Sunday, July 31, 2011

Art of the playlist: Paired with Brasserie d'Achouffe La Chouffe

cut hands . shut up and bleed
quark . art fluery
i wasted my youth . k roukonas
tree in the valley . jack rose
lovegirls precinct . oneohtrix point never
laser to laser . oneohtrix point never
giggy smile . faust
the beheaded motorbiker's smile . gunslingers
my time to live . chrome
korromda peimm . sax ruins
glen prevails . dan melchior und das menace
when extreme dogs go wrong . shit and shine
from innercity to infinity . innercity
sunrise . hoyt axton
you look like a lady . lee hazlewood
for one moment . lee hazlewood
freeway . kurt vile
house of knowledge . steve gunn
don, aman . slint 
six strings that drew blood . the birthday party
untitled 1 . renato rinaldi
running blade . umberto
365 is my number/the message . king sunny ade'
nubala (nubiana) . hamza el din
safe as milk (take 5) . captain beefheart & his magic band
beginning is night . oneida
glass museum . tortoise
start to dreaming . wooden shjips
orbiter dicta . jonas reinhardt
invade lapse leave in triumph . child's wife

Mr. Jack Rose @ The Conservatory OKC 9.19.09

Saturday, July 30, 2011

For those about to bake, we salute you.

Not so hypothetical situation:  it's brutal hot and there is no sign of relief in sight.  Your AC is defunct, and  the ten day forecast shows 5 days of +105 degree highs.  What do you do?  A: Pray for rain, B :get naked and run through the neighbors sprinklers yelling "all your base are belong to us", or C: pop the cap on a cold SA Noble Pils and see what the fuck is cookin', beside myself?  Btw, I personally choose a lot of C with a bit of B to keep life interesting, but if you're a bit more on your rocker than I am, then you can still have a helluva lot of fun engaging in some quality time with the SA Noble Pils, and without getting arrested. 

Pours yellow with a few hints of orange in an impenetrable chill haze. A rush of bubbles result in a mid-sized white head that stays around for quite a while as the bubble activity goes on and on. Eventually things settle down slightly, and I take a whiff and get a some notes of straw, some floral activity, and a bit of sugary sweetness. Perfectly crisp and malty with a good hop bite in the middle and a slight yeasty funk at the end. Light-bodied and smooth like a good Pils should be, but without a sacrificing of taste. Best Pils I've had in a while, and a welcome succor to the relentless summer of 2011.

Now I will just keep hoping the electricity quits cutting off.  Don't know what I would do if the fridge went out.  OMG, I don't even want to think about it!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Drop your (word that rhymes with stocks) and grab your hops, it's Tapwerks International IPA day celebration!

Bitter beers, for many, are an acquired taste.  If you ever get the jones however, it's all over, and someday you may very well find yourself in the darkened basement of an abandoned building drooling over a dirty tulip glass with a bunch of other hop-heads; so don't say you haven't been warned.

I've been a self-professed hop-head for a few years now, and have found that there is nothing (except for maybe napalm in the morning) that is quite like that citrus/piney goodness you find in a good IPA, DIPA or even ABA.  It seems though, that the chief obstacle for all prospective hop heads, is that initial wall of bitterness. 

Hops beautiful hops
If you can work your way beyond that, you will find a panoply of nuances and characteristics that will most assuredly make the bitterness less overwhelming, and the entire experience more welcoming.  You see, one of the most gratifying aspects of good beer (beyond the buzz) are the layers of complexity that await exploration.

So if you're wanting to know what all the commotion is about, just testing the bitter but tantalizing IPA waters, or even if you're a seasoned IPA veteran, get your butts out to the IPA day festivities and enjoy the good deals Tapwerks is offering, which include some mighty promising cask offerings from three of our favorite local breweries.   

The Thirsty Beagle dude has it all lined out for ya' here

Cheers, and hope to see you there!

Random thoughts on slow food and session beer

Was reading the most recent issue of Beer Connoisseur and it got me to thinking about two terms that don't seem to make a whole lot of sense for me right now.  That being said, I realize my thoughts on issues of import like these (screw the debt ceiling talks) are constantly in flux, so I can't deny that I may feel differently tomorrow. 

The term Slow Food is misleading in my opinion.  It legitimizes fast food, and creates an unnecessary dichotomy between the two.  There are two kinds of food, fast food, and simply, food.  End of story... well, maybe. 

Beers in the 5% abv and under range are considered session beers.  Right now my idea of a session beers is in the 5-7% range, but I will admit that my sensibilities on this are probably skewed by the trend toward the extreme.  I'm sure I will come come around, an I'm sure my liver is counting on it.

Any opinions?  Anybody there? 

Hello. . . .

Ok, I will go back to talking to myself.

Monday, July 25, 2011

California Common

This is the last of the Beer Camp brews for me this year, and I will say I've been very pleased with the overall consistency and quality of each and every one of them.

The moniker "California Common" pretty much sums up Steam Beer.  Coming from a long-time fan of the standard bearer Anchor Steam, this is by no means a knock to the style, it just is what it is.  So however you choose to look at it, let it suffice to say, I'm looking forward to comparing the two. 

Color is golden and clear.  Head thins out quickly off a medium pour, however, some streaky lace sticks as the beer lowers in the glass.  I get some sweet malts, musty grass and ripe fruits to the nose.  Tastes involves more grainy malts, some light citrus hops, and a nice fruit basket of green apples, oranges, and even bananas.

Has a light mouth-feel with an airy, clean and open body.  One person's "thin" is another person's "drinkable", and a Steam Beer is what it is.  Nothing fancy, just some straight-forward, simple and fun drinkin', and this one ranks side by side, if not just a bit ahead its older brethren.

Friday, July 22, 2011

now for the noise . . . Art of the playlist; Pairing with Boulevard Sixth Glass

progress . the human quena orchestra
steps . cecil taylor
high on the mountain of love . yellow swans
heavy water / i'd rather be sleeping . grouper
requiem for john sex . cave
dagdad . ruins
sound guardians . lightning bolt
untitled . billy bao
forgetting to suppress it . no balls
death cramps . cro-mags 
ancient temple light . eternal tapestry
besvarjelse-rota . joakim skogsberg
drop city blues . ghq
some of none . ilyas ahmed
return to zanzibar . chrome
forsaken dawn . umberto
tune q . albert ayler quartet
god nor devil . naked on the vague
the voices . ford & lopatin 
pulse . agitation free
invade lapse leave in triumph . child's wife
quark . art fleury
independence . this heat
two-ages . rst
sarin sound . robedoor
air mail . don cherry/latif khan

Summertime, and the livin' aint' easy. . .

. . . unless you have a great "session" beer (see post of 7/27/11) cold, handy, and yes, served in the proper glassware!  

After my less than stellar review of the Samson, I figured I would post a few thoughts and reviews of some lagers/pils I feel are pretty damn good summer (and for that matter, anytime) drinking.  I wouldn't be caught dead without a sixer of one of these in the fridge.

The Polestar Pilsner is one of the first craft brews I tried, and while I have refined and expanded my palate since that time, this beer still holds a special place in my hop-soaked heart.  I know Left Hand aren't necessarily considered craft beer all-stars, but its hard to beat the Sawtooth Ale as a great session beer, the Milk Stout for a creamy stout experience, or the Fade To Black 2 for some smokey goodness.   . . . For some reason I'm digging the old Polestar label more than the abstract new one. 

The Boulevard Pils hasn't been around for as long as some of the more established session beers from other breweries, but it's an excellent example of the style, and is very reasonably priced.

The Boulevard Pils pours a yellow-orange with a small white head which wisps away quickly. Aroma is subtle with some floral hop notes, grass, and distant sweet and grainy malts. Fairly crisp with some dryer edges going down and a good mix of sweet malts and bitterness overall. Mouth-feel rounds itself off after a bit, but remains highly drinkable and fairly tasty.

The Marhsal Old Pavillion is brewed right here in Oklahoma, and should make every Okie beer lover proud.  Here's a review I wrote a while back:  This mofo had big residual chunks of lacing all over after it settled in an unhurried manner. Color was pale gold. Lots of excitable fizz clambered to the top throughout the session. The usual suspects were at the nose; grass, some lemon, a bit of caramel and faint hops. Sucker went down easy, but didn't fail to keep the palate interested with a good partnership between its satisfying sweetness and a long-lasting bitterness. Had a damn fine creamy intro with a semi-dry finish that made me want to go mow the lawn, even though I lived in an apartment at the time. This beer will treat you right, and that's basically what it's all about. Sometimes the stars align and beer just fits the moment perfectly. No one night stand here baby.

If you're ever down Austin way don't forget the Live Oak Pils, an outstanding, albeit somewhat hop-centric example of the style.  Live Oak pretty much does no wrong, so I highly recommend seeking out as many of their beers as possible, and even filling a growler or two for your trip home. Here's my review from back in 2008 while dining at Opal Devines:  Pours almost pure gold with a pure white head. Had a very thick lacing which stayed throughout the life of the drink. Tasted of big hops and spice with a perfect unmistakable pils crispness. Was really surprised at the hop bite on this one. Behind all of that there was some grain, yeast, spice and grass. The lacing was thick throughout. There was a quick burst of bubbles on a shake, displaying the high carbonation of the beer. Excellent and tasty pils, and like no other I've had before.

Finally, we can't forget the Full Sail LTD Series 02 Helles Bock, which I don't see around much when it's in rotation, but I don't think is retired yet.  This is another one of my favorite early craft brews which I would recommend to anybody, anytime, without hesitation.

Pale amber-orange with a one and a half finger tan head that recedes fairly quickly. Smells of deep sweet and bready malts, well beyond what you would expect from an "American" lager. Caramel and candy aromas are also mixed in. Taste involves a certain biscuity essence which is offset by some creamy banana and then some subtle hops which even things out. This beer resides somewhere between summer and autumn, and heaven and hell, depending on your preference.

Ok, that's all for now folks.  Loading up the ice chest with some good beers and getting ready to spend some time at the pool this weekend.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Will Rogers Meet Rumble IPA

I can honestly say I've never met a Great Divide brew I didn't like.  I have met a few I didn't fall completely in love with, but I've never regretted putting down my hard earned dollars for one, and in this day and age of rising prices and stagnant wages, there's something profound to be said about consistent quality.  Too many brewers don't understand this concept, and one day when the craft beer revolution settles, I have a feeling a lot of trendy, bandwagon chaff is going to be whisked away by the fickle consumer trade winds.

Ok, end spiel and onto this much anticipated brew.  Reddish orange pour with a tawny middle at the light and a slight and quickly fading off-white head.  Very little lace sticks to the pint after all is said and done.  Sweet and mellow to the nose with some ripe fruits and a faded citrus hop presence toward the back.  Body is also smooth as silk and has a medium mouth-feel.  Taste involves an understated caramel maltiness, an array of fruits (apple, orange, and even banana) and a fairly subdued, but long lasting woody hoppiness that makes up for vigour with longevity.

Alcohol heat livens things up randomly, as it's not always noticed, but there when sought.  A few chalk notes are revealed as the beer warms.  Some spice and then a hint of charred oak finish things up and top off this fairly complex IPA with a foot-under-the table furtive wink instead of an over-the-top one-liner bang; a fact that I think is pretty damn sexy in this extreme in-your-face world we live in.  


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Samson Original Czech Lager

OKC Summer Heat Wave Beer Festival 2011 continues, and yes, I'm still on a lager/pils kick, and have to admit, I have a soft spot for the lighter Czech beers.  Haven't seen this one in Oklahoma, so figured I would give it a shot.  I know most people feel lagers are pedestrian, and in many cases I agree, especially when we're talking about adjunct territory, but when I get a hold of a good one, it makes for such a great contrast to the bigger beers.  Lets see if this one can deliver the goods. 

The green bottle scares me, but I have an exploratory nature, and I've done my risk assessment, so here goes.  Not sure if I've already set this one up for failure in my mind, but I get a hint of skunk floating out of the bottle.  Off a medium pour a slight dirty white head rises and sticks for a few before leaving a miniscule batch of webbed lace behind.  A hazy yellow orange in color, and I see floaties; another bad omen, but I'm going to push ahead and see what lays in store.

Atypically sweet and vegetal to the nose with a thin vein of fruitiness and some green grass.  Tastes almost overly sweet and fruity with more near dominating vegetal notes, and say it ain't so, corn!  A little spice eventually seeps in.  Has a bit of hops at the very end.  Mouth-feel is medium and this beer is everything but sharp going down.  It doesn't necessarily hurt a lager to have a little creaminess, but that crisp and dry edge is what I'm looking for.  When all is said and done this one just doesn't coalesce.  Everything seems off, and I have a bit of a hard time finishing.         

Every style has its place, and average and even bad beers are not exclusive to any one style, so even though this one didn't really pay off, I'm gonna keep on keepin on in my search for the best of the best lagers and pils.  Stay tuned. 

Czech Pilsner

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Nothing like the gift of good beer.

This past weekend a friend brought a four pack of this most refreshing and perfect gift over for a cookout.  And while it's nice to have thoughtful friends, it's even nicer to have thoughtful friends who know good beer.  The Ur-Weisse is by no means a rare beer in Oklahoma (I've passed it by on the shelf close to a million times) so as an added bonus I find, with great surprise and excitement, that I haven't rated it so far.

Hazy orange upper at the light, clearer at the bottom.  Voluminous white head with a thick white froth left behind.  A standard big banana and clove aroma is followed by some wheat, some scarce vegetal notes and yeast.

Tangy to the tongue with a complex array of fruits, including banana, apple, orange and lemony citrus.  A bit of clove and a few metallic notes linger on the palate.  Deep down, after some warming, some bubblegum flourishes.  

Goes down creamy, but with a slight edge that circumvents banality.  Has a medium body, and is a bit more airy and carbonated than many of its kin, a fact that does not detract.     

It just doesn't get much better than this, and all summertime drinking hefe cliche bullshit applies, in spades.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Marshall Arrowhead Pale Ale

The good ole overly abundant APA, a style whose pleasures can be second to none when built with care, but a style that has obviously suffered dearly at the hands of the craft brewing explosion, leaving many a liquor store filled with mundane but cleverly named beers just waiting to trick the neophyte into paying for a fancy label.  Hopefully Marshal can help set the record straight.

Off a medium pour a packed off-white head tops out right below the pint rim.  Good retention with a few hills of lace left behind.  Murky orange and red in color.  The froth stays thick and sticky as the session continues.

Promising aroma with some pungent, oily hops and an undercurrent of citrus.  Some apricot fruitiness also exists.  Tastes excellent with more apricot fruitiness mixed with some sweet malts and grain and a heap of hops, all balanced to near perfection.  A few drinks in and I'm getting some welcomed sour fruitiness as well. 

Smooth and crisp with a lingering hop edge in the throat.  Medium bodied but highly sessionable; with the right ratio of taste to body.

This is what a Pale Ale should be.  Bold but not overpowering.  Tasty but not overly complex.  I have a feeling the Arrowhead Pale Ale is going to be a staple in my fridge this summer, and will provide plenty of succor for these miserable record breaking, head baking days.

Marshall Brewing Company

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Full On Summer Get Down Make Love To Your German Beer Time.

Best of Beer Camp has been nothing short of kick ass this year, with all the brews I've tried being well balanced and tasty, yet unique in their own way.  The Weizenbock is one of my favorite styles, but as we all know, there's not necessarily an abundance of them around.  Sierra Nevada is helping change all that with this one.

Pours a murky brownish-orange with an exceptional tan head that actually turns white at the top edges. Froth suspends for a good while and evaporates more than disintegrates. A thick sheet stays behind and clings to the glass.

A tangy citrus aroma provides cover for a sweet malt base. Coriander and cinnamon mingle with some banana and clove. Banana, sweet bread, cinnamon, a touch of grain, and a tiny drop of maple syrup to the tongue.  A distant note of sour apples are nicely blended.

Medium mouth-feel and initially creamy with a dry ending. There is a lingering sweetness that is never cloying, but could be toned down a bit, which mind you, is a personal preference.

A complex Weizenbock whose elements make for unique drinking, but not at the expense of refreshment.