Distractions, Diversions, Books, Wines, Whiskeys and Other Stuff To Think About When You Should Be Doing Something Else.

Posts tagged “Beer

On Tap: Abita Brewing 25th Anniversary Vanilla Double Dog


Abita Brewing
25th Anniversary Vanilla Double Dog

As a fan of brown ales I was looking forward to this one especially with it being a 25th Anniversary offering.

It poured a nice, rich brown with very little head. Smell was malty and slightly sweet with hints of cocoa and the promised vanilla.

The taste was nice and rich, much like the regular Turbodog but with an extra level of depth and complexity. The vanilla comes across more as a wood spice like that of a whiskey than that from a vanilla bean.

Overall it was a very good, but not great, offering. I would definitely drink it again. The taste is nice and the price is right.


Diversion and Distraction of the Beer Kind: Brew Masters

Brew Masters

I recently added a new entry to my “Television Worth Watching” queue; Brew Masters, an infotainment offering from the Discovery Channel featuring adventures in the craft brewing industry. I honestly like infotainment programs and I don’t much care if they are hard-core factual explorations of events on the History channel, science-geekery / invention programs on Science, or travel / food-porn on Food Network. Brew Masters kind of bridges the gaps between all of those subgenres to connect the history of an endlessly interesting industry with the nuts-and-bolts of the brewing process and the people in it, and the beer itself.

Brew Masters features Sam Calagione the founder of the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery of Delaware. He is both the host of the program and the main character of the reality-television show that encompasses all of the non-brewing or historical aspects of Brew Masters. He seems to be a really nice guy who is a little more than slightly odd and unique in the same kind of interesting way that he envisions his beers being (The Dogfish Head motto is: Off-centered ales for off-centered people). He is, quite literally, the kind of guy who would be a lot of fun to have a beer with, and that makes the show interesting and engaging, though the first episode contains bits featuring his craft brewing hip-hop group that was almost painful. It wasn’t the music so much (it wasn’t to my taste but the music videos were amusing), but rather that he thought it would be a good idea to use the premise / theme of the first show, the brewery’s collaboration with Sony Music to produce a beer accompaniment to the re-release of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew album, to pitch a record deal of his own. It could have gone better I suppose.

I’m looking forward to more episodes of Brew Masters. Even more, I’m looking forward to the possibility that future seasons of Brew Masters will feature other craft breweries like Sam Adams, Stone, Founders, New Belgium, Magic Hat, Three Floyds or Avery who are known for making fantastic, excellent and unconventional beers. There are too many interesting characters and stories to tell to keep the show confined to one brewery, even one as colorful as Dogfish Head. Maybe they will even spin it off to distilleries and wineries. I’d probably watch those too.

Stone Brewing: Mustardgate 2010

“What they did with the beer, we’re not sure. We sent them full kegs and they sent us back empty kegs…one can only imagine where it might have gone.”

Read the full story here.

On Tap: Schlafly Helles Summer Lager

Schlalfy Helles Summer Lager

(from the Schlafly website)

“A Munich Style Helles. Golden and medium-bodied, it has a fresh noble hop character and lightly toasted malt flavor. This classic summer time lager is made for the warm, lazy days of Summer in America’s heartland.”

For all intents and purposes, Helles lager is pale lager, which is basically a pilsner style beer. That, though not entirely accurate in every sense of the description, is close enough to create a frame of reference.

Schlafly Brewery makes some exceedingly delicious beers and the Helles lager is their seasonal brew for this particular summer. It pours very nicely and has a soft straw-golden color (see the picture). It boasts some very nice light toasty and bread-like flavors with the barest hints of herbs and fruit. Everything about this beer is subtle and smooth and just right for a hot summer day.

Not a beer to drink if you desire something huge, flavorful and bold, but very, very drinkable.