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We’re Still Here, I Swear!

So, apologies again and again and again. I’ve quite honestly wracked my brains trying to think of a “relationship”-ish post, but I wasn’t able to come up with one. As such, I’ve decided in the spirit of my laziness and lackluster creativity to do a double beer post.

Here’s to Off Color Brewery in Chicago and New Holland Brewery from Holland, MI.

Off Color Scurry

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Here we see the beer mouse in its natural environment, scurrying away for its Off Color honey molasses and oats. (Ignore the whiskeys in the back)

So a bit of a problem on this one actually. I don’t think I can do a proper review on this particular tasting because I don’t believe I’ve used an appropriate glass. With good reason however!

Off Color Brewery is an absolutely fantastic brewery in Chicago and aptly named. I don’t believe a single product of theirs has a similar counterpart or flavor profile with the products of any other Chicago brew. Further, I can’t say I’ve ever had a bad brew from Off Color, and I note I absolutely enjoyed their gose (a sour beer) which isn’t something I usually enjoy.

But here’s the problem, these guys are so freaking off color that I actually ended up screwing up the glassware for this drink. You see, Scurry is a Kottbusser style beer, a tradition of brewing that predates the (in)famous German Purity Laws of 1516 (woohoo, 500th bday!). In other words, this “wheat” beer doesn’t abide by the rule of *German Accent* “BEER MUST BE ONLY BARLEY, HOPS, AND WATER!” For those who want more information, here’s Off Color’s explanation of Scurry.

In abiding to a tradition, so obscure Google only gives me forums and Off Color’s website, the only information on appropriate glassware I could find for this drink was the classification of “wheat” beer. So, I dusted off my wheat beer glass, and let ‘er pour…………………………..and ended up with lackluster results.

The wheat glass’s hourglass shape does some really wacky stuff; the top of the glass affects the beer differently from the bottom. If you were to cut the glass asymmetrically, the top portion behaves much like a pint glass: the aroma is dispersed and the carbonation hits the tongue heavily releasing, in this case, a hop heavy forward. This was the unpleasant, unfamiliar part. The bottom half, however, gathers the aromas into the narrow belly, essentially acting as a snifter. I don’t think it does too much to the mouthfeel however, as the hourglass shape seems to do little to nothing with how the lip of the glass affects the bubbles.

[On a separate note, I’m a little convinced storing the beer in the garage where outdoor temperatures went anywhere from 35 to -3 degrees Fahrenheit may have impacted the quality of the beer……………..details :P]

So basically, this has been my excuse for why I can’t accurately judge this beer, especially since a pint glass did a much better job of delivering the honey, molasses flavors the Off Color advertises. This is a beer we will come back to on a later date.

Overall: x/10 cuz I have bad memory and poor judgement. Mistakes were made, I’ll learn not to serve this in the wheat glass.

New Holland Brewing Dragon’s Milk Reserve: Vanilla Chai

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Excuse the mess, dragons aren’t a tidy bunch.

Visually: A rich, dark velvety black. Really reminiscent of the luscious super dark chocolates you see at your stores. The head foams up easily, and is semi-robust. It’ll hold its structure, but it’ll dissipate after 3-4 minutes unfortunately.

Smell: VANILLA + BOURBON there is no greater dessert combo. The chai part of it brings a slight floral essence to the drink, as if light caffeine were being floated out on alcoholic vanilla notes. Of course, being an imperial stout (ABV: 11%), very heavy on the alcohol smell as well.

Taste/Mouthfeel: THIIIICK MWAHAHAHHAHAHA. Some will know that I’m the type that actually like to chew my beer. The beer has the consistency of a light simply syrup and the carbonation of the head delivers pockets of bursting alcohol to the tongue. The body’s carbonation provides texture and a medium that let’s you taste everything at once. Vanilla, bourbon, hints of floral (probably the chai). It’s a thick, rich, powerfully sweet drink.

Overall: This is a no-brainer variation of the standard Dragon’s Milk. I might decide to age one of these bad boys. This is the first time I’ve ever had a variation on the Dragon’s Milk, and there are 3 others (but those will be out in the remaining quarters of 2016) I’m a sucker for Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stouts, but if New Holland’s specials were more accessible to me I’d be a poor destitute man with too many bottles to choose from. Simply put, I love this beer. Excellent dessert drink and also an excellent pairing for a bourbon tasting.

9.5/10 [for there is alas no such thing as a perfect beer]

(Also, one of the bottles I had had a special cap dedicated to prostate cancer awareness. Good on you New Holland. I give you an extra 0.5/10 for that]

Have a Holly Jolly Fistmas

Hello hello!

I hope all of our readers have been enjoying the holiday season. With the weirdly warm weather, the holiday spirit hasn’t really been in the air, but N and I have been doing our best to keep the season bright. 

Though we’re spending the holidays in separate states, we had a small holiday get-together before I left. And by holiday get-together, I mean I crashed a violin recital of his at a retirement home, and the dinner that followed with his mom, his violin teacher, and another violin student. Not the most festive of holiday parties, but I was just grateful to get to see him before I went home for the holidays. 

I don’t know if N agrees with me (though I suspect he does), but the holidays definitely aren’t as bright without him here. LDR is hard enough the rest of the time, but this time of year is especially hard. Christmas is supposed to be a time to be with the people you love, so to be forced apart by family demands is particularly bitter for the both of us. It’s comforting to know this is temporary, but right now it feels neverending. The stress of getting ready for the upcoming application cycle hasn’t been helping, either. 

Despite the hardships, N’s been doing everything in his power to make me feel better. And I don’t think I let him know enough how much it’s actually helping. But it is. Even if it’s nothing more than a happy corgi picture on Facebook messenger, it does a lot to make me feel better and closer to him. And I love him all the more for it. 

And now for the beer!

Revolution Fistmas:

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Such a weird can design…see below for N’s commentary on that. 

Appearance: Pours a coppery red with a white foamy head. The head quickly settles, leaving only cobwebs skating across the top and some small bubbles clinging to the side of the glass.

Aroma: There’s a faint aroma of spices, ginger mostly, and a sweet caramel-y smell as well, but not very strong.

Taste/Mouthfeel: This beer starts strong and hits you with orange zest and a hint of ginger. The citrus fades fast and the spices dominate the middle, but not in an overpowering way. Ginger and other spices finish the the sip, with the mild carbonation helping keep the taste on your tongue.

Overall: This is a bit different from the usual holiday ales that attempt to overpower you with all the Christmas spices. Though the beer is chok full of ginger, it’s done in a way to be ever present, but never overpowering. The initial citrus notes, though overpowering on first sip, lends a lightness to this beer that is often missing in other holiday ales (and around the holidays in general). It’s a lightly spiced, slightly citrus-y amber ale. And at 6.1% ABV it won’t leave you feeling too terrible in the morning (I haven’t been drinking much guys, my alcohol tolerance has gone to hell, it’s awful). 7.5/10

I feel the need to add, don’t drink this beer with your more, erm, immature friends. N felt the need to tell me about how the name of the beer and the can artworks makes him think about what Santa might be getting up to after he finishes delivering presents and I couldn’t drink this beer (or write the review) for like a month after he said that. BAD N.

hehe -N

Good Food, Good Beer, Good Company.

So this post is a couple of weeks in the making. N and I were reunited for a weekend about 3 weeks ago at this point; we managed to do a beer review while together (see below) but the rest of the post never really came together while he was here. We’d been apart for a while at this point and wanted the weekend to be mostly between us. N felt obligated to crank out a review, so we did, but I convinced him to leave the rest of the post to me for after his departure so we could have more quality time together. Clearly I can’t be trusted. 

We spent the weekend mostly in our favorite room (no, not that room, get your head out of the gutter): the kitchen. Anyone who knows N knows he’s a bit of a Gordon Ramsay-obsessed foodie, and anyone who knows me knows my apartment is too cold to function in unless I have the oven on, which has caused me to develop a bit of a baking addiction. So we picked a few dishes and desserts to bake together. 

I really wanted to make homemade cinnamon rolls for some reason, so we decided to do that for breakfast. But since they take hours to rise we made the dough the night before and refrigerated it overnight, so it would only have to rise an hour in the morning and then bake. This recipe proved to be trickier than expected, as N has zero experience working with pastry dough, and I only have slightly more than zero experience. So when the roll ended up looking like this…

...does this look right to you??

…does this look right to you??

And this…

...this definitely doesn't look right.

…this definitely doesn’t look right. Also ignore my finger plz.

I panicked a bit. (Did I mention there was also wine while we made these? I’m sure that didn’t help). BUT…

How did this happen?

How did this happen?

EVERYTHING WORKED OUT BETTER THAN EXPECTED. Also, to anybody reading this who also enjoys cinnamon rolls and coffee: oh my god make a coffee glaze for your cinnamon rolls IT WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING. 

Since I’m sure one of my siblings will show this to my mother, yes we also ate “real” food. Pizza count as real food, right? Homemade thin crust, at N’s request, turned out pretty well. Apparently we did not take a picture of that, so here’s a picture of a thin crust pizza, courtesy of Google:

Pretend we made this. It looks a lot nicer than the one we actually made and it's a nice self-esteem boost.

Pretend we made this. It looks a lot nicer than the one we actually made and it’s a nice self-esteem boost.

And for dessert, N wanted to make these baked apple rose pastries. We skipped the whole “make your own dough” bit (laminating dough is hard!) and just used puff pastry (cheating woohoo!). Making them was pretty straightforward, and we even got to eat buttery apple bits as we were making them. 

Pre-baking.

Pre-baking. So pwetty. 

 

Also pre-baking. So pwetty.

Also pre-baking. Less pwetty. Bad angle. 

 

Baked!

Baked!

They also were surprisingly good. I think we over-baked them a tad; they were crunchier than expected, and the tops were a bit black. They were also kind of hard to remove. It probably would have turned out better in a ramekin but I don’t have ramekins (cough cough Christmas is coming cough cough) so oh well. N doesn’t usually like to try the same dish twice, but I think we’ll be revisiting this recipe in the future in the hopes of getting it right. 

Though of course the best part about this wasn’t the food (unless you ask N). It was spending quality time together doing something we enjoy. It was a nice change from our usual go-everywhere-see-everyone-do-everything reunions. 

And now, for the beer!

I have no idea what the picture is. Then again, none of their artwork makes sense. They're just weird and awesome.

I have no idea what the picture is. Then again, none of their artwork makes sense. They’re just weird and awesome.

Three Floyd’s Moloko Milk Stout

Visual: A bit sensitive, the head continues form after finishing the pour, which by the way comes out like thick motor oil. Brownish creamy head with coffee hints that settle quickly. Dark, viscous, and opaque throughout the body. Minimal carbonation in the body. Light brown sugar tan at the peripherals of the body.

Smell: Weak, but lactose sugar comes out first. Roasted notes fill the air immediately above the drink (N thinks it’s coffee). Overall, the smell disperses weakly, though it intensifies the more you drink.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The carbonation releases a blend of malty sweetness and a significant bitter note. There’s a strange lasting taste of spiciness that prolongs the flavors and has you drinking more and more. The beer itself is viscous, but light: an effervescence. It is, however, more viscous than your average milk stout while being less than an imperial. Like carbonated honey. The head was gone too quick, but shared many of the body’s characteristics.

Overall: The spice threw us off a bit, but it works well. Maybe we’re just imagining it or mistaking the carbonation for it, but it does the trick of encouraging constant sipping. The viscosity, as M puts it, sticks to your tongue, essentially sticking the beer to your mouth. We wish it could be a tad bit sweeter; there seems to be more bitter in this milk stout than most others. M would argue for this to be called either an imperial (despite the ABV being only 8) or smoked stout. Pretty solid drink, though not necessarily noteworthy especially in the context of other Three Floyd’s concoctions (*cough *cough Wig Splitter *cough *cough). 7/10 from both of us.

To the Autumnal Love of My Life

M is having a particularly bad day, maybe particularly bad week.

So this will be an attempt to make her feel better (as I drink sweet vermouth……im doing it for the sake of familiarizing my palate and jesus it’s almost not worth it). Consider this some kind of public love letter i guess….

To she who has the sads,

I wish I could be by your side, holding you. I can’t right now, but hopefully these words will help. You are a beautiful woman, and I don’t just mean you’re nice on the eyes. You have a wonderfully rational mind that’s incredibly fun to debate with, and a voice that tempers all your thoughts with empathy, etiquette, and a compassion you may not even know you have. On the flip side, your ability to flip the immaturity switch is refreshing and absolutely adorable; I don’t think I could make anybody else laugh talking about fancy beef gravy or talking like Moon Moon.

I want you to know that your friends love you. They love talking to an intelligent friend who has passions as deep as yours and who they can share their own with. They love your easy going nature and how quickly they can rely on you for support, either in discussion or making fun of me :P. They love knowing that there is this awesome cocktail of intelligence, fun-loving, and passion in that small, but incredible person.

With love from not just me but the world,

N and the powers that be (mwahahahahahahha)

Anderson Valley's Fall Seasonal: Pumpkin Ale

An antelered bear’s favorite autumnal drink

Anderson Valley’s Fall Hornin

Appearance: The ale is extremely sensitive. A light pour will bring for a frothy, creamy head with an autumnal brown tinge on the edges. Even pouring at a tilt, the head expands in the Belgian glass (I believe a tulip would only exaggerate the volume further). The body is as dark as a porter or a particularly opaque brown ale.

Smell: Very faint, nothing to write home about. Vague wisps of pumpkin spice, the classic nutmeg and cinnamon with what Starbuck’s markets as PUMPKIN.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The ale honestly feels closer to a porter or a stout than the more classic ales. Slightly viscous, like a thin milkshake and the weak carbonation makes it feel like a boozy concoction you might find at a shake bar.Look, I understand there’s this zeitgeist of PUMPKIN SPICE CRAZE during fall and that there’s an accompanying culture of mocking said PUMPKIN SPICE CRAZE. But, as dear Ron Swanson may say,

And if you think there is, you're an A-hole. (Unless you deconstruct it. Then that person is an A-wad.)

And if you think there is, you’re an A-hole. (Unless you deconstruct it. Then that person is an A-wad.)

The ale has a creamy sweetness to it. Nutmeg is the most profound of the spices here, but the balance is excellent and really showcases off the pumpkin flavor as a result. The drink is consistent from beginning to end, and a subtle, but solid vanilla aftertaste trails the end. Alcohol is nearly negligible; you feel it but you won’t taste it. Really, it’s like an slightly alcoholic pumpkin pie, just not as heavy or thick. For that matter, probably pairs excellently with one.

Overall: 8/10. Go away pumpkin spice lattes, hello pumpkin ale!

Long Time, No Update

WE’RE ALIVE!

It’s been a crazy long time since we’ve updated–what else is new? I think every post we’ve made has started with an apology about how long it’s been since we’ve updated. Or at least every post I’ve made; I don’t want to unfairly besmirch the good name of N. Lots has happened in the interim. We both had birthdays, which were aptly celebrated; mine with just the two of us and an impromptu vegetarian festival, his with lots of friends, food, booze, and arcade games. N has submitted all of his med school apps, and I’ve FINALLY finished my online class (5 months later than I should have but who’s counting). And to top off all the excitement, N had his first med school interview last week, which led to us taking a road trip back to my hometown.

The roadtrip itself was rather uneventful; 4+ hours in a minivan each way, trying not to die in the rain. Boooor-ring. And once we were off the road we didn’t get to see much of each other, as N was at his interview. But we did get to have a big family dinner with my whole family for my brother’s birthday (happy birthday to the original JT!). I only see my family about four times a year, and N sees them even less, so it was nice to get to spend some time with them as a couple. While N was off trying to become a doctor I got to spend some quality time with my niece and nephew, and after his interview we celebrated the only way we know how: lots of beer and lots of food. Highlights of the food include barbecued TVP for us veggies (which actually tastes really freaking good) and all the meat for the carnivores. Beer highlights include the coveted Scary Jesus Rockstar by Dark Horse, which I have been told was named thusly to insult Nickelback, with whom they turned down an endorsement deal, because who the eff likes Nickelback?

Unfortunately, I don’t have any of that here with me today to review for you, so instead I’m going to dive into a review of a seasonal beer (at the very end of its season because Germans fail at naming things).

Revolution Oktoberfest:

Ignore the fact that the Revolution beer is in a Goose Island glass. It's all Chicago, it's all good, right?

Ignore the fact that the Revolution beer is in a Goose Island glass. It’s all Chicago, it’s all good, right?

Appearance: Coppery gold and clear. Light carbonation in the body. A centimeter of white foamy head tops the beer upon pouring but quickly dissipates to a thin, white web skating across the top and clinging to the glass.

Smell: Clean and bready with some toasted malts. Yum.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Cold, clean, and crisp, with the exact right amount of carbonation, as one would expect from a lager. Sweet malts upfront, which fades into that characteristic Marzen lager taste that I can’t properly name but it’s warm, bready, vaguely nutty, and wonderful on a chilly October evening. Sticky sweet finish with hints of spices leave your mouth yearning for another sip.

Overall: Long-time readers (or anybody who has ever gone drinking with us ever) know that N and I tend to prefer ales over lagers. I think I like Oktoberfest beers in general, but I have tried very few (three, MAYBE), so I can’t properly judge on how this one stands up to others of the style. That being said, I quite enjoy this beer. The nutty, bready taste with just a hint of spice makes it really wonderful for the getting-way-too-cold-too-fast October weather, especially for the beer drinker who wants a “fall” beer but eschews anything “pumpkin spice” flavor (though really, if that’s you, try the PumKing and the Warlock from Southern Tier* and then we’ll talk). The malty-ness should appeal to those who usually stick to the darker ales (hello!) while the light crispness should appeal to those who prefer lighter beers. And its low ABV (5.7%) can have you drinking it all night. 7.5/10

* Possible review(s) for later this month, so stay tuned!

For April 29th! Well, maybe a week later….

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Hello to the few who read (us, I mean)!

April 29th is our anniversary, but there was a whole lotta crap that’s been happening so we didn’t get to post. But we did do things! So I will regale you with some of our past happenings.

As some of you know, M has been working on vet school stuff while I’ve been working on med school stuff. IT FCKING SUCKS DONKEY PIG BALLS (OR MOIST FUNGAL CARPET). Anyway, besides the med school stuff, I’ve also been going back and forth to the hospital as my mother recently had surgery. Naturally, her stay at the hospital has made it a little difficult for M and I to see each other, given our still-basically-long-distance-relationship.

But this past week was our 3rd anniversary, and thugh we had nixed our original plans I felt that it was unfair to M. M has been incredibly patient with me for, maybe our whole relationship. She’s stood by me while I was in Pittsburgh, doesn’t judge me for being unemployed, and understands my relative absence. So to make it up to her I “surprised” her by visiting her in the evening of the 29th. (I tried to surprise her, but N sucks at not giving hints away).

And voila, I got to see her smile, we got to eat dinner at a nice place (i wanted a Po’ Boy but they changed the menu :'(), and I think overall she had a good time too. 🙂 If I have any advice to give to the person who feels like he/she is dating up, just remember to show your gratitude (for that matter, this should apply to anyone in the relationship). Don’t take your partner for granted and remember the hard times and the good times they stood by you. Thank them. Spoil them. Kiss them. (maybe NSFW them, if that’s your thing, and you’re consensual, and you guys are cool with that). Everybody deserves a surprise smile. 🙂

no mo’ mooshy stuff

Bell’s Java Stout

Ignore Jesus, hail Java! (apologies to my Christian friends, I say ignore Jesus cuz in my room he's sorta there for obligatory purposes and not cuz i want him there)

                   Ignore Jesus, hail Java!                             (Apologies to my Christian friends, I say ignore Jesus cuz in my room he’s sorta there for obligatory purposes and not cuz i want him there)

Visual: Dark black with a musky yet creamy, brown head. Head is robust and easily formed. Seriously, didn’t try too hard and i got that perfect head.

Smell: Java licorice. Sure, that sounds like a horrible candy, but in stout form y’gotta expect it. Smells like creamy, sweet java, the licorice is more subtly sweet (idk my coffee, so i hope that doesn’t turn people off)

Mouthfeel: Just viscous enough. Less than molasses, like watery maple syrup. Not as thick as its imperial cousins, but thick enough you feel the resistance on your tongue. Still swirls easily.

Taste: Java and licorice again! As expected, though the java easily takes over the experience from beginning to end. Small tinges of hops are present when the after taste subsides. Licorice sweetness leaves a sticky feeling like you’ve just drank some alcoholic syrup. The head defintely had the java flavor more pronounced.

Overall: 9/10. I love it. The java flavor is the main character without a doubt and the fact that it’s a stout just makes it seem like that mind-altering, drugged up coffee you’ve always wanted. Just thick enough to savor in the mouth without seeming like tar. Definitely prefer this over the Atwater Vanilla Java.

(P.S: Anybody have any requests for our pre-review topics? They’re fun to write when we find something really interesting, but I’d like to see if anybody would like us to tackle some relationship stuff that maybe you’ve always wondered about. Please, leave a comment for us. It’d be great! Also, any beers you’d like us to try?)

National Beer Day

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Happy National Beer Day!

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet, as there are two very important hockey games currently going on. There’s not much to update you on. N is still at home, I’m still in Chicago. N’s still working on apps, I’m still doing online classes. We miss each  other, yadda yadda yadda. It’s national beer day, so let’s just jump to the beer!

5 Rabbit Fabulosa Porter

Ooooh purple

Ooooh purple

Appearance: Dark brown-black, slightly viscous body. There’s no real head on it; there was a slight deep tan head from pouring but it dissipated very quickly, remaining only on the edge of the glass.

Smell: It smells sweet, creamy, and chocolately. Yummmm.

Taste: A sweet and creamy start fades to a bitter chocolately middle. The finish has a bitter coffee coffee bite but also tastes slightly metallic. The beer has a slightly watery mouthfeel, however, which is disappointing considering how dark and thick the beer appears.

Overall: This is a fairly standard porter. Thick, chocolately, with hints of coffee, and 5.5% alcohol, it makes for very easy drinking. However as far as porters go, this is really nothing special. There’s nothing about it that really makes it stand out. 6.5/10

Can you tell I wrote this because N was nagging me to, and because I only had one beer and I could only drink it if I did this? M’s lazy.