Monday, March 31, 2008

Inexpensive Beer Report: Cerveza Caguama

The Kroger near my house carries a lot of interesting beers, the first on the list of things to try was Cerveza Caguama, mostly because it has a turtle on the front. The back of the bottle explains that Caguama means giant sea turtle, so now I have a beer made out of turtles. Either that or it comes from some terrible river full of needles that turtles fucked in in Mexico.

Beer review websites listed this as a solid C- beer. Those people are goddamned lunatics. Opening the beer, my wife recoiled in horror at the smell and she was 10 feet away from me when I opened it. This did not bode well for me, or my gastrointestinal well being.

Taste: 2/10
Take a Corona, open it, and then leave it out for a week. Put it back in the fridge, open, next to some cottage cheese. Dump some asparagus in the bottle. Whatever you want. That's what can approximate the taste of this stuff. It really is trying hard to be a Corona Light, but as everyone knows Corona Light sucks, and if it's aspiring to be that, well, there's trouble right there.

Aroma: 0.5/10

This is a crappy Blackberry camera phone picture of MacGyver, our crack beer drinking dog. We don't let the other dog drink, because he is already too stupid, and therefore can't spare the brain cells.

Mac has had most of the beers I've reviewed so far, just to see what he'd enjoy, hoping for a moment like there was with The Turtle. After sniffing a little bit of this in his bowl, he moved to the other side of the house and didn't move, and I took the picture above. I'd say that's a resounding fuck you to this beer, if even the god damn dog won't drink it.

As for me, I think it approximates closely to what I would imagine turtle piss would smell like.

Price: 7/10
$5 a sixer is nothing to sneeze at down here, cheaper than Bud/Miller/Coors. It's no Hamm's or Blatz, though. I wouldn't pay $2 for a sixer of this.

Hangover: 2/10
Four before bed and only woke up with an urge to relieve myself. I guess that's the bright spot in all this? To be fair, I was not in the same county as a buzz after 4 of these, so that's probably the reason. I don't like this blog enough to drink enough to make the pain. I was anticipating stomach hell but everything was copacetic.

I have never seen this beer anywhere else, but if you do, and buy it, you're retarded and I hate you.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Shiner Dunkelweizen

Here in Texas we've got a wonderful brewery that more or less takes up an entire small town. Shiner's most famous product, Shiner Bock, is (I'm guessing) exported everywhere around the US and is a fine, fine beer. In the last couple of years, they've been branching out with some success, and some weirdness.

Shiner Dunkelweizen evidently was their Winter Ale and they just decided to make up some bullshit sounding German name to call it so that they could sell it all year round. A Google search says that a dunkelweizen is the dark version of a hefeweizen, so that bodes well, as I love me some wheat beer. It's the only non-cheap beer which will fuck me up good and not make me feel too terrible in the morning, which really is my favorite quality in a beer anymore. Unfortunately for my long term health, I drink way too much.

Anyway, let's crack this mother open.

Taste: 4/10
Tasted more like a crappy ale than what I would have expected from a dark wheat beer. I don't think I could make it through more than two before giving up on my drinking for the evening (at least as far as the dunkelweizen is concerned). No hint of anything from a wheat beer at all.

Aroma: ?
It smells like dark beer. Even years after quitting smoking, I still can't smell shit.

Price: 5/10
7.49 for a sixer. For what I assumed this beer to be, that was about what I expected. I don't pay that much for beer on a regular basis but if it was better, I wouldn't have objected too much.

Hangover: 8/10
I wrote all this other shit last night. I made it through 3, and I felt like ass this morning. I did start the day off with a (free) Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA so that may have been a contributing factor. Even eating a second dinner of Wendy's around midnight while playing Dead Rising was ineffectual. I was dropping a bomb as soon as I woke up, and my head felt like microscopic dwarves had come in through my ear canal and were digging through the front of my head.

I found this in a gas station near my house but haven't seen it anywhere else around the suburb that I live, grocery stores, liquor stores, nothing, just this one gas station. I wonder if they're just repurposing beer just to fuck with me.

I'll be trying the rest of Shiner's newer beers at some point in the near future but this one has turned me off to their stuff for a while. It's too bad because their Bock is the BANC.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Four Peaks Kiltlifter

As you can see from the bottle, this is a Scottish style ale. I'm what one might classify as a novice when it comes to different types of brews as I'm a connoisseur of High Life and PBR. So let's see what the fine folks at Four Peaks tell us about their beer:

You have before you the combination of pure water, North American malt, fresh Kent Golding hops and clean, strong yeast. An ale, artfully crafted in Tempe, Arizona and eagerly shared by the Four Peaks Brewing Company.

Kilt Lifter is brewed in the long tradition of smooth, full bodied Scottish ales. It is marked by a warm balance of hop and malt, with the slightest hint of peat-smoked barley. A traditional touh for a fine ale whose merits are many.

Now, I don't know who Kent Golding is but he might just be the commissioner of truth in advertising because Four Peaks isn't full of shit in the least bit.

This is a moderately dark beer with a crisp finish and just a touch of hops. Nothing is overpowering about this beer except its deliciousness. I'm fortunate to have easy access to it.

I do have one slight complaint about this fine beverage. It's nothing to be ashamed of as another of my favorite beers (Bass Ale) falls in the same boat, but it's better on draft. This is not to say I won't drink from a freshly-poured frosty mug at home all day but I'm not f'ing around when I say Kilt Lifter is something special when ordered at the bar.

If you have the means, I highly recommend it. It is so choice.

taste - 9/10

Really, it's that good. Only piece of advice is to serve it nice and cold. The colder the better.

price - 5/10

It isn't unreasonable but hardly dirt cheap. I got a 6'er this evening for $7. One would think my proximity to the brewery would help price but that just isn't the case.

At the bar it's $4 a pint, which as far as bar prices go, is a fantastic deal.

hangover - 8/10

Costco has 24-packs of Kilt Lifter for dirt cheap. I've made the purchase just once, as I went what we like to call overboard. You see, I was working on my car, changing the oil and the brakes and got into a bit of a rhythm. Before I knew it, half the case was history and I was WASTED.

The next morning was an absolute nightmare. Filmy teeth, cat-piss breath, churning stomach and a head with a tack-hammer driven through it.

The 6% alcohol content did me now favors, nor did my light speed consumption. I'd recommend consuming this beer in much the same way you smoke a pork shoulder, slow and low. That last sentence doesn't really make a lot of sense.

randomness - 2/10

Damn near every supermarket has this in stock and convenience stores are starting to get in on the act as well. Not sure how far they distribute it, if it reached California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised.

Westmalle Trappist Dubbel

I have been blessed by the beer gods as my lovely young sister recently took a trip to Belgium. As you may or may not know, Belgium is an awesome place to find world class brew. Being the saint she is, she volunteered to ship some beers to me, and this is the first I'll be reviewing. On to the beer...

Appearance: 9.5/10

Poured with a nice head (about 2 1/2 fingers) and showed good retention. Nice caramel color which really looked good in the crystal glass (also a gift from lil sis). The lacing was almost non-existent, but that's understandable in such a wide and shallow glass.

Aroma: 7/10

A nice full, malty aroma with more than a faint hint of caramel. I definitely didn't get a hoppy smell from this fine brew. From the initial smell I could tell this would be a very malty beverage.

Taste: 9/10

Delicious. A nice sweet initial taste although I couldn't quite place it right away. I expected to notice a bit of an alcohol-bite from a 7% beer brewed by monks, but I was pleasantly surprised to find nothing of the sort. Completely velvety smooth and almost, dare I say, frothy . In fact, it had a very clean finish with a very malty (think high-class liquid whoppers) taste. I was surprised to notice a shift in flavors as I worked through my first glass; it started malty, became almost chocolatey, and by the end of the glass I was noticing a strong caramel taste.

Mouthfeel: 10/10

A good feel in the mouth - not too thick and not watery by any means. What a good beer is supposed to feel like.

Drinkability: 9/10

This is not a pounding beer by anymeans - in fact, I was feeling a very slight buzz after completing one bottle. However, its nice smooth, malty flavor and high alcohol content make it an awesome beer (or two) to have after a long day of sitting on your ass at work.

Overall: 9.5/10

Awesome beer that I highly recommend to anyone who can find it. Thanks, sis!

Friday, March 14, 2008

NAFTA and Foil-Wrapped Beers Don't Work

I'm hot and cold on Mexican beers. Dos Equis' amber and lager are two of my favorite beers in the world, nectar of the gods type stuff in my mind. Yet when I think of Corona, my brain starts chanting O-VER-RAT-ED.

Modelo Especial inhabits the same area as Pacifico in my Mexican beer hierarchy. Below Dos Equis, above Corona. Thoroughly drinkable, overpriced and best for special occasions.

I wish I had crazy stories from a fiesta to tell but to be honest, I purchased a 12'er of these squat bottles because my wife was making enchiladas with beans and rice and thought it would make a nice pairing.

The incredibly smooth and somewhat salty taste matched perfectly with dinner Monday night and has been nice to sample while sitting on the patio, enjoying the Phoenix spring.

What hasn't been so nice is picking the gold foil off the top of the bottle and out of my teeth once or twice. If any benefits are gained from wrapping these suckers with foil, they're canceled out with the frustration of beer-drinkers both north and south of the border trying to wet their whistle with golden refreshment in a timely manner.

My only other complaint is the price of this solid beverage. $15 for a 12-pack. I know it's an import and a thus a premium is placed on the beer but this is ridiculous.

I will never turn down a Modelo Especial if offered but I don't see myself purchasing any in the future either.

Taste - 7/10
Price - 2/10
Hangover Potential - 3/10 - Mexican brew is made to drink for days
Hangover Effects - n/a - responsible consumption was actually practiced
Randomness - 4/10 - Negro Modelo is more readily available than Especial but it's hardly difficult to track down

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Inexpensive Beer Report: Hamms

Let me get this out of the way - I like crappy beer. I love obscure, cheap domestic beer that comes in cans. I certainly have no issues with "good" beer, but most of the time I'd prefer to drink the crappiest stuff available. When you see the line of cans/bottles across a bar to show you what they sell, I'm always looking at the far left end. I don't pour my beer into a glass, I don't smell my beer before drinking it and if it comes in a 30 pack I generally like it. I plan to use the Inexpensive Beer Report to focus on those long forgotten beers that your ancestors used to drink after 12 hour days in the coal mines.

But I digress, onto Hamms. This beer has a storied history, which dates back to 1865. It was relatively localized to the midwest, but odds are that your pappy & grandpappy drank it at some point in their lives. In the 50s & 60, Hamms sponsored both the Chicago White Sox & Chicago Cubs. If you're a Chicago native, that's as good as playing both kinds - Country and Western. It was a pretty popular blue-collar beer in the 60s & 70s, but by early 90s it was all but forgotten. Nowadays, nobody under 50 drinks Hamms , though the threat of a hipster renaissance always looms large.

From the 50s through the 80s they had one of the catchiest jingles and mascots in beer history:

If a lobotomized black & white bear doesn't make you want to sling some Hamms, then you don't have a soul. But since this is a beer review blog, I'm going to stick to the nomenclature and review it like any other professional.

Price: 7/10 - The local Dominicks by my house picked it up recently, which is SHOCKING. I live in a middle-class suburb of Chicago and you typically gotta hit the city proper to find a quality brew like Hamms. It was originally $2.99 for a sixer, but I went today and it was $3.19 - which pisses me off to no end. I know I can easily spend more money for a can of Old Style at a bar, but I'm certain that the price hike is due to me buying them out every time I go.

Aroma: N/A - I did pour it in a glass and smelled it. Smells like beer... while prepping for this, my first official online beer review, I researched the popular beer review sites. Some fucking guy was reviewing a Sam Adams beer and said he could smell pineapple and cornbread in his beer. If I ever get to that level, the first person to recognize me on the street should swiftly end my life. The chances of me ever writing something like that, even if it's .000001%, means that there will be no more smelling of the beer. I just can't risk being that big of a douche...

Taste: 7/10 - In the glass, Hamms is relatively weak tasting - but very little bite or aftertaste. Just just a quality beer at a quality price. I would put it below Schlitz, and a step above PBR on the Pantheon of Shit Beer.

Pouring beer in a glass: 0/10 - Beer aficionados do this because it tends to let the beer breathe, letting you get all those smells and hops and barleys and that other crap. To me it kind of exposes the weak overall taste of the Hamms. It really does taste different than out of the can, and I don't like these hoity toity sons of bitches taking some of the luster out of Hamms. I prefer to wallow in my ignorance, and future Inexpensive Beer Reports are can only.

Critical links for further study

Monday, March 10, 2008

Eye Of The Hawk

Beer is titties and tacos. And this particular beer is the nippliest chalupa i've ever put in my mouth.



As you may know many beers at this alcohol level taste like liquid turds. But this beer is so good that it will probably make you crap your pants in disbelief. I still do. Ever since I started drinking Eye Of The Hawk I've been dropping more stool than a camoflauge bar seat. This beer is the Shawn Michaels of beers. And if you like Eye Of The Hawk you will probably also like Red Tail ALe, very much so the Marty Jannetti of the Mendocino Brewing Company. Much like the last girl at the local dive bar near closing time, its pretty much impossible to not fall in love with the heavy bodied presentation. Heavy, yet smoother than a Kenny G saxophone solo. Hard to believe?

I know.

I used to be like you.

Taste: 10/10
Price: 6/10
Hangover Potetential: 10/10
Overall: 9/10

Stone Brewery's Levitation Ale AND Arrogant Bastard Ale

Yup, that's right, two for the price of one. First, the Levitation Ale.

I don't have super-developed taste buds and I'm not exactly a pro when it comes to describing hoppiness and all that shit. I drink beer. Quickly.

The first one I cracked wasn't at optimum temperature so I threw the other five into the freezer while I choked this fucker down. Yes, it was slightly warm but still surprisingly good. It definitely wasn't in that awful,warm Fat Tire zone where you'd rather drink coagulated elephant bile off the crack of Estelle Getty's mostly dead ass.

Once it gets past the lips, there's some pretty decent bite. Not overpowering but enough of a wakeup call to make you realize this isn't High Life. The best part of the beer is the finish, silky smooth. I cranked down the six pack in no time and enjoyed every second.

One drawback/advantage was the gnarly burps this fine liquid caused. It really "levitated" the gas in my gut.

The biggest drawback was the hangover/headache effect. I woke up at 4 in the morning with a splitting headache and what tasted like cat piss in my mouth. Levitation Ale really showed who was the boss in this sense.

Absolutely not a beer I'd consume for a day of watching football or bbq'ing. This is good stuff for having with dinner or this is going to sound strange, reading a book. It's true, it's true.

taste: 7/10
price: 4/10 - $8 for a sixer. Fuck that shit.
hangover potential: 10/10 - full disclosure, I consumed three pints of Kirin at dinner earlier in the night. The headache and burps had a distinct gargoyle musk to them, so the Levitation Ale was surely the culprit.
hangover effects 7/10 - nothing a gallon or so of water, a good shit and beatoff session can't cure, but a bit of grogginess lingered throughout the day
randomness - 3/10 - Stone Brewery beers are pretty much all over Phoenix. Not exactly hard to find. I had my first (two) Arrogant Bastards at a bachelor party about four years ago. Note to fellow alcohol consumers: DO NOT DRINK TWO ARROGANT BASTARDS IN A HALF HOUR...AND THEN RIP DOWN VODKA/RED BULLS LIKE IT'S YOUR JOB.

Nice segue...

This beer, is heavy, dark, chock full of alcohol and rather tasty. Less initial bite than the Levitation Ale but a much stronger aftertaste. Fortunately, the only way to combat the after taste is to drink more.

I bought just a single bottle of this fine effort from Stone, it was a pint and 6 ounces, I believe. Just enough to take me through the third quarter of the game between Los Suns and Los Spurs.

No less than an hour after the game, I was out cold on my wife's aunt's couch, drooling contentedly.

taste: 8/10
price: 2/10 - $3.50 for 20 ounces. This won't mess you up nearly as much as a 40 of Steel Reserve but it tastes a hell of a lot better and your head will not be in a vice hours later.
hangover potential: 10/10 - tread lightly, dear friends.
hangover effects: 0/10 - nada. I paid heed to my suggestion above.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Haymaker Extra Pale Ale

From Portland, Oregon, land of dirty hippies, and dirty hippies that brew beer, we have Haymaker Extra Pale Ale. It's got a fucking rooster on the bottle, very subtle guys, way to go. I guess the hippies were just sitting around going HEY, LET'S PUT A BIG DICK ON THE BOTTLE. NO WAIT, LET'S PUT A COCK, THAT'S JUST AS FUNNY AND NO ONE WILL NOTICE.

This ended up leftover in my fridge from a buddy who was up for the weekend, for some reason he drinks nothing but pale ales now since he's on a diet and wants to make the calories count. If it was me I'd end up with Miller Lite since I could drink 2 for every normal beer, but hey, what do I know. Didn't minor in math for a reason or anything...

Taste: 8/10
I'm not a giant fan of pale ales to begin with, most of the time if I am going to get punched in the back of the tongue it's going to be something a little heavier, but this goes down rather nicely and has a nice pale ale taste without being too overwhelming. Definitely not as hoppy as a normal PA, which to me is great.

Price: 5/10
$7.49 for a sixer at the local gas station. Not terrible but pretty good for a pale ale when everything else is 8 bucks or over, thanks to the hyper religious Bible Belt fucks and their crusade against alcohol. Thanks, Dallas scum.

Hangover Potential: 6/10
I had 4 in about an hour and change and then went to bed. Most beers wouldn't do much to me other than a little bit of stomach twinge in the morning. Not the case with this one...

Hangover Effects: 6/10
Slight headache and the aforementioned stomach twinge. I discovered right after I got up that I could kill small rodents with the farts this produces, it was bad enough that I farted right in one of my dogs' face and he got up from laying down and moved to the other side of the house. Also, as soon as I got to work, the shits were fervent. Normally I can hold out until about 8:30 or so, but not so much with this one.

All in all, pretty good for a pale ale, not too many of them make it into things I drink all the time, but this one might if it was a little cheaper. However, I couldn't have more than a couple, so that's probably not an option either. Oh well, shit.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

It's 10th Region basketball time, and therefore Keystone Light time.

Okay, so this may be the first time in the history of people that a person has ever done a review of their own review. But when I found Keystone again in the only place I'd ever seen it before, I felt a review was in order....

In its entirety is my first review from March '07:

Keystone: First off, let's get it straight. We're dealing with Keystone here. Not Keystone Light, Ice, etc, etc. We're talking motherfucking KEY STONE. In a fkn silver and red can that, to be honest, looks more buckeye-esque than any of the shitty new jerseys OSU football or basketball has thrown out there. We all know I'm partial to crazy beers I've never seen before, but I've always thought Keystone light was a damn smooth cheap brew and if I'm looking to get shithoused off $6, you better believe I'm going down to the Marathon station for a 12 pack. For history's sake we'll even go back to when I was a douchey high school freshamn who couldn't drink more than one beer at a time until this slut from Columbus we partied with brought over a backpack full of Keystone Light and I proceeded to drink 10 of them and fingerbang her friend. But I digress, let's get started with the review of Keystone Light.

Price: 5/10... Not that paying $6.25 for a 12 is the worst thing ever but not exactly what you're looking for from a Keystone quality beer.

Taste: 7/10... Hey, I might be in the minority but I think Keystone Light (which I'd always called Keystone until I made today's discovery) is about as good a mass produced beer as you will get for the price. Well, the regular version is no different. There's a subtle difference from Light but still an outstanding beverage.

Randomness: 15/10... So I'm covering a basketball game in a shitty little KY town Monday when I noticed a decent size liquor store across the street. So having to go back there today, with that in mind I leave early enough to check it out. I go inside and they're seriously having a fkn hoedown. Dudes are really just sitting around on coolers by the counter slaying beers and playing guitar. The smoke damn near knocked me down when I walked in. It was damn near the most kick ass thing I've ever seen. I wondered if they were even open for buisiness, but given that no one said anything to me or even looked up I just decided to grab something quick and get out. Well, there's Keystone, which i'm seeing for the first time ever. I don't know that i've ever been more sure of a decision in my life.

Overall: 8.5/10... The randomness of this find and the store made my weekend after a damn crazy and stressful week.

After further rewiew a year later...

Intro: Pretty much been taken care of...

Price: 4/10... Inflation has apparently brought the cost of Keystone Light up to 6.75. If I could find it anywhere else on the planet, this would be unacceptable.

Taste: 8/10... This beer retains its awesomeness and then some... I sat here tonight and drank this and then alternated with a tall boy of the light version and have to say that the more elusive scarlet and grey version brings a lot more to the table. It's like there's a party in my mouth and everyone's invited.

Randomness/history... 100/10... See, last time I thought I had walked on on an isolated incident in which a hoedown broke out in the middle of a liquor store. I mean, we've all had parties that were overcome with a lot more awesomeness than expected... no big deal. I was so wrong on so many levels. I go back, this time on a Tuesday night, and this place is jumping. Like 20 old dudes sitting around pounding brews and watching the UK game. I would seriously doubt that any bar in the town had this kind of atmosphere. UK still sucks ass but but this fine establishment has gained my respect for life.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Yuengling Lager

Yuengling's got the distinction of being America's oldest brewery, started in 1848 in Pottsville, PA. That's a damn lie. It's the world's oldest brewery, and the only one mentioned in the Bible. I've always said this is the only beer Jesus would drink, and after going back to the original Hebrew, there was an obvious mistranslation.

From Matthew Section 107, Row C, Seats 3 and 4:
"Jesus made Yuengling, blessed it, and gave it to his disciples and said, 'This stuff is the cat's ass. Also Judas is going to betray me so that shitdick doesn't get any.'"

They all got bombed on Yuengling then attended Jerusalem's punk shows (the lute was punk as fuck). Jesus's favorite band was Rise Against Pontius Pirate, with Barrabbas, Barrabbas's buddy Hector, and Dick Clark on the drums.

Anyway, we have my choice for best cheap beer in the world. Those of you who've grown up in the northeast US have no doubt been exposed to this wonder of humanity from stealing some out of the refrigerator when the folks aren't looking to paying a hobo 10 bucks to get a case.

Now that I reside in the sigmoid colon of flyover country, it's impossible to get, and with the bullshit restrictions on liquids on an airplane, I can no longer make 2 cases my allowed carryons (4 if the wife comes along). However if I drive back to Texas, I fill the car up with the good stuff.

On to the review...

Taste: 9/10
Tastes like a lager should. Not heavy enough that it will prevent you from knocking the whole case out in a couple of hours.

Price: 8/10
A lot more expensive in the southeast, but it's still 14 bucks for a 30 pack in Philly (at least it was last time I went)

Hangover Potential: 3/10
Tastes better than it should for saying it's pretty easy to stave off its after effects. I can get through about 12 in a few hours before really starting to realize I'm going to get my ass kicked the next day. However...

Hangover Effects: 3/10
Not the worst I've had by far, you get a little bit of the beer shits but the headache's not terrible and you can continue with the rest of the day without feeling like total ass.

Other notes:
I don't know where the fuck the name came from, it sounds Chinese and while I was living in Asia I got confused, since China produces something called Yanjing that tastes like nut sweat comparatively. Wholeheartedly recommended to anyone who is a fan of beer that is cheap and goes down easy. Odds are if you drink beer, and don't like this, then I don't like you as a person.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Let's take a trip Over The Rhine (without the risk of being murdered)

I had a big introductory post here. Then I went to look for help on putting a link in my post, which completely erased my post. I'm not going to type that shit again because I'm hammered, which is the only state one should be in when they review a beer. Pretty sure that's about all you need to know about me.

So let's have at it with Over the Rhine Ale.

Taste: 7/10
Hey, it could be worse.

Price: 5/10
Pretty sure people get murdered daily in Over The Rhine for less than 7.99. I doubt this stuff is flowing freely down there.

Randomness/background/whatever: 9/10
I love the fact that samuel Morelein names a brew after the shittiest neighborhood in Cincy. It kind of pisses me off that I never came up with The Ville malt liquor when I lived in PTown. I also find it ironical that these randm hotties are dancing together in the logo, given that voluptous ladies of the night such as this would never be caught in OTR after dark. So therre's that for what it's worth.