Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tyranena happenings this week

I thought about bending the rules a bit on MN Beer and posting these two tidbits of information that came from Tyranena via their newsletter today but figured all the cool people check this blog regularly anyway. So if you're not planning to find a place to watch the Pack and the Cowboys Thursday night or will be in Edina Friday evening you can find Tyranena at these places.

November 29, 2007 - Beer Dinner at Rascal's in Apple Valley, MN beginning at 6 pm. Located at 7721 147th Street West, Apple Valley, MN - 952-431-7777.

November 30, 2007 - Tasting at France 44 in Edina, MN, from 4 to 7 pm. Located at 4351 France Avenue South, Edina, MN - 612-925-3252.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Too Much Beer vs. Too Little Beer

I've had a chance now to try out both Barley John's double IPA and Town Hall's double IPA. And, aside from a double dose of heartburn, found both really enjoyable. I think I enjoyed Town Hall's more, but it's a close one. Town Hall's aroma was slighthly, enjoyable I guess and, to me, that's a huge part of my beer experiences. Also, I think I could enjoy a couple of their double IPA's without palate burn-out. In any event, I highly recommend both.

So, now we go from a beer-filled last couple of days in the Twin Cities to possibly a beer-sparse couple of days in Dallas. It's not exactly a good-beer wasteland, but good beer is a little harder for us to find at Grammama's house. That's okay, I guess, since I'm sure we'll be make up our carb shortfall from a lack of beer by eating a few pounds of potatoes and bread a day. Gotta keep my playing weight up, you know.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

An Interesting Beer Weekend

Sometimes I'll go a whole weekend (or weeks at a time) without having a drop of beer. Other times I'm on the other end of the spectrum drinking too much, too frequently. This weekend I was somewhere in the middle...and I met some pretty good and interesting beers there.

I had a sip of Kris' Avery's The Beast, a Grand Cru, when we were at the Muddy Pig on Friday night. It was awfully good, but it's not something I could really enjoy, except in very small amounts. The really big beers can be yummy, but they can also ruin my evening of drinking by ruining my palate, giving me heartburn, or pushing me into drunken oblivion too quickly. None the less, you should try it. Incidentally, and I'll expose myself a bit here, Avery scares me. Drinking their beers is like playing with a loaded pistol. You never know when one's gonna go off and hurt someone.

I also had a chance to finally try this year's Schell's Snowstorm and Brau Brother's Ring Neck Braun Ale while at a marathon Guitar Hero III evening at a buddy's home in the hinterlands of Lake Crystal. I'm generally pretty pleased with Schell's annual Snowstorm offering, and this year was no different. Mine was served a bit too cold, but it was still enjoyable. And I also came away from my Ring Neck experience pleased as well. The one thing that really stands out about this beer is how the nut brown flavor just pops out of this beer. Good stuff, Maynard.

Friday, November 16, 2007

MNBeer Meeting at Barley John's

Kris and I went to Barley John's last night for the express purpose of getting together w/ some of the folks who contribute to to talk about a new Beer of the Month feature. Of course, drinking and talk of beer related things supplanted any "work" we intended to get done. Colin, of Barley John's brewing fame, joined us. I've got a couple of take-aways from the evening:
1) I know nothing about brewing and beer, except how to drink it...and I don't do that very well.
2) I continue to be delighted by the fine, friendly folks I meet at any brew-pub, beer event, etc. I attend. Or maybe I just like hanging w/ drunks...
3) Barley John's continues to make damn good beer. I had avoided their Wild Brunette for the last couple of years, not because I didn't enjoy it the first time I had it, but rather because I have a psychological aversion to non-traditional (whatever that means) ingredients in beer, especially rice. And also, there are always other, tasty options available. Well, I finally broke down last night and had a Brunette. I enjoyed the hell out of it.

...'nough said

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

1 of 6

After resisting temptation for a few weeks now, we finally broke down and tried the first bottle of our six pack sampler Mag’s parents lovingly carted back from Virginia for us.

The St. George Brewing Company, Hampton, Virginia
IPA 5.5%

This IPA is not one of those over the top, heavily hopped beers that are abundant these days. Instead this is a very drinkable, copper colored brew that goes down easy. Too bad this came from the East Coast and there’s no way we’re finding it in this neck of the woods. Hopefully the rest of the six pack will be a good as this first one.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Craft beer in the South

Last week I “got” to spend some time in New Orleans for work. I was not looking forward to this trip and wasn’t disappointed by what I found. Customer service certainly doesn’t mean the same thing down there and since I don’t live in North Minneapolis it didn’t occur to me until I got there that going out after dark would not exactly be the best of plans. That being said I tried to make the best of it and that meant finding some good beer. What I found was Abita. Abita is brewed in Abita Springs, Louisiana (about an hour north of New Orleans) and according to their website they have 5 flagship beers, 5 seasonals and a select line that changes every few months. For the most part I was pleasantly surprised. The drafts I tried were Andygator (described by the server as a barleywine at 12%...I’d put it at 9% tops…very smooth and drinkable), Turbodog (a dark brown ale with a wonderfully caramel chocolate aroma and flavor) and Amber (a lager but still a nice beer). I also had bottled versions of Restoration Ale (a moderately hoppy pale ale that could be a session beer), Harvest (apparently brewed with Louisiana pecans but I wouldn’t have been able to pull that flavor out), Fall Fest (their version of Octoberfest) and Christmas Ale (a yearly changing recipe). The Restoration Ale was the only stand out of the bottled beers and the Amber seemed to be the most readily available.
Making my way back home on Sunday I had a bit of time in the Atlanta airport and somehow found myself sitting at the bar of Sweetwater Brewing. They had 4 of their 7 beers on tap so of course my first question was, “Do you have a sampler?” While the bartender didn’t answer my question she did proceed to pull out 4 small glasses and filled each about half full. I realized that although they didn’t officially have a sampler platter she understood customer service and did what she could to accommodate me (what a wonderful change of pace after New Orleans!). Their Blue, a light beer brewed with blueberries and coming in at 4.9% was surprisingly well done for a fruit beer. Next up was Hummer, a 5.4% Belgian white, followed by 420, a 5.4% West Coast Style Pale Ale and finally, their crowing glory (at least in my opinion) the simply stated IPA. This bad boy came in at 6.9% and is a must for hop heads! Without a second thought I ordered a pint of this and drank as much of it as I could before I had to head to my gate to finish my trip home. So the moral of this long story, boys and girls, is that if you should find yourself stuck in the South, try to find some Abita or Sweetwater to drown your sorrows in.