Tag Archives: beer

Butchers and Beers

14 Feb

If you don’t want to see pictures of hog butchering, stop reading now.

Yesterday I went to a combination beer release party (Almanac Beer’s Winter Wit, with kara kara oranges, blood oranges, and ginger from local farms– they pointed out that while Wit is typically a summer beer, winter is citrus season in our neck of the woods… I liked it quite a bit, as well as the High Water Brewing No Boundaries IPA), pork dinner (shoulder with some sort of spicy gravy was my favorite, followed by the fatty pork-and-beer sausage and chicharrones), and hog butchering demonstration by Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats.

While I’ve always liked looking at the “cuts of meat diagrams” in an old Joy Of Cooking, and have been part of various whole animal roasts, this was the first time I’d watched up close as someone broke down an entire animal and pointed out the name of each cut as it was split apart. It really put the shape of the various lines of fat in bacon in context.

Beer in East Germany, Prague

27 Jan

My two favorite beers from a few days in and near Germany (both from restaurant and beer bar Hütt’n in Nuremberg, on Burgstraße — Nuremberg has a reputation for dark-for-Germany beers):

Landbier Dunkel from Brauerie Reh. Coppery, slightly hoppy with no bitterness, very satisfying.

Schwarze Anna from Brauerie Neder. Black, a sort of burnt chocolate taste (though not too heavy), reminded me of a stout.

I also had (though less exciting):
  • Leichtes Landbier from Brauerie Rittmayer
  • A Czech pilsner I didn’t write down the name of, in Prague
Every beer was reasonably good, and a welcome break from a bad beer I’d had in Asia, but nothing blew me away. I was also busy and slightly sick at the end of the trip, though, so beer tasting wasn’t at the top of my list.

Scenic Drinks in Singapore

26 Jan

Along with eating in Singapore, I had drinks at a few memorable places.

The stout and blonde at the scenic Level 33 brewpub were my favorite:

I had an unremarkable beer (maybe a Tiger?) on the rooftop deck at Prelude, a bar above the Boathouse restaurant adjacent to the Fullerton Hotel. Another nice place to spend a balmy winter evening.

Finally, I had a “Tony Stark” (a transparent and successful attempt to sell a “manly” cocktail): it involved caramelized pineapple and black pepper, and was cute but a waste of money at $24 Singaporean ($18 US)). The 57th-floor views from the top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino made up for that, though:

Level 33 Brewpub, Singapore

23 Jan

Asking a local where in Singapore to get a drink led us to Level 33, a brewpub on the 33rd floor of an office building, and by far my favorite place to have a drink all trip, even if it was expensive ($13-$17 Singapore dollars for a pint, or about $8-$12 US). Highly recommended.

Just check out this view… (click through for a larger panorama)

The brewing vessels, also on the 33rd floor:

Most importantly, the beer: Their English-style Stout was my favorite– a lightly nutty roasted malt flavor, but the Blond Lager was also excellent. Welcome changes during a trip when Tiger, Kirin, and Heineken were the only other beers I’d seen.

The view, later in the evening:

Beer at The Trappist

10 Jan

My first time back to The Trappist (which just got an SFgate writeup) in a year.


Two highlights I hadn’t had before:

  • Petrus Oud Bruin — tart, slightly sour, but mellow after the first few seconds (oak-aged)
  • Mikkeller Sur Monk — a blend of a belgian quad and a sour beer… and it works. A big difference between the smell (strongly tart) and taste (rich, strong, slightly sweet, slightly tart). And labeled as 9.99% ABV — how cute.

Russian River Brewing Co

31 Dec

I took a bike trip up to the Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa for the first time.

While you can get most of their beers at City Beer Store, they had a few there I’d never heard of:

We started with the 18-beer sampler:

My favorites were mostly ones I knew I liked:

  • Damnation 23 (golden color, strong, a bit sweet (like a belgian tripel?), aged with oak chips). I’ve bought it a few times, but didn’t realize until this trip that it’s 10.5% ABV. Whew.
  • Consecration (sour dark beer aged in red wine barrels)
  • Supplication (sour brown ale aged in pinot noir barrels with sour cherries)
  • Perdition (malty blonde?)

A few others I liked:

  • Mortification (dark, fruity, quad)
  • Russian River Porter
  • Damnation (blonde ale)

I was less into the IPAs (as expected) including Pliny the Elder (sorry, fellow beer geeks), the Aud Blonde, the stout, or the Rejection and Defenestration, despite their cute names.

Triple Rock / Laurelwood / Homebrew IPA

22 Dec

I dropped by Triple Rock in Berkeley for the first time tonight with a homebrewing friend. They and Beechwood (from Long Beach) were holding a beer event where they brewed the same Laurel IPA recipe and had both versions on top at each brewery .They also published the recipe and invited homebrewers to make their own takes on the beer and bring some to informally share.

Of the two “official” brews and three homebrew versions I tried, I think Julian’s version from Beechwood was my favorite– the distinctive Simcoe hop smell (which a friend describes as “reminiscent of cat piss”, but I refuse to agree), and a complex citrus-pine taste with a little sweetness that stayed with me. I’m even no IPA fiend, but I’d happily drink that again. My friend’s homebrew was also quite good. And hanging out at the brewers’ table is always fun. How the discussion migrated to physics, ultrasonic measurement of solar panels, and space-hardened robotics I can’t quite remember.

Bourbon County Stout

3 Dec

I had a 2008 Goose Island Bourbon County Stout at City Beer recently. Wow.

I loved it. I won’t come up with suitable adjectives (volatile?)– it’s more like drinking whiskey than any other beer I’ve had. And at 13% alcohol and a powerful smoky-sweet taste, I could have easily split the single 12oz bottle with one or two other people.

Portland (Maine) Beer

26 Nov

If I’m going to rave about great beer in Portland Oregon, I should check out the beer in the original US Portland (which, for your local history tidbit of the day,  was the site of the first law banning sale of alcohol except for medicinal or mechanical purposes, in 1851, far before Prohibition).

I stopped by The Great Lost Bear, which sells tasting sizes of the 40+ mostly-local beers they have on tap, and tried 8 Maine beers I’d never had or even heard of. And at $1-$2/taste I didn’t feel bad taking a few sips and abandoning two I didn’t like at all.

My favorites:

  • Sheepscot Pemaquid Ale: supposedly a Scotch-style ale, it was bright, barely sweet, very slightly toasty, and reminded me of the better stouts I’ve had. Excellent!
  • Allagash Black: Black but not bitter like the black IPAs I’m so tired of. The sweet smell of oatmeal, and a taste of roasted grains (not just oats), balanced without any one dominant flavor. Bravo!

Also good:

  • Atlantic Bar Harbor Real Ale: a dark but not strong beer, with a taste that reminded me of black tea, and very little aftertaste. Good, though I also used it as a palate cleanser between other beers.
  • Sheepscot Boothbay Bitter (cask conditioned): a slightly lemony and funky flavor, minimal carbonation and served closer to room temperature, and a bit watery in texture… but while those may not sound like complimentary adjectives, I liked the overall effect (though others didn’t).

Less exciting:

  • Belfast Lobster Red Ale: this has nothing to do with lobster other than the color (at least, I hope). A solid but unmemorable red ale.
  • Allagash Thing #1: a light, crisp ale with a powerful dose of cloves and probably other spices. Too heavy on the spices for my taste.
  • Rising Tide Atlantis Black IPA: Quite bitter, malty, and I liked it even less than the 21st Amendment Back in Black IPA. It looks like I just don’t like the black IPA style.
  • Allagash Big Little: a light-colored beer with a smell like a wheat beer but a strange taste- a hint of sweet fruit and mint? I didn’t like it at all.

I’d hoped to also make it to the highly recommended Novare Res beer cafe or take the Allagash Brewery Tour (since I like their White, Curieux, Tripel, and now Black), but didn’t have the time or fluid capacity. Next time.

Almanac Beer, Hapa Ramen

16 Nov

The release party for the Almanac Beer Farmhouse Pale w/ Plums was a very nice dinner and beer pairing at Bar Tartine with food by Hapa Ramen:

amuse: lardo, cauliflower with almonds and lemon, and a cup of ramen broth.

I tried two beers, an Oud Beersel Oude Geuze, and a German Gose.

swordfish crudo with a bit of spice, well-paired with Telegraph Reserve Wheat, a sour, slightly citrusy beer.

the blood sausage was hearty, almost smoky with the Anchor Christmas ale:

beer [edit: of course I mean beef] tartare and a slow-cooked egg were perfect:

cheese, pluot paste with lardo, farmhouse pale ale (made with plums):