Short’s The Good Samaritan

•January 21, 2011 • 5 Comments
Short’s Brewing Company, Bellaire, Michigan
The Good Samaritan
Brown Ale with Apple Cider Yeast
12 oz. bottle

We were making a stir-fry and cracked open The Good Samaritan. I poured it into our drinking glasses.  We both drank it while we ate the stir-fry.  Neither of us said anything about the beer or reacted in any way (positive or negative) while drinking. The stir-fry was good even though there were no bamboo shoots. For some reason there were no bamboo shoots at the store. Next to the the water chestnuts there was just empty space.

Unlike other Short’s beers that demand some sort of reaction (joy, confusion, sorrow, glee, or consternation), this one exists without any fanfare or folly. We don’t really feel one way or the other about it, nor do we feel any pressure to assess its features. We didn’t even talk about how we weren’t talking about it or what that might mean.  I took a picture using Nina’s camera.

Anyway, later that evening we went to Salvation Army since it is Student/Teacher Discount Day on Thursdays (25% off).  There was a live one-man band playing.  It was a guy huddled in what appeared to be a wooden booth, the sort that one might find in a Cracker Barrel restaurant. His renditions of pop songs like “8 Days a Week” and “Crazy” were each 15-minute jam sessions.  For first five minutes he would sing and strum along on his out-of-tune guitar, and would then rig up a recorded loop of his playing. For the next ten minutes he would play a lengthy recorder solo at the same time as the recorded loop. I found a pretty good mug in the housewares section, though it turns out that the handle has a micro-crack.

I think I’m crazy…


Belgoo Magus

•January 17, 2011 • 1 Comment
Belgoobeer, Binche, Belgium
Belgoo Magus
6.6% ABV
11.2 fl. oz. bottle into drinking glass

As we headed to the check-out in the beer store, we noticed a heap of random bottles beneath the ready-to-eat sandwiches across from the Slim Jim section. Among them was the Belgoo Magus, marked down from $6.49 to $0.99. We inquired about why it was forced to share a bin with beers like Festina Peche and were told that “it wasn’t selling well, probably because of the name”.

Belgoo Magus is a hazy, yeasty brew with a bit of soap and spice thrown in for good measure.  Not syrupy, but thick with grain.  It contains four grains (barley, wheat, spelt, and oats), and the wheat predominates. Cloves are present. The beer is pleasantly sturdy and uncomplicated. The only weak point is a grape-y finish.

Utram bibis? Aquam an undam?

Laverstoke Park Farm Lager

•January 10, 2011 • 2 Comments
Laverstoke Park Farm, Overton, UK
Organic Real Lager
4.5% ABV
500 mL bottle

[An unrevised archival posting, unreleased until now…]

This organic farm in the UK grows its own organic hops and barley. The result is amazingly full-bodied for its 4.5% ABV. I wonder how this small-scale-produced lager, now sold out on the farm’s website, made it the beer store in Carrboro, NC.

I sure am awfully horn-tootin’ glad it did. YEE-HAW!

Short’s and Half Acre Freedom of ’78 (Pure Guava IPA)

•January 6, 2011 • 2 Comments
Short’s Brewing Company, Bellaire, Michigan AND
Half Acre Brewing Company, Chicago, Illinois
Freedom of ’78
(Pure Guava) IPA
6.9% ABV
12 oz. bottle

This remarkable beer smells like the tastiest of IPAs; high citrusy hops fairly burst forth. The Guava only reveals itself as a surprising aftertaste, whispering to the palate once the beer is down your throat and you mistakenly think the whole tasting experience of that single sip is over. As the glass was exposed to the air the guava echo seemed to fade, but perhaps I just became accustomed to it. A strange, subtle, brave, and very interesting beer. FREEDOM.

Keegan Ales Barrel-Aged Mother’s Milk

•January 2, 2011 • 3 Comments
Keegan Ales, Kingston, New York
Mother’s Milk Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels
bottled 12/6/10

First, check out this great video by Brewery Show:

The whiskey barrel-aged Mother’s Milk Stout draws out the vanilla flavors present in the original. The head is a slightly darker tan than the original, with equivalent carbonation. Unlike some barrel-aged brews that transform good beers into flamoboyant alcohol bombs, the flavors of Mother’s Milk are deepened by the aging process. One is left with a more profound version of Mother’s Milk rather than its evil doppelganger.  A very solid– and very limited edition– brew!

Keegan Ales Mother’s Milk

•December 30, 2010 • Leave a Comment
Keegan Ales, Kingston, New York
Mother’s Milk Stout
6% ABV
16oz. draft

While you are in the Hudson Valley, drop by Keegan Ales in Kingston to sample some of their excellent offerings. We stopped by for lunch and the place was quiet, though evidently gets much more crowded in the evening.  You can read a bit about the history of Keegan Ales here, and also make sure you review the “Bad Habits to Avoid” when playing darts.

This excellent milk stout is on par with Duck Rabbit in terms of its delicious texture. It is very smooth and rich without too much sweetness. Note that milk stouts contain lactose, a sugar that contributes to the mouthfeel and overall flavor.  As a medium-bodied stout, this is very well-balanced, with chocolate malt forming the structured backbone.

21st Amendment Back in Black

•December 27, 2010 • 4 Comments
21st Amendment Brewery, San Francisco, California
Back in Black IPA
6.8% ABV
“a Declaration of Independence from the tyranny of the expected”

I’m in New York, and word has it that a blizzard is possible tonight. So, I hit the beer store and picked up a six-pack of Back in Black IPA, 21st Amendment’s latest year-round selection. As you may recall, we sampled a trio of Black IPAs at the Michigan beer fest this year, so I was eager to taste a West Coast attempt for the sake of comparison.

Back in Black is medium bodied and heavily hopped. It has the chocolate malt flavors and sweet coffee elements that one associates with a black ale, but the bitterness of the hops outpaces all elements of sweetness. B-in-B concludes with a sour finish. Unlike other Black IPAs, this one is like a heavy-hitting IPA that just happens to be cloaked in black.

Supposedly this is the first-ever Black IPA in a can?