Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Beer of the Week: Third Coast Beer

Beer score: 6.7

Company: Bell's Brewery

ABV: 4.8
IBU: 51.00

Coming out of Michigan, the folks at Bell's have been producing some fine beers for decades now. The bottle for this particular beer has changed a few times over the years, but it's always had something of a quaint, old-fashioned look about it, usually sporting portions of a map of the Green Bay region in northwest Michigan.

But what you really want to know how this beer tastes ... is it any good?

Okay, well, it looks weak in the glass with a light gold color, but that coloring can be fooling as this has a strong bitterness to it when it reaches your tongue. This stuff is quite wet, and it makes a great pub brew to go along with hot wings.

As for sniffing, you'll catchy bread-like scents here with maybe the barest hint of fruit. Once you've got this beer in your mouth, you'll pick up more of that bread-like sensation plus a strong hoppy taste and a touch of that fruitiness, though only a touch. What's really going to hit you is the bitterness here. I've read where others have described this drink as tasting something like an IPA, but while this beer does have some of the flavoring of one of the more bitter IPA beers, it doesn't have the usual sourness of an IPA, or at least mine didn't.

Not the best beer in the world, but you know what? It's still worth drinking. If you're in Michigan or somewhere else that serves Bell's beers, give this one a try, or any of the other beers from Bell's.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Books read in 2019: No. 38 -- Night of the Hunter

by R.A. Salvatore

Started: August 1
Finished: August 25

Notes: A decade back I was reading a lot of Salvatore's work, but I got burnt out on him and have stayed away since, not that that was his fault. Sometimes I just read too much of an author in a short period and then need to stay away for a while. That while has ended, so I'm turning to one of Salvatore's more recent novels (at least to me).

Mini review: Glad to be done with this one. Salvatore's Drizzt character reunites with some old friends to head into the Underworld to save some other old friends, and that's about all I'll say so I'm not giving away too much. I will say it was nice to re-visit some old characters, and Salvatore's prose continues to flow fairly well, especially during his action scenes. That being said, this novel felt padded to me. I felt like the story could have been told in half the pages. And that's not necessarily a good thing. Maybe Salvatore didn't pad the book, but it felt that way. Still, not an awful book. Drizzt fans will want this one.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Beer of the Week special: How to name your dog after a beer

If you are a beer lover and an animal lover like me, at some point in your life there's a pretty good chance you are going to want to name a dog after a beer. However, it's quite possible your significant other will shoot down the idea, or perhaps it will be your parents. Or maybe there could be some other reason that would intrude upon you wanting to name a dog after a beer.

Don't let this get you down. You can still name a dog after a beer, you just have to be a little more sly about. it.

For instance, you obviously wouldn't want to name your dog Budweiser. Why? Because that's a world-wide recognizable name meaning beer. However, you might be able to get by with something a little more slick, like Bud or Buddy. Not exact, but it's close enough to count.

Another fine name for a dog is Foster, after Foster's, the Australian beer. I'm not a huge fan of this particular brew, but I do like the name. And I once fooled my wife into allowing me to name a dog Foster. She never caught on until I told her years later.

If you'd like something a bit more esoteric, you could name a pet after Bert Grant's. Heck, this brewing company doesn't even exist any more, but they put out some very fine drinks back in their day. Either Bert or Grant would be solid names for a dog. Even Bertie wouldn't be too bad for a small dog.

If you want a sturdy, old-fashioned name for a dog, you could always try Breckenridge after the Breckenridge Brewery. Possibly Breck would do, as well.

Are you religious? How about Pete or Peter after St. Peter's Brewery of England. They make a fine Organic English Ale. And don't forget the folks at Pete's Wicked, who make a great Strawberry Blonde.

Even less obvious options would be Rod or Roddy after Young's Ram Rod, or Nick or Nicholas after Young's Old Nick, or even Dick after Young's Dirty Dick's Ale.

If the dog is female you could go for Stella after Stella Artois or possibly Sierra after one of the fine Sierra Nevada brews, such as Sierra Nevada Porter.

One of my personal favorite names is Skullsplitter. And yes, there is a Skullsplitter Orkney Ale.

More obvious choices would be Sam or Sammy, after such brews as Sam Adams Triple Bock or Samuel Smith Taddy Porter.

Truly, it's up to you. I suggest having fun with the exercise. Pick a unique name for your dog, something you think will represent his or her spirit and will fit well.

And don't forget to enjoy a good beer every once in a while.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Beer of the Week: Birra Moretti

Beer score: 4.3

Company: Birra Moretti

ABV: 4.6

The Moretti family of Italy brewed and owned this beer until 1989 when it was sold to some corporate interests and later was sold to Heineken. And it kind of tastes like it.

Don't get me wrong. This is not an awful beer. When you pour it into a glass, it's got a faint yellow color to it. Going down it has a pale, mass-produced flavor to it. It's quite smooth with a nice head, but it has that all-too-familiar weak, made-for-Americans taste to it.

Might be okay on a hot day, and I know personally it goes fairly well with pasta.

But there's nothing special here. Truly, while not a bad beer, it's also not an overly good one, and it more or less tastes like a hundred other premium beers on the market. Those who don't know any better might think this beer is special because it's from Italy, but they would be wrong.

Monday, August 05, 2019

Beer of the Week: Big Rock Warthog Ale

Beer score: 6.7

Company: Big Rock Brewery

ABV: 4.5
IBU: 16

The Big Rock Brewery of Calgary, Alberta, Canada brews this fine drink. Pours a slightly dark copper color with a thin head. Pretty smooth with just a little honey sweetness as it goes down. There are hints of fruit, maybe citrus, along with some bread-like textures. Not overly strong, so anyone can enjoy it, though there is more than a little darkness in all this mildness. I found this ale makes a pretty good bar beer for bar food ... you know, sliders, wings and the like. Has a slight sour smell in the glass though I did not detect such in the taste on the way down.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Books read in 2019: No. 37 -- The Blade Itself

by Joe Abercrombie

Started: July 20
Finished: August 1

Notes: I've heard much good about this author, specifically this book, and have been meaning to read one of his novels for some time now. Here goes.

Mini review: I have to say I was quite disappointed with this one until about the last third of the book when a number of scenes strung together suddenly made me a believer. The plot here is difficult to discuss other than to say it concerns a number of disparate characters and how they are finally brought together towards the end of this book so they can go off on an adventure in later books in the series. All in all decent writing with characters who are somewhat interesting. However, there were a lot of things here concerning characterization and even plotting which struck me as somewhat juvenile, like something a less successful self-published author would write, not something a major publisher would ... well, publish. But that sensation went away for me towards the end of the book, and in all fairness this was Abercrombie's first novel. Can I suggest this one for reading? Actually, despite my grousing, yes. Go read it. Give it a go.