Monday, January 31, 2011

Marble's Dubbel and Tripel are a Home Run

And if you think my headlines are bad, you should see my tan lines. Ewww. Along more appetizing lines, Marble has filled the void of Belgian-style beers that haven't been well represented here in Albuquerque. I used to think that was because they just didn't sell well here, but Marble has been serving up a lot of their new 111 Abbey Ale (a 7.2% Belgian Dubbel) and Tripel (an 8.7%, well, the name is the style. Tripel.). Good to see that Marble was willing to take the chance on serving up some Belgian styles, and even better to see that locals are appreciating the beers. Of course, Marble still has your hop fixes on tap, including a new sessionable Pale Ale, MPA. "Sessionable beer" basically equates to "I want a beer I can drink a lot of but don't want to throw up.". If that is your mood today, go drink some of this 4.3% beer that still manages to pack hop punch without the high alcohol knockout.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Some Stimulus Packages For You

Everyone enjoy the State of the Union Address the other night? I have to admit, I didn't even know it was happening. I'm so sadly out of touch with anything that is not beer related. So while I couldn't tell you one thing the President said on Tuesday, I do have news that is sure to gain bipartisan approval.

If your looking for some everyday drinking beers that won't send you into a personal recession, AND you don't want to buy Miller High Life because certain friends say you are a craft beer fraud when you buy it, then check out these buys. Jubilation is selling 12-packs of Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale for $8.99. It's a solid drinker with a decent hop bite. If you want a little more mainstream, Kelly Liquors on Wyoming has 12-packs of all New Belgium styles on sale for $9.99. By "all styles" I mean Fat Tire and what's left of the winter seasonal 2 Below. You might find a mixed 12-pack there, but don't expect to find Ranger IPA or Trippel 12-packs. Good old Fat Tire. The beer I settle for at the bowling alley. Oh, that Kelly's also has the Mirror Pond $8.99 deal.

Pass the poi mahalo! Jubilation has a deal on the mixed case of Kona Brewing's Longboard Lager and Fire Rock Pale Ale. $18.99 is a pretty good deal, considering four six-packs of these would run you about $32.00. Not bad beer to have around for easy drinking. Kona has a coconut porter that will be hitting the shelves soon too. Beer born in Hawaii...or was it???

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Beers Offer Grounds for Drinking

Good morning. Sitting here drinking my one cup of coffee for the day, the most my caffeine-sensitive body can handle. I think it's Starbucks brand, but only because I remember paying too much for it. As picky as I can be about beer, I can't tell the difference between most coffee brands, and am happy with the cheap stuff. Not everyone in the house shares my lowbrow opinion, however. If I am going to spend money on coffee, then the Cowboy Coffee Porter from Big Sky is more my cup of tea. I don't even have to limit myself to one cup- in fact, the more of it I drink, the better I sleep. 6.2% ABV, $8.99 retail price.

Of course I cant write about coffee beers without including one from the Pacific Northwest. It's not quite Seattle, but the weather can be just as miserable. Portland's Bridgeport Brewery has introduced Cafe Negro, a 5.5% ABV, $7.99 Coffee Porter. I originally thought that Bridgeport was mixing fancy words from French and Spanish, then I learned that coffee in Spanish is also "cafe". Small world. Is the name an homage to the hard working South Americans like Juan Valdez? I don't know. Does Bridgeport use Fair Trade coffee? I don't know, and I don't care. Awhile back, some lady in the supermarket coffee section was admonishing me to only buy expensive Fair Trade coffee. I told her that only after I find a way to afford all the beer I need and pay my bills on time will I ever worry about coffee farmers. Speaking of bills, I see Comcast is calling me right now. Wonder what they could want?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Left Coast Introduced To New Mexico

And I don't mean that California finally realizes that New Mexico is a state. Ever read that section in New Mexico Magazine, "One of Our Fifty is Missing" where people send in stories of dealing with hassles with people or companies who think Mew Mexico is another country? The stories always end with some wishy-washy statement like, "I wasn't sure if she ever understood, but I walked away smiling." To heck with that kind of nicety. You gotta go off on stupid morons like that: "Yo idiot! How did you make through school without learning that? It's even on a friggin' quarter!". Anyway, what I am talking about is Left Coast Brewing of San Clemente, CA, whose beers you can now get in the country of New Mexico. Jubilation has five of their varieties, ranging from $4.99-$5.99: Asylum, an 11% ABV Tripel, The Wedge, a 7.2% ABV Black IPA, Voo Doo, a 6.8% Stout, Trestles, a 6% ABV IPA, and their very popular Hop Juice, an 8.5% DIPA. Decent beers priced affordably, costing only 40 New Mexico quarters.

A little more California love comes our way with Coronado's Red Devil Imperial Red. The 9.5% ABV beer comes off as a little less hoppy than what I am used to from an Imperial Red, but then again I have been spoiled by the hop-forward, backward, and all around hoppy Marble Imperial Red. The Red Devil could be more like a hoppy Strong Ale. $5.99 around town. Also, Coronado has released Idiot DIPA in six-packs, retailing for $11.99.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

a DIVE That Caters to the Poor Alcoholic in Us All

I don't usually frequent the shops on Harvard Drive near UNM, mostly because I'm scared of the "humanity" lurking around Winning Coffee. Ironic that most of the clientele look as if they haven't been "winning" anything more than the Worst Smell contest.
I did dare a walk down Harvard to check out the bricklight DIVE, a newly opened bar and restaurant that features local draft beers. Not only are almost all of the 20 taps New Mexico beers, but all the 14 oz. drafts are $2.50, a price that even many of the students waiting on mom's next check to come can afford. It may still be too much for the Winning Coffee regulars, but that is why God invented 40s. And students don't have to bring ramen noodles to go along with their beer, as bricklight DIVE has a full menu with no dishes priced over $6.00.

Marble dominates the tap list with five of their varieties. Chama is represented with Class VI and Brown, Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande has a few, even Isotopes Slammin' Amber and Blonde make an appearance. Rounding out the list are Some Santa Fe beers, including the new Imperial Java Stout, and finally PBR and Miller Lite (under the DIVE BREW label). Hey, you've got to make some concessions to the kids whose taste buds haven't evolved yet. Back to that food: healthy sounding salads with ingredients that seem to outweigh the $5.00 price tags start the menu, with pizzas that the friendly and helpful server Amanda tells me are awesome. The pizzas are only $6.00, with choices such as chicken pesto and Italian Sirloin. There are also sandwiches and fancy-topped bruschettas- oh, and wine, if you must. The place has only been open a week so they are still hanging artwork and the like, but for $2.50 drafts the place can be decorated like Subway and I will enjoy the beer there.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Odell is in Da Peche Mode

Odell has put a little twist on all those barrel aged imperial beers that are on the market, and it sounds just peachy. Jesus, I am pathetic.
Avant Peche is the expensive sounding name of Odell's Imperial Porter that was oak-aged along with Colorado peaches. The final result is actually a blend that takes an engineering degree to comprehend, or at least deeper study than "Fear of Math", the highest level class I was able to pass: 45% ale w/ peaches added, 19% Ale aged in Oak Barrels and 36% ale aged in Oak barrels w/ peaches added. Got that? Throw in some yeasts gone wild and you get quite the interesting 9.5% concoction- or so I imagine. I haven't tried it yet, though you can get yours at Jubilation for $14.99 and tell me how it is.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Back in the USSR

I knew Portlanders were left-leaning types, but Widmer has gone flat out Commie on us! Their once yearly series changes in style (remember W'10, Pitch Black IPA?) annually, and this year Widmer has gone big with W'11 KGB Russian Imperial Stout. The 9.3% beer is kind of an anomaly when it comes to packaging trends these days, as it is rare to see high-alcohol Imperial Stouts sold in six-packs like this one is. Not only that, but we will see KGB in 12-packs as well. As long as we don't see Soviets parachuting from the sky ala Red Dawn, I am happy. And Widmer's reasonable price point should leave you feeling happy as well; don't expect to pay over nine bucks for a six-pack of this big bear of a beer.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

More Adventures of the Frisco Kid

You didn't seriously think I would let you off with only two days of vacation stories, did you? OR maybe you thought all the bedbugs from the Travelodge weighed my arms down too much to type anymore. Sorry if I got your hopes up, but local beer news is slow (though Marble has an oatmeal stout aged in Woodford barrels with vanilla bean added on tap right now) so I am revisiting day 3 of the trip. You're welcome.

What do you know? Another rainy, miserable day in San Francisco. The day brightened with a visit to Healthy Spirits, an awesome beer store in some hilly (go figure) part of the city with no parking. The ten trips around the neighborhood were worth it for the sheer geeky selection and beer conversation going on in the store. Healthy Spirits gets in all the rare stuff you could want and the folks there will be more than happy to point you towards a beer you will love. We walked out with some Midnight Sun Treat Imperial Pumpkin Porter and HeBrew Vertical Jewbilation, a blend of all their previous anniversary beers.

We had to do some touristy stuff, so we braved the light rain and walked around Fisherman's Wharf. The place is part outdoor mall shops, part Atlantic City style boardwalk junk shops, but with fewer Puerto Ricans. There was an amazing exhibition of working arcade games from the past 100 years on display, and we killed an hour or so there. It was truly an amazing experience, from being awed at the craftsmanship of the early games to playing Battlezone like I used to at the mall. And still sucking at it and getting pissed that I spent a quarter on it.

After my Pac Man fever had subsided, it was late afternoon and we still didn't have a room for the night. We went online and did the good old name your own price on Priceline. Why, why do I do this?? Because I'm a cheap bastard for one, and stupid to boot. MY stupidity was rewarded with a night booked at the Hotel Carlton, a "Boutique" hotel. Anyone go back with me to the Chicago trip of 2009, when I was also put in a crappy boutique hotel? That place really sucked, but this one was ok. We were apprehensive enough just from the word "boutique" that we were just going to eat the cost of the hotel and get another place without even checking out the Carlton, but we gave it a try. Not too bad. They had a free wine happy hour in the lobby and the room was clean. No heat fans, which is always a nice touch.

We spent little time in the room and hailed a cab for the Mission District, home of The Monk's Kettle, a yuppie-ish bar with seriously good beers and bartenders who knew their stuff. They were heavy on the Imperial Stouts that night, so I was too. We had some Firestone Walker 2009 Black Xantus, Oskar Blues 2009 Ten Fidy, and Old Rasputin served on nitro. We then headed a couple of doors down to Gestalt for Ninkasi Tricerahops DIPA on tap. Finished the night with a stroll (kidding, I don't stroll. I strut.) down 16th St, where we saw some live jazz in a dark club called Amnesia. Bartender there was really cool and we had Hop Stoopid and HeBrew Lenny's RIPA on tap. Cool cats though we were, we had to go back to the hotel eventually, but at least I don't remember too much of it after all the beer. And look, we are almost done with the vacation tales! You can actually start paying attention again soon!