It was my husband’s birthday this past week. This meant more than usual we were going out to celebrate. I tasted (sometimes literally just a taste as I was the queen of Flights this weekend) many beers and came to the conclusion they aren’t all winners. BUT some were. So I decided to focus on the positive. Cause it’s not my place to tell you what is not good. I mean one man’s trash is another man’s treasure…or something like that. And beer of all things is such a matter of personal preference. SO I have decided to focus this blog on the beers I really enjoyed. That way you can go try them too! If you trust me that is…..and really by blog 5 haven’t we created some sort of bond here?
First beer I enjoyed of the weekend was a one off from Trader Joes. First lets all take a moment to think about how great Trader Joes is. I mean I don’t walk out of TJS without a bottle or two of wine every time I visit and I’m the “Beer” lady dammit. I love that store. So I noticed in their beer section they had a bunch of single bottles of random beers for like $1 to try. Well SURE! I grabbed a few. Since I have been on a newly found Cider binge, I started there. I picked up a bottle of Newton’s Folly Authentic Draft Cider brewed by Vermont Hard Cider Company. Now I would usually put a link in here. But there was none. I don’t see that VHC Company has a website. They do seem to produce this cider as well as a Granny Smith Cider.From what I have read there isn’t much difference. This to me was like Martinellis with a lil bit of a kick as its 5%. It was a typical apple cider. Nothing wrong with that. Wasn’t dry, wasn’t too tart. However, I will say this without judgment… even though I’m judging… the more I drank the less taste it had. Is that possible? Well for $1 a bottle and located at my local Trader Joes. I can’t complain! Not my first choice in Ciders, but in a pinch it’s a-ok! And I’m thinking I could cook with this. Although take note if you just want to drink a good cider (at least my) Trader Joes carries the big bottles of ACE Cider for a little over $3. If you want more than a pint…I’d spend the extra 2 bucks.
Also at home this weekend I tried Highwater Brewing’s Anniversary Dopplesticke http://www.highwaterbrewing.com/highwater.php. They are out of Chico, CA and we found this bottle in the many that Bev Mo has to offer. High Water Brewing celebrated its first birthday. So the brewer Steve Altimari created the Anniversary Doppelsticke (pronounced “Dopple-shtick-uh”).
Now it’s a limited beer. Which mean it was only brewed once and there aren’t a ton out there. But it wasn’t like it was a $38 beer, it was in the $5 range for a 22 oz. It’s an amber, and 7.5% but very drinkable. Almost dangerously smooth. Just remember a normal beer that I can drink like 10 of on a hot summer day is in the 4.5-5.5% range, so this has a bit more of an alcohol bite. It was tasty! I want to say it almost had a toffee thing going on. Not like you are drinking a Heath bar, but very caramel and clean. I probably wouldn’t have picked it up if I didn’t know it was a good ‘un. So I’m letting you know it is!
Which was a pleasant surprise cause over the weekend we tried quite a few “one off” beers and well due to my new motto of only review the good, let’s just say this was our one at home 22 oz winner. I will further investigate this brewery for us as well.
Friday night we invited a group of friends to toast my husband’s trip around the sun to BOW AND TRUSS. http://bowandtruss.com/ This is a bar/restaurant in North Hollywood that was recommended by a friend. It has a giant outdoor patio, and had the nicest waitress of all time. We had no idea that 6pm on a Friday night we would need reservations. We were being old people going out early. Who goes out in LA before 9? Well apparently everyone in No Ho. BUT without hesitation the nice folks at Bow and Truss kept bringing us more and more chairs as our group grew bigger and bigger. They have great Spanish food and awesome cocktails. There are a handful of bars I know of in LA (keep in mind I don’t get out THAT much and I’m older so the kids may know where to get the cool vintage cocktails) that make a really authentically good Moscow Mule. They did! Mr Beerman had several so he can attest.
In addition to their cocktails, wine and sangria, they also had a nice beer selection. Well when offered the opp to have a flight I’ll take itMy flight included an Oskar Blues Mama’s Lil Yella Pils which is as you may have guessed a Pilsner.http://www.oskarblues.com/ At only 5.3% it’s such the outdoor drinking beer. In fact the brewery itself tweeted me a thank you for enjoying it and called it “summer in a can”. Damn right. Great light beer with tons of flavor. Two thumbs up.
I also tried Stone’s Pale Ale also a CA beer out of Escondido, you have probably seen them in your grocery store. http://www.stonebrewing.com/pale/# At 5.4% again a super drinkable beer.
Now what’s the difference between a pilsner or lager and a pale ale. Well differences in all beers, stouts, ales, pils, lagers, IPAs, etc is a blog within itself. If you want to get technical the differences are mainly due to the ingredients used. The big difference is between lagers and ales. Lager is fermented using bottom fermenting yeast at cold temperatures while ale uses top fermenting yeast at relatively higher temps. I lost you didn’t I? You started checking your facebook. Okay moving on…
To make this easy for the purpose of this particular flight. I will just say if you like visually lighter beers that you think taste like “beer” vs a Christmas tree or coffee, then you probably like a pilsner, lager or a pale ale. When you get into Ales, they are going to pack a lil more flavor punch. NOT to say a Pale Ale or the other aforementioned don’t have flavor if done right they sure do! (Two of my favorite beers of all time are Kona’s Longboard a Lager, and Kona’s Big Wave, a Pale Ale) It’s just going to be less in your face. Pale ales and Ales may have a bit of a darker color depending on what you are drinking.
Back to my flight… I also tried the Estrella Damm a Spanish Lager from Spain (5.2%). http://www.estrelladamm.com/ It was a basic lager. It was fine. We all tried it and liked it. I don’t know if I would go out of my way for it. But we were at a Spanish themed place, so when in Rome..or Barcelona as it were.
My final beer flight beer was Bootlegger’s Brewery Black Phoenix. You can tell by the name that it was different than my pils, pale ale and lager, huh? Yep it was a Chipotle Coffee Stout (6.7%). Bootleggers is out of Fullerton California http://www.bootleggersbrewery.com/index.php/Our-Beers/
I liked it because it had a definite coffee thing going on. A touch of chocolate but not enough to really call it any sort of chocolate stout but If you like coffee taste, there was for sure coffee flavor. I didn’t really get the chipotle except on the finish. Like a tiny tiny burn at the end. I almost want to give it a new name and call it Chicory Stout vs Chipotle. Well all in all I enjoyed it. It was like 80 degrees out so can’t say I would have ordered a pint of it for my outside drinking. But I’m glad I tried it.
I ended up drinking a pint or two of the Oskar Blues and thoroughly enjoyed our night.
Considering that it was a birthday weekend our fun and beer tasting didn’t stop there. But that will be in Part Two. Stay tuned!