That’s a Clown Shoes beer bro…

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Once a week my coworkers and I try to venture away from our cubicles, ledges, squatted offices, or upside down trashcan in a hallway work spaces. We desire to feel the sun on our faces and have the crippling humidity surround us like a giant insulated hamster ball. Yes, once a week we try and go out of the office for lunch.  One of the main criteria for choosing a lunch location is it’s proximity to a Total Wine. There we are able to walk off our lunch by pacing the beer aisles picking up our favorite brews or what we hope will be our next favorite brew.

It was exactly this type of scenario that lead me to discover Clown Shoes and their Belgian-style Tripel Indian Pale Ale called ‘Muffin Top’. If you have ever been to a Total Wine or any beer store with a large wall of 750ml bottles you will undoubtedly know the agony a beer drinker feels when looking at shelf after shelf of these mysterious bottles. I love trying new beers so I always pick up a couple 750ml bottles during our weekly run but with our lunch break quickly coming to an end and a burrito the size of a puppy burning a hole into my colon I did not have the time to look over and inspect every bottle.

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

This is where the artistic side of my brain began to take over. As I am pacing down the aisle I decided that since my latest home brew was a Belgian Tripel I wanted to sample some new Tripels. Almost immediately my eye catches the name Muffin Top and I am intrigued.  I pick up the bottle and see that the name of the brewery is Clown Shoes. Being a Washington D.C. native I was instantly reminded of Bryce Harper’s famous ‘That’s a clown question bro’ quote so now I was sold.

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

The image on the label was the next thing to catch my eye. The style of the design is not what I am accustomed to seeing on a beer label and along with the unique name really set it apart from its other 750ml neighbors. The style  reminds me more of something (and I mean this with the utmost respect) I would see spray painted on the side of a 1970’s van. The detail of the image is also something to be admired. Everything from the Clown Shoes tattoo stretching across the shoulder blades of our muffin-topped man to the gentle way his muffin-topped companion holds her Clown Shoes beer bottle to the sandcastle Clown Shoes logo and tiny shovel leaning against it.  When I see this much style and detail be put into a label I always have high hopes that same type of dedication will be put into the beer.

First some Fun Facts about Clown Shoes and their ‘Muffin Top’ beer: 

  • Clown Shoes might be the first beer created out of spite. To quote Gregg Berman “a group of us submitted the name to the Beer Advocate contest that resulted in The Wrath of Pecant.  Our submission didn’t crack the top 5.  This burned me up inside.  While driving one day the epiphany came: I could make my own Clown Shoes beer.”
  • Clown Shoes Beer mission: Our mission now is to produce beer without pretension while being free and a little crazy.
  • Clown Shoes beer is brewed by Mercury Brewing Company out of Ipswich, MA.
  • Muffin Top has “intense flavors, reminiscent of candied fruit“.
  • I might of been onto something about that 70’s van design I mentioned earlier.  Awesome….
Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Muffin Top definitely has the fruity flavor I’ve grown to enjoy in Belgian Tripels. The candied fruit flavor reminded me of something from my childhood. I want you to know that I mean this as a compliment but the fruity flavor reminded me of the syrup you get when you eat fruit from a can of Fruit Cocktail. As a kid we didn’t really eat a lot of fresh fruit. It was nearly always from a can and I loved the taste of that syrup. This beer brought back some of those memories and I found myself tipping the beer back in order to get every ounce much like I did to a bowl of fruit cocktail. Muffin Top also has a 10% ABV yet does not have that high alcohol taste that sometimes accompanies beers with higher than the “normal” 4.5-5% ABV. I didn’t have that “Wowza this has a lot of alcohol in it” reaction. Instead it was more of a “Wowza, I should of bought more than one bottle of this!” reaction.

If you find yourself wandering the 750ml wall, what I am now dubbing my Wall of Happiness, keep an eye out for a chubby couple walking hand in hand on the beach enjoying the sunset in the distance. If you do see this them do yourself a favor and pick up a couple bottles. Hopefully someone will notice your beer selection and ask you, “What kind of beer is that?”.

Cheers!
RayRay

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Taiwan Beer…from Taiwan…(duh)

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed a Laotian beer, Beerlao, that I discovered at my local H-Mart.  It was one of those beer moments where I had no intention of purchasing any beer but happened upon a six pack that caught my eye.  Beerlao’s bright yellow cardboard packaging and elegantly designed bottle cap piqued my interest but it was the flavor of this well crafted beer that made me return to H-Mart with the sole purpose of picking up a couple more six-packs.

Having scoured both the Wegmans and Whole Foods beer sections for Beerlao and coming up empty handed I was relieved when I discovered there was one six pack left.  I’m a ‘beer glass half full’ sort of guy so I happily thanked the beer gods and scooped the beer up.  As I was spinning my cart to leave I thought to myself, “Ray, you came here with the intention of purchasing multiple six packs of beer but since there was only one sixer of Beerlao maybe you should pick up something else?”.

You know those scenes you on TV or in movies where someone is trying to make a decision about something important and suddenly an angel and a devil appear on their shoulders trying to influence them one way or the other?  That was what was going on as I stood in the H-Mart beer section.  Only I had a drunken angel on one shoulder and an even drunker angel on the other.  The first drunken angel was saying things like “You only picked up one six pack?! Yoooou’ve been looking for this beer all over town.  Go ask the manager if they have more you sissy.”  While the even drunker angel was countering with “Hey HEY hey… you shud up other there…don’t listen to what that JERK is saying. You, you, YOU need to go back a couple aisles and pick up some more of these Pocky things.  They’re fantastic. I love them and I love you.”

So after taking all this in I decided instead to just pick up another random Asian beer that I’ve never seen or heard of and give it a taste.  That is the totally not made up story on how I ended up buying Taiwan Beer.

[SIDE NOTE: I was looking for the Pocky website to link above but instead found my way onto YouTube where I discovered these three short commercials for Pocky that I am in love with.
Commercial #1: I have been eating Pocky since I was 10 and I never saw anyone eat them this way.  Also, I love the voiceover guy at the end of the commercial.  He’s like a Japanese Michael Buffer.
Commercial #2: This is how my son and I spent our Sunday.
Commercial #3: The Japanese are a beautifully kooky people.
You never going to get that song out of your head. [END OF SIDE NOTE]

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Some Fun Facts about Taiwan Beer:

  • Brewed by the Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation (TTL).
  • TTL was established as a government agency during Japanese colonial rule and continued with the arrival of the Chinese Nationalists after WWII.  It held a complete monopoly over alcohol until Taiwan’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2002.  TTL is now a publicly traded company.
  • Taiwan Beer has remained the best selling beer in Taiwan even in the era of free trade.
  • Locally produced ponlai rice is added to the fermentation process which gives Taiwan Beer its local flavor.
  • Sponsors a Taiwanese basketball team, ironically enough named, Taiwan Beer. Their nickname is ‘The Brew Crew’.  The Taiwanese basketball, Super Basketball League, includes other sponsored teams such as the Bank of TaiwanPure-Youth Construction, and Taiwan Mobile Clouded Leopards.
Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

This first thing I notice when I gave Taiwan Beer a nice slow pour is the golden amber coloring. I was disappointed in seeing that this beer does not provide the frothy head I am always looking for.  Instead the head dissipates rather quickly and you notice that this appears to be an especially carbonate brew.  The carbonation and lack of foamy head reminded me more of my first attempt at home brewing than the most popular beer in Taiwan. There is a definitely a distinct rice flavor with Taiwan Beer that is noticeable with the first sip. Where Beerlao was smooth I would classify Taiwan Beer as more of a crisp beer.  I believe it’s that crispness that surprised me.

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Perhaps my brain and taste buds were expecting another smooth malty beverage and were not prepared so I found myself not enjoying this beer as much as I had hoped.

Perhaps this might be a perfect example of what happens when a monopoly controls the beer production of a small island nation for nearly a century.

Perhaps this is why 80% of Taiwanese beers are produced for domestic consumption with the other 20% exported to Taiwanese living outside the country.

Perhaps I should stop randomly picking unknown beers from Asian grocery stores.

Perhaps I’m just being an ass and 23 million Taiwanese can’t be wrong.

Meh, perhaps.

Cheers!

-RayRay

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Tripel Karmeliet – Review

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

You know that saying, “Give a man a fish and he’ll eats for a day, teach him to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime”?

Of course you do.  We all do.

If you applied that jewel of wisdom to beer “Give a man a beer and he’ll drink for a day, teach him to brew and he’ll drink for a lifetime” that is still some Mr. Brady-like sound advice.

That is unless the beer you gave the man was a Tripel Karmeliet. Then the saying would be. “Give a man a Tripel Karmeliet and he’ll drink for a day, teach him to brew and he’ll drink for a lifetime…thinking about that Tripel Karmeliet you gave him the other day…you smug home brewing bastard”.

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Image by iHeartBeer.com

With the moderate success of my Belgian Tripel home brew I thought the only logical thing to do was to seekout and try one of the best reviewed Tripels on the internet, Tripel Karmeliet.

Some interesting fun facts about Tripel Karmeliet:
1. Brewed using the same recipe from a former Carmelite monastery from 1679.
2. Uses three kinds of grain: Wheat, oats, and barley.
3. The name refers to both its place of origin as well as its in-bottle refermentation.
4. Brewed at the Bosteels Brewery in Belgium.

If those fun facts don’t get you excited for this beer then perhaps a list of awards the Tripel Karmeliet has won over the years:

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

  • GOLD, World Beer Cup USA, 1998
  • GOLD, World Beer Championships (Chicago USA), 1998
  • UITZONDERLIJK, World Beer Championships (USA), 2000
  • SILVER, World Beer Cup USA, 2002
  • BRONZE, Brewing Industry International Awards (London), 2004
  • GOLDEN GLASS, Internationaal Streekbierenfestival, Voorzichtige Degustatiebieren, 2005.
  • GOLD, European Beer Star Germany, 2005
  • GOLD, World Beer Awards (London), World’s Best Ale, 2008.
  • GOLDEN GLASS, Internationaal Streekbierenfestival, Voorzichtige Degustatiebieren, 2010.
  • GOLDEN GLASS, Internationaal Streekbierenfestival, Voorzichtige Degustatiebieren, 2012
Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

If you Google ‘Tripel Karmeliet reviews’ you’ll find nearly everyone saying the same thing: A robust blond color with complex flavors, hints of vanilla and citrus aromas and a creamy head.

I’m not going to repeat what everyone else has already said. Instead, what impressed me the most about this wonderful beer was how such a crisp golden beer could be packed with so many flavors. Perhaps because my early beer drinking days revolved around light (or lite) American lagers that I am conditioned to assume that golden colored beers will bring with them water-downed metallic flavors and visions of ping pong balls spinning out of red solo cups.

Don’t get me wrong there will always be a special place in my heart for those American lagers.  They got me through some important times in my young life where funds were light (or lite) and quantity was the preferred quality when it came to my beer selections.

I have to agree with most other beer nerds though when it comes to Belgian Tripels the Tripel Karmeliet is in the upper tier of beers. Perfect to give as a gift, to share with a friend over dinner or just to kill a 750ml bottle by yourself one Friday night while you fold laundry and catch up on DVR’d episodes of ‘Castle’…as I’ve been told.

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

 

Belgian Tripel Home Brew (Tasting)

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Image by iHeartBeer.com

There are few nights I look forward to more than Tasting Night. In fact if I had to list my five favorite nights it would go something like this:

1. Fantasy Football Draft Night
2. Poker Night
3. Tasting Night
4. Breakfast for dinner night
5. Silent Night, Deadly Night

Tasting night should basically be called ‘Judgment Night’. It is when you see, smell and taste if all your hard work is rewarded with a delicious brew or a plastic bucket of rank swill.  Imagine if you went out and bought two cases of beer then waited a month before drinking any of it only to find out the beer was skunked. So now you have to go out again and purchase two more cases of beer but have to wait another month before trying it again.  That’s what is at stake here. Now, of course, the easy solution would be to have multiple batches of beer fermenting so if something turns out skunky you only have to wait a week or two to try a new batch.  Unfortunately I am not there yet as neither a brewer nor a Time Lord in order to have the resources, energy, or time to brew more than one batch a month.

Pushing my minor anxiety aside I grabbed a bottle, my favorite beer glass, and popped the cap. The first thing I noticed was the carbonation escaping the bottle. To anyone else that sound would be but a whisper but to me it could have been the home crowd of a World Cup match after they scored. This is one of those sounds that are usually only noticed when it’s not there. In my first batch I made the n00b mistake of forgetting to include my priming sugar in the brew before bottling.  It wasn’t until a couple of days later after reading more about the procedure that I realized my crucial mistake. I then had the important learning experience of uncapping over two cases of homebrew, dumping them into a bucket, adding the priming sugar mixture and then rebottling.  The batch still turned out pretty good but I was never satisfied with the head of the beer it dissipated rather quickly. This might have had something to do with the style of the beer I was brewing at the time but it certainly didn’t help forgetting that crucial ingredient.

So when that bottle cap popped off and I heard that unmistakable sound it was almost like my beer was saying to me. “psssst good job”.

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The next attribute I noticed was the color.  The brew changed my favorite beer glass from clear into a brownish dark red with a thick frothy head. As the beer settled I was happy to see the head decided to hang out.  The beer was slightly cloudy but there was no sign of gunk at the bottom of the glass.

The aroma was strong but I was expecting it to be. This was definitely a different smell than I was used to. I’m hesitant to use the word ‘pungent’ because that word sounds like I’m being critical of the smell but in truth that is the best word to describe the brew due to its sharp strong aroma. So, yes, the beer smelled pungent but in a good beer smelling way.

After my first sip I realized a couple of things:

1.  Yowza, this beer has a lot of alcohol in it.
2.  This is probably why they are sold in those big single 750ml bottles.
3.  CRAP, I forgot to take my final alcohol measurement before bottling these again.

If I had to guess I would say the alcohol percentage for these were somewhere north of 10%. Since I forgot to take a final measurement I can only go with my own personal ‘Asian Glow Early Warning System (AGEWS)’.  The system goes something like this:

Asian Glow Early Warning System

AGEWS DEFCON I – (1 to 3 beers) No immediate outward changes with the exception of an improved personality and overall tolerance towards the little things like strangers and other people’s children.

AGEWS DEFCON II – (3 to 5 beers) Cheeks become rosy and beads of sweat begin to form around my hairline concentrating on my forehead. Improved conversationalist and attitude but with increased volume and enthusiasm.

AGEWS DEFCON III – (5 to 8 beers) Face is in a nearly fully red. Body temperature has increased causing noticeable sweating. Loss of volume control is imminent. Most conversations are now me overly excited and laughing. Noticeably slurring words. Usually is parallel with ‘Wife’s Annoyed With Me (WAWM) DEFCON III’ (NOTE: There is no ‘WAWM DEFCON I or II’)

AGEWS DEFCON IV – (8 to 12 beers) Face basically on fire, dripping sweat on people and countertops, Slurring noticeable to everyone but me.  I’m only shouting now and I’ve probably dropped my phone twice already. Eyes are bloodshot but people can’t notice because they are cartoon-like slits. Wife has leapfrogged into ‘WAWM DEFCON VII’.

AGEWS DEFCON V– (12 to Infinity beers) I’ve turned into a fusion reactor that now only glows, sweats, and babbles in an incoherent mixture of laughter and drool or I have possibly developed a Jamaican accent. If I were on Star Trek: The Next Generation Jean-Luc Picard would be ordering Data to eject me into space before I destroyed the Enterprise. Most likely I can be found with complete strangers who are now my best friends or fast asleep fully dressed on top of the covers of my bed.

So following the system above after just one Tripel I found myself at a low level AGEWS DEFCON II with a slight tickle of warmth beginning to coax the sweat glands of my forehead to wake up.

As for the taste I found this Belgian Tripel true to its style with strong but smooth malty flavor.  I enjoyed this beer but would not make a night of drinking them.  To me Tripels are beers I would like to enjoy when I knew I was only planning on having one (*cough* one 750ml bottle *cough*).

I did purchase some of these 750ml bottles and plan on a taste test with them all. I might need some assistance though because if I do this solo it’s going to be work holiday party/AGEWS DEFCON V all over again and I’m only really allowed one of those a year.

Cheers!
Ray

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Beerlao Lager, Laos

Today a coworker and I met our pal Randy at his favorite sushi restaurant for lunch.  Earlier in the week Randy was proclaiming that this was the best sushi he’s ever eaten.  Bold statement.

Now I’m not going to go into a review of the restaurant but just for the record it probably was some of the best sushi I’ve ever eaten.  What I am going to talk about is something that came up while we were gorging on slices of sashimi the size of my phone.

Beer.

Well, beer and dining.  It’s not going to be a shocker to hear me say that I believe a beer will enhance any meal (along with almost everything else in life) but in particular I love drinking a beer while enjoying sushiphobibimbap, and pretty much any hot and/or spicy Asian dish.  I’m a guy that likes his soy sauce to have so much wasabi mixed in that it has turned into a greenish brown puddy. I want every bite of bibimbap or ladle of pho to come with a healthy squirt of Sriracha. In fact I’m at my happiest when I have tears in my eyes, fire in my sinuses and I am washing down each mouthful with a tall cold beer.

Not any beer mind you.  For me personally these meals call for a crisp, cold, foamy golden lager.  Perhaps something in a tall frosted mug poured from an iconic 22 ounce silver can. Today though I’m going to talk about a beer I found after a delicious meal at the local H-Mart.

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Beerlao Lager…the “best selling beer in Laos”.

Some Fun Facts about Beerlao:

  1. This is a rice beer that uses Polished rice grown in Laos.
  2. The other ingredients include French malted barley, Hallertau hops, German yeast and water.
  3. I have found at least 3 Beerlao websites (www.beerlao.com, http://www.beerlao-usa.com, and www.authentic-beerlao.co.uk) and I honestly am not sure if any or all are associated with Beerlao.
  4. Lao Brewery Co., Ltd. was founded in 1973 as a joint-venture between foreign investors and Lao businessmen originally under the registered name of Lao Beer and Ice Factory.
  5. After National Liberation in December 1975, the Lao Government took over the foreigners’ shares followed by the voluntarily handing over of shares from the Lao businessmen to the State.

I particularly thought that last fun fact was interesting.

I selected Beerlao from the H-Mart Asian beer aisle strictly based off of these three important factors:

  1. I’ve never had this beer before.
  2. I’ve never had a beer from Laos before.
  3. I really dig this bottle cap.
Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

I grabbed my favorite beer glass and gave the Beerlao a nice slow pour. Just as my glass began to change from clear into a beautiful dark golden amber I immediately noticed Beerlao’s malty aroma.

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

I was extremely surprised how smooth this beer was. This is exactly the type of beer you want while enjoying your favorite spicy cuisine. It perfectly extinguishes the flames that I tend to create when I get a little heavy handed with the Sriracha or wasabi. I don’t want you to think that just because this is an Asian beer that you can only enjoy it with Asian dishes. As a lager Beerlao can easily stands on its own and is exactly the  type of beer you would happily reach for while enjoying many flavorful meals.

Personally, Beerlao has earned a spot in my beer fridge rotation and I suggest that if you ever find yourself wandering the aisles of your local Asian supermarket, Total Wine or where ever they might have a large selection of Asian beers that you pick up a sixer….and perhaps some Drunken Noodles from the nearest Thai restaurant.

Cheers!

Ray

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Shiner Ruby Redbird – a love story

One of my favorite activities during the Spring/Summer months is firing up the grill and inviting friends over for dinner.  While I love all my friends…without a doubt my favorite friends are those that bring over beer.  This is exactly how I stumbled upon my current favorite summertime beer, Shiner Ruby Redbird.

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Like many Friday nights my wife decided that we were in need of adult conversation to go along with our dinner. In order for that to happen it required the presence of our neighbors and the disappearance of our children.  When the neighbors arrived they were kind enough to bring over one of those do-it-yourself six packs from the local grocery store.  Personally I love the do-it-yourself six packs of beer.  It is such a great concept for beer lovers who can try 6 different beers, from different styles, from different breweries, from different countries in one purchase.  There are only two minor problems with a DIY six pack:

  1. What if someone needs a beer but you all you have is your DIY six pack of 6 beers that you spent 45 minutes picking out at Wegmans and now you have to give one away. What if the beer you give that person is the best beer of the batch?  How would you know…you’ve never tried these before.  GAAHHH! I’m stressed out just thinking about this.
  2.  More frequently though I have had the issue of discovering a new beer that I love but with each sip realizing that this is the only one of these beers in my house.  It’s one of those weird conundrums where I am both extremely happy and sad at the same time.

Like I said, these are minor and some what insane problems.

Moving along…

Now I can’t remember what the other five beers in the DIY six pack were because I had one of those moments in a beer drinker’s life that stops them cold.  I grabbed the Shiner without giving the label a glance or really the beer much thought and took a swig.  I actually stopped mid-swig in order to double check that I was drinking a beer. Immediately I tasted the citrusy sweetness and was surprised to see that this was a grapefruit beer.  Now having just recently tried my first grapefruit beer the other day I was surprised by Redbird’s sweetness.  Grapefruits for me have never been part of my go to fruits.  Growing up they were always a symbol of my mom starting a diet.  Every morning it would be some sort of combination of grapefruit, dry toast, and perhaps a hard boiled egg.  Plus the fact that grapefruit has always been a tad tart for me I was surprised  shocked to discover how much I was enjoying this beer.

My ignorance toward Ruby Red grapefruits goes to show you that I have never been to Texas before.  The Texas Ruby Red grapefruits, which Shiner proudly boasts Ruby Redbird is made from, are so important to Texas that they were named the state fruit.  After doing some research (Google/Wikipedia) I learned that Ruby Red grapefruit are actually the result of a mutation that occurred in 1929 on a single tree in the Rio Grande Valley.  The introduction of the Ruby Red was credited for transforming the grapefruit into an agricultural success. Not surprisingly the Ruby Red was also the first ever recipient of  a patent ever awarded to a grapefruit.

[SIDE NOTE: If you’re wondering why when you click on the word ‘mutation’ above you get a YouTube video of the Top 10 Cute Cat Moments is because originally I was going to link a clip from the end of the anime classic Akira where Tetsuo transforms into the mutant blob but after watching it I got sort of grossed out so I’m cleansing my mind with some cute cat videos.  END OF SIDE NOTE]

Now don’t let me get carried away with singing the praises of Ruby Red grapefruits as there is still another important ingredient in the Redbird that is not to be overlooked.  To quote the Shiner website the Ruby Redbird is finished “with a ‘lil kick of ginger”. I believe it is this addition of ginger that adds to the overall crispness of the beer while at the same time paring it very well with the citrus from the grapefruit.  If you know me at all you know that I love me some crisp beer.  It is by far one of my favorite adjectives that I seek out in a beer.

Shiner Ruby Redbird is the perfect summer beer to be enjoyed outside while working on a grill or working on a tan.  Everyone that I have introduced this beer to has both been surprised by the taste and in love with the flavor. I discovered Redbird out of pure luck but now I notice (and buy) it in every grocery store in the area.  This is a great lesson about keeping your eyes open to your beer surroundings and of course the value of picking up a do-it-yourself six pack (or two) every now and then.

Cheers,
Ray

Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

I have been a 21st Amendment Brewery fan since I first tasted their Fireside Chat seasonal brew. So when I read about their Hell or High Watermelon seasonal release I was both excited and intrigued.  Excited because I get to sample a new 21st Amendment beer and intrigued because I believe this is my first watermelon flavored beer. My feelings towards watermelon could fall into the same category as my feelings toward grapefruit. I have nothing against the fruit but minus the occasional summer BBQ I don’t really eat much of it.  I do like the flavor though (especially in gum and sour patch kids) and I am encouraged by my enjoyment of my first grapefruit beer so I gathered the troops during our lunch hour and made a special trip to Total Wine.

Now a normal person probably would have picked up just a six pack. Especially since I’ve never had this beer before there is always the risk that I’m not going to enjoy it. Luckily for me I am both a bit of a gambler and inherently lazy. I’m pretty sure I’m going to like this beer (with a strong chance of love) based on my love of the brewery and the last thing I want to do is plow through my sixer on Friday and have nothing for the rest of the weekend. So I did what any normal beer lover who hates going to the store on the weekends would do. I bought four sixers.

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Pretty much on the drive home I started to worry that my enthusiasm got the better of me. I mean, like I mentioned earlier, I “like” watermelon but by no mean would I call my feelings for that fruit “love”.

Being the brave little solider that I am I forged ahead. I grabbed one of my beer beer drinkin’ glasses and cracked open my first watermelon beer.

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Image by iHeartBeer.com

My first test of course is the eye test:
“Holy crap it’s not pink” were actually the words I mumbled. Now, I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen a pink beer so I don’t know why I assumed it would be. I read that 21st Amendment brews this beer by brewing their wheat beer and adding the watermelon flavoring during second fermentation. So, instead of a pink beer i was presented with a beautiful looking wheat beer.

The second test for me is the smell test:
I was surprised that there was not an overwhelming watermelon aroma when I gave it a nice long sniff. Surprised but once again very appreciative.

Finally the taste test:
What I really enjoy about this beer is that the watermelon flavoring is very subtle. You almost don’t taste it right away and right before you’re able to think ‘Hey, where’s the…’ BAM! Watermelon flavoring all over those taste buds. I think with any fruit style beer there is a fear that in order to get the proper flavoring the beer is going to end up being overly sweet. That is not the case with Hell or High Watermelon. It’s a fantastic wheat beer with the obvious taste of watermelon but retains a very crisp body. This beer bellows drink me during your summer BBQ’s, pool parties, or just sitting on your deck on a Friday evening after a long week of work.

Cheers
Yar