Thursday, February 28, 2008

Goose Island Clybourn Beer Academy Feb 2008

The theme was Belgian beers, very different ones, mostly American made ones. Not a bad beer in the bunch. I'm not here to review the dozen or so beers individually, but they were all above a B-.

For the true Belgian lovers of fruit lambics, the best in show was made by the geniuses at Cantillon. Interestingly, Goose's head brewer Greg Hall was there, said he had just came back from a visit to Cantillon, and will be going there in the fall to help with the "harvest".

The Cantillon we had was the Saint Lamvinus, a vintage bottle from 2006, which includes grapes as a fruit addition. It is a beautiful coral red color, a slight bit cloudy, with a thin head that is gone before you know it. Interesting nose, barnyard, vegetables, some fresh asparagus, funky, tart yet sweet enough to balance. Some blend of wine/beer here, it is a beer, not overpowered by the grapes, just a vinous flavor. Nicely carbonated, stark dry finish, not as cleansing as their Rose, but startling. I give it a strong A, another super aperitif beer from these folks.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

St. Bernardus Tripel

Had a 33cl bottle of St. Bernardus Tripel last night before dinner, a fruity, malty nice head tripel from the Trappists rated at 8.0% abv and good dated until 2010.

Clean head, usual tripel smells (esters, apple, no funk), not sure aging would help this one, it's a nice tripel but not super, just solid. I would favor La Fin du Monde from Unibroue over this one. Again, lots of tripels out there, give this one a B+ and move on to the next one.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hachi's Kitchen B+

A Saturday visit to Hachi's Kitchen in Logan Square, a highly rated Japanese restaurant. The food and beverages overall were good, the service not so.

Decorated with a minimalist black/white and browns, sleek with an 80's type feel (not disco just elegant). Comfortable for sure.

We had group of 6 which trickled in, ordered a couple of maki's to start, the Halloween maki and the Spicy White Tuna Crunch. It took 30 minutes to arrive, by that time we were very hungry - however the SWTC was super, loved by all. The Halloween roll was fine, fresh, nothing special though. All but one had green tea, very nice and they kept refills going throughout the dinner.

Two diners had Tempura Udon, one Teriyaki chicken; all enjoyed, tempura a bit heavy, greasy according to one. Problem was the other two dinners ordered took another 20 minutes to arrive, two standard rolls (mine) and the unagi bowl. Was it the rolls taking so long, who knows, but terrible wait. After the wait the Negi Hamachi Maki, yellowtail with scallion, was creamy and delicious, unagi very good.

Wine and beer is standard, decent by the glass selections, we passed on the many saki options. A top sushi place like this should have some microbrew offerings, like Hatachino Nest, a stellar Japanese brewer.

Overall, really very nice food at a decent price, but service, that is kitchen service - our direct servers were very good and apologetic about the waits - not up to snuff. Overall, a B+, we would try here again but with so many other untried sushi places in Chicago it maybe awhile before our return.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus

I had the pleasure of having a glass of Cantillon Rosé De Gambrinus on tap at Hopleaf in Andersonville. 'Twas after a very nice lunch at M. Henry.

There are very few geniuses making ales, but the folks at Cantillon are so. This particular brew is a raspberry lambic. As they describe it: "When young, the Rosé de Gambrinus will still present its full fruity taste. Later on, the lambic taste will become dominant at the expense of the fruit taste." On tap, it is still young and presents full raspberry taste with no sweetness, at all. They used to serve this with sugar, but without it - it is pure refreshing, puckering, super - an A+. This will not be described as a candy nor cough syrup. Just a solid super raspberry lambic to follow.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!!

Wish I could have been there but Happy Birthday to Alice Cannon, yeah!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Tasting the St. Bernardus Pater 6

Sunday for dessert I enjoyed the St. Bernardus Prior 6, in the small 33 cl bottle, dated good until 2010! Anyway, a cloudy amber body with 3 finger head came forth.

Smell a bit musty with Belgian yeast for sure nose; tasted roasty, mid-deep dubbel-type malt, little hops but a slightly sourish finish to offset the sweet malt; very nice and a bit peppery with dark fruit flavor (plumbs, dates, etc.); fizzy mouth feel, at a lower than normal Belgian abv at 6.7% abv, tasty, better taste at warmer temps, not one I would seek out for all time, but very nice. Score this nice session-type beer for a B+. Welcome anytime.