Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Corcoran Brewing - Getting There, But Not Yet

Before we went through all of those curves of interest and distractions, I was actually pursuing a hypothesis. It goes something like this - the closer a brewery sits to a large river and opposed to a small one, the generally better its beer is. OK, its less a hypothesis and more of a general rule, but the basics were holding up. The closer a brewery is situated near a large river, the more access it has to its competitors, to their innovations and is more able to bring their clever tricks to its own beer should times get tight.  Most of the time, though it is the size of the river that dictates which breweries tend to succeed and I was going to go out and procure more data to hold up this rule of the road.

I prepped for going to the Corcoran Brewery out in Purcellville. Purcellville is close to the northern end of the Potomac River and it is a much larger marine thoroughfare further south just south of Washington. In Purcellville, though, they have the much highly anticipated Adroit Theory Brewery and some local coffee places, such as LoCo Joe's, which provides beans to the Adroit Theory for some of its beverages.  So I have good data related to the general rule and enough confidence in the ancillary information that we should have a good experiment. Boy, was I wrong.

The Corcoran Brewery is located around back of the building it shares with a hospital. But it was easy to find, and as I pulled up, there was a good crowd in the place. The beer list was out and I counted out roughly 15, maybe 20, beers that they had on draft. (Actually, they had 23 beers on draft.) So, I ordered five and sat down at a corner table.  Here is how they stacked up:

Dutchman's Creek: It starts OK, but then drops off to a watery finish. It was not good. A hefeweizen should start strong and should finish strong. Its a loaf of bread in a glass and we like it that way, but Dutchman's Creek failed this test and failed it miserably. You can usually tell when a beer is going to be this bad when you look at it, but the appearance was pretty good. Sometimes, all we can do is taste it, and this one was unfortunately weak.

Corky's Irish Red: This just went south in a hurry. I usually try to give the beer after a poor one a chance to make up the space, but Corky's Irish Red just did not measure up. It was just flat. You found yourself thinking that it would strengthen, but it start off weak and just fell down from there. I know, I am trashing an Irish Red on St. Patrick's Day, but this is one beverage the Emerald Isle should not take credit for under an circumstance.

P'ville Pale Ale: I am assuming P'ville is short for Purcellville. This one starts off a little better with a nice hop flavor and then tapers off slowly. Its a nice slow roll, but it doesn't start with enough to carry the day. Its better than Corky's Irish Red, but where I gave that one two stars, I only gave P'ville Pale Ale three stars.

Loco IPA: The was an American attempt to set a standard for IPA. The entry level flavor was good, but it lacks the punch of hops that we have come to expect from the general IPA market. Afterwards it pretty much to be expected. It better than some brands of IPA, worse than others. Again, three out of five stars.

Paeonian Porter: This one turns out to be my favorite of the group. The vanilla and chocolate porter tried to pull off an outright success, but ultimately fell short. It had minor bits to the solution, but not anything overwhelming. It had all the makings of a nice porter but again nothing overwhelming.

So, it turns out that there is countervailing evidence the general rule. Corcoran Brewery is proof that a full beer menu, friendly competition and locality to a significant river is not proof of a good brewery. It takes more than having those things in your locality, you actually have to do something with them, and our next brewery review points that out in spades.

We are back!

Where did the last two weeks go? Well, as far as I can figure out, we had a week of alcohol free drinking (Yeah! I made it with little real difference! Thanks Claire!) and then I had a birthday week (a generalized holiday made up by yours truly that consists, of well, drinking.) So we have been behind, but never fear, you will be caught up soon enough.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Thanks! We made it to 500!

Its official - we made it to 500 (actually, 505) users. Thanks for making our site such a success! Keep coming back to our site for everything related to beer!


Let Me Think About It

Last call? Last call!

Normally, I am paying attention to the traditional jargon around the water hole. Who isn't? But today, March 2 through March 9, I am going to be ignoring such banter. No, not a wayward bias or some "they will pry my glass from my cold, dead hand" genre either. I am turning my beer glass over and just saying "No, thanks" because I am on the wagon for the next week.

No, no major breakdowns or horrible disfigurements (at least that I am aware of), but I got into a conversation with a very good friend of mine and she pointed out how did I know because I have been under the surge for three years now and it is time that I take a break.  So, since Claire Marteau is always right (at least as far as I go), I agreed to take a week off from drinking. Completely. Doesn't mean I won't take off a week to comment on drinking (I have at least one or two good stories), but the actually consumption of alcohol is kaputt!

So, I will see you on 10 March, beer in hand, but until then, make mine a Coke.



Sunday, February 22, 2015

Drinks of the Week - Epic Brewing

This week is starting off a theme week. Yes, a theme week. I won't being doing a theme every week, and, as a matter of fact, the theme this week kind of ended up as an healthy accident.

Epic Brewing (825 South State Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111) has had an Exponential Series on the shelves for some time now and I have not really done an exhaustive examination of it. This is where Epic Brewing "jouney never ends" because these bottles are a cut above. Basically because one bottle of it was so good, it just blew my mind. I have had a bottle (Brainless on Raspberries, Peaches, and Cherries) of the Exponential Series and found them to be really good. Tightly wrapped up flavors in explosive amounts for not a limited some of money kind of limited my options, so I started collecting. Bottle here, bottle there in 750ml amounts until there were five.

First you have to acquire five of the Exponential Series brand and that is what has taken the longest to do. Now let's take their five brands, analyze them, and come out with some semblance of what we are saying about them.

Sour Apple Saison - I imagine that this will be a sour apple inspired saison. However, as we have discovered before, the flavor of sour apple will be the ultimate deciding factor. Curious how this will come out!

Double Skull - Doppelbock Lager: This has always gotten me because of the number of factors involved in this concoction. The secret could lie in the doppelbock or it could lie in the lager. Or it may be trapped in between the two. Curiosity killed the cat and may get me this time!

Fest Devious - A Full Celebration (beer): This could be good for a number of reasons, the least of which is that it will be just good beer.

Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout: This could be good for the most basic of reason - just good imperial stout. This is one beer taste that has eluded most beer drinkers - but not all of them.

Elder Brett Saison Brett Golden Ale:  Not one, but too saisons to measure up against - the inference is that the brewer is ballsy. But this brewer has proved tough defeat in the past and two of same saisons may not be beyond their reach. We will see on opening!

So these are the five choice that we have laid out. Hopefully we have enough diversity that we can distinguish between them (I don't doubt it) and have some real lesson learned.  Onward!


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Drinks of the Week!

Sorry for the delay in updating this section, but as you might have guess, I have had a major time partying to my 1,000th drink. Yep, I made it and it felt so good that I have started on a the next thousand! Hey, once you have it down, it should be pretty easy, right?

So, the next thousand (sorry, I am stuck on this business of a thousand, but eventually it will pipe down) starts at 1,016 because I have had a few bottles in between. Hey, it goes with the territory and I will cover some of those drinks as a group a little bit later.

The next group of five ends our experience with the Hispanic markets and casts us squarely back amongst the North Americans. The Hispanic voyage really portrayed what US beer markets used to be. Aside from a few (very few) brands, the Hispanic brands that are imported to the US represent the US market 10 or 15 years ago. This is not to say this is the case now, but what they are importing is saying a lot about how they view the US market.  They were a lot of what we used to be about and the newer US market is a lot more about where we are going. I like the direction of where the US headed and I believe that we have Providence on our side. Its certainly where we are going with four of the five brands we have in our review.

(Suffice it to say that the Budweiser ads in the Super Bowl XLIX last week did nothing to cement the relationship that InBev is carving our with the American public. It is very interesting to have a Belgian multinational (I believe) try to execute a strategy the same way that American multinationals have executed a strategy on other audiences. Turn around is fair play except that the Belgians are promoting a fear rather than a pride in supporting their beer.  But more on that later!)

Now the five from last week. I am going to trying to move these into the write-up and we will see how it goes. You tell me if you like it or not.

Biera Corsa - Pietra: Kind of a peppy start, but then dies away. Like an IPA, but smoother and more easily distinguishable. Richer taste too. Pretty good. 3.5 stars.

Rince Cochon - Biere Blonde Des Flandres: It has the smell of smoke in it, but doesn't work for me. the tap taste if good, and I know what they are after, but they just keep missing it. 3.5 stars.

Rince Cochon - Biere Rouge: The sweet syrupy sauce is a pleasure to taste, but it sits separate from the beer. It's two drinks where they should be one. Not great. Yes, that is a nice pig! 3.5 stars.

Brassuers Depuis - Jenlains Ambree: This beer has a kind of melancholy taste to it. It came out of the bottle nicely, it looks good, but the taste is kind of flat. Oh well...3 stars.

Brasserie Dubuisson Freres - Denee Des Trolls (Belgian): #1000! I have finally made it! Woohoo! and the beer: Smells like cookies. Says that it is a Belgian strong ale, but they would be lying. 3 stars.
OK, here are the five for this week:

Cerveceria Modeleo Mexico - Victoria: The last of the Hispanic beers and one that I imagine will continue to the trend to 10-15 year old US beer. I would really like to see the Hispanics break out of this trend and try so more exotic beers. I know they can do it.

The Ilkley Brewer - Siberia Rhubarb Saison: Rhubarb says it all. Normally rhubarb is combined with strawberry because the flavors really go good together. Strawberry for the sweetness and rhubarb for the tart. Rhubarb by its self should be lovely in its tartness.  We will see!

South Street Brewery - Anastasia's Chocolate Fantasy: This could be good - big bottle of chocolate goodness. It could also be too much of a good thing because chocolate is fine in the right proportion but simply too much when it is overdone.

The Dogfather Imperial Stout - Well, leave it to me to take a picture of a bottle but not the brewer! I was so enamoured with the name (and who wouldn't be) we will have to take it on faith of the quality of the brew. But it looks reasonable and it is another example of the breakthrough of the American brewing tradition.

DuClaw Brewing - Devil's Due Bourbon Barrel Stout: The bourbon barrel stout is getting to be a common name among beers and I will take a look at this one with the same critic's eye. Normally bourbon barrel stout is pretty good with the generous kick over the goal line (hence the raise in price), but I have noticed lately that some of these bourbon barrels are a bit weak. Hopefully, that is just a hiccup, but I have a feeling that it is not.

Happy drinking!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Drink of the Week!

Well, I got through last week unscathed, mostly because the beer was remarkably average. The ones that we imported from Latin America, are surprisingly because they are much like our own tradition beer used to be, rather than where it is going.  American beer covers such a range of taste and flavor that we can't really put it into a nice little corner. It is so diverse and robust, it has really broken out of it mold and has begun to take the stage.

So we tried beer from Argentina, Guatemala, Honduras and Bolivia. Now lets try it from another direction - France. Now before I get messages about going to Gaul, let me explain myself. Bear with me, and hopefully, you will see it in the end.

When I went to France this fall, I reconnected with with a friend who had really meant a lot to me.  I lost touch with this person except for birthday messages and the occasionally rare exchanges. I was as surprised as anyone when she said that I should definitely make plans to come and visit her and her family when I finished my visit to Sweden. Her message was bright and sunny, more than I had warranted.  I mean, if you had known me before, I was a real idiot for having left her and she let me know it. So off I went, nervous, and excited, but happy that that we would be friends again. We hit it off, two peas in a pod. I don't know where it will go and how it will play out, but I do know that I am happy that I did it.

So, these bottles and cans are not just a representation of France, they are a representation of her and what she has meant to me. For that, these are the tastes I am saving as I close in on 1,000.  A small token of the time we spent together. So here they are:

Biera Corsa - Pietra: This one is the real mystery of the bunch. Teach me to study German and Swedish because this one is totally unknown. The only way is to open it and find out!

Rince Cochon - Biere Blonde Des Flandres: This one is a little more knowable - its a blond of the field of Flanders, so it is a light and rich in color and fairly complex. I will see if it lives to up to it.

Brasserie Dubuisson Freres - Denee Des Trolls (Belgian): This one turned out to be Belgian after I bought it and I think I may save it for the last one. Blond ale taste along with fruity aromas, it could be the sweet one I have been looking for.

Rince Cochon - Biere Rouge: We could be in for a good one here. The pink bottle seems to indicate a raspberry or a cherry flavored content, but we will not know until we try!

Brassuers Depuis - Jenlains Ambree: The amber note on the outside leads me to believe that this one is a little more flavor than the others, but again I will know when I have tasted it.