Monday, February 27, 2006

Tilburg's Dutch Ale

I've always been told that I shouldn't judge a book by it's cover. While there is some truth to that aphorism, I must also admit that more often than not, books with exceedingly bizarre covers contain some very interesting content. So it is with this beer. I picked up a six of Tilburg's Dutch Brown Ale at the store just becasue it had a picture of a man being devoured by a bird-headed monster while other birds are flying out of his butt. No, really. Here's the image:

I was plesantly surprised by the flavor of this beer. This is a trappist ale through and through, and is just as sweet. But this seems to have a really full body, and is lacking the vaguely metallic flavor common to other sweet ales I've tried. If you don't like dark beers, or have spent your drinking career getting to know the subtile differences between coors lite and bud lite, and you are interested in expanding your tastes in beer, give this one a try. You will be plesantly surpirsed as well.


Saturday, February 25, 2006

Soup at Hand New England Clam Chowder

Now, some readers may hesitate. "Soup is not a drinkable thing!" you say. Well, nothing will convince you of this MORE than Soup-at-Hand. However, it claims it is "sippable" and insists you drink it. It comes in a bottle with a sippy top, like a coffee drink at Starbucks.

You heat the drink for a few minutes and then drink. Here are the flavors:

Blended Vegetable Medley
Chicken & Stars
Chicken with Mini Noodles
Classic Tomato
Cream of Broccoli
Creamy Chicken
Creamy Mushroom
Creamy Tomato
Mexican Style Fiesta
New England Clam Chowder
Vegetable Beef
Velvety Potato

Okay how happy am I that I did not choose PIZZA?! Pizza should not be drinkable. That is disgusting. They seem to be heavily relying on cream soups, which I think is the opposite of the direction they should be going. Velvety potato? I don't like food compared to fabric. Mexican style Fiesta? That's not a flavor of soup, that's a type of PARTY.

So you might ask why I would try a Soup-at-Hand, I was starving, and I had just had dental work. So I could not chew. Thus, the Soup at Hand.

On the Soup at Hand website there's even a place to become a "Soup at Hand Ambassador." It's for "Serious Soup at Hand Fans Only!"

Well perhaps they have put all the engineering into the cups, because SOUP AT HAND IS AWFUL! This is not shocking, I know. But it is particularly awful. I thought since they are marketing it as a drink, it would not be chunky. But it is. Little chunks/grit. Chewing bitty beverages=not good. It didn't taste so bad, but the consistency is totally gross.

Second, this beverage made me physically ill. I had stomach cramps for hours afterwards. It's not particularly greasy or fatty (all SAHs are less than 100 calories), but it made me feel mildly food poisoned.

So mediocre taste + bad consistency + mild food poisoning=ONE BAD DRINK

Stay away from Soup at Hand, a bad food, and a worse beverage.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Beer Gift

Beer Gift
Originally uploaded by jennybento.
Well friends week is extended because Heidi sent me this excellent handmade Bell's beer charm of a corset! What an excellent gift. Sadly, I think booze related gifts for her baby shower might be inappropriate. I always feel like someone (namely me) should give the mom an adult gift at the baby shower, because as great as it is to get all this baby stuff, who doesn't like gifts for themselves?

And Friends Week has to also be extended because of Heidi's homemade grape juice. I have been saving it for the dead of winter, but thankfully it has not been too cold yet. So that will be up next! Thanks Heidi!

My blog has few readers, but they are big gift givers, so that's fine by me!


Stone IPA

Wow since everyone had bragged to me about Stone beers, I was excited to try them. As I said previously, I was not impressed by their flagship Pale Ale. The IPA was also nothing special, though it was strong and bitter, without being very complex. It seems they pride themselves on how eXXXXtrEEEEEEMe their beer is. Eh.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Rogue Chipotle Ale

Rogue Chipotle Ale is awful. Seriously. Don't touch it with a ten foot pole. Rogue describes it as such:

"Chipotle Ale is based on Rogue's Oregon Golden Ale, but delicately spiced with smoked chipotle chile peppers. Deep golden in color with a tight head, rich malty aroma, delicately smooth and crisp flavor, and subtle chipotle chili finish."

1. the beginning of the beer IS good. It is very tricky.

2. DELICATELY SPICED?! No. VERY strongly spiced. Not spicy like peppers, but smoky like liquid smoke/bbq.

3. The head was huge, not tight.

4. SUBTLE? I have personally been described, by a stranger on a streetcar in these terms:
"There's nothing subtle about you, is there honey?"
While I think this assessment was strangely right on, a little subtlety goes a long way for me. There is NOTHING subtle about this beer, honey. It's like barbeque in a bottle. In fact, this resembles the Jones Soda Smoked Salmon Soda more than Chipotle.

This may be my least favorite beer ever. I am throwing it down the sink.


LA Beverages, Rogue, and a tea!

Bubble Up
Originally uploaded by jennybento.
Rogue Santa's Private Reserve
Something I heard made me run out and get this, but it wasn't great. Just eh. Bitter.

I also bought some "Blue Eyes" cornflower tea, loose. Oh man, it was amazing.

In LA I had the following:

Stone Pale Ale

I went to a foofy wine store and bought this and it was highly recommended by the seller. It was just so so though. I also bought a Stone IPA, but have not tried it yet.

Bear Republic IPA

I looove Bear Republic. Their Red Rocket Ale may be my favorite red ale. This was great and full and creamy and bitter and awesome.

Pyramid Hefeweisen
A good standard Hefe.

Bubble Up

Wow, Bubble Up in the bottle--with pure cane sugar! A little lemon, a little lime, way superior than 7up/Sprite. Also the bottle said it was "totally recyclable" which was hilariously valley girl!

jekel vineyards reisling monterey

I had this riesling in the hotel. It was quite good and sweet.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Pyramid Snow Cap

Pyramid Snow Cap
Originally uploaded by jennybento.
dark and creamy. more porter-y than aley. pretty good.


Monday, February 06, 2006

He'Brew Messiah Gold

Kurt brought me some He'Brew Messiah Gold (It's the beer you've been waiting for!), the chosen beer:

Let me point out that their website is awesome, particularly the commercials here and here. They claim to be the "first ever extreme high holiday beer." Was extreme needed there? And it's the only beer whose website ASKS you to steal their photos, a policy I endorse. Those chosen people, always sharing. And it's Kosher!

Now there is a lot of schtick with this beer, and I have to say I am a total sucker for it. It's pretty hilarious. But it's also pretty good. Way better than decent. I was going to save it until I finished the new, super-Jewtastic Phillip Roth book, buuuuuut that's a long book. So L'Chaim!


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Friends Week-- Ale-8-One

So as I previously posted, Lisa and J are friends who live in KY. They sent me the traditonal KY beverage, Ale-8-1 (get it? A Late One!) or just ale-8 if you prefer. It turns out there is a lot of Ale-8 lore, legend and argument. First, the Ale-8 in bottles is rumored to be better, and not the same as canned ale-8. It seems that "local tradition" frowns upon Ale-8 in cans. Bust since only some parts of KY, OH, and IN get Ale-8, I wonder who is actually drinking the cans? What impresses me more is that there are still Ale-8 bottle machines, like this one, where my Ale-8 was purchased:

One of the first happy things that I noticed about Ale-8 is that it is made with real sugar, not corn syrup. This makes it way tastier, and you don't get that weird film over your teeth like when you drink corn syrup drinks. From wikipedia I learned that "Ale-8 traditionalists...have gone as far as to develop their own method of holding their drink, called "The Green Dragon." This method involves gripping the glass bottle only at the very top (where no liquid touches when full) with only one's index finger and thumb. The remaining fingers are forced to flail out in a "dragon-like" manner. This method of holding an Ale-8 is used to keep the drink cold as long as possible by not warming it with body heat."

Well, I don't believe in doing things halfway. Actually, that's a complete lie: I totally believe in doing things halfway. But the green dragon sounded pretty awesome, so here is my recreation:

I totally felt like a ninja master drinking the green dragon way. I also dislike when beverages get warm, so maybe I will adapt the green dragon for other beverages. And I look so zen and confident doing the green dragon here.

So, as a big ginger ale fan, I did like Ale-8. At first I just thought "hey this is just ginger ale." A spicy but very sweet ginger ale. The ginger is like real fresh ginger, not fakey ginger ale. But then I did detect the slight fruit flavor. At first i was unaware of what fruit this may be, but I realized it was a fruit. I think it may be some lemon-limey citrus thing. I was hoping for mango since my previous mango ginger ale experience was good. However, Ale-8 is SWEEEEET. Like, "ow my molars hurt" sweet. It didn't make it any less enjoyable, but I can't see drinking this that often. Now Diet Ale-8, maybe.

Also, the wikipedia mentioned that this was invented to be drunk at night to settle the stomach. Ale-8 did make me burp copiously, so I guess that's working. However, since it has the caffeine of a Coca-Cola, I don't think I will immediately be sleeping. I can see though how the ginger could be seen as medicinal!

You can get Ale-8 shipped to you, and if you are in KY you can go on a tour of their plant or rent out their special event truck! How great is that!?


Saturday, February 04, 2006

Non-friends items

Here's a quick roundup of the beers I have had out of the house. Although half were beers I brought to a friend's house, and the other half were drunk with friends, so we'll count it! :)

Wychwood Hobgoblin (draft)
good, bitter, just eh,

Founder's Red Rye in the bottle.
good as always. I think Founder's beers might be more intense in the bottle.

Alpha King.
Bitter, stong wonderous! I had only had in in the bottle before, so on tap was a nice switch.

mendocino brewing

Red Tail Ale
i thought this would be red, but it was not, it's an amber. bitter, but not great. just okay. more like a paler ale than an amber.

Eye of the Hawk Select Ale
Also pale ale-y, but not awesome. Just okay, bitter, not significantly different from the red tail

Blue Heron Pale Ale
The best of the bunch as it was intended to be a pale ale and tastes like a pale.


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Friends Week

In honor of my friends' generosity, I have declared this FRIENDS WEEK! All the posts this week will be from drinks donated to the blog from blogfriends. Of course if I drink in bars, I'll post that too, unless blogfriends want to pick up the tab for me all week. :)

Friends Week actually commenced with the previous post as Jeff bought one of the holiday packs for the blog.

Second, I must discuss the drinks from Kurt.

You just can't shake a stick at a friend who comes to you house with a four-pack--half soda, half beer. Especially since the last time he brought beer it was some Steel Reserve 211 40 that I still have. But he also brought Schlitz Malt Liquor, the finest of malt liquors, in my opinion. yes you may think that totally disqualifies all I have to say regarding beer. Whatever. No Schlitz will be poured on the curb for you when you stop reading, homey.


First was Jones Crushed Melon:

This is one of Kurt's faves. I myself am generally not a melon person but I liked this, even though it was a little cantelopey! Sweet and a little tart. Mmmm.

Next was Blumers Blueberry Cream:

Now, I hate fake vanilla and cream sodas generally have it. So I was expecting to hate this. But it was great. Kurt was not so fond of it, but I drank a lot of it. The blueberry was pretty fake, but I liked it. And the cream soda was not so prevalent.


First Founders Centennial IPA.

Yay an IPA! Yay for Founders! Someone's reading the blog! I need to learn more about the dry hopping process and how it changes taste, but I can tell I like dry hopping! :) I had had this on tap but I think I might actually like it better in the bottle. It's waaaaaay maltier up front, almost like a malter milk ball. But it's very hoppy and bitter. I had some super sweet frosting right before this and the beer was a great compliment. Like all Founders items, it rocked. Go Kurt!

Kurt also got me a He'Brew which I will soon drink and report on!

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