From the ever vigilant Ale Fan comes this news of an actual practical application of information technology:
My thanks to yesterday's Independent for a little article pointing out this wonderful service. I suspect the more enlightened of you know about it already; Wherever you are in the country you can get details of the nearest good pub by texting The Good Pub Guide. On a planned visit, I would normally research or take a pub guide with me, but I've put the number etc. into my mobile for those, growing number of, occasions when I forget about taking the book with me. It's my age.The service is described here. Pretty darn useful - especially for the traveller to the UK. Maybe we can get some testimonials as to the usefulness of this bit of trinketry.
...and I just noticed that The Independent runs a beer column by Richard Ehrlich. Don't know if this is a weekly thing.
Magic Hat is one of those breweries whose stuff I like but when it comes around to doing a review folks come over and drink all the beers I have and there is nothing left to review. So I have only reviewed one to date - Revell porter out of the winter 12 pack. This time it will be different. I am going to defend the stash against perps and foist paper and pen upon them.
What I like about Magic Hat is that they do light ales well. Not thin - light. It is easier to make a big beer than a small one and in this biggie world there is a mad rush to bigosity. This summer 12 pack says no. It says I will not bow to loud Lord Big. There is the lightly fruity #9, the gentle wheat beer Hocus Pocus, their wit by name of Batch 370 and Fat Angel which is something of a rich malty ale...but an unbig one. All displaying a deft hand. Their website displays something of a daft hand, by the way. One of the guys who started it is now a baker of treats near a pal of mine's place. I will have to interview him one fine day on the whole nuttiness thing.
- #9: Effervescent orange ale spewing masses of tiny white bursting bubbles. Peach juice. Aroma and taste of peach juice. In the mouth it morphs into a bit of grainy wheat or pale ale maltiness and twiggy hop. Not too far off the idea of a dry Irn Bru, the Scottish soda pop. Light not too sweet, quaffable and refreshing...but lots of peach. If you are against it, as some 12% of advocates are, you are really against it.
- Batch 370: White foam and rim fed again my a very active carbonation, this time in a Belgian wit...but the BAers say it is a version of a German hefe! Hmmm...no banana or clove to hand that hat on. How odd. Amber with a bit of orange. Cloudy with yeastie floaties. Dry and orange peely over lemon. Again, twiggy drying hops. There is lots of yeast tanginess and nice spice. Not a real corriander or other spice presence but the raw wheat gives a flour-dusty and creamy effect that sets it apart and is quite likeable. Is this an ok US version of a wit...or a hefe...or what? I dunno. It is a light summer ale and in itself it is not neither wicked or the other sort of wicked. I'll have another if that is the way the guest grabbing plays out.
- Hocus Pocus: again a highly active ale, this time light straw under white foam. A bit grassy nicely offset by a touch of twiggy and metallic hops. The center is somewhat vegetative - not fruit but faintly like the green of celery or broccoli. Underneath milky yeast but still a dry beer. I think of the four this is my favourite. I am surprised that 21% of BAers do not like this as I find it a simple but clean balanced summer wheat ale with true real flavours.
- Fat Angel: Again light but the least of the four. A hint of crystal malt and maybe even a hint of smoke. Reddish amber with a white rim. Quite still unlike the other three. The same signiture grassy tang. Like the Hocus Pocus I would call the light touch on the hops twiggy and metallic. I don't think I like this one that much though I have been far more offended by ales in my life. There is again that dry heart that I would think is wheat malt but it does not meet well with the sweeter notes. The advocates rate it positively but with a low average.
It must be what happens when people get ice cream headaches that never go away. They start writing studies and reports about the certain, widespread and accepted evils of beer, like this one:
...the study found that 35 percent of the kids agreed that a Budweiser beer ad featuring a rock star ferret replacing talking lizards as the official beer mascot made them want to buy Budweiser. In contrast, only 5 percent said an Anheuser Busch beer ad focusing on a "Legacy of Quality" made them want to buy the beer. Of the 66 beers ads shown to the children, only five did not have elements -- humor, music, people characters, animal characters and story -- that appealed to kids.The study's authors conclude that their work provides further proof that alcohol advertising influences children who are years away from being able to drink legally. Seeing as the ads on TV by used car guys selling wrecked junkers to fools use humor, music, people characters, animal characters and story I would suppose that the authors of the beer study might conclude that moderately maintained mid-80s cars ought to be outlawed as well.
It never occurs to them that the issue is only about the power of TV ads and has nothing to do with beer.
Here is a really good article from the University of Washington's UW Daily Online on an evening in the life of a bar bouncer:
There is no specific training that Opie received; only through learning from the other bouncers did he pick up on the process, including the typical protocol consisting of three chances. "Before you kick someone out, you usually ask them three times," Opie said. "As you walk up you ask them to put their drink down and tell them it's time to go, and if they look at you funny you ask them again and give them a tap on the shoulder, and if they still don't move, you remove them."
I picked up these five a while ago from Ithaca's Finger Lake Beverage Center and I thought it was about time to put them on the reviewing stage. I have not visited the brewery which is located just to the south east of the Adirondacks about half way between the state capital of Albany and Lake George Village, NY home of the Adirondack Pub and Brewery. The story of the brewery is pretty interesting with its original brewing facility at Ukiah, California as well as the New York presence at Saratoga Springs. Lew Bryson in his book New York Breweries explains that the New Yorker was as separate operation called Nor'Wester, how a financial backer of both breweries, the UB brewing group of India, had to take control of its investments during an economic downturn which led to the unifying of both businesses under the Mendocino name with its birds of prey theme...except for the heron...unless you are a fish.
Anyway, here is my take on these five clearly labelled as being from the Mendocino NY brewery:
- White Hawk IPA: A nice rich faintly tan head sits over medium-dark straw. The aroma is malty with a bit of floral hop. The first sip is impressive with big hot green hops extremely well balanced with a round pale and crystal malt body. Lew actually notes this ale in his very handy NYS brewery updates:
White Hawk IPA is brutal. Whackingly hopped with plenty of European buds, this one will make you wake up.It is pretty bright with that core of heat I more associate with west coast than east coast IPAs but its balance keeps it from getting out of hand. The hops shift from green and weedy - that "I just drove my landmover through a ditch" thing - into white grapefruit peel and then into orange marmalade. There is also a nice "stock ale" note of mustiness (a good thing) right in the middle. There is plenty of pale malt graininess in there too. It is a bit big to distinguish the sorts of pale ale fruit notes but at 7% and with this level of hopping, that is to be expected. Quite a number of BAer's are not on board but it is hard to tell if they are talking about the IPA from this brewery or that or whether there is a difference. I like it a lot.
- Eye of the Hawk Select Ale: Beige foam over quite carbonated 8% orange ale. The aroma is sweet raisin and orange marmalade. In the mouth it is orange peel, green hop, heat and rich sweet malt with dried apricot fruit. Very pleasantly sitting between an ESB and an IPA. A little unusual in that it is a bit heavier like a light coloured Wells Bombardier and almost candy cane in the ending with the sweet and the green hops. The BAers generally like it.
- Summer Ale: This ale pours a pale straw under white rim. Floral corriander aroma gives a hint of the corriander, twiggy hop with a touch of orange peel in the sippery. It is something like a light pale ale meeting a wit without many of the pitfalls that show up along the route of that plan. One key to that is that has a reasonably rich body for the goal. Unlike, say, the Saranac Summer Ale, I don't think this is a largely wheat-based ale - though the bottle says it is made with malted barley and unmalted wheat. It certainly is not grassy green and is crystal clear with a little sediment so it has not been filtered. The bottle also says it is a white and The BAers call it a wit and, then, 21% of them say they do not like it. If I were judging it as a Belgian wit I might not either. But as a US summer ale, a label without a fixed style, a bit of lawnmower ale with a bit of class - I like it.
- Red Tail Ale: The label on the neck says "American Classic". Is that an APA or something else? The Advocatrons say it is a American Red Ale. I think sometimes that this new style thing is getting a wee bit out of hand. Not all the time. But sometimes. Anyway, I like this beer. It is a perfectly respectable ESB - reddish amber, a bit raisiny sweet, a bit of extra body. 11% of BAers say no again. I wonder why I like this brewery and they are having difficulties? I know on thing I do like is that the water is fairly soft allowing the hops and malts to play a bit, not shrouded by the bitter dryness of hard water. Plus what is not to like about the orangey thing all the beers seem to have going for them. It is like the house yeast strain has a little Belgian in it, a bit spicy like a dubble. These things I like. It could stand up to BBQ. I conversely stand up for BBQ.
- Winter Ale: Winter ale? This ain't no winter ale! A winter ale is an old ale or a stock ale like Geary's or a Burton. They hold entire festivals to other styles and call them winter ales. OK. It is like a St. Peter's Winter Ale - but they are weirdos at St. Peters. Good weirdos but weirdos. Who knew there was another brewery that would make a licorice root based porter and call it winter ale? This beauty has mocha rim over deep dark brown ale. There is pumperknickle, loverly balancing twiggy and maybe limey hops cutting the deep rich ale. Fruit? Yea, I suppose. Plummy and apple butterish. But underneath that (and not too well hidden) there is a great shale-like deposit of tightly packed particulate of chocolate malt. Really rather nice. One BAer says this is unique to the NY brewery and I can believe it. Could you drink this beer more than three hours drive from the Adirondacks? Sure you could...but would you?
While in Syracuse NY for a couple of days, a brief side trip this morning to the Galeville Grocery sees the stash now renewed for another month or two. As a result, I have stories to write about Middles Ages, Mendocino of Saragota, Magic Hat, plus two new to try from each of Youngs, Ommegang and Weyerbacher (their imperial stout and imperial pumpkin ale) as well as a bunch of singles including Stoudts ESB.
The night before found me at Clark's Ale House and its neighbour the Blue Tusk. I didn't take notes or photos taking the time to just enjoy these two great bars and introducing them to pals. Both institutions handle the beers fantastically, coaxing hidden flavours out with their cleanliness and care. I had my first taste of Lake Placid's keg only brown ale last night at Clark's - very pleasant nut brown with what I thought was an interesting subtle spiciness in either the hop or yeast selection. At the Blue Tusk I settled into an extended relationship with Dogfish Head 60 Minute Ale, the intermediary between their Shelter Pale Ale and 90 Minute IPA which sits in what I now think of as my happy place. There are snugs at the Blue Tusk, those little rooms off rooms that give you a quieter spot, time to talk and listen. The one farthest from the bar sits eight in benches like slightly reclined pews.