Monday, November 29, 2010

Fastest Brew Ever and Beereview: Woodchuck Hard Cider

So I was sitting there yesterday, sucking on a maple syrup lollipop (yeah, it was intense). I decided that I need to brew something for the holidays. The kegs are full of beer, and I've brewed my #4 High Octane which was intended for the winter. What else though? Something different.

Cider. HARD Cider.

As we speak the fermenter is sitting in the closet. I'm really excited for this outcome, because I love cider. Brewing was ridiculously simple as well. I searched amongst a few recipes on beerrecipes.org and I found one that sounded easy enough. 3 Gallons of cider, 2 cups of brown sugar, and yeast. That's it. I went crazy and added two cinnamon sticks to give it a Christmas-y kick to it. From what I've read online, it should be ready in around 3 weeks. I can't wait.

In honor of my cider brew, here's a beereview for you which stretches the definition of "beer."

Woodchuck Hard Cider!

In line with my comment about how much I love cider, I also love Woodchuck. It comes in an array of flavors, but today we're sticking with the original. It comes in a short green bottle, with a bright red label on it adorned by, what else, a woodchuck. Which of course, begs the question... how much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Frankly I think this is a serious question, because I believe woodchucks can chuck would rendering this question a hypothetical no-more. I digress...

Down to basics. Woodchuck is a 5% ABV beverage. It pours a very clear, pale yellow reminiscent more of apple juice, than cider. Within the aroma is apples, with a waft of alcohol goodness. I believe Nick described it once before as an alcoholic soda, and that comment definitely holds water. Woodchuck is quite fizzy, and verges on the edge of sparkling cider, but not as dry. Still sweet, and very tasty. There's really not a whole lot to say left. The cider isn't huge on body like a beer would be, but as Nick said, close to an alcoholic apple juice soda. That said, if my cider comes out anything close I'm going to be thrilled.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Beer & Turkey

Just wanted to write a quick note to everyone who visits our blog on a weekly basis. Thank you for your dedication and appreciation for our writing. I never thought I'd get the traffic I do today, and it wouldn't be possible without you! Thank you, and have a happy Thanksgiving! Also, don't forget to drink a quality craft or home brewed beer with your turkey. Brown ales work great!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

American Hopper

Gene mentioned in his post last week that:
"I will be watching it (Brew Masters) tonight, and if Nick doesn't touch on it Wednesday (he doesn't have cable television... weird right?), I certainly will next Monday." 
Well sorry to disappoint you Gene, I'm touching it. I'm touching it a lot. Even without cable, I have my ways of accessing content. Let's just say that if you're willing to re-imagine the show when presented with grotesque substitutions and audio that sounds like it's coming from a can on a string you get my drift.

This post saddens me to write; Sam Caligione is a great name in beer and has done tremendous things to bring craft brewing back into the zeitgeist. As man of many talents, he has successfully started a brewing empire, written books, given speeches, and generally been recognized as one of the most prolific figures in the brewing industry. What he and his brewery are not however is compelling source material for a cable show.

Discovery Channel's executives must be great bakers because they are continuously using their cookie cutters to make nearly identical shows. I blame the runaway success of American Chopper for this since it was one of the first to use this format. The differences between a fast-as-hell stainless steel motorcycle and an immovable stainless steel tank of beer do warrant some consideration however. The best way to describe this show as a fan of both Dogfish Head beer and Sam Caligione is as a 43 minute cringe.

Gene sent me an email a few days ago saying the following, so I know he agrees.
"So I've got mixed feelings about brew masters (i dunno if you got the chance to watch it on hulu or something). The information and story is great. But [Mean Thing Removed]. Obviously that opinion of mine is never going to be put on the blogosphere."
I took notes throughout the show and I won't hold back in the hopes that my suggestions may either improve the show and make it tolerable (even without being drunk,) or cause a phoenix to rise from the ashes after it gets cancelled. I think a bulleted list is in order!

  • In shows like "How it's Made" the product is usually shown being assembled from its parts. While extremely boring to me, this show has a niche because the process is interesting enough for old people. With beer manufacturing everything happens over long periods of time inside stainless steel tanks. If the most exciting machine on the premises is a bottle filler, maybe it's not a good idea to film it?
  • Reading the poem that they derived their motto from, which is too long to print on a six pack is probably too long to read verbatim on a cable show.
  • Dogfish is far larger than most other craft breweries, making it look more like a medium sized factory that a craft brewery. It would have been more compelling to see several smaller operations who often use homemade equipment, rather than the stainless steel monoliths in a huge operation.
  • Sam tends to speak slowly, which is acceptable and part of his character. Whenever the camera is not on him, the editors clipped out all his "ums" and pauses, which sounds totally unnatural. 
  • Having a short deadline for an artisan product (the 5 weeks they had to test the beer before a festival) is a horrible premise. The entire point of craft beer is that it takes time and care to get it right. "Race to the finish" is fine for motorcycles but has no place here.
  • If the searching of bottles for a missing vent tube for over five minutes is compelling television, I feel sorry for this country. I know what my next show will be: find where you dropped your wedding ring under the bed at night without your glasses on.
  • In a show about making beer, it shouldn't take 24 minutes to get to the segment where they actually start making it.
  • Saying you want honey with "chunks of bees still in it" is not appetizing. He said this twice!
OK, this list is getting way too long. Let's do the short version for the last bit. This show was a mishmash of incompatible ideas. The jokes weren't funny enough for tv and they devoted waaaaay too much time to Sam's pet-project hip-hop group "Pain Relievas." 

If you saw the hip-hop sketch on "The Office" about paper this was roughly the same, but about beer and without any Dunder Mifflin paraphernalia. They didn't sound horrible without auto tune, but I couldn't tell if he was seriously fishing for a record contract at Sony. With corny lyrics about beer, this novelty could probably aspire to Tom Greene's "Lonely Swedish" at best. I'm not staying "stick to only what you're good at," but I would like to point out how good Michael Jordan was at baseball.

In summary, it hurts me to criticize one of the people I admire most. I'll continue to love Dogfish Head and I haven't lost any respect for Sam. Unfortunately, this show spoiled in the primary fermenter and should be thrown out. It's best to just move on and try again. Any number of great shows about beer are possible, but focusing on a single brewery and trying to fit it into the American Choppers mold is a mistake.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sierra Nevada Double-Header

Today I bring you two beers from a brewery located in Chico, California. The Sierra Nevada Brewing company. If you're into craft beers at all, you've definitely heard of them. They've been rolling out cases of beer since 1980. They are not shy in using their hops, as apparent from their website with a hop-aplenty background. Today, we'll be reviewing one of their flagship beers, the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and a 2010 offering, Summerfest.

You can imagine how tough it is to write a beereview. Now that the blog has gained some traction, my wife understands that I have a commitment to make to the blog every Sunday night (when I author the posts). And when I decided to do my Sierra Nevada double-header, I'm thinking "darn! I have to drink two beers tonight. Oh well, gotta do it for my fans." She saw right through that one, and after I'm done review the Pale Ale, she's already called dibs on confiscating it. Yeah, it's a good beer.


Sierra Nevada Pale Ale comes in one of those cute stubby bottles, like one you might be used to a Woodchuck Hard Cider to come in. Not quite as stubby as a Red Stripe, and definitely not as stubby as Tripod, your neighbor's three legged dog. The bottle adorns a lime-green label with a very floral scenery of hops, grains, and what I'm assuming is the Sierra Nevada mountains. Points to Sierra Nevada for pointing out that the Pale Ale is, in fact, bottle conditioned (a little yeast is left in the bottle to naturally produce carbonation), a sign of a finely crafted beer.  Cracking the cap (strongly labeled "USE BOTTLE OPENER," as opposed to... teeth? Or watching less informed domestic beer drinkers tear open their palms?) unleashes a wave of hoppy Cascade goodness. The beer pours a beautiful amber-gold, with a decent, lasting, white head. Again, the smell of hops is very apparent, and you can smell that the Cascade hops are not alone. According to the website, the Cascade is also accompanied by a load of Magnum and Perle hops. Upon drinking you can tell it's a beautifully balanced beer. Very smooth, light in body, and wonderfully hopped. Now... @%)*(^.

Just spilled it. But no worries. Not all of it. Probably just a mouthful. One moment... My keyboard is also savoring the flavor...

Ok. Now, I'm not a hop head by any means. But this beer has a real good touch of it. It's not overwhelming, and it's quite refreshing. This is a wonderfully balanced beer, good for any time of the year, but I'd probably swing it towards more of the warmer months. Also would go great with about anything, but right now I'm feeling burgers.

Onto Summerfest. Labeled a "Crisp Summer Lager" it adorns a blue label, again with a similar scene of the Sierra Nevada mountains that looks like it was painted in 10 minutes... by Bob Ross (how does he do that?). The label all but self proclaims it a "lawnmower beer." Cracking this cap lends a much sweeter smell, classic of a nice summer lager. Very light hop aroma, and a light malt sweetness comes through as well. The beer pours a light gold color, with a bright white head Casper the Ghost would be jealous of. The head slowly collapses and leaves a nice lacing on the side of the glass. Aroma is very light, not much but a slight hop peeks through. The taste, again is light, definitely a pilsner style beer. It is a nicely made lager, but it just really doesn't have much character. Not that it's bad, it tastes fine and is true to style. This beer just isn't very unique. I think it could easily get lost in a sea of pilsners. That said, this is a good beer, one you could easily drink 10 of on a hot summer day.

Postscript (ps): You might have been expecting a Brew Masters post from me (I sure hope you tuned in), but I DVR all my shows. And I was in bed by the time it aired. I will be watching it tonight, and if Nick doesn't touch on it Wednesday (he doesn't have cable television... weird right?), I certainly will next Monday.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Brewing in Confinement

Fit on the stove just fine!
I mentioned a few posts back that I was going to try brewing my next batch indoors. Where I live, brewing outdoors has its problems: no hose access, primitive neighbors who fear small fires, Poodle Nazis, and the ever present threat of a leaf-blower-armed  lawn-care worker blasting my wort with detritus. Let's just say that for a while, the pros were outweighed by the cons and I wasn't able to brew.

I can happily report, the aforementioned scenario is no longer the case. While my grill and patio furniture are still under the jurisdiction of the Poodle Nazi, my brew pot is firmly in my domain. I had to modify my process due to the limited space, unusual water sources, and destructibility of my surroundings but I proved to myself that brewing in confinement (titular line!) can be done. I'm not sure how the warden will feel about your choice of hobby, but most inmates in security levels above medium will need to wait twenty to life to try this out. However, for the rest of us in either minimum security prison or imprisoned by high association fees and a condo mortgage, here's the scoop.

Step 1: Gathering Materials

Aware that I wasn't going to have hose access, probably the most important part of this process was not picking a recipe that would overtax my stove. Ordinary kitchen stoves aren't really designed to boil extremely large quantities of liquid and depending on the materials might not be able to handle the weight. I chose a recipe that was only two and a half gallons of boiling liquid for a five gallon recipe hoping it would be alright. Gene made me a little nervous saying his stove couldn't do it, but I think he has gas (and a gas stove.)

I also bought six one gallon Poland Springs bottles of water. Having measured containers really helps when adding two and a half gallons to an unlabeled pot. I didn't need to worry about sanitizing extra measuring containers and I could see exactly what I'd used.

Being indoors, I wasn't going to use my hose-powered wort chiller, lest I soak my Playstation or couch. The recipe suggested filling a sink with ice water to cool down the boil. I'll explain more on that later, but I needed to buy a Ms. Fixit sink stopper to keep the sink filled.

Step 2: Cleaning and Sanitizing

This step is where not having a hose really bites. I had to clean and sanitize everything in my bathtub, which contrary to what you might think is not a very sanitary environment. The soap scum or mildew present in the pipes is exactly the kind of contaminant you want to avoid when brewing. Using the shower (with detachable shower head) was sort of like a low pressure hose, but I had to be super careful not to get anything wet that I had already sterilized.

I eventually worked out a system, but the hardest thing was turning on the water in the tub, switching it to the shower, and controlling the water spray before it could touch anything unwanted. I had about two seconds to snatch the handle before water came out of the shower. With a hose, there is a trigger which prevents this problem, although in the shower I didn't blast myself in the face nearly as much.

My brew pot also left scratch marks in the tub from the graphite handles, but these easily cleaned off. If you have a porcelain tub, clawfooted brass basin, or something fancy you may not want to use it as a giant dish washer. The bathtub is worse in almost every way from washing outdoors except for one thing: there aren't any bugs indoors. Insects can land on your sanitized surfaces outdoors, potentially introducing all kinds of nasty critters into your brew.

I've gone into more boring cleaning in previous posts, so I'll spare you here. Suffice to say, all the processes are the same.

Step 3: The Boil

Jury-rigged solution for the thermometer
Even on an electric stove, this beer came up to temperature very fast. Without the wind messing with my bayou burner or stealing the heat from my pot the temperature rose quickly and evenly. I didn't even get scorching when I added the malt extract. It was super easy to regulate the temperature; the only hitch was that the wort level was so low that my candy thermometer didn't reach it. I had to rig up a hook to hold it in place.

Step 4: Cooling and The Transfer

I filled the sink with ice and water prior to ending the boil. I was lucky that when I put the pot in the sink it didn't overflow, but it was close. Surprisingly, all the ice from my ice maker wasn't enough to cool this monster down. I ended up having to run out to buy 2 bags of ice. No harm done though, it came down to temperature and I was able to transfer it easily. Having the pot up in the sink made the siphon work quickly, which isn't normally the case.

I added the extra water, pitched the yeast, and kicked back. Indoor brewing success!

Next time, we'll get back to the winter nine-pack!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Beer Chills

There's a lot of things that gets me all sorts of excited. I would say I'm easily excitable. I'm totally stoked that the roadwork on my way to work is almost done. Thanksgiving is coming up. Fallout New Vegas rocks. I just bought a pack of Double-Stuf Oreos. 

There's a lot of things that get me excited, but there's a few things that send a chill down my spine that this could be the start of something big. Like when I got my first homebrew kit. My first day of a new job. Starting to coach. These things come fewer and farther between that the items mentioned above. But it just happened the other day when I saw commercial's for Discovery's new show "Brew Masters."

This means a lot. First of all, it seems like it's going to be a completely BA (badass) show. Secondly, it is a single handed demonstration on how powerful the craft beer movement is becoming (on a more personal note this could mean a jump in traffic for yours truly, bonus!).

Brew Masters is going to be a show all about Sam Calagione and his brewery "Dogfish Head." According to the teaser trailers, Brew Masters is going to focus more on Sam and his team as they search the world for strange and odd beer ingredients. Sam and Dogfish have been known worldwide for brewing crazy and "off-centered" beers. Ever had a beer with raisins? Call on Dogfish. Want a beer brewed with yeast thousands of years old? Call on Dogfish. Dogfish, of course, is "off-centered beer for off-centered people." You got to love the guy though. His ideals are strong and pure. He's not one to talk himself up. His belief is in his beer, and he lets the beer do the talking. And boy it talks. Nick's written some posts regarding Dogfish's products (see our Dogfish Head Tags). Nick loves the Dogfish Head. It's because of the off-centered beer-ness that drives him. Sam brews beer that breaks all definitions of beer. Styles mean nothing to him. If the German Purity Law, or Reinheitsgebot, was enforced by capital punishment, Sam Calagione would've been drawn, quartered, burned, tarred, and feathered. Twice.

Needless to say, I'm totally stoked to see the first episode. Tune your DVRs. Brew Masters premiers this Sunday, at 10pm.

Another thing I got chills about is a new place called the World of Beer. What is it? Well it's a bar. That's already got 9 locations only in Florida (suck it, CO), and 3 more opening up. This isn't just any bar though. It's a bar with a boatload (like Titanic) number of beers on tap and in bottles. Website says over 500 beers and 40 different taps. Holy $@(*ing crap. Pardon my French, but even a Frenchman would be excited about this. On top of that they have a card you can get, and when you hit certain sampling milestones, you get free stuff. And not just pencils and coasters. Hit the 500 mark, and you get a private party with a $250 free bar tab. Not only that you also get a plaque on the wall, t-shirts etc. I was planning to go this weekend, but got tied up with far too many things. But watch out and stay tuned. I'm on my way. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Beerreview: World Market’s Winter 9-Pack

As I mentioned in my last post, we spent a little time as obedient American consumers last weekend; The end result was a veritable smorgasbord of impulse purchases. My buyer’s remorse is aflame over the Tobasco chocolate, however one purchase I don’t regret is the Winter  9-Pack. I’ll be reviewing a couple at a time over the next few weeks, so pick one up and drink along with me. 

The pack contains (in no particular order) Troegs Reckoning Porter, Troegs Mad Elf, Southern Tier Old Man Winter, Harpoon Warmer, Fuller’s London Pride, Woodchuck Winter, Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve, Rogue Mocha Porter, and Troegs Java Head. It really spans the full range of quality; London Pride is super terrible and Mad Elf is great.

World Market is such an eclectic store that it deserves a proper introduction (which should probably help explain the odd picks in their Winter 9-Pack.) It can probably be best described as the combination of the dominant traits of Trader Joes and Pier One. If you’ll excuse some retail math, breaking each store down into its component parts we get:

P = Vaguely Asian Themed Import Furniture and Home Décor
p = Candles
T = High Quality but extremely unusual chocolates, beer, and wine
t = Vitamins, Groceries, and Produce

The resulting combinations give us:

Pp = Pier One
Tt = Trader Joes
PT = World Market
pt = Hispanic Grocery Store
Pt = Permanent Flea Market
Tp = Fancy wine shop

Q.E.D., World Market is inevitable. This also completely explains why they stock Spotted Dick, Zen Calendars, and Chimay.

I like the save the best for last which means we’ll be starting with the two weakest offerings.

Fuller’s London Pride Pale Ale

Many beers marked “Premium” and “Outstanding” on the label disappoint. My expectations of this beer were further lowered due to the fact that this beer occupied the central “invisible” spot in the square configuration of nine beers. It was completely shrouded (like a freezing penguin.) They cut a little hole in the lid so the cap could be read in the store, but it ultimately felt like filler. From the label, this seemed more like Molson XXX than anything I’d want to drink. Bottoms up!

This beer tasted like beer. There’s no better way to describe it other than to say it’s utterly completely and redundantly generic. My wife tasted it and said she wouldn’t finish the bottle; it did meet two out of my three criteria though (cold and here, but not good) so I finished it. I checked beerpal.com (my favorite review site) and saw it ranked 1753/23607, which is astonishingly high. Maybe I had a bad bottle, or maybe people really do link price and taste. We’ll never know for sure.

Woodchuck Winter Hard Cider

With a creative name like “winter” I had no idea what to expect from this hard cider. Woodchuck pretty much tastes like apple soda, with some notable variations (pear, granny smith, amber, etc.) I used to drink this stuff in college along with Smirnoff Ice and Bacardi O, but I generally don’t like things this sweet or emasculating anymore.

Since hard cider is not beer, I’ll make this brief. Woodchuck Winter tasted like a slightly dryer version of their standard Amber. It was pretty good, like apple champagne but probably had enough sugar to kill ten dentists. If you have a sweet tooth and read a beer blog but don’t like beer, maybe this is for you.
Next week, we’ll try some better ones!

Monday, November 8, 2010

'Tis the Season...

To buy your big ol' propane turkey fryer. In my wanderings around Lowes and Target this weekend, I noticed the renewed presence of propane turkey fryers and thought that it might be a good time to draw some attention to them. If you're not going to read this any further, leave with this, buy one now.

I've heard around the grapevine that if you live in a more northern, less south-influenced state, that these turkey fryers can be hard to come buy. Down here they're available year round. This time of year though there's pretty good deals on them. Probably part of the government's plot to eliminate idiots from America by encouraging explosive iced-turkey frying. However, the side effect of this plan is really effective homebrewing. I absolutely love my turkey fryer. Especially since my stove at home just didn't have the juice to effectively boil a 3 gallon pot of water. The fryer however, boils 7 gallons with ease. I've also modified mine (see below) with tabs to fit a 1/2 barrel keg, without worries of it falling over. Another advantage is that it brings your brewing outside, away from nicely placed furniture, and any nagging audiences worried about "messes" being made. Any messes made outside can be sprayed down with a hose like the inside of a penguin habitat (#24). Only downside to the untrained eye people might think you're cooking meth, trying to blow up the neighborhood, or worse, cooking a turkey.

On another note, I hit up the CFHB meeting yesterday and brought my entries for the Sunshine Challenge. By now, the deadline has past, and you're too late. Rumor at the meeting has it that this year's competition has over 500 entries. Including two of mine, ATOTB #02 : Clean Blonde Ale, and ATOTB #04 : High Octane Imperial Stout. I'm hoping that my style selection was better than last time. We'll see how we do. I brought some #04 to the meeting and got some nice complements on it. If anything, it's nice to drink, if not to style. Also managed to get my hands on a Oberon pint glass and a few brew stickers (saaaweeet!).

Till next time, and remember to go out and buy you're neighborhood meat howitzer, I mean, turkey fryer to do some nice and easy outdoor brewing.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Beereview: Rogue Dead Guy

Rogue Dead Guy has a special place in my heart, right next to nachos. Back when I first became a beer drinker (not a beer snob) Rogue Dead Guy was probably the fanciest beer I'd had. It could also regularly be purchased at McGrady's, which was my college tavern of choice. Just after turning 21, I felt suave ordering pitchers of it for my table (when it was on sale) and got a kick out of the macabre connotations.

Beer with an intriguing name always deserves a second look. Who was this guy who apparently died alone? Jerry Garcia? Some unknown Mariachi slain at Día de los Muertos and risen from the grave? The bottle evokes images of Jack Skellington, Grim Fandango, and Indiana Jones, none of which I associate with beer but all of which I associate with awesomeness (Except for Hot Topic: the store for angsty teens who ruined Nightmare for everybody else.)

The funny thing about this beer is that I have tons of memories about it, but absolutely no memories of how it tasted. When I had it last, I hadn't awakened my inner beer snob and wasn't paying attention to the same things. It just goes to show: when you're interested in something a whole world of experiences open up.

After the Rally to Restore Sanity, we were in World Market in Virginia picking up such novelties as Beanboozled (terrible-flavored jelly beans,) Zen Calendars, and Bacon Chocolate when something caught our eye. They had bottles of Rogue Dead Guy out for sale and the box said that the bottles glow in the dark. I have quite the bottle collection, but I couldn't wait to have one on my shelf that glows of its own volition. We laughed a little more about the cans of Spotted Dick and the jars of full sized (6" long) German sausages and headed home.

Upon closer inspection, it was concluded that the Dead Guy Ale we bought did not in fact glow in the dark and must have been misfiled. Having lost it's reason for sticking around as a conversation starter, I decided to give this old college favorite the treatment.

Rogue Dead Guy is a very foamy beer and probably had the best head retention I have ever seen. It didn't leave any lacing, but the suds stuck around for several minutes and seemed to have the same frothy consistency as Mr. Bubble. It would definitely look fine in your replica World of Warcraft Dwarven Ale Stein, a Beer Chalice, or your engraved souvenir over-sized mug from Gene's wedding.

The color is darker amber and crystal clear. The smell reminded me slightly of hops and citrus. It smells a little like an IPA, but much much sweeter. The taste reminded me a lot of Ruby Red Grapefruit: it starts out very sweet then changes to slightly bitter. While I was drinking it I was thinking of how well it would go with a ham sandwich which starts out a little sweet (from the honey glaze) and finished with the swiss cheese (adding some bitterness.) Add in some spicy brown mustard for heat, and you'd have a perfect lunch.

Overall, this is a much better beer than I remembered and I would highly recommend it. I don't generally go after Rogue Beer, but after this I'll have check out more of their brews. I had a bunch back in college, but I bet my tastes have changed.

Side Note: I checked the Dead Guy page and was pleased to see their recommended food pairings are pork and hot foods. I guess my instincts were correct this time.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Beereview: Shock Top Belgian White

Summer's out. Well, for most of you. I'm still enjoying days of 80-90 degree heat here in sunny Florida. But regardless the season is changing and it's time to trade out those light, summery, lawn mower riding beers for something a little more heavy bodied and warm. So I better get this beereview out of my fridge and on the net before it gets buried behind a wall of beers with ABVs above 7%.

Shock Top Belgian White actually comes from the Michelob Brewing Company, which is interesting because it has so much flavor. Without further ado, lets pop the top and get this party started. First aromas are definitely cirtusy, might even smell some classic American cascade hops in there which are also known for their citrus smell. I oblige the bottle and after pour most the beer into a glass, with "a 1/2" of beer left in the bottle I place it on its side and roll it back and forth to get all the good stuff that's left into my pint.

The bottle pours an amber-gold, with no head retention whatsoever. Any head that was present disappeared before I finished rolling my bottle around (not recommended for a bar setting, easy to drop or roll into the burger of the guy sitting next to you who is inevitably bigger). Again, a strong orange citrus aroma is present.

The first sip is sweet. Like Blue Moon, but sweeter. The beer also seems fairly carbonated, maybe a little too much so. Would I call this beer "fruity?" Maybe, but the sweetness is balanced out a little bit by the lemon and lime tartness that is mentioned on the label. The body of the beer is on the light side, but for a Belgian white, probably right on.

Shock Top is easy to drink, and easy to drink a lot of. I wouldn't waste a clean pint glass to pour it into, not much is gained by doing so. Just fine to drink from the bottle, but be sure to roll it, cause that gets you... absolutely nothing.