lager), Bear Republic’s Big Bear Black Imperial Stout, and an Avery White Rascal. The Seventeen Lager won it for me that night. It was super tasty, didn’t taste boozy despite the 8% and was refreshing.

So, all in all, I recommend Eleven. The staff was great, the bathrooms were clean, and there were salted in the shell peanuts. What more could a girl want? Nada.

Check it out for yourself:

3519 El Cajon Blvd. • San Diego, CA • 92104


Catching up on Sheviews

2 Sep

Holy smokes. I’m behind on getting my beer posts up here. Stupid neighbors, moving out and taking their free WiFi with them. Jerks. So, since the boss is gone today I’ll sneak a jubilee of Sheviews in at work!

 Looking over what I’ve got sitting here in front of me, I’m noticing a bit of a theme: Stone Beers. Lets start with their 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA.

Appearance: It’s a pretty orangey wheat color, and it looked a little hazy-but that may have been from the chill. I let it sit for a minute and the haze faded a little but was still there.

Aroma: Very perfumey/flowery. I could also smell the alcohol, which is a little off-putting, but at 8.9% not unexpected. There was also something really sweet smelling that reminded me of a Fruit Punch Lip Smacker.

Texture/Aftertaste: It was more viscous than I was expecting, not too dry. The taste went malty first with a bitter finish that got spicy/peppery and hung out for a while.

Overall: “Not what I was expecting from an IPA, the sweeter maltiness made it a bit drinkable, but it was a little mild for an IPA to me. I plan on cellaring the other 2 bottles I got for a year or so, it will be interesting to see how it changes.” Was my initial musings, but after looking at the British IPA style guide, it’s right on. It didn’t have the citrus piney thing that I’m used to because I’m used to American Hops. Lesson learned.

And a few days later I tried my first Stone Brewing Arrogant Bastard. I know, I know, where have I been, right?Not my picture, thank you, Google Images

Appearance: Has a nice thick foamy head, and is a really pretty red brown color. I want to take a glass in to my stylist and have my hair dyed to match.

Texture/aftertaste: slight dryness with a fun little carbonated tingle. The aftertaste was a serious bitterness that stays around for a long time. But not in the way that arugula makes me never want it in a salad again. I want to keep drinking this, and after a few sips the malt balancing really starts to shine through.

 And finally for today, the collaboration between Stone Brewing, Ballast Point, and North Park Brewing Co. AKA Kelsey McNair: San Diego County Session Ale. I picked it up at Olive Tree Marketplace in 12oz bottles.

Appearance: Really pretty golden color, slightly red with a light head that didn’t stick around for long.

Aroma: From the second the cap came off of the bottle, I could smell the fresh citrus aroma. Pouring it in the glass I got to enjoy the nice bright floral aroma. I could not wait to drink it.

Aftertaste: Very citrusy, nicely balanced with a little bit of bitterness. It was super tasty.

Overall: it is definitely a session beer. Very drinkable, very delicious, and I just wanted more. I even went out an got a few more bottles after that first taste. Sadly, they’re all gone now.

In other beer education news, I have gotten back in the swing on my continuing education. And since I live in Southern California, its perpetually summer and will be continuing Summer School. Up next: Ambers.