March 30, 2010

Sierra 30

This is exciting. To celebrate their 30th anniversary, Sierra Nevada is releasing 4 beers created in collaboration with craft brewing patriarchs Fritz Maytag, Charlie Papazian, Ken Grossman, Fred Eckhardt, and Jack McAuliffe. The first brew is Fritz & Ken's Pioneers Stout. It should be available now, but I'm not sure exactly how limited these releases are. Chances are you'll want to snatch these up as quickly as possible. The second release comes in May, and is Charlie, Fred, and Ken's Imperial Helles Lager. Next comes Jack & Ken's American Barleywine in July, and finally the Brewers Reserve Oak-aged Ale in October.

Visit the Sierra 30 website for more details!

March 29, 2010

Frankfurt

I just got back from a week in Frankfurt, Germany. I was over there for work, but fortunately had a bit of free time and was able to eat some great food and try some of the local beer. Of all the bars and restaurants I went to, the only major commercial beer I recognized was Beck's. None of the places had anything besides one or two drafts, and though I'm not complaining about not seeing anything American, I did expect to see Chimay somewhere. No big deal though.

I tried 5 different beers while in Frankfurt - Radeberger Pilsner, Schofferhofer Hefeweizen, Binding Romer Pils, Licher Dunkel, and a dark beer from the Czech brewery Krusovice. By the third day, I had decided that Romer Pils was to be my go-to beer for the rest of the trip. The Radeberger Pilsner seemed a little too hoppy and bitter for a pilsner, and didn't really have a lot of flavor after the first few sips. The Schofferhofer Hefeweizen was good but that's more of a summertime beer for me. The Romer Pils was great. It was creamy and well balanced, with a bit of an earthy character to it, but not bitter. The Licher Dunkel was my favorite of everything I tried, but I didn't have it until the last night I was there and didn't get a chance to have it again. The Dunkel had a thick, creamy head, with very slight hints of chocolate and coffee and a light body.



The craziest part of my beer journey in Frankfurt was my attempt to drink 5 liters of Romer Pils in one sitting. We went to a German steakhouse for dinner one night, known not only for the steak that you cook yourself on a fired stone that they bring to your table, but for their rather large portions of beer. Last year, my boss had 1 liter sized glass of beer. This year, we all asked for big beers, and I was making signals with my hands, but the waiter signaled that there was something bigger than the 1 liter glass, so I had him bring me one. It was 5 liters!!! That's 169 ounces, or 14 bottles of beer. In an hour's time, I managed wash down my goulash, fries, salad, and 10 ounces of steak with 4 out of the 5 liters of Romer Pils. That equates to 11 beers in under an hour. I didn't feel a thing until I stood up to leave, at which point I almost fell over. Now, just to be clear, I normally go for quality, not quantity, and I certainly do not condone binge drinking or anything stupid like that.

This was simply a unique experience, and if one is to conquer such a large portion of beer, it must be done quickly in order to have any hope of fitting it all in and not getting sick. I think the reason I didn't get sick is because of all the food I ate, and although I may have been able to finish all the beer if I didn't eat, I surely would have been sick. So, for someone of my size, I think 4 liters in under an hour is quite a feat. (I'm hoping the next time I'm in Europe it's on my own time so I can better document my travels and take more pictures. All I had with me this time was my iPhone.)

March 16, 2010

Raging Bitch

The name of this awesome beer from Flying Dog was more than enough reason just to pick up a 6-pack of the stuff. I waited until my last bottle to take photos and write a review. I had fun going through this 6-pack. I drank each one a week apart. At least 4 out of the 6 times, I was around someone I hadn't been around while drinking the previous bottle, so it made for some interesting conversation. They typically went something like this... "Hey (dude, Chris, babe, etc), what are you drinking?" - "Raging BITCH!" That's about it. They were fun conversations for me. Not only do I love beer, but I love the word bitch. 'B' may actually be my favorite letter just because of how powerfully you can pronounce it. Try it yourself... Raging BITCH. Accent the Bitch, it's fun...

Pours a rich amber/orange, crisp and clear with a thick white head. Pine, honey, some grapefruit. Great hop flavor, bitter, but without the bite.

A few words on "Belgian-style India Pale Ale". I don't think Belgian when I think IPA, and vice versa. And while IPA's certainly didn't originate in America, it definitely something American brewers are famous for, if not simply having a knack for. So it puzzles me that the name "Belgian-style IPA" basically describes a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy. However, there's a bready yeastiness in Raging Bitch that is not part of the typical American IPA, so the name is justified, even if it is a misplaced way of saying that you're drinking an IPA with Belgian yeast. Anyway, the best part of Raging Bitch is the smooth, mossy, earthy flavor. I drank my last one outside today while taking pictures of moss and fungus growing in my back yard (P.S. there were some really crazy colors so I'll post those in case anyone's interested). I could smell the hops from a few feet away. Delicious.