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Archive for the ‘Beer’ Category

It’s been awhile since I published a Beer of the Week, but I have quite a few beers laying about the house right now though so expect more soon.

New Belgium, the brewers of Fat Tire, have put together quite a lineup of good beer in the last year or so. They have introduced a new favorite of mine, Ranger IPA, and a new series of beers called Lips of Faith, a sort of collection of the Brewers successful experiments, that most notably include Eric’s Ale, Belgo IPA, and La Folie. I would recommend giving any of these beers a shot if you see them at your local bar or liquor store.

My most recent pilgrimage to the Spec’s on Smith St. netted me a bottle of the LofF: Biere de Mars, a take on the French brew Biere de Garde. I will admit the French, don’t really come to mind when I think of great beer, I mean:

Wine. Yes. Cheese. Yes. Smug attitudes toward American tourists. Double Yes. Beer. Really?

Biere de Garde, which translates to ‘beer to keep’ in english, is a traditional farmhouse ale brewed in a fairly small northern area of the French Flanders that borders Belgium. The farmers would brew enough beer in the waning months of winter to last him through the summer harvest, and  in this regard biere de garde is very similar to the Belgian saisons.

My Biere de Mars poured a burnt orange almost copper color into my pilfered Pappas Grill wineglass. There wasn’t much head to speak of and what little there was dissipated within a minute leaving tiny islands of bubbles floating about on the surface. The aromas led me to plenty of bready (sourdough?) notes, orange peel, and a light Brettanomyces funkiness.

This is a real easy drinking beer, malty and kind of sweet with flavors of citrus, coriander, and a not-as-much-as-I-was-hoping-for-or-expecting sourness that only slightly increased as the beer warmed up.

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If you take the time to read some of their labels, you may get the impression that the folks over at Lagunitas Brewing spend more time coming up with irreverent stories and sayings than they do actually brewing beer-

On a bottle of “Hop Stoopid”

Give it to Mikey… He’ll drink anything..!” Up the bomber went in toast, then to his lips, and what happened next could not have been foreseen. Hop Stoopid, a slick re-animator green fluid oozed from the bottle. When it crossed his teeth and came in contact with the bitterness flavor receptors on his tongue, his eyes rolled back in his head, he did a sort of death rattle, a cloud crossed the Sun, and all his hair fell out. A spot on the side of his cheek blistered and a little bit of juice squirted out laterally starting a small fire. The rest of his head did the Indiana Jones melting Nazi thing, and as his head drained down his shirt and into the open stump of his esophagus. A little whistling noise came from his navel, which burst open and onto his pals, one in the forehead and the other in the eye. Finally, the carcass slumped forward in a gelatinous mess, caught fire, and burned for three weeks.”

YES!!

I absolutely want to drink your beer now..

Regardless, Lagunitas, out of Petaluma, California, (that’s a whole lotta commas!) apparently makes pretty good beer and is one of California’s fastest growing micro-brews.  I’ve enjoyed their IPA and the Censored Ale before, finding both very satisfying and worthy of drinking again.

The Cappuccino Stout, Lagunitas winter seasonal, comes in a 22 0z. bottle and the label states it is brewed with Hardcore Coffee from Sebastopol, CA., it pours a deep black color, but not pitch black, ruby highlights garnish the edges of the glass. A descent, tan head forms with an assertive pour but doesn’t stick around too long before retreating back into the liquid leaving a thin ring around the glass. Initially, the flavor wasn’t too impressive but please be patient because as this brew warms slightly it begin to shine through. Layers of roasted malt, caramel, vanilla, chocolate and coffee wash over your palate finishing with a long, slightly bitter flavor of freshly roasted coffee that is absolutely beautiful.

This is a highly drinkable beer, but be warned, it weighs in at a hefty 9% ABV and the buzz will definitely sneak up on you. Overall, I enjoyed this beer and while not the best Breakfast Stout out there, it definitely holds its own.

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Beer of the Week

First and foremost- guess who has a new camera! Yes, I finally upgraded from the 5.1 megapixel HP antique I’ve owned forever (my cellphone has more megapixels than the fossil I’m replacing) to a Canon A1100 and you can now expect photos to accompany my posts.

Furthermore, as a devout member of the Church of St. Arnold, I love beer. Lagers, ambers, IPAs, stouts, porters, all of them… well, except maybe this one.

Our first Beer of the Week is Brewery Ommegang’s Hennepin, a world-class saison if I’ve ever tasted one. Saison beer (French lingo for ‘season’) was originally brewed to hand out to Belgian field workers to quench their thirst as they harvested the crops. The water back then, you see, was fairly unhealthy to drink so brewing beer was one way the people of the time sourced a safe drink. Since this beer was being consumed in the late summer heat, it had to be light, have a fairly low alcohol level and be refreshing as workers were entitled to up to 5 liters of the stuff a day, which leads me to ask, where do I sign up?

Saison’s were once considered an “endangered” category in brewing until the early 1990s when American craft brewers began experimenting with them. Now, there is a growing number of American-made saisons to choose from including such standouts as Boulevard’s Saison-Bret, North Coast’s La Merle, and our featured beer- Hennepin.

Brewery Ommegang was founded in 1997 by Don Feinberg, a Belgian beer afficionado, in Cooperstown, NY. He modeled the brewery closely after a Belgian farmhouse and it really is quite beautiful. He later sold the business to Duvel in 2003.

My Hennepin was poured from a 750ml bottle into my trusty St. Arnold beer glass, a wonderful, pillowy white head quickly formed that stuck around for quite some time. The brew itself is a golden straw color and its aroma reminds me of the farms its ancestors originated from (kind of a dusty straw blanket smell, but in a good way).

Upon taking my first sip, I found the beer to be exceptionally easy drinking and light on the palate with gentle spice, biscuity malt and light honey sweetness playing gleefully together. This is easily one of my favorite beers recently and I find that one bottle is rarely enough!

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