Thursday, November 27, 2008

Obligatory Thanksgiving Post

It must be Thanksgiving, as there is no other explanation for the sudden appearance of the following inflatable abomination of confused symbology slumped in my neighbor's yard:

For our own part, the feast was well-apportioned and heartily enjoyed, and I continued my Thanksgiving tradition of cracking open a bottle of Dogfish Head's wonderful Chateau Jiahu to mark the occasion.

Enjoy yourselves, but don't be too gluttonous. Obesity and excess are not, in most cases, things to be thankful for.

Friday, September 26, 2008

From the Dregs of the Sea to the Dregs of Oktoberfest

And so it came to pass that the International Talk Like A Pirate Day event at the Clipper City Brewery was attended, and ended up being quite good.
  • The front office area contained a small but well-stocked bar serving all of their main brews, including the just-in-season Winter Storm. The stated requirement to be served this latter brew was to wear "pirate garb," for which patrons were screened by the serving wench. Due to time constraints and a broken toe, I chose not to come in costume, and instead wore a Pirates of the Caribbean shirt. Sadly, this didn't pass muster. However, everyone did receive an eyepatch at the door, which did count... when worn properly and uttering an appropriate piratical phrase.
  • The back warehouse was set up with taps, tables, not too ridiculously priced brisket and sausage-based food. Portable latrines were set up on the back loading platform, leading to it being affectionately referred to as... wait for it... the "poop deck." Pirate filk band The Salty Dogs, as well as founder Hugh Sisson, made the rounds and encouraged the joviality. The event was advertised as having an upper limit of 200 people, and it appears that roughly that number were in attendance, many of whom had a nigh-Rennfest level of detail to there costumery.
  • My and Laura’s evening was most pleasantly spent with Tom, Carrie, and Greg. Plans were made on how to appropriate NASA technology to suck a stack of cases of Loose Cannon back to our respective homes, but sadly the time and engineering constraints were too much to overcome.
  • Overall, I’d call this a success, especially given the Heavy Seas pint glass I walked away with. On the basis of this, I definitely will make time for future Clipper City on-site events.
I am currently in Munich, taking a week of vacation while Laura is at a JWST conference. Sadly (or perhaps not), we have missed Oktoberfest’s official ending by a week. I suspect there may still be some beer left in this country, however...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Talking Like a Pirate Tonight in the Clipper City

Today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day, and to celebrate, the local Clipper City Brewery is having an event this evening from 19:00 - 22:00 EST that will include food, beer tasting, and live music. Laura and I will be stopping by, both because it sounds like fun, and I'm quite the fan of their Heavy Seas line of beers.

If you are near the Baltimore area at all this evening, I encourage you to check it out. Details are here.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Harpoon Tasting at the Perfect Pour - 09.12.08

As previously mentioned, I was recently turned on the The Perfect Pour (by Melanie, to whom I owe great thanks!), a new local beer and wine establishment. It is my new Beer Mecca (TM cmdln). They have, hands down, the best selection of domestic and international microbrews that I have seen yet, at the very least in my area. Another pleasant discovery is that they host regular beer samplings.

Tonight I stopped by for the Harpoon beer tasting. I had the pleasure of chatting with Nick from Harpoon about their current and upcoming offerings, as well as tasting the following brews, none of which I have had previously:
  • UFO (UnFiltered Offering) Hefeweizen - A solid example of hefeweizen style, and worthy future exploration.
  • Octoberfest - I'm not a big fan of the Marzen/Octoberfest lager style, and this struck me as being par for the course, but quite drinkable.
  • IPA - Very good, and compared favorably to similar brews like the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. Then again, I am biased towards this style. :)
The conversation was as good as the beer, and I was interested to hear of Harpoon's upcoming Leviathan Series. The Triticus, a 14.3% wheat-wine ale aged in bourbon casks, sounds particularly intriguing, and will be the first release under that label.

I ended up walking away with a six-pack of the IPA and a Harpoon IPA pint glass, which made for a lovely cap on the event. I plan on attending other tastings there, a schedule of which can be found on The Perfect Pour's website.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Southern Tier Creme Brulee Imperial Milk Stout

I was recently turned on to a new local beverage store, the Perfect Pour, and I am insanely happy to have found it - they have the single best beer selection I have yet seen in my area. This particular brew came highly recommended from the staff, and I was not disappointed.


  • Alcohol: 10.0%

Scoring (in solidarity with Charlie the Beer Guy):

  • Appearance: 9 - Pours a totally opaque brown-black, with no light penetration. The head is brown and foamy, fading slowly to a thin lace.
  • Aroma: 10 - Simply amazing. A powerful slug of vanilla, with butterscotch-caramel notes and a slight alcoholic undercurrent.
  • Taste: 9 - Very sweet, with a strong mix of vanilla and chocolate notes upfront. Roasty butterscotch and coffee flavors come out in the middle, with a pleasant bitter roastiness in the finish that persists. Little evidence of its high alcohol content.
  • Mouthfeel: 9 - Thick and rich, with little carbonation evident. Very smooth and silky.
  • Holistic: 9 - This mad hybrid of a dessert, a coffee drink, and a beer just blew me away. Wow.
Overall: 46 - Very impressive. While not for swift consumption or for all occasions, this is a serious treat that seems best at home complimenting dessert after a large meal. I definitely intend to pick this up again, perhaps to go along with a holiday dinner or two.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Post-Balticon 42 Libation List

I still have to write up the post-mortem for the con itself, but the libatory social dynamics were different from previous events. The focus was more on the bar than room parties, so this makes the first con where what I brought... was essentially what I left with.
Clearly, a tragedy of epic proportions.

However, there was a "magic cooler" effect, as my cooler was stashed in someone else's room. As such, in addition to the previous list, I've also come away with:
I feel dirty entering that last one. Especially considering that the person who brought it was looking to pawn it off on unsuspecting people, because he has no desire to drink it. (Not to name any names... Tee.)

In any case, this leaves me well-stocked for the next con... or social occasion. Or, in the case of the latter "beer," a riot that requires mini-Moltov cocktails.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Balticon 42 Libation List

Once again, it's that time - Balticon check-in for me is later today! There are many lessons to be learned from last year's experience, one of which is (hopefully) that if I bring less brews, perhaps the "magic cooler effect" will be diminished, and I may come home with less.

We shall see... :)

Here is the list of libations I will be bringing with me:Once again, physicianhood will prevail - the above will be consumed with the greatest responsibility by all.

Remember! Alcohol kills germs, baby.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Kells Irish Style Lager

I bid you a happy St. Patrick's Day! My previous musings from last year can be found here. I stopped by Calvert to pick up something appropriate to celebrate the day with, and chose this brew, which I have not sampled before. I may have chosen poorly...


  • Alcohol: 5.0%

Scoring (in solidarity with Charlie the Beer Guy):

  • Appearance: 3 - Pours a dark straw color, mostly clear, but with a slight precipitate haze towards the bottom. The frothy white head slowly fades to a clumpy film.
  • Aroma: 3 - Very low, with grainy malts and the barest hint of apple.
  • Taste: 3 - Fairly crisp and dry upfront, with mild grainy flavor balanced with hop bitterness. The latter persists in the center as the malt fades. No other notable flavors detected. A slight bitter remainder in the finish that fades swiftly.
  • Mouthfeel: 3 - Light, but not overly watery. Well-carbonated with a slight bite.
  • Holistic: 2 - Just didn't do it for me. This style is low down on my list, and my expectations of something described as an "Irish Style Lager" were quite disappointed.
  • Overall: 14 - Post-drink research demonstrates that the intent of this libation was to create an "American beer that would float Guinness," done so by the owners of the Kells Irish Pubs of the west coast. In that, it seems they've succeeded - hence my disappointment in looking for a classically "Irish" beverage. Their website claims that this beer has a "green apple bite flavor," which would have made it far more interesting had I detected it. This would make a good session beer, however, if better choices were not available.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Revolution, Revived!

The Revoluton is not dead! Merely... biding it's time.

The truth of the matter is that for a period of time, I decided to consolidate all of my blogging to my main website, thinking that it would be easier for me to maintain. On further reflection, I've discovered that this likely isn't the case - rather, it does make more sense to continue to post "food and drink" related matter here, for the sake of ease for both myself and you, the GLF convert.

Viva La Revolucion!

To this end, I've reposted here my take on the upcoming 2008 offerings from Dogfish Head, as well as my first two brew reviews - the Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron, and the Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine, 2008 Release.

I'd also like to highlight a couple of blogs that are furthering the work of the Revolution:
  • #include {beer.h} - Tom from the Command Line podcast recently established this separate site for his own beer reviews and experiences. The punk is also aping my review format, but imitation = flattery, right? ;) (And to point out where respect is due, my template is loosely stolen from Thom, so I have little room to talk...)
  • Garlic Is Love - Carrie from The Signal podcast has an obsession with all things culinary, and shares it here. She is a fan of both bacon and garlic, so that makes her site an imperative on my list!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine, 2008 Release

I happened across this brew the other night at Calvert, which had just been released by Stone as their current seasonal offering.


  • Alcohol: 11.26%

Scoring (in solidarity with Charlie the Beer Guy):

  • Appearance: 6 - Pours a strong copper that is initially hazy, but gains clarity as it warms. Topped with a white effervescent head that slowly fades to a lacy sheet.
  • Aroma: 5 - Predominantly malty, with a hint of fruit and spice. More subdued than expected.
  • Taste: 7 - Strong malt flavor upfront, accompanied by fruity and spicy notes. Hop bitterness becomes more assertive in the center. Alcohol notable, but not overwhelming. Lingering bitterness and bready notes in the finish.
  • Mouthfeel: 7 - Moderate but not quite full-bodied, with notable alcohol warmth. Slight dryness to the finish.
  • Holistic: 7 - Tasty, but "less extreme" of a take on this style than I was expecting from Stone. The nose was slightly disappointing.
  • Overall: 32 - A great offering. Beats many barleywines I've tried, but doesn't unseat the Dogfish Head Olde School as my favorite of the style.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

Through fortuitous circumstances, two cases arrived at Calvert (one of my three local Beer Meccas) the day before I stopped by. As I've been looking forward to this new release from Dogfish Head, as previously described, I walked away with a nice supply.


Scoring (in solidarity with Charlie the Beer Guy):

  • Appearance: 9 - Pours a completely opaque dark brown that is nearly black, and impenetrable to light. Topped with a thick, sudsy brown head that fades slowly to a thin lace. Looks beautiful!
  • Aroma: 7 - Malty, with caramel notes, and a surprising lack of alcohol for its ABV. Tempting, but relatively mild.
  • Taste: 8 - Sweet and malty, with predominant caramel and vanilla notes, with a slight hint of coffee. Notable but mild smokiness appears midway. No lingering aftertaste.
  • Mouthfeel: 8 - Moderate to slightly heavy, but not cloying. Very smooth.
  • Holistic: 8 - Tasty, very well-balanced, and more subtle than expected. If it's possible for a brew of this strength to be smooth and balanced enough to be a session beer, then this is it.
  • Overall: 40 - I am very impressed. Dogfish Head has pulled off subtle artistry where I was expecting something more pronounced, and in a beer style that's not my first choice. I'll definitely be seeking out the Palo Santo Marron when it's available.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dogfish Head 2008 Beer Release Schedule and New Brew Preview

Dogfish Head has published its beer release schedule for the year. 2008 may now officially begin! (Well, I jest with that last bit. A little.)

I am an unabashed fan of Dogfish Head's brews. While I am enthusiastic about seeking out and trying different beers from any (and all, eventually) microbreweries, DFH continues to maintain a particular hold on my refrigerator. Their variety of offerings is amazing in terms of style and flavor, and their degree of quality is consistantly excellent. I have honestly only ever been disappointed in two of their beers - the Chicory Stout and the Festina Peche - and in both case, because I found them to be merely "good." A list of my preferred beverages would be solidly dominated by DFH selections, and topped with my all-time favorite, the ridiculously extreme 120 Minute IPA.

So, it is with great enthusiasm that I peruse the 2008 schedule. As usual, there is a core selection of Year-Round Beers, as well as Seasonal Releases. I am greatly pleased that the Midas Touch Golden Elixir (another personal favorite, and the beverage singlehandedly responsible for my last name being a vengeful cry in some circles: "Cmaaarrr!" - a story for another time) has been reinstated this year in a more year-round capacity.

Of greater note is the extensive list of Limited Releases, which are some the most creative, excellent, and downright bizarre brews in existence anywhere. These include the previously revered 120 Minute IPA, the awesome World Wide Stout, and the brilliant Burton Baton... the last of which I need to keep an eye out for next month, because it was quite teh skarce in 2007. That said, there are two all-new beverages on the list, and I am seriously excited.

The first of these is the Palo Santo Marron, or "Holy Tree Brown," which is new to bottled distribution. It was previously available once before, at the end of 2006, on-tap only in their Rehoboth Beach brewpub location. This one sounds quite interesting - from the website:

An unfiltered, unfettered, unprecedented brown ale aged in handmade wooden brewing vessels. The caramel and vanilla complexity unique to this beer comes from the exotic Paraguayan Palo Santo wood from which these tanks were crafted. Palo Santo means "holy tree" and it's wood has been used in South American wine-making communities.

This beer is a 12% abv, highly roasty, and malty brown ale aged on the Palo Santo wood. It was a huge hit at our Rehoboth Beach brewpub when first released in November of 2006, so it's coming back... into full production.

At 10,000 gallons each, these are the largest wooden brewing vessels built in America since before Prohibition. It's all very exciting. We have wood. Now you do too.

That said, the one I'm incredibly stoked for is the Theobroma - "Food of the Gods." Tee and I heard a vague bit about this a few weeks back at the Gaithersburg brewpub, and its great to have some more details. By way of background, DFH has a working relationship with the University of Pennsylvania archeology department. If drinking vessels are found at a dig site, they are subjected to molecular archaeological techniques to analyze the residue of the evaporated contents. If the findings seem to be of an unusual fermented beverage, then DFH has been able to get access to the deduced components of the drinks, and "resurrect" libations that may not have been brewed for thousands of years. Products thus far include the previously venerated Midas Touch (discovered in the tomb of a Phrygian ruler in ~700 B.C. who is believed to have inspired the tales of King Midas), the wonderful Chateau Jiahu (found in the 9,000 year-old Neolithic village of Jiahu in Hinan province, Northern China), and now... Theobroma. From the website:

This beer is based on chemical analysis of pottery fragments found in Honduras which revealed the earliest known alcoholic chocolate drink used by early civilizations to toast special occasions. The discovery of this beverage pushed back the earliest use of cocoa for human consumption more than 500 years to 1200 BC. As per the analysis, Dogfish Head’s Theobroma (food of the gods) is brewed with Aztec cocoa powder and cocoa nibs, honey, chilies, and annatto (fragrant tree seeds). Theobroma is 10% abv and will be available in Champagne bottles for an August 2008 release. Special kegs from our test batches may be available earlier in the year at Dogfish events around the country!

Yes, 2008 is shaping up to be an excellent year for libation enthusiasm!