Weekend Relaxer #51
Congrats on surviving the non-apocalypse, sadly you now get to deal with all the people posting grumpy cat photos and “OMG THIS IS HAPPENING IN AUSTRALIA” compositions on Facebook. In other news, Mother Nature decided that it was high time to honor those of us in the Midwest with a blizzard, complete with thunder snow. I have never experienced thunder snow, so that was a great treat. I do believe I could have done without all the wet and heavy snow that made shoveling suck ten times worse. At least we will have a white Christmas!
Now we move onto the beer, which caught me totally off guard. I had no idea what I was buying, as I really do not understand a lick of what is on the label. However, the risk was worth it. A smoky flavor wallops the taste buds right out of the gate, but then subsides to a dark and rich malt flavor. If I am not mistaken, this brings the bacon flavor to the table without completely obliterating any drinkability. The is not a chance I would drink two pints of this back to back due to the potency of flavoring, but to start a weekend off with it, well that is just damn fine! Also, perfect breakfast beer, if there is such a thing.
Weekend Relaxer #46
Here we are on the cusp of madness. Next week we embrace Thanksgiving, a week after that I head to Arizona, and then we hit the mad dash to Christmas. I think this weekend I will sit at home and bake some pies while sipping on a quality stout or two. Let the craziness begin!
The beer this week is one I snagged solely because of the label and the story behind the image stemming from the family dog. Sadly, the label is the only thing good about this beer. The magic ale contained inside is a prime example of off balance. It is extremely tart with some acidic kick due to a sour cherry taste. There is practically no balance in hops, malts, or additional flavoring to bring joy to the taste buds. I do enjoy a Saison from time to time, especially in the winter, but I think I will stick to those of which I enjoy before diving into this one again. At least the label is fun!
Weekend Relaxer #45
Friday is finally upon us and I think we can all agree that this is welcomed after the crazy week we’ve experienced. Most of the negativity and hate around the election has subsided, Mother Nature decided to take a small break from destroying the East Coast, aliens have not invaded, zombies are still just a thing we kill in video games, and this coffee sitting in front of me tastes pretty kick-ass. Tomorrow marks the end of fall with one last return of 70+ degree weather, so I plan to take full advantage of that. Life, she is beautiful.
Having lived in a few southern states, I can attest to the fact that pecans are big business. So when I saw this brew, I had to pick it up to see if it would spark memories of pecan pies and 10-pound bags of these delightful nuts. While it did neither of those, it was not terrible either. This is full of malt and caramel goodness while notes of maple and roasted nuts round out the flavors. Sadly, that nutty impact is not so much pecan as it is some obscure ingredient that you spend time trying to pinpoint. It is not bad, but anyone thinking this is liquefied pecans in a bottle is to expect a bit of a letdown. A decent beer from Abita, but not what the label would have you believe it is.
Weekend Relaxer #44
Phew, what a crazy week this has ended up being. At this time just seven days ago, I had to test my online backup strategy after I accidentally formatted the wrong hard drive. I made it through that ok and all my data is fully restored, but it also made me reevaluate my current solution and change it so further recoveries did not take all weekend to complete. I also went back to Madison to have my tattoos touched up, had a radon mitigation system installed at the house in Ames, and watched in amazement and horror as mother nature unleashed her furry upon the East Coast. My thoughts go out to everyone try to reestablish some sort of life in a ravaged land.
I picked up the beer for this week well before Sandy became a household name. I say this because Saranac Pumpkin Ale is a New York brew from Matt Brewing Company. I found this is an average ale with a mild mixing of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and pumpkin flavor. This does have a distinct taste, which is nice as it does set it apart from so many others in this category, but it is not different enough to make it terribly memorable. This is not a bad beer, but it is not overly great either.
Weekend Relaxer #42
As the craziness of this week winds down, I am humbled to say that my Extra Life for Kids goal is nearly complete. At the time of this writing, I am just $50 shy of hitting my $500 goal. I am humbled by the generosity of my friends and happy that so many people not only shared my post, but also shared it on a daily basis to try to help me out. This has been an amazing two weeks.
When I saw this beer at the store, I knew it was perfect for the Halloween season. Not only does Hobgoblin have a cool label, it is a decent brew to boot. The toasted malts and sweet caramel combines with the traditional bitterness of an English Ale to provide a balance that is easy on the palette. There is even a slight nuttiness at the back-end, thus providing a nice flavorful touch on the finish. I just might make this a regular beer for the colder days of October.
Weekend Relaxer #38
Here we are at what is most likely the last image to come from my house in Madison, Wisconsin. As this post goes live, I am walking through the new house in Ames and getting ready to sign another mortgage. Therefore, I figured what better way to say farewell to my life in Madison than to recreate my Crotchety Old Man shot, but with a Sandtrooper and some fill lighting. It is amazing at some of the subtle changes in my work over the last two years.
So how about the beer? Well, this one is not too shabby, but still lacks the pumpkin punch I was hoping to grace my taste buds. The brew starts out sweet with caramel malts and hints of dark fruits like dates and raisins. From there, I found that cinnamon kicked in much more than the other spices and the pumpkin hides behind all of this. This is not terrible, but enjoy it more for its spicy pie taste rather than hoping for some liquid pumpkin pie to slam down on a cool fall night.
Weekend Relaxer #36
I love this time of year. The temperatures start to come down, the trees start to turn colors, and memories of Grandma baking apple pies fill my mind. What is even better is the fact that the new house in Iowa has a stove and I fully intend on baking some pumpkin and apple pies with it. There is always something to look forward to ;)
While I dream of various fall foods, I am blessed to have some fine pumpkin brews filling my grocery store. This Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale is one of the most recent additions. The beer is full of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and all spice. Sadly, all those flavors overpower the pumpkin part and that left me yearning. It is not a terrible beer, but it really needs that last ingredient to help balance out the recipe.
Weekend Relaxer #34
I love it when fall hits for a variety of reasons, but one of my favorites is that the stores fill up with a variety of pumpkin beers. I may love a killer stout, but a beer that tastes like a liquid pumpkin pie makes my mouth water just at the mere thought. I actually giggled like a kid at Christmas when I returned home from Gen Con and found Pumpking (Southern Tier) sitting in the beer aisle of my local grocery store. Now if only these would stick around for longer than two months.
Now Weyerbacher is a very hit or miss brewery for me. Thankfully, their Imperial Pumpkin Ale is on the hit side of the equation. This brew is big on clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg flavors. After it warms up a bit, the taste of pumpkin pie kicks in and makes this a treat to sip on. There is a bit of a bitter undertone to help balance out the sweetness, and I did find that this lead to a funny after taste. Overall, this is an enjoyable brew for anyone that wants to enjoy the tastes of fall….in four bottles!
Weekend Relaxer #32
I pretty much cheated this week as I am busy trying to get one house ready for sale while packing to move into another home. While I am sad to leave Madison, Wisconsin, I am totally stoked to start a life in the new home my wife and I recently purchased. It also means that life is getting even crazier than what it already is.
I am surprised to see this beer at the local grocery store, as I never thought Rogue would bring it this far east. I remember a friend on the West Coast talking about it a few months ago, and since then I’ve wanted to get my hands on it. I can say I am happy I tried it, but I will not be rushing back to the store for seconds.
You see, this beer is extremely odd. I figured this was the case, but I was so not prepared for what awaited me in the bottle. There is a moment when the liquid first hits the tongue that one notices the sweet maple goodness, but then the smoke flavor comes in and beats the crap out of the taste buds. I did find there to be a somewhat sweet finish, but that was only after I swallowed and then waited a few moments before taking another sip. What throws this concoction off is the liquid smoke that is used to simulate the bacon flavor. For me, it was far too strong and destroyed the uniqueness that this could have been. Like I said, I’m glad I tried it but I am so not racing back for more.
Weekend Relaxer #31
After spending almost two weeks on the road, it is outrageously awesome to finally stay home for a few days. I know my car keys in the photo today add too much clutter to the frame, but I found it fitting as I seem to spend more time with these than my actual cluttered home. I also find it ironic that I found a beer with a car on it as I am still working through my photos from the car show in Grayling, Michigan. For those keeping track, in the past two months I have tacked on almost 15,000 miles to the car. It is a good thing northern Wisconsin and southern Minnesota is a damn pretty drive!
Now let’s move onto the important part of this post: the beer! Old Engine Oil may sound terribly nasty, but I promise you it is far better than the name may imply. Dark roasted malts and hints of chocolate and coffee pack themselves into this brew. Once this warms up a bit, the molasses starts to come out as well. Have no fear though, as the hops bring everything back into check and balance out this tasty beverage. Overall, the complexity makes this beer a fine treat after a 4.5-hour drive home!