Saturday, April 26, 2008

Moe's Backroom Blunder

Tap Room No. 21 Brewery
Moe's Backroom Lager

The Great Depression.

That’s all I think about after sampling this forgettable lager. I have to confess that I was drawn in by the neck label that reads, “Celebrating the repeal of prohibition 1933.”

Beer nuts all over probably herald 1933 and the first regime of Franklin D. Roosevelt as the reawakening of beer in this country. It was, as part of his first 100 days work as president, that FDR managed to legalize beer in early 1933. Hooray!

I can imagine the brewers scrambling to fire up their brewing equipment to meet that first pent up demand; it must have been electric! I can also imagine what those first few batches of legal beer probably tasted like as so many breweries rapidly converted from making root beer, malted milk and spark plug parts to churning out cheap beer to sate the masses. I imagine a lot of it sucked.

Kinda like this beer, frankly.

The only difference is that in 1933, the brewers had something of a captive audience in that everyone who even remotely enjoyed beer was trotting down to the corner tavern to plop a dime or two on the bar for the newly legalized beer no matter that it wasn’t quite ready for prime time. No so today.

So, unless you’re a beer collector, skip this one. This stuff pours with a pitiful head and insignificant beading. Little wonder Moe keeps it in the back room. The only up side is that the price runs about a buck a bottle…or about 10 times the 1933 price!

Here’s a link to the brewer’s website:
I’ve seen rumblings on the web indicating that the brewer is actually affiliated with Kroger’s grocery store chain. This has credence, since Kroger’s is listed as one of the retailers for this beer.

Here’s what some other sites have had to say about Moe’s travesty:

The hosts at JustBeer had this to say….

The folks at Beer Advocate rated it a C-. That’s about right, maybe lower.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

This HoneyMoon Ain't Over....

I'm going to challenge the folks at Coors to add yet another specialty brew to their line of "moon" oriented beers...they'll call it "FullMoon" and it'll have something like a 15% abv kick and pour the color of dark mahogany...but wait, that'll probably deviate from the whole wheat beer motif, huh?

Okay. This is a nifty little beer; not well-received by some others but I like it just fine and will probably buy it again. It's not as good as the tried and true BlueMoon but it's a lot better than one of the other attempts at a seasonal wheat beer...the name of which escapes me (but I remember it had "moon" in it...duh.)

It pours with a moderately thick head - I employed the slick partial pour, bottle swirl, and finish, suggested by the folks who make Hoegaarden, to insure ample floaties in the glass. The taste is mildly of honey and citrus. I spent an afternoon doing yard work in 80 degree heat and then poured this product as a bit of a reward -ahhhhh.

Don't take my word for it.

The masses at Beer Advocate rate HoneyMoon a C+. I'm not familiar enough with the trends there to know if this is a valid rating, though I'll allow as some of the commentary is a bit harsh and sounds as if it comes from folks who've already developed a decided anti BlueMoon prejudice.

For some Blue Moon and HoneyMoon related items visit the Beer Mug outlet.

Yep. Summer isn't even here yet and the Summer brew is already on the shelf. It's just as well since the temperature is already hovering near 90 degrees where I'm at. I'll probably make room in the fridge for more HoneyMoon as the hot season wears on.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Beer Moment

Not a great beer, but maybe the best beer he’s ever had.

My son-in-law shipped out for Iraq last August and it seemed a different world last summer when we were packing up my daughter’s household goods to bring she and my granddaughter back to Arizona from Camp Pendleton. A sense of foreboding was certainly there with us as we worked.

Cleaning out the refrigerator was simple enough: anything that wouldn’t make the trip as road food was tossed out or packed for restocking the pantry in Arizona. I considered the lone bottle of Miller Lite that my son-in-law had left behind in the refrigerator. Not knowing what the future would bring but wanting some link to the time, I salvaged that bottle and carted it home in the back of the U-haul truck, explaining that I planned to make my son-in-law drink it upon his safe return from overseas.

The lonely bottle of Lite resided in my refrigerator for a time, was exiled to the garage for a spell, and then rather unceremoniously dumped into a cooler of ice this past weekend following my son-in-laws safe return to the United States. He spent an uneventful few months at a place called Al Asad and came home in one piece. Thank heaven. Now mind you, this bottle of Lite wasn’t the first beer we shared upon his return, but rather the last beer we popped open right before he packed up to head back to Camp Pendleton.

I’ve had warm beer. I’ve had skunky beer. I’ve had stolen beer and beer that was paid for out of my pocket and out of the pocket of others. I’ve had lots of Miller Lite. This particular Miller Lite was nothing to write home about if you consider it solely for it’s taste value, but if you consider the story behind this particular bottle of Miller Lite, I guess you might say that, for one of us at least, regardless of the quality, this beer must rate right up there as a lifetime best.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Hoegaarden Witbier

This beer tastes like sausage. No lie!

Picked up six of these while on a beer run to the local Sunflower Market. Took Michael Jackson’s 500 Beers and found this one listed in the book and stocked on the shelf. I generally like wheat beers but have to say I’m a bit disappointed with this one.

The packaging is nifty enough. Handle of the carton has a slick slide up deal that reveals the correct pronunciation of the stuff. (Starting to lose me here.) Bottles come with labeling that explains the proper pour, including the method of swirling the bottle after its partially emptied in order to get all the floaters off the bottom and a rich thick head.

The – dare I say it, “unsettling” thing about Hoegaarden is the fact that the sediment never seems to settle! Drinking it from a glass is less like drinking beer and more like sipping a sample from the sediment basin down at the water treatment plant.

The Tasting
Pours with a medium to thick head 1 ½ to 2 fingers. Don’t forget to follow the pouring protocol printed on the bottle. Pours a light, very cloudy wheat color and smells vaguely of sausage. Has a watery taste and finishes with a hint of sausage flavor.

This would be a good beer for really hot days, I suppose, though the thick, sludgy texture and complexion are a bit off-putting and lend the beer a thicker than anticipated feel. It's in Michael Jackson's book, which proves that beer is an acquired taste, and let's face it, my goal is to sample as many beers in Jackson's book as possible. I don't have to like them all.

It’s pronounced “Who Garden” Dummy!
Like “Whoville?”

Thursday, April 10, 2008

"Two bloggers walk into a bar...."

You know how sometimes you’ll enter an unfamiliar drinking establishment or pub – probably in an unfamiliar town where you don’t know anyone and magically strike up a friendly conversation with a couple of locals sitting at the bar? That sort of thing requires a little give on the part of both parties: you the outsider and them, the comfortable local minding their own business. The local may be surprised at your intrusion but the talk is easy and friendly and no doubt there is some common ground to allow the talk to flow. (Reminds me I should post something about a nice conversation I had with “Yosemite” at the Appalachian Brewing Company in Gettysburg, PA a couple years back.)

Take this scenario into the world of blogging and beer-blogging in particular and you’ll start to grasp the bit of camaraderie I’ve felt at the reception given me by the guy over at Lagerheads: Where drunkenness meets the sublimely absurd (Also known as A Roughneck’s Take On Beer). You can drop in here:

The very first evening that I put together Beer Rant, I dropped them an email over at Lagerheads and they very kindly replied with a request that I send them a link so they could visit and have a look. I waited a few weeks so as to get some items posted before sending them the link. Well, they have dropped by and have graciously made a post about Beer Rant on their blog. I think that’s pretty cool. And as an unrelated aside: I received some good advice, too. After all, what better person to get input from than someone who knows the lay of the land so to speak?

Thank you, Lagerheads, for making a new guy feel welcome!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Firehouse Brewing Co. American Pale Ale

To start with, a caveat: the sample I tasted was from a six-pack I bought at Camp Pendleton last year. The beer was kept in the closet until recently and without the “born on date” so prevalent in the larger brew products, I’ve no way of knowing if the last bottle from this six pack was past its shelf life or not.

I almost didn’t bother to buy this at the time – the firefighter/hero mystique is wearing a bit thin with me and I’m reluctant to see it intrude on my beer drinking. But I bought it and brought it back home to Arizona.

I suppose I’m as much a sucker for a neat story as the next guy. Printed on the bottom of the six-pack, like some type of a reward reserved solely for the overly inquisitive (or dumpster divers who find the empty carton Monday morning) is a little story about how the Firehouse Brewing Company got its start. I’ve got a pretty sensitive bullshit meter and this story got the bell sounding but here’s the story for you anyway:

From 1920 – 1933 during Prohibition, there was a brewery installed in the basement of an old firehouse, it soon became known as “the Firehouse Brewing Company.” The brewery was small scale, the size that would today be considered a microbrewery. There were many beers that came from this firehouse, the most famous of which was their American Pale Ale. The brewery was shut down before the end of Prohibition, but its legendary beers have lived on. Here at The Firehouse Brewing Company, we are continuing the tradition along with the legendary brews.

Hmm, a brewery in the basement of some old firehouse – God knows where. A small brewery that today would, amazingly, be called a microbrewery. I know of a similar story about elves who bake cookies in a hollow tree...until the Nature Conservancy buys up the forest and shuts down their factory. Well, whatever the story, I’m perfectly happy that they are brewing beer, because it’s decent enough.

The Tasting:

This beer pours with a thin head and presents a medium dark copper color. The taste is mildly bitter and dry. There is minor lacing in the glass as you finish.

This isn’t a bad beer and I would buy it again. Which is not to say I will seek this beer out for a second run, but it is good.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

3.2 Beer From Across The Pond

Tetley's English Ale

Impulsively picked up a 4-pack of this at the local grocer a few weeks back. Nearly forgettable except for the fact that it does actually have a hint of tea flavor to it and a widget inside. Very smooth and drinkable. (Like what beer isn't "drinkable" you pretentious a-hole?)
Basically, you've got a British 3.2 beer here. I don't suppose everyone has lived in an area that has 3.2 percent beer. In Colorado 3.2 beer is available as sort of a training beer for youngsters of a certain age, while the stronger spirits are reserved for those who've attained a more seasoned status chronologically speaking. The law (last I heard) prohibited stores from selling both types of beer; I guess to avoid accidentally selling some of the higher octane good stuff to a younger beer trainee.
With a its low alcohol content, you could probably pound these the better part of an afternoon and not have much ill effect buzzwise. I may need to go back and find more come the hottest days of summer to see what's the guzzling factor with this stuff, and what better time to test the guzzle-isheousness of a beer than when the temperature outside is 118 degrees, right? (Yeah, "guzzle-isheousness," check it out.)

Bottom line, skip this unless you're a beer collector.

Colorado Beer Facts

Denver Colorado Beer Facts