I Bought Some Craft Beer Bombers Sight Unseen. Did I Get a Good Deal?


Mystery Bag

Recently, on a quick stop at Kress Liquors (my better half needed a bottle or two of Magners Pear Cider), I was taken by the unique packaging of a three pack of bombers. Rather than put the three bottles on special, I was greeted by a plain brown bag that was labeled as a “Mystery Bag of Brews”. Always a sucker for the packaging, I was intrigued by the idea that I was getting $35 of beer for $29.98 and that I could be getting a diamond or two in the bag. Suffice it to say, that almost as soon as I saw the bag, I was hooked (and ready for the gaff and the net; hope they’ve got a big boat).

Well, I returned home and iced the Magners and then was met with the disapproving eye of my better half. She is all too familiar with my suspect purchases and fails to find the joy in packaging. Anyway, I opened the bag like a little kid at Christmas and was met with the following bottles.

Mystery Bag Brews

I have had the Dogfish Head Black & Blue (a Belgian style ale with blackberries and blueberries) and I am unimpressed (Beer Advocate gives it an 83). I have had the Southern Tier Plum Noir (an Imperial porter with Italian plums) and while interesting, I didn’t really love it (also an 83 from Beer Advocate). And, I have had the Rogue Dead Guy (a Heller Bock) a couple of times. While I find this to be a really good beer (Beer Advocate gives it an 89; the Bros gave it a 96), it wasn’t something that was new to me. So, I look at my three bottles and I am a little bit disappointed. Obviously, I am not jumping up-and-down with Wayne Brady (or Monty Hall if that is a more familiar reference). I am left wondering if I made a good deal or not. Did I get the second prize behind the curtain or did I get the Zonk?

Three Sapporo Beers Reviewed: The Light, the Premium, and the Reserve


Sapporo Beer

G-LO: So here’s the plan! You get the kids to go play in your yard and pester the wives, while I head inside to grab some glasses, my camera, and those Sapporo beers that we need to review. Sound good?

Limpd: That sounds perfect!

Five minutes later…

G-LO: Wait. Why are these kids still here? Go away boys! We have serious work to do here.

My boys burst into tears while Limpd’s boys just glare at me. They eventually go away…

Limpd: Nicely done G-LO, though I could have done without the crying. They sound just like you do when you’re having that last dram from a beloved bottle of whisky. Guess the apples didn’t fall far from the tree. Quit the lollygagging and pour me a beer, Sally!

G-LO: Sally? That’s Mrs. Sally to you, Dolores! Can we get started now?

Limpd: Just shut up and start pouring so that you can get your pretty picture taking out of the way. Let’s start with the Sapporo Light. I’m guessing we’re headed to Amstel country by way of Japan.

I open up the Sapporo Light, fill our glasses, and take a photo…

Sapporo Light

Limpd: Wow! Well that certainly smells like a light beer. It’s a little malty. I’m getting nothing else. Where the hell are the hops?

G-LO: It pains me to admit this, but your absolutely right. I’m getting nothing but malt in a sweet and yeasty smelling kinda way. The nose on this beer is boring me to tears. Are you bored too? You look bored.

Limpd: I am bored! Let’s move this along. I’m going in for a taste.

G-LO: Sorry. I jumped ahead and did that already. This beer reminds me of college. To be more specific, this reminds me of the 100 Days To Go party (countdown to graduation!) at Polo Bay (no longer there). It was a $20 open bar. And by “open”, I mean unlimited bottles of Coors Light. It was like drinking ice cold, fizzy, malted water. The Sapporo Light might be a wee bit better, but not by much.

Limpd:  Yeah. This isn’t very good. It’s a little doughy, but mostly just a whole lot of meh. By the way, those flowers over there look a little parched and in need of hydration. Do you mind if I pour the rest of my beer into that flower pot?

G-LO: Go right ahead. And while you’re at it, pour the rest of my beer in there too. While you’re doing that, I’ll set us up with some clean glasses for Sapporo round two.

Get more glasses. Fill them up. Take a photo…

Sapporo Premium BeerLimpd: Well that certainly looks a bit better. The Sapporo Premium has a bit of a darker color, but once again, no head retention. Whatcha getting on the nose Alistair?

G-LO: Agreed on the color. This one has a healthy-ish glow, unlike you, Sir Pasty Complexion. Definitely a bit more depth on the nose too. Think darker, richer maltiness. But what I really want to know is, where the hell are the hops?

Limpd: Listen up my Sicilian friend, Pasty and Irish go hand in hand, so quit stating the obvious. Anyway. The Sapporo Premium has a bit more going on when compared to the Light, but I’m still unimpressed. This one is a bit more doughy, but as you said, where the hell are the hops?

G-LO: Yeah. If the third one is as dull as these two, there’s a good chance that I might fall asleep in my beer. The flavors on this one aren’t much better than the Light. Very sweet and malty. Talk about a one dimensional beer! There is zero bitterness to balance it out. My tongue is getting all icky. Kinda like how it gets after munching on way too much candy.

Limpd: Thanks for that vision. I’d rather not have to hear about your icky tongue, but to tell you the truth, you’re right. Where’s the oomph? And why exactly is this called “Premium”? While it’s a little more full bodied than the Light, it’s not very interesting. Shall we water another plant?

G-LO: Yes yes! You water the plants and I’ll go get us some clean glasses.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Errr… I mean, get more glasses, pour, and snap another pic…

Sapporo Reserve Beer

Limpd: Crap! I forgot my color wheel. I swear this one is marginally darker than the other two. Hang on. Did you happen to see where these beers were brewed and bottled?

G-LO: Huh? Umm. No. I didn’t pay much attention. You mean they’re not brewed in Japan?

Limpd: Nope. Not even close. According to the tiny print on the bottom of the label, the Premium was brewed and bottled in Lacrosse, WI and the Reserve was brewed and bottled in Guelph, Ontario. Me thinks we need to do a bit of digging! Since you’re a wiz with that smartphone of yours, Google it!

G-LO: Will do Maestro! Gimme a minute…

32.5 seconds later…

Limpd: Speed it up G-LOsan! I haven’t got all night.

G-LO: Keep your shirt on Old Chub. Stupid autocorrect keeps changing Guelph to Gulf. Remind me to turn that off one of these days. So according to Wikipedia, the Encyclopedia Britannica of the 21st century, the Premium is brewed by City Brewing in La Crosse and the Reserve is brewed by Sleeman Breweries in Guelph.

Limpd: Interesting. Do they make any other beers at those breweries?

G-LO: Yeah. City Brewing in La Crosse also makes Red Stripe, Naragansett, Sam Adams, Milwaukee Light, and a few other beers, while Sleeman brews Stroh’s, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Old Milwaukee, and Schlitz for the Canadian market. Good to know that they’re using two top notch facilities to make this stuff.

Limpd: Glad to hear they spared no expense on the brewing of these beers. Stroh’s, Old Milwaukee, and Schlitz. That’s some quality stuff right there!

G-LO: Hey now! I have fond memories of Schlitz. Remind me to tell you the Schlitz pony bottles and Cheese Curls story one of these days. This one goes back to my high school days. Can we go back to the review now?

Limpd: Mmmm. Cheese curls. It’s no charcuterie and cheese plate, but I do love me some Cheese Curls! So this one is a bit darker than the other two, but other than that, it pretty much smells and tastes the same.

G-LO: I’m with ya! Yes, the malts are a bit deeper, but other than that, I don’t understand how the Reserve is any different from the Premium. Whatcha getting on the palate Buckaroo Banzai?

Limpd: I’m getting a whole lot of meh. This is some truly unremarkable and forgettable stuff. When you first mentioned that some Sapporo beer samples had arrived, I was hoping that this would be like a virtual trip to Japan for a high quality beer tasting, but instead what I got was a rerouted flight to La Crosse on the way to Peoria, IL. On the plus side, it looks like your flowers are perking up!

G-LO: Well said Limpd-san! I have nothing further to add.

Limpd: Really? Mr. Longwinded has nothing more to say? I’m flabbergasted! So what are we having next? I need something with a bit more oomph. Is it Whisky Time yet?

G-LO: It’s always Whisky Time! How about some Hakushu or Nikka for a bit of Japanese redemption in a glass?

Limpd: That sounds fantastic. Me likey Japanese whisky!

Beer Review – Lavery Brewing Madra Allta IPA


 Lavery Madra Allta IPA

Minding my own business (as I usually do), I found myself a passenger in a vehicle back from a sales call. My chauffeur told me that we had run out of beer at work (gotta say, Beer Friday is pretty cool) and we had to stop at Kunda Beverage in King of Prussia to seek replenishment. Once again, not one to make a fuss (I mean really who am I to argue the point), we headed over to Kunda with a credit card and an empty trunk . At Kunda, we had a number of difficult decisions. First, in PA, we are forced to buy by a full case of beer. So, our investment must be something that is mutually appreciated by around a dozen fellers (not to be sexist but our female coworkers like spiked ice tea and/or gluten free beverages). And, we need to make sure that it is not too crafty (so, a big fat NO to DuClaw’s Sweet Baby Jesus).

We settled on a case of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (good for the masses) and a split case with four sixes of IPAs. We had the IPA from Avery, the IPA & a Half from the Tommyknocker Brewery, the Corruption from DC Brau Brewing and the Madra Allta from the Lavery Brewing Company. This review centers on Lavery’s Madra Allta. Lavery is a brewer from Erie, PA that was founded in 2009. They make about a dozen different beers and try to incorporate British, German and Belgian traditions into their brewing process

Here is what Lavery has to say about their Madra Allta:

Madra Allta is a classic India pale ale with a blend of Bravo and a NEW experimental American hop variety. Our IPA has a beautiful gold color with the unmistakable aroma and flavor of American hops. Hop-focused with light malt sweetness and a toasty dryness in the finish balances the high bitterness perfectly. An easy-drinking IPA awaits. Madra Allta, is the Gaelic word for ‘wolf’.

I found the beer to be…

  • Appearance: Deep cooper with a nice amount of tan foam and lots of lacing.
  • Aroma: Lots of malt with a little sweetness and a little hops.
  • Taste: Medium mouthfeel with a good bit of sweet dough followed by a lingering hoppy bitterness in the finish.
  • ABV: 6.4%

This was my first experience with Lavery and I was impressed. This might not have been a great IPA but it certainly was a good one. And, the fact that it comes in a can means I can enjoy this beer at the local cement pond. As summer approaches and I am looking for a quality, portable IPA, I will have to add the Lavery Madra Allta to the list.

Beer Review – Terrapin Beer Company Maggie’s Peach Farmhouse Ale


Terrapin Maggie's Peach Farmhouse Ale

As we have progressed into summer and with my dabbling in blueberry beers over, I reached into the beer fridge and pulled out yet another fruited up beer, Maggie’s Peach Farmhouse Ale from Terrapin Beer Company. Now, I’m not sold on fruit beers. I have some that I liked  (the Samuel Smith Fruit Ales (raspberry and apricot) and a St. Louis Framboise) and some that weren’t so good (a couple of blueberry beers (the Bar Harbor comes to mind) and some of the Leinenkugels (including their Shandy, just undrinkable). But, I had never tried a peach infused beer and I had some success with other Terrapin Beers (the Hopsecutioner IPA, the Rye Squared and the Monk’s Revenge to name a few). Terrapin is a craft brewer in Athens, GA and has grown from rather simple beginnings to a 40,000 sq. foot brewing facility. Terrapin rolls out six year round beers, 4 seasonals and a bunch of “special project” and collaboration beers. Sadly, two of my favorites the Rye Squared and the Hop Karma (a brown IPA) have been retired.

Before we get to my review, here is what Terrapin has to say about the Maggie’s Peach:

This refreshing summer offering has all the flavor and aroma of a freshly picked peach (to the tune of 1,000 pounds per 100 barrel batch!) combined with the complexity of a well-executed farmhouse ale.  Some of you may remember Maggie’s older sister, Side Project Volume 7, one of Spike’s first forays into farmhouse ales. This newest version is just as lovely, should age just as well and has the uniquely GA flavor of fresh summer peaches!

I found the beer to be…

  • Appearance: Cloudy, golden honey with lots of foam.
  • Aroma: Grainy, doughy with lots of fresh fruit (maybe peaches) and baking spice.
  • Taste: Sweet, crisp and refreshing but with a little funk in the finish (almost like the fuzz on the peach skin).
  • ABV: 5.3%

This was another average fruit ale. As summer beers go, it certainly hit all of the qualities (crisp, refreshing, flavorful) but I’m still not altogether sold on the fruiting up of my beer. I think I would have rather had a Hopsecutioner.

Hey Kids, Let’s Put on a Japanese Whisky Tasting in the Barn!


Hakushu and Yoichi in BW

On Thursday night, 4th of July eve, G-LO and I got together for a tasting of two well respected Japanese whiskies. No, G-LO didn’t leave his tony mansion in the Northeast and, no, I didn’t leave my shoebox-by-the-shore in Southern California. We instead met halfway, so to speak, using the Information Superhighway which seems to be all the rage what with sky high gas prices, crazy airlines that charge for icky blankets, and our general frugality (read: cheapskatedness). Below is our super serious discussion — 3,000 miles apart, very late night for G-LO and kind of late for me — about Hakushu 18 and Nikka Yoichi 15.

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Hakushu 18

G-LO: I think we should start with the Hakushu. Have you tried these before?

AK: Only the Hakushu Heavily Peated at a bar with Lee. Something like $30 for a pour. Glad this one is “free”. I am poured and ready to go.

G-LO: Same here. Hakushu 18 to start.

AK: Hakushu 18 sounds like a motorcycle part.

G-LO: Yeah it does. A part for a high performance crotch rocket. I’m thinking a Hayabusa.

AK: Is that an engine part for my ’92 Toyota Celica? I miss that car. Black, sunroof, fast. Flew to Vegas in that baby. First kissed my wife in that car. Not so great for baby car seats or anyone over 6′ tall though.

G-LO: I’m sticking with the Hayabusa. Besides, I’m more of a Honda guy.

AK: It was a black car inside and out, and this Hakushu has no black in it at all. Love the color: golden brown, which is not exactly a chick magnet color in cars.

RAL---Brown-Shades

G-LO: Golden brown? You mean beige?

AK: Beige sounds so beige. This is prettier. Softer. It looks Japanese. Whatever the hell that means. Granted, my house’s interior is brown and browns. But this seems different. Not like the paint we agonized over for months about or the stain for the cabinets.

G-LO: Don’t start with the paint color talk. Getting PTSD from painting the dining room. This is a pretty color. That shade of brown that you get with a perfectly cooked piece of tempura.

Hakushu 18 in the Glass

AK: Tempura!! Yes! Loves me the tempura. Just not the shrimp. I like the carrot and yam. Yum. This definitely has the same golden color without the greasiness. Painting and whisky should never go together unless it means you’re ready to drink yourself into oblivion after the third coat in the bedroom.

G-LO: Third coat? Sounds like we have a similar painting style, i.e. too thin. Though thin and me aren’t exactly synonymous. Except for the hairline of course.

AK: If I’m not getting carpal tunnel syndrome pain and cramps, the paint job isn’t done yet.

G-LO: Primer and then two coats followed by a week of touch up. Seriously. We keep talking painting and I’m gonna start chugging! Focus!

AK: Where’s Bob Vila? This isn’t NPR? I’m really bad at this nosing business. But I just love to smell whisky. And my schnozz says there ain’t no turpentine or paint in this stuff!

G-LO: This stuff be fruity! No?

AK: I’m so used to scotch that when I come across something not from Scotland, it takes me a minute to adjust my kilt. Fruity, but don’t ask me which one. Maybe a little green apple?

G-LO: Speaking of kilts, do they have a Tilted Kilt out there?

AK: Not sure but I sadly experienced a Tilted Kilt in Orlando. I still want my tip back and two hours of my life back!

G-LO: That bad?

AK: Pretty bad. I was with four customers who invited me. Waitress couldn’t spell beer. Plenty o’ Crappy might be a better name for the joint.

AK: It really smells lovely. Light. I like that even though peated is my my thing.

G-LO: With ya on the apple. Lightly spiced no less. Can I go with Fuji Apple?

AK: Fuji works. Mt. Fuji is better. d’oh!! I’m going in.

photo_hakushu_09

G-LO: But of course. Since the Hakushu Distillery is at high altitude, Mt. Fuji apple it is!

AK: I’m still nosing which is a big reason why I love whisky. Slows me down which is good and bad.

G-LO: There’s a touch of tobacco in there. Really good tobacco. Cuban seed.

AK: I get that too. Thought coffee at first. But tobacco is better.

AK: Not sure what I’m getting on the first sip. Funny how some are a bit oily. None of that here. Which reminds me, I need to get my car in for an oil change. Every 5,000 miles per Toyota’s specs. Remember changing your own oil? Yuck!

G-LO: Changing oil? Never done it. I’m a subcontracting kinda guy. Never touched a lawnmower either.

AK: I grew up in a non-subcontracting house. Me and pop would change oil and points. Jews Who Change Oil. Go figure, boychick.

G-LO: The Alemonger would be horrified.

AK: And I mowed lawns. Way too many lawns. I come from a long line of DIY Jews. I’d never do it today. I won’t add memory to a computer anymore, though I used to. I’m more UDIY now.

G-LO: According to The Alemonger, power tools are the work of the Gentile. Then again, he thinks cheese is anti-Semitic. So, take what he says with a grain of salt.

AK: This stuff is so darn light but I get a bite too. 43.5%. Feels hotter than that on the finish. I love power tools, and love how the power builds up in them. Pulling the trigger slowly on a Black & Decker power drill is like this Hakushu.

G-LO: Ok, ok. I’m going in now. You’re right. Not oily at all. Starts off slow and then it builds. More of a nibble than a bite. And by the way, the Tilted Kilt’s whisky list is pretty pedestrian.

AK: I remember being highly underwhelmed by the booze list there and ordering a Barq’s Root Beer just to have something in my hand other than a gun which I would used to blow my brains out. Food was wholly unexceptional. Look at us!! We’re Yelp for Dummies!

G-LO: I can respect that. I would have ordered a beer. I always start with the beer menu when I go anywhere. There’s value there. I go beer, then cocktails, then wine. Whisky is for after dinner if I don’t care for the dessert menu.

AK: Very Moneyball of you. It’s all about on-base percentage. There’s a build up with this whisky. I like it. Not peated, right? Maybe that tobacco is giving me false smoke signals.

G-LO: Loved Moneyball! The book, not the movie. I’m all about looking for the sweet spot, i.e. getting the biggest bang for my buck. And yes, this whisky totally builds as you get to the finish. No clue what kind of barrels they use.

AK: The beauty of not being a cocktail/beer guy is no wasting time. Right to the whisky. I can’t stay up late so I need the good stuff sooner! That being said, I was with fellow whiskyfabricites Allison Patel and Rob Gard tonight at a fun little nouveau pizza joint in Venice, CA. They had Brenne on the menu! I had an Old Fashioned with Brenne. Enjoyed it immensely.

G-LO: Interesting. I like Brenne on it’s own. There are some great beers out there and some kick ass cocktails being made right now.

AK: Rob said if a cocktail has more than four ingredients, it’s too complicated and TAKES TOO LONG! Totally get that theory. And I’d add, too freakin’ expensive!

G-LO: I agree with Rob. That’s why I hate recipes.

AK: I love Brenne on its own too so this was different.

G-LO: It’s already easy drinking, so I wouldn’t want to water it down any.

AK: There was a cocktail called a Dommo. Mint, Yellow Chartreuse, lemon, ginger and bourbon. Rob had it made with Brenne instead of bourbon. It was five ingredients breaking the Rob Gard rule but well worth it. He invented a cocktail! Thomas Edison of Cocktails, that one is.

G-LO: Speaking of easy to drink, the Hayabusa 1800cc is way easy to drink. Though it’s more of a rolling start vs. a standing start. No wheel spin!

AK: I like the finish on the Hakushu. I definitely get the tobacco a bit more there.

G-LO: I need a touch more. In my glass I mean.

AK: What’s Hayabusa? I ain’t not brain surgeon. And NO touching! This is a family show!

G-LO: Sorry. Forgot you’re not a car guy or a motorcycle guy.

AK: It’s a car? I swear you were going to say it’s some Japanese liqueur distilled on the thighs of women from the Ginza.

G-LO: Watch your mouth! Who you calling a Ginza? Is it me or is this whisky perhaps a bit too subdued? The finish is the big reward for me. I’d probably like this more if I didn’t know the price AND if I wasn’t the one that bought it. It’s really good, but I prefer the Hakushu 12.

AK: I’m a peat freak so if I don’t taste dead vegetation from the Bronze Age then it falls into the Subdued or Subdude category.

G-LO: You’re very focused. Subdude. Nice one. Less of a dude?

AK: Us Single celled organisms are just that way. I barely respond to light. Unless it’s peated.

G-LO: You an Amoeba or more of a Paramecium? Ha! That’s about all I got outta junior year Biology. Biology would have been more fun if I went to a coed high school.

AK: Paramecium! $2.00! Get your Paramecium! One isn’t enough!

G-LO: What does Rob say about five syllable words?

AK: I’ll UNDENIABLY ask him. No wimins?! Graduate of Trappist Monk High School? Did you guys have a football team?

G-LO: Just one woman. Sister Leah. She was the football coach. And does ice count as one of the ingredients in his rule?

AK: Don’t know his Ice Ice Baby theory but we had a interesting convo with two friends of Allison’s from the LBC about the big fat monstrous ice cube trend. That’s Long Beach, CA, yeah boyyyyy!

G-LO: Love the monster ice cubes! Especially when they’re crystal clear. So sexy!

AK: I know Viking, Sub Zero, or some overpriced fridge company is making a freezer right now to make big old cubes that will bash you in the nose in the comfort of your own home while “the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard, and the Jell-O’s jiggling” all for under $10k. Plus pretty blue lights when you open the door at 2:00 am searching for chocolate milk.

G-LO: I never paid attention to ice until my first $18 cocktail in NYC.

AK: I can’t afford to pay attention. It is interesting how they don’t water down drinks as you think they might.

G-LO: When a drink costs $18, I’m friggin paying attention! I was transfixed by the ice cubes.

AK: I had a cocktail a few nights ago with ROOT and the bartender used a big coffee ice cube whatever that is. This a level of fluid dynamics that is beyond me. It was dark as my soul but more like a venti drip.

G-LO: By the way, definitely getting that tobacco in the aftertaste. The finish is where this shines. What’s a venti drip?

AK: Some Starbucks thing that my wife orders. No COFFEE QUESTIONS! Do I look like Howard Schultz?! I like the finish too. I sleep through the middle of movies anyway. Soooo, did I ever tell you that I like sniffing “empty” whisky glasses? Well, ones that had whisky in them. It’s a thing I do. Don’t ask.

G-LO: Huh. Interesting. Lemme try that. I usually just go for a refill…That’s a great smelling glass!

AK: The glass is coated in the spirit. It’s not like when the fluid is in there.  It’s different somehow.

G-LO: A line from a cheesy western just popped into my head: Gimme a glass of whisky in a dirty glass! I’d drink whisky outta this glass for sure!

AK: Indeed! It’s like smelling a frying pan after you’ve cooked in it.

G-LO: A seasoned glass. How very green of us. The verdict on the Hakushu 18?

AK: Exactly! I like it but not sure I’d buy it. But I like the smell and the finish quite a bit. Don’t tell me the price. I don’t want to know.

G-LO: Ok. I won’t spill. I will say this, it was 2x the cost of the Hakushu 12, but not 2x as good by any stretch.

AK: I have no idea what that means but if Train A, traveling 70 miles per hour, leaves Buffalo heading toward Schenectady, 270 miles away, at the same time Train B, traveling 60 mph, leaves Buffalo heading toward Schenectady. When do the two trains meet?

G-LO: Ummm.

AK: Please show your work.

Nikka Yoichi 15

G-LO: Again with the PTSD. Nikka time, baby?

AK: This Yoichi 15 looks beautiful.

G-LO: It really does look pretty in the glass.

AK: At this point, Totie Fields would look good in that glass. Too soon?

G-LO: Who the hell is Totie Fields?

AK: I knew you were going to say that. Google her.

G-LO: Geez. Dead at 48 in ’78!

AK: I love the name amber. Works well for strippers and for whisky color. It says it all, though I have no idea what amber is but she way overcharged me last time. That was clearly NOT 10 minutes! Funny broad. Totie. Not Amber. One leg. Again, not Amber.

G-LO: You know, I’m 47. If I were Totie, I’d have 9 months left.

AK: So, keep drinking. You never know.

G-LO: Good point. That was a Limpd kinda thing to say, by the way.

AK: Too many actuarial tables for that guy. The Yoichi is more, what, medicine-y “on the nose” (air quotes!).

G-LO: Interesting. Like a butterscotch flavored Band-Aid?

AK: This is one that bugs me. It’s a smell I know but can’t nail. Like Amber. It’s going to drive me nuts. Oh, whyyy do I tryyy?!

G-LO: Cause it’s fun! And it keeps you from just doing shots. Think of it as a spiritual experience. It’s sweet, yet spicy and medicine-y too.

AK: Right! You are the Gandhi of Booze.  Must be the bald head and robe.

G-LO: Can I get Ben Kingsley to play me in my biopic? It’d be a really short movie though.

AK: You want Ben Kingsley. You’ll take F. Murray Abraham. You settle for G-LO. #castingproblems.

Nikka Yoichi 15 in the Glass

AK: There’s a sweet musty smell to it. Like a closet that hasn’t been opened in awhile and you find that old sweater from college with Amber’s phone number on a napkin in it.

G-LO: I’m not gonna ask the condition of that napkin. Nor do I wanna know what you had to pay to get that number.

AK: I think the napkin is in better shape than Amber.

G-LO: The power of suggestion is strong with you.

AK: It’s the Midi-Chlorian. I take supplements.

G-LO: Damn you and your five syllable words!

AK: Interesting Ar-tic-u-la-tion. Watch the movie, young Skywalker. These aren’t the five syllable words you looking for.

G-LO: These aren’t the five syllable words I’m looking for.

G-LO: Now I’m getting musty grapes or something like that. We got Band-Aids, butterscotch, musty grapes, and maybe some cinnamon? Whatever it is, I love how this smells.

AK: I was thinking cloves but maybe cinnamon.

G-LO: Whatever works for ya.

AK: Me too. I’m all about old Band-Aids.

G-LO: I’m goin’ in!

AK: Yes, yes, you’re already wet. Might as well. Bottom of my tongue is burning like a house of love! Yowza!!

G-LO: Mmmm. This is more to my liking! A touch of oiliness? This has much more body.

AK: Definitely oily. I’m coated like Kojak in the episode where they bust the boys on the waterfront. This feels heavier. Apples and oranges compared to the Hakushu. Denser. More dense. Densapaloozaful.

G-LO: Spiced apple for sure.

AK: I really get the cinnamon now.

G-LO: Dunno about the orange, though there might be a bit of orange zestiness to it. Lightly bitter oiliness that you get from an orange peel perhaps? All the rage with the craft cocktail community!

AK: Not sure about citrus. Bottom of the tongue is buzzing. Kind of weird. Maybe a little mint toothpaste on the gums. I need to see the dentist, by the way.

G-LO: Again? Sounds like our teeth come from the same gene pool. Remind me to tell you the gold crown story one day.

AK: Oh, I know zest. Years ago I used to make this rum based thing called Christmas Shrub.

G-LO: You’re more zippy than zesty. Just sayin’.

AK: Thank you very little. Infused white rum with zest of lemon and orange with cloves, cinnamon, and caramelized sugar. Reduced this junk all down and put in a bottle for a few weeks with more rum. Sweet and syrupy, and kick ass. Served warm or on the rocks. Zest was huge in the flavor.

G-LO: You’re such a fancy lad. The finish on this one is sooo good! This Nikka is fo’shizzle!

AK: I’m fo’shizzling once more.

G-LO: I wouldn’t say it blows the Hakushu outta the water, but I definitely like it more.

AK: The Yoichi is more complex. That smell is still bugging me. Like I’m forgetting to do something. Did I turn off the stove? Did I close the garage door?.  But there is more going on with this one.

G-LO: I think so too. Voluptuous?

AK: Thanks. You’re not so bad yourself. Come here often?

G-LO: Hello, Sailor!

AK: Hello, Larry.

G-LO: Hagman?

AK: Dead.

G-LO: Yep.

AK: Abe Vigoda. Not dead. Go figure.

G-LO: Go Fish too.

AK: Tessio. It’s the smart move; Tessio was always smarter. Think the finish is better on the Hakushu but the Yoichi is better overall.

G-LO: Clemenza was too busy worrying about dinner.

AK: Don’t forget the canolli!

G-LO: See? I respect that.

AK: And watch out for the kids when you’re backing out.

G-LO: Screw that. They need to watch out for me. Damn suburb kids.

AK: You and your Big Wheel.

G-LO: Never had one.

AK: We got mattresses to buy!

G-LO: I’d take this whisky to the mattresses with me. It’s comforting. And hypoallergenic?

AK: Yep. Second go around is better. Ask for it by name. Accept no substitutes.

G-LO: I think I understand what you mean about the finish. The Hakushu finish is fantastic, but overall, the Yoichi is more fun.

AK: Time for some glass sniffing which is legal is California. I would have bet your last dollar on the Hakushu being my favorite. I get sucked in by the name. I’m so juvenile. Or is it Jewvenile? Waa waa waaaa

G-LO: Where’s that instant rimshot link when you need it?

AK: Much better smelling empty glass. I could lay down with this one for awhile. I shall name her Amber. And it was good.

G-LO: Same here. I was expecting the same results. I like the Hakushu but LOVE the Yoichi. FYI, the Yoichi is a relative bargain. The ROK picked it up at Narita Duty Free.

AK: Agreed. The Nikka Amber, er, Yoichi, is the pick here.

G-LO: I think it was like $60. The US price is around $90 to $100, I believe.

AK: I’d fork out for the Yoichi which by the way, the 11 year old daughter pronounced far better than I. Two years of Japanese classes finally paid off.

G-LO: Yo-ee-chee? How hard is that?

AK: She’s in bed. I’ll have her call you. Japanese friends of our say she nails the pronunciation. I’m just happy to say tempura correctly and not get a burger served to me.

G-LO: Impressive. Well this was good fun and kinda weird. No?

AK: No. I mean Yes. No, I mean, yes, it was good and kinda weird. Big thanks to YOU, G-LO-san for the samples. May your Origami never be unfolded.

G-LO: I think we have a Star Wars Origami book around here somewhere. Gracias, AK-san!

AK: I need a Star Wars Origami Lego Book. Everything especially an A-Wing Interceptor Starfighter is Awesome!

G-LO: I have no idea what that means.

AK: Say goodnight, G-LO.

G-LO: Goodnight, G-LO.

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For a full transcript of this episode, send a self-addressed stamped envelope large enough for us to include all of our accumulated junk mail and bills to our main office:

BoozeDancing Dot Com
PO Box 666
Walla Walla, WA 12345

4th of July Beertography!


Photo courtesy of G. Widman for GPTMC

Photo courtesy of G. Widman for GPTMC

I don’t know about you, but to me, 4th of July means firing up the grill, eating a plethora of burgers, hot dogs, and a whole bunch of other stuff, and washing it all down with a refreshing and flavorful Craft Beer. Taking a cue from our friends Ed of The Dogs of Beer blog and Bryan of the This Is Why I’m Drunk blog, I thought I’d share some of my latest experiments in Beertography that will hopefully inspire you to crack open a couple of cold ones on this, the biggest American holiday of the summer season. Cheers!

Casa Noble Tequila – A Tasting with Tapas


Casa Noble Tequila Toppers

We all have a tequila drinking horror story. It usually involves salt, lime, and too many shots of crap tequila, or too many Margaritas on Spring Break in Cancun or some other sun drenched destination. Thankfully, tequila horror stories are not what this post is about…

The Boozedancing Crew brought me in to put my own twist on how I would drink the Casa Noble Tequilas.  G-LO handled the tequila tasting notes and bottle shots, and I’m going to jump in with how I enjoyed the tequilas.  I made a couple of cocktails and paired them with some “tapas,” because if you’re gonna drink, and you don’t want to have a “never drinking tequila again” night, you gotta eat!

Tequila Numero Uno: Casa Noble Blanco

Casa Noble Blanco Tequila

G-LO’s Tasting Notes

Appearance: Crystal clear color.
Aroma: Citrus oil. Fresh cut grass. White pepper. Witch hazel.
Taste: Much softer than expected, with a touch of peppery spice in the beginning. At mid-palate it transitions to a vanilla sweetness that carries you through to the finish. Peppery spice comes back at the end along with that vanilla and a hint of citrus.

My Cocktail and Food Pairing Selections

CasaNoble-7I totally agree with G-LO’s notes on this one, and that’s why I chose it to make a classic margarita.  I really like how the agave flavors held up to the lime and Cointreau.  Salt on my glass? No, thank you.

CasaNoble-6 And since it was such a crisp, clean flavor I paired the margarita with nice, light, red snapper ceviche.  It didn’t overpower the ceviche at all and was really refreshing. Salt on my chips? Yes, please!! This is how you have salt with a margarita.

CasaNoble-5

 Tequila Numero Dos: Casa Noble Reposado

Casa Noble Reposado Tequila

G-LO’s Tasting Notes

Appearance: Pale gold color
Aroma: Vanilla buttercream. Pipe tobacco. Eucalyptus. Citrus.
Taste: So so mellow! Creamy and buttery mouthfeel with lots of vanilla at the onset. Pipe tobacco and a mild pepperiness kicks in at mid-palate. The finish brings it all together, i.e. vanilla, tobacco, pepper, and a bit of lime zest.

My Cocktail and Food Pairing Selections

CasaNoble-4I got a little more creative with this one and found a recipe for a cocktail called the Rosa Maria from the Schiller’s Liquor Bar cocktail book.  The cocktail is made with pomegranate juice and rosemary which kind of overpowered the tequila, so how did I fix that? Add more tequila!  I paired it with lamb chops marinated in lime, garlic and rosemary.  Don’t you just want to gnaw on those lamb bones?  I do, and did.

CasaNoble-1I also made these little sweet potato bites topped with black bean dip and chipotle creme.  We drank the Reposado neat with these and it was excellent! Those mellow, vanilla-y flavors worked so well with the sweet potato and the spice from the chipotle crema.

CasaNoble-3

 

Tequila Numero Tres: Casa Noble Anejo

Casa Noble Anejo Tequila

G-LO’s Tasting Notes

Appearance: Pale amber with a light brown hue.
Aroma: Not nearly as fragrant as the Reposado. Vanilla. Mellower tobacco notes. Light brown sugar. Perhaps a hint of clove too.
Taste: Can it get more mellow? Yes. Yes it can! No harshness at all. Light brown sugar and vanilla to start, with a hint of mild cinnamon heat at mid-palate. Mellow, mildly sweet finish with some herbal notes coming through in the aftertaste.

My Cocktail and Food Pairing Selections

CasaNoble-2

At this point, it was late and I was done cooking but still had to pair the Anejo.  I like chocolate and whisky so I thought, why not pair this with some chocolate? I had some Taza Mexican chocolate flavored with chipotle chile that I got in the swag bag from Whisky Jewbilee.  Could I have found a better chocolate to pair with tequila?? Nope. What was really nice about pairing this with the Anejo was that it brought out the agave flavors at the beginning, then moved to vanilla and ended with a long lingering spicy finish that I loved.

G-LO’s Final Thoughts

While he definitely enjoyed all tres expressions, he said that the Crystal was his favorito with the Reposado coming in segundo. He thought that the Anejo was far too mellow for his taste since it lacked the prominent agave flavors that he craves whenever he drinks tequila. (I need to get him to try it with that chocolate and see if he changes his tune.) Using Scotch whisky as a reference point, he compared the Anejo to drinking an older smoky Islay whisky, i.e. aging a heavily peated whisky diminishes the peat smoke flavors in a big way.

G-LO’s advice: If you like the taste of peat, stick with younger Islay whisky expressions. If you like the taste of Agave, stick with Silver or Blanco Tequilas. And if you’re a middle of the road kind of Tequila drinker, then the Reposado is what you should be drinking.

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Many thanks to Casa Noble Tequila and The Baddish Group for hooking us up with these very generous samples!