If you like a beer, you like a beer. It doesn’t matter what season it is, right? I know, that’s not following the typical “beer snob” tradition. It’s the fall and winter beer season…I’m supposed to be chugging all the different Oktoberfests, porters, and Christmas ales that every craft brewery in America puts out (and some of them are terrible, I might add. I mean, just because you call a beer a name does not mean that the brewery knows what they’re doing, or that it is even worth drinking.) Don’t get me wrong. I love me some cold weather beers as much as the next beer aficionado, but why does that mean I can’t have my favorite beer style year round? I know…I should be beat worse than Derek Dooley does while you give me something terrible that has an Oktoberfest label on it, because that means it’s good!
I myself don’t fall for tricks of putting fancy labels on nasty ass beer and struggle to drink it in front of my friends because they are pretending to enjoy it as well. You can’t put a bowtie on a pig standing in shit and tell me it’s James Bond. Sorry. You just can’t. I’m going to drink what I want and what I like all the time. So, I will happily go to my store and buy my wheat beer and drink it standing outside with my shirt off with my frozen nipples in 32 degree weather if I want to.
Angel tears in a bottle
I recently snatched up some Erdinger cyrstal clear Weizen at the store. (Formerly labelled Kristall. The cap still said that though. I don’t know why the name change.) Anyway, a crystal clear weizen is simply just a wheat beer that has went through an extensive filtering process that makes it clearer than your normal wheat beer. (See how much you learn reading! Yay, learning is fun.) Let me tell you something. Erdinger does not mess around with their wheat beers. I’ve had 4 different Erdinger styles this past month and every one has been on the money. This one is no different.
The point is drink what you like, when you like and don’t listen to the bartender with sideburns, “skinny” jeans, and a v-neck sweater who is trying to tell you that his favorite IPA is the best. Just because some dude is drinking something grosser than Chris Farley doing the helicopter does not mean that it is for you. Remember that and you’ll be fine.
Oh…this beer gets an 8 on our scale.
Well Halloween just flew by before I even realized it was here. With this glorious holiday and the autumn of the year, come many things that are seasonal in the food and beverage realm. One of the most popular flavorings of the season is…you guessed it…pumpkin. You’ll see about pumpkin anything now…pumpkin beer, pie, ice cream, donuts, candles, toothpaste, vaseline, blah blah blah. It boils down to just marketing to consumers and most of us fall right into the trap.
Here recently I had the pleasure of buying New Holland’s version of pumpkin beer, called Ichabod. If that wasn’t enough pumpkin for me, I had my lovely wife’s new recipe she created for pumpkin pancakes. Oh momma. Can’t you just feel the festiveness running through my body? Nothing like pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin beer. It’s just like a sore one, you can’t beat it!
When I took my first sip of Ichabod it immediately took me to a special place. It was like jumping in a pile of raked leaves, butt naked. Then, you suddenly realize there’s a nest of copperheads buried underneath the pile. You take off running through the yard screaming and waving your arms like a 12 year old girl at a Taylor Swift concert, then you realize two things. Number one…pants are always a good idea when outside. And number two…pine needles and leaves are not the most fun things to pick out of your body crevices.
I have no idea what any of that has to do with the beer I drank to be quite frank. But I do know I keep myself entertained and maybe you just a little bit. Point of the story…cram more pumpkin beer and desserts than you can stand and get ready for the pine cone tasting beer with Christmas Trees on the label here in a couple weeks.
Before I fill the fridge and pantry again with fresh new beers I told myself I am going to get rid of most everything before I buy all new stuff. The pickings were mighty slim what I had left cold this particular night. I wasn’t really ready for Sam Adams high gravity double bock…I have to be in the mood for something like that, like I am with a lot of things. On the other hand I was looking at Kim’s remaining fruit beers she bought before she was pregnant and thinking what can I do with this stuff? Then I had the DFH barley wine Olde School Ale staring at me like a football bat and a couple other things that just were not floating my boat. Decisions decisions.
I know the anticipation is killing you so here’s what I came up with…popping the top on a Dark Horse Brewing Rasberry Ale and mixing it half and half with Sam Adams Imperial Series Double Bock. To answer your question. Yes, I fell down a flight of stairs when I was little. To answer your other question. No, I don’t sign autographs for free. Oh, one more question. The beer mixing? Yeah. It rocked my face off. It was literally like dancing with a leprechaun around a pot of gold…naked…while just finishing off an 8 ball…after you just talked with Elizabeth Taylor about her hair.
Fun for everyone
Would I drink this mixture again? Hell yeah. It was cool to be honest. The harshness of the double bock mixed well with the sweet and tartness of the rasberry ale. To me I came up with a perfect solution for two beers that had opposite flavor profiles. I wasn’t really looking forward to either one by themselves anyway. Not only did I not waste beer, I created something worth drinking and entertained myself mildly in the process.
You can lie and say you love every expensive craft beer you have ever tried…because that’s how beer snobs think sometimes. Just because it’s $13 for a 4 pack means you’re really supposed to love it, right? Not so much. I’ve had the Sam Adams double bock by itself. It’s alright. I wouldn’t kick it out of bed, but it’s not on my top 30 list. Just mixing it up…because I can…and I did.
Separately, these beers get a middle of the road rating. But together, oh momma. They get an 8.
On October 6th, 2012, Jon, Kim (the dd) and I hit World’s Fair Park wide open in much anticipation for the Knoxville Brewers’ Jam. We knew a little over 5,000 tix were sold for this event with just a few VIP tix set aside as well (that gets you in an hour early!) Of course we opted for the VIP route that got us in early and gave us free range of the place with no lines to our favorite brewers. As an added bonus the brewers are way more generous early in the day with full pours.
A couple of highlights stand out to me from the day. The first one that comes to mind is the home brew guys’ booth. They had some magnificent home brewed beers to offer us. It is obvious these guys are well known in the small Knoxville beer community, because their line was the longest out of any other booth all day long. My favorite of theirs that I tried first was definitely the Coconut Porter. I wish I tried all of them because people were telling me after it was over I should have tried Ratchet’s brew. Maybe next time….
My attempt at a panorama
Another highlight would be Nathan and John from the Casual Pint revealing their brand new, exclusive Casual Pint “Dirty South” Brown Ale. I’m not so sure about the name, but I am sure that this brown ale does not disappoint. It’s no secret that Knoxville’s Saw Works Brewing Company made it for The Casual Pint, but it is not just a re-labled Saw Works Brown. It is a completely different recipe. Brown ales are a funny thing with me. Some I can drink all day and night and I’ll feel are warm and fuzzy inside when the day is done. Other brown ales are just gross to me and I would rather pour it out for my homies then even look at it. You would think from the name “Dirty South” that I would pour it out for my homies, but that is not true. It is definitely a brown I could drink all day. (In fact, I did at Brewers’ Jam!)
Overall, it was a great day with great people and great beer (for the most part.) Maybe I’ll remember next year to not speed drink from noon to 1 o’oclock before the rest of the crowd gets in there. LOL.
I’ll let Jon chime in with his take on the day coming soon…
Last week I made it over to Bearden to the Casual Pint and was greeted by Nathan (the owner) at the door. After some chit chat and trading stories we made our way to the bar and I asked him what he recommended that evening. With a smile he told me to try the Erdinger Oktoberfest. He knows what I like since I’ve been going there since they’ve been open, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.
I was mildly confused when he sat the glass in front of me. It looked different for an Oktoberfest. I thought I’d give it a chance, as I do anything, so I put the glass to my lips and took a drink. My first thought was this beer was made for me. My second thought was how was it possible for angels to come to earth and open a brewery and make this beer? I didn’t know the answer to that, but I did know I had a new beer move into my top ten list. I also knew I was taking some home!
Christmas came early!
I will tell you if you are expecting a “normal” Oktoberfest style beer, then don’t try this beer. Try this beer with an open mind and respect the fact they have decorated a good Hefeweizen brew with some typical Oktoberfest flavors mixed in. If you have that in mind as you try it, then you will be pleasantly surprised.
I really appreciate this brewery and the dedication they give into making the best Hefeweizen/Oktoberfest I’ve ever had. If more breweries focused on sticking with a style of beer they are good at instead of making every style possible, then we’d all be better off. All Erdinger makes is wheat beers and you can tell. Damn near perfection.
This beer gets a 10 on Jon’s scale. (Like riding a unicorn through a rainbow!)
Do I want a light beer, you say? Would you like me to punch you in the throat??? No, then give me a beer I can eat with a spoon!
This, my friends, is the St. Peter’s Cream Stout. This fine specimen of tall, dark, and handsome comes to us from St. Peter’s Brewery (imagine that) all the way across the pond in England. The only reason I decided to pick this one up was because of the cool bottle, and I’m glad I did! See, ain’t it cool?
Now, I love a good stout. A really good stout after a huge meal is like an awesome desert! Could I sit around and drink this all day? Hell no, at 195 calories a shot? Not unless I wanted to start exercising and that just ain’t gonna happen. This ol’ boy is only running if being chased by zombies. And only the fast-moving zombies at that!
This is actually a milk stout which I usually can’t take too much of because of the richness. But, this milk stout is by no means too rich. It pours out dark and thick, barely any head at all. The smell is a mix of coffee and dark chocolate and a hint of alcohol. It’s 6.5% abv for those care to know these things.
The taste is a strong coffee taste with a dark chocolate malty aftertaste. This is the kind of beer that was meant for cold winter nights! Rich, smooth, chocolatey goodness that stays through the entire glass. Do I recommend this one? You’re damn right I do buddy!
On a scale of 1-10, the St. Peter’s Cream Stout gets an 8: Like Christmas Morning!
Sometimes I buy beer and have no idea what it is actually going to taste like. I’m not saying I think a beer will taste like moldy sour cream or peanut butter. I just don’t exactly know sometimes when I buy a brew what’s going to hit me when the rubber meets the road. Kind of like when you walk in Wally World on Clinton Highway you don’t know if you’re going to see a kiddie pool catching a leak from the roof and kids playing in the water or how many people you are going to see in the pharmacy looking for cold medicine to make meth with. It’s just a crapshoot, ya know?
Which brings me to my latest brew I most recently tried, Schlafly Yakima Wheat ale. I knew it was a wheat ale (duh, I can read) and I knew it had something relating to Yakima in it. Damn I’m smart, aren’t I? The Yakima in the title actually refers to where the hops come from in Yakima Valley located in Washington State. (Aren’t we fancy?)
This ale reminded me of a few things at first taste. Things like riding a cloud to a pot of gold, seeing your babysitter naked when you were a child, or the feel of the fur of baby bunnies. This beer was smooth. Like smooth as your prom date smooth or smooth as Barney Stinson after a game of laser tag at a bar. It was very light and drinkable. The hops didn’t knock you over like 350lb fatty on Black Friday to get a $99 laptop before you. They were very subtle and balanced…much like my personality.
Overall, I liked it…a lot. One word I would use…SMOOTH. I’d buy a case of it if they sold it in East Tennessee. But they don’t. It’s one of the 50 flavors we miss made from Schlafly year round. That’s right. I’ve had a few of them and every one I tried was very well put together and drinkable. I’d give the Yakima Wheat Ale a 9 out of 10 on Jon’s rating system.