Portland Maine’s Best

If you’re going to Portland, Maine Allagash is a must stop.  Like most, our introduction began with their White (liked it more before discovering German wheats, American version of wheat, good start, a true 5.75).

Actual beer taste aside, the set up of their tasting room is excellent for many reasons:

1. You don’t have to go on a tour to “earn” a taste.

2. You literally walk up to the bar and they ask, “How many do you have and where are you sitting?” Because yes, they bring the flights to you.

3. There’s an outdoor area along with a food truck outside.

4. The flight glasses and paddle are just so damn classy:

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If only every brewery took strangers in with such open arms…. and free.

Pictured above (all scores CE only):

White– same as usual except creamier from the source tap – 6
House– smells like pale ale, taste just like one too, hoppy, citrusy, not too much bang – 5
Bourbon Barrel Black– weak whiskey nose, strong alcohol finish, want more smoke- 4.5
Allagash Fluxus 2013– coffee/chocolate note, very little orange, rich- 5.5

An excellent way to start a trip into Portland…or end if you don’t buckle up!  So please, please, please, please, please hire an escort to drive you around or have a friend who doesn’t mind not indulging, or just become friends with Benny the Cab.

 

Fox Mulder Bock

Mulder Bock

After a tough day at the office Fox Mulder prefers a Spoetzl Shiner Bock (bland, drop caramel, easy to drink but not enjoyable, watery JC: 4.5, CE:4 , Avg: 4.5).

This was back in 2000 so at least he was ahead of the curve as it is now in many bars replacing Narragansett Lager as a cheap go to.

To explain how he ended up with one: It was the episode’s director’s favorite beer.  Vince Gilligan happened to direct it so the next person to say, how were you not watching Breaking Bad???? You could explain, I was busy catching up on the X-Files first.  For those interested parties – it is episode “Je Souhaite” (S07E21) and has Will Sasso as well.

The Real Heroes

Comic Con season is officially over now that both San Diego and New York have had their share.

Hiding down the dark streets of San Diego (no such thing) were these two unlikely heroes.

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Only one missing is Professor Export Stout.  The Witty Wit. Barley Quinn.  Dunkel Wise Guy.  Okay so that’s more than one. Who else is missing?

 

Burned Twice

by Ballast Point during one trip.  After reaching out to the company about tours, no word back.  First night in San Diego, we immediately go to a bar that finally has Wahoo Wheat, The Hopping Pig.

Except it was with a twist: with Thai Chili, Lime, and Ginger.  

Beer arrives in a goblet, a promising start.

Not sure if it was this batch, but holy shit was this unbalanced to the spicy side.  It became a feat of strength just to drink it.

Was looking forward to the lime and ginger to help lull the heat, but there was not one drop of either to be found.

Tasting notes: overpowering spice, painful, firewater, why have you forsaken me?, novelty, mistake, works in a flight for the pure gimmick but the literal heartburn from a pint no

JC 2
CE 4.5 (5 if served at 2-4 oz)

Even the cask of Habanero Sculpin was better than this since the spice and hops played off each other.

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LIC is Looking Up

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(click the picture for a better view)

Despite having a bad growler experience recently (lesson learned- drink them the day of only), Foodcellar & Co. Market in Long Island City now has growler fills for decent prices of $14-16, including Astoria’s SingleCut Beersmiths.  You better know what you like beforehand though since they don’t allow tastes.  I had a similar experience at a convenience store/supermarket in Savannah.

Beer stores are cool with tasting but not supermarkets which is odd considering the only reason I ever step into Foodcellar is for their free samples of cheese and bakery products.

In fact, I never bought anything from them since they are just a knock off Whole Foods but at a higher price. Their reviews aren’t the greatest either, but for me, just walking down the aisles makes me feel like you are losing money while everyone behind the counter laughs.

Their bottled selection is nice too, and the prices aren’t crazy (apparently they mark up the food the most).  $10.99 for 6 pack of craft beer at a NY supermarket is standard. The DOB on the 22oz Southern Tier Creme Brulee was 06/06/13 which I’d be happy with if I ever chose to give this establishment money.

They also have a create your own 6 pack which I’m always weary of since I’m thinking those cans fell off the truck when first delivering, so I’ll be giving it the shifty eyes until I actually try one.

Foodcellar has been added to the the beer map and will turn to a blue marker once they take my money giving me the right to judge them further.

 

This One is Just Right…

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With a hot July 4th past us, a question came up on proper temperatures for serving beer.

While drinking an ice cold Mama’s Little Yella Pils (5.5 across the board) on the beach, CE realized that the Kellerweis he bought should be taken out of the cooler and placed in the fridge because the taste of beer fades to nothing below a certain temperature.  Simply: Craft = fridge, lawnmower beers & below = on ice.

That’s when JC said, fridge? It should be straight from the pantry, room temperature.

So it begins…

CE:

What sane person in their right mind drinks room temperature liquid?  At all NY State Psychiatric Hospitals, the water, decaffeinated coffee, and tea is all served at room temperature to the delight of the patients.  The British are one thing, but a warm beer is 2 clicks away from drinking urine.

There is no denying that the farther away from freezing the beer is, the more you can taste it and it’s subtleties (if it has any), but there’s gotta be a line.  And I’m drawing it at a few degrees above proper refrigeration, after letting the beer sit for a moment before opening.

JC:

I’d like to be more scientific.

When anything is extremely hot or cold, it masks subtleties of the taste.  That’s why Coors can ONLY BE SERVED “Rocky Mountain Cold.”

I personally think 45-55 degrees is a good temperature for a Good Craft Beer (again, Coors and Bud Light needs served around 34-40F).

kelvin_thermometer

So there you have it…

After this discussion, a test will have to be conducted:  1 craft beer and 1 conglomerate stock beer served at room temperature, a few minutes out of the fridge and straight out of the cooler and rated.

We Got a Map!

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Never get lost again!  Click on “The Beer Map” above or our permalink http://downwiththehops.com/beer-map for a beer map of NYC where you can find great bars to enjoy beer as well as new places waiting to be judged by our panel of rotted liver experts!  For your convenience, short descriptions are included at each location.

Just like any newborn, the map will grow with time.  We hope that includes cities beyond our own…

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3B’s – Babes, Bros, & Bi’s aka…

3bs poster

With a lack of advertising not sure how anyone found out about this thing (heard from a friend on our side), and it showed since it was practically empty.  This is not a complaint.   In fact, this was the best beer fest attended in many considering:

1) no lines for beer

2) all taps (not anti-bottles, but nothing like a fresh pour)

3) plenty of beer reps (over volunteers) who were happy to interact and discuss the beer

4) heavy pours in a glass lacking any dotted lines

5) 3 hour session at $38 including food and a game of bowling

6) beautiful scenery/smells of a nice bowling alley vs the usual spilled beer on concrete at an expo center

The event represented what a beer festival should be since most festivals translate to shit shows these days.  In fact, this post is a petition for companies to start defining these events more specifically than festivals.  While Shit Show may not fly with the advertising or legal department, why not go with party or trade show?  Party since it’s often people just getting totally hammered and trade show since they are usually held in event halls common to said event.

It’s probably a futile effort but let it be known with the rise in popularity of beer festivals comes the party atmosphere of chugging over testing/trying the hundreds of beers listed on their website.  Thankfully events like these come along where you can sit back and relax, as if you are at a great beer bar like The Owl Farm where you can try 20-30 new beers every few weeks.

Should they call it tea parties instead?  I wouldn’t mind.  If it keeps out the crowds, all the better.

Highlights:
Speaking with the fresh flower that repped Sixpoint “Cool-Aid” Brewery who didn’t take kindly to any constructive criticism provided on the beer.

Lager (Euro Dark), Anderson Valley, El Steinber Dark Lager
JC – 5, CE- 6.5, Avg- 6    Notes: sour then dry, very unique, sweet smell/taste, butter scotch, easy to go down (rest of notes illegible- “ready die- less carb, tail end >again”

Gimmick/Spiced, Left Hand, Good Juju
JC- 5.5, CE- 5, Avg- 5.5  Notes: ginger beer/lager mix, ginger is weird, like a cider/shandy

Pilsner (Czech Style), Sierra Nevada, Summerfest Lager
JC- 5.5, CE- 4.5, Avg- 5  Notes: fruity BO, flowery, sweet pils ending, hint hops. draft just as crisp as bottle but tastes better, JC – reminded me of light version of their IPA

Duds:
Ale (American Blonde), Victory, Summer of Love
JC- 2.5, CE- 0.5, Avg- 1.5  Notes: hop hell, onion ring nose

Stout (American 2x), Green Flash, Double Stout Black Ale
JC- 1.5, CE- 1, Avg- 1.5   Notes: tastes dirty, shit on rye with a bitter finish (must be the rye seeds)

Lager (Imperial Pale), Ballast Point, Fathom IPL
JC- 1, CE- 0.5, Avg- 1  Notes: hop smell, body odor shit, you’ve heard it all before, (IPL = Imperial Pale Lager)

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