Friday, November 20, 2009

1st Women Who LIke Beer was a SUCCESS!

Thank you EVERYONE who attended and made the first meetup a success! We learned a little about the history of women and beer....and how we need to TAKE BACK THE PINT!

We learned all about different styles of beer- from a double IPA, to a Fresh Hop Ale, to the oldest recipe of beer dating back to King Midas to Sour Beers, to Belgian Beers, to Fruit Beers, to Barley Wine,  to Porters and to Stouts!

We tried 13 beers total for $15:

Hell or High Watermelon Wheat
Trader Joe's Bavarian Style Hefeweizen
Midas Touch Golden Elixir
Punkin Ale
Hop Trip
Le Merle
Chimay Grand reserve (Blue)
He'Brew Origin Pomegranate
Pliny the Elder
Coconut Porter
Speedway Stout
Mirror Mirror

We also talked about how to taste a beer through the 5 components of tasting:
5-Drink ability

We also talked about what we thought would pair well with the above beers. From beers that paired well with Brie, Camembert, Scallops, Lobster, Triple Cream, Duck, Gamey meats, Curries, Cheddar, Coconut Pie, Blue Cheese, Dried Fruits, Tiramisu and more!

I know not everyone likes every style but it was fun trying them all and seeing which ones everyone liked! I am glad everyone had so much FUN and I look forward to our next meetup~ which is
Thursday Dec 10th at 7pm $20.

Also check out one member-Casi's blog:
She wrote her own review of this first meetup!
Thanks Casi!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

First Women Who Like Beer Meetup this Thursday Nov 19th!

I am getting very excited for this Thursday....Nov 19th from 7-9pm
For $15 you will get to try lots of different beers with very different flavors....
Here are some of the lineups so far:
Hop Trip- Fresh Hop Beer
He’Brew Origin Pomegranate -An American strong ale brewed with the juice of over 10,000 luscious pomegranates.
Punkin Ale A full-bodied brown ale brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon, & nutmeg.
Hell or High Watermelon Wheat -This unique, American-style wheat beer, is brewed with 400 lbs. of fresh pressed watermelon in each batch.
Midas Touch, Golden Elixir -This beer is made with barley, white muscat grapes, honey and saffron.
Coconut Porter -Porter made with coconut!
Consecration-Strong, dark ale aged for 6 months in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels with currants, for a rich spicy brew with a pleasant sourness and hints of tangy fruit

And lots more! MMMMMM
1st Beer Tasting November Meetup
* Please note this meetup is for women only. Please let me know if you plan on attending.

The Bistro Wood Barrel Aged Beer Festival...need I say more?

65 barrel aged beers under 1 roof + $40 tasting glass plus 10 tasting tickets + Easy Bart transportation = 3 happy barrel aged drinking fools.
We didn't get to try all 65, but you got to pick your best choices; especially since some beers weren't that rare and you can get them at home. BUT there were a ton of barrel aged beers that they don't even bottle and that you got to enjoy.
The highlights of the day were in my order of top favorites:

1-Avery Voltron 9% (the last keg of it!) (another sour, a little darker than the Vogelbekdieren, aged in 2 Chardonnay, 2 Port and 1 Cabernet barrels)

2--Fifty Fifty Brewing :Concentrated Evil on 'Jack' 10%, (Belgian strong dark ale made with raisins, exotic sugars and aged in Jack Daniel Barrels)

3-Lagunitas: Cruisin' with the Ruben & the Bretts on Cherries 13% (Imperial stout with cocoa nibs, brettanomyces, Sonoma county cherries aged in Heaven's Hill Bourbon barrels)

4- Lagunitas: Imperial Stout w/Brett &  Raspberries13% (Imperial Stout aged in Heaven's Hill Bourbon barrels, with raspberries)

5-Moylans: Wet Hopsickle 2009 9.2% (fresh organic wet picked hops brewed into an Imperial XXXIPA, aged in Girard Chardonnay Medium Toast French Oak barrels)

6-Avery: Vogelbekdieren 10.5% (which is a sour beer aged in Opus One Cabernet Sauvignon, Ferrari-Carrano Chardonnay and Eagle Rare Whiskey barrels)

7-Glacier Brewhouse: Big Woody Barelywine 9%,    ( Barleywine aged 10 months in Jim Beam barrels)

8-Glacier Brewhouse: Ukrainian Imperial Stout 9.7% ( Stout aged in Ukranian Oak, a style originally brewed for Catherine II, the Empress of Russian over 200 years ago) Yeah Ladies!

9-Stone- Old Guardian Barleywine Ale  11.2% (2008 Guardian BarleyWine aged in a mix of Central Coast Winery of Cabernet and Merlot barrels)

10-Bear Republic : Blackberry Grizz 11% (super sour aged in a neutral barrel and 1lb per gallon of free range, sustainable organic Sonoma blackberries)

Not that there weren't others that were really good as well, there are just too many to name.
But there were a few dogs too:
1-Drakes- Geroge Brett Triple (sour aged in Pinor Noir barrels) Tasted like solvent.
2-Marin- Grand Funk (2006 Star Brew wheat wine aged in a 15 year old Chardonnay barrel with Brettanomyces) Tasted like funky apples mixed with solvent.
3- Valley Brewing- Cuvee De Evil (Belgian Style strong Golden brewed with Organic Pomegranate Honey) this sounds better than it is, although my compadres enjoyed this beer. It tasted like Mead, which is made from honey, but I am not a fan of mead and after tasting all of these barrel aged beers and then tasting that- it just wasn't a good mix for me. It's not a bad beer or a beer that's gone bad, it's just not my style.

All in all, a good time was had. Looks like this festival will become a yearly pilgrimage to the exotic land of Hayward each year.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Jug Shop gets it done with their beer tastings...

This time it was Deschutes. You can't really ever go wrong with Deschutes, especially with their heavier beers like the Abyss, Mirror Mirror and the Black Butte XXI, which the whole point of the tasting was the unveiling of the 2009 Abyss....all you can basically drink out of a jockey box....

And you can't ever go wrong with The Jug Shop. Their prices are good, their staff is extremely knowledgeable,  friendly and they are always way less crowed than Toronado or City Beer and usually offer the same special release tastings (now that our secret is out).

There tasting was last Friday Nov 13th from 6:30-8:30pm. It was nice to try the whole line up that was offered- Green Lakes Organic Ale 5.2%, Mirror Pond Pale Ale 5%, Jubelale 6.7%, Hop Trip (Bond Street Series) 5.5%, Black Butte Porter 5.2%, Obsidian Stout 6.4%, Inversion IPA 6.8%, Red Chair (Bond Street Series) 6.4%, Mirror Mirror (2009) 11%, Black Butte XXI 11%,  and last but not least, the Abyss (2009) 11%.

It was nice to try the lineup as we usually tend to go for their heavier beers. My favorites of the lighter bunch were the Jubeale (fantastic for a Holiday brew- malty hoppy goodness), The Hop Trip (for a fresh hopped beer this beer is one of my favorites- hoppy, floral, fresh, bitter, everything you would want in a beer that uses freshly harvested hops) and the Red Chair IPA (a less bitter copper beer with a hint of citrus).

Now for the Reserve Series sippers (or gulpers depending on you like it):
Mirror Mirror 2009 is pretty damn freaking good right now, considering it has already aged 7 favorite to drink right now personally...
Black Butte XXI- very cocoa, coffee, large whiskey nose and taste (due to it being aged in whiskey barrels), very go get some right now to try and cellar.
Abyss 2009-  heavy coffee, a hint of anise, bourbon, vanilla...yum!
wow, on draft? Are you kidding me? For $20 tasting and 2009 Abyss on draft? I feel sorry for those of you that couldn't make it...not to mention 5% off bottles and 10% of a case...

Friday, November 13, 2009

2 Turtle Doves, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Ah, the beloved 12 Days of Christmas carol. I can just hear my mother's off pitch voice now.  You see, we have a family tradition around this song- (which my husband will find out about this year).  Someone gave my grandmother a set of plates where each plate was a verse from this song. Every year, we all had to sing our part at whichever verse our plates bestowed upon us before we ate. However, these plates had a flaw. Below each verse, say "8 Ladies Dancing", it says "...And a partridge in a pear tree". But you weren't suppose to sing this part, just the person who had the pear tree plate would sing that every time. Everybody knows this song. Each year it is chimed into our heads at each Walgreen's and Mall that we go to. Yet somehow, each year someone manages to sing the pear tree line out of order. It's usually the older folks at the table. Now matter how many years we sing this, it still happens. None of us younger folk ever want to be engaged in this forced holiday tradition yet we are still there singing our line- and everyone's usually off key. My father would classify this in our family, as our "Christmas Torture".  So seeing the name 2 Turtle Doves, around a Christmas Beer wouldn't usually entice me to buy it just because of my predisposed conception of this song. Yet reading the label-2 Turtle Doves, Belgian style dark ale brewed with cocoa nibs and toasted pecans and 12%- this seemed like something quite interesting to try.

It was a very deep mahogany color, almost black, with a good creamy mocha head. It had a slightly sour beer smell to it that was lost once you tasted it- a little sour beer tease if you ask me, but nonetheless delicious. It also smelled like a deep dark toasted chocolate and a hint of caramel...The first sip had a roasted nutty flavor...deep nutty malt that ends with a  chocolate kiss. It is absolutely full of flavor and pretty smooth for the strength. It's a fairly unique tasting beer and I highly recommend it to anyone. It's my idea of a perfect holiday brew- I am not a large fan of too much spice- but cocoa nibs and toasted pecans are very holiday for me!  Each year The Bruery releases a new version to this song, with last year's version being "A Partridge in a Pear Tree", which was a Quadruppel, 12%, brewed with their own dark candy sugar, and a completely different beer. I am quite satisfied with this year's version and look forward to what they put out for the 3 French Hens next year. This is the type of Holiday Christmas Carol tradition  I can enjoy-

Get yours at City Beer- $11.99- while they last and impress your friends at your holiday table.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mirror Mirror on the wall- whose the fairest of them all?

Ah, Deschutes. How you have been such a part of my life...You know how to make fantastic beers that are high in alcohol and full of flavor. You don't mess around. The same goes for their 2009 release of the Mirror Mirror. It's a oak- aged barleywine that is taken from their Mirror Pond Pale Ale and doubled to be a barleywine (11%).  They say to cellar and age this beer until April 2010 (the best after date on the bottle). But we cracked this one open now...The 2009 has the traditional dense malt/high alcohol flavor but you get a lot of hoppy nose flavor and a bitter finish...It's definitely a sipper-after dinner or beforehand as an aperitif.... Usually when you age a beer that has such a high alchohol content, the flavors mellow and interact. It's definitely worth buying 2- 1 to try now and one to store and compare when you open it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A few random tastings...

So last weekend was a big weekend for beer for me. My husband had a bunch of his guy friends fly in from all over the country and we all drank beer...the entire weekend (along with some random foolery). Here are some of my tasting notes:

The first beer we tried was a collaboration between Bell's Brewery and Dirk Naudts- Van Twee Belgian Ale, which is a dark belgian ale brewed with cherry juice and 7.5%. This beer was interesting. It did not blow me away with the first sip, as I was expecting more cherry flavor but the flavor grew bigger and bigger with every sip until I really enjoyed it. It was a bit smokey in flavor and had some notes of sour in the finish; which contrasted nicely once the cherry flavor became abundant.

The second beer we tried was Widmer's Cherry Oak Doppelbock, 9%, which is part of their Brothers' Reserve series.
You know when you taste something or smell something and it brings you back in time with a memory? OMG, this beer took me back to Jersey in high school before I could drive and my friends and I would hang out at tasted exactly like a Cherry Cola Slurpee....AND I mean that in a good way. It was not too overly sweet, but definitely had that abundance of cherry flavor balanced with a great doppelbock base with notes of smokey chocolate and a hint of caramel....very tasty and fabulous. I would get this one again!

The last beer we had, was from Avery (one of our favorite breweries of all time) that our friend from Boulder, was so gracious to bring us a bottle. It was the dungaA- a double IPA- 8.5%. It is suppose to be an IPA that is between their Maharaja and their India Pale Ale....
It smelled fantastic-pine, grapefruit and a hint of toffee/caramel.It has a large hoppy flavor explosion with  grapefruit and backed by a bit of sweet malt. Very nice. Very drinkable. Very not available in
California right!  We await it's delivery....
And until then we will just rely on Brandon...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Macademia Nuts + Toasted Coconut + Kona Coffee= Aloha

Whenever I see a beer from Maui Brewing Company, I always get excited. When people think of Hawaiian Beer, they always think of Kona Brewing Company; which in my opinion is mediocre at best for a microbrewery-  there's nothing that they offer that makes their beers anything special.  However, when I first went to Maui 2 years ago, I was highly impressed with the beers that they were creating at Maui Brewing Company- Coconut Porter, Black IPA's, Stouts aged in Rum barrels and my friend's favorite, Red Cock Doppelbock- my kind of 'Hawaiian' beer. AND I have not been able to find any of their special releases outside the brew pub besides their Bikini Blond Ale (my least favorite but still a good beer), Big Swell IPA (actually this IPA is one of my favorite IPA's) and Coconut Porter (delish). These are so worth trying- they sell them at Whole Foods and it comes in a can;  which by the way, is ecofriendly , it keeps your beer fresher longer and it gets colder faster.

SO I was very very excited to try a collaboration beer with Maui Brewery, Stone Brewery (another great brewery) and the home brewer Ken Schmidt. I enjoyed a bottle of it at Monk's Kettle...for $16..expensive but it is a 8.5% beer and you can no longer buy it at a store. It  is a porter brewed with Kona Coffee, Macademia nuts and toasted coconut.....It was definately full of flavor- it was nutty, smokey with a coffee finish- definately meant to be sipped and loved!

Oh how I love you Maui Brewing Company...I hope you end up distributing more beers out to California soon or just twist my arm and make me go to Maui to get some aloha.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Deal of the week- Monk's Kettle- Abacus- $6.50!

My husband and I went last night to Monk's Kettle and to our surprise, not only did they have a fantastic barleywine beer on draft, but it was only $6.50!? Now, I do enjoy Monk's Kettle- they have really good food- classy bar fare if you will...and really great beer. But price wise they are the highest in the city for beer. They average a 2.2 when you can go get a great beer at a store in the city for $20, they will have it for $45. Craziness if you ask me. But I guess they are taking the whole wine bar approach and marking everything up....And if you know that and know there are other great places in the city with great beer with normal prices-(City Beer, Toronado, ect) you would probably choose a different place to go too....That is what keeps me away- well that and the fact they have hour long waits for a table and nowhere to wait (the place is small and the bar gets crowded ).  But it is a great place to go on a weekend afternoon for a great fish burger and a good beer. And they have really good beer dinners and they update their menu online often- which is nice. It has a great decor and the bartenders are really courtious - they will explain and recommend beers without any stuffiness....unlike other beer bars in the it is a friendlier beer environment...classier....however expensive usually....But I am getting off track...

Abacus by Firestone Walker- Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine on draft- 12% only $6.50!  If you have never had a barleywine, this is the one to try!  It is supposed to be $22 for a 22 oz.bottle. Hence why $6.50 for an 8oz pour is a great deal!
It is made to be sipped and warmed in your an after dinner drink...great with desserts! It's basically the equivalent to a Tawny Port or Brandy....absolutely delicious....It has an alcohol nose (it is 12%),  notes of bourbon, vanilla, and toffee.....It is perfect for the fall/winter season right now....according to my husband, Dave, "I can drink this all day until I pass out.", which apparently, was 3 glasses last night.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Barrel Aged Beer Tasting at The Bistro in Hayward Nov 14th

My husband and I have been looking forward to this event. Our friend went last year and said it was pretty amazing- anything barrel aged is always on our radar! I believe it's $25 for a tasting glass which gets you possibly 7 tastings and then you can buy some individual tastes as well; however our friend didn't need to buy any additional tastes last year....but don't quote me on it- there aren't any prices listed on their website.
Best part is, it is right of the BART station, so there's no worrying about how to get home~

"The Barrel Aged Festival - slated for November 14, 2009 - over 70 beers on tap, live music and party BISTRO style with BBQ smokin' and beer flowin' - 11am - 7pm - street closed for extra room.  Enjoy Sang Matiz will play at 4pm  "

The Bistro • 1001 B Street • Hayward, CA 94541 • (510) 886-8525

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Beer Dinner November 8th

Sunday Novemeber 8th
(Fisherman's Wharf)
891 Beach St., San Francisco, CA 94109
Event time: 5:00 pm
Event Website
Phone: 415-771-6800
Your hosts for this special event are Ken Grossman, Brewer, Sierra Nevada Co. and Sam Calagione, Brewer, Dogfish Head Brewery. This is an amazing opportunity for the craft beer lover and the only time both Ken and Sam will be co-hosting the launch on the west coast. The evening will be a celebration of family, friends, and the craft beer movement.

Only 75 tickets are available to the general public. Your ticket includes a 5-course beer and food pairing special menu and a gift bag with glassware. Tickets are available online exclusively via the ticketing link on this page. Click Here.

Over the years, the two brewers—Ken Grossman and Sam Calagione—have become friends in the industry. They quickly realized how many similarities they share. Grossman's history as a craft-brewing pioneer and his radical approach to brewing are echoed some fifteen years later by Calagione—through his boundary-pushing innovation and tireless promotion for the cause of craft beer.

Both men started out as home brewers obsessed with beer-making. Both share deep values of sustainability and responsibility. Both share the desire to pass their breweries on to the next generation, and both started out small—from humble beginnings—and built vibrant, creative, beer-centered and fiercely independent breweries, despite the long odds. Their mutual respect, admiration, and none-too-few shared glasses of beer led to the collaborative idea and the release of Life & Limb and Limb & Life.

Only West Coast Appearance: Ana Mandara, San Francisco

Enjoy 5-courses at Ana Mandara, each paired with beers from Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head—including cask versions of Life & Limb and Limb & Life. This is the only time Sam and Ken will be together on the West Coast discussing their beers, breweries, the collaboration, answering questions.


About the Beers & About the Food

Life & Limb is a collaborative effort, the brainchild of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Life & Limb is a 10% ABV strong, dark beer that defies style characteristics— brewed with pure maple syrup from the Calagione family farm in Massachusetts and estate barley grown on the Grossman “farm” at the brewery in Chico, CA. The beer is alive with yeast—a blend of both breweries’ house strains—bottle conditioned for added complexity and shelf life, and naturally carbonated with birch syrup fresh from Alaska.

Life & Limb is dedicated to the family of beer drinkers and enthusiasts worldwide who continue to support the little guys, iconoclasts, entrepreneurs, and pioneers who risk life and limb to shape the vibrant craft-brewing community.

Limb & Life is a companion to the big beer It is a 5% ABV small beer--a low-gravity beer made using the residual sugar as "second runnings" from the first larger brew, fortified with American hops. This is a session beer. Its big brother is a sipper. Limb & Life will be a limited draft-only product, a prelude to the bigger beer, available draft only in select bars and restaurants.


Passed Hors D'oeuvres: Seared Rare Beef with Tamarind Crispy Lobster Ravioli with Mango-Coconut Sauce

Appetizer/Salad: Seared Rare Ahi Tuna with Hearts of Palm, Jicama Salsa, Orange Vinaigrette

Main 1: (1/2 portion) Five-Spiced Crispy Skin Poussin, Sugar Snap Peas, White Corn Pilaf, Sweet & Sour Sauce

Main 2: (1/2 portion) Wokked Tournedos of Beef Filet Mignon, Peppercress, Red Sweet Onions

Desserts (Choice): Valrhona Dark Chocolate Semifreddo Flourless Coconut Rum Cake

Order your $100 tickets here

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice...

It's that time of year again...the holidays are around us and what a better way to celebrate
than to a Holiday Beer Tasting!
Holiday beers are, by design, no one style, but offer an opportunity for individual breweries to let their talents and imagination run wild. At the holidays, when people stop their busy lives and share some precious time with family and friends, the beer they choose should be equally as special as the time they’re sharing. So a holiday beer should be made to impress, to wow its audience, to stand out. Those are the only criteria that should be met by one of these beers.
Will it impress? Different breweries, thankfully, do this in many, many different ways. Some use unusual spices or fruits, some use special malts or hops, some use other uncommon ingredients like spruce or rye, and some make a style that itself is unusual. So there’s nothing to tie these beers together apart from their celebration of the season. That makes them a delight as well as a challenge to judge. Ultimately, perhaps more than with any other tasting, these beers are simply a matter of preference. So come, try some and discover for yourself the many flavors of this holiday season.

We will try and taste 12 Holidays brews
Happy Holidays!
Tasting is: Dec 10th from 7pm-9pm.
Cost is $20

Check it out here

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Japanese Beers Cost Too Much to Not Deliver on Flavor

My husband, friend and I went to the Jug Shop's Ise Kadoya Micro Brewery and Bairy Brewing tasting on Friday October 30th. The only Japanese Micro Brewery Beers we have had before have been the Hitachino Nest, which have made some decent beers and do some interesting Japanese spins on them.
Plus in Japan, microbrews are known as Ji Bīru(地ビール), or "local beer." In 1994, Japan's strict tax laws were relaxed allowing smaller breweries producing 60,000 litres (15,850 gal) per year. Before this change, breweries could not get a license without producing at least 2 million litres (528,000 gal) per year. As a result, a number of smaller breweries have been established throughout the country.

So we were all excited to try them.

We tried 8 beers and thought 3 were decent but only bought 1. We tried in order: Ise Kadoya's Pale Ale (5% $8.29/16oz), Brown Ale (5%, $7.99/16oz), Genmai Ale (5% $7.99/16oz), Triple Hop Ale (5%, $7.99/16oz), Stout (5%, $7.99/16oz), IPA (7%, $8.49/16oz) and Baird's Red Rose Amber Ale (5.4%, $5.29/12oz) and Kurofune Porter (6%, $5.29/12oz).

Ise Kadoya's Pale Ale was nothing to write home about, in fact it had a light soy sauce taste to it. It wasn't bitter, it had a light honey flavor, but it just left me unsatisfied. The Brown Ale wasn't anything special either. It had a light malt flavor, high alcohol nose (strange for it only being 5%) and it was a bit flat.
The Triple Hop Ale, IPA and Kunofune Porter all left me wanting something more. Nothing was special or unique about them and they all come with a high price tag per bottle and low alcohol content.

The 3 that did stand out were:
Red Rose Amber Ale, Genmai Ale and the Stout. The Red Rose Amber Ale is considered a 'steam' lager beer. This means that usually a lager is fermented at a very cold temperature, while a 'steam' beer takes lager beer and ferments it at a higher temperature. This usually gives the beer a more fruity complex taste. This beer had a light bitterness to it, a malt aftertaste and left your tongue dry like a rose wine. The beer's name is a bit deceiving as it does not have any rose in it. This beer is a nice crisp beer to enjoy when you want something light.

The Genmai Ale is interesting because they added roasted brown rice to the recipe. This in itself was bold and resulted with a beer with a nice roasted, slightly sweet cereal taste to it. This is what I was excepting when I came to this Japanese Beer Tasting- some innovative Japanese twists to the beers and this was the only one that did so.

Now the only one we bought was the Stout. Reading the description: roasted black and chocolate malts added to a Pale base malt- coffee like texture, ect; left nothing for us to be impressed with- until we smelled it- Brettanomyces. For those who don't know what 'Brett' is, it is what makes sour beers sour. AND once you use it in your beer, you can NEVER get it out. SO this beer tasted like a SOUR STOUT! Yum! Funny that they weren't selling it that way or had not noticed before they sent that batch out that very evil & dangerous yeast got in their system. But sometimes the best mistakes happen that way...I just hope they keep making it like this!

So as always, a good time was had by all just by tasting beers, BUT I wouldn't go out the door running to get some- unless you like SOUR beers.