Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Singha Lager

Singha lager from Bangkok, Thailand, makes me think of Budweiser made a little bit smoother, and with a little more of the malty sweetness I find in Mexico's Modelo Especial. BeerAdvocate.com gives it a "worth a try," and I agree.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Red Brick Ale from Atlanta Brewing Co.

Red Brick Ale from Atlanta Brewing Co. in (guess) Atlanta is a high-gravity brown ale, not a red as the name might suggest. Actually, all the names of Atlanta Brewing Co. beers begin with "Red Brick," so that explains it.

Red Brick Ale is definitely worth of try. Its potency is just under 7 percent alcohol by volume, but you would never know it. The strength I experienced in this beer was its smoothness and malt sweetness and medium-to-full body.

Check out Atlanta Brewing Co. at http://www.atlantabrewing.com.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Terrapin Rye Pale Ale rocks

I found Terrapin Rye Pale Ale on tap down at Hangin' Ten, a bar in Surfside Beach, S.C.

Many beers have unique flavor profiles, but some of those flavors are more like experiments, like when over-hopped India Pale Ales taste like mouthfuls of food seasoning.

Terrapin Rye Pale Ale was different and better for it.

This brew woke up my mouth without overwhelming me, and made a serious statement about rye while remaining smooth. Tip of the hat to the rye, the four types of non-rye malt, and the five hops Terrapin included in this mix.

Check out Georgia's own Terrapin Beer Co. at www.terrapinbeer.com.

Friday, July 13, 2007

What the ale is this Mike-garita?

Did you see that Mike's Mike-garita drinks are labeled, at least in a single spot on the bottles, as "Flavored Ale"?

Technically speaking, maybe they are ale, but I'm just not down with the idea of giving the name ale to a "malt beverage" that's flavored to taste like a cocktail. Let the tradition be pure!

That being said, I liked it. I hate to admit it but I rimmed a glass with salt, filled it with ice, poured on the Mike-garita, and it was quite good. These Mike-garitas have some punch, too -- they're 8 percent alcohol by volume.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Frank Zappa explains the necessity of beer

"You can't have a real country unless you have a beer and an airline -- it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer."
-Frank Zappa

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Westmalle Trappist Ales

Westmalle Trappist Ales from Belgium are not everyday beers in the U.S.

But you really ought to try them.

Last night I had a glass of Westmalle Tripel and a glass of Westmalle Dubbel.

These are both beers that fill your mouth -- medium-to-heavy bodies and sweet maltiness.

Be careful, though. The easy-to-drink, yummy character of these two can catch up to you. The Dubbel is 7 percent alcohol by volume, and the Tripel is 9.5 percent!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

The pros and cons of Miller Chill

Miller Chill was an iffy experience.

Light and drinkable, with the advertised touch of lime and salt in the chelada tradition, Miller Chill isn't exactly a beer-drinking experience.

It's more like a refreshing counterpoint to summer weather or a mouth-cleaning accompaniment to Mexico-inspired foods.

The very light nature of this light beer leaves a bit to be desired in the malt department.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Gordon Biersch to plant restaurant-brewery at former Myrtle Beach AFB

The Gordon Biersch Restaurant Group, which bought Rock Bottom Brewery in downtown Charlotte, plans to bring a restaurant-brewery to the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, which is rapidly developing into a shopping, dining, and residential area. The restaurant-brewery should be open in 2008.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Price report: The good kind of Delirium Tremens

Expensive and worth it, Delerium Tremens has shown up in my neighborhood since South Carolina's beer law changed to allow high-gravity beers. It's a crisp Belgian blond beer, 9 percent alcohol by volume, made with three yeasts.

I bought a bottle at a restaurant, and I should have expect the price: $9. Ouch. This isn't everyday drinking.

Of course, the four-packs of 11.2-ounce bottles are $15.98-$16.98. A 750 milliliter bottle is $8.99-$9.26.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Fourth! Here's a thought

"Nothing ever tasted any better than a cold beer on a beautiful afternoon with nothing to look forward to but more of the same."
-- Hugh Hood

And while we're doing that today, let's turn to the east and lift a can to our friends and family serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, in hopes that next year they'll be back here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Thought for the Day

"Beer was so popular with medieval priests and monks that in the thirteenth century, they stopped baptizing children with holy water and started using beer."
-Ian Lendle, in Alcoholica Esoterica

The silly uproar about beer prices

Prices for take-home beer rose 3 percent in May.

Are you shocked?

If so, you probably don't buy beer often enough to notice any price increase.

May was, after all, more than a month ago.

The Labor Department's new report on prices was picked up by the media, and the beer increase stood out the most, so now media junkies will be hearing about this for the next 24-36 hours.

To be sure, the price increase was greater than the economy's overall inflation rate, and beer poured away from home, in the safety of one's neighborhood bar, increased 3.8 percent, according to USA Today.

Early this morning, CNN explained it this way: The high gas prices have increased the demand for ethanol, so farmers have committed more land to corn than barley. As barley has become a little more scarce, prices have increased -- an increase of 17 percent on average since the beginning of the year, according to USA Today.

So it is a big deal to the beer industry. But not the shocker the media wants it to be this morning.

Here's the full USA Today article: http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070703/BUSINESS/707030336/1003/BUSINESS

In other news, according to the Associated Press:

"With metal prices rising, beer makers say they expect to lose hundreds of thousands of kegs and millions of dollars this year as those stainless steel holders of brew are stolen and sold for scrap.

"The beer industry is coupling with the scrap metal recycling industry to let metal buyers know they can't accept kegs unless they're sold by the breweries that own them. They're also pushing for legislation that would require scrap metal recyclers to ask for identification and proof of ownership from would-be sellers."

Read the full story at http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Disappearing-Kegs.html?_r=1&oref=slogin (This link should be good for seven days.)

Monday, July 2, 2007

Sierra Nevada goes to pry-off cap

You've gotta have a bottle opener to drink Sierra Nevada. The old twist-off caps are gone. Allegedly the new bottle caps have a better oxygen barrier, and the new bottle cap liners are more environmentally friendly that those used in twist-off caps.
I've often called Sierra Nevada the Rachel McAdams of beers. I don't mind using a bottle opener.

Beer's influence on human events

Here's a good one:
"In my opinion, most of the great men of the past were only there for the beer."
-A.J.P. Taylor, British historian

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Breweries: Quigley's Pint and Plate in Pawleys Island, S.C.

I recently visited Quigley’s Pint and Plate, at 257 Willbrook Boulevard in Pawleys Island, S.C.

Josh Quigley, the owner, has six brews on tap and will soon release another. Fortunately, Quigley offers Nips, or 8-oz. glasses of his beer, for $2 each. That way I could try all six with a meal and still drive home later in the evening.

Quigley thought of everything: The 8-oz. Nip comes in a 10-oz. glass, so even with head, I was still getting 8 ounces. The 16-oz. and 20-oz. beers also come in slightly larger glasses to accomodate the head.

Longboard Lager: The lightest, with a bread-like taste, which Quigley said comes from malted barley that is mostly uninhibited because of light hopping.

Peach Beer: This unnamed beer, flavored with a puree and served with a peach slice, was determined not to be sweet. It has a dry finish with the kind of bitterness that some beer drinkers like.

Shakedown Wheat: Served with a slice of lemon, made from standard American ale yeast, this is my choice for summer.

Waccamaw Neck Red: This lager is rounded out by caramel malt, which turns the beer red, Quigley said. It’s lighter in body than I expected from the color.

Nut Brown Ale: Less bold than I expected, this nut-brown ale finishes dry. Quigley brewed it in the English nut-brown tradition, which calls for a dryer taste and earthy hops.

Swamp Fox IPA: Thank God for this 7-percent India Pale Ale. Brewers are hopping IPAs to the extreme these days, which Quigley called “just a typical American more-is-better thing.” But Swamp Fox is balanced with solid malting, making it less like an experiment and more like a beer.

And coming soon: Billy Boch, a summer boch brew that Quigley said will reach about 8 percent.