Thursday, March 19, 2015

Week 4: 40 Beers 40 Nights

If you follow me on Instagram (I'm sorry), you know I am attempting to get creative with my nightly beer photos. I've included a screen shot of “Better Call Saul”, babies and even videos that always show poor pouring technique because I’m holding the camera with one hand and pouring with the other. But, I’m running out of ideas. This is partly because there are only so many ways to photograph beer in my living room or kitchen and partly because I’m not at my most creative after a full day at work. Oh, and also because I don’t think about it until the last possible second. So, if you have any ideas let me know.

Wednesday – Second FiddleFiddlehead Brewing (Double IPA 8%) – As you know, I bought a
bunch of Vermont beer from a guy on Craigslist. I wasn’t going to buy Fiddlehead because I had never heard of it and really just wanted Heady Topper. The guy ended up talking me into getting two cans of Second Fiddle and I am glad I did. All three beers I bought from him (Sip of Sunshine, Heady Topper and Second Fiddle) were double IPAs and all three were fantastic. I paid $90 for eight cans and I will tell you it was worth every penny. Seeing as how they were all the same style of beer, they were easy to compare. Sip of Sunshine was the clear winner, but Second Fiddle was a respectably distant second. It’s less citrusy and more hoppy than the Sip of Sunshine, but equally as refreshing. Actually, Second Fiddle is a lot more like Heady than Sip of Sunshine in presentation, smell and taste however I think it hides the ABV better making it a bit more drinkable.

Bfo seen in this file photo
Thursday – Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale – Boulevard Brewing (Saison 8.5%) – For months, I have patiently awaited the NYC arrival of Boulevard beers. My buddy Bfo who lives in Kansas City raves about them and the rest of the beer-drinking internet seems to agree with his assessment. They finally arrived last week and since Tank 7 is their flagship brew, I thought I would try it first even though it’s a saison. It definitely has the Belgian spice taste which is the taste I don’t enjoy in saisons, but it’s not overwhelming and it’s not the only thing happening with this beer. It’s pretty full-bodied for a saison and it’s grapefruit and orange flavors come through nicely. It’s still a saison and thus, not something I would order off a menu, but for folks who like this style it’s a must try. I also picked up a Boulevard IPA (The Calling) so I could try a style I actually enjoy, and it was very solid.

Friday – Bon Bon 2x TNT Single Cut Beersmiths (Double IPA 8.2%) – You can’t really say you've tried a beer if it’s your 6th or 7th beer of the night. The only other time I tasted Single Cut was at the end of a Christmas party that turned into a massive beer tasting. I remembered absolutely nothing about it. So, when I saw it was on tap at Amsterdam Alehouse on the Upper West Side I was eager to give it a second go. Single Cut is in Astoria, Queens which gave it a boost before I even tried it. At 143 IBUs, it could pack a real punch. Instead it’s a very balanced mix of bitter and tropical. I’m starting to think I’m a Double IPA guy.

Saturday – Cappuccino Stout – Lagunitas Brewing Company (Stout
9.2%) – There are a couple craft breweries that I think of as patriarchs of the industry and so far, none of them are on the list. This is the first. Sure, they may be a big, widely-available brand, but I have never been disappointed with their stuff. Plus, Lagunitas sponsors “This American Life” (Keeping the ‘pub’ in ‘public radio) and that earns huge bonus points with me. I put a 22 ounce bottle of Cappuccino Stout in the fridge before heading out for an 18 mile workout thinking it would be the perfect recovery drink on a rainy Saturday afternoon. I was right. My two go-to post-run drinks are beer and coffee. This combines the two perfectly. The coffee taste is immediate and lasts throughout. It's creamy and smooth. This is also a super-affordable beer, so I’ll be buying it again.

You can and should cry over spilled beer.
Monday – Citra Mantra Otter Creek Brewing (IPA 5.75%) – Plain old IPAs have sort of become the least-exciting style of beer. What? No jalapenos, coffee or grapefruits in this brew? That said, I love drinking a basic, no-frills IPA. That’s what this is. Sadly, I spilled half of this bottle trying to open it with one hand. What I was able to salvage was very nice and refreshing. It wasn't amazing like a Ballast Point Sculpin or a Bells Two-Hearted Ale, but it has a solid spot among second-tier IPAs like Lagunitas and Great Lakes. If I see it again, I’ll buy it and try not to spill it.

Tuesday Low Life  -- Evil Twin Brewing Company (Pilsner 5.5%) – There was a time in my life where St. Patrick’s Day was a day on which I’d drink Guinness until I couldn't stand up straight. Then, I’d do some shots. To show how far behind me those days are, I chose a Pilsner (a PILSNER!) as my St. Patrick’s evening beer. I don’t like to generalize, but Pilsners suck.  I don’t know if it’s that American breweries are bad at brewing them, or it’s just a crappy style. Even Evil Twin, which is a great brewery, makes a Pilsner that conjured up all sorts of memories of beer pong, bars with sticky floors and drinking in the back of a $1 cab. When I think of the gross last sip of warm cheap beer no one wants, I think of pilsners.  No matter who’s dressing it up, I’m always going to feel like I’m drinking Beck’s and no one likes Beck’s. No one. Afterthought: Six Point makes a pilsner called “The Crisp”. It’s not bad, but drink it fast because a warm pilsner is not your friend.

Next week: A nod to some trail-blazing breweries.

1 comment:

  1. So timely! I bought the Cappuccino Stout on a whim, (coffee + beer. can't go wrong?) but couldn't figure out a good time to try it. I finally decided to save it for my post-100 reward. I was nervous about holding onto a less-than-stellar treat, though. Your review has made me all the more excited.
    Thanks for all the sacrifices you've made during this four week journey. I'm enjoying your commentary.