Sunday, December 5, 2010

Beer Snobitis Remission: The Spotted Approachable, Slightly-Accessible Cow

A few weeks back I was out with one of my good friends @ my local watering hole.  We met a suburban "Chicago"land native who after I ordered a Rogue Dead Guy said with the best chicago accent of all time " I can't staaaand Doze fancy beers, I mean duz that make me sound ignorANT? I just don't like dem, I know I should, but I just don't get it, ya knows. I know it makes me look stupid to drink dis here miller light, but I enjoy it."  My first thought was, Hi Mr. Unnecessary Beer Defense Guy!  With pause and some calculated thought to be on my best behavior I said Hi and... "if you enjoy it, that is ok with me, I personally do not enjoy it, no argument from me!" Then I thought how it bugs me when people misuse the word ignorant, but not really the time nor place to go down that road.

I admit part of me feels sorry for him, The corporate beer giants have been marketing to him since he was 10 years old.  When you walk into a grocery store in the Chicagoland area, Bud and Miller products take up most of the shelves and end caps. Not to mention how most sports franchises are sponsored by the Corp Beer Giants. The dude loves sports. He had on a Chicago Bears T-shirt, a Chicago Cubs hat and Chicago Blackhawks jacket.   His accessibility to Craft Brew is not necessarily encouraged.  Feel like arguing with me, that's fine.......watch Beer Wars first and then let us talk.

Chicago Beer defense guy was only responding to the recent epidemic of Beer Snobitis. I admit I have had my fair share of arguments on why the beer I love is better than your beer.  My intentions really were all about showing people they have options and should demand better taste and social responsibility in their beer.  What I realized is that, by engaging in such arguments I am only creating the "my mind is so open it's closed" effect. Which ultimately annoys the crap out of people and closes all possibilities of them listening to anything you have to say.

I have decided after this interaction, I would shift my disease to a condition.  Goodbye Beer Snobitis, Hello Beer Geekhood.  I am not above drinking the beer that my mother stocks in her fridge, which is always without fail Corona.  In fact, it is usually the best damn beer I ever had after 15 minutes of walking in her door.

Thanks for the speech Hops Lobster, now get to the beer!  I have to admit I feel somewhat apprehensive about sharing this beer with you.  The whole point of being a beer geek is that I want to make beer accessible and approachable to everyone. I want all people to feel like they can try any beer and will not face ridicule for their choice.   I want people to test their limits and seek out new tastes and flavors.  New Glarus Brewery's Spotted Cow is the most approachable beer I know and sadly the least accessible.

And yet I choose my choice.  I truly believe that Spotted Cow is the most approachable beer for anyone that prefers beer over other drinks.  I have not met one person I have introduced this beer to that had a bad thing to say about it.  Porter lovers like it, bud lovers like it, wheat lovers like it, hop nutz like it, beer snobs like it, Coors sippers can't get enough of it.......trust me, it never disappoints. It is a Wisconsin ale with a cautious 4.8% ABV. It has a grainy, sweet taste......but not too sweet. It's almost honey like, although honey is not present. It pours golden and is soft on the nose and there is little after taste. You will notice a little sediment called brewer's yeast, no worries just some vitamin b's and potassium you can brag about at the gym.

It's a craft brew that cares about it's town and it's state.  New Glarus Brewery does not distribute outside it's Wisconsin border. Yep, not the best example of an accessible beer, unless of course you live in Wisconsin, then put down that Milwaukee's best just for a moment and try a Spotted Cow. It's moolicious.  Seriously although it is difficult to get to, it is easy to enjoy. If you find your self in Wisconsin and you are not normally a Craft Brew Loving type of person......just humor me and head to the local pub and ask for The Spotted Cow and some cheese curds.  It won't disappoint!


Cheers!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

It's Fall...on my bottom lip.

It's Fall.

Yeah yeah smarty pants, I know that it's scientifically still summer, but I live in Chicago.....it IS fall. Football is on, there is a crisp chill in the air. The leaves are green, hanging on for dear life.  The long sleeves are on, our DVRs are maxed out with the Fall TV schedule (what exactly is THE EVENT for the love of the Peacock?), the windows are open, blankets on, to wear the flip flop or not is the big decision of the day and Dogfish Head has released their Punkin Ale.

You heard me! Don't try to argue now, thats right..Punkin Ale is on tap, so put that baseball glove away bring out that QB Jersey and drink up.

I would seriously bathe in this beer. It's like AUTUMN in my mouth, Fall on my lips to be exact. In my opinion it is the best fall release beer in the American Craft Beer world.

I feel like most Pumpkin flavored beers are ummmm....Pumpkin Pie Flavored. Punkin Ale is not. It has real pumpkin, and all the fall spices but not sugary sweet. It does have some brown sugar notes, but you won't be overwhelmed by them. This brown ale is  drinkable....in fact you can knock a few back and not realize the 7% abv until the 2nd half. Oops.

Hurry up and get you some! Before you know it,  it will be time to pardon a turkey and we all will be Punked out!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My Magic Eight Ball is spelled D-O-G-F-I-S-H H-E-A-D

Me(left) and Friends and our brush
with Fame "Sam Calagione"( Center)
Thanks Sam,  for creating
 Dogfish 60 Minute IPA, My Magic 8 Ball.

Dear Dogfish Head's 60 Minute IPA-


I have the blues. You see, my friends and I aren't as close as we use to be, my boyfriend moved to Portland and lately my job forces me to stick needles in my eyes and that hurts. To Quote my lover Bob Dylan "and it's hard and it's hard, it's hard and it's hard, it's a hards rain's a gonna fall..."


I am asking you and your reliable Indian Pale Ale wisdom, what next?
I come to you because you have never let me down. You are 100% consistent each and every time I come to you for advice. You are awesome from start to finish. Your hoppy, citrus, malty response to my nagging questions are always PERFECT and never disappoint. 


Love,
Hopslobster



Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Baron Von Awesome vs. Rum and Coke.....Place Ur Bets!

Nothing irritates me more in life than when I hear the following words at a brewery ( a place that brews beer on property) "Can i have a rum and coke?"  The answer is "NO, NO YOU CAN NOT!"  It happened tonight. It happend at Piece Pizzeria and Brewery in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. It took all the will power I ever had to not put fist to face. How can you possibly order a rum and coke when there are beers on tap called  Camel Toe, Full Frontal Ale, Worryin Ales, Wingnut and Baron Von Awesome?


Baron Von Awesome is genius in it's name and in it's 4.5% delicious craft beer wheat ale dreaminess.  Go get you some of this Not Rum and Coke Awesomeness.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Nutty Canadian



Tonight, i found myself in Toronto. It could happen.  Every time i find myself in Canada...i always say to myself....."Self, the beer here makes me feel like i just went for a run, water."  

yelped about the town after I arrived at my hotel. I never yelp before I depart to Canada, as it's always questionable if they will allow me in ( i was kicked out of canada for reals.) I found my Canadian Lobster. I found Beer Bistro.  

For the U.S of A followers, you would think, um this doesn't sound all that different from anything you would find in the states, this trendy beer business and all. Well, yeah, but I am in Toronto and I swear to you, this is a gem. A JEM, if you will ( click on that link, you won't regret it).

I learned tonight from the Beer Bistro Bartendar..... most Canadians think Americans (U.S. Citizens, not to be confused with Canadian's or Mexicans) only drink Bud light, Coors Light and Miller Light. I was sure to correct those rumors by saying "um, no it's Bud, Miller, Coors and Redbull and Vodka, so there." Funny thing is I thought Canadians only drank LabattsMoosehead and Molsen .  

NOT TRUE.

Denison's Dunkel  is one of two brews made by Denison's Brewing Company.  It's a Munich style beer with a sweet nutty finish. I tasted hints of burnt toast and felt the Malty texture as it went down the hatch. The details and craftsmanship that went into this beer excited me about the Ontario beer scene.  You can only find it in Toronto, which makes it special and an excellent find on my part. Beer Geek Points racking up over here.  Canada........You had me at "Eh"


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Some people go Rogue, I drink Rogue

The only way I support a lady going Rogue is if she is drinking it.  I Love Rogue Ales.  I love Rogue Ales so much that I require the men I date to love them just as much. Check out "D" going Rogue!

In fact, "D" took me to Rogue Distillery and Public House in Portland, Oregon on my last vist.  Move over McSteamy.

In order to understand my love for the particular Rogue Beer I ordered that evening you must understand my inability to say the word Chipotle. It's true! when I see the word Chipotle something happens to my brain to mouth data center that it becomes almost impossible to say the word correctly. I have settled on Chip-o-latte.  It works....EXCEPT when you are at Rogue Public House and you have your heart set on ordering a Chipotle Rogue Ale. I know full well the minute I say Chip-o-latte  they will bounce me out of there thinking I was drunkity drunk drunk (click on this link, you will not regret it).  It takes a conscious effort to say it the correct way.  It actually hurts, but I manage just fine and my taste buds' dream comes true.

If you like Jalepenos and you like them smoked AND you like beer, well than DUH!  Go get you some of this. I mean it's a no brainer really. It drinks creamy ( that is not officially a beer term, i'm sure...but you get the idea).  To really understand this beer, you should breathe in before your first sip to get the true smokey experience.  Take this beer in slowly. It usually takes me two sips to make friends with it and then its smooth from there. Take your time with it, you will find a citrus note in there and perhaps some spice. It's amber in color, goes great with a nice summer outfit.

Cheers!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jolly Love

This picture sucks, but the beer does not
Here I am!  Don't you dare for one second think I was taking a break from beer or from blogging about beer. I actually was  doing a cross country trip and well when that happens. You take vacation and then you have to come back from vacation and it turns out blogging isn't my actual job so I had to give the workie a little lovey.

Speaking of work, tonight I am in Ann Arbor, Michigan ( insert mandatory "Go blue" cry, followed by rolling of eyes by me).  Being here reminds me of my favorite Michigan Brewery, Jolly Pumpkin. Sure i love the quirky name and the  awesome artistry on the labels......but the beer is where it's at.  

Jolly Pumpkin Artesian Ales are not for the novice beer lover. Every beer I have tried from this brewery always have a bit of a bite or citrus tang. It's a distinct taste that has stuck with me since my first sip and if ever presented a Jolly Pumpkin beer in a blind tasting, I would be able to pick it out just by the crinkle of my nose.  Check out their unique brewing process here

Last night I picked up a Calabaza Bianca, a Wit bier that tickles the nose ( speaking of wit, sorry for the lack of it, in this post). I find that most Wit biers are heavy on the Hay. Not this one. The citrus zest is what stays with me and I am a fan of the dry finale. It's a PERFECT beer in my opinion. There is a sour note that just makes you want to smack your lips.  So go on and pick up a bottle or head to one of their breweries/restaurants and try some Jolly Pumpkin love.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

No Moon Man for you!

T-shirt Quote at a rest stop in Black River Falls, Wi

In order to fully understand this post or lack of post, here is what you need to know about my life over the past few days and days to come.

I have traveled from Chicago, IL to Madison, Wi-back to Chicago, back to Madison then on to Black River Falls, Wisconsin. The journey continues through MN, SD, WY, MT, WA & Finally OR. As I type this, I am on I-90 outside Blue Earth, MN. I started this adventure on August 5th at 7pm CST and it is now 6pm CST, August 7th.

I deserve a beer! This is what brings me to the most fantastic and the most tragic part of this journey.

My beer loving boyfriend, (who is the reason for this epic journey-bringing him to his new home in Beaverton, Oregon) decides to take a short potty stop @ a BP in Tomah, Wisconsin.  Blink, and you will miss it. Relax, we didn't buy gas here and so what if we did? This is a beer blog not a Save the Whales campaign.  We did however, contribute to the merchant's convenient store sales. Let me explain.

FANTASTIC PART: Much to my surprise, "D" says "I should pick up some Wisconsin Beer here."  Queue Saliva. Although overjoyed at the possibility of my version of "picking out the perfect out fit", finding America's Dairyland's perfect brew, I am skeptical.  I mean you have to understand, the magazine rack only had magazines with the special black plastic cover on it. 

 As it turns out there was one hidden Gem, New Glarus Brewery Moon Man!   I was delighted, I have never had this beer and although the brewery sounds familiar....I am intrigued as "D" points out it is not distributed across the state line of Wisconsin.   This IS a fantastic purchase.

This is where I tell you about the beer and it's delicious hops or smooth finish, blah blah blah. 

TRAGIC PART:  As the photo above explains: "Life is Crap".  "D" with enthusiasm says "I promised my new roommate in Portland, I would bring him back some Wisconsin beer!"  Queue frowny face!  I want "D" to make new friends, so I accept that beers fate and go to the counter with him to pay with my shoulders slumped forward. The cashier than says, "Wow, that Moon Man is excellent."  Conspiracy.

There ya have it peeps: The case of Moon Man is sitting in the back of the U-haul being hauled across country and each time we lift open the gate on the truck, it stares at me and laughs.  No beer to share with you today.  If anyone reading this has actually tried this beer as opposed to just buying it and well staring at it, then I encourage you to share in the comments section what I am missing.

Cheers!

P.s. I love the Whales and totally do what I can to save them!  You should too.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Holy Tree! It's Dogfish Limited Release

Tonight I was out for a little grocery shopping and a beer with my Gay at the Whole Foods.

"Say what?" "Never mind the fact that she mentioned she has with her Gay, not sure what that even means.......but a beer at the Grocery store?"

Hell Yeah!  Grocery shopping with a beer is the greatest invention since beer.  You can read how I feel about Whole Foods in Lincoln, Park @ temily.yelp.com

Whole Foods is all about local. Normally the beers on tap reflect this value, such as Half Acre and Goose Island, both Chicago Breweries. Tonight, they had both of those,  Three Floyd's from Indiana as well as the greatest surprise in life....Dog Fish Head's Palo Santo Marron.

I ran my skinny jeans right up to that counter and said to the nice man behind the bar. "I will take the Dogfish Limited Release please!" It was like I was a kid in a 10 cent candy store pointing to the Willy Wonka chocolate bar.  Martin ( bartender, he made his own name tag) said "Such a good beer." I smiled from ear to ear cause I hoped he was right. I am a lover of the Dog Fish Head beers and I have never been able to get my hands on this one. Martin then said " Have you heard the story of this beer?" Golly Gee  he just turned my Willy Wonka bar into the Golden Ticket (hops lobster material).  "No, please dish!"

Martin explained that this particular beer is fermented in the Largest Wooden Brewing Vessel in the History of the States.  I believe him. I want to, I have to.  Martin may have secretly married this beer. You can tell he loves it THAT much. I can't let him down with my skepticism.  Between you and I ( and probably Martin eventually), I am a proud pessimist.  I pulled out my laptop, connected to wifi and checked the 411. Martin was mostly correct. Get the facts here.

Now here's the opinion:  I want to marry this beer.  Til death do us part, the cake, the dj, the his and her towel set. I love it THAT much.   Martin is invited to the wedding.  It has a vanilla finish that makes me want to sing Amazing Grace. Infact, I did and no one cared cause it's trivia night at Whole Foods....you can imagine the crowd.

Anyway, the beer is 12% ABV (fact) so its probably the only beer you need for the night. It's not a party passer. It's a beer to be savored and loved and enjoyed with a great meal.  You can taste those wooden vessels, but not over powering. It feels velvety going down ( heehee, I said going down).  It smells a bit like coffee but a little more complicated. I recommend it to people who enjoy a beer that is a little dark and curvy. Thank you Dogfish Head!

Cheers!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Missed Opportunity

Woman  (to bartender)
 I'll have an Oberon,
no wait....I'll have a Schlitz Tall boy

Hops Lobster internal voice
 huh

(Hipster Boyfriend walks through the door)

(Hops Lobster nods head 
to indicate it all makes perfect sense)

(Hops Lobster orders Oberon)

Classic case of woman sacrificing her own taste for her cute hipster boyfriend. It happens every day in this city. As a woman, I understand the sacrifices we make to impress or show our guy we are interested in him. However, I can not and will not understand giving up my taste in beer for a guy. I wouldn't have been as shocked if she was weighing her options between a PBR and Schlitz, but she made a clear sacrifice with a smidgen of hesitation and what seemed to be a hint of sadness in her voice.  

I felt sorry for her missed opportunity and I ordered the Bell's Oberon.  You are welcome.  Don't get me wrong, there is a time and a place for a nostalgic beer in a can, however dinner at 5pm where Bell's is on draft is not one of those places.  

 Oberon is not in a fancy can that says "Hey look at me, and now talk about how eccentric I am", but it is a classic, refreshing summer ale. If it's looks your going for, it does have a a pretty sun on the draft handle and bottle, or hey...order a shirt.  I love Oberon because I know each and every time I order one it is going to be the sunshine it's name implies ( yeah, that felt cheezy writing it). It's approachable, not scary. It's a wheat ale with what I call a sweet bite, I think real beer people call it spicy and fruity. Listen to the real beer people, they have jobs in beer. I do not.   Some peeps put an orange it, some drink it while wearing sun glasses, some do both.  I support drinking Bell's Oberon anyway you fancy it.  It's Summer, Enjoy!

Cheers!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lesson 1: Beer! Lesson 2: Supper Clubs!

Here is what you need to know about Wisconsin people. They LOVE Wisconsin. They love their state more than any person in this country. If you are talking to someone and you ask them where they are from....walk away if they say they are from Wisconsin, unless of course you are willing to listen to 2 hours of why Wisconsin is the greatest state in our country. It's different than when someone boasts about their "greatest city in the world" this is an ENTIRE state. Consider yourself warned.

I met my boyfriend about 5 months ago and the second I asked him where he was from, I knew I was in for an education on how great Wisconsin is and always will be. My first real concern was, "great he probably likes crappy beer". I mean what good beer comes from Wisconsin? As some of you may know I don't have a filter so that thought actually was voiced out loud and "D" ( boyfriend) gave me a 5 part lecture on how inferior all other beers in America were to Wisconsin beers. I have to admit I really didn't know there were any other Wisconsin beers out there other than Miller Brewing Company, which I do not enjoy!

Fast forward a few months and I am on a weekend trip to Madison, WI and Devil's Lake. It was on that trip I was introduced to Capital Brewing Company. Unfortunately, the Brewery was closed the day we were passing through, but we were able to find a restaurant in Madison that provided their Maibock ( you will have to wait til February to get a taste) on tap. I remember saying "Well Wisconsin....look who showed up to the Good Beer Party!" I'm pretty sure "D" said something to the affect of "Showed up? They started that party!" Cue rolling of the eyes.

Last night I headed to Red and White, a favorite spot to pick up some craft/unique beers in Bucktown. It was there I was reminded of my Maibock discovery when I saw Supper Club. I have to admit I was intrigued by the design of the label and then the name Supper Club. WHY?, You ask. Well, as you can imagine I am lectured on the Greatness of Wisconsin on a fairly regular basis and shame on me if I have no idea what the hell a Supper Club is. I do now. All you need to know is that Wisconsin is full of them, they are more of a destination rather than just a place to eat and they make Wisconsin Great!

Capital Brewing's Supper Club is in a word "Crisp", a clean crisp summer lager. The label indicates "Not bad" and that is sort of what I said after the first taste. It was exactly what I needed after cleaning my non-air conditioned apartment on a humid Chicago day.

I feel like this is the beer you want to introduce to someone who swears they will never drink anything but Bud light or Miller. It's safe and will slowly introduce him or her into the world of American Craft Brew. After one sip they will have to admit "It's not bad!"

Cheers!



Saturday, July 31, 2010

Lobster Beer?

It may be true that Lobster's love beer. I don't know, I unfortunately do not speak Lobster well enough to ask one about their feelings on the subject and for that matter how it is digestively possible.

What I do know is that it is a well known fact ( if you watched Friends) that Lobsters mate for life and I have found my lobster...His name is Beer. I dated a few losers named Keystone and Natural Light in my younger years....they always left me feeling cheap and used. And who can forget that guy named Bud, what a let down.

It was 1997 in Flagstaff, Arizona where I discovered the beer who loved me as much as I loved it. An Honest beer with integrity and character. Guinness was his name. I called him my McStout. He Loved me like a champ. He introduced me to a world where beer treated me with respect and dignity.

Guinness and I still see each other from time to time for the occasional Autumn or Winter hookup, but i have since committed to the American Craft Beer. This blog will be a story of our courtship. Cheers!