Friday, April 19, 2013
Saturday, January 29, 2011
So, two out of three senses isn’t bad. Unless you’re doing things really wrong, most people don’t feel or hear their beers. What it really comes down to is how it looks, how it smells, and of course, how it tastes. After pouring Hitachino Nest, you can’t help but be impressed with the red tea color below a rather thick, white head (get your head out of the gutter). This red rice ale tastes as foreign as it looks. Initially, you taste the sweet rice from which the beer gets its name, followed by a strong, sweet citrus. The after-taste is where the Oriental character takes center stage. If you pay attention, you’ll place it as jasmine tea. Very different, very good.
But, and we warned you, it smells like sauerkraut. This is not ambiguous, there are no hints of anything else…Hitachino Nest smells like sauerkraut. Your best bet is to light a candle before enjoying what is otherwise a surprisingly quality offering. Now we can’t end this review without mentioning what is admittedly an incredibly cute owl on the label. The artwork is what led to the purchase and would make for a neat beer to pass out to friends. Just don’t ask for any explanation of what an owl has to do with absolutely anything. Ashley strongly disagrees with this last point, noting that owls represent wisdom and lick lollipops.
All nonsense aside, this is definitely worth a novelty buy, 8 out of 10.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Cable Car Brewing Company of Rochester, NY is a brand I’ve only ever come across at Whole Foods. Immediately you’d think this beer is either outrageously expensive or unique as hell, but it’s neither. At least not for the month of December when all of Cable Car’s varieties were on sale for 6 bucks a 6 pack. Of all the decent, but quite normal brews, the Winter Brew is my favorite.
The first sip seems simple, crisp and refreshing, tasting a lot like a sweet pale ale. However, the after taste is what keeps you coming back for more. Hints of warm spices, fitting for this seasonal ale, show up as the carbonation and alcohol slide down your throat. The beer has an almost nostalgic feel to it, the initial crisp bite that cold winter evening I escape from, entering the warming and aromatic hearth-heated home with nutmeg and cloves boiling atop the stove. With a 6.3% ABV, it’s no joke this beer will warm your tired winter body. 7 out of 10, deliciously simple.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
When most beers have a distinctive “smell”, it almost seems to be a put-on, or something that is simply roasted or non-roasted malts (caramel, hoppiness, etc…). And your sweeter beers will give off citrusy scents, but that is almost always at the cost of taste.
Unibroue’s Don De Dieu sacrifices nothing in giving your nose something to do between sips. If you don’t have the $5 for a bottle of this, there isn’t much you have to do to recreate the smell. 1) Move to Georgia. 2) Drive to a peach grove. 3) Find the most succulent peach in the patch, one that would make the Presidents of the United States of America blush. 4) Rub this peach (and the pear you had hiding in your pocket) all over your face.
This beer is incredible right from the nose. My limited palate clearly isn’t enough to describe it, but let it simply be said this beer must be tried. Apricot is the first thing that comes to mind, along with that Jewish staple—apples dipped in honey. While I doubt the French Canadian Catholics up at Unibroue had Passover in mind, they sure paid one heck of an homage.
What sticks with you is the only thing that hints to the 9% ABV. While you are sipping, D.D.D. goes down smoothly, with little of the kick you expect out of such a “big” beer. However, the aftertaste reminds me of mead. That heavy, honey wine taste certainly isn’t unpleasant, and is probably a healthy reminder that you can’t drink D.D.D. like typical brewski.
The heavy and wine-like character mixed with a beer’s carbonation, and D.D.D. invokes an almost champagne-esque experience. Though you’d be lucky to find this at your local bar’s new years soirée.
After half a bottle, I already feel heady, in the best sort of way. DDD looks as good as it feels, only slightly cloudy and purely golden. Let this one escape from the bottle—it improves the taste and the feng shui.
10 out of 10. Really all I have to say is, enjoy!
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Stopping by the side of the road is generally discouraged these days. America has fallen out of love with sightseeing, and the practice is headed for the fate of the dodo and social security. You’ve got to live it, not look at it!, the new generation cries. With every frontier long conquered, and every sight plastered over your google search, what’s left to see, anyhow? Then there’s those swerving drivers hoping (in vain) that the auto-correct will allow them to keep at least one eye on the road while they text away. And we can't forget the amber-alert-inducing sex offenders on the look out for fresh meat.
Yet, call me old fashioned, but I’m not ready to kick the bucket on this simple pleasure. I want to jump out of the driver’s side and run across the road to pick the cherries I convince myself taste better than those you find in the produce aisle. Give me a sandy lake and a torn off pair of jeans and a bridge with a shoulder and a cannonball.
And driving down some state highway that connects two towns I’d never want to visit is a golf course that used to be a forest. Lonely pines and browning grass. A place to sit and think about the seasons. A place to stand and think about suburban sprawl. A place to run and slip on a patch of frost and think about health care reform.
My ride has a custom wing and flashy taillights my mother correctly predicted would draw attention from the highway patrol, but they sure were cool in high school. He doesn’t fit in with minivans and station wagons and Harleys needing a rest. But on a two-lane road whose yellow lines have long faded, there’s nothing to make me feel out of touch with the skinny jeans and study abroads and backwards hats and even my references are starting to seem outdated. So take a walk and lay in the frost and remember this winter too shall pass.
Slowly but surely I’ve boxed myself into a closet, and not the one Senators and celebrities are pulled out of. No, this is just a dark little nook where there’s no chance of witnessing the happiness that makes me jealous. And perhaps I’m sitting on the third fairway because at least it has better lighting than the cupboard under the stairs.
Or maybe I’ll just encourage myself by looking at how wrong the rest of the world is. My acts of micro treason against individual, not country (though perhaps I’ve betrayed the red white and blue here and there, too), seem like blips on the radar far afield from the hurricane spiraling over our heads. This fairway that robs a deer of its path and pushes it to a highway-near-you is just the beginning. What. The. Hell. Are. We. Doing.
Remember the 1950’s? I sure don’t, but from what I hear people really had hopes. My father tells me that he was sure we were headed for flying cars and miracle drugs and world peace and jello-turkeys for thanksgiving dinner. Go progress chrome! A shiny new world with lots of toys, and nothing sinister to distract us from the revelry.
Well it didn’t quite turn out that way. Apparently everyone kept following the bourgoisie piper, and we ended up with SUVs instead of spaceships, cialis instead of cures for cancer. Wars on drugs and terror instead of hunger. 99¢ value meals.
So at least I have that going for me: I haven’t sent the world spiraling inexorably towards doom. Rejoice, sir! You are not contributing to global unrest and worldwide hunger. Pat yourself on the back, son! You are not subjugating the brown or taxing the white. But as they say, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem…and laying on the grass isn’t sending any condoms to the Congo, if ya know what I mean.
That was a nice pep-talk. I don’t know why my guidance counselor never tried this line of thinking while he worked at keeping me from the directional school from which I’ll soon earn a diploma that might as well have “no monetary value” stamped on the back like some McDonald’s Monopoly piece.
…Come with me why don’t you? We can talk and fight and see the world from your choice of four windows which I promise you won't be so foggy once the engine heats up”
“Are you done?” And as she carelessly glances across the barren coffee table in my direction, “It’s time for studying, don’t we think?”
I’ve been meaning to make use of our swanky Ikea living room centerpiece for months now, it’s ten square feet crying out to the heavens for a large format book or at the very least a nice looking candle.
“Or perhaps it’s time to move to the jungle and play around in the Amazon with our Speedos on.” Zing. Nice comeback, Isaac. After that, there’s really not much left for her to say. So Ashley lets her eyes drift back to the self-made study sheet with 6-point font—so she can fold it up tomorrow and hide it under a sleeve while some tenured professor lazily twirls a pen, waiting for piled up bluebooks to replace students.
“Really. Let’s do something. Maybe it’s just me, but I think the scurvy is setting in from this seven year boat ride I keep hearing people call college.”
While she jots down notes, without looking up, “You do realize it takes everyone else four.”
The night passes thusly, as so many have before it.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
First off, the name of this beer is sexist—and misleading. OarsPERSON would have been preferable, and besides, no self-respecting man in a poncho would drink anything other than a warming stout.
But that aside, lets focus on the beer for what it is. Both the smell and taste are immediately and overwhelmingly citrusy. There is certainly a bite to this beer, but it’s not an alcoholic one, only fermented grapefruit.
Also, this beer is another watered down example that Bell’s is trying to save some money. Or just lose customers. Sure, there is some malty character and a bittersweet aftertaste behind the citrus that is a little more complex than your average light beer, but it is not what you expect out of what is perhaps the country’s top microbrewery.
The final outcome has this beer tasting somewhere between tonic water and lake water—so maybe they decided to call it oarsman ale because if you drop it off the side of the canoe and pick it back up after it splashes around for a while, you won’t notice the difference.
The bottle claims they used “traditional sour mash methods”, which you might recognize from Jack Daniels’ No. 7. Well folks, let’s save the sour mashing for something with a little more bite to take away from the…sour.
I give Oarsman a 5 out of 10. It’s probably more interesting than something like a Miller Lite, but ultimately if you are going to drink something at 4% ABV, you might as well pay a buck a beer.
Side note: in an attempt to find some value, I tried mixing it with gin, hoping that it’s tonic like flavor would lend itself as a mixer, if nothing else. It did not disappoint. The Gin & Oarsman tastes like morning: think of a stronger mimosa with a grapefruit bite. While buying a beer as a mixer is a tremendous waste, if you get stuck with a six-pack of this ale, you could do worse.