Archive for April, 2010

Theraflu – The Other Other Non-Beer

Like a Saison... sans the tastiness...

I am sick- a lovely little gift from my boyfriend…

(Thanks, hun!)

Unfortunately for me, that means not having the ability to taste beer.  (Sad panda!)  Fortunately for you, my esteemed reader, it means it’s time for…

TheraFlu– Nectar of the gods!-ods-ods-ods-ods…

Okay, so TheraFlu isn’t even close to being the “nectar of the gods,” however it did make my poor lil’ hurtin’ throat feel a bit better.  And so- behold, o wise reader, my review of TheraFlu Severe Cold.

The pour is that of an off-white powder into a steamy mug of microwaved water.  There is no visible head on this brew, but it emits the aroma of stale Orangina and lies.  The first sip leaves me puckered and pouting but is soothing on its way past my irritated throat.  The warm orange-water flavoring leaves something to be desired.

As I let my drink cool to luke-warm temperatures, however, it begins to taste as if I dissolved a citrus flavored SweeTart into my glass of water- a childhood science experiment gone right.  The after taste can quickly be assuaged with the chewing of your favorite cookie.

Lastly, I detect no alcohol.  I think they may have forgotten the fermentation process… I will have to write to somebody about that.

Disclaimer: I don’t own any rights in regards to TheraFlu.  Also, TheraFlu did exactly what it was supposed to do and worked wonders on my cold this evening, despite my snarky comments.  I would recommend this concoction to anyone with a stuffy nose and sore throat.

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A Night of Simply Beer: Bourbon Stout, Funky Saison, Pumpkin Porter, Peanut Butter Porter

A Night with Simply Beer

I recently had the undoubtedly fortunate pleasure of receiving a Simply Beer Homebrew care package from fellow BrewYorker Peter Kennedy.  Peter is an avid beer junkie who has been trying his hand at homebrewing for about a decade- and his seasoned knowledge definitely shows.  His brews are not only delicious and different, but his painstaking attention to detail and love for beer shows in every last drop.  The kit included four of Simply Beer’s offerings: Bourbon Stout, Funky Saison, Pumpkin Porter and Peanut Butter Porter (I KNOW!)

Mmm... Bourbon-y...

The first brew I tried was the Bourbon Stout.  As you probably know, I’m a stout girl at heart, so I couldn’t wait to pop this one open.  The back story I received on this beer is that Peter (a stout lover himself,) decided that he wanted to try his hand at a low ABV stout that tasted like a big barrel aged imperial.  Hence, this session-style stout was born.  While an interesting concept (and something that could save me from an embarrassing night,) this turned out to be my least favorite brew of the bunch.  The aroma cries out of cheesy chive and sour cream- a twice baked potato.  The taste is fizzy and watery for a bourbon stout.  Dark and malty with a vegetative herbaceous base, the sip is sweet but the aftertaste leaves me a bit unhappy.  Overall, however, this bourbon stout is very complex and commendable for a homebrew.   With time and a little finagling, this concept could go places.

It's time to get Funky...

Next on the list is the muddy pouring Funky Saison.  This beer poured with a HUGE ecru foamy head which took almost all of the glass height.  The scent tickled my nose like natural soap made with lavender, sage and peach.  There was also something of strawberry or cherry starbursts on the nose.  This brew sips nice and light- bubbly and sweet and sour, although not super extreme on the sour end.  There is a refreshing quality to this drink that does not take away from its clear and present taste point.  Apples and pears mingle with clove and nutmeg to give it a spiced cider feel (sans cinnamon).  Although pulpy, the Funky Saison is a fine refreshing drink that packs a tasty punch.

A little sip of Autumn...

Upon taking a sniff of Peter’s Pumpkin Porter, I was immediately transported to October.  Literally, the beer smells like a night of New England trick or treating; crisp and chilly, musty and leave-y, and roast-y and toasty.  The taste is a mixture of pumpkin bread and baked apples with cinnamon.  Honestly, I don’t even need to say anything more about the Pumpkin Porter- what is better than a beer that smells like Halloween and tastes like Fall?

Giving Reese's a run for their money...

Last, but most certainly not least, came the Peanut Butter Porter.  At 11% ABV, this brew could quite possibly be the best beer I have yet come across.  Opaque midnight black with a tiny, milky chocolate head, the porter boasts some beautiful lacing which makes me excited for a fine nitrous-like reminding me of my grandma.  Sweet chocolate undertones compliment the strong peanut butter taste.  When I was growing up, my parents would marinate chicken in a sesame teriyaki sauce and grill it on the barbeque.  This brew has a hint of that smoky, savory goodness.  The sweet and salty mixture of salted caramel shines through at certain points of the sip.  There is a good amount of alcohol in the taste; like a fancy peanut butter cup filled with bourbon.  Overall, the brew is thick, roasty and creamy, like eating buckeyes (a decadent peanut butter ball dipped in chocolate) near the fireplace.  This is undoubtedly Peter’s best creation to date- the complexity AND familiarity of the Peanut Butter Porter make it a deliciously great beer for newbie tasters and seasoned beer vets alike.

Peter Kennedy is not only just an amazing homebrewer, but a genuinely great guy as well.  He is an advocate of craft beer and always willing to offer a bit of tasting advice or to share his knowledge and help educate on the world of craft beer.  He is quick to support his fellow BrewYork-er’s in their “beerdeavors” and always willing to lend a helping hand.  Check out his article about the hashtag phrase “beerpeopleRgoodpeople” and you will understand what I mean.

With that in mind, keep your eyes peeled and ears perked for the day when Simply Beer brews will be released for public consumption.  These beers are simply too good to pass up.

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Buckbean Brewery Tule Duck Red Ale, Orange Blossom Ale, and Black Noddy Lager

Tule Duck Red Ale, Orange Blossom Ale, Black Noddy Lager

This series of canned brews comes out of Buckbean Brewing Co, a fairly new (circa 2008) brewery out of Reno, Nevada.  The current offerings from Buckbean, each of these three beers has a uniqueness from each other as well as much of the rest of the beer world.  Buckbean prides themselves on using local ingredients and creating beers for both men and women.

Black Noddy Lager: At 5.2% ABV, this almost session brew is classified as a Bavarian Schwarzbier.  A dark chocolate pour with a milk chocolate colored head, the aroma is that of roasted chocolate and weedy onion grass.  An odd dichotomy of dry but watery to the mouth, the first taste that comes to mind is dirty lettuce and onions.  It is salty and bitter with a hint of beach rocks.  A good summary of this brew would be this- it is like licking a burnt log after a long summer rain.

Original Orange Blossom Ale: Made for the Orange Blossom festival in Nevada, this brew is reminiscent of orange soda, but with an ABV of 5.8%.  Smelling of orange, asparagus and dandelions, the aroma is that of the medicinal persuasion- something of doctor’s office plus orange cleaner plus old people farts.  The sip is crisp and herbaceous with a nod towards Metamucil or vitamin supplement drinks.  The taste, while an odd mixture of sweet orange and vegetative herbs, is not as bad as the smell- which definitely ruins this brew for me.  Perhaps it is a regional thing, but being the New York City girl as I am, I did not understand this beer.

Tule Duck Red Ale: Pouring a beautiful cherry wood color with respectable lacing, this 6.2% ABV Red Ale gave me hope of salvation for Buckbean.  One whiff of this brew and I was transported back into my high school wood shop class- all wood shavings and sawdust and wood varnish and lacquer.  Fruity with a slight roasty caramel edge, this ale is refreshing yet bland.  The sweet, un-hoppy taste of Tule Duck makes it to be a nice everyday drink- something that would be great with a burger or a nice hidden compliment to strong savory tastes.

Buckbean Brewing Co. has a style all to their own with these three offerings, and I admire that greatly, although the only brew I might drink again would be the Tule Duck Red Ale.  For a newer startup brewery, these drinks (the Orange Blossom Ale especially) push the limits of the American craft beer market- where strong extreme tasting beers are taking the reigns.  Although the Orange Blossom Ale and Black Noddy Lager did not exactly sit well with my palate, I strongly suggest trying these beers if you have the chance- if only to try something new and different and work on expanding your palate.

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