Thursday, June 19, 2008

Help my buddy at the beer festival

Whoops, I meant to post this earlier this week for my friend, hopefully I'm not too late (sorry Todd – between having to cover the Governor's Mansion fire for the Chronicle and getting really sick, it's been a busy week for me). Todd is going to the American Craft Beer Fest tomorrow and Saturday and he wants some advice on what to try. Are any of you familiar with the beers listed on their website? Todd says: "My current beer wish list for the American Craft Beer Fest has more than 70 brews on it. My best estimate is that I have the capacity for about 25 samples. As you know I prefer beers with a milder IBU of 30 or less. Hopefully your brilliant blogees can point me down the path of salvation."

Todd also tends to like things of the Belgian persuasion. Leave your suggestions in the comments section.

Divine Reserve No. 7: Sneak Preview

You may remember my earlier post about Kerry Martin: He won a homebrewer contest, and the prize is that his weizenbock recipe will become the seventh edition of Saint Arnold's Divine Reserve series. Kerry was nice enough to drop off a bottle to me (one of his own, of course; Saint Arnold hasn't brewed their batch yet) earlier this week, and I'm savoring it tonight. It reminds me of an even better version of Shiner Dunkelweizen, with lovely roasted malts sparring with a surprisingly strong hop presence for dominance, with my tastebuds being the winner. It will make a fine addition to the prestigious DR history.

If you missed out on the Divine Reserve No. 6, I strongly suggest you go to the Saint Arnold website now and get on their mailing list so that you'll have plenty of warning when No. 7 hits the shelves, probably later this year.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Absolutely Divine

Saint Arnold Divine Reserve No. 6 is out. Good luck finding it. I reserved a couple of six-packs through Grapevine Market, and apparently I'm not the only one – they said they ordered 10 cases, and all were reserved before they arrived. Other people are complaining that they can't find it. (Brock, you really need to start producing bigger batches of DR.)

No. 6 is a very solid barleywine that I thoroughly enjoyed last night, although it didn't quite move me to outright raving. But tonight, I'm having an absolute
revelation:Last September, I reviewed Divine Reserve No. 5 as "not the best imperial stout I've ever had … but it's still damn fine." But I stashed away a sixer of it in my closet and have been letting it age for nine months, and I opened one tonight, and am now experiencing, for the first time, the joy of aged beers. I'd heard aging high-alcohol beers produced interesting results, and they were right. The taste of this stout has both mellowed and intensified, if that makes any sense. The alcohol comes out really strongly – you can smell before it ever gets to your lips – and then once you sip it, and the roasted and chocolate malts come out so beautifully. I'm in absolute heaven. Appropriately enough.

I'm going to open up another No. 5 a few months from when it starts getting colder. And I've already set aside a sixer of No. 6 to age.

Is it too early to say I can't wait for Christmas?

UPDATE: Okay, I just tried another bottle of the No. 6, and maybe it's just because I already had some other beer in me, but it tasted fantastic today.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Earth-Friendly Beer

From National Public Radio: The U.K.'s Adnams brewing company says its new brew, called "East Green," is made in a way that reduces potential damage to the environment.

Listen to the story here.

(No plans to make it available in the U.S., though – probably because importing it over here would make it pretty hard to stay carbon-neutral. Unless they sent it over on a sailboat.)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Beer of the month club?

A friend of mine posed this question to me today:

"Good friends of ours went and got themselves hitched this weekend. Being avid beer drinkers, I thought they would enjoy a Beer of the Month membership as a wedding gift. Any recommendations for a good BOTM club?"

I wasn't able to help her, as I've never tried one. Do any of you out there have recommendations? Please leave them in the comments section. Thanks.