Thursday, February 28, 2013

Brew Tunes

Hey everyone!
I hope your week is clipping right along!

It strikes me that this may be your last weekend to get together with buddies and brew before you're headed off with the fam... or just flat ass overrun with kids that are not in school for a week or two.

The point is, one of my favorite artists in a while has a new album out, and it's pretty smooth.
Miskha pairs up with +Jimmy Buffett  for a tune called "The Ocean is My Potion," and it's pretty damn sparky!

I share this video with you, in hopes that you'll like it, and maybe add a little Miska to your brew tunes playlist.


You can follow Miska on Facebook and Twitter as well as online at www.mishka.com

Hold on peeps, the weekend is coming!

~Cheers

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ginger Ale / Beer

One of my favorite canned beverages has been Ginger Ale... since I was a kid! With rum, or strait outta the can, I just find it fun and refreshing!

Ginger BEER is another story, it's spicy and bold. When mixed with Rum or whiskey it adds a lot to the flavor, and it's essential for a proper Dark-n-Stormy.

Here in Eastern Colorado, our choices are very limited for Ginger Beer, so when I managed to scoop up three different brands in one day, I was pretty excited.

For Saturday, I'll be reviewing each of them to see which one I'm going to need to stock. I will be trying them plane, then with rum and maybe with a splash of bourbon. we will see.

Anyway, have a great week.

Find something tasty my friends!

~Cheers

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Shine on you happy people!

Suckered in by my local purveyor of wine, spirits and prescription medications, I decided to shell out a few dollars for your entertainment.

I think you all know how I feel about the show Moonshiners on Discovery, but it’s got it’s redeeming factors. Like much of the crap on TV, it causes people to think about subjects they may not think much about.... I am in favor of this!

So as I leave the local “likkah sto” with a quart jar of “Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine,” which is not moonshine at at all, it’s made in a factory and taxes were paid, I couldn’t figure out what the hell to do with it. I’m not a pro whiskey taster, nor an old timer with years of shine experience. I do have a little experience with “Shine” that you can read about HERE and HERE.

When I got home and was staring blankly into my treasure chest, searching for inspiration, I spotted a bottle of shine that I was in no way part of brewing, or production of.... And have none left on hand.... And have no knowledge of having ever existed.

This bottle was distilled from a grain bill that was essentially an all grain batch of Golden Strong ale, with no hops. It has been sitting on the shelf for almost a year with a few oak cubes. Should make a nice comparison.

So let’s pour some shine!

The ‘ole Smokey is definitely clear. The jar makes it hard as hell to pour into a glass without getting it all over the place!  The nose is of corn mash, alcohol and plastic.

At 50% abv (100 proof) it’s a bit hot for a sipping licker, but it’s not awful. It tastes of corn distillate, alcohol and is your basic “White Dog” whiskey that drips from any still anywhere. It’s pretty clean for a whiskey.... Sorta like very cheap vodka with a “Whang” to it.

There isn’t anything else to say about it. It’s bland, it’s hot, it’s YOUNG and it’s got absolutely no chance of making it to my glass again unless it’s part of another concoction.... But I might take a sip off the jar!

For $22 there is very little chance in hell it’s going to make it into my cabinet again! For this price point, I’ve got a very long list of rum, whiskey and gin to tackle! Not to mention that this will buy 2 six-packs of damn fine Craft Beer!

Moving along to the locally made stuff. Clear? Yes! But with a beautiful color of toasted caramel. Because I... Err... They have been aging this bottle at 180 proof, I’ve opted to dilute it 50:50 with cold water.

This brings out a touch of cinnamon in the nose, backed by the same plastic and alcohol notes that were found in the commercial version. The oak comes through, but it’s light.

The flavor is very similar to the white dog above, but slightly more refined, and with a very nice oak presence in the foreground.

This could certainly use more time and more wood, but it’s heads and shoulders above the Ole Smoky.

My final thought, is that I’m packing this jar with oak cubes and setting it back for a while! I suspect it'll turn into a decent whiskey!

If you’ve never had “White Dog” before, this is a true example and not a bad choice, it’s just that unaged whiskey is not my choice for filling the glass very often!

Have a great weekend, support home distillation efforts and do something fun!

~Cheers!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Margarita Day

When the snow has your fingers numb, and there is ice building on your brewers beard, when the stress of making the bills and cleaning the house gets you down.... when you need an island break to clear your head and February is almost over... you’re just in time for National Margarita Day!

Tomorrow, Feb. 22 is a day for us all to escape to that warm place in your mind with a cool drink in your hand!

Photo from Pinterest

Margaritas have always been a favorite of mine, and when we travel, I always have one. Maybe because I like them, maybe because it just keeps the memory alive... Or maybe because nothing says “Shit is about to get crazy like ordering a pitcher of margaritas!”

Let’s talk recipe!

I like the lime versions. I don't want mango or tango in my margarita! Jalapenos are for burgers and nachos, and I don't care if it's frozen or on the rocks!

You’ve got the Kahuna Special.... That is to say the one I drink at home. I always make them on the rocks, and I always add salt! But that's where the secret ends.... I use Margaritaville mix and Margaritaville gold tequila, and follow the directions on the bottle! It’s not rocket science....

You could do the Alton Brown version,
2 ounces 100 percent agave silver/blanco tequila, divided
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 limes, divided
1/2 small Hamlin or Valencia orange
2 tablespoons light agave nectar
3/4 cup ice cubes, about 3 to 4

And you could always go the redneck rout and do the Mtn Dew-garita!
All you need is a can of Mtn Dew, a healthy pour of tequila and a fat squeeze of lime juice. (A Big Kahuna Koozie is preferred, but not required!)

If you’re a die hard beer guy, and I am, you can always mix up a beergarita, (I don’t suggest using Corona)
(2) - 12 oz. beers. ( use a light beer or corona )
8 oz. tequila ( what ever you have on hand ! )
2 oz. orange juice
1 can frozen limeade concentrate

No matter which you choose, mix one up tomorrow and let your mind drift away to that special place where the palm trees dance in the ocean breeze, where the waves kiss the shore and your only care in the world is making sure that you remember a little extra sunscreen on your nose.

Kick back, relax and enjoy this day! That’s what a margarita is all about.... Regardless of what’s hidden inside!

~Cheers!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Got a Pizza in the Oven

First, I want to thank everyone for the Birthday wishes yesterday! It’s good to have made it through this many years, and even better to think that I may be blessed with even more of this crazy brand of fun!

During our traditional weekend trip to the city, we tracked down yet another brew pub in Colorado Springs. I can’t help but think someone could spend a lifetime searching them all out!

We were driving along and whipped a big crazy driver move on Highway 24 heading back from Cripple Creek when we saw the Colorado Mountain Brewery that is located in a railroad roundhouse.

This location was a historic pottery showcase when I was a kid, so I’m always looking that way when we drive by.

 This is not an all good review, I am sorry to say. With an AMAZING layout that every bar, restaurant or brew pub would be jealous of, and an enormous wood fired pizza oven that leads your eye into a completely open kitchen, I must say that they are missing an opportunity!

This is the type of place where you want to avoid the 9 big screen TVs that are playing and look to the kitchen! Watch the guy making pizza, chat with him, have a few beers and eventually talk him into taking a picture with your party!

Unfortunately, the dude there when we were in, was crustier than his pizza, had a shit attitude and even though you couldn’t hear it, was cursing constantly as he scowled across the kitchen and threw tickets all over the place. It was almost a full-on tantrum. Too Bad, but I will say his pizza was 100%!!

I tried two of the “House Brews,” including the Blond and the Black IPA. The blond screams “Cream Ale,” and the Black IPA is just a watered down, dry-hopped Porter. Neither one deserving of comment either way. Not great, not bad.

Somehow Soup seems the theme recently.... Maybe this old age thing.  So I tried the Beer Cheese Soup! I will only say that it tasted like Nacho Cheese with Beer and JalapeƱos! If you don’t like that, don’t order it..... I asked if they could fill a growler for me!

As you’ve seen, I’m big on ordering the Ahi Salad when I don’t know a restaurant. Kahuna’s Chick likes Fish and Chips. Both hit our table in no-time.

The Ahi was perfectly seasoned and seared. The spinach was fresh and flavorful, with a raspberry type vinaigrette that may be the best I’ve had anywhere. Bite number 1 had me in heaven! Bite # 2 put on the breaks!

Bite #2 was full of lightly battered fried red onions, pine nuts, grilled red pepper and bacon bits. (Lord forgive me for saying) even though I love Bacon, the added ingredients turned this typical light, airy summer salad into a 100 pound gut punch grease bomb! I should have gotten a burger! I didn’t even finish it.... Although I did pick out every bit of that wonderful Ahi! Can’t win ‘em all!

Ok, three other plates on the table broke down like this: Fish and Chips got a full 2 thumbs up from Kahuna’s Chick and the Pizza had us wishing we had room in the freezer to take 3 or 4 of them home. The Mac-n-Cheese.... EVERYONE was a fan!

Moral of the story, If you find yourself at a brewery with a wood oven, right out front for god and everyone to see.... Order a pizza and a house beer! This place is no different!

I hope you all are destined for a great week.... We will be looking at some more moonshine before the week is out!

~Cheers

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Why Valentines's Day?

Our good friend and residtnt rumologist at the Rum Bar in Key West Florida, Bahama Bob, lends a bit of rum soaked wisdom and a great cocktail to keep the 14th a happy day in February! 

~Cheers!  

 

St. Valentine's Day: Why do we do this?

    Valentine's Day is a day we celebrate every February 14th, but why?  Hallmark is the beneficiary, but what are we really celebrating?    We are celebrating the execution of a man named Valentine during the rein of Claudius the Cruel, as Emperor of Rome.  
Valentine, a priest in Rome would perform secret marriages for young lovers in a time that Claudius had ban all marriages and engagements in Rome.   Claudius felt that the attachment to family and wives would keep young men from joining the army that he needed to maintain control of Rome.   
When Claudius discovered that Valentine was doing this, he was arrested and ordered to that he be put to death.  

Read More HERE!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Golly that's good!

So, I was going to do a bunch of ranting about Big Beer vs. Little Beer. I was going to point out that BMC Makes a LOT of beer for people who genuinely love their products.

I was going to point out that companies like Beck’s and Hoegaarden that are owned by big corporations should be judged by their beer, not their parent company.

I was going to point out that my favorite overall brewery, New Belgium Brewing, INC is in no significant way different that InBev. As a business structure, they are the same. What is different, is the beer they make. They play to their audience, just like BMC.

I was going to point out that my second favorite IPA in the world, Avatar Jasmine IPA from Elysian Brewing Company is produced by a corporate sellout... Kinda. Elysian is a trade name owned by that big bad Craft Beer Giant, New Belgium Brewing, INC. Sorry corporate SOB’s that make great beer and make jobs for their greedy owners! (Fairly funny statement since they are now 100% Employee owned!)

Also very funny given that Elysian makes a beer called “Corporate Beer Sucks!” It’s all image, and
I’m sick of politicizing beer and fighting over image!

I said to +BREWPUBLIC last Friday, "We need to judge EVERY beer on it’s own merits!" Not it’s parent company, not it’s name, and not by the price or taxidermy on the bottle!

Brewpublic has a great beer blog, and is one palate that I know I can trust, and like me, he doesn't do a lot of BS. If he likes it, he'll say so, if not... same deal!

This started by my commenting on one of his Instagram picks.... Follow me on Instagram HERE:


Instagram

I’m here for the beer! And today I’m sharing a Beck’s Sapphire with you!

Refreshing aroma, light hints of tropical fruit, barely any hop aroma, sweet malt.

Wonderful dark gold color. Bright white head that dissipates quickly.

Caramel malt undertones, and definite Pilsner style. Plenty of body to be satisfying, but light enough to be quite quaffable. Precisely the right hop bitterness to balance a touch of sweetness left from the malt. Still not really any hop nose.

With every swallow, I keep bracing myself for a metallic corn throat punch that I have come to expect from beers in this style.... And by Big Beer owned crafts. This doesn’t have it. They claim to stick to Reinheitsgebot, and I don’t see any evidence to doubt that. 

Not being a huge pilsner guy.... In-fact, being a guy that actively dislikes pilsner style beer, I’m impressed! Actually, I’m more than impressed. I am finding a little tough to not gush with this beer.

It’s honestly the best of this style that I’ve ever had... Granted I’ve been limited to the BMC versions of Pilsner and a few really bad craft versions... But this is damn good beer!

Super clean, no off flavors. So well balanced that I bet it could walk a tightrope over the Royal Gorge without a safety net, and the bottles a DARK BLACK with pry off tops. Can you say Homebrewers Dream!

I seriously can’t find anything bad to say about this beer!

If you’re having Big Beer Panty Bunching issues with trying of liking this beer... Just get over it. I don’t care who makes it, what’s in it... Or even if their commercial leads me to think Tequila Rose....

This is a damn fine brew, and the only one you’re hurting by protesting InBev, is yourself!

On the Kahuna Scale of 1-10.... Beck’s Sapphire gets a solid... “Hell Yes, I’d order that beer every time!”

~Cheers

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Contradicting ourselves

What the hell is wrong with us?

As a self proclaimed ambassador of Craft Beer, I try to promote the things I like and ignore the crap I don't. I try not to spend all my time bitching about Pisswater pale adjunct lagers, because that's time we could be sharing something pretty damn tasty! 

I figure that you don't need to hear, over and over, how much I despise the metallic taste of Bud Light. I just don't see that as a useful part of the discussion. I want to show you what I DO like, and hope that you'll like it too!

We, as beer guys, tend to contradict ourselves a lot. I know I'm guilty too.

Remember when Miller came out with the "Twisted Neck" Bottles?  We all spent a lot of time making fun of them for it... just like their "Triple Hopped" brewing process!

I do give big ups to +Breckenridge Brewery for their series of commercials making fun of the BMB marketing camps. They were not only funny, but really did a good job of pointing out the way the large companies market their inferior beer by making crazy stupid claims on TV.
 
And now we contradict ourselves.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Controversy in Colorado

So I tweeted a link. It got plenty of attention... and it's a fairly divisive issue, which I normally would try and stay away from here at BKB!

Not unlike the conversation over the Rum Subsidies, the debate over Colorado Liquor Laws drives a wedge between otherwise agreeable people.
Colorado is looking at allowing beer and liquor sales in grocery stores and convenience stores. The simple fact is that if you think selling beer in these locations is going to hurt your business, no amount of logic can make it not hurt your business.  And I want to start this discussion by saying that I totally respect your point of view if you disagree with me.


I tend to agree with loosening liquor laws. I grew up having to remember to buy beer on Saturday, because you couldn't buy it on Sunday. And when Colorado began talking about removing the antiquated law that restricted alcohol sales on Sundays... WHEW That kettle nearly boiled over!

Mom and Pops stores claimed that it would put them out of business, brewers claimed that without the smaller liquor stores they would never get their products on shelves and they would be forced out of business!

NONE OF THAT HAPPENED! I know plenty of smaller stores that are closed on Sunday, and even more that are open on Sunday and raking in the cash from their sales. It turns out that it's good for business to have your products available for sale. Who Knew?

As far as the small stores benefiting Craft Beer, I don't see how that works. Living in Rural Colorado, all of my craft beer comes from Colorado Springs or Denver. While you might think that Craft Beer grows on trees in Colorado, it's not available in grocery stores or Gas Stations.

We make the 100-120 mile one-way trip every other week or so, and yes.... sometimes it is on a Sunday! But I don't find local craft beer in Mom and Pops liquor stores! I have to go to specialty stores like Coaltrain in Colorado Springs. Or at least the local big box shops like Colorado Liquor Outlet. But if I'm looking for the likes of Lips of Faith or something from the really small Colorado brewers, I need to hit a store like Daveco or Applejack. These mega stores do a great job of keeping local brews available.

The unfortunate thing for the growth of craft beer is that not every casual beer drinker seeks out these large liquor stores. They stop by the grocery store or grab a Six-pack on the way home while they are getting gas!

So when you tell me that having your products available to these people will hurt your business, I tend to be a bit skeptical.

The way I see it, is that craft beer starts showing up in gas stations and grocery stores all over Colorado, and suddenly Craft Beer is in-front of a huge audience that wasn't previously exposed to those brands, and before long, the people start to try it... and some of them like it.... and not long after that, they are telling their friends.... BOOM! Can you say secondary explosion of the Craft Beer Market? Hell, our silly little state could even have the potential to attract a Trader Vic's and we could have watering holes at the Whole Foods like in Ariz.

I hope so!

What do you think?

~Cheers!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A set of Honkers!

Don’t nobody start a fight over this brew. I know it’s not made by a “Craft” brewer... I know it’s corporate... But damn, it’s pretty good anyway!

Today we sample Honker’s Ale from Goose Island. A Chicago brewed English Bitter weighing in at 4.2% ABV.

I thought this might be a nice change from the ridiculous hop bombs that I keep drinking.

This is a style that I love. English style beer is the beer I picture beer when I close my eyes and think of beer! Be it a bitter, mild, or IPA, I tend to dig the English version!

Pouring a reddish amber color with an off white head, this beer is big on first impressions. It’s beautiful!

It sports a robust malt nose with a mildly funky note including citrus, caramel and indistinguishable hops.

Mouthfeel is fairly full bodied and somewhat creamy. I wonder how this would be on Nitro?

Somewhat sweet, the malt carries through the entire swallow. Bitterness is very mild and only approaches toward the finish and then dissipates before the sweetness of the malt.

There isn’t really much going on in this beer. It’s pretty simple. There isn’t much hop character, but the bittering hops  do a swell job of balancing out the sweetness of the malt. 

There isn’t much else to say. This is not showing much complexity or character, and honestly, that’s not a bad thing. This beer is simple and strait forward. It’s pretty refreshing in it’s own, single sided, grainy beautiful way.

This would be a fair beer to try if you’re looking for something better than Bud Crown Royal... Royal crown.... Whatever it is that they are trying to put out these days. 

I wouldn’t call this a great beer, and there are certainly better examples of the style, but I’d order it in a steak house if it was their “Premium” option. Heck... I’m betting I’ll even drink the rest of the ones in this six-pack.

Have a great week, and a few good beers!

~Cheers!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Drink it up!

Last week, we built a bottle of infused rum that is native to the Dominican Republic, called Mamajuana. But as you know, we didn't build it to look at, we built it to drink! So let's do this thing! 

Beautifully ruby red and hazy, this is a little strange as I usually look for a spirit to be star bright and as clear as Swarovski Crystal.  But given the amount of spices and herbs and wood packed into the bottle, it certainly isn’t surprising.

The nose is of mixed spice and fruit. There is a prominent anise and clove aroma, some chamomile and perhaps a little woody cinnamon. There is an old leather and tobacco character that cannot be missed.

The mouthfeel is thick (For a spirit) and hot! No question that there is 151 in this bottle. The anise and clove are fairly predominant, hitting mid palate and hanging on through the finish. I think that the alcohol burn is really doing something to ramp up the cinnamon perception.

Bay leaves and a herbal (like St. John’s Wort Tea) flavor come through in followup sips.

The honey and wine have been completely absorbed and covered. I don’t know where they went, but I suspect that had I used a normal proof rum, they would have stuck around a little more.

I wish I could download a plugin so you could smell this amazing concoction.
There is still a noticeable level of tannic bitterness to the finish.  I suspect that this will wash out with the first batch and I suspect that had I followed the directions and let the wine sit on the blend for a few extra days, it would have soaked out in the first place.

I don’t necessarily think that this batch qualifies as a “sipper” because it’s a little raw and harsh. I think that this batch may end up in the freezer for chilled shots. But the beauty of these types of infused liquors is that they evolve and change over time. When the bottle is empty, or nearing empty, I will refill it and we will have a slightly different version of the same product. I will refill this bottle of herbs several times until the flavor starts to diminish or it becomes unpleasant.
As an interesting go beside, let us talk pairing.

Usually, we pair drinks with an Hors d'oeuvre or a meal, but I want to talk drink pairing. I can’t help, as I sip along on this unique, herbal and bitter spirit, that it would be a great sipper to go along with a pint of sweet stout. The woody herbs could be quite a nice accouterment to the sweet roasted flavors of a stout. I would suggest that a very bitter beer would be a bad choice due to the tannin level in the Mamajuana at this point. But if the tannins tame down and the honey starts to shine through, perhaps a ESB would be just the ticket.

I certainly have had a lot of fun playing with this concoction, and look forward to sharing it with friends and family. I suppose that the myth and legend lends about 40% of the allure, it’s tasty enough to break out on occasion.

Check back in Next week as we jump back into sharing a few beers that are LONG over due! Beers that I had intended to share with you months ago.  We also need to look at ordering some ingredients and breaking out the ‘ol Mr. Beer. Spring is on it’s way, and we can’t be left without a solid homebrew to sip as the evenings begin to get longer!

Have a great weekend!

~Cheers!

Buck!