28 December 2006

Farewell 2006 Review

With no idea what we're reviewing, the Knights meet up again tonight at Deano's at 8pm for our last review of 2006. Maybe we'll do a beer from Michigan out of respect for President Gerald Ford. The public is welcome to join us.

24 December 2006

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays to all of you from all of us at the Hoosier Beer Geek! I hope your celebrations are filled with viewings of Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story!!

20 December 2006

KOTBR Review #9: Rogue's Santa's Private Reserve Ale

OK, it's pretty much official. Deano's has become the official watering hole of the Hoosier Beer Geek and the Knights of the Beer Roundtable. We feel completely at home. We like it. We love it. We want some more of it. Now, I will still buy my six packs at The Hop Shop. And I'm waiting on Courtney to invite us to belly-up to the tasting bar one night, and when he does, we'll sure go. But until then, I think our reviews will be coming to you from Deano's.

Now that's out of the way.

We met up last week to do our first annual Holiday Review. We say "holiday" because we had also planned on some Hanukkah beers from Schmaltz, but, alas, Nick the Bartender was out. So we just stuck with a Christmas beer - Rogue's Santa's Private Reserve Ale.

We also were joined for the first time by Braingirl (not sure she want's me to use her real name or not). She is the newest KOTBR, and she fits right in to our ecclectic group of drunks.

Chris: I was going to try to keep with recent HBG tradition, and write my review in the tune of a Christmas Carol. But I'm just not feeling all that creative. Deal.

I had warmed up on some Bell's Double Cream Stout. All I have to say is "YUM!" My kind of beer! Nick has it on draft right now, and I'm trying to be responsible for helping him to replace it. But this dark brown glass of joy got me in the Christmas mood, and by the time Braingirl joined us, I was ready to launch into our feature - Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue.

Santa, when poured, had a brownish-amber color, a nice tan head, and made me think of chestnuts over open fires and a partridge in a pear tree. On a side note, I have a pear tree in my front yard, and I have never once seen a partridge in it. Hmmmm.

The nose was a little difficult for me to discern because I was still tasting the Stout. But I was able to pick out some gingerbread, maybe, and a good balance of hops. And I know this sounds crazy, but it smelled a little bit like a Christmas tree. Maybe that was just psychological.

It had a full-bodied taste, definitely had some hops to it, but not overwhelming. This was a well-balanced beer. I think I picked out a pinch of nutmeg, a little bit malty, but the beer was definitely moist. It wasn't overly carbonated, but it wasn't dull, either. It - as I'm learning with many good beers - gets better the closer to room temperature it gets.

All in all, it was a pretty good beer. Not my favorite, but pretty good. I'm giving it 3.75 Mugs.

Braingirl: Warm-up Beer: Bell's Winter White Ale. And what a perfect warm-up beer itwas. Perfect for the evening and also for my introduction to Chris and Jim!Thanks for the warm -- and tasty welcome. Now I just have to get over myintroduction to Humphrey the Humping Dog. It was the most traumatic part ofmy KOTBR initiation.

Back to the Bell's: This full tasty brew in the Belgian style was just upmy alley. I've outgrown a bit the full, sweet German style hefe-weissens,but love the smoothness of beers like this one. Not overly bitter or heavy,but not too light either. A clean taste unburdened by sticky, sweet ortangy wheatbeer goo.

And the main event: Santa's Private Reserve from Rogue Ale. Like Jim (orsomeone said), this was the first Rogue Beer I've had that I actually liked. I guess I'm just not cool enough to be a fan of the Pacific Northwestmicrobrew style with it's hallmark hoppy/bitter beers, but this one workedbecause of the toasted grains with enough body to hold it together. Perfectfor winter, this dark amber-colored brew started hoppy with what tasted likeflat-out burned grains to me, but mellowed as it warmed up a bit. A fewdegrees above frosty cold and it was a nice, comfortable winter drinker.And I, too, was a nice comfortable winter drinker. I give it 3.5 Mugs.

Jim: The Knights were back together at our home sweet home, Deano’s Vino, on the night before Chanukah (or Hanukkah or Hanukah or however you prefer to spell it) to do our first holiday themed review. Unfortunately, Jason was out sick, and Kelly was at Deano’s for dinner with friends but couldn’t join us for the review. But Chris and I were happy to be joined by new Roundtable member, Braingirl, who was able to add her own unique epicurean flair to our get-together.

We initially planned to review a Chanukah beer from Shmaltz Brewing Co., which is the purveyor of the He’Brew label. However, upon arrival at Deano’s, our trusty bartender, Nick, informed me that he was out of He’Brew. Nick couldn’t say why he ran out, but I’m pretty sure I know what happened. Rumor has it that Mel “Sugart*ts” Gibson is a secret fan of He’Brew Messiah Bold Ale and stopped by Deano’s on his way to that kooky Holocaust deniers conference in Iran to pick up the last six-pack of Messiah Bold. So that means that Knights are left to review He’Brew’s fine products for another time.

Not one to be disappointed by the He’Brew buzzkill, I started off the night with a warm-up with a local brew: Barley Island’s Barfly IPA. This well-balanced IPA was the first beer that I’ve ever tried from the Noblesville brewery, and I wasn’t disappointed. Since Braingirl did not join Chris and me until an hour after we arrived, Chris and I decided to go with a second warm-up. I chose the beer that Chris started with: Bell’s Double Cream Stout, which is a seasonal from Bell’s offered during the winter months. It’s a smooth, dry stout with a bit of a chocolaty taste. It went down just as easily as the Barfly IPA.

Once Braingirl arrived, we wasted no time getting to the feature beer – Rogue Ale’s Santa’s Private Reserve. I was a bit wary of this beer before we tried it because I’ve not had good experiences with Rogue products. On one previous occasion, I tried Rogue’s Chocolate Stout and American Amber. Once was enough for me. But the Santa’s Private Reserve was impressive stuff. The color of this beer was a deep brownish-red. The nose conjured up images of gingerbread cookies, which is not surprising considering that this is a Christmas beer. The flavor was gingerbread-like as well, and the finish was very dry and hoppy. I found this to be a good beer to hold in my mouth for a few seconds rather than swallow right away because of the pleasant taste.

In short, Rogue Ales has redeemed itself in my eyes with this beer. Four mugs easily!

17 December 2006

Humphrey Holidays!!

Happy Holidays from Humphrey, the Humping Dog - the unofficial "Official" Mascot of Hoosier Beer Geek. Don't drink his pale ale if he offers a sip!!

13 December 2006

Holiday Roundtable on Thursday

The Knights of the Beer Roundtable meet up again on Thursday evening at Deano's for our first annual Holiday Review. We're not just going to review Christmas beers, but Chanukkah beers (well, at least their Jewish beers), too. Now, we want to be all inclusive, but we're not aware of any Kwanza beers, so if you know of some, let us know so we can try them, as well!!

12 December 2006

Now we can pay our bar tab!

lifted from allaboutbeer.com

Drinkers Earn More Money Than Nondrinkers

A study by economists Bethany Peters and Edward Stringham has found that drinkers earn 10 to 14 percent more money at their jobs than nondrinkers. In addition, men who drink socially, visiting a bar at least once a month, bring home an additional seven percent in pay. The study, published by the Journal of Labor Research and Reason Foundation, was titled "Social Drinking Builds Social Capital." Stringham, an economics professor at San Jose State University, said "Social drinkers are out networking, building relationships and adding contacts to their BlackBerries that result in bigger paychecks."

The study found that men who drink earn 10 percent more than abstainers and that women drinkers earn 14 percent more than nondrinkers. Women who frequent bars at least once per month do not show higher earnings than women drinkers who do not visit bars.

09 December 2006

Who was Gambrinus?

So the beer trivia post got me looking a little more into the Patron Saint of Beer, Gambrinus, a saint even those of us who are non-Catholic can pray to (and probably have after having a few too many). I lifted this from Wikipedia:

Gambrinus is a legendary king of Flanders, and an unofficial patron saint of beer or beer brewing.

The origin of the character is most widely believed to be John, Duke of Burgundy (13711419), who some also believe to be the inventor of hopped malt beer. One of Charlemagne's cupbearers was also called Gambrinus.

In what is possibly the earliest known record of the name, the
German poet Burkart Waldis mentioned Gambrinus in the year 1543, explaining that Gambrinus learned the art of brewing from Isis, the ancient Egyptian goddess of motherhood and fertility.

Latin etymologies of the name include cambarus (cellarer) and ganeae birrinus (one who drinks in a tavern). The Gambrinus brewery of Plzeň, Czech Republic explains the name as originating from Jan Primus (John the First), referring to John I, Duke of Brabant.[1]

Although not as likely, Gambrinus might also derive from camba, a word from the Celtic language family that refers to a brewer's pan. Alternatively, Gambrinus may be a corruption of the name Gambrivius.

Gambrinus is often depicted either in kingly garb, dressed as an
English knight of the Middle Ages, or (less commonly) as a plump old man.

Because of Gambrinus' significance, numerous
European and North American brewers have adopted the character (or his name) in their beer brands. Several notable breweries are named for Gambrinus, including:

Gambrinus Brewery of Plzeň, Czech Republic
Gambrinus of
Mulhouse, Alsace, France
The Gambrinus Company of
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A.
Gambrinus Brewing Co. of Oshkosh, Wisconsin
The Gambrinus Brewing Company of
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A.

Beer Trivia

What is the Most Expensive Beer in the World?
Answer: It’s called “Tutankhamen” and is prepared according to the recipe recovered by a group of University of Cambridge archaeologists in Queen Nefertiti’s Temple of the Sun in Egypt. It costs US $52 a bottle, and is produced in limited and numbered edition.

What country has the most individual beer brands?
Answer: That would be Belgium, with 400.

From what part of brewing did the term “rule of thumb” originate?
Answer: before the advent of thermometers, brewers tested the temperature of their maturing brews with their thumbs: too cold, and the yeast wouldn’t grow, too hot, and it would die.

Who was the first American to brew lager type beer?
Answer: The first US lager was brewed in 1840 by John Wagner, who had a small brewery in the back of his house on St. John Street in Philadelphia. Wagner brought the first lager yeast to the United States from a brewery in Bavaria.

What is Cenosillicaphobia the fear of?
Answer: Fear of an empty glass

What is brew master in Latin?
Answer: braxator

Explain the roots of the Scandinavian toast, sköl.
Answer: The familiar Scandinavian toast sköl derives from scole, the drinking bowl shaped like the upper half of a human skull. Originally, these bowls were fashioned from the actual skulls of enemy killed in battle.

What king is known as the "patron saint of beer?"
Answer: King Gambrinus (not to be confused with St. Arnold, the patron saint of brewing).

What was the length of Prohibition?
Answer: Prohibition lasted 13 years, 10 months, 19 days, 17 hours, 32 1/2 minutes

What is the best selling brand in the Western Hemisphere outside of the United States? What country is it brewed in?
Answer: Brahma Beer. It is brewed in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

05 December 2006

Dream Job

The folks over at indianabeer.com are offering up a dream job for you lucky bastards who know html. Check out the freakin' benefits on this!!

Webmaster for indianabeer.com

Job description: Maintain indianabeer.com and keep it fresh and up to date. Use your technical creativity and knowhow to share your love of craft beer with others. You will be given creative latitude. Indinabeer.com is a website for craft beer enthusiasts, beer geeks, home brewers, and festivarians. This is not a job, it is an adventure!

Skills: Web design, website management, knowledge of HTML, ability to work with other contributors, technical knowhow to add new features and make current features better. Creativity, writing skills, and digital photography are important. Knowledge of craft beer and enthusiasm for trying new beers a big plus.

Benefits: Reimbursement for expenses directly related to running the site, such as mileage, bar tab, entrance to festivals, and hotel stays when necessary. Digital camera.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Send a brief note explaining why you would do a good job, your technical resume, your beer resume, and any other supporting material to webmaster@indianabeer.com

This opening will remain posted on the front page until a new webmaster is named.

04 December 2006

3 at 3 Floyds

I had an unexpected treat on Saturday night. We went to Chicago for my wife's family reunion, and her parents only live about 25 minutes away from Muenster, IN, home of Three Floyds. So my brother-in-law and I decide to meet over there for a few beers after the reunion. I jumped at the rare chance to try some of one of my favorite brewer's product straight from the tap on-site. I can get Alpha King, Robert the Bruce, Gumballhead, and Dreadnaught any old time, so I decided only to go with the one's you can only get in the brew pub. Now, I could only go with three, because as you can see by the ABV, they're not whimpy beers.

Because the Kights of the Beer Roundtable is planning a full-on roadtrip and review at 3 Floyds in the next few weeks, I'm going to refrain from review, but only offer the menu descriptions, and my Mug assignment to each.

BrooDoo - An intensely hoppy, yet well-balanced harvest ale using Warrior hops along with wet hops from our very own garden. 7.5% ABV. I give it 3.5 Mugs - a bit more flavor than Dreadnaught, but not quite as good.

Chubby Brown - Our brown ale, smooth and malty with flavors of baker's chocolate and cocoa powder. Some of the malts were toasted in our own pizza oven. 8% ABV. I gave this one 4 Mugs - not usually a chocolate beer uber-fan, but I must have had a sweet tooth.

Alpha Klaus - Our Christmas seasonal, a robust porter with notes of bitter unsweetened baker's chocolate and roasted coffee flavors. 7% ABV. 5 Mugs - 'nuff said.