Monthly Archives: August 2011

Good Old Yuengling Lager

In preparation for Hurricane Irene, I bolted off to the Distributor to grab a case of Yuengling Lager. I figured that beer would be one thing that FEMA, the Pa. National Guard, or the Red Cross, would not pass out if a crisis hit. Imagine if FEMA did distribute  brew. It would be the skankiest and skunkiest swill imaginable. Something like Keystone Light.

I have been drinking pricier beer recently and I needed to downsize. Yuengling is my go to house-brand. Always in the fridge for friends and family. I was running low so I needed to beef or beer up the beer fridge. I also decided to not drink much because I didn’t want my wits to be dulled in the least….I was not sure what was coming at the hands of Irene. Now it is Sunday and the worst is over. No major damages besides the plastic/rubber door of my tool shed being tossed like a Frisbee across the yard about 20 feet.

Drinking Yuengling Lager reminds me of the “Good Old Charlie Brown” adage from Peanuts. Charlie Brown is an everyman. He does his best and his decency is what makes him an easy mark. He fails and people find comfort that someone has it worse than they in the day-to-day trials of life. Or, I think all of us feel like Charlie Brown on the inside sometime. His iconic character has stood the test of time because he is so much like all of us.

Yuengling Lager will never win the heart of craft beer lovers, just like Charlie Brown will never catch the eye of the Little Red-Headed Girl. There are other studs in the fridge of life that he will thirst after. Yet, the lasting nature of Yuengling Lager, its ordinary good old-fashioned stability are fine for what you get for the money, and should not be discounted.

I know I’d miss the YL if it was not around.


Troegs Dreamweaver

Yes, I have been dreaming about drinking some Dreamweaver. A dream delayed. Today the dream came true.  Liquid R.E.M.

Drinking the heavy Big Beers from Weyerbacher boomeranged me back to my original decision of whether to go heavy or lighter two weeks ago before the shore vacation. This time, I bought a case of Dreamweaver. The summer is running down and I want to get my Wheat Beer before summer is but a memory. After the harvest, it is really too late for the Wheat. Now is the time to drink before the threshing scythe.

The red jalapenos are poised strategically in the picture to enhance the thirst appearance of the Dreamweaver. When jalapenos get red, they retain the heat but turn sweet. There is another word for green peppers…unripe.  The pepper plants out in garden are monitored carefully for optimum time to pick. Unlike regular red peppers, the nefarious groundhogs don’t swipe the jalapenos. The ghounds love the red peppers.

This fact sheet from Troegs about Dreamweaver is quite a step above what most microbreweries provide in their description. It is like the lyrics to a favorite song. Most of profiles from the craft brewers tend to be rah-rah and obvious. I like that Troegs provides more depth. Like their beers, the descriptions actually provides a tasty mouthful. It is going to be interesting to see where Troegs goes from here. When they depart Harrisburg and go 100% operational in Hershey (I presume that they are leaving Harrisburg behind), they will take another step into the elite of national caliber microbreweries.

Tonight, in my desire to purchase a Wheat beer, I faced a choice of whether to buy a case of cold Blue Moon or a warm Dreamweaver. I would rather give my cold cash to an independent and take the warm beer rather than a cold case from a cold corporation. I can wait for it to get cold. Although, it is a good thing that Coors is offering something better than their standard fizzy water with alcohol, I would still prefer being free of its web.

Here’s to summer, here is to the Wheat Beer. Savor its taste, savor the memories. Ahhhh….

Merry Monks

Well, we are going from Old Heathen to Merry Monks. I at least like the direction theologically! I always get a bit nervous when themes turn dark and demonic and Druid. And, I like the beer direction too. This brew takes the belt. It is the best of the “Big Beers” from Weyerbacher.

I have to confess that at first this beer confused me. It has a Belgian Wit effervescence but has the punch of a heavy weight (to continue the boxing analogy from the prior post on O.H.). What gives? It didn’t take too long to figure out from the clues. Weyerbacher uses Pilsner Malts which are typically used for lighter German Styles. But, they soup it up with more sugar and toss in Belgian yeast, give it more time and higher fermentation temps, and wind up with a Tripel. That is like turning a VW Bug into a Hot Rod. The frame still says VW but the engine is a 305 and is also in the back seat.

Jumping and dancing back to the pugilistic metaphors, these brews jabs with the left (with the cute picture of the laughing Monks), and follows with a hard right to the jaw, as modeled above by moi. Photo credit goes to my wife Lina for the cool idea to do a close/far deal with the bottle and the glass. Credit goes to me and my warped mind for the punching illustration. And what a right hand it is….at 9.3 ABV, there is George Foreman in that glass (I think  Foreman was a rightee). Those on Beer Advocate give it B plus. I am going to be the judge that disagrees. This is an “A” all the way. It just is quirky and original enough to qualify as a classic. A sweet science indeed is good brew-making.

I had to down a Blithering Idiot that was left over before finishing up the case with this last Merry Monks. It became even more apparent in comparison to the Merry Monks that the Blithering Idiot Barleywine is just too sweet and syrupy. Better for pancakes than the glass. Or, it is an out-of-shape fighter that is really not in the same ring as the Merry Monks. There was no way that I was ending the case on the Blithering Idiot.

P.S. My wife keeps telling me that my new Temple hat that I am wearing in the pic is too small for my head. It was supposed to be “One Size Fits All.” Guess what, my head is just too big. At 6’8″ and general genetics in my family that lead to bigger heads and longer faces, I am pretty much stuck with a hat that just does not fit as well as it could. My very-detail attentive wife doesn’t miss a thing. Most people wouldn’t notice or care. Or maybe everyone is thinking to themselves, “Man that hat is too small. Why doesn’t his wife tell him and make him take it off?”

Well, she has noticed and advised me to not wear it. Make a note of it!

Old Heathen Imperial Stout

Two down, two to go in the profile blogs on the “Big Beers” from Weyerbacher.

I am going from least favorite to most favorite in my postings chronologically, so Old Heathen Imperial Stout weighs in at numero dos. In this corner, coming into the ring at 8.0 % ABV, is this brew. I had some second guesses as to whether I should have brought this and the other heavy hitters down to the Shore. Beers like this are more appropriate when it is freezing or below in your locale. Or, at least when it is at least a bit chilly. As it turned out, I found all of the beers to have excellent staying power in that the case lasted the entire week, with me still bringing two back home (No Beers Left Behind) and giving several away to my bros.

I waited until around dinner into nightfall until summoning these beers from the fridge. These are not brews for the mid-day. As such, the beers fit well with food and the evening activities heated up and as the temps dropped.

Ocean City, New Jersey, is a Dry Town with nary at proprietor selling alcohol. I wanted to dig in for the duration and not have to make multiple beer trips to stock up on supplies. Thus, this case was a wise choice. We debated the pros and cons of the town remaining free of alcohol sales and the consensus seemed to be in the Fam that it is a good thing in that it keeps the rabble from washing up like wreckage in this shore community.

I normally default against Prohibitionary tactics, yet Ocean City is a family resort and if you want to have have the seedier side of the shore, stay in Wildwood or Atlantic City. Because the bars empty out into the Boardwalks, peoples’ over-consumption affects anyone around.  And with kids, that is just n0t cool.

Overall, I really enjoyed this Imperial Stout. Those on Beer Advocate concur that Old Heathen delivers. I am always interested in why breweries name their beers as they do.  The conjuring intrigues me. The label on Old Heathen suggests a Fall evening where darkness is restrained by the Moon. The figure stands ominously…this is no Bud Lite girl giggling. Heathens are barbaric yet this beer is far from backwards. Neither is it tame. A little wild with some surprising mild. The dark is worse than its bite.

Blithering Idiot

Blithering Idiot from Weyerbacher is a body slammer and brain concusser for the unwise. It should have a warning on the side to not operate heavy machinery when consuming like Nyquil. I only had one and that was enough. Frankly, it tastes like  Nyquil too. Not my favorite style first of all, and not my favorite brand of this style. Kind of the best of the worse to worse of the worse and Blithering Idiot is somewhere in the middle of that class.

At 11% ABV, it is about a high as a beer can fly before it ain’t beer anymore. Actually, the first Barleywine I ever consumed was Dogfish Head Ale’s Olde School at 15% ABV. Man, that is stratospheric. Planet Earth far below. It was in my buddy’s fridge and he gave me open access to anything I wanted. I was dark in the kitchen. I saw Dogfish and I bit like a fish, not really knowing what Barleywine was. I soon found out and was schooled. Mighty sweet, mighty strong. Closer to schnapps than session beer. I was fearful that if I got too close to the fire I might just combust from the fumes.

As one of the four in the Big Beer series case, it does serve as a counter-balance to the very bitter Double Simcoe IPA I profiled yesterday. Maybe Weyerbacher wanted to provide a comprehensive range in the four 6 packs. I can’t say that I will buy Blithering Idiot again either in the bottle or on tap. I just don’t like it that all much. If I do get up the courage for another, I will definitely go to Dogfish who I think are better at brewing beers like this without losing control.

Double Simcoe IPA

I have found a location in the rental shore house where Comcast’s Hot Spot comes in stronger. 40/40 is Back in Black. As a Comcast customer, I get “free” access. I suppose I should be thankful like a sea gull for the metaphorical french fry. Comcast does charge non-current clients. No altruism here. I am already on the Bully’s shakedown list.  Sort of like the Mafia.

The Wi-Fi comes in like low and high tide with seconds separating the two and alternating back and forth. It is better than going from low to no access. I have moved the  connection up to functionality. I will take it…like I have a choice anyway.

Tonight I had to to feed the extended family (10 people, with the younger kids and the teenager omnivores at the respective end of the spectrum balancing out another) . Each entity attending said Family reunion takes a night of the vacation and cooks. Since my wife has not made it down yet (due tomorrow), it was my turn without her.  I was thinking enchiladas but decided “No mas” on that train of thinking. Too hot to be in the  kitchen. I kept it cooler and did tacos. I was stressing out about it all but I took a page from my wife’s playbook about prepping in a logical fashion. If one preps right, the actual cooking is just crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s. All about execution.

Once the troops were fed, and the rest of the crew took on the dishes and pots (he/she who cooks is excused from dishwashing duties), I busted open a Double Simcoe IPA from Weyerbacher. Seriously, this  brew has some jaws a-snapping. Don’t believe what the blog says:

“This hybrid hop, developed and trademarked by Select Botanicals Group, LLC in the year 2000, was created for its high alpha acid content, maximum aromatic oils, and low cohumulone(harshness) levels so that brewers can really put a lot of ‘em in a beer and not create an overly harsh taste.”

Like saying that the Great White’s teeth ain’t that sharp. The taste is harsh yet it will make a man out of you if you swim in its waters.


Big Beers at the Beach

I am down at the Shore in Ocean City, New Jersey. I decided to go deeper and darker rather than light and frothy with the beer. I had been toying around with bringing a Wheat Beer. Paradoxically, I drink less when I get the D and D brews. One or two and I am good for the night. So, I bought the Big Beers sampler from Weyerbacher. I will have to write more when I get back in about five days because the WiFi connection at the shore house is weak. At least the beer is strong.