Wednesday, February 29, 2012

La Biere De Boeile

La Biere De Beloeil is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale made by one of my favorite breweries, Brasserie Dupont. At 8.5% ABV, it is certainly strong, but still in a reasonable range. To show my bias, let me start out by saying: If you happen to see any beers from Brasserie Dupont, buy them immediately. They are all delicious. They do good work. 

The beer pours a chestnut kind of color. Like most Dupont beers, the nose is best described as the best kind of skunkiness you will ever experience. Part of this is from the green bottles that they use, part is from the yeast. The Dupont house yeast gives a farmy kind of smell and taste. It is funky and crisp. It may be weird at first, but I'm sure I could find a ton of people that will tell you: Dupont beers are fantastic. They have a Belgian White made with the house yeast (Foret Blanche), best Belgian White I have ever had. Hands down. Definitely get it if you see it. Buy me one too. 

What is different about this beer from the rest of the Dupont family (most of which are available in any decent beer store), is the maltiness. The malt is more pronounced and the body is bigger than most other Dupont beers. For the most part it is a little bit sweeter and a little bit heavier than I would have expected, but the funkiness balances it out pretty well. 

While it is categorized as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale, I wouldn't necessarily call it that. It is somewhere between a Belgian Scotch Ale and a Belgian Golden. Even if you have only the slightest interest in trying this beer, I would suggest that you do so (although you probably won't be able to find it). Even so, I highly recommend any of the Dupont beers. If you try one and don't like it, then I will politely disagree with you and finish up your bottle for you. 

To show you how serious I am: If I could only choose one brewery to drink beer from for the rest of my life, Dupont would be one of the top choices. 

Glassware: Snifter, Tulip, Chalice

Synonym Beer: Gnommegang (just a little darker, a little maltier)

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at You can send me cool photos too, if you like.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Let's be real for a second. It is still winter. For those of us in the Northeast, the weather generally teeters on the edge of spring for a while and makes sure to hammer us with some really intense cold before spring finally comes. While I am a firm believer of drinking whatever beer you like, whenever you like, I do think that certain beers are winter beers, while others are summer beers. A quick way to determine if a beer is a winter beer: if the brewery only releases it in the winter, odds are that it is a winter beer. These beers are generally heavy, strong, and usually have very malty flavors. The intention is to warm you up on a cold day and to keep you full and comfortable on a winter night. 

Today's beer is a wonderful, strong, flavorful stout made by Brooklyn Brewery: The 2011-2012 release of the Black Chocolate Stout. 

The BCS is an Imperial Stout. One thing that is common with imperial stouts is a high alcohol content. The BCS does not disappoint, sitting at 10% ABV. It is really one of those "meal in a glass" type beers. Some people steer away from chocolate stouts because they are concerned with the beer being too sweet. This isn't really an issue with the BCS. The chocolate actually provides a bitter flavor to the beer. Much like with chocolate, with dark, bitter chocolate considered to be more refined, the BCS can be considered to be a much more refined chocolate stout. This being said, it is still a dessert beer in my mind. Something to relax and drink by the fire on a winter night. Though it is high in alcohol, the alcohol isn't overly prevalent in the flavor.  

Apart from these basics, I don't want to delve too much into the flavors because they are way to complex and I could write way too much on the subject. Instead, I will leave some vague discriptors that I think show up in the flavor: nutty, dark fruit (nose), bitter chocolate, carmel, toffee. Basically, you can't really be told what this beer is like. Just go try some for yourself.

Glassware: Snifter, pint glass.

Synonym Beer: Old Rasputin Imperial Stout

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at You can send me cool photos too, if you like.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Destination: Grand Cru (Rhinebeck)

If you live near the Hudson Valley, this post is for you, if not, you can still come, it is just more of a trip. 

Rhinebeck, NY (just a train ride away from NYC) is not a terribly well known town. It is probably most well known for: 
1)The Dutchess County Fair (2nd largest fair in NY)
2)The Chelsea Clinton Wedding
3)Where a bunch of city folk/some celebrities have country homes
4) Being briefly mentioned in the romantic comedy, 27 Dresses

It is also not known for beer, but one shop (and a few restaurants) are fighting against the ignorance.

Grand Cru moved into Rhinebeck a year or two ago and the store is becoming more and more popular.   

The store has a fairly extensive selection of craft beer, with a large selection from NYS. The major brewing countries are well represented in the selection, with a lot of hard-to-find Belgian and German beers available. You can also find a lot of stuff from the UK. The beer itself is a little on the expensive side, but you can expect that from a store with a large selection, especially because Grand Cru doesn't sell the money-makers, like Budweiser. Like most stores, you can find the beer room temp, or cold. 

This brings me to one of the reasons that I love Grand Cru. You can buy a beer, sit in the store, and drink it. They pour your beer into a glass for you and you can choose from one of the several tables near the entrance, or you can stand at the counter and sip. Think of it as a bar that has most of what you could want, plus you can take stuff home with you too! Be warned, there is an additional charge for drinking in (by law), but the prices are about what you would expect at a bar. They also sell cured meats and cheeses, so you can buy a couple things and have a snack as you drink. It's a ton of fun. Grand Cru also has 5 taps, which are regularly changed. They allow you to buy growlers, pints, or samplers. I have a very hard time passing up a sampler.
Left to Right: Captain Lawrence Pale Ale, Brooklyn Mary's Maple Porter, Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron, Greenflash IPA.

This is a typical selection that you might see: A couple local things, maybe one that is rare, a decidedly hoppy beer, and a decidedly dark, powerful beer. Don't hold me to that, but every time I go in, I feel like the taps match that template. 

The owners of Grand Cru are wonderful people, always willing to help you if you have any questions and always happy to talk (just another reason to go in an support the business). If you like buying beer swag, they have a few different glasses (the specific ones change from week to week) at very reasonable prices. They also have some really cool tap handles for sale.  

Grand Cru is also very proactive about having events. They will have some sort of tasting, beer dinner, or something every few weeks. This a couple weekends ago I went to a Sixpoint tasting there and it was awesome. I was able to try 9 different beers, 4 of which I had never tried before, 3 of which I wouldn't have normally had a chance to. It was a great way to try more beer from a fantastic NY brewery. 

The point is: Grand Cru is not just a good place to buy beer, you can make a date out of it. I know Lindsey always enjoys a visit. 

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at You can send me cool photos too, if you like.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


As I have talked about before, German's know how to make beer as well, if not better than anyone else in the world (your opinion of this largely depends on your taste in beer). One of my personal favorite beers, German or otherwise, is Schneider Aventinus. This is a wheat doppelbock (weizenbock) style. These are basically two different styles that Germany is well known for (Also considered a stronger dunkel weizen). Doppelbocks are a little heavy, dark, strong, and very malty. German wheat beers, usually hefeweizens, are medium strength, lighter, and dominated by the flavors from the yeast (clove, banana, vanilla). A blend of the two styles has led to Aventinus. 

Aventinus is stronger than most other German beers, sitting at 8.3% ABV. I have waited until now to do the post on this because I feel like now is the perfect time to drink one. It feels weird to say that it is getting into spring because it is February, but it is getting warmer, but is still chilly. This is exactly what you need. The yeast flavors are very refreshing, but the body of the beer will warm you up when it is a little cold. Granted, I will still drink this beer on a summer afternoon. I don't care at all. It is just so good. 

If you like German beers and you haven't had the pleasure of drinking Aventinus, go out and get it. Any beer store worth going to will have it. 

Synonym Beer: Weihenstephaner Vitus 

Glassware: Aventinus Glass, Weizen Glass

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at You can send me cool photos too, if you like.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A New Take on Old Fashioneds

An old fashioned is a classic cocktail. You may be familiar with it as what Don Draper drinks when he isn't drinking straight rye. It is delicious if you like the taste of whiskey. If you don't, it is probably not the drink for you.

A traditional old fashioned is as follows:

2 parts whiskey (Bourbon or Rye)
1 part simple syrup (sugar and water)
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Ice (If desired)
Garnish with Lemon Peel, Orange Slice, and Maraschino Cherry. 

Stir the whiskey, simple syrup, bitters, orange slice and cherry in glass. Rub the rim with lemon peel and garnish (I add this part in). Add ice. Leave the stirrer in the glass if desired.

The result is a smooth, mildly sweet drink that retains the taste of the whiskey used, but gets rid of the burn. Sometimes I like to wear a nice shirt and pants, don a skinny tie and order up myself an old fashioned. 

This particular version was made at atavola restaurant in New Paltz, NY (Awesome place, great service, delicious food). They call it a No.1. It is basically an apricot version of an old fashioned. They make it with their own barrel-aged bitters. I loved it. Just a hint of sweetness, but still nice and boozy (I prefer cocktails that you can tell there is liquor). 

The point is, cocktails are kind of made to be tweaked. If you feel like experimenting, gather up some supplies and a couple of adventurous people and start fiddling around with a cocktail recipe. It is a ton of fun, but be wary, cocktails are easy to overdo. Just be careful. 

Glassware: Lowball or cocktail glass

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at You can send me cool photos too, if you like.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Green's Tripel

Have you ever consumed a beer and thought, "Whoa, they way over-glutened that beer!"? Or, you know, have horrible reactions to gluten. Maybe you are Novak Djokovic and your recent switch to a Gluten-Free diet is purely to make your tennis game better, yet you still want to drink beer. Who knows?

The point is, if you are intolerant of gluten, you still have some beer that you can drink. 

Behold: Green's Gluten Free Beer.

Green's is a Belgian Brewery that makes a few different beers, all of which are gluten free. This particular beer is a 8.5% ABV Tripel Blonde Ale. Basically, instead of using malted barley and wheat for the sugar, the gluten free beer uses buckwheat, rice, and millet. As a result, the beer tastes different from what you would normally expect. 

I decided to do a little experiment. Since it was the first time I have ever tried this particular beer, I thought I would try a tasting out of a tulip glass (above) and a goblet (lower in the post). By using the two different glasses, which are both appropriate for the style, I could see how the flavor and nose profiles change based on the glass. 

In the tulip glass, I could only smell booze. Granted, this is a fairly strong beer, but top quality strong beers are able to either cover the booze smell, or blend it into the aroma of the beer. The taste was sweet, but subtle. To me, it was hard to define the flavor. Even as the beer warmed up, the only real taste I could pick out was alcohol. 

The aroma in the goblet was, as expected, less boozy. The tulip glass gathers the nose all in one location, giving the possibility for a more pungent smell. The flavor was pretty similar. It just didn't really remind me of a Tripel. It was a little too sweet and didn't finish crisp. It wasn't bad, but it didn't knock my socks off. If it were actually bad, I wouldn't have finished the beer. 

If I didn't know that it was gluten-free, I wouldn't have guessed it. It tastes like a gluten-full(?) beer. Of course, you have to keep in mind that I have never had a gluten-free beer before, so I just may not have noticed the difference yet. This particular beer is not my cup of tea, but especially if you can't eat/drink gluten, it is worth checking out. They also make a Belgian Dubbel, which I am excited to try, but that will come in a different post. 

Synonym Beer: Victory Golden Monkey

Glassware: Tulip, Goblet, Chalice

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at You can send me cool photos too, if you like.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Untappd: A Suggestion

Today, everything is connected to social media. NBA players are live-tweeting their games, people post their most intimate thoughts about everything they can think of, and people use social networking for shameless promotion of their alcohol blogs. People are using social apps as a way to suggest different songs to listen to, and even what movies to watch. 

So why not beer? Untappd is a app that does just that. 

Today's post was made possible by Johnny Sullivan, who introduced me to this particular app. There are a couple of the type out on the market, I mostly chose this one because I knew someone on it, but other than Untappd, the other major player is Brewski Me. 

Basically, you invite friends to the app, which is free, and when they join and add you, you are able to see what beer they drink and vice versa. This is how it works: You are out at a bar or at home drinking a beer.  You open your app and "check in" to a particular beer. This makes it visible to all of the friends on your list. This way you can rate each beer you drink, suggest certain beers, or just try to collect all of the badges that you can obtain on the app. It is like a perpetual drinking game. I have already gotten the "Take It Easy" badge.  

It is kind of addicting. You can even add me as a friend, just search for Rob Rizzolo. I'm pretty sure i'm the only one on there. It is also a pretty simple way to keep track of what you drink and what you thought of that particular beer. Also, you can link to your twitter account to live tweet what you are drinking. I don't personally do that, but it is an option. Pretty much, if you are interested in incorporating a broader social network feature in with your drinking, consider Untappd. 

Trust me, it is fun, and I need more friends (on Untappd).

 Synonym App: Brewski Me

Appware: Any smartphone

I'll get back to the normal stuff with the next post. 

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at You can send me cool photos too, if you like.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Remember when I talked about good canned beer?

Well, Sixpoint is a brewery based out of Red Hook (Hey! That's where i'm from!), Brooklyn (Not where i'm from!). They, for several different reasons, have decided to can their beer rather than bottling it. In general, they will have their 4 beers out at once (in 16 oz cans) with maybe 1 Limited Edition Beer. They also have other beers that are only available in kegs, much of the time only in NYC.

Today's beer has been lighting up the Twittersphere, and for good reason. Sixpoint Resin is a 9.1% ABV Double (or Imperial) IPA. It is damn good.   

Since the normal Sixpoint beers are in 16 oz cans, and the Resin is 12 oz, but the same height, the can is known as a "Redbull" can. Now initially, you will probably think, "12 oz? When Sixpoints are normally 16? That kind of sucks." Keep in mind how strong this beer is. Do you want to drink anything else for the night? Granted, by the end of my drink, I was wishing for those extra 4 oz. 

As you can see, the beer pours a dark amber color. The head retention is pretty good, but it isn't very very creamy, very understandable for an Imperial IPAs. Keep in mind, I don't consider myself a "hop-head" and generally the thought of Double IPAs makes me think of pinecones. Resin is probably the best imperial IPA I have ever had. It is extremely well balanced, good and malty, but with distinctive, fragrant hops. I guarantee you that hop-heads will actually still like this beer. Sixpoint did a great job of not going overboard with the hops (as usual) and were able to produce a kick-ass beer. 

It is going to be tough to get your hands on this, because it is flying off the shelves. If you see it, buy it. 

Even Molly Bear enjoyed it (but she has good taste in beer)!

I also had the pleasure of attending a Sixpoint tasting at my local beer store this past weekend, which I will cover in more depth in a later post. We were able to try a few rare Sixpoints (not generally available outside of NYC). All of the beer was great, and so were the people. I know that most breweries are populated with friendly, genuinely nice people, but It is always worth mentioning. Sixpoint definitely is full of awesome people (Adam even gave us a growler to use because we forgot ours). I would support them for that reason alone, it is just a huge bonus that they put out great beer. 

More on Sixpoint later, I have a few more of them kicking around my apartment, so a post on a different one of their beers is a foregone conclusion.

Synonym Beer: Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA (just more balanced in my opinion) 

Glassware: Tulip Pint Glass, Goblet, Pilsner Glass

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at You can send me cool photos too, if you like.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Home Brewing!

If you don't know already, I am a big fan of home brewing. That is one of the things I want to devote this blog to. Within the next few week I will be making my next batch, so I will do a post on how to home brew. In the meantime, I will cover my existing brews, set to the backdrop of my tasting set. I have covered my first 6 beers, in the order that I made them. 

Standing offer: If you know me and want to try my beers, let me know and we'll find a way to make that happen. 

First and foremost: With home brewing, the most important part (starting out) is sanitation. Remember that. 

My first beer was created from a kit. It is a Belgian Golden Ale. If you are starting out, I would suggest doing your first batch from a pre-made kit. It just simplifies everything. It also gets rid of the awkward moment in the home brew store where you get asked a question that you don't understand at all. Ease your way into things and learn as you go. My first batch came out pretty well: light in body, but flavorful.  

One thing that you will probably experience when starting to home brew: People will give you ingredients as gifts. This is pretty awesome. It might make you brew a beer you normally wouldn't think to. For instance, my second beer was brewed from gift ingredients. It is a Belgian white style. Normally, I find these to be a little sweet for my taste, but when I told that to the owner of the local home brew store, he had some advice. I added some acidulated malt to the mix, which added some sour to the beer, balancing out the sweetness. Lesson learned: Ask the home brew guys. They know what they are doing. (The Belgain Witte is the first beer closest to the handle)

My third beer added another little step to the process. It is a Scottish Strong Ale that is aged with oak chips. It is dark and powerful (8-9%), but there is a pleasant sweetness as a result of the oak aging. Again, the ingredients were a gift, and again I didn't think that it would be one of the best. Instead, it has become one of my favorite home brews. (Furthest to the right) 

Number 4: Belgian Strong Ale
This one is probably my absolute favorite. It is an attempted clone of Boskeun, a fantastic Belgain Easter Beer. While it didn't come out exactly like Boskeun, I still really like it. My favorite memory that includes this beer is when Lindsey, the biggest beer critic I know, thought that mine was actually Boskeun in a blind taste test. This is an example of how home brewing can be economical. Boskeun sells for about $7 a bottle on average. I made 50 bottles for about $75. (4th from the handle)

Batch 5: Belgian IPA
This one was the first one that I made up mostly on my own (I used a recipe for backing, but changed most of the ingredients). This is by far my hoppiest, strongest beer (~10%). This actually is the reason why it is also my flattest, sweetest beer. The alcohol content killed most of the yeast. Since I use the yeast to carbonate my beers, the beer didn't carbonate too much. (2nd from handle)

Batch 6: American Pale Ale

For this beer, I did what I recommend every home brewer try at least once. I sent an email to one of my favorite everyday breweries, Butternuts, asking for guidelines for brewing Porkslap, their American Pale Ale. He told me basically everything I needed to make a clone of their beer. Obviously, it didn't turn out exactly the same, but brewers love home brewers, so most of the time, they will steer you in the right direction. (3rd from the handle)  

That seems like enough for now, even though I have 4 more brewed. Home brewing is a fun hobby with a great result. It also is a good conversation starter. The more you brew, the better you get and the more you know about the brewing process. Hell, I have even brought in some of my beers to a local bar and let the owner try some (he gave me a couple beers on the house). That's a trade I'll make any day. 

If you are interested in starting to home brew and you want to know what you need, send me an email or find a local home brew store and talk to the owner. I'll also do a post soon that runs through the general process. 

Seriously, if you want to try some of my beer, just let me know. 

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at You can send me cool photos too, if you like.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Destination: Albany?

I know what you're thinking: Albany? Really? Destination? Beer?
Just say yes, especially to the last one. 

Albany is full of places that are great for beer. More are popping up every year. 

The most notable beer bars in Albany are probably Mahar's (known as one of the better beer bars in all of NY) and Wolff's Biergarten. Both are awesome, but I am not talking about those today. 

Today's post will follow our journey on my brother Mike's birthday. 

Olde English Pub

Olde English is one of the no-fewer-than 5 places that will give you free alcohol on your birthday. I'll run through the list at the end, but I have to warn you, that much alcohol will definitely kill you. 

I have to say, I really like Olde English. It is a classic English pub. Maybe it's because I'm nostalgic for my Scottish pubs, but who cares, it's a cool place to grab a pint. It also happens to be one of only a couple places in Albany where you can routinely get cask beer. Most of the beer you will find in Olde English is from the UK, so if you don't like mild bitters, subtle IPAs, smooth pale ales, or kickass Hobgoblins, then you probably shouldn't go here. They have a fantastic selection of whisky (pay attention to the spelling) at very reasonable prices. 

The bar staff at Olde English is awesome, many of whom don fun beards or mustaches. There are plenty of tables, so you can sit down, but it is rarely ever empty when I am there. Let's say you are hungry. The kitchen puts out some tasty English favorites: Fried Sausage, Daily Meat Pies, and Toasties. If you haven't had these things, I would highly suggest it. They make great pairs for the light English beers. 

Below you can see what Olde English gives you for free on your birthday.

Demon Mike Drinks His Tea

That, my friends, is a 3 liter teacup with 2 liters of beer in it. There is also a teabag filled with dry ice to keep your beer cold, but not dilute (science!). This is nice of them, but unless you want to pay for 4 beers to get what you want in the teacup, you have to go with either Strongbow or Fosters. Neither is great, but I'd go Foster's every time. 

Fancy Pinkie All Day Long

If you aren't interested in drinking a ridiculous amount of beer, you can ask them and they will probably trade in the teacup for a standard beer. Worth a shot. If not, your friends can help you with the teacup.  

Elda's On Lark

Generally, 2 liters of beer will make you feel pretty good and maybe a little full. The cure for this is to stumble up to Elda's On Lark. Here, they have a nice 2 liter boot for you to drink. Elda is extremely nice, and this shows by the fact that you can choose ANY beer to put into your boot. Mike opted to have Rare Vos. If you have ever had Rare Vos, you A) Probably know that it comes in .75 L bottles, B) Would never really think of drinking an entire bottle by yourself. This is over 2 full bottle of Rare Vos. Fortunately, they are cool with you sharing (provided your group spends at least $20 or so). They even light a sparkler and sing you happy birthday! Elda's is much more of a bar than a pub. They have darts and karaoke and a decidedly young vibe.  

Remember to turn it before the bubble hits. 

Places to get free beer on your birthday (in Albany)

Wolff's Biergarten: Free 2 Liter Boot of Hofbrau Helles
Stout: Free 64 oz. Jug of Beer (not sure what is available)
Olde English: Free 2 Liter Teacup of Strongbow or Fosters
Elda's on Lark: Free 2 Liter Boot of Anything
Bomber's: Free Giant Margarita

If you go to Wolff's, Olde English, and Bomber's on your birthday, you get a stamp at each place and get a free T-shirt at the end...and about the equivalent of 20 drinks. 

If it is your birthday and you want to come celebrate in Albany, let's do it! We can crash at Mike's! (Sorry Mike)

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at You can send me cool photos too, if you like.

Monday, February 6, 2012

An Examination of Liquor Commercials

Due to a lot of positive feedback about the beer commercials post, I will be doing this post on the world of liquor ads. Like with the beer ads, there are some that I like and some that I hate.

1800 Tequila

What the Ad Says: Drink 1800 if you're a real man. Otherwise you're a poser. 

Reaction: Does this kind of ad campaign actually work? It is very similar to Miller Lite, except that this guy is talking directly to the potential customers. Also, I don't know when tequila was a drink that guys sipped and talked about sports. It's like 1800 decided to make random things up and make people feel bad about those things.

Fun Fact: 1800 Tequila was founded in 2004, versus 1989 for the "Poser Tequila" (Patron).


What the Ad Says: It doesn't matter which Smirnoff you choose, either way you will find your way to crazy, kind of scary looking parties.

Reaction: First of all, how will the marshmallow vodka taste different from the whipped cream vodka? It seems like both should generally taste sweet with hints of vanilla. Second, personally I wouldn't like to go to either of those parties. They seemed weird as hell. I don't like vodka though, so I'm not their target. Maybe that's the kind of thing that vodka-lovers are into...

Jack Daniels

What the Ad is Saying: Jack Daniels is a part of the community. They also love christmas. That's pretty much all I got.

Reaction: I like that they don't specifically try to sell anything. I also love the barrel tree. They have totally sold me on the commercial. Big fan. Unfortunately for them, I am not terribly likely to buy any JD. There are just other bourbons I would choose. Good commercial though.

Johnny Walker Black

What the Ad Says: Drink Johnny Walker Black to act like you are higher class/ a businessman.

Reaction: It's kind of funny. I feel like a lot of commercials now are doing this whole "Look at this cool guy using the product" thing. There are some funny parts, some not so much. I don't think it really needed to be 1:09 long, but it certainly isn't the worst ad.

Captain Morgan

What the Ad Says: Have a great time, but make sure that someone sober drives you home.

Reaction: Great sentiment. If you are going out to get hammered with your friends, make sure that one is not drinking so he/she can drive you home. Unfortunately, they show the roll of designated driver as the worst thing in the world. No one is going to want to be the tugboat for 20 or so people. It is easy to tell someone not to drink if you are a pirate captain, as their only other choice is to be killed. It's not so easy when all of your friends want to get sloshed.


What the Ad Says: Drink Bacardi. It's the original rum for Mojitos, so it's definitely good.

Reaction: I actually really like this commercial. The idea of walking back through the decades to get the original mojito rum is really creative and cool. I have no idea if rum back in the 19th century tasted anything like the rum of today, but I can give them a pass for that.   


What the Ad Says: Malibu can make it sunny, day or night, rain or shine.

Reaction: These guys suck at their jobs. He didn't even try to look up the weather in the various places for which he is doing the forecast! If you can't even convince yourself to say something other than sunny, you have been drinking too much Malibu. Sure, he seems relaxed, but if he actually had a job instead of hanging out in his friend's shack, he would have probably been fired by now.

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at You can send me cool photos too, if you like.

Friday, February 3, 2012


I was going to title this post, "One of the More Expensive, Stronger Beers I will Ever Drink", but I wanted to be a bit more direct. This made possible by my older brother, Mark, who purchased this beer for me for my 21st birthday. 

Today's beer is the 2009 release of Sam Adams Utopias. If you are unfamiliar with this beer, I should probably start out by mentioning that it is really barely a beer. It sits at a staggering 27% ABV, which when it was released, was the most alcoholic beer in the world. Sam Adams was able to achieve this level of alcohol by doing several fermentation stages with their own strain of a highly alcohol tolerant yeast, which they now have patented (most strains of yeast die around 10-15% ABV). Since then, there has been a kind of battle to get the strongest beer. The current winner is from the 't Koelschip Brewery in the Netherlands. It is 60% alcohol, which they achieve through freeze distillation (freezing everything but the alcohol and transferring that away, repeating a few times). 

Ok, now more about the beer itself. First of all, it is brewed with several different German and Austrian malts and 4 different varieties of noble hops. It also uses some maple syrup, which shows up clearly in the flavor. After the beer is brewed, it is aged in a variety of different barrels, including Scotch, Cognac, bourbon, and Port for up to 10 years. After the aging, beer from each of these casks is blended together to produce the beer that they desire. They suggest that the beer be served in small doses (1.5 oz) in a snifter or scotch glass. In fact, they paired with Riedel, a crystal glass maker, to make a specific glass (see above) for their beer (which is included in the purchase).   

This beer is overwhelming. It really shouldn't be called a beer. The Sam Adams website suggests that it be treated like a Cognac. I have to disagree with this. It really tastes like someone mixed a Port with some maple syrup. The two major flavors that hit me are raisins and maple. Don't get me wrong here, I find it delicious, but it is an after dinner drink by all accounts. It is sweet, smooth, and if I didn't know it was 27% ABV, I would not have guessed it. You cannot taste the alcohol at all. This is certainly a beer that you should try (if you have the opportunity). I mean, just look at that sweet bottle. How could it not taste good? It just doesn't taste like a beer, so be warned. 

Oh, did I mention that it sells for $150 retail (more on Ebay)?

Glassware: Snifter, scotch glass, or ideally, the Sam Adams Utopias Glass

Synonym Beer: Port?

P.S. If you actually know me and are seriously interested in trying this, maybe I can make that happen, just let me know. 

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at You can send me cool photos too, if you like.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lecture Series: The Art of the Pour

Think back to a time where someone has poured a beer for you and they did it terribly. Your glass probably had a little beer at the bottom, followed by a ton of foam billowing up to the top. Below is picture of a beer that I poured badly.

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There are a number of reasons why your beer foamed up more than usual and I will address them all throughout this post. Regardless of the reason behind why your beer is foaming up, it still remains the only socially acceptable reason to say to your brother, "Why did you give me so much head!?" (FYI, head is another term for foam.)

The first thing you should pay attention to is the cleanliness of the glass. Even a bit of dust can cause the beer to foam up, so make sure you rinse your glasses before you pour. The second thing to pay attention to is the temperature of the beer. The warmer the beer is, the more likely it is to foam over. Keep your beer cold and it will behave better.

Lindsey's hands will guide you through the pouring mechanics.

Another thing that you should pay attention to is the carbonation of the beer. This will mostly be an issue with home brews and sometimes with bottle conditioned beers. Most corked beers are bottle conditioned (finish fermenting in the bottle). A good way to gauge the carbonation level of corked beer is to just take the cork out. If there is a loud pop, it is very carbonated. If there is no pop, you may have gotten a bad bottle.

When pouring, always tilt the glass. This will allow you to pour most of the beer without much foam at all. If you don't believe me, pour one glass directly in, and pour the other while tilting the glass. It makes a world of difference. Keep the pouring speed not too fast. It isn't a race. The beer will still be there when you finish.

Notice how Lindsey doesn't pour one glass fully and then the other, she pours a little into each and goes back and forth until they are both full (obviously disregard if you are pouring one beer into one glass). There is an actual reason behind this. With bottle conditioned beer, the yeast is still floating around in the beer, but it gathers towards the bottom. If you pour one beer entirely, one person will get an entire yeast-beer, while the other person gets no yeast. That would be like you were drinking two different beers.

As I have mentioned before, the last inch or so of the bottle is heavy with yeast, which is perfectly fine to drink, but you need to make that decision yourself. I happen to like the yeasty flavor, so I pour mine every time.

The amount of head you leave on your beer really depends on the style, but a good general measure is two fingers (see above). This will slowly dissipate as you drink and the beer sits. Generally, beer should have good head retention (the head will not dissipate quickly). Usually what happens is the foam will disappear from patches and eventually you will be left with a kind of thin border of foam that sits on top of the beer and sticks to the side of the glass. This is actually called Belgian Lace. Now you know. Impress your friends. 

This is post is pretty much just talking about bottled and canned beer. If you are foaming up from a keg, it means that your pressure is too high. Don't pump 1000 times and expect the beer to just come out faster, unfoamed. You will get pitcher after pitcher of 100% foam. If thats what you want, go for it. If not, then just pump when it needs it. Don't go overboard. 

Hopefully now you have the tools necessary to correctly pour your beer. Although, the only way to get better is to practice. Why don't you crack open a few beers and try to pour them correctly? Once they are poured you may as well drink them too. Oh well. If you have to, you have to. 

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at You can send me cool photos too, if you like.