Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Long Overdue Beer Reviews

Hi folks
Don't worry, Terry's Beer Tour of the World is still going strong: here are some new brews reviewed for your edification and enjoyment:

Rolling Rock
Ultra-pale lager but don’t let that fool you.  Actually does have a punch.  Reviews on the beer sites are almost all derogatory but then, they rave about strawberry notes and lemon airs of India Pale Ales, which are all the rage here.  Reminiscent of some Bavarian light lagers, a bit sour (which I like) and a little fizzy but not like from a major brewery’s carbonation.  Large cans or green bottles.  A lot of history from an old Pennsylvania beer.  I don’t mind it at all.

Yuengling Traditional Amber Lager
I’ve had this in draft from the Crab Deck.  This is from a pint can and is very nice indeed.  I’ve spoken about Yuengling before and it’s now become my firm favourite.  Until I get a new firm favourite when I can’t find Yuengling in the shop any more.  I buy this by the carton – $14.99 for a 12-can pack for the 370ml cans.

Fullers Ale
Good, honest English Ale.  Served cold by a very charming Irish waiter west of Washington DC in some part of Virginia.  I think.  Where George Washington University is.  Had a few while lunching with our friend Jane from Sarasota.  Our waiter, John, gave us a few tips for the west coast of Ireland, including his brother-in-law’s restaurant in Country Clare.

Natty Greene’s Old Town Brown Ale
Had this in the Church Street Inn on Swansboro North Carolina.  A North Carolinan beer from Greensboro.  Nice.  No sharpness at all, not overly hoppy.  Smooth but the alcohol sneaks up on you.  Definitely worth a drink or two.
Tried the Circus Boys ale while I was there but didn’t think much of it – hops and nothing else.

Key West Sunset Ale
Well, the tossers in the ‘’trendy’’ beer review sites give this (variously) 4/10, 5/10 etc.  They are bigger dickheads than those stereotypical wine-wankers.  Wine reviewing seems to have stabilized a lot since those early days of pretentious twits, but they abound in Beer’s first forays into classifying and reviewing.  Probably moved across from the wine review groups when wine drinkers called their bluff and now we beer drinkers have to put up with them.
Seriously, I had a couple of these in the Tailgate Sports Bar on Daytona Beach.  Good beer.  You would expect the heavy hand of excess in this land of bigger, better, faster etc but apart from a little fruit sweetness at the end, this is very easy to drink.  Of course, it helps that accompanying the beer were 2 ½ pounds of Cajun Crawfish, Banana Pepper Calamari and French Fries, all surrounded by 27 tv screens showing Football, Basketball, Baseball and Men In Black II.  What a Christmas Lunch!!  Your Crawfish comes in a beer jug and is dumped out on your table onto some sheets of yesterday’s newspaper.  Peel, eat, put shells back in beer jug, drink, roll up paper.  Where’s the hard bit? We rode along Daytona Beach on Xmas Day after this, amid thousands of holidaymakers.  In the water?  Kids.  Can you ever keep them out?

Dixie New Orleans Slow Brewed Beer.
Dixie Brewing Company
A bit too sweet to taste much more.  No bitterness.  Very old brewery (1907) almost destroyed in Katrina.

Old Thumper.  (A Beast of a Beer)
Shipyard Brewing Company, Portland Maine.  From their Ringwood Brewery.
5.6%.  Strong, heavy.  Not caramel tasting and not too bitter.  OK for a couple but not a keeper.  Would be excellent with winter casseroles and pies and the like.

Genesee Cream Ale.
Very nice.  A bit of caramel in it that makes you think of it as a lolly but there’s kick in there too.  Not something you could drink a lot of but would be good with a casserole or Shepherd’s Pie.  You wouldn’t actually need to drink a lot of it – a few and you’d be done.  A New York tradition.

Ellie’s Best Brown Ale
Had dinner in “Social Wine Bar and Restaurant”  in Charleston last week.  This was on tap and I’m glad I tried it.  Very nice with tapas-style dinner.  From Colorado.

You’re not going to find this in a liquor store near you any time soon.  All they have is three tuns of about 200 gallons each maybe.  In them are the Pilsner, the Stout and the Red Ale.  I had the Pilsner first.  Home brewed? Almost. There’s that typical hint of sharp sourness you get in stuff you make at home.  Nice.  Could drink this for a night or so.
Then I had a Nut Brown Ale.  Not one of the tuns?  No, you mix Pilsner and Stout into the glass and serve it.  Very nice.  Knock you on your ear stuff.
This pub is part of the adjacent Karibo CafĂ©.  In the pub, they have a Tuesday night Trivia Teams (quiz) night – these are popular in small taverns all down the East Coast (can’t say for other areas), Wednesday night is Pad Thai night and Thursday night is Curry night. 
So, given that they don’t bottle anything, next time you’re in downtown Fernandina Beach, Florida, stop into the Karibrew pub and try this.  Preferably on one of the nights mentioned above.  See Jess behind the bar.  Damn I love this country.  Imagine if someone did this in a tavern in Dalyellup.  Place would be full night after night.  With 27 tv screens, of course.

Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale 8.5%
Obviously from the number above, this is quite powerful but it doesn’t have much in the way of flavor going for it.  I let it warm up to see if it released anything but no. Just OK.

Playa de la Cruz
From Guatemala.  Absolute knock-off of Corona, down to the packaging and bottles.  A bit light on, seems like there’s been some extra carbonation done to sparkle it up.  Still, better than Landshark and not as good as Corona.  The know-it-alls in the beer review groups give this 2 out of 5 and complain about “corn smell”, “mouthfeel” and all sorts of bull that used to belong exclusively to wine tossers, but they are full of it.  It’s not a bad beer when you consider it’s $5.99 for a cold 6-pack at Walgreen i.e. a buck a bottle.  At that price, this stuff is a great hot afternoon drinker, which is what it is here today in Fort Lauderdale.  Thunderstorm threatening, bbq on cooking steak and onions, cold bottle to drink.  What’s not to like?

Tona Cerveza
A Nicaraguan beer.  Enough to make you forget the Sandinistas, the Somozas and any other dictatorial dickhead family in the country and emigrate.  The surf there is A1, the food is first class and this beer is something you could drink forever.  The website is a bit limited but interesting for the cultural information.

Non-beer aside:-
I bought a bottle of Absolut in Publix (the supermarket) liquor offshoot, like Coles and Woolies offshoots.  1.75litres for $29.95. (Australian price - $42 for .7liters)  You can buy beer and wine in the supermarket, but not hard liquor.  Depends on the state – some you can, some you can’t.

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