Sierra Nevada makes me Hoppy :-)

I usually don’t fall for the marketing hype of “anniversaries” and “specials” in terms of products. Hey, I do marketing for a living. I know what’s going on the mind in that product manager (“oooo, new label and a schtick. I’ll convince the distributors and put it on the shelves for a short while and see if I can increase the margin.”)

Well, let me say this to the marketing manager at Sierra Nevada….. THANK YOU!!!! I picked up a six pack of the Sierra Nevada Anniversary ale. It’s a very nice hoppy IPA that flows great and tastes even better after a stressful day at work. It went even better with the calzone and calamari we had from the local pizza joint.

They describe it much better on their website so feel free to bounce over there and get the description and such. But i’ll leave it at this….. it’s a limited release, I highly recommend you run out and grab a six pack. You’ll be glad you did.

Relaxation Beer

I know, I know!  It’s been over a month since I’ve posted.  You’re nagging me like my mother would for not doing my homework.  But hey, just like back in school I’ve still been drinking beer.

But tonight’s subject isn’t a review.  It’s a comment.  I just got home from attending my homeowner’s association meeting.  And you know, it’s sad to say that the only thing that makes this evening bearable is the cold beer I put in my hand as soon as I walked in.  And that’s the nice thing about a cold beer….. in moderation a good beer can save an otherwise unbearable evening.
Drink up friends.

Longboards and flops

Yesterday I mentioned a cool new pair of flip-flops with a built in beer bottle opener.  This evening’s beer provided a perfect test for the ultimate beach accessory.  I’m sad to say this one really disappoints.  

The problem is that a good bottle opener combines leverage with grip to easily open your beer.  The positioning of the hardware where you couldn’t get any leverage meant that you need extra force to open the beer…. all of which shook up the beer and did not make for a good start.
The good thing is the beer itself provided an EXCELLENT finish — Longboard Lager from Kona Brewing Company.  No, it’s not a local brew but I couldn’t pass on the idea of a surfing inspired beer during a beach vacation.  So as I eased into the hot-tub with the kids it was a great end to a vacation day.  As lagers go, not much special about it.  But since beers are best experienced as a point in time… it was just right. 

Empty Glass is on Vacation

And while usually that would mean no posts, for a dedicated beer reviewer like myself it just means more opportunities to sample and report back the goodness.

Of course my first stop on my vacation was to pick up a pair of flip-flops. While browsing the usually boring samples there was a glint of metal that caught my eye….. a pair of flip-flops with a bottle opener built in!! I’ll test it later and report back on it’s effectiveness.

But for now, here’s the first official beer review of the week. Since I’m staying on the Outer Banks of North Carolina I had to insist on buying some North Carolina beer. And although Highland Brewing Company is on the side of the state in Asheville, NC it barely fit my criteria so I picked up a 6 pack of the Cattail Peak Wheat Beer.

The website describes it as, “a complex malty body enhanced with traditional spicy noble hops and a smooth, crisp finish.” I, however, did not pick up on the malt body. But what I did notice – and enjoyed – were the hops which combined with the unfiltered texture made it a great lunch beer after a morning at the beach. Would I make it an every day beer? Probably not. But for experimenting and enjoying something different with a meal – most definitely.

Cheers from Charm City

It’s been a Baltimore Beer day.  We had a happy hour at work this afternoon to celebrate new business.  As our HR person ran out to get some beers she asked for some recommendations. My advice? “Go local, don’t bring me back none of that generic, mass produced, get it anywhere in the world swill.”

So I was quite pleased to open the bridge and see some of Baltimore’s own Clipper City Beer.  I’ve been a fan of their beer for quite a while – personal fave is the Small Craft Warning. However today the fridge had McHenry.  I’ve enjoyed McHenry at Camden yards many times, but in this setting it was a very refreshing beverage.  I’ve got to admit it was the perfect fit for a company happy hour — light and refreshing but not to heavy as to hamper conversation.
But even an better beverage was waiting for me when when I got home.  As I looked in the fridge there was a six pack of BaltoMarZhon.  Rich amber color, malty flavor and poured into a chilled glass makes the perfect way to end the day.
I hope you get a chance to look for these beers.  Even better, drop by their site or if you want some insight as to their beers, check out master brewer Hugh Sisson’s Blog.
As they say in Baltimore, “Cheers Hon!”

Daring… but part of mainstream


We never got around to grocery shopping this weekend so the family loaded up and went to Joe’s Crab Shack for dinner (yes, I feel for a trite ad during a TNT movie this afternoon).

Walked up to the bar while waiting for a table and perused the handles on the draft beers.  Out of all the ones I expected to see there was one I hadn’t seen before.  Beach Bum Blonde Ale.  Ahh something refreshingly new to try (or so I thought).
First, an opinion….. Light and refreshing.  I really like the color and the malty flavor which leaves a pleasant aftertaste.  It was a great compliment to the summer season and dinner meal (seafood of course).  Bit of a fruit taste like a hefeweisen with the lemon already added.  There are some at Beer Advocate that review it better, but suffice to say… I’d drink it again.
So what’s there not to like?  It’s another Anheuser-Busch beer.  Yeah for them for bringing out something seasonal that expands the palette.  However, it would be nice to see these restaurants looking for something a bit more off the beaten path when providing beer options.
Bottom line.  Good beer that I’d happily drink again, I just know where my money is going this time.

Official Beer of Summer?

Summer has hit hard here in Virginia.  The thermostat hit 95 degrees with the humidity of a southern swamp.  

So after a brisk walk with the family and dog it was nice to come home and as I started cooking dinner I grabbed the chilled glass from the freezer dropped a slice of lemon and wafted in the aromatic scent of …. Hefeweisen.
Flavor, body, aroma without being heavy.  Now, my choice tonight was Widmer’s Hefeweisen, but I’ve also lately enjoyed a cold class of Pyramid and Erdinger.  It depends on how you define the traditional wheat beer depending on the Belgian and German variety,  but for me many unfiltered beers fall into this category and satisfy my taste for a refreshing light beer that isn’t just another light beer.
Now from a beer snob’s point of view one of the nice things about the popularity of hefeweisens is that it has also helped major manufacturers see the light and bring some better options to market.  From Blue Moon (made by Coors) to Shock Top (made by Budweiser) tastes and options are opening up for others.
So enjoy the heat and humidity.  A relax with a cold glass of My Official Beer of Summer.

Ballpark Beers

Summertime and there’s nothing better than the crack of the bat and a cold beer.  Of course, my visit to Nationals Park last night gave me an opportunity to think about beer (yes, they lost in case you’re wondering).

Once upon a time you had limited choices in beer at the ballpark.  But in today’s modern baseball park your options are quite varied.  Off the top of my head i had my choice of Blue Moon, Peroni, Heinekin, Amstel Light, Bud and Bud Lite, Miller and Miller Lite, Leinenkugel, Corona and more that I can’t remember.  My only wish is that the beer guys coming through the aisles had more choices.
It’s good to have choices.  But what would be better would be more LOCAL choices.  I mean, in the DC area we have Old Dominon, Capitol City Brewing, Shenadoah Brewing Company, Foggy Bottom and if you’re willing to go north to Baltimore we can throw in Clipper City.  Let’s open up the ballpark experience to make sure that it’s truly a LOCAL experience even in terms of beverage choices.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering what my choice was?  Blue Moon.  Flavorful, crisp, cold with that summer goodness.