Beer Wednesday – Birra Moretti

•June 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Happy Beer Wednesday!

This week I’m drinking an Italian beer that I first stumbled across at an Italian festival in Baltimore a few years ago. At least I think it was this beer. My father-in-law and I grabbed a couple and neither of us can fully recall what the beer was. We both believe that it was Birra Moretti, but I remember really liking it on the street.

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This vegan beer was, in a word, unimpressive. It was a light lager, without the warning of it being labeled light. The flavor was kind of generically beery and disappointing. Despite the 4.6% ABV, it was still kind of thin and boring.

While this might be better from an ice-cold bottle on the street, with a slice of vegan pizza in my other hand, as it was poured in my glass, I have to give it a 2/6 on my six-pack scale. All told, I’d rather drink Yuengling.

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Have you got any beers that you expected to be better than they were? Or any good memories tied to a mediocre beer that make it seem better than it really is? Let me know.

Beer Wednesday – Blue Moon Belgian White Ale

•June 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Happy Beer Wednesday!

Today I’m bringing you a review of a shockingly vegan beer, Blue Moon’s flagship Belgian White Ale.

This beer is a standard white ale, and, in fact, is, on a state by state level, the best selling beer in the country.

Now, if this is indeed the case, well, it’s better than most of the beers on that map, but let’s be honest, nothing brewed by MillerCoors could possible be that good. It just isn’t in their nature.

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That having been said, this isn’t terrible beer. Calling it good might be a little strong, but it’s. . . fine. The fact that it is 5.4% ABV helps make it more palatable, but the sort of wheaty, and still bland nose, coupled with a thin, somewhat filmy taste make it over all, not very good.

Now, don’t misunderstand, Blue Moon is better than any other beer brewed by MillerCoors, but with just 9 IBUs and the claim that it has “zesty orange fruitiness,” well, it just doesn’t have sufficient balance to satisfy a decent beer drinker. If you’re looking for something to swill at a similar price point, I would go with Yuengling lager, or Magic Hat #9.

This beer, while the best of a bad bunch, earns a 2 out of 6 on my six-pack scale. I’d avoid it, but I’d love to hear if you disagree.

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Tofurkey breakfast sausage

•June 9, 2014 • 2 Comments

Not too long ago, the Blonde and I had a craving: sausage. Not just any sausage, but breakfast sausage. Enter Tofurkey! We saw the package, and we immediately agreed that it would be half of breakfast.

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The links fired up decently, with minimal sticking to the pan, and they smelled good, almost like traditional sausage. They looked a little bit like “fake meat” but I’ve gotten a little used to that when it comes to Tofurkey brand.

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The texture was sort of traditional Tofurkey, soft, with small bits of a firmer texture. It was a little salty, a little sweet, and very traditionally “Tofurkey.”

Don’t get me wrong, without Tofurkey, there would be fewer vegans, and we wouldn’t have nearly the seitan choices that we do today, but overall, I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of the Tofurkey breakfast sausage. It could use a little bit more sweetness, and maybe a little more flavor, and a tad less salt.

Maybe next time I’ll just make my own breakfast sausage.

 

 

Beer Wednesday – Ruthless Rye IPA

•June 4, 2014 • 4 Comments

Happy Beer Wednesday!

This week, I’m pretty happy to have another West Coast IPA, Sierra Nevada’s Ruthless Rye IPA.

This non-traditional IPA has amazing color, a rich, deep amber, and a nose that is a blend of hops and malt, without too much bitterness.

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The taste is rich and malty, with a ton of sweetness up front. The hops are light, without a whole lot of hoppy bitterness or citrus. The malt is almost more of a Belgian than a West Coast IPA, which changes how I feel about it.

I want a West Coast IPA to be really big and hoppy, and this vegan beer just isn’t. If this beer were presented as a Belgian style IPA, I might be raving. The malt is rich and smooth, and the hops aren’t overpowering, but let’s be honest, when you get an IPA, you want that vegan beer to be super hoppy. Or at least I do. The malt had a really interesting flavor to it, which I assume comes from the rye, but it still wasn’t quite right.

If this were a Belgian IPA, I would be happy to give it a higher rating, but as it is, while good, I can’t give it more than a 3 out of 6 on my six-pack scale.

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Baseball Book Review – Calico Joe

•June 2, 2014 • 4 Comments

Recently I visited my mother in New Jersey, and stumbled across a John Grisham book that she had sitting around, “Calico Joe.”

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This short novel was a story about hope, promise, revenge, and redemption. Oh, amd baseball. You know I love baseball, and this book was an easy enough read that I polished it off in a weekend.

As a book about baseball, “Calico Joe” fell a bit short, but as a book, I was really happy to have it. On this, the second full unofficial week of summer, if you need something light but still a good read, I can’t give this a higher recommendation. It’s touching but not sappy, amd worth every page.

I may even start reading some other John Grisham. Have you read any Grisham? What’s your say on him?

Beer Wednesday – Spitfire

•May 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Happy Beer Wednesday!

This week, I’m presenting the very first beer that I ever bought, Spitfire.

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The first time I bought this beer, I was in Stratford-upon-Avon, at a restaurant after visiting Shakespeare’s home and grave. I was also 17. I remember it clearly, mostly because I was scared that I was going to get carded in a different country, and then when I was served, it was the first time I had ever seen a beer with sediment in the bottle!

This serving was a standard 12oz. and didn’t have any sediment, but it was still what I seemed to remember. It was malty, with a light hop, and really good balance. It may have been a little bit more like a white ale than a pale ale.

Overall, I’m really happy to give this blast from my past a 4/6 on my six-pack scale.

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Do you remember the first beer you bought? What was it, and where did you buy it? Tell me in the comments.

Baseball Book Review – The Star and the Rockets

•May 26, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Last summer I ran a handful of baseball book reviews, and now that it’s the unofficial start of summer (Memorial Day), I’ve decided to do it again. This week I read a short story by Harry Turtledove, the “master of alternate history,” called “The Star and the Rockets.”

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This short book was an easy read about a minor league baseball player who is visited by aliens in Roswell, New Mexico, and has the season of his career.

If you’ve ever read any of Turtledove’s novels, you’l recognize his style immediately, but for this short story there is just one character’s perspective, almost as if it were just one chapter from one of his novels. I happen to really like Harry Turtledone, and so “The Star and the Rockets” made me really happy. As an incredibly easy read for Memorial Day, I couldn’t recommend it more.

Have you ever read any Turtledove? If so, what do you like, and if not, are you interested? Let me know if you give him a shot.

Beer Wednesday – Heavy Seas Powder Monkey with Cascade Hops

•May 14, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Happy Beer Wednesday!

To wrap up my series on Heavy Seas beers (Powder Monkey, Loose Cannon, and Peg Leg) I’m disturbing thrilled to end with a casked version of their English Pale Ale, Powder Monkey. This version is served after being infused with Cascade Hops in the pour.

I had thsi version at the Heavy Ses Brewpub in Baltmore, and I’m not sure that it is available anywhere else, but if you happen to have a Dogfish Head Randall Jr. infuser, I mightily recommend putting your hands on some hops to simulate this.

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This version of a good brew was, in a word, outstanding. It was bright, with a smooth hoppy flavor. There was little uncomfortable bitterness, and the maltiness managed to shine through despite (maybe because of?) the added hops. There was a ton of hops, but it balanced perfectly.

I know this is just a 4.75% ABV, but I can’t imagine that the IBUs didn’t change from the “official” 28.5. The addition of the Cascade Hops clearly brightened up the beer, and that, along with the natural maltiness, made thsi teasingly like a Belgian ale, but hoppier.

I’m elated to give this delicious version of Powder Monkey just my second full six-pack ever. (The other was Allagash Black Belgian Style Stout)

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I do happen to have a Randall Jr. infuser, so I may try to get my hands on some hops and do this myself. . . Let me know if you get there before I do and how it goes!

Beer Wednesday – Heavy Seas Powder Monkey

•May 7, 2014 • 1 Comment

Happy Beer Wednesday!

This week I’m continuing my four weeks of vegan beers brewed by Heavy Seas Brewery in Baltimore, Maryland, with their pale ale Powder Monkey.

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These last two weeks, I’ve been impressed with Heavy Seas’ beers. This beer, however, has been the least impressive so far.Take that with a grain of salt, though. Heavy Seas makes some darn good beers.

Powder Monkey’s clear, golden color had a crisp, citrusy nose, but with a pretty thin head, which was a disappointment. That lack of head hid a bright, slightly malty flavor. The hops were clean, with a bright, citrus finish. It was slightly sweet but very well balanced. One thing to keep in mind is that this is an English pale ale not an Imperial pale ale, and so, this is a fairly true representation of the style. The thin head and lack of carbonation (it was so fine it was barely present) are completely normal.

IF your preferred beers are  a little thin, with smooth malt and light hops, then this is a vegan beer I would recommend. It will probably be incredibly delicious on a swelteringly hot day, and its 4.75 ABV and 28.5 IBUs make it incredibly drinkable. Compared to other light, easy drinking beers that I’ve reviewed (like Yuengling, Sum’r, Grateful, or Stegmaier’s Pale Ale) this one falls about the same, maybe on the higher end of the easy-drinking-pale-ale spectrum.

Overall, I am pretty happy to have picked up this Heavy Seas brew, and I’m also pretty happy to give it a 3 out of 6 on my six-pack scale.

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Next week ends my current stretch of visits the Heavy Seas brewery with an actual visit to their brew pub. Any special breweries you’d like to see me spend a month reviewing? Let me know in the comments!

Beer Wednesday – Heavy Seas Loose Cannon

•April 30, 2014 • 1 Comment

Happy Beer Wednesday!

This week I’m continuing my four weeks of vegan beers brewed by Heavy Seas Brewery in Baltimore, Maryland. This week I’m reviewing  one of the brewery’s signature beers, Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA.

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This beer is a great example of an IPA. The color is a great clear amber, and the nose is citrus, with a light, spicy note, but at 7.25% ABV, I wouldn’t suggest drinking a bunch of them. You’ll remember it.

The very itself is hoppy, citrusy, sweet, and smooth. This really tasty brew had light bitterness on the finish, but the bitterness blends nicely with the floral and smooth flavors that are part of the overall taste. With just 45 IBUs, it is delicious and dangerously drinkable.

Heavy Seas calls it “Hop3” because of the 3 pounds of hops that go into every barrel, but the balance is so perfect, that it isn’t bitter or unappealing, it’s just a great example of an American IPA.

This is one of the better IPAs I’ve had, really, I’m not that surprised, though. Heavy Seas has continued to produce high quality beers. I’m really happy to give this terrific beer a 5/6 on my six-pack scale.

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If you come across this brew, give it a shout and let me know if you agree.

 
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