212. “Arf and Arf” – London

#212 Arf and Arf - Hero

This number is actually two drinks, but I only know what one of the variations actually means. As a result, this is only the London version. To that end, please let me know if you have a sense of the difference between “new” and “old” ale, and then I can do the American one.

In honor of National Puppy Day (puppies go “arf,”  right?) on Friday, here is an example of the fine, hard-hitting journalism we all expect from The Guardian.

#212 Arf and Arf - Ingredients

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News Flash – Mammoth Brewing Company (Update!)

One more travel post and then I think I should be back to actual cocktails next week (next Monday to be exact). This week’s post, though, is a bit of a new feature. Almost exactly a year ago, I visited Mammoth Brewing Company in Mammoth, CA, and sampled all of their beers. And, last week, I visited again! Many of the old classics were still there, but there were a few new concoctions that I’ll discuss below. So, consider this a companion piece to the old entry.

The Originals

Golden Trout Pilsner

Golden Trout Pilsner – 5.5%

This was there last year. Still just sort of a typical pilsner. Very drinkable but I didn’t love it this time. Unlike last time, apparently.

Golden Trout Pilsner

Yosemite Pale Ale – 5.5%

This may have been there last year? There was a pale ale, but it was called “Paranoids Pale Ale.” It seems from my comments that it might be the same thing but renamed. Piney nose, strong hops but not overpowering.

Wild Sierra Session Saison

Wild Sierra Session Saison Ale – 4.5%

Either I’ve learned a lot about beer in the past year or my tastes have changed. I liked this a lot, as a basic belgian style ale. There was a hint of pine in the aftertaste (that was supposed to be the main flavor) but not a huge amount of uniqueness otherwise. Again, this is different from how I described it last time.

Double Nut Brown Porter

Double Nut Brown Porter – 5.5%

This was there last year, but in the meantime I’ve discovered an interesting distinction — we had this bottled, earlier in the week, and I liked it a lot as a smooth deep coffee and chocolate porter. However, on tap, the coffee comes out even stronger and so does the bitterness. You lose the caramel and toffee notes, and as such I really didn’t like it much. I wonder what the difference is… maybe just the batch?

Epic India Pale Ale

Epic India Pale Ale – 6.5%

This was there last year. And, I made the same comment I made this time — I don’t love the taste but it was the perfect color for beer. It’s what you picture when you think of a pint.

IPA 395

IPA 395 India Pale Ale – 8.0%

There last year, still great. Such a weird mix of flavors, but the sage tempers the bitterness and makes it very tasty.

Imperial Root Beer

Imperial Root Beer – Non-Alcoholic

Technically we had this last year, separately, but it wasn’t part of the tasting. This was incredibly sweet, and much more like a cola or even cream soda (vanilla) than root beer. As such I kind of liked it. It still smelled like root beer, but was a very different taste.

The Seasonals

XCitra Session IPA

XCitra Session IPA – 4.0%

This was new, and was also horrible. Smelled and tasted incredibly hoppy, and was weird and thin and I hated it.

Dos Osos

Dos Osos – 7.5%

We had this before. Still good, with a strong coffee nose but a nice cinnamon-y taste. A good weight and thickness while still remaining crisp.

Orange You A Peelin' Porter

Orange You A’Peeling Porter – 5.5%

This was new as well — though they had a blood orange flavored IPA last year. This had a super interesting, almost savory smell. Tastewise, there was a lot going on but it actually worked really well together. So much so that I couldn’t pull out individual flavors.

Gooseberry Sour

Gooseberry Sour – 7.0%

We had this last year, but it was still really good. Smelled like cranberry or concord grape juice, and was easy to drink despite being a sour. Like kombucha, almost, or that French fizzy lemonade. Yum.

The PiC and I agreed that those last two seasonals were our favorites, and the first seasonal was by far the worst. And, I’ll definitely come back in another year’s time to see what else is new! Stay tuned for part 3.

148. Egg Flip

148. Egg Flip - Hero

Well, it’s December. And in the spirit of the holidays, I’m dedicating this entire month to the most festive of festive drinks: eggnog! Sure, most people (that I know, anyway) don’t like eggnog, or had a bad experience with it at the office Christmas party, but hey, Jerry Thomas has way too many recipes for it (in fact, more than I could fit in this month), so when else am I going to do it? This first one technically isn’t eggnog, but it has eggs in it and is pretty similar to the other recipes, so I’m including it.

Here’s my egg-related news — this article about the effects of two recent ballot measures on egg producers. I don’t actually agree with the position; I think they’re not really telling the truth, but it’s an article nonetheless. Clearly an odd publication, though — “Free Minds and Free Markets” is their tagline.

148. Egg Flip - Ingredients

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Abita Abbey Ale – News Flash

Abita-3

Having recently been to New Orleans, when I came across an Abita I hadn’t yet had in BevMo, I had to check it out.

The Abbey Ale is an 8.0% Belgian dubbel, and, like most of Abita’s brews, was very tasty. Sweet and a little funky like the dubbels I’m used to, it also had nice spice notes (they say cloves on the bottle, which I couldn’t name but seemed to fit), and it was easy to drink despite the high alcohol content. Whether that last point is a point for or a point against is up to you. It was a nice dark color as well, looking very regal in our chalices. It didn’t have as big of a head as I was expecting, but it was still bubbly so I didn’t mind.

It was also pretty cheap, so definitely check it out. Only downside is that it only comes in 22oz bottles, which are a little less manageable than more normal sizes. And, what’s more, every bottle gives 25 cents to St. Joseph’s Abbey, which is presumably some nice monks in New Orleans? I have chosen not to research, in case I find out it isn’t…

Abita-1

 

129. Ale Sangaree

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And we’re back to Jerry Thomas! I’m still a little behind ingredients-wise, so this is one of his simpler ones, but as soon as I buy some non-blue curaçao we should be on a roll. Also gomme syrup, which is apparently like simple syrup but smoother and silkier, which is intriguing. There’s a trip to BevMo in my near future.

There weren’t many news stories to go after with these particular words, but I found this article that says that Shakespeare’s father was an official ale taster for Stratford. Pretty sweet job, if you ask me. And speaking of sweet ale…

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129. Ale Sangaree

(Use large bar glass.)

  • 1 teaspoonful of sugar, dissolved in a tablespoonful of water.
  • Fill the tumbler with ale, and grate nutmeg on top.

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Tasting Notes:

BN: This was a rather vague recipe; I assumed that it wanted you to mix the first ingredient with the ale in the tumbler, rather than just sort of look at it while you drank the nutmegged ale. For the beer, I used the Mammoth Brewing 395 IPA that I brought back from my trip, partially because it was around, but mainly because I thought that the sage and other herbal notes in it would work well with the nutmeg, which they did! In terms of the drink overall, it initially just tasted like beer, with a hint of additional spice, but I think our glass was probably larger than expected, and so there wasn’t enough sugar to go around. So, I added more (probably about double) and then you definitely got the sweetness, which was pretty nice. Hit the bitterness of the IPA and toned it down. However, at the end of the day, it was just sweet beer, which was not too exciting. Nothing compared to the Port Wine Sangaree

PiC: I thought this tasted good but I wasn’t that impressed with it as a cocktail per se. Maybe the beer tasted worse in his time, so this made it easier to drink? I would drink it, but I wouldn’t make it again, unless I had a beer that was really bad.

Blogger’s Note:

This is not related to cocktails, but rather to the blog itself. As you know, I switched to a self-hosted wordpress site at the beginning of April and, well, it sucks. The hosting itself, that is. I have a bad provider, and while it’s free, I’d rather pay money and get faster loading, fewer errors, etc, because it doesn’t make it easy for readers like you to enjoy the content. So, does anyone know of any good options? I’m looking at BlueHost right now, which is recommended by WordPress itself, and has pretty enticing pricing. Thanks all!

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Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. – Boozy Newsie News Flash

Figueroa Mountain

Over Valentine’s Day weekend, the Partner in Crime and I went to the sleepy, semi-Danish town of Solvang, which was a really nice trip. It’s deep in wine country (the southern part, not the Napa / Sonoma part), and had beautiful sceneryæbleskivers, and an ostrich farm, where I learned that ostriches are weird and emus are basically dinosaurs.

It also had a lot of alcohol. Of course wine, but also beer, spirits, and more. Of particular interest was the Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., as I’d had a few beers from there in the past and enjoyed them immensely. We actually found it by accident; we were at Ascendant Spirits (a distillery right next door) and they mentioned it was nearby, so we went up.

They had an indoor tap room, but as it was 85° F or so, we sat outside at a cozy picnic table with a welcome sun umbrella, all on astroturf. Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of this. We got two flights of beer, four of their classics, and four seasonal / rotating taps, which were almost all really delicious.

THE CLASSICS

Fig Beer 2

Paradise Rd Pilsner
Very nice, easy drinking. Doesn’t taste like a pilsner to me which is a good thing, because I don’t like pilsners usually. It had a hint of hops, but only enough that you actually wanted to drink it, and it was a welcome bitterness (IPAs and such are too bitter for me, usually).

Danish Red Ale
It was too warm by the time we got to it, but that’s not the beer’s fault. I liked the caramel notes, and it wasn’t too bitter — I almost wish it were a little bit more bitter!

Davy Brown Ale
This is one of the ones I’ve had before. It has a richer flavor, good malty and chocolately notes. Very tasty.

Stagecoach Stout
A little coffee-y for me, but has nice flavors, velvety smooth texture, almost creamy. Also, still had a head on it after 30 minutes or so, which was impressive.

THE OTHER ONES

Fig Beer 3

Hüll Melon Saison
A little on the hoppy side, and doesn’t have much flavor to it other than the hops. A little lemon peel flavor too, but generally not that interesting… I liked the pilsner better (a phrase I never thought I would say).

Surfliner Lager
You could drink this for forever and never have any issues with it. Very light, almost like a beer-flavored juice. I wish it had been a little bit more carbonated, but that could have been the heat, as well. Easy drinking!

Mosaic Pale Ale
Tasted like an APA, which it was, and was actually sort of nice — the bitterness didn’t linger too long, unlike some other hops. Very floral aroma. As far as hoppy beers go, it wasn’t so bad — we didn’t love the taste, but we could definitely drink it and not feel sad about it.

5th Anniversary
A Doppelbock aged for eight months in rum barrels. This was the best. Smells and tastes like caramel. Very sweet, a lot of depth of flavor. Almost syrupy in texture, and 12% which doesn’t hurt either.

Overall, it was a great trip up, and only a few hours from LA. If you’re looking for a weekend getaway to travel, eat, and drink, Solvang is your place. And of course, you can definitely get the beer without even taking a trip, so definitely check it out!