Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ten Days Without Beer: Day 9

If you read my post last week you already know I'm undergoing what seems like self imposed torture: I replaced all my meals with freshly made fruit and vegetable juice. I gave up beer, coffee, and bowel movements. Much like Joe Cross in "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" I set a goal of 10 days (he did 30) of juice fasting to lose a little weight and maybe get rid of my Nexium dependence. Since this is non-beer related I'll try and keep it short.

Starting with the good news, this diet works. Not only does it work, it works spectacularly. After day 4 my body adapted to the juice. My headaches were gone, I had more energy, and my mood improved. On top of all that, I lost a pound a day. It's day 9 and I'm 9 lbs. lighter. I even resumed my normal gym schedule and routine.

The juice definitely fills you up. I haven't had any excessive hunger or discomfort, in fact I've had noticeably less.

So what's the bad news? I went almost 36 hours without taking Nexium, but eventually my acid re-flux caught up with me. It doesn't seem like this diet could cure my GIRD in 10 days. Also, it's very hard to give up eating socially or emotionally. I have such an attachment to eating solid food that it's on my mind all the time. I miss beer, I miss apples, I miss coffee. I'm looking forward to having a nice juicy granny smith once I break my fast tomorrow evening then having a good old BM the next morning. Sometimes it's the little things that make you happy.

I don't plan on resuming my old diet once this is over since I feel so great now; the trick is going to be incorporating a lot more fruit and vegetables into my diet than I normally would. Meat shouldn't be consumed at every meal (or every day for that matter.) I'm going to try and replace my lunch with apples, peanut butter, celery, and whatever else catches my fancy. I saw my friend Sasha do this about a year ago, and now I understand.

On a beer related side note:

A long time ago I was asked about my beer epiphany (the moment I realized that beer could be more than just bud light.) I mentioned how my friends and I went out on a limb and bought a bottle of St. Bernardus Abt 12. Since then I've had more than my fair share of bottles of Abt 12, but I've never had that same "first sip" experience. Since I haven't had a drop in 10 days, I'm hoping that my next sip of beer will bring me back to that revelation. I've got a bottle waiting in the fridge for me I couldn't be more exited about it. It's like Christmas... for Santa.

Anybody else try something like this? Need to shave a little off the ol' beer belly and want some advice? Drop me a line in the comments below!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Beereview: In-Heat Wheat Hefeweizen

The time's ticking. Not too long now until my company's brew off. I'm very excited. I feel confident in my beer, and I'm going up against some pretty serious brewers. We've got four brewers going toe to toe, keg to keg. From what I hear, there will also be some pizza! There's been positive talk around the office, so we should have a pretty killer turn out. I expect all our kegs to be kicked liked Ray Finkle kicks a ball.. laces out...

Beer review time!!

Is it hot enough for ya? For whatever reason, temperatures have rocketed across the states. The only people who aren't noticing are us Floridians... cause it's the same ol' song & dance for us. While the temperatures soar, people tend to turn to the lighter beers, whether it be light lagers, whites (wit), wheats, goldens, pale ales, etc. So in honor of everyone everywhere other than here, today we review Flying Dog's "In-Heat Wheat" Hefeweizen.

"hey baby, how you doin'?"
Nick really hit it on the head that Flying Dog has some very strange label designs. The fact that they named this hefeweizen "In-Heat Wheat." Just adds to the level of disturbing. Some people may even have some post-traumatic flashbacks of an encounter with an overly friendly Mastiff jackhammer attached to their body. If you don't know what I mean, you're too young to be reading this blog anyway. Beer is for us adults. Now that we're adults, it's our turn to decide what that means. Move over grandpa!

Flying dog calls out all the namby-pamby classy folk and tells them to back off, drink it like a real German would. Don't adorn it with some fancy-cut piece of fruit. It's not supposed to be that way. Pour it into the glass and drink. Which is exactly what I plan to do.

Beauty. A modest amount of bright-white foam rests on top of the beer. The beer pours a nice yellow/gold color. The scent is light and slightly malty. No hop aroma, which is true to style. Definitely wheat-y. Very sweet. Light in flavor. This beer definitely is no sipper. You're a thirsty man. Drink away. Pound your cup, and let out a thunderous bellow from your nether-regions. Have another. It's hot outside.

At least that's what the beer says to me. It's a decent beer. Like the last I reviewed, not crazy outstanding, but not bad either. A middle of the road hefeweizen.

By the way, if you ever wonder where I get my style guidelines, head over to BJCP.org. A good site, with lots of information.

How hot is it where you are? This weekend here it was 92, "felt like 102." I love it. I mowed the lawn and trimmed the trees. Hot, hot, hot!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ten Days without Beer

If I know one thing about our community it's that they enjoy beverages from time to time. Unfortunately overdoing it can have some serious effects on one's life including (in this order): tons of fun, bad health, and death. Being able to enjoy the first requires avoiding the last, but there's a pretty long fat line between them.

I recently saw a movie "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" by Joe Cross on Netflix. Usually the movies criticizing our western diet of excess have a pretty generic preachy tone telling us to eat more vegetables. Before you cancel Netflix because they want $3 more of your hard-earned play money to keep delivering unlimited movies to your TV, you might want to check it out.

What makes this movie different is that it takes a novel approach to getting healthy, juice fasting. I won't summarize it all here but the basic idea is that you get a Juicer and replace your meals with 64-84 oz. of fresh healthy juice (can't be store bought and usually contains lots of veggies like kale) per day. After a few days of doing this, your body goes into a sort of caveman between-meals phase and starts using up your hamburger fuel tank (as well as allowing your system a break.)

DO NOT BE FOOLED.
This is not beer.

Why do I mention this on a beer blog, you may ask? I'm on day 3 of a 10 day juice fast. That means no food, no beer, just juice. So far it seems to be going alright; I didn't get excessively hungry but I have had notably less energy and minor headaches. I'm hoping I get used to it in a day or two. Until this fast is over however, I can't write about beer.

I've heard that various types of fasting are good for you from time to time but I always wimped out on previous attempts. The next time I post it will probably be my last day. I'll let you know how it turns out; then I'll drink a beer.

Have you seen "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead?" Did you ever try fasting? Drop me a line and let me know in the comments below!


Monday, July 18, 2011

The Light at the End of the Drain

As I may have alluded to in previous posts, I've had some rough time brewing lately. I brewed a clone that was way too sweet. I brewed an IPA that didn't have hop flavor. I brewed a blonde that tastes like rotten wood. I brewed a Porter that was only 3.5% ABV. All of my beers were under carbonated. If my life was beer (if I could only be so lucky), life would look a lot like the American economy. It looked like my beer brewing was circling the drain.

However someone has not used Drano on this drain! Yes, this drain appears to be clogged with a foul mess of hair, soap, and miniature rubber duckies. This just proves that you need to work with what you have, and not just dump.

Once my clone carbonated, the sweetness dissipated, and some hop character came out of the beer. Also a lot of that sweetness translated into the malty smoothness that should be characteristic of a Newcastle clone. While it's definitely not Newcastle (according to the wife), it's a beer that's good in its own right.

I took a hop bag with 2 1/4 ounces of Cascade hops, a handful of spoons, and sunk them to the bottom of the keg. After a few days, my IPA has a decent hop aroma and a very pleasant dry bitterness characteristic of a good IPA.

My porter is smooth, roasty, and dark. Hearty and very pleasant to drink. The low ABV really hasn't affected the outcome of the porter at all. When poured, the Porter gives birth to a great head of chocolaty colored foam.

My oak aged blonde ale still tastes like rotten wood.

I'm still having some issues properly carbonating the beer, but at least now I have very drinkable beer. Now with some confidence I will march into work with a keg on my shoulder, much like the kind of Santa every adult wants to meet, and enter my beer into my company's brew-off. I'm still keeping my selection secret, so if you guys are trying to spy, tough nuggets. You'll have to wait till competition day.

Things are looking up! Prost!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad: Saison Du BUFF

There can come a time on a quest when you realize that things aren't going to work out as you'd hoped. When that happens, you need to just take your chips and go home, throw in the towel, or quit trying to come up with a funny metaphor. For me, that time has come; I will not be acquiring a matched set of Saison du BUFF(unopened in their original packaging.) "What's Saison du BUFF?" you may ask. Good question.

I was mentioning Saison du BUFFoff and on in the blog until this past May, hinting that it is one of my favorite beers in the novelty category. Simply put, three of my favorite breweries (Stone, Victory, and Dogfish Head) decided to release a limited edition beer containing parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. If Simon and Garfunkel's version of "Scarborough Fair" just popped into your head, you've got the right idea; also, good luck getting that earworm out of there.

The three breweries decided to brew three beers using identical ingredients, one beer per brewery. It's the only fair way I can think of for a brewer to really compare their skills and equipment but it wasn't that kind of contest. It was a celebration of what craft brewing has achieved and a means of artistic expression. Every famous painter has painted a bowl of fruit at some point in their career but there's no way to pick the best. These are works of art.

Unfortunately, I took the art part a bit too much to heart: instead of reviewing them right away as the artists intended I stuck them in my wine fridge (while searching in vain for the Stone variant.) Moldering in a dark ~70 degree refrigerator is slightly better than leaving them out in the open (just ask Lenin,) but these beers weren't high enough ABV to really age properly (and they have metal caps.) Since I waited so long to open and review these beers they have probably changed dramatically from what was intended.

Out of respect for the breweries and my neglect at not doing this sooner, we're going to do something a little different with this beereview: not open any beers!

This looks eerily familiar. 
Beereview: Saison du BUFF - Victory

The bottle looks pretty nice.

Beereview: Saison du BUFF - Dogfish Head

I remember these being really good. The herbs made it taste a little like a beer you drink when you still have pizza in your mouth (you know what I'm talking about too ladies.)

Beereview: Saison du BUFF - Stone

I wish I found this beer while it was still in stores. I think I might have seen the bottle before I started collecting them, but I never got all the Pokemon either.

What really drives me crazy in not acquiring this trio of brews isn't that I'm some kind of maniacal collector with a lawn full of broken bicycles; it's the not knowing. The third beer was possibly the best or possibly the worst. Let's just assume it's Garfunkel and not Simon (aww, poor Garfunkel.)

Were you lucky enough to try any of these? Do you still have one treasured beer you'll never open?  Drop me a line and leave a comment below!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Beereview: Victory Golden Monkey, or "Post Accident Recovery"

This is going to sound like the introduction to every really bad comedian...

So something funny happened on the way home from getting ice cream today! And by funny I mean, really quite sh%@ty. I got into an accident! What fun. Thankfully, no one got hurt, so it's really just a matter of paperwork and getting my truck to the auto body shop. On that note, to everyone out there, go buy a truck. To hell with gas mileage. Again, like every bad comedian, if you see my damage, you shoulda seen the other guy. Which actually was a really nice woman who was upset for the both of us.

I get home and the mother-in-law chimes in. "You should do a beer to have after an accident!" I was stunned. Not so much about the comment, but about the quality of the idea (she's going to hurt me for that comment). So I peered into the depths of my fridge. I decided that the best beer would be something strong. LIKE BULL. Or, as in this situation, like monkey.

Today I bring to you Victory Golden Monkey, a tripel gold ale "brewed with spices." I picked up this beer from Wine Styles that I mentioned in an older post. The monkey is doing the ol' "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" and the common "okey-dokey" sign. Which doesn't really fit in, but that's ok! Beer doesn't have to make sense. Let's rock!

The beer pours a beautiful yellow gold. Which truthfully, looks exactly like pee. It has a strong head retention, better than most. The aroma is something that is really unique. It has a strong sweet malty base, and is interlaced with the smells of citrus? and a number of other spices. The head is still going strong by the way. At 9.5% ABV, this beer is going to put me in a good mood for the rest of the night.

The flavor is definitely potent. The beer is very full bodied, and the malty sweetness is light and thick. There wasn't any hop presence in the aroma, however the beer seems to shock your tongue like it was an overzealous college kid. "Don't tase me bro!" The alcohol flavor is warm and pretty intense. You can feel the warmth as you would drinking that warm cup of hot cocoa. But cold. Huh. Really a delightful beer. It's not too overpowering, but it lets you know that after 2 or 3, "mama said knock you out."

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!!

Happy independence day everyone! I hope everyone decides to celebrate by going out to your locally own independent brewery and put back some pints. And if not, at least get drunk and barbecue. Make sure to come out with all your fingers and toes.