Category Archives: Beer Reviews

Antique shops and Beer of the Day: Theobroma

Me and Liz made our way to the antique shop in Montpelier today. A few months ago I made a post mentioning some steins they had and that I would post pictures soon, well, better late than never.

This stein is decorated with an inscription that read “Endet einst mein Lebenslauf”. According to one of Liz’s friends who speaks German, the person who wrote this is pretty much saying this is the best beer he has ever drank.

This is basically just a picture of a German fella having a good ol time.

This seems to depict a group of folks sitting by a table while one of their mates strums away on some sort of stringed instrument.

“Beer is healthy”

Theobroma

Dogfish Head Brewery

Milton, DE

Chile Beer

9%

This brew came from Hunger Mountain Co-op here in Montpelier. It was an impulse buy. I had heard that it tasted like spicy chocolate so I decided to try it.

Appearance – Two finger white foamy head, amber/ burnt orange color.

Aroma – malt, chocolate, caramel, honey

Taste – Cocoa, sweet, smokey. A little confusinf to explain. It is not a kind of sweet that makes you think “Ah, this is a sweet beer.” it makes you think ” Ah, this is a savory beer with hints of chocolate.” The chillies in this brew add a spice in the back of your throat. Very nice taste.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied. Sort of bitter, nice stinging sensation not from the alcohol.

Drinkability – Great for certain occasions, not for everyday use.


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Other News and Beer of the Day: Centennial IPA

So Liz and I just secured our tickets for the American Craft Beer Fest, a nice birthday present from the folks. It is on June fourth in Boston. over 100 breweries and over 400 beers, it should be really awesome. For a look at the line-up click here.

Mississippi is not known for being ahead of the race in anything, including beer. With a 5% alcohol by weight limit to any beer sold in the state Mississippi beer lovers are forced to cross borders to get their hands on delicious world class beers. Mississippi is denied more beer than any other state in the country. There is a group of individuals who are trying to fix this nasty little problem. Raise Your Pints is a grassroots organization that is trying to fix the outdated beer laws and make home brewing in Mississippi legal.

Centennial IPA

Founders Brewing Company

Grand Rapids, MI

India Pale Ale

7.2%

This was my first beer to try from founders. Not bad at all I really enjoyed it. I feel that it really sticks to the style well. I grabbed this one from Carborro Beverage Co. in Carborro NC.

Appearance – Burnt copper with a 1 1/2 finger tan head. Good lacing.

Aroma – Citrus, floral, malty.

Taste – Spicy. A good piney taste in the foreground. Good malts but absolutely hoppy. Great spice.

Mouth Feel – Dry from the hops. Good smooth medium body texture. Gets bubbly when swished in the mouth.

Drinkability – Good IPA. Dry and hoppy but doesn’t leave you parched when you drink it. Good to drink often.

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Beer of the Day: Bell’s 25th Anniversary Ale

25th Anniversary Ale

Bell’s Brewery Inc.

Kalamazoo, MI

Amber Ale

8.5%

I got this beer shortly after Liz was awesome enough to introduce me to the Bell’s line-up. I don’t have much to say about this one so I will tell you what Bell’s say.

Celebrating 25 years of brewing, this strong amber ale carries on our tradition of flavorful, balanced beers. Brewed with 100% Michigan-grown barley, 25th Anniversary Ale starts with caramel & light toffee flavors. These are paired with generous kettle & dry-hop additions, yielding a crisp, assertive bitterness and hop flavors ranging from citrus, floral, and piney notes.

Appearance – Amber, dark red, one-finger beige head, good lacing.

Aroma, Citrus, Pine, Floral, slightly malty.

Taste – Tastes as it smells. A bit more malt in the mouth than in the nose. nice crisp bite up front with a good bitter finish in the end all the while keeping a good consistent malt presence.

Mouth Feel – Good carbonation and very smooth texture that lightly and pleasantly coats the mouth.

Drinkability – Great brew. Too bad this isn’t a year long brew and only a specialty release.

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Beer of the Day: Old Guardian

Old Guardian

Stone Brewing Company

San Diego, CA

American Barley Wine

11.2%

This is Stone’s Old Guardian. I first had this brew on tap at Three Penny. I can’t really remember what it was like then as it was over a year ago but I do remember that I liked it. This particular bottle that I will be reviewing was drank by Liz and I when we went to her family’s cabin up north Michigan. According to their website Stone states that this beer is “Delicious”. Hmm, thanks Stone. In part of their Odd Years release Stone has introduced us to Old Guardian Belgo, which is nothing more than Old Guardian fermented with a strain of Belgian yeast. I have a bottle of the Belgo put away that I can’t wait to taste.

Appearance – Amber/Red, big foamy cream head that goes away after a little bit. Beautiful lacing.

Aroma – Piney hops, caramel malts, slight chocolate, the aroma gets stronger as it warms.

Taste – Very hoppy, spicy, caramel, chocolate. Just as the aromas, the taste gets stronger as it warms.

Mouthfeel – Medium, stings. A nice bite from the hops. Creamy and coats palate.

Drinkability – Third time to have this beer in a year and I don’t think it should be drank too many times in that length. This is a VERY powerful beer. I would love to get another bottle and put it away and see how the hops calm down and give the malts a chance to shine. Great beer

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Beer of the Day: Taddy Porter

The Famous Taddy Porter

Samuel Smith Old Brewery

Tadcaster, England

English Porter

5%

The Porter is probably the most important drink known to London Brits, yes, even more than tea. Porter reigned their pubs for decades. This specific porter is brewed with water from the same well they used to make this beer back in 1759 from 85 feet underground, not as high as an airplane flies but still pretty deep. This is the oldest brewery in Tadcaster and it is no surprise why it has lasted so long. If you see this beer, grab it. Courtesy to Liz for the photos.

Appearance – Dark brown, almost black. Creamy tan head with good lacing.

Aroma – Roasted malts, slightly nutty, caramel, slight hop aroma, hint of coffee.

Taste – Sweet. Roasted malts, another hint of that coffee, nutty aftertaste.

Mouthfeel – Medium to heavy bodied. Slightly dry. Good carbonation.

Drinkability – Great brew. Porters aren’t my favorite but I love this one. Low alcohol makes for a good session brew with the boys when just hanging out after work or for a fun Friday night.

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Beer of the Day: Smoked Baltic Porter

Smoked Baltic Porter

Great Divide Brewing Company

Denver, CO

Baltic Porter

6.2%

I am pretty confused with this brew. It is a porter (Ale) yet on the Great Divide website they refer to it as a Dark Lager. If there is someone who can explain this please, I’m all ears. I got this brew in North Carolina at the Carborro Beverage Center. Porters used to be a lot stronger than todays standards. Well above 7%. The Baltic Porter was created to be shipped across the Baltic Sea. This brew would sometimes often be blended with sour ale. This specific Baltic Porter is given an addition of smoked German Bamberg malts.

Appearance –Beige one finger head. Dark brown with red hues.

Aroma – Light hints of chocolate and coffee. Very malty brew. Hints of the smoke

Taste –Tangy, Citrus. Smokey, slight bitterness.

Mouthfeel –Dry. Sharp carbonation and pretty thin.

Drinkability – Not the best brew I’ve had. Fairly easy to drink. It has been a few months since I had it and I feel like my palate has matured so I would like to try it again and see how I take to it now.

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Homade Sourdough Bread and Beer of the Day: Double Bag

Yeast are a group of unicellular fungi. More than a thousand species of yeasts have been described. The most commonly used yeast is Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which was domesticated for wine, bread and beer production thousands of years ago. Fermentative yeasts produce their energy by converting sugars into carbon dioxide and ethanol (alcohol). In brewing, the ethanol is used, while in baking the carbon dioxide raises the bread and the ethanol evaporates.

To make sourdough you must first have a sourdough starter. One of my Chef’s gave me a little of his starter so that I could make my own sourdough bread. Making a starter is easier than waking up at 6:30 in the morning. Mix 1 cup of water and 1 cup of non bleached rye flour. Rye flour adds extra sugars and nutrients for the yeast. If you don’t want to continue with rye you can always switch but it is good for giving your starter a jump start. Let sit uncovered until you notice it start to rise and get of lots of bubbles.

What is happening is fermentation of wild yeasts and Lactobacillus Brevis. The yeast and the bacteria are already present in the flour and the air. Once the flour is hydrated the enzymes break down the carbohydrates from the wheat and converts into sugars which provide food for the yeast. The Lactobacillus then feeds off the byproduct of fermentation causing the culture to go sour by excreting lactic acid which prevents it from spoiling.

To feed it remove half of your starter and discard the other half. Whisk into 1/2 cup of water and mix with your hand 1/2 cup of flour. Repeat this process every day to keep your starter alive.

The day before you bake your bread feed your starter a cup of water and a cup of flour but do not discard any.

Sourdough Bread

  • 2 cups of water
  • 9.6 oz of sourdough starter
  • 4 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 c + 1 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1T+1t salt

Mix water and starter well in a bowl and then incorporate your flour. Let sit for 15 minutes and then add your salt. This process is first fermentation. If you have a stand mixer then mix for 2 minutes on low speed and then 2 minutes on medium speed. If you do not have a stand mixer you can do it just as effectively by hand. Just simply kneed the dough until it becomes elastic when you pull it apart. Place in a bowl and let sit covered until it has doubled in size.

After the dough has doubled fold three times and then punch flat and let rest for 60 minutes.The longer the bread is allowed to rise the more flavor it will get. The dough is folded over and punched to compress it and gives slight development to gluten.(Gluten is a 2-part protein consisting of Glutenin – provides strength, and Gliaden – Provides elasticity. Together these proteins allow the dough to stretch but are strong enough to keep in carbon dioxide for leavening). This step accomplishes four goals:

  • Expels carbon dioxide
  • Redistributes yeast for further growth
  • Equalizes temperature throughout the dough
  • Relaxes gluten

After an hour punch dough down again and cut in half and round the two halves into large balls, cover and let sit another ten minutes. This is known as bench rest aka secondary fermentation.

Shape into loaves and let rest for 1 hour and then place on a dusted sheet pan and cover and refrigerate over night.

After your dough has sat in the fridge over night it is now time to bake. Remove your dough from the fridge and let sit for an hour to warm up. Set your oven to 475*F. Place a pan of water in your oven for humidity. Take a sharp knife or a razor blade and make a few shallow slices along the length of your dough. During the cooking process the dough will split anyway, this step is to insure that it will split where you want it to and not where it wants to. If you are going for more of a rustic look then you can skip this step. Right before you put your bread in the oven give it a few squirts of water the help achieve a beautiful crust. Once your bread is in the oven reduce the temp to 450*F and cook for 12 minutes. Remove the water from the oven and then bake another 20 minutes.

You are looking for a nice golden brown crust that gives you that beautiful crackling sound when lightly squeezed. This sound isn’t something you can read about, you have to experience it to truly understand the beauty of the sound that a fresh loaf of bread can make. It might be life changing if you are not careful.

Place your fresh loaf of sourdough bread on a rack or some surface that can allow it to cool from every surface. If you place it on a counter the bottom can become soggy.

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Double Bag

Long Trail

Bridgewater Corners, VT

Altbier

7.2%

Double Bag is a beautiful thing. I was introduced to this brew last year when I moved to Vermont. It is definitely one of my favorite Vermont beers. They won the Malt Advocate’s Beer of the Year in 2001.

Appearance – Dark copper, amber, decent tan head. Good lacing.

Aroma – Very yeasty. Rich malts, caramel, slight hoppiness.

Taste – Nice caramel malts, pretty much tastes how it smells, somewhat bitter.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, not too heavy. Not too boozy, leaves mouth slightly dry.

Drinkability – Good beer, good party beer but not in a frat beer type of way. Although I would consider joining a frat that provided a keg of Long Trail at their parties.

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