Monday, August 30, 2021

Beer of the Week: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Beer score: 7.3

Company: Sierra Nevada

ABV: 5.6
IBU: 38

I used to think this beer was rather strong for a pale ale, but American pale ales (especially) have come a long way in the last couple of decades. Today I wouldn't call this an overly strong pale ale, definitely not an overly strong beer, but that doesn't mean it's weak in flavor or text.

Pours a lightish golden color with perhaps hints of scarlet. Has something of a pine-like smell, though not overpowering, combined with citrus and maybe a little caramel.

Tastes much like it smells, with those memories of citrus, pine, and caramel, along with some yeasty, bready aftertaste.

Worth drinking more than once.

Friday, August 27, 2021

More on RPGs at Rogue Blades

My weekly article over at Rogue Blades points out that tabletop RPG players can't always be winners.

Books read in 2021: No. 30 -- The Book of Ezra

published by Zondervan

Started: August 26
Finished: August 26

Notes: I've been enjoying my fiction reading so much these past handful of months that I've let my Bible reading slip. Now I'll get back to it.

Mini review: This book mainly deals with the priest Ezra and how he helped lead his people back to Israel after the king of Persia allowed them to do so. Then came work on building the second temple after the first was destroyed. After that, Ezra and other religious leaders came down heavy upon their own people who had married into foreign families.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Books read in 2021: No. 29 -- The White Tree (The Cycle of Arawn #1)

by Edward W. Robertson

Started: August 16
Finished: August 25

Notes: Upon my shelves are tons of books I've been meaning to read, and on my Kindles are long lists of e-books I've been meaning to get to. This is one such e-book, and I've never read this author before. Hopefully this'll be interesting and fun.

Mini review: This was actually a pretty good book. The plot involves a teen boy who discovers a book which teaches him magic. Meanwhile, cultists are trying to hunt him down and kill him. It all ends up involving war, gods, wizards, enemies, and friends. While the plot was mainly that of heroic fantasy, a good number of the characters leaned more toward Sword-and-Sorcery types; even the main character isn't always likeable, sometimes tending toward the dark side and even uncaring of the fates of others. The only quibble I had was that there were a few times when I felt the main character's motivations and following actions seemed unrealistic, but then again the character is quite young, so perhaps that explains some of it.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Beer of the Week: Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

Beer score: 8.0

Company: Sierra Nevada

ABV: 7.2
IBU: 65

In the glass this one appears a bit cloudy with a slightly-below-medium amber color. Has a frothy head to it that's nice, and smells slightly of citrus and caramel with fairly strong hop notes.

Often I'm not a big IPA fan, but this one has won me over. It doesn't have the sourness common in some IPAs, but has the smooth bitter quality of a pale ale. Quite smooth going down with only a hint of carbonation. The flavors here are rather complex with a mixture of orange, pine, bitter hops and malts, and even perhaps bread. There's very little sweetness here, mostly a fine bitterness, but it's all good, without an overly strong bitterness.

Would I drink this again? Uh, hell yeah!

Friday, August 20, 2021

Monday, August 16, 2021

Books read in 2021: No. 28 -- Midwinter

Started: August 9
Finished: August 16

Notes: Here's another fantasy writer I've been meaning to read for some while now, and I've heard good things.

Mini review: This was actually a pretty good read, with some of the best characterizations I've seen in a while. A handful of inmates in a prison in the land of the Fae are sent on something of a suicide mission and along the way pasts are revealed and a multi-faceted war brews. The only quibble I have is I felt the ending wrapped up a little too quickly for my liking, but still it was a fine ending. I'd read more from this author.

Beer of the Week: Petty Thieves Dream Spinner

Beer score: 5.6

Company: Petty Thieves Brewing Co.

ABV: 5.4

I have to admit to being skeptical when I poured this one. It's labeled an "Orange Cream Sour Ale" and it does have something of a cloudy orange juice look to it as it pours from the can into a clear glass.

In the glass it retains some of that orange juice appearance, but mostly it looks like something of a cloudy blonde ale. The scent is not strong, but there are definitely citrus textures there.

Upon drinking, there's no doubt of the orange flavor, but it's not so strong as to be annoying. However, that orange flavor does dominate, so don't expect a lot of beer flavoring here. That can be good or bad, depending upon your expectations and your viewpoint, but this definitely is something different.

Would I drink this again? Sure. Would I go out of my way to purchase it? Hmm, probably not. Would I drink it regularly? Again, probably not. But if you're in the mood to try something out of the ordinary but not too out of the ordinary, this ale should fit the bill. Also, as a pal pointed out to me, this would be a great beer to give those who normally prefer fruity drinks.

Monday, August 09, 2021

Books read in 2021: No. 27 -- Ravenheart

by David Gemmell

Started: July 22
Finished: August 9

Notes: It's been far too long since I've read any Gemmell, so now it's time to get back to him.

Mini review: This might be my favorite Gemmell novel yet. Though it is fantasy, I tell you it read like Scottish history, and I had to keep reminding myself that I was reading fantasy and not historical fiction. There are other Rigante novels and I will have to check them out for sure.

Beer of the Week: Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

Beer score: 9.0

Company: Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co.

ABV: 8.2

From my hometown of Lexington, Kentucky, this one has been a favorite beer of mine for some time now.

Pours a medium gold color with hints of red. Smells a tad bit grassy with some definite hints of bourbon.

You'll get a little of the bourbon flavor in drinking this, but not enough to overpower the drink. Has very little sweetness but a light bitterness and some fine froth. The caramel malts are excellent here, just about perfect. Quite smooth. There might be a little vanilla in the back of the flavors of this one, but it's barely there.

The price is not cheap, but it's worth it.

Thursday, August 05, 2021

Monday, August 02, 2021

Beer of the Week: Petty Thieves Dead Reflection

Beer score: 8.1

Company: Petty Thieves Brewing Co.

ABV: 6.8

A friend of a friend is related to one of the owners of this new brewing company in Charlotte, NC, so I was fortunate enough to be gifted with a few beers from these folks.

This helles bock pours a slightly dark gold color which is followed a scent that's light and a little sweet with hints of malty goodness and just a touch of hops.

Drinking this one, at first it's got a light sweetness and it goes down pretty smooth, reminding me somewhat of spring and summer ales. That sweetness is soon replaced by a light bitter texture that lingers on the tongue and grows a bit the more you drink. There's perhaps the barest hint of citrus way in the back of the taste on this one, and I wouldn't be offended by dropping a lime or even orange slice into this beer.

Is this one worth trying? Uh, hell yeah!