Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Next Session, and My Beer Rankings

I've been doing these "The Session" blogs on a monthly basis since discovering them earlier this year. If you don't know it's a first Friday of every month where bloggers around the world write about a particular topic related to Beer. For the upcoming August Session the theme is “Happy Anniversary”. That is blogger are encouraged to:

"Use this as an excuse to celebrate. Open a limited release anniversary beer from your favorite brewer. Enjoy that special beer you normally only open on your wedding anniversary or birthday. Either way, tell us about it. Why is it a beer you may only drink once a year? Why is that brewery’s annual release the one you selected?"

I will be contributing an entry, though I'm not yet sure what the beer will be. Stay tuned.

As for my rankings of beers tried recently, I put them up mostly on Beer Advocate, you can locate them under my ID robbyc1 by going directly to this link. Under the Beer Karma section click on the "beer reviews" link to see the 60 or so beers I have reviewed.

You can also see my Wants (usually out of market brews I can't easily obtain). I can be very appreciative of anyone who can find these and ship them to me, alert me if you can to arrange details! For those who don't know Chicago, while a substantial beer market, suffers from a concentration of problematic distributors, they are rumored to be Mob controlled, and very difficult to deal with, thus many brewers simply choose to stay out of this market. Luckily, beer can be sent to Illinois (Fedex, UPS). According to a currently operating retailer, they can only ship beer to 23 States, including CA, CO, DC, FL, GA, ID, IL, IA, LA, MN, NE, NM, NV, NH, NC, ND, OH, OR, SC, TX, VA, WA, WV, WI. Private sellers/traders are limited only by the shipper's rules, and to know more here's a good article.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Session for July- Beers Out of Season

The subject for July's Session, a monthly worldwide blog day every first Friday of the month about beers (started by this guy) can be summed up as this: Drinking anti-seasonally. That is, what do blog writers drink out of season. Not what lawnmower beers you prefer in July, but rather do you drink heavy malty beers in summer, or light wheat ales in winter?? It's an interesting question, here goes...

My desire for deep and complex tastes, while satiated in the cooler months, does not go away in summer. This is my special time for anti-seasonal tries. I do drink hoppy beers in winter, but summer is my time for certain winter-style brews. And I have intentionally saved a few winter/xmas beers especially for summer(no - wife of mine - I didn't forget to drink them in cold cold January). Now, I don't go outside and sweat in the sun while drinking these, but rather find myself in a nice after dinner mood in front of the TV, watching the White Sox, with the cooler night air wafting in the back door.

I will have a nice bottle of Jolly Pumpkin's Noel De Calabaza, a malty spicy brew with a sour finish coming from the wooden casks they age their ales in. This is a good choice to pair with sweetish BBQ. With some chocolate cookies, I'll have a nice Gouden Carolus Carolus D'Or - Cuvée Van De Keizer, a strong dark Belgian ale made one day per year in February, which has a wonderful complex taste and a great slightly sweet finish. Finally, we hosted some family last weekend and enjoyed a deep, rich dark belgian type ale from Lost Abbey called Judgment Day. We had this Belgian quad brewed with raisins paired with hummus and light vegetables. Wonderfully complex, and a great offset to the lighter tastes of the foods!

The days may be hot and drying, and you need lots of water to hold up, but I'd rather drink a combo of water with great tasting beers in summer than lower my standards just for some refreshment. No Coors, it's not all about refreshment, it's about flavor, always, always, always....