Who can resist a micro in a can? And especially a hefeweizen. Not me - at least not since I first met Old Chub. The brewery only has a one page web site. They seem to be new as Lew says only this in an update from three months ago:
3/7/06: Just saw this on BeerAdvocate. Guess I need to check it out. They're packaging, and they're out in the midst of nowhere; I camped near there once (I usually don't include a map link, but this time I did!). Two beers so far. 4021 State Highway 51, Garrattsville, 607/263-5070. More when I get it!That places them north of Oneonta and west of Cooperstown which is pretty good beer country. This beer pours a clouded medium straw under white rim and foam. This is one of the less instrusive hefeweizens I have had but a tasty one - rich and creamy with a good banana phenol (or is it ester?) with some allspice and clove. There are only 7 reviews up at the Beer Advocate so far but all approve - and rightly so. Bought at the ever excellent Finger Lake Beverage during the great stash expansion over the weekend.
I don't mean to push Donavan's excellent post down too soon but - what is a fellow to do when you hear news like this?
Baptists bash beer and blogsThankfully, as a minister's kid, I am aware of the situation. No need for alarm.
During their national convention, Southern Baptists took the time to address two huge pressing theological issues - beer and blogs. The convention passed a resolution in "total opposition to the manufacturing, advertising, distributing and consuming of alcoholic beverages." While outgoing president Dr. Bobby Welch expressed his concern over the rise of Baptist blogging. "Do you think if we spent less time blogging we might have more time to do some baptizing," asked Welch. "Do you think if we spent less time fumbling around with those computers we might have more converts?"
A new batch of Double White from Southampton Publick House is coming out now in the Atlantic states. This is one of the standard beers in the "XXII Reserve" series---beers that are bottled in 22 ounce bottles. The press release I received prompted me to inspect my cellar and sure enough I did have a Double White set back. I picked up this particular bottle at a shop in Northport. That was on the day I was tooling around the island in my car doing research for my Long Island Beer Guide. The lady at the check-out flattered me by asking for my ID when I presented the Double White.
I recorded some audio tasting notes for the Double White and put that segment into my podcast. But I'll spell out my reactions below.
I believe a beer should be labeled in such a way that the beer drinker knows what to expect. We all know what White beers or Witbiers taste like. Who hasn't had a Hoegaarden (at least)? A casual drinker of Belgian beers will also be familiar with the category "Dubbel" or Double. So what the label tells us is that the Double White will be a higher alcohol White Ale. And that's exactly what you get.
There's a fair amount of carbonation in the Double White, but that doesn't work to produce a huge head (something I almost expect from a wheat beer, but I've never seen a huge head on a Hoegaarden or Celis White either). (Personal/historical note: I drank Celis White for years when I lived in Texas, before I ever heard of Hoegaarden. In 2001 I was in Leuven and wandered into a beer shop and found cases of beer with the "Celis White" label, complete with the words "Brewed in Austin, Texas". When I visited Austin in 2003, the hotel I was staying in had a Celis White tap. I have yet to sample Michigan Brewing Company's incarnation of the Celis label.) Okay, back to the Double White.
My personal enjoyment factor for the Double White is pretty high. I pick up bottles of it habitually because I like drinking it. I never thought about sitting down and comparing it to any style guidelines, because there are no guidelines for a Double White. However, I did get some tasting notes from the Southampton Ales and Lagers press release:
Light in color with a refreshing orangey tartness and a hint of coriander flavor. There is also a detectable alcohol "warming" that is balanced by a pleasant residual sweetness. (Original Gravity: 16.8 Plato, 7.2% Alcohol by volume)
The "warming" is certainly there. I do get the orangey tartness from the curacao orange peel, but what unable (with my palate) to decide if the tartness was crisp or pithy. Of course, my taster might be broken because I found the coriander dimension to be subtle. I expected this beer to be more cloudy. I swirled the bottle to kick up some of the sediment, but without much success. The advertised residual sweetness is certainly present. Basically, this beer delivers what it promises.
While I really enjoy this beer I think I would like it even better if it had lighter body and a drier finish. Sweetness in this beer dominates the finish. I don't know if it's possible to do a Double White that has a dry, crisp finish. When you start at 16.9 Plato, you need some serious fermentation management to get the apparent attenuation close to 90% which is what I think would make this beer perfect.
While we here at A Good Beer Blog are as ecumenical as the next beer blog, we also know that up is up and down is down and that there is no fear of somethings happening so why bother bringing it up:
Saudi soccer players will not accept World Cup man-of-the-match awards for religious reasons, said the Saudi Football Federation on Wednesday, June 14. "The main reason is because the sponsoring company specializes in alcohol, and the award itself is a cup of beer," said Abdullah al-Dabel, a federation official, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). The Technical Study Group of world soccer's governing body FIFA names the match's best player, an award backed by US beer company Anheuser Bush Bud, one of the official sponsors of the tournament. "We won't accept this award for religious reasons. No Muslim player should accept it," said the Saudi official.We actually hope there has been an error in translation of the "beer" which properly should be interpreted from Arabic to English as "crap beer".
Sackets Harbor Brewing, sitting on the eastern end of Lake Ontario just about 25 miles south of me, added Thousand Island Pale Ale to its line up in January 2006 and are having it contract brewed at the Olde Saratoga Brewing Company, the fine folk who make the eastern crop of Mendocino Brewing's ale and lagers. The brewery says of this one on its website:
Our newest beer is a hop-infused American strong pale ale and uses English malts and assorted hops from the American northwest to give it a citrusy aroma and bitter finish. It's 6.3 percent alcohol, more than a point higher than most American premium beers.I quite like this beer, green hoppy hot with a rich fruity pale maltiness. It pours sort of a light caramelized straw with a tan foam and rim up top giving off a snootful of marigold weedy hop. More hop than a pale ale but more gentle than the IPA of the 21st century. Only a few BAers have found it but they were well rewarded.
Behind the scenes here at A Good Beer Blog things can get a little more hectic than you might imagine. Even though this is an amateur piece of work, folks write from here and there asking for advice, say, about where to get a particular beer or seeking a recommendation for a beer that would be like the one their mom enjoyed twenty years ago. Honest.
Sometimes I also get great advice from one of you like I did from Dave of Dewitt, NY who recommended a shop just beyond my sphere of influence to date. And, err, by sphere of influence I mean places near where I have figured out an excuse to take the kids and the station wagon and, oh, just happen to find - hey...look, a beer store! Dave wrote:
I was on a temp assignment in Poughkeepsie and drove past the Half Time twice a day. I got it in my head that it was just a bottle return, and never stopped until the last day of my trip. My mistake. It has a bottle return, but is a hell of a beer store. I'd say it rates a review if one of your "staff" was in the area. Based on my one visit: the staff was good, the place was clean and well organized. It does have large plate glass windows in front, but these are covered when the sun hits them. It kills me that I spent weeks in POK buying Tecate, or whatever, at Price Chopper, and not getting to this place until the last day! I've never seen it mentioned in the Blog, and thought of replying to one of the other beer store entries, but maybe this is more appropriate.In addition, Dave forwarded a new to me NJ beer website with another review of the store and even some interior shots. He also mentioned these reviews at RateBeer of Half Time Beverage were fair. Best of all he said the restaurant next door looked good too. Well, if it has Allagash White on tap from Maine, it ought to be worth a stop.
Dave didn't stop there. He added an update on the good people doing good work at C's Country Market in Oswego, right by the lower right corner of Lake Ontario:
Thanks for A Good Beer Blog! If nothing else it turned me on to C's Farm Market, which is a nice alternative to Galeville Grocery (and the semi moribund Party Source), here in Syracuse....So there you have it - one reader and two shop reviews...maybe a bit more even if you count the East Syracuse Wegmans, a pretty good grocery chain for beer as I recall. And if you go back to the top, best of all, there is a clickable photo of Dave's well stocked fridge. Now you can be like Dave, too, and send us your hints, questions and reviews. We'll see what we can do for you. Thanks Dave.
I went to C's this morning, they seems to be doing fine. I just banter with the folks there but they all seem friendly. I wish them luck. The stock is clean, rotated, and changes over time. It's well situated, for a small city Oswego is fairly sophisticated, a college town, the lake, etc. How much do they depend on students? I was happy to see an older (than me! I'm 52) guy there. He was buying two six packs of Smuttynose (I think). The clerk pointed out that they had a twelve(?) in the cooler at a better price. I was happy about that too. The picture shows my C's purchase, except for the Wolaver's, which I got at the East Syracuse Wegmans (a grocery chain) in the organic department. It's good enough to put with the beer.
Some time ago we reviewed the complex scheme of regional beer glass sizes used in Australia. It's bad enough trying to keep on top of what a "pot" or a "schooner" means from this state to the next but it is worse when bars take the extra step of cheating the system as The Sunday Mail discovered and explained in this week's issue:
Asked to explain the shrinking beer, Calamvale Hotel manager Colin Pascoe said the pub did not serve the 250ml glasses as pots. "We don't have pot glasses we have pilsener glasses and they are 250ml. People don't ask for pots much these days. Most people like to get stubbies," he said. But when The Sunday Mail ordered a pot of beer at the Calamvale we got a 250ml glass of Hahn premium light for $2.50 and a receipt listing our "pot" of beer. The same thing happened at the Paddington Tavern where $2.60 bought a 250ml "pot" of Fourex Gold. Manager Anita Ho refused to comment. Both pubs, which are owned by the McGuires Hotels chain, are using the same 250ml pot glasses which look almost identical to the traditional 285ml versions.I wonder what the McGuires Hotels chain's sales are looking like today after this news gets out. Short pouring is an issue which has been around since beer began and gave rise to one of the first forms of state measurement regulation. Sounds like Oz needs what the Germans have already got in place - a society against dishonest pouring.
Found at Tully's for $4.99 USD for 500 ml, this 6% ale is from the makers of Pitchfork Bitter, who are also part of the shadowy but excellent Wessex Craft Brewers, a co-operative that also includes the brewers of Freeminer Deep Shaft Stout. It also won a gold medal from the good people at CAMRA in 2001 according to the label.
This beer pours a rich tan rocky mousse head over cloudy butterscotch ale - after I gave the bottle's dregs a swirl. Real ale in a bottle. Thick ring lacing. It has a rummy casky smell about it, not stale stocky but formidible. In the mouth there is fruity malt with fall apple and fig as well as a rough twiggy hop edge but it is the yeast that reigns - spiced, pepper, rough and burlappy like Belgian dubbel. Loverly. A beer that could stand with the oldest cheddar. Hot on the finish.
100% of BAers are wise.
Chapter One, Saturday: upon which they first meet the IPA...
Last night, after a week visiting teetotalers, I got home and it was hot. In between rainstorms I had to cut the lawn and rake it too. Happily, there was one last Guinness in the fridge, and I sucked it down like one who has just crawled across the dessert. Whilst sucking it down, I reflected on my first Guinness, back 20 some years ago when I was a student, and how yucky it tasted to my immature taste buds. Now of course Guinness is a comfy old friend, a pleasant standard stout good anyday. My first taste 20 some years ago registered something like the roar of a lion: loud and strong and alarming. That was then.....
So, happily, I made a little trip to Ithaca Coffee Co this am, and got lotsa beer. Gruyere was the free sample cheese today, and the wife and I enjoyed some of that early and often, then down the aisle to the beers. Decided to see what Wagner Valley IPA tastes like, 'cause I love IPAs. The wife does too, unfortunately. Luckily (heh heh heh) she had plans for the evening, and I figured I could do some tasting without having to share for a change. A simple plan, but like the best laid plans of mice and men....anyway, she saw through my plan and slurped some of this stuff before heading out the door. I tried to limit the damage to my supply.
When you have a Bass Ale, you think "this is a pleasant little ale" and move on with your life. I popped open Wagner Valley IPA and gave the beer a sniff and went "whoowee! That's strong!" My point is, which is why I mentioned Guinness and Bass, I have gotten used to strong beers and those guys are quite tame, but WV IPA! My eyebrows shot up, all those hops! "Lay it on me baby," I said. The mistake I had made, vis a vis the wife, was to pour a sample in a glass to look at and sniff, for the benefit of tasteful observation, but that's when the wife saw my game and grabbed the glass for her own taste, as she departed...maybe I should have waited. This beer was dark amber, foamy and thick as a milkshake and really fragrant. My usual not very helpful statement is to say here "I really like this beer," but in this case I have to add it made me feel like a fire-breatheing dragon. That’s pretty strong.
- The brewery web site sez: "Wagner India Pale Ale - Bright sunrise orange in color, this American IPA is boldly hopped with varieties including East Kent Goldings and Cascade to give an intense yet powerfully smooth bitterness. The subtle caramel maltiness only accents the citrus hop highlights. Dry hopped with an incredible 2-½ pounds per barrel, this American style IPA is hand-crafted to be extraordinarily refreshing. 6.2% ABV";
- Mike Levy of Great Lakes Brewing News says "This is just about the best new beer I've tried in a long time. A beautiful hop flavor & aroma reminiscent of IPAs indigenous to the Northwest"; and
- Wagner Valley IPA ranked Best NY Beer for 2003 by beer writer Lew Bryson: "Damnation. Bracing hop power, svelte malt strength, and coolly refreshing." Note that: our friend Lew Bryson states...damnation. bracing...." That's right Lew, this beer gets your attention. The icing on this cake is the brew pub these people have.
Chapter two, Wednesday: upon which they go to the brewery...
Well, I wanted to take advantage of the wife's offer, and so off we went for a power lunch (snort) at Wagner Brewery and Winery. It makes me wonder why people live elsewhere, when they could live here and go to this place all the time.
We live a couple miles east of Ithaca, NY, and this place is a few miles west of Ithaca, on Seneca Lake, in Lodi, NY. We brought along Heidi from next door, as she is self-employed like me and the wife, and able to play hookey mid-day, mid-week. I ordered the six beer sampler, they had about 8 available, but I like surprises and told them to simply pour. It is only 7 bucks and comes in the nifty little rack shown in the picture. The food is also a great bargain, fantastic and fresh and satisfying to either meat eaters or veggies like us. I had the beers randomly, and made notes like "fantastic!" on one, and that was about it. Overall, the honey wheat was my favorite of the day. Unusually flavorful and clear and even alelike. The oatmeal stout could have kept me happy all day, but the double bock has over 8 percent abv and was a light and sweet and quiet beer with a big punch. There was a lager and pilsener which both surprised me as darker than the IPA, and much better tasting than most lagers. Once again, as said above, the IPA has a whopping huge flavor, evident even when tasting a bunch of beers. After chocolate peanut butter pie for dessert, we went to the brewery/winery. It was between tours and we wandered and shopped and there was a lot of shiny equipment and tubes. It is overall a tiny operation, full of friendly people and delicious products.
Outside, the lake is to the west, but there is a farm adjacent to the south, complete with pasture and these cows and a sizable manure pile. On the brewery premises is a swan and fish pond, and the signs appropriately warn that the swans like to sample toes. I was feeding the swans and fish and dawdling in the nice weather when I found three four leaf clovers. This must mean something to someone, but in our case, the predicted rains began after we left for the day. Perfect. I doubt I will ever try any other beer or go to any other brewery: this place is that good.