Imbibe Hour


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Who is the bigger beer bastard one could ask?

In the realm of beer nothing feels better then when you grab something for the first time and it blows your mind. Nothing is more satisfactory when rumor and raves that you hear and read about a certain beer come to hit with full force and fruition, as all your dreams are realized and you hit what is essentially paydirt.

This is how I felt when I first had a beer from Founders brewery called Backwoods Bastard some time ago. I had it after discovering it on the shelf and loving to death their Breakfast Oatmeal Stout. It turns out this is a seasonal creation and very popular. A crazy ass bearded woodsman was on the bottle staring at me giving me the evil eye, as if to even dare me to consider the glory of this bottles contents. I grabbed a 4 pack, and then just for kicks I came back to the place 4-5 hours later to discovered that all of the bottles were gone. This is a brew that was desired.

However, I was also aware that Backwoods had another Scotch Ale called Dirty Bastard. Dirty is around all year where as Backwoods is a special limited release that comes only during November. My mind thought of the perfect thing to do. It was time to taste both these beers together and find out who was the bigger bastard! This was no contest... see below to find out

Founders Brewery Scotch Ale Bigger Better Bastard Battle!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

GW whiskey, or stick it all in a bucket and see what you get.

When I had made several bourbon tasting videos on my channel, I received a comment in jest from a user which was quite humorous. The subscriber who saw me taste about 4-5 bourbons said..

"Mix them all together and try them!"

I thought back to my youth when reading such a comment. As much as the comment was made in fun, it made me think back to my days and experience with alcohol and understanding drink. When you're younger drinking is like a chemistry experiment. You try this, you try that. After a while you try mixing stuff up in the hope of a great revelation. The reality is at that age you're forgetting everything that is good about the product and just looking for the easiest fix that will get it down your throat.

I bring this up because I was given a gift by someone who knew I was into bourbon and said "Hey I got this" I thought you might like it. I of course was very excited to take it on. What I received was a vatted American Whiskey that was made at Mount Vernon distillery. After asking around about this I ran into the person who actually had a hand in its fruition, whose name is Chuck Cowdery. Chuck is very active on the Straight Bourbon forum as a teacher of sorts. He actually wrote on his blog about the making of this whiskey which, (like the young man who asked me to mix everything), is a blend of multiple whiskey's all at once.

So... I decided to try it. And the results are as follows.

Cheers my friends and check out the George Washington party!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

American IPA goes to all out war for my good imbibing cause!

When I first got into beer I soon discovered the world of American IPAs. Luckily I was blessed with being fortunate to discover that my first one I've had has still been my favorite and that is Dogfish Head's 60 IPA.

To be fair.. there is a lot of beer in this style. I really would like to find one that could top it or be just as good. So I set up on a hunt for my first war of an all out American IPA battle.

There was lots of win in this and that is the great thing about drinking American craft brew, there were many tasty ones to go and imbibe on. I paired four IPAs - Dogfish 60, Southern Tier IPA, Founders Centennial, and Great Lake Divide's Titan. Along with this group I also threw in a Hoppin' Frog Hoppin' To Heaven IPA from Akron Ohio, and also Sierra Nevada's Homegrown Estate Ale which is actually more of a wet hop ale. In the end there was much rejoicing. Watch below to see how!


Battle 1

Battle 2

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Beauty this Christmas is in the eye of the beholder, or in this case, the Buddha's Eye

The Buddha's Eye Cocktail is more than likely not an official type of Christmas cocktail but it might as well be. There is no candy cane, it's not a steaming hot buttered rum type of drink that you could associate with winter, there is no egg nog to be found.

However, for me the drink has this great green shade when matched with mint leaves for garnish that looks and reminds me of holly. Looks aside, and I am a sucker for emerald green... the second reason is that this was one of the first cocktails I have ever had when I was an imbibing youth, and it was during Christmas. It has a cool crisp winter breeze added by creme de menthe as if ice was to be forming on your breath. This is without question a winter drink.

The recipe came from a Julia Child cookbook that my mother had. I was kind of surprised that a drink would be in a cookbook. You may not have known how to cook but everyone knew who Julia Child was back in the day and the importance and respect she had for food. When I thought that suddenly a drink was mentioned by her it would have been something extraordinary, such as the 24 hours it takes to make Peking Duck or something... Drinks with alcohol weren't just simple, they could be works of art and elevated to a level of sophistication and importance.

I realized that when it came to drinking, thoughts and efforts mattered. Drinks could involve craft, they could have taste, drinks... WERE IMPORTANT.

My life has never been the same....

So I present to you this December, and no you don't have to have this just during Christmas, although it is a very winter drink... The Buddha's Eye Cocktail.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Going into battle with three Russians... the fun way!

As the winter comes closing in, there is nothing much more enjoyable than drinking an imperial stout in the comfort of your own home. Warm and embracing, while the cold rages on outside, you can feel safe in its big embrace and darkness. Fireplace desired... but optional...

I went all out and decided on a three way Russian Imperial Stout battle between three different breweries all of which I have had good beer from and I consider good makers. The first was Avery's The Czar Imperial Stout from Boulder Colorado. It is one of their dictator series brews. The second was Oskar Blues from Colorado and their Ten Fidy, and last was Brooklyn Brewery's Black Chocolate Stout.

After having these I wish I could somehow breed and marry the best and remove the weak spots from all these beers to make the perfect stout. It seemed like you could genetically engineer a real good stout from all of these three.

Here is how the tasting went. Cheers!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tripel battle American style

One style of beer I've always enjoyed has been a Beligan Tripel. As I was out shopping for my latest imbibing beer fest I discovered that this was also a style that many American craft brewers have started making. I had a few Belgian tripels and always enjoyed their big bodies and sugary/malt like goodness. It was as if eating cake sometimes. How would American ones taste?

I settled on two, one from nearby Adamstown PA, the other from far West coast of Seattle. Stoudt's from Adamstown makes a Belgain Abbey Style Ale, and the Pike Monks Uncle is another Tripel described using many organic ingredients.

One of these beers should have been from a different planet hardly tasting like a Tripel that I've had before, but not in a bad way.

To see more watch and find out below. Cheers!

Another 7-8 year romp of bourbon fun, Antique and Baker's sing

I finally got around to checking out the top end Jim Beam brands otherwise known as the Big Beams or the SuperBeams.

Much about selling whiskey has to do with packaging. Some whiskeys come in velvet bags, the Booker's comes in a wood crate as if it had its own personal little warehouse. Basil Hayden's is wrapped in a lot of paper with a ring that resembles a hoop from an oak barrel.

To me though it is what's in the bottle that counts and it doesn't take much to please me. Within this group there was one whiskey that just wasn't worth the time, but there were two that I really enjoyed.

To find out more watch the video review below.


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3 the conclusion

Sunday, December 5, 2010

APA battle, hopin fresh and also smooth to the finish line

When I was down in Portland Oregon, I had something called "Fresh Hop Beer". Simply put, the abundance of great hops that exist in the nearby Willamette valley, are quickly gathered and made for beer within an hour. This is how they were done at Deschutes. So when I returned back home and saw Fresh Hop beers available to purchase I was excited.

A giant green bottle struck my face as if it should have been in the frozen food section, but there was no jolly green giant on this thing. I picked up a bottle from Great Divide of their "fresh hop" beer.

I was hoping to pair it with another fresh hop style, but couldn't find much. There were similar beers though in this style which is classified as an American Pale Ale.

I grabbed another APA but not a fresh hop for comparison, and I was glad I grabbed it. It's from Great Lakes brewery in Cleveland and it's called Burning River. It's excellent.

To take my word for it, see the review below:


7-8 Year Bourbon gang finally gets a taste.

After some time I finally had a chance to review some more bourbon. I had several bottles of 7-8 years and needed to group them up. This was kind of difficult, because I wanted to compare certain ones, and I had also tasted and had some of the others.

I settled in though on Jim Beam Black, W.L. Weller Special Reserve, and 1792 Ridgemont Reserve.

I did want to pair up the Black with the Super Beams I have but decided not to.

Going back to 1792 was interesting. No I didn't have a time machine and did not go back to the inauguration of 1792 as Kentucky joined the union and became a state, which the name of this product borrows and adopts. I had this bourbon in the past which is a rye dominant but also a good amount of malt barley (I believe), and sort of never cared to remember it. I did finish the bottle but didn't seem enthusiastic in seeking it out again.

I am kind of glad I did try it again, cause I found things on it that I didn't discover before. I was a little bit more appreciative this time, although it might not be for everyone.

Finally, I threw in another product which names itself as the original "Wheated Bourbon". W.L. Weller is an inexpensive and 7 year aged wheat dominant bourbon and I think a very good value for the money. Nothing fancy, but just solid. It's price seems the most attractive thing about it.

To see how this tasting went, you can watch the video below.


Whisk(e)y Sour... take me home...

If there is one cocktail that I could have an desire anytime for the rest of my life it is the ubiquitous, an simple whisk(e)y sour. Through numerous bourbon tastings I have a lot of left over whisk(e)y being asked to play with. It sits in corners, book case drawers (I am not lying when I say that), almost screaming pick me pick me!

The past turkey holidays of November are gone, and back then it never felt like I had time to sit and make a nice drink. Now with the pleasantries of personal time to myself, I think I have stepped on to, a perfect sour, and discovering the ultimate key to a good one and how to get it. The big key (among many) is froth (pictured to the left) from the egg white.

A good whiskey sour is fun to make, but many times it is hit or miss. I demonstrated one in the past using my Boston shaker, and as much as I like that big burly bastard, it's cumbersome, I hate cleaning it, and sure you can hear a million times from others, just twist or tap to break the "seal" in order to get your yummy contents out.

The reality is though, that seal... isn't easy sometimes. I don't care how you stick your glass in, or angle it, it doesn't matter. sometimes... daddy doesn't want to play, and you can't get your liquid goodies inside no matter how much you beg and plead. Other times you think you have it sealed, then start shaking, and you realize you gave yourself a shower cause the contents edged out "somehow" and are now all over your face (or if its really bad the guest you are making it for). One guy who like me has made several drinks with one said he has been behind bars numerous times, just hammering the thing like a construction worker. I agree with this sentiment and have been there. So I went back to sour land drawing board, and stumbled upon what I call a happy find. I need to use... the little bullet as I call it, my really small 3 piece shaker (pictured).

One thing I noticed is that the Boston shaker when doing the dry shake for the sour didn't give as much froth. You had lots of air and little contents in the shaker, and had to REALLY shake hard, but also much of the froth just coated the shaker and didn't come out on the pour. The success really worked when I used my really small 3 piece shaker for the dry shake, as I got foam and froth that could have been used for a bubble bath. It hit me, my Boston shaker was too big for this (or I didn't have giant paint can shaking arms I guess).

So who likes things easy... yup me... If you put the liquid contents in for the dry shake in a TINY shaker like this one, you will get monster froth, and you won't have to shake as long or as hard either to get it. Do however, pop the seal half way because the can will literally want to explode. Shake vigorously, when you feel the pressure, STOP, break the seal, and do it again for a little while for the dry shake portion. Who said making cocktails wasn't dangerous huh! That's half the fun!

I ended up grabbing the Rare Breed which had giant tobacco on the taste for this drink, but why not... it was a Turkey holiday recently so lets have a turkey right!? Use whatever whiskey you like. When the cocktail was poured for the second part, a massive head of froth came out leaving about a good solid size finger of bubbles. It looked like a real good beer. More importantly adding the killer fabbri amarena cherries sealed the deal, and the head made a perfect playground to drizzle some of the juice with red specks on top. Looks great, tastes even better. Enter cocktail win.

Here's some more detail on how to make this drink, it's a standard:

  • 2 oz of whiskey (use your favorite I have many) if you really like whiskey add 2 1/2 oz
  • 1 oz of simple syrup (make your own)
  • 3/4 oz of fresh lemon juice (not the FAKE STUFF, use real lemons, if you don't your sour will taste like ass) and DON'T USE SOUR MIX!
  • egg white from one egg
  • If you haven't made this drink before, start with just 2 oz of whiskey, it balances the cocktail out and you may prefer it, more whiskey may make the other ingredients harder to taste
  • The ratio of sweet to sour here is 4:3 which is a common standard giving a decent tartness. Try this ratio first, if you like it sweeter, more sour.. then adjust
  • Crack the egg OVER your shaker so the white will fall in the glass, toss the yolk between the shell until all the white is gone. Do whatever you want with the yolk, maybe make a Golden Fizz, bake a cake, custard, feed it to your dog, garbage... whatever...
  • Combine all liquid ingredients, with egg into a TINY 3 piece shaker with NO ice (this is a dry shake)
  • Cap and shake hard, when you feel the shaker expanding, pop it to break the seal, then shake again. You should have a big froth inside.
  • Open you frothy contents and add ice. Shake hard till its nice and cold (7-12 seconds).
  • Strain into an old fashioned glass with ice, pour fast, if you're like me, get as much froth out as possible by opening the strainer and getting the remaining goodness.
  • garnish with a cherry
And with that... you can have imbibing heaven!