Saturday, December 31, 2005

Year End Roundup

Since July, I have drunk AT LEAST 48 different kinds of beer. There are 48 recorded/reviewed here, but I didn't count things I had had a ton of times before (ie Red Stripe, PBR, Schlitz). Yes, even though I am a beer dork I still drink these from time to time. I like to think this is what seperates beer dorks and beer snobs. Beer dorks like to know a lot about beer and try a bunch of different kinds, but beer snobs are elitist and will not drink things that are not up to their standard. I like all beer (other than sour ones. bleck.), and although, yes, I'd love a Rogue over a Hamm's, if Hamm's is all you got, I will probably try it anyways.

This drinking many kinds of beer has been a smashing success. Several years ago, I vowed to drink new kinds of beer all the time. Although it took time to get the ball rolling (I was poor and often was only around some PBR or Henry Weinhards), I think it has become quite a successful mission. I think at first it's hard to stray from your favorites, but it has been quite rewarding. I now like many more kinds and styles of beer than I used to. And I am far more conversant about how beer is made, what it tastes like, etc. Yay for new kinds of beer!

If you were going to get me a 2005 sampler six pack, you would be most highly rewarded by making it:
Left Hand Brewing Company JuJu Ginger Ale
Hazed and Confused APA
2 Brothers Heavy Handed
Founder's Red Rye
Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald
Avery Brewing IPA

The top 6!

Happy new year! I doubt I will have any new beers tomorrow, so we'll start the new year off fresh!



Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

I had this on tap. It was sooooo good. I highly recommend it. It is quite bitter. I chose it only because it was the only beer on tap that I had not tried but it has been called the “…best beer ever made in America.” by Stan Sessor, San Francisco Chronicle. Wowie. I took a break from it, but I drank three of them, so I really liked this beer. It is dry-hopped and that is another thing I have not been noticing the differences between (dry and not dry hopped), so perhaps another resolution?


Breckenridge IPA?

Watch out, Dogfish, Breckenridge is beginning to become one of my favorite breweries. Although I guess 2 Brothers is also warming my heart. This beer was billed as an IPA, but is, in fact, an APA. So I was a little confused. But it was still great. I would not say it was the best ever, but it was pretty consistently good. More bitter than hoppy, and although I love the bitter, I missed the hoppy. When I went to their website, it made me want to pay more attention to hop varieties. So perhaps that's a resolution!


Dixie Crimson Voodoo Ale

This was drinkable, but too sour/vinegary. I have not known non-Flemish reds to be so sour. And boy am I against vinegary beers.

I drank this from a bottle in a bar in LaGrange with an exciting beer list. One I had drunk over 50 beers on, so I was a fan!


Butte Creek Organic Ale

Butte Creek Organic Ale
Originally uploaded by jennybento.
You know, Butte Creek always disappoints me. Maybe it's my distrust of organic beer. This beer is confused as to what kind of ale it is. It's almost an IPA, but sort of brown. It was okay. Nothing special. I think I will give up on Butte Creek.


Heavy Handed IPA

Heavy Handed IPA
Originally uploaded by jennybento.
This might even be better in the bottle. It seemed darker and even more bitter bottled. Yummyyummyyummy.


Sunday, December 18, 2005

breckenridge oatmeal stout

Originally uploaded by jennybento.
It IS tall, dark and dreamy like the bottle says. Maybe the cold weather has me warming up to stouts, or maybe I have been getting some good ones. This is tasty. Very creamy, a lot of coffee taste especially at the finish. Thick consistency. Not to be paired with spicy curry (I happened to be eating curry chips and this went poorly with them, and may have made them more spicy.). Plus I love the label.


Saturday, December 17, 2005

red tea!

My new drink of choice is red tea. Red teas come in several varieties but all seem to somehow be derived from hibiscus. I had some hibiscus iced tea several times at a restaurant called Big Bowl in Schaumburg, IL. I have always loved it, but I bought some hibiscus leaves, and they did not make a very good tea.

In the meantime, not knowing that the Celestial Seasonings red teas were hibiscus derived, I have always enjoyed them. I don't really think they taste like hibiscus but i like them nonetheless. There's the old standard RED ZINGER

but also the cranberry apple red zinger

This smells a lot like potpourri, sorta apple cinammony. I wish this were just cran-zinger, but the apple is okay.

However, my new favorite is Hibiscus Rosehip. My friend Tomasz showed this to me, and it's apparently mainly sold in Eastern European stores. Tomasz had tried several versions, but he was most into the Pompadour version:

It's the yummiest.

This may just be a continuous obsession with all things red. I have previously reviewed cherry limeade, pomegranate water, and cape cods. What can I say, I am a sucker for red beverages.


Monday, December 12, 2005

founder's black rye, rogue oyster stout, left hand juju ginger, glogg

Founder's Black Rye (in bottle)

Similar to the red rye, very tasty.

I love swedes, but I hate red wine. Yucky. Like drinking potpourri.

Rogue Oyster Stout (tap)
I loooove the Rogue Oyster Stout. It is super creamy and viscous and not crazy filling. Get one today! Along with the Edmund FItzgerald, my favorite stout.

Left Hand Brewing Company JuJu Ginger Ale in bottle

Ginger and ale? What a fabulous idea. It doesn't have a strong ginger flavor) I would have like d a stronger one) but these are 2 great tastes that taste great together. It's like an IPA with slight ginger notes. But come on, what are the 2 things I review most? IPAs and ginger beers. I liked it a LOT. I do not know why the label is "rasta."


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Carmen Gewurtz

Now generally, I am the opposite of a wine snob. I am a wine cheapass. I enjoy the Fetzer gewurtz more than any other I have tasted (see Sept. 12 posting here, sorry backlinks will not work no matter how hard I try.)

But I thought, "Hmmm maybe this is because all of the Gewurtz I buy is under 7 bucks!" So I went with the Carmen Gewurtz. It's from 2003--look how cultured I am, I am drinking aged wine! It's from Chile! That's not New Jersey, or wherever the hell Fetzer is located. They speak Spanish--oh boy that's romantic! On the back it does note a hint of lychee, which I am generally not a fan of, but I was psyched to drink my (relatively) expensive wine.

But oh boy, once again Fetzer is still way ahead of the pack. First, this tastes nothing like Gewurtz. If this was served somewhere, I would assume it was some other white wine. I am not the biggest wine fan, so there are only a narrow sliver of wines I can tolerate (whites) and an even narrower sliver (Gewurtz, Reisling) that I really enjoy frequently. So, when something is not like those very specific things, I am terribly sensitive to it.

First, it's not sweet at all. It's pretty sour and bitter and has a STRONG aftertaste of alcohol. The alcohol is very very apparent when drinking this. It doesn't taste really like lychee or rose petals as the bottle claims. It tastes like acid reflux. That's a huge problem with this, it's SO acidic! But it;s like digested acidic. I can't take it.

I think I will cook with the remainder of the bottle. So sad, as the aim was to drink a lot this evening. All my hopes, DASHED by silly Chilean wine!

On top of that, their website is a trail of dead links, in both English and Spanish (see I am CULTURED!), but I did get a boring photo:

don't buy me!


Saturday, December 03, 2005

ArcherFarms Pomegranate Fortified Water Beverage

Originally uploaded by jennybento.
Archer Farms (Target) makes a lot of odd beverages that I always want to try. When I have tried them, they are generally bad. But I tried this one because it was both pomegranate (something I love) and PINK. I am not exactly sure what a "water beverage" is (isn't water ITSELF a beverage?) but I expected it to be lightly flavored water. Wrong-O. It is more beverage than water.

First among the odd non-water tendencies is its texture. This is a very thick, milk-like beverage. The brilliant color is supplied by "fruit and vegetable juices for color" as listed in the ingredients. However, the label says it has 0% juice. Confusing. It tastes very fruity and pomegranatey. Even my friend Matt who is generally pro-pomegranate and anti-fake fruit enjoyed it. I would drink it often, even though the texture is a tad off-putting. The only ingredient that could cause this is the "crystalline fructose," but still...eerie.


Winter Brews!

Originally uploaded by jennybento.
The Cost Plus World Market Winter Brews sampler's out, and I bought it. Generally I find it not worth it, but the Cranberry Ale, Flying Dog, Breckenridge, and IPA selections made me unable to pass it up! I look forward to it keeping me warm all winter. :)


Milligan's Island Newport Ginger Beer

Originally uploaded by jennybento.
This ginger beer again suggests mixers. I would particularly approve of the mango rum. This supposedly tastes like mango, but I didn't pick up that much mango, though there is a sweet tanginess different from your average ginger ale. It's quite great. It isn't so dry, but it is pretty sweet.


Jones Holiday Pack

Originally uploaded by jennybento.
The Jones Holiday Pack without the salmon soda has been secured. The other is hopefully also being secured by a friend in Oakbrook, IL.


Goya Cola Champagne

For my debut post to this delightful little blog I thought I'd try a nice chilled bottle of Goya's Cola Champagne. Don't be misled by the name, it tastes like neither cola nor champagne but instead like cream soda, with a hint of something citrus-y that I can't quite place (maybe the generic "citric acid" that's listed in the ingredients). It's not particularly carbonated either, and in fact poured pretty flat. It has it's charms and I'm sure it'd be great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but I wouldn't go out of my way to seek it out.

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