Monday, August 28, 2023

Beer of the Week Blast from the Past: Cold Spring River Road Red Ale

Beer score: 4.6

Without a chance to try any beer this past week, I turn to some old notes from the mid-1990s concerning a beer from a Minnesota brewery that was bought out and no longer exists.

This one wasn't great but it wasn't bad. It tasted like a fairly weak lager but had a little oomph of bitterness thrown in. There was an interesting sweetness in the aftertaste that reminded me somewhat of Belgian lambics.

Even if this wasn't a favorite, it wasn't awful, and I always hate to see a brewery go out of business.

Books read in 2023: No. 27 - The Book of Malachi

published by Zondervan

Started: August 28
Finished: August 28

Notes: Finally I'm at the end of the Old Testament, at least according to the KJV I'm reading.

Mini review: More warnings to the Israelites because of their sins, but also a fair amount of talk of a future Messiah and the coming of the Lord. For Christians all that means one thing, but for Jews another, though perhaps the two are similar in some ways.

Books read in 2023: No. 26 - The Book of Zechariah

published by Zondervan

Started: August 27
Finished: August 28

Notes: My last couple of reads have been fairly long, so I've fallen behind on my Bible readings. Here's to jumping back in.

Mini review: The prophet Zerchariah has more warnings for the peoples of Israel and Judah and for many heathen nations, but in my opinion these prophecies seemed more hopeful than most others of the Old Testament, showing how God will bring his people home better than most other texts. I also noted that this particular book seemed filled with images that Christians would likely interpret as signs of the coming of Jesus and of the end times.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Books read in 2023: No. 25 -- The Mysteries of Udolpho

by Ann Radcliffe

Started: August 1
Finished: August 27

Notes: I've been on something of a Gothic literature reading phase the last year or so, yet I've yet to read anything from this prominent author of the period. Now I'm jumping in.

Mini review: I heard this one called the quintessential gothic novel, and I can see that, because all the elements are here rolled into one. A young French woman suffers the passing of her parents and is then placed under the care of an evil aunt and uncle who force her to move to a haunted castle in Italy where she is held against her will. Along the way our heroine falls in love, is caught up in misadventures with bandits and ghosts and more, cries a lot, and stares out upon scenery of forests and mountains. Most modern readers would probably find this one long and dull, and I can appreciate that, but I've also grown a fondness for such 18th-and-19th-Century novels because I've come to appreciate what the writers are trying to accomplish. Story, mainly meaning plot movement and characters, is king in our day and age, and there's nothing wrong with that, but earlier periods often had what some would consider more artistic motives, usually either with a focus upon the visuals of the outside world (sort of like a painter) or a focus upon the sufferings of the inner world (sort of like an analyst) or a mixture of both, while some earlier fictions were basically travelogues or sort of educational guides for readers who rarely got to see much of the world beyond their immediate area. Again, all this is likely quite boring for modern readers, but I have an occasional fondness for it.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Beer of the Week: James Boag's Premium Lager

Beer score: 4.1

Company: J. Boag & Son Brewing
ABV: 4.6

This one comes to us from Tasmania, an island in Australia, and it's proof that the world beyond America also has plenty of mediocre beers.

Pours a pale golden color. Gives off scents of slight sweetness and some skunkiness.

And in drinking, that skunkiness is even stronger. You can maybe taste some corn and cereal with a touch of bitterness.

Very basic.

Those who like cheap, premium American brews might enjoy this. The rest of us can drink it, but we're underwhelmed. At least it isn't nasty, so it doesn't completely suck, and it's wet.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Beer of the Week: Samuel Smith Imperial Stout

Beer score: 9.4

Company: Samuel Smith's Brewery
ABV: 7.0

This summer I've unfortunately strayed away from really good beers, so this week I had to rectify that.

And boy, did I.

This one pours nearly black with maybe a touch of crimson around the edges. A nice burnt smell and syrup coloring. While it pours, it gives off scents of dark chocolate and roasted coffee.

It has a nice, foamy head as all good stouts should.

This one is not for beginner drinkers as this has a very strong maple sweet/bitterness in the tasting. There are hints of dark fruit in the aftertaste, and there's more of that roasted coffee sensation.

One of the heaviest beers out there, so don't drink a lot of them. I mean, not unless getting drunk is your goal. Still, not the thickest stout I've run across, but darn close.

One of the best sipping beers I've had the pleasure to enjoy.

Monday, August 07, 2023

Beer of the Week Blast from the Past: Grolsch Summer Blond

Beer score: 4.3

Just to be clear, the folks at Grolsch still make a blond beer, but it's not this Summer Blond, which they discontinued a decade or so back. Still, I have a few notes.

This one was wet with lots of froth and a touch of lemon. It reminded me a little of Rolling Rock, though this beer wasn't even that strong.

This wasn't the greatest of beers, but it wasn't bad. I'll have to try Grolsch's other blond beer to see how it tastes.

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Books read in 2023: No. 24 -- The Clan of the Cave Bear

by Jean M. Auel

Started: June 26
Finished: August 1

Notes: I've been meaning to read this novel for decades after recalling its popularity in the 1980s, as well as the popularity of the movie at that time. The notion of a novel set in prehistoric times has intrigued me ever since, so now I get to experience the book.

Mini review: A long book, in places more wordy than I generally appreciate, but it was worth it. Tens of thousands of years ago a girl who is homo sapiens is separated from her people but found by Neanderthals who then raise her. The tale is more complex than what I've written here, but I don't wish to spoil anything for those who might read this one. I will say this book could be a boon for historical and fantasy writers, as it shows cultures usually unfamiliar to most of us and the novel tells how they survived, mated, worshipped, etc. Now whether this information is correct or not is besides the point I'm making, because historical studies have continued since this novel was published 40 years ago, because writers could still learn from this information how to form their own unique cultures and how to write about survival.