Friday, November 23, 2007

Monk Juice

UPDATE: Thanks to a helpful commenter, the info for the bottled on date for Trappistes Rochefort can be found here.

Picked up two of the Boulevard Smokestack Series for Thanksgiving: The Sixth Glass and Tripel. Ever heard of a Plog? Well, has one and they just posted a review of the series.

Sadly, I couldn't coax any of the family to take a walk on the wild side. Hell, I couldn't get any of them to try one of my Boulevard Bob's 47. In the face of all my cat calls and repeatedly impuning their guy cred, they still opted for the Michelob Ultra.

So, while I'm not about to bust open one of those by myself, I was itching to try something out of the ordinary. I had purchased the Bully Ales at the Hy-Vee on Antioch Road and while I was there I noticed they had some singles of Trappistes Rochefort 8. I almost picked one up, but at $4.93 for 11.2 ounces, I just couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger.

Friday comes and I have to put in 6 hours at work and I'm coming home and I keep thinking about those two big beautiful bottles of beer in my fridge, and LSU can't put any light between them and the Razorbacks and they are talking about what will happen if the fans tear down the goalposts at Arrowhead tomorrow night and I've got tickets to the game and I know when I get home I am going to bust open one of those bottles and I won't be able to get thru my to-do list and one bottle of Trappistes Rochefort at $.50 per ounce starts making real economic sense.

(I was going to post an image of the Supply and Demand curve but when I searched google images for "beer supply and demand" I came across something better. Tilt your head a little to the right, see it, there, yea, the S curve. And the D curve just jumps out at you now, doesn't it? Granted, the Equilibrium point is skewed a little to the left.)

I thought I would find lots of information devoted to this beer. The Monks' website was in not in English, natch. Only one other site went into any detail. These beers are known for drastically changing character with age. My bottle was stamped with an "expiration date" of 08:03 which I take to mean March 2008. The TR "Fan" Site had extensive reports on the nature of the beer for various ages, but are they from the date it was bottled or from the expiration date? They even note that the expiration date is "interesting because in that way the bottle date is known"

Really? And what date would that be? Does the expiration date tell them when the beer was bottled?

The beer is dark and poured with a nice three finger head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing, but it has so much carbonation it kept bubbling for another couple of minutes. Initially, the fragrance was dominated by alcohol, followed by fruit with a hint of malts. The first sip had a strong alcohol bite, then things settled down. The flavor of fruit was much different than a Hefe, it was the sweetness of dates and figs rather than citrus. But this is not a desert beer, there is not much body and it has a nice dry finish. It reminded me a bit of the Bully Lunar. I will definitely go back and get some bottles and put them away for next Thanksgiving.

The dearth of info about the Rochefort on the internet is made up with lots of info about Trappist Monks. For instance, there is was musical performance in Jerusalem recently by a French troupe that included parts for Trappists monks. I saw no pictures of monks, though.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

You firkin to me?

Made it to 75th Street Brewery for the Espresso Porter, thanks to the heads up by KC Beer Blog

This was my first visit and I was lucky enough to find a place on the street right in front. This was a night of firsts as I executed my first parallel park while on the phone trying to get my brother to come down and meet me. The place was busy (where do they all park?), but I was able to get a seat at the bar right next to the nitro tap. I had a hard time getting the bartender's attention, but finally was able to ask for the espresso porter. It took a good 30-45 seconds for the nitro tap to dispense 16 oz for which I was charged 4 bucks. Sweet deal! It formed up a finger width head and surprisingly only a faint aroma of coffee. I've never had a porter before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. My first impression was that it did not have as much body as a stout, but it was smoother, with less carbonation. The only bitterness was coming from the espresso and the aftertaste was just like drinking coffee. I think this is the first beer I've ever had that made me wish I had a donut! Although, this combination has occurred to others.

This is great place for drinking beer! The bar is spacious, regulars get to keep a mug behind the bar, there are plenty tables where a gang of 4-6 people could form up their own little party and the place is ringed with ledges so you always have a place to put your beer. It has a neighborhood bar feel, they even had a newspaper at one end of the bar that people were sharing!

There were two small TV's behind the bar. The guy with the KU mug next to me kept haranguing the bartender to "put on the Dukeez!" Apparently a basketball fan, he was dying to see Duke play New Mexico State. The other set had BBC America's drama: Torchwood. I like British TV series, the actors aren't all products of plastic surgeons, which is pleasing to me.

I overheard the three slackers on my left talking about how they found out about the Espresso Stout from reading the KC Beer Blog! The gal said she found KC Beer Blog through the MySpace site, one guy said, "well you sent me that e-mail" and the other guy said, "I don't know who that guy is that writes the KC Beer Blog, but he writes about beer, so thats good enough for me." I was tempted to ask, "Do you mean Bull or Wes?"

I was finally able to get the barkeep to stop and talk to me. I asked how long a firkin like the one they tapped tonight would last. He said, "Oh, that's not a firkin. That's just one of our regular rotation of brews we do. But we did tap a firkin last Friday and it lasted till about 8:00"

Wha? Missed the fir - why no E-mail? Damn, still a firkin virgin.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Acme Award to Chimpotle

Through the KC Beer Blog, I recently discovered the eclectic, prolific and always entertaining Chimpotle .

In just the last week there has been a giant, creepy, Jason invasion of London; a shared e-mail pic of Mus Linnaeus captured in mid coitus inthespringtrappus sent by his wife; the amazing flying lactation fantasy troupe , boldly performing a free-fall ballet on their way to the bosom of a fantastically hot version of Grace Slick; a new jewelry design, no doubt destined for HSN ; and an Ed Sullivanesque intro to the KC blogging public of a borderline "sign of the end days" blog via a link to the latest internet mini-sensation: the Mickey D pie. Thanks Chimp, it was a "really good shew."

Of course Chimp had to include a gratuitous reference to another post regarding some active culture from the vajayjay food network.

Yes, I know what your thinking, don't even go there.

Before I could shut it down, the synapses in my doral root ganglia reflexively cause my index finger to click and I was there and I am not lying, I found the the greatest thing ever posted on a blog. Behold the Jesus Lizard's "Nub" Live in 1994 clip.

"Duane Denison and David Yow double-team a meddling audience member who makes the horrific mistake of fucking with Duane’s amp, earning a mid-song beatdown. David Sims and Mac McNeilly never miss a beat."

More impressions of Jesus Lizard:

"The Jesus Lizard were one of the few authentically scary bands that I’ve ever seen. When all four members locked into their respective grooves, they opened a mildly Satanic portal to a moist, sweaty hell. Imagine teleporting into a dark wooden shack in the middle of the desert at noontime. There is a shirtless, sweating man drinking heavily at a knife-scarred table who looks you deep in the eye and cackles as he offers you a beer. Nothing actually happens, but it could get very, very bad at any moment.

That’s pretty much what the Jesus Lizard felt like in concert, plus a very real fear of being trampled or accidentally touching the singer’s exposed penis. It was easier to do than you might think."

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Lunar Comback, Better than Liza Moonelli

Decided to give the Bully Lunar another shot. It's my hometown brewery so I really should cut them some slack.

I'm beginning to warm up to this beer for several reasons:

1) I'm partial to carbonation and even though this is a dark beer it has a good deal of carbonation. Some might say that my beer palate has been ruined by too many "great" American Lagers, but so be it. ( I'm amused that AB is lately using this "Great American Lager" meme. Seems this might be another response to the pain being inflicted by the craft beer market; I don't ever recall a Bud ad referring to the fact that it is a Lager.

2) Sometimes I have to try a beer more than once to get a good impression. The second time around I found there was some complexity, a little bit of apple a little sourness with a nice dry finish.

3) Lastly, I just tried a beer that was truly crap and it helped give me some perspective. Holy Crap, is Beck's Octoberfest bad. I got it as part of a HY-VEE mix 'n match where I like to get a seasonal beer when available. This beer has nothing going for it. It's just a regular Beck's with some cloves. As it got warmer the nastiness grew geometrically. Thrasher at Beer Advocate said it best,
"an offensive metallic aftertaste, much the same effect as sucking on a quarter that you picked up off the street."

So, Lunar Ale makes a comeback, only it's a successful comeback, unlike Liza's many disappointments.