Tag Archives: Local Kicks Columns

Local Kicks Column, Weekend Preview….and The Beermonger Mini-Review: Stone Vertical Epic 8.8.08

Hey Hey,

Local Kicks Column here. Kind of past-due now that I’ve had a chance to try this year’s Vertical, but oh well.

Friday Tasting at Rick’s Wine & Gourmet:

-Victory Festbier

-Paulaner Oktoberfest

-Ayinger Oktoberfest

-Just for the hell of it, I’m tasting out Allagash Four. I’m very curious to try it, and it’s my beer department so that’s what we’re going to do.

Saturday Beer Tasting at Rick’s Wine & Gourmet:

-Allagash Fluxus. Tried this tonight. Very cool beer. Ginger is very much the big flavor here, and it drinks so much bigger than the average Belgian White. This is the beer for your friends who give you shit for drinking White Rascal or Southampton Double White. You show ‘em.

-Lagunitas We’re Only In It For The Money. Surprise! The boys in Petaluma weren’t going to send this one out (didn’t want to deal with the state’s label approval bullshit—understandable) but apparently changed their foggy little blessed minds. I’ve heard it’s a Belgian-style Tripel.

-Stone Vertical Epic 8.8.08 (More info below)

-Rogue Brewers Ale 2008. Bigass ceramic bottle. Bigass amber hoppy beer. What else do you need to know?

-Weyerbacher XIII. Trying this out tomorrow. Sounds like an absolute monster. A 13.6% ABV Belgian-style (notice a pattern here?) Stout. I’ll be bringing some serious beer food to handle this beast.

So, Vertical Epic…Always a highlight of the Beer Year for me (it’s like Advent, except not). The ’08 version is a Belgian IPA, and boy is it. It really is San Diego by way of Ghent. I’ll give a shout out to thebeersnob who mentioned mango and banana notes in it. Those are there—the yeasts are very specific in flavor and are huge even for the style. The story here is the hoppiness, which is a ballsy lupulin smack that I don’t think the Belgians have quite nailed yet. Even the biggest of the Belgian IPA’s are finesse; nothing too crazy, hoppy but never leaving your mouth slightly numb. This isn’t a Belgian IPA, per se: It’s an IPA-Tripel.

I think the fruity flavors are great in the beer, though it will be interesting to see how it develops over time. I think in about 8-12 months this is going to be a shockingly refreshing Belgian Strong Pale Ale. Almost like some of the De Dolle stuff, but more exaggerated.

Overall, 8.8.08 is kick-ass. Impressive in all kinds of new ways, as the guys at Stone (who don’t spend a lot of focus on Belgian-style ales, thought that seems to be changing) keep upping their game. Good on ya, gargoyle. See you Saturday if you can make it out.

Beermonger

Oops…

Ok, so apparently I waited a little too long to submit this week’s column and I missed the deadline. Oh well, it is what it is (that’s for my fiance, who has recently taken to constant vocal disdain of that phrase). But Local Kicks‘ loss is your gain, as you all get a (very) revised and uncensored version of this week’s column.
Without further ado…


The Beermonger: Mahalo, M&*%#*f*$&@^!!!

So it’s August and yet again I think about the beach. I think about vacations and relaxing and all those things that other people do. August is my most cynical month of the year: It’s been seven years since my last legitimate vacation. Seven years of hauling ass to try to pass for ‘getting by’ in Dick Cheney’s America. August is when I feel it the most. August is the last chance for escape. But with a full schedule of events and beers, there’s no hope for me yet again this year. From September on I won’t really have time to think too much about being tired or wanting a break as it’s practically a dead sprint through the holidays for those of us in retail. It’ll be one arrival or festival or tasting after another until one day I’ll wake up and it’s January 1st and I have inventory to count while massively hungover. Amid all of this daydreaming and envy comes the recent arrival of beers from Hawaii’s Kona Brewing Company.

Hawaii. Land of Spam and honey. A wild Technicolor-shirted endless summer surf dream where it’s sunny and beautiful everyday. Poi. Polynesian/Asian/American foods smashing into each other creating fascinating new flavors and dishes not to be found anywhere else in nature. Slack Key lap steel laid back wonder. Hawaiian chicks…

Aloha means Im single...

"Aloha" means "I'm single"...

So yeah, I’m stuck in the middle of the swamp that is the Mid-Atlantic wishing against wishes that I could get away and what shows up? Hawaiian beer. Someone up there is pissing on me. I figured I should try the beers, at least. Glad I did.

Kona was founded on the big island in 1994 by the father and son team of Cameron Healy and Spoon Khalsa. Their beers reflect where they’re from. They’re easy yet complex, expressing that aura of beach life that is the rush of everything important and massive in the universe being condensed into the simple chant of tides and the breeze.

Longboard Lager is smooth and refreshing—great for us as we enter the dog days of summer. It has a nice hoppiness that gives it a crispy edge. Longboard is a great beer for hanging outside or for a lawn work break. I could see it on a newspaper-covered table as my family works its way through a bushel of crabs or three. If every lager were as fine and round and clean as this one, what a world this would be. Think of all the clean feel of an Oberon or Hop Sun with the flavor of the freshest Lager you ever pulled from your dad’s cooler when he wasn’t looking.

Fire Rock Pale Ale is a “Hawaiian-style” Pale Ale that has a slightly copper color as a result of its malt addition. On top of that it has a forward but balanced hop character that satisfies the hophead without being too much for the average drinker. I’d rate the hoppiness somewhere between Sierra Nevada Pale and the new recipe Lagunitas Dogtown. In the same way that Clipper City’s Loose Cannon is a perfectly balanced IPA (even though it’s not called an IPA), Fire Rock is a perfectly balanced Pale Ale.

The beer I’ve found most interesting so far is Wailua Wheat Ale. Named for a waterfall on Maui, Wailua is a bright wheat beer that is brewed with passion fruit, giving it a slightly bitter but sweet flavor that is absolutely perfect for the summer. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Wailua Wheat; I’m pretty familiar with passion fruit and know that it’s an intense flavor that can easily be overwhelming. But the wheat seems to round out the passion fruit without the brewers having to add a cloying amount of sugar to make it work. This is the more obvious comparison to beers like Oberon, but the fruit takes it someplace else. It’s very clever and very well done.

Redhook Brewery representative Stacey Huffman will be joining me at Rick’s Wine & Gourmet this Saturday, August 9th from 12-5PM to help me introduce the Kona beers and show off Redhook’s Sunrye summer seasonal (which I haven’t tried yet but I’m a sucker for rye beers, so…). Then again, maybe you’re out of town, enjoying the summer, pool or beachside sucking down some kind of iced cocktail without a care in the world. In which case, go fuck yourself. I kid, I kid—enjoy. really.

If you’re in town, however, swing by and try some of these great Hawaiian brews with me. We’ll bitch and gripe and moan about how we all deserve a month-long vacation every year and rail against the upper class for the sport of it. Then again, I work about 10 minutes from Old Town, so maybe I’ll put a cork in the workers’ revolution. Either way, come by and check these beers out—it won’t be white sands and blue waters, but it’ll be fun anyway. Until next time.

Beermonger

p.s. This is very much the ‘Director’s Cut’ version of the column I’d originally written. This would never get published on Local Kicks. I have to admit, I had a lot more fun with this.

Local Kicks Column 8.6.08

My column will be up later today on Local Kicks. This week’s is about Kona Brewing Co., whose beers I’ll be tasting this Saturday afternoon.

There may also be a Friday night tasting this week. Keep your eyes open.

Beermonger

Local Kicks Column, Summer Beers, Shout Out and Saturday Tasting

So, in the interests of housekeeping…

-The Local Kicks Column is up here. This week it’s all about Summer Beers. I mentioned some very popular ones, but as this is my blog it’s all about me here. Sunday or Monday I’ll be putting up my personal list of favorites. Think about yours; I want to start a conversation here.

-Shout Out to fellow blogger and Beer Minion Kendle over at My Husband Cooks. Great resource for ideas, fantastic food porn and he even links to your humble Beermonger. Thanks again, dude.

-This Saturdays’ tasting at Rick’s will feature: Brooklyn Summer Ale, Flying Dog Kerberos Tripel, Brooklyn/Schneider Hopfenweisse and Green Flash Hop Head Red.

See you Saturday at Rick’s, or if you’re at Savor Friday night I’ll be out and about.

Cheers!

the Beermonger

Local Kicks Column 5.7.08

This week’s column up here. More later tonight on this week’s beer tastings, including a rare Friday night tasting!

Beermonger

Local Kicks Column for 4.23.08

This week’s column for Local Kicks is up and you can read it here. This week, I look at Belgian beer by way of the life of Emperor Charles V.

A Little Too Much Weekend

So I’m a little run-down today. It was a long weekend for me. Working both days in addition to keeping a full drinking schedule can wear you out. Friday night was at Bailey’s Pub & Grille in Ballston Common. They’ve put a very interesting line of taps on, including Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA and Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale. i myself very much enjoyed the ‘Large’ glasses of Bastard.

Saturday night I had a couple friends over for the UFC event. The fridge was a murderer’s row of beers with Bell’s HopSlam, Dogfish Head Burton Baton, Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale, Ten Fidy and Gordon, Bear Republic Racer 5 and some of the new Clipper City ale (more on that when it arrives). Needless to say, Sunday was not a good day.

Beers of the weekend: Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA on tap, HopSlam and the Arrogant Bastard on tap.

This week’s column should be up tomorrow. I’ll link to it as soon as it’s up.

Cheers,

The Beermonger

Local Kicks Column 4.16.08

Hey y’all,

So my first column for Local Kicks is up and you can check it out here. It’s a basic introduction plus a rundown of the beers from Clipper City Brewery. I’ll be tasting them out on Saturday, April 19th with Tom Cisauskas.