Archive for March, 2011

midweek.mini-review Lindemans Framboise


Lindemans-Framboise

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“This doesn’t taste like beer!” is probably the most common comment I hear when I introduce this beer to people.  Effervescent and sweet with no bitterness (that I can taste) this beer is more reminiscent of a tart raspberry soda than anything else. You can expect the same tart soda like flavorings from the other Lindemans’ products. They produce a variety of fruit (apple, peach and cherry just to name a few) flavored beers.

However, don’t expect that sweetness from any other fruit Lambic style beers  you might find on the shelves,  Lindemans are by far the sweetest beers I have tasted. Most other Lambic style beers are quite tart and some are down right sour.

The Perfect Pint: Pint Glasses


In an effort to expand on the “education” part of my “Beer Reviews, Education and Nonsense” motto, I am continuing my series of posts that will focus on beer glassware.  Specifically, I will be talking about the glass’s shape and why that particular glass is an appropriate vessel for a specific beer style.

This week I will be discussing a glass that has become ubiquitous with pubs, bars and restaurants, the pint glass.  There are several names (Nonic, shaker and tumbler) and slight shape differences but they are basically the same glass. Pint glasses are the gold standard of beer glasses for home and commercial use with good reason.  They are cheap and can be replaced easily.  They are easy to clean and store because of their no-nonsense shapes and.   These glasses are sturdy and can take a beating before they break.  Most importantly to many beer drinkers, they provide a historical standard for individual beer consumption. With exception of the historical measurement (which isn’t even accurate these days) these glasses have little to do with enhancing the overall drinking experience and more to do with convenience to the establishment’s owner.

Pint glasses are hardly the BEST glass for any beer.  True, they fit in the hand nicely and their wide openings facilitate easy drinking, however, the wide openings do nothing to condense the foamy head.  A thick and dense head on a beer works as a filter allowing a gradual release of aromatics.  The relatively large surface area at the top of pint glass encourages a thin head which allows the aromatics to escape quickly and easily. 

Because of their size, only low to mid strength beers should be served in a pint glass.  Beers with higher alcohol levels should be consumed in moderation and in smaller serving sizes.

Nonic Pint

Nonic Pint

Shaker Pint

Shaker Pint

Pint Glasses: Nonic, Shaker or Tumbler
The workhorse of glasses. Traditionally used
for any American or English ale.

midweek.mini-review 3/25/11


Alesmith Speedway Stout

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If you like bitter chocolate and coffee then you have try this beer! Pour into a snifter and let it warm up just a bit.  Note how the aroma and the flavors change as the beer warms up.  At 12% this beer is a sipper and I think best enjoyed AS dessert.

This midweek.mini-review is a part of my interactive guest review series. Click my Beer Goggles review card and you will be able to read reviews from other beer enthusiasts.  You will also find a blank card for this beer that you can save/print and fill out for yourself.  Fill out your card, e-mail your review back to me and it will be included with all the other guest reviews. Be sure to include your name and/or beer blog or beer website information with your review.

Blank cards for other beer styles can be found at https://hopheadsaid.wordpress.com/write-your-own-review/ .  Right click and save or print. Do you want to use the same font?  You can find the free “My Type of Font” at http://www.dafont.com/my-type-of-font.font.

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curtis(at)hopheadsaid(dot)com

midweek.mini-review 3/15/11


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Click image for guest reviews.

This is a great entry level Double IPA with plenty of malty sweetness to balance the aggressive hop character of this beer.  A lingering bitterness encourages you to keep drinking but be careful, at 9.5% this beer will catch up to you!

This midweek.mini-review starts a new interactive aspect for HopHeadSaid.  Click my Beer Goggles review card and you will be able to read reviews from other beer enthusiasts.  You can find blank cards for any style at https://hopheadsaid.wordpress.com/write-your-own-review/ .  Right click and save or print and e-mail your review back to me.  Be sure to tell me your name and if you have a beer blog or website include that information as well.

Twitter: hopheadsaid   or   Facebook: Hop Head Said

curtis(at)hopheadsaid(dot)com

New HopHeadSaid Website


Hey HopHeads!  I am moving some of the content from this blog to a permanent home at HopHeadSaid.com.  You can find a complete listing (soon to be searchable) of all the Beer Goggles review cards along with a special merchandise link where you will find lots of hip and dare I say manly beer art.

I have plans to add at least two more pages to the website. I am especially looking forward to a searchable food and beer pairings page.  There you will be able to pick a certain style of beer (ex. Pale Ale, Bock, Imperial Stout) and learn what food will pair best with it.  Or you will be able to search food styles (ex. Mexican, German, Thai) and learn what beers will best pair with those foods.

And another page that will focus on the Geeky aspect of beer drinking such as appropriate glassware, brewing techniques and ingredients.

Stop over for a visit, new info will be added weekly.

Twitter: hopheadsaid   or   Facebook: Hop Head Said

curtis(at)hopheadsaid(dot)com

Ladyface Ale Companie: Picture City Porter


Ladyface Ale Companie, located in Agoura Hills, is a Belgian-centric restaurant that features a wide range of their own handcrafted beers.  At the time of this post Ladyface Ale Companie had no less than eleven of their beers on tap. Click here to see their current tap selection, which includes several guest taps.

Picture City Porter comes in two different versions: regular and bourbon-fied. It is my understanding that this is a limited edition (available in small quantities and/or for special occasions) beer so be sure to ask if the bourbon barrel version is available if you want to experience the beer in this review.

When you order a beer that comes from a bourbon barrel it is hard not to have any preconceived notions about the aromas and tastes you will encounter.  Try to put any of those notions aside and dig a little deeper, you won’t be disappointed. Picture City Porter is a treat and a challenge to taste; and with a little digging you will discover a wonderful, complex beer.

Served in a pint glass, the traditional drinking vessel, Picture City Porter poured an opaque brown with a diminishing off-white head. I think it would have had better head retention if served in a less traditional tulip shaped glass.  However, what it lacked in head retention it made up for in the wonderful lacing pattern it left on the inside of the glass. 

Generally I don’t care for pint glasses as they tend to let the aromas dissipate too quickly (as well as the head) which can eliminate a layer of complexity that could be enjoyed throughout the session.   However, this beer held its own against the mighty mouth of the pint glass.  The bourbon aroma is a thick and unmistakable layer that floats on the beer’s surface and will greet your nose just a tick before each drink. While it does dissipate a bit, the bourbon aroma hangs around for the whole session.  I love the bourbon aroma but the real pleasure in this beer is finding its hidden layers. If you “squint” just a bit you will discover an all but hidden layer of subtle earthy notes wafting just behind the bourbon. For me it was reminiscent of freshly turned soil with a mix of herbs sprinkled about. 

My first thought as I tasted the beer was “Where is the bourbon?” The bourbon aroma was so powerful that I was certain that each drink would be overrun with bourbon flavor.  Instead, roasty malts dominated the palate with a subtle burnt toast flavor that was mixed with a chocolaty sweetness. The dark malts and hops provide a moderate bitterness that keeps the sweetness in check. 

As the tasting progressed I started to discover two more hidden layers.  The earthy notes showed up again but this time in the flavor.  My guess is that these earthy notes are a result of the beer being aged in oak barrels.  Then from under the earthy notes a new layer emerged, almost as an afterthought. Spice. This layer can be easily missed if you aren’t paying attention because you won’t experience it until you exhale. After you swallow take a moment (your frites won’t cool down that much) and enjoy this final stage of tasting a beer that is so often overlooked. Exhale. Feel the spicy esters float to the roof of your mouth and then up and out of your sinuses. Was this spice caused by the hops or the oak or was it a magical combination of the two?  I’m not sure but I AM glad it was there.  

The beauty of this beer is in its layers.  Its tough guy persona (the bourbon aroma) is just a façade that is protecting its more delicate almost hidden layers. Picture City Porter rewards those who stick around to get to know it.  Do yourself a favor, pull up a chair and introduce yourself to this beer. 

 

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curtis(at)hopheadsaid(dot)com

midweek.mini-review 3/2/11


If your travels take you to the Minnesota or the any of the Mid-West states be sure to try this beer.  Its mild hop aroma, balancing sweetness and medium body make it an easy drinking beer. This IPA is a wonderful combination of the English and American styles.