Archive for the 'Beer' Category
Posted by dave
Keeping in line with our love of not just booze and bar supplies – but also really, really good advertising, we’ve got another commercial for you.
Just like the Carlton Draft Big Ad, Guinness has a new advertisement happening overseas that has little chance of making it state-side. With their theme “Good things come to those who wait”, Guinness has delivered a ridiculously giant Dominos inspired advertisement – a Domino village with an impressive ending. This is an advertisement you’ve got to see.
Posted by dave
I wanted to share just a few words regarding one of my new favorite to-drink brews – good, old fashioned, always-there Guinness. I’ve been a Guinness drinker for some time now (being a regular at the Philadelphia Guinness Believers events) but I wanted to share a few thoughts regarding the beer of beers, and why I love it so much.
Guinness is certainly not the beer that beer snobs pay much attention to. It was originated for the masses, often was used as a carb-substitute for families that could afford Guinness and not bread (although it was much more watered down then) and you have to count the number of pints pounded by the hundred-millions. In a North vs. South struggle, Ireland splits its loyalties between Guinness and Murphy’s, but that’s not really the topic of discussion right now.
I think I know why it is I’m drawn to this beer – it’s that it is about one of the only beers I have ever tried that tastes good at room temperature. When not partying at super-high levels, I tend to enjoy my drink. I don’t pour a beer and then stare at an empty glass 3 minutes later – on the contrary – a pint might last me a good half hour if the sipping-mood strikes me.
But for most beers, it’s equivalent to drinking room-temperature coffee. You kind of want to get at coffee when it’s hot (or iced) and not when it has settled to room temperature. The same goes for beer – the icer and colderer (made up some words there) the beer is, the better.
That’s not true for Guinness. As a matter of a fact, in certain parts of the world, Guinness is served at room temperature – and if you got the right couple of Guinness zealots in the same room together, you could probably see them come to blows about the correct temperature to serve a pint. Guinness, for its part, doesn’t care, and recently introduced Guinness Extra Cold (just Guinness shot through a super-cooler) so – you know, have it however you like it.
For me though, it’s the core beauty. The roasted barley taste is of course a wonderful thing, and I seem to be skipping over the entire idea of flavor here altogether. But don’t be fooled – it’s that Guinness retains it’s smokey great flavor at just about any temperature. That means there’s no rush to drink, no hurry to indulge. The same pint can be enjoyed for a drawn-out period of time (in beer-drinking parlance anyway) and at the end, you’re still ENJOYING it.
So, since we usually don’t tap on the most famous of beers around here, but I’ve been having myself a Guinness pint regularly recently, I thought I’d just give a hat-tip to this almost 250 year old beer. And don’t get too upset if your local bar doesn’t know how to properly pour a Guinness – it still tastes pretty damn good.
Posted by dave
Wychwood Brewing (hit the link for the “story” of the Hobgoblin name) have themselves a real gem with this somewhat oddly-named ale. A healthy 5.2% ABV doesn’t hurt the experience, but it’s the flavor that makes this a curious, yet desirable brew.
First things first – it’s an ale, and we here at The Bar Project likes us an ale any day of the week. Ales tend to be a bit hoppier and fuller in flavor. On the downside – that is, to anyone wanting to drink about 15 beers at a single sitting, they also tend to be a bit heavier.
This ale is actually relatively light, and even a bit fruity. Normally, I’d be totally turned off by this. I’m of the recently dedicated Man Law “Don’t Fruit The Beer“. But it’s so – hidden – that it’s really not something of concern. It flavors the beer very subtly, so I won’t take off points for it.
You’ve also gotta love the fact that Hobgoblin comes in a full pint plus an extra 0.9 oz for good luck – none of this measly 12 oz per serving nonsense. If you give the Brits nothing else, give them that they understand beer should come in pints, not anemic 12 oz servings.
I’ll try to straighten out this post that so far is completely all over the place. Flavor wise, you’ve got a standard ale hop strength – mild, but noticeable. It’s slightly fruity, but I have no idea what fruit it is I’m tasting, but there is a sweet side to this beer undoubtedly.
The more-than-pint-sized serving (which, as an expression, is usually is a derogatory, but here is meant as a compliment) is quite appreciated. The color is reddish brown and unimpressive, and the head doesn’t have much lasting power, but these are trivial things that hardly detract from the beer.
Hmm… look at that. As usual, I’m drinking currently what I’m reviewing, and I’ve noticed something that you don’t see much in beers these days – sediment. It’s not a bad thing – in fact, it’s a byproduct of the brewing process, so this simply means that Hobgoblin isn’t filtered millions of times. That could in fact help add to the flavor, so I’ll just let it pass.
As I noted above, this review is all over the place, so I’ll just end it and put it out of its misery. Hobgoblin Strong Dark Ale is good. I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to find it, but it’s a solid English ale, and I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to experience it.
Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s still more to drink. 500 ml is just about 41% more beer than a normal 12 oz bottle, and I’m feeling like 41% more of an ale fan tonight.
Posted by dave
So I’m a hops fan – at this point in time it’s not a secret. I’m also more usually a fan of a good ale over a beer. Although to the common man they’re both pretty much the same thing, I find myself usually smiling a bit more at a well-made ale.
But back to the hops, I’m in a small store in Philly checking out some crazy brews, and the Troegs (sorry, that’s Trӧegs with the funny “ӧ”) not only claims to be hoppy, but has a picture of a hops plant right there on the label. It’s a bold statement – because if it’s not hoppy – well… that’s just false advertising.
Having no reason to doubt the sincerity of the brewers, I picked up one. Now, sipping on this brew, I wish I had gotten more. Many, many more.
I admit that at first I assumed – no, I hoped – it would kick of hops like Victory’s HopDevil (also an ale) or River Horse’s Hop Devil (pale ale). But now that this ale and I have been introduced, I’m oddly happy to report that the hops is almost – reserved.
Ok, so this is called an Amber Ale, and man is it pretty. It’s like pouring liquid apricot, and it’s even got a slightly amber head. The head lasts for a good time, although after a minute or two of admiration I briefly looked away at the Miami-Steelers game, and it was almost instantly gone.
Undeterred, I took my first sip, and was confused. My palette was infused with taste, and yet the hops didn’t muscle out the other flavors in the ale – it was hardly a one-hop show.
Trӧegs HopBack Amber Ale is like having a serving of fruit – it’s perhaps the sweetest ale we’ve reviewed to date. While the hops definitely makes an entrance, it’s the sweetness of this ale that stays with you for a while – and that ain’t a bad thing.
Back to the hops though – um, YUM. While still being too hoppy for anyone that doesn’t consider themselves a drinker that lives for hops, I can’t overstate the subdued nature of the hops flavor. It’s soft yet strong, quiet yet unquestionably present.
That’s really all I can say about the flavor. It’s hardly complex – and that’s it’s charm. Rather it’s a sweet, cool, refreshing amber that makes up for its sugary flavor with a healthy helping of soft hops. The woody flavor of the hops is ever present, and it’s like eating the apricot – and the branch it grew on – at the same time.
This is a great hop-infused beer/ale. If you’re a hops fan, Trӧegs HopBack Amber Ale is your new champaigne. It’s for anyone with a tongue for hops, but it’s maturity in flavor makes this an ale for the palette looking for something… well… more mature. And as some of us get older, we’re looking for our beer to grow up with us – and Trӧegs HopBack Amber Ale is right in step.
Posted by sean
With a brewing history dating from the Middle Ages and born from monastic traditions, it’s hard to ignore Belgium’s influence on the brewing community – after all, how can you argue with experience and the church?
When looking to imports, Belgian beers – and particularly Belgian Ales – are some of the best and most widely available to be had. And selection – wow! – Belgian breweries produce over 500 standard varieties (not including again as many specialty brews and one-offs) – all from a country smaller than the state of Maryland with about twice as many residents (reportedly all avid beer drinkers!).
So if you just can’t stomach the idea of trying to force down another of what passes for beer from the largest American breweries and you’re in a mood for a beer with great flavor – read on…
Posted by dave
I’m walking down Pine street in Philadelphia, and happen upon this small deli that sells a whole international selection of beers. Bonus – they have a “make your own six pack” policy on all these international beers, so at least a few reviews will your way be coming.
Not going to spend a lot of time on this ale, but it deserves a taste should you happen upon it. It’s not cheap – a single 11.2 oz bottle cost a whopping $2.50, but it’s certainly worth having at least one for your own beer edification. Nothing wrong with being able to say “oh, Hitachino Nest Beer’s Japanese Classic Ale? Of course I’ve had it. Where have you been?”
Posted by dave
Beer is one of those things that has an incredibly storied history. It dates back to the fifth millennium BC and is one of the oldest known human-produced beverages, which proves that despite anything anyone may say, the human race has had some sort of acceptable and condonable understanding of taste for over seven thousand years.
The oldest known chemically tested evidence of beer from over 7000 years ago actually comes from what is now known as Iran. So despite any nuclear arms race, anti-western sentiment, or totalitarian government forcing its citizenry into zealous oppression supported by an extremely fundamentalist interpretation of the Islamic religion… to Iran, I say a hearty “thanks”.
I’m not going to wax educational this entire post, so if you’re interested in learning the interesting history of beer, head on over here. But it’s important to know that beer is older than wine, any other man-made alcoholic beverage, and even most man made beverages of any kind.
So it is with great pleasure that I introduce Warsteiner to anyone who drinks beer but doesn’t know the producer, and I share with those who know Warsteiner the satisfaction that is its drinking experience.
Posted by dave
Since we seem to be dealing with a theme here, one of the gifts I may have hinted at wanting for Christmas this year was a home-brewing kit – beer style. I’m not the first in my family to attempt the home-brew – my grandfather (may he rest in peace) used to make a killer red wine. I can vaguely remember as a child venturing down into his basement and staring in awe at all the barrels in a line, presumably full of a wine-in-progress – and to the side of the barrels, several bottles of ready-to-drink wine – corked, wax-sealed, and oh so tasty to a young man almost a decade away from his legal right to drink.
Childhood memories, added on top of my apparently random stab at making my way in the world of libations and libation accessories led me to the obvious conclusion that eventually I would have to make a hobby of the very thing that currently drives my ambition. Why not brew some beer, I thought? After all, how hard could it be?
As luck would have it, a friend (and former business partner in EDM Software) and I both received different brew-it-yourself home beer brew kit for Christmas. They’re hardly expensive – you can pick one up at Target for less than $40. Anyway, it struck us before we began our first brew that perhaps this could become a hobby that we could actually sink our teeth in to (and, if I can see the future as I believe I can, a few greenbacks as well.)
So as I type this, my home-brew is just put away for a 2 week nap to ferment and – with any real luck – become something palatable. My kit was the second that we attempted – our first brew is also mid-fermentation, but as we’re finding, it’s not as easy as one would think.
Nonetheless, I can see a fun future in brewing beer for home consumption. I still have questions about the amount of dextrose a good brew really requires (you’d really be surprised, it feels cola-like in quantity) and I have yet to scrape the very top of the knowledge-tree of understanding when it comes to the different types of yeast, barley, hops, etc. Heck, I haven’t even completed the fermentation process once yet, so the step of beer conditioning seems like a faint mirage miles down the road.
Anyway, if I’m going to immerse myself in the alcohol culture, I might as well do it with as much gusto as I possibly can.
Coming soon is my first – and this site’s first – review of a beer. I can only hope that sometime in the distant future I might brew a beer worthy of bragging about. But for now, my Mr. Beer and I are still working on forging a friendship, and that’s as far as I’ve gotten in this mysterious world of home brewing.
Posted by dave
Carlton Draft in Australia has a great commercial which will never be shown here in the states, so I thought I’d share the love. Thanks to my brother Sean (not the business partner Sean) for the pointer.
I love a great commercial or advertisement campaign. We’re inundated with trash advertising almost constantly through the day. I’m sick of car advertisements – a commercial break can’t pass without at least one advertisement for a car I really don’t want. So when a really neat advertisement comes along, it’s quite refreshing.
Fortunately, alcohol seems to have a bit more of a sense of humor when it comes to advertising, and so I quite often enjoy ads for brands like Heineken or Miller Genuine Draft. I may or may not drink their beer, but at least I appreciate the effort.
Check out the Carlton Draft ad.