Monday, September 26, 2022

Beer of the Week: Andechs Weissbier Dunkel

Beer score: 7.1

Company: Andechs
ABV: 5.0
IBU: 14.5

Straight from a monastery in Germany, this beer has as strong, complex smell to it as it pours, reminding my nose of chocolate, roasted nuts, bananas, and further slightly fruity accents.

It pours a heavy brown color with hints of red here and there.

While tasting, the flavors are just as strong as they were in the smelling, with roasted malts and dark chocolate taking up the majority of the taste. There are also hints of bread, spice, and clove.

This beer has a strong, fizzy sweetness that's too complex for the lesser experienced beer drinkers, and it has a slight tea-like texture that's quite unusual for a beer.

Oddly, this beer does a lot of things I normally wouldn't care for, but here it's all combined to work quite well.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Beer of the Week Blast from the Past: Killian's Irish Honey

Beer score: 6.5

The Killian's brand of beers has mostly focused upon its red beer over the decades, but from time to time there have been other flavors of the beer produced, this Irish Honey being one of them that is no longer with us.

As expected, this beer had a slight sweet taste, but the honey texture was just right, not overpowering nor too weak. This beer went down smooth and pretty wet. There was a little fizz but not enough to be annoying.

A decent brew, especially for when one was in the mood for something sweet, so too bad it's not longer being produced.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Books read in 2022: No. 27 -- Flashing Swords #2

edited by Lin Carter

Started: Sept. 9
Finished: Sept. 16

Notes: I was thinking this was the last of this iconic Sword-and-Sorcery series for me to read, but looking back over my personal notes and this blog I believe I have still to find and read #3. So, I'll read this one and my search will continue (the search being part of the fun for me at used book stores and the like).

Mini review: These were four very fine Sword and Sorcery stories. My favorite was probably the Elric tale by Michael Moorcock, but the others were quite good, as well.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Beer of the Week Blast from the Past: Chicago Brewing Company Beers

There is still today a Chicago Brewing Company, but in only name. It is not the same company which provided the beers I'll be writing about below, beers that are long off the market though I'm fortunate enough to have tried them decades ago and to still have some notes about them.

Chicago's Legacy Lager
Beer score: 7.0

This one was pretty bitter for a lager, with a little sourness as you swallowed. It sort of tasted like a lager and an IPA mixed together. Went down pretty smooth.

Chicago's Big Shoulders Porter
Beer score: 6.4

Wasn't very strong for a porter, but had the right amount of burn maple flavoring. Was a good porter for beginning beer snobs to star with because it wasn't too rich. One of the few porters I've run across which could be drank and not just sipped.

Friday, September 09, 2022

Books read in 2022: No. 26 -- The First Book of Swords

by Fred Saberhagen

Started: Sept. 2
Finished: Sept. 9

Notes: Nearly four decades ago I read this book, and over the rest of the 1980s I read all the books in this original trilogy and the longer, related series that followed. I loved all those books. But it's been a long time. So I thought I'd try one again to see if I still have the same love. Let's see how time and age have changed by eyes.

Mini review: This tale of epic and heroic fantasy involving a dozen swords the gods have placed within the world in order to play a game with humanity was still a delightful read, and I'm tempted to hunt down the rest of the books in this series and read them once again. At one time I had all the books, but alas they have fallen away from me over the decades.

Monday, September 05, 2022

Beer of the Week: John Smith's Original

Beer score: 7.3

Company: Tadcaster Brewery
ABV: 3.6

Bitters aren't usually one of my preferred styles of beer, but this one might be the best of the lot. Without a doubt the best beer I've had from a can (though of course I poured it into a glass while tasting).

Pours an amber brown and leaves behind a nice, foamy head with lots of lacing. Very earthy and caramel in the smell.

Very smooth and somewhat frothy with a pretty strong bitter flavor that isn't overpowering. I've heard complaints about this beer being too carbonated, but I've never felt that with this one.

A lovely brew. Even if you're not a fan of bitters, this one is at least worth trying.

Thursday, September 01, 2022

Books read in 2022: No. 25 -- The Book of Lamentations

published by Zondervan

Started: Sept. 1
Finished: Sept. 1

Notes: I'm in the middle of something of a fantasy literature binge, but I'm not wanting to drop my Bible reading altogether, so I thought I'd sneak in this book, one of the shorter ones of the Bible.

Mini review: This book is exactly what the title implies, the Israelites lamenting that God has punished them and brought about their exile, along with some prayers and calls for hope for the future.

Books read in 2022: No. 24 -- Slaying the Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons & Dragons

by Ben Riggs

Started: August 25
Finished: Sept. 1

Notes: As I've read a fair amount pertaining to the history of D&D, I'm not expecting to learn much new here, but as this was just published perhaps there is some new scholarly work of which I'm unaware. I'll give it a try.

Mini review: A more accurate subtitle for this book might have been "How TSR screwed the pooch." In case you don't know, TSR was the company that originally produced and published all things D&D until 1997 when the company Wizards of the Coast bought them out. This is a good book and an interesting read, but it almost entirely focuses upon the business aspects of TSR and a little on WOTC. So, there isn't much here if you're interested in information about game creation, writing, designing, etc. Also, this book wraps things up soon after the purchase of TSR by WOTC, about the time a third edition of D&D was released around the year 2000, and in my opinion that leaves out a lot of possible information for a book that's supposed to be about the history of the D&D game. In other words, a lot more has happened in the last 22 years, including the fate of a fourth edition of the game and then the rise and popularity of the fifth edition of the game, plus changes in book publishing, the nerd/geek world, etc. Perhaps another book would be in order? Regardless, I'll repeat that this is a good book. It should be especially nostalgic for those of us who were playing D&D and tabletop RPGs in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, but this book could also be an interesting read for newer players who want to learn about the past of one of their favorite pastimes.