Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fan Service: Yes, I do requests.

Last weekend, some of my friends came over to play board games and drink beer (the order of precedence probably depends on who you ask.) I had some Beck's on hand, which is one of my party standbys. It's not so unusual that people won't recognize it, but it's good enough to put out at parties. Being German, it's brewed to their standards for export, which I hope are as good as their domestic standards.

Anyway, meandering introductions aside, lets introduce the players and the game. My friends have asked to be introduced as "Angry Cousin Patrick," and "Dr. Sash," my number one fan (pro: s-aah-ssh). Dr. Sash brought over a mixed four pack from Half Time (one of the best beer stores on the east coast.) We decided to do an impromptu review for the site, however it breaks one of my rules "don't trash on micro-brew." If one of these beers is one of your lovingly crafted creations: sorry in advance; these were not biased reviews.

A brief aside (double entendre: "underpants thrown to the left"): There are not very many mega beer stores in the country. The east coast probably has more of them than many places, but in my experience I have only found two. Half Time near Poughkeepsie, NY and Shangy's in Emmaus, PA. They are some of the few places you can buy a case of Rochefort 10 or St. Bernardus  Abt. 12.

Let's get down to the four pack:

Humboldt Brown - Ale Brewed with Hemp

Although there are many hemp beers, this one seemed to jump out at Dr. Sash for it's brazen hemp branding. Hemp is not illegal, although it's usually only included in foods and drinks for stoner appeal. One of my friends even had hemp air freshener to "fool the cops." Yeah, right. So, just like many marketing ploys, before even opening the bottle the quality already seemed dubious.

What stuck me initially was the buttery smell of this beer. It had a normal medium brown color and almost no head. The dominant characteristics were that it was watery and flat, which we all agreed on. Also, Angry Cousin Pat says it, "Smells like turd." Finally, it was bitter but not hoppy. While not the worst beer I ever tasted, I don't think I would ever buy this, or even drink a free one. We did finish the glass (1/4 of a a 12oz. beer).

Belfast Bay - Lobster Ale

I have nothing good to say about this ale. It was sour and watery, with a slightly off (i.e. spoiled) smell. The slightly fishy taste lingers. Scraping for compliments, the color was golden and it had a decent head so I suppose if you needed a beer for a photo shoot and didn't want to waste anything palatable you could use this. Needless to say, we dumped the rest. What's the lesson? Avoid beers with giant shellfish or crustaceans on the labels.

Lake Placid - Honey Ale

I've heard of this brewery before, and not for anything bad. This honey ale was ultimately mediocre. It has a vague and generic beer smell, with a little honey flavor. It has a sour aftertaste, probably because of the honey. I dunno, we didn't pour this out. It was just blah. I bet other beers by this brewery are better, so don't blacklist them. If you're thinking of using this for a kitschy alternative to honey brown, I'd see what else was available first (but get this if there was nothing else.)

Left Hand - Polestar Pilsner

Finally a good beer! This beer reminded me of other pilsners, in a good way. It looks like Coors with foam, tastes a little like Blue Moon, and would be good on a hot day. If you like Pilsner or Pale Lager, give this one a shot. Left Hand makes some great stuff, so I am glad at least one of the four was good.

So thanks, Dr. Sash and Angry Cousin Pat for the beers!

Before you leave any hate comments, we didn't set out to trash any of these beers. It's possible all the "mix your own" packs are made up of old beer that didn't sell, or weird beer people don't like. Who knows? But I do stand by my reviews of these particular bottles.


  1. I wish I was there... mental note, don't let Dr. Sash pick beers ever again.

  2. Only one comment. You said, "What's the lesson? Avoid beers with giant shellfish or crustaceans on the labels." I am not sure if Flying Fish's Oyster Stout has an oyster on the label (I dont think it does), but that is a great beer.

  3. If I always followed my own lessons I'd probably be a millionaire who has no fun whatsoever ;)

    Flying Fish makes some amazing beers, and although I haven't tried the Oyster Stout, I bet it's great. I'll have to pick one up. We'll have to check on that oyster.

  4. Gene, you must understand that I pick beer based solely on how interesting the label is.

  5. I dunno if you can get this on the east coast or not I am in Washington State but I had a beer called Lobster Lovers I think it was from Lithuania. It was very good if you can get it there it might be worth reconsidering the whole "giant shellfish or crustaceans on the labels." comment I thought it had very good flavor.