Tag Archives: second pint project

Round Two #28\Second Pint H4A

Baerlic Gray Scale lagerBaerlic’s Gray Scale, which is a coffee-Vienna style lager. That’s weird: coffee stouts and pale coffee stouts are both things I’ve had and, as visually weird as a pale stout can be, it’s still pretty tasty.

But a coffee lager is a new thing and I cannot pass up a chance to try a new thing!

The coffee is in the nose but it isn’t oppressive. That’s good, because this is a lighter style of beer and could easily be overwhelmed. The scent is constant, though, all the way down; there’s no point where I don’t know I’m drinking a coffee flavored beer.

The Gray Scale is…challenging. Because there are some sweet flavors here, undoubtedly from the malt, that keep this beer in check. I am sure I don’t have to tell anyone how intense coffee flavor is, though and there aren’t lots of other flavors in the Gray Scale to keep that coffee back.

As it warms up, the beer gets a little sweeter and the finish becomes crisper, making it easier to drink.

Glass two: I have a chance to notice how quickly the head on the beer settles: a good centimeter and a half in not more than 30 seconds!

The nose is again a solid coffee sweetness, but when I drink the Gray Scale, I’m able to pick up a little more effervescence this time-a bit more pop on my tongue.

That backs off quickly and now that I’m in the middle of the beer, I’m drinking coffee sweetened without milk. Which I don’t ever think I’ve had, and maybe that’s why I’m so puzzled by this beer. I don’t drink coffee, so part of the experience is simply lost on me.

I really like the first beer, but in the second glass I’m experiencing palate fatigue and I don’t want more of this. Despite having a short pour, that second glass is a struggle to sip on. I’m torn between wanting to pound it down, or just take my time.

I settle for taking my time. The final third of the beer again becomes crisper but I can’t help but wonder if I wouldn’t’ve been happier with an even shorter pour than I got.

Still: for one glass? This is a damn solid beer.

Today’s second pint goes to Hygiene 4 All. Disclosure: I know a person working there and think what they’re doing is cool.

Round Two #27\Second Pint SotR

Breakside French Quarter barleywineBreakside’s French Quarter: a barleywine with rye, aged in brandy barrels? SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT.

The nose is boozy-and at 11%, that makes sense. But a sip off this gives me cinnamon and then some spice from the rye. There’s a bit of vanilla, too, which I wouldn’t have thought would be there. The normal caramel flavors I’d expect seem to have been substituted for chocolate.

So this is unusual as heck, right? I’m not sure what to think about this beer. A quick search to see what kind of barrels are used to age brandy comes up with oak barrels. This explains the whiskey qualities I am getting (vanilla, some spice), but what I can’t get around is the strength of this beer.

It’s a little like I’m having a weak shot of whiskey instead of a barleywine. Or a glass of alcoholic brown sugar with cinnamon. As I stumble on this idea, I realize I’ve locked in on what my issue is: it’s too sweet and too thin for the potency of flavors it’s presenting.

The second round has a less intense nose. The whole beverage seems a little more muted, actually, except for the cinnamon, which threads its way through the drink.

This is a miss for me: cinnamon and brown sugar might sound delightful to you but it’s a wrong combo for me. I can see how this is meant to feel like a winter drink-a mulled wine replicant, maybe? The cold nights have descended upon the city and seasonally, these kinds of flavors match it, but I can’t go for this beer.

Today’s second pint goes to the Sisters of the Road.

Round 2 #26\Second Pint RIP Medical Debt

Chapman Martzen aleChapman Brewing’s Old  Towne Fest ale, a Martzen, which has a sourdough bread quality in the nose and my first sip isn’t: I take a big pull off it, because let’s be honest, that’s the kind of beer this is. You take large swallows of it like you’re a damn thirsty human.

The trick is to slow down, actually-which isn’t easy, because Martzen style beers are just really drinkable. But for you, my friends, I’ll pace myself a little.

The mouthfeel reminds me of beers my Dad used to let me sip off when I was a child-don’t worry, he wasn’t letting me drink them, more like ‘sure kid, you can have a sip of this thing you’re gonna hate’. So if you had a sip of beer in the 1970’s, you might know what I mean.

If you didn’t: prickly is what comes to mind. The bubbles are tiny, ferocious and like to settle about one centimeter back from the tip of my tongue. Even after I’ve swallowed it, I can still feel the impact.

There’s also a grainy quality; cereal grains that I dig as well. Rarely have I wanted chicken strips so badly to go with a beer; this is precisely the kind of style made for pub food. Cheese, sausage, savory fried things. I could live off of this and nachos for a little while.

But.

It’s a little sweet, if you drink it slow. That isn’t a flaw, per se but it is something I’m noticing and it might be why I want some savory vittles so much with this beer.

The second can supports all my initial impressions, though this one doesn’t quite have the same head as the other. Still: there is a barrage of steady bubbles coming up so quickly that I’m reminded of champagne. Which I didn’t expect to make a comparison to, but hey: nice to be surprised, right?

A little less malt appears and the nose starts to get drier, too, less bready, more malt forward. Also, as I near the end of the glass, it doesn’t seem as sweet as the first one did.

I’m not sure what to make of that-it’s certainly a really drinkable beer, even though there’s a little unevenness happening-but it’s reasonable. It may be that drinking the first glass slowly allowed for it to warm up enough to let the malt sweetness shine more-that’s certainly how many stouts work. A third might tell me what I need to know buuuut…one should know their limits and I still need to get home.

I found this campaign to help eliminate medical debit for people and that’s as worth a place to put a second pint as any.

 

Round Two #24\Second Pint EFD

Breakside IPAI picked Breakside’s IPA tonight because the closure of so many local breweries is weighing on me. I had other options on the menu, some of which I hadn’t had before, but staying with something reliable and tasty seemed like a good idea.

This beer has got a strong tangerine element to it, both in the nose and on the finish. The midrange has enough sweetness to it that it’s almost like getting a gummi beer, until the bitterness comes in to remind me that this is, indeed, an adult beverage.

It’s Halloween as I get my thoughts down, and walking through the neighborhood to the pub, I pass by multiple houses with lights on and people outside, visiting with each other, sipping on drinks, waiting for trick-or-treaters to come by. More houses still with their lights on, a few with their screen doors propped open, pathways lit for people, ready to welcome any stranger who asks for candy.

Halloween houseAll day, I saw friends on my social media feed expressing the idea that it didn’t matter who came to their door or why, if they were asking for treats, they would get them. Sometimes these thoughts were positive, others were a bit more inclusively nihilistic (‘the world’s on fire, let’s just share’) but seeing things like this remind me that I’m with the right group of people. Ones who want to include and be joyful and reject a narrative of fear coming from on high.

It’s nice to step away from the news-which is, admittedly, revealing more frightening things every day-and get out on the town and see people being decent to one another. For no particular reason. They can, so they are.

The second Breakside IPA is a little different. At this point, the hop oils from the first glass have had enough time to build up and establish themselves on my tongue. The bitterness in IPAs become more intense as you drink them because of the lingering hop oils so the second beer in this situation tastes like it has less sweetness to it.

That shift in the balance of the beer has removed any gummi quality that I noted earlier. Now this beer drinks much more like a standard IPA; still evoking the flavors I from before, (lots of tangerine on both ends, little sweetness in the middle) but the bitterness on the finish helps to emphasize the malt backbone of the beer and contrast the sweetness in the nose.

The development of this IPA is exactly why I am glad I’m doing this series. Whether you think this IPA has improved because of that second beer or not (I am definitely in the “yes, this is more complex and better” camp) the fact that it has changed and I can tell you about it makes this series rewarding.

Unfortunately, I’m in a bar, less a pub and that means I’ve had two pints, not smaller pours. Which is fine, as I’m walking home but it’s also my last beer for now.

The Excalibur food drive wrapped up last Friday and the collected over 1100 pounds of items! Pretty sweet.

Round Two #22\Second Pint EFD

Ruse Prefrontal Fresh Hop IIPATonight it’s Ruse’s Prefrontal Polaroid Fresh Hop Hazy IIPA. Which, of course, is a collaboration with Cerebral brewing, because there aren’t enough words in the title of the beer.

The nose is definitely citrus which is about what I expected, but it’s not too strong.

The beer itself has some citrus notes, tilting to the sweet end of grapefruit, which I expected. But it has a nice mouthfeel, with some weight to the beer but not chunky.

However, the finish tastes off. There’s a dryness that starts to form on the roof of my mouth, and scraping away at it with my tongue gives me this weird flavor. I always think of this as dirty, like I’m drinking a bit of unwashed veggies.

The second glass has a pretty severe emphasis on the dryness. I get that quality I more on my tongue and in that space between my gums and lips.

That weird vegetal quality is diminished, though. That is an upside but getting less of something I don’t want still leaves me with something I don’t really want.

I think it maybe time to leave the fresh hop ales behind. I’ve been drinking them for at least a month, maybe even six weeks. They may just be getting old and let’s face it; life is too short to invest in beer you don’t like.

And I’m continuing the second pint donations to the Excalibur comics food & staples drive.

Round Two #21/Second Pint EFD

Barley Browns fresh hop Pallet JackBarley Brown’s Pallet Jack, fresh hop edition is on tap. ‘Tis the season, right?

The nose has an earthy quality, a little like the scent right after rain. The beer itself has a range of sweetness into a fairly straightforward bitterness; I wonder if this was a beer that had dried hops added to the boil for bittering.

The bubbly quality is quite intense; it stings the top of my tongue but doesn’t to much for the rest of my mouth. That leaves the bitterness to linger and drive the IPA point home.

So, it doesn’t seem terribly well balanced; the softer, petrichor nose just doesn’t prepare me for the rather intense mouthfeel and finishing flavors. As I get a little further in, some sweetness lifts itself in to the beer, but like the nose, it’s faint and restrained. It’s not a bad beer, but it’s for a particular audience, shall we say?

Then a funny thing happens: the last quarter of the beer balances out a bit. The bubbly mellows, a little more hop nose starts to appear. I’m wondering if the beer was served to me just a little cold. It would make the sharpness of the mouthfeel qualities make sense.

So for my second glass, I let it sit for a few minutes. Sip on some water, try to clear my palate off. The nose is much the same; I catch that early because it’s so ephemeral.

This second glass, after a little more time to warm up, gives me a distinct tangerine flavor. It’s still got that really hard bitter punch at the end, but there’s more to it. I’m still not sure that I’m the audience for this beer, but at least I got more out of it the second time around.

This month, my local comic book shop, Excalibur Comics is doing a food & staples drive. All my second pints (and a little more) will be given to that for this month. It’s a nice thing that they do every year and I’m glad that I’m in a position to contribute. Maybe you’ve got a local organization that could use some contributions? But I’ll keep talking this up through the month as part of the Second Pint Project.

Round Two #20\Second Pint ACLU

Gigantic Sodbuster VII fresh hop paleGigantic’s Sodbusted  VII: the Simcoe Awakens is my selection for today. It’s a fresh hop pale and since I’ve been talking up Gigantic recently, I thought I’d give this beer a go while I still can.

The hop quality in the nose is fantastic; it smells like being in an orchard. I can’t place what kind at first-but repeated attempts give off some citrus.

The flavor, well, this is one of the reasons people clamor for these beers. The Sodbusted tastes like orange zest on the finish, then had a drying quality clearing my palate off in a way that makes me thirsty for more.

There’s some body and a little malt in the middle-but nothing too heavy. Just enough sweetness to give the beer some depth. However, this lovely orange note, no pith, not overly sweet, it’s just a great flavor and the kind of beer that I hope people get a chance to try.

And that’s just the first glass.

The second glass I think I’m starting to get why the nose is so difficult to pick up on; this beer evokes the delicacy of orange blossoms, and doesn’t have the hearty quality of fruit or branch.

The sweetness seems a little reduced: initially my impression was sweet enough that it almost had a gumdrop quality but no, this is more balanced than my initial impression. But it’s still very evocative of orange zest and very, very drinkable.

Today’s second pint goes to the ACLU.