Monday, July 29, 2019

Coasters: Cool or Kitschy?

Are drink coasters fuddy-duddy? We don't think so but if "yes" was what first thing that popped into your mind, just remember that glass rings and pizza box-induced heat damage are why we can't have nice things. 

Seriously though, coasters can be cool and the modern looking Great Ace Coasters from Groovy Groomsmen Gifts most certainly are not your grandma's coasters (or if they are, please, introduce us to her. We'd like to invite her to hang out with us because she sounds cool). 

The 4-pack of coasters and optional, handy wooden storage box, can be personalized with up to three letters. We're simple folk so for the sample we accepted we requested a single letter. Maybe the two or three letter version jives better with your personal aesthetic; to each their own.

The box, if you choose to order it, can be used as intended or for the storage of an incalculable number of small items measuring less than four inches while the coasters hang out in the (included) stainless steel holder awaiting use. Either way, when it's time to step into the adult world where we can have nice things, consider ordering these for yourself or that friend who just acquired a table that really ties the room together.

Groovy Groomsmen Gifts
Great Ace Coasters
 $34.99 base price/$39.99 with box

Beer Musings PDX was supplied with a sample product for review.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

I Scream, You Scream for Ice Cream (and Beer?)

Do you remember the first time you had a root beer float? Cool, creamy ice cream bathed in effervescent sugary liquid...the collision of two things you could probably never get enough of. We rarely drink soda/pop/root beer these days, instead preferring a pint of hop soda but decided to make a compromise, keeping the hop soda and adding ice cream. Could we be successful in balancing our inner child and our adult preferences?

The first order of business was to browse through the store freezers, which turned out to be packed with a lot more flavors than they were back when we were kids, and pick up some flavor standards as well as other things that just sounded good. Gathering at our favorite haunt, filled with plenty of beers to select from, we sat down for a sticky good time of pairing. While some pairings were no-brainers - stouts, light or heavy, with both chocolate and vanilla ice cream - we also came up with some more creative and interesting pairings that we quite enjoyed. Take a gander.

The two most successful "ice creams" were actually sorbets - Open Nature lemon and raspberry - with the raspberry slightly edging out the lemon as Best Pairing with Beer. From the light Saison Dupont to the hoppy Georgetown Lucille IPA to the big, boozy Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) Bourbon Barrel Aged Chocolate Coffee Stout, these sorbets were a hit with the widest spectrum of beers. 

Talenti Sicilian Pistachio Gelato 
Pistachio ice cream surely existed when we were kids although it doesn't stand out as a top pick. Gelato is similar to ice cream and in this case the creaminess is complimented by the texture the pistachios. Whether the solid bits at the bottom of the glass are a bonus or a detraction is a personal matter. Intrigued by the possibility that this would be a flavor that wouldn't work well with any beer we found that in fact its nuttiness meshed well the hop profile of Georgetown Lucille IPA. So, too, did Culmination's take on a KBS-style beer, MCS (Multnomah County Stout).

Haagen-Dazs White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle
As the name implies, this is a rich, very sweet ice cream. Both Saison Dupont, a beer that we'd found to be a great pairing with Girl Scout cookies, and Wild Ride Tarty to the Party Peach Raspberry Sour helped to balance that sweetness. In addition, the subtle lemon in the Saison Dupont was enhanced when paired with the ice cream.

Tillamook Marionberry Cheesecake
Wild Ride Tarty to the Party Peach Raspberry Sour also paired well with this ice cream, with its tartness coming out at the beginning, the cream mellowing it mid-palate and the graham cracker crust bits adding a buttery finish to the experience. Founders big, bold KBS was our optimal dark beer with this ice cream.

Colombian Cold Brew Caramel
An intensely coffee flavored ice cream, it paired nicely with Pelican Tsunami Export Stout. The 7% stout is not of the sweet variety, instead being roasty. Paired with this ice cream, a slight, pleasant saltiness presents itself on the finish.

This type of pairing might not be for everyone but if you're feeling a bit adventurous, grab a pint from the freezer and a pint from the fridge, find a warm sunny place and indulge.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Crushable, Light and Fruity - Two Beers for Summer

We were recently gifted two beers to try, one a lager and one a fruited wheat beer, and we're pleased to say that we'd be happy to stock our fridge with either or find them as we dig into a cooler at a summer gathering. If that's all you need to seek some out yourself, great! Head out and grab some Zoiglhaus/Zupan's Farm-to-Market German-style Lager and Public Coast Farm Stand Series Blueberry Wheat Ale. Want a few more details first? Read on.

Zoiglhaus/Zupan's Farm-to-Market German-style Lager
This lager is the ninth beer in Zupan's Farm-to-Market series, one that began in 2015 and has produced collaborations with Coalition Brewing, Buoy Beer Company, Hopworks Urban Brewery, pFriem Family Brewers, The Commons Brewery and now Zoiglhaus takes its turn. This is the first beer in the series that has been presented in can format - 12oz cans for sale at all Zupan's Markets in 6-packs for $10.50.

Those familiar with Zoiglhaus won't be surprised to see that this beer is solidly in their German-style beer wheelhouse. Nor should one be surprised that it is very well done. Crisp and clear in appearance with a characteristic Pilsner aroma it drinks easy and finishes clean. At 4.7% ABV it goes down as gently as a summer breeze. In addition to being enjoyed on its own, we feel it would pair very nicely with a wide variety of foods.

Public Coast Farm Blueberry Wheat Ale
Our first visit to Public Coast Brewery in Cannon Beach was two and a half years ago and since then we were able to enjoy their Black Jack Bumbleberry Sour Stout at Festival of the Dark Arts in February. Having found that one to our liking, it was not surprising to find this beer to be equally well made. Pouring a stunning berry shade with the slightest hint of haze that adds to the depth of color, there is a slight acidic fruitiness up front. The mild blueberry flavor carries through, without being sweet, and a moderate level of carbonation enhances the flavor.

The beer features blueberries from Public Coast Farm, situated on 40 acres in Banks, OR. This is the first foray between the brewery and the farm but both parties are hoping that it will be the start of something ongoing. If the fat, fresh, beautiful berries that came along with the beer sample we received are any indication, things are off to a great start.

We give both of these beers two thumbs up for appealing to a broad range of palates and being packed with flavor while remaining low in ABV. Dare you to disagree.