Monday, May 27, 2024

Beer of the Week: Avery Brewing Ellie's Brown Ale

Beer score: 5.8

Company: Avery Brewing Company
ABV: 5.5
IBU: 28

I'm thinking Ellie is the name of a dog since there is a picture of a black dog on this beer bottle.

This one pours a darkish red color into the glass while giving off smells of chocolate brownies and maybe little fruit.

A little heavy in the mouth, somewhat like a stout with a little bit of the burnt maple taste common to many stouts but without being quite as heavy as a stout. There's also some more of that chocolate flavor and some coffee. Slightly sweet.

This would make a fine brew for folks working their way up to heavier beers such as porters and stouts.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Books read in 2024: No. 24 -- Poison

by Ed McBain

Started: May 19
Finished: May 24

Notes: So much of my reading so far this year has been rather heavy, and most of it non-fiction, so I felt the need for something just for fun. And yes, reading about poison and murder and cops is fun for me, at least when it comes from Ed McBain, one of my favorite authors.

Mini review: It was such a pleasure to simply read something for fun once more. In this one, a young woman's lovers are killed off one by one, usually by poison, and a detective becomes romantically involved with her, putting himself in the crosshairs of the killer. This one was mainly a straight-up mystery, one of the more straight forward of the 87th Precinct novels, but that was fine with me. It also featured as the main character one detective Hal Willis, who is usually a secondary or minor character within this series, so it was nice to see that.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Beer of the Week Blast from the Past: Devil Mountain Beers

This defunct brewery was originally brewed in an old railroad station in Northern California, but when I tried them a couple of decades ago, they were being brewed in Cincinnati, Ohio. Anyway, some decent brews here, so I hated to see when they went out of business, but here are some of my notes from long ago.

Devil Mountain Black Honey Ale

Beer score: 8.0

Imagine a stout with plenty of honey stirred in and you've got this beer. It was worth tasting. The sweetness came from African black honey. Though this drink was very stout-like, it didn't quite have the bitter strength of a typical stout, though it did have the texture and coloring of a stout.

Devil Mountain Five Malt Ale

Beer score: 6.0

This beer was so sturdy it could almost pass for a stout ... okay, a weak stout. The sturdy bitterness grew sweeter the more you drank.

Devil Mountain Honey Wheat

Beer score: 3.0

Was smooth and frothy but way too sweet, so much so that the sweetness lowered my beer score considerably.

Devil Mountain Railroad Gold Ale

Beer score: 5.7

A cloudy, pale-ale type drink with a little sweetness. Went down smooth and wet.

Devil Mountain Summer Mountain Brew

Beer score: 5.3

This beer was watery and weak but probably still too strong for your average Budweiser drinker. A slight bitterness here along with some fizz. The light fruity smell was quite nice. Not great, but there were plenty of worse beers, and still are.

Devil Mountain Tasmanian Pale Ale

Beer score: 5.9

Was a little strong for a pale ale, but it went down smooth. Very bitter, to the point it would have scored higher for me if that bitterness had been tamed somewhat. Supposedly the hops were from Tasmania, thus this beer's name.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Books read in 2024: No. 23 -- The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Philemon

published by Zondervan

Started: May 19
Finished: May 19

Notes: A short Bible reading while between other readings.

Mini review: A very short letter in which Paul sends Onesimus to Philemon.

Books read in 2024: No. 22 -- The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Titus

published by Zondervan

Started: May 19
Finished: May 19

Notes: My last book read took longer than I had expected, so I got away from my Bible readings a bit. Here I jump back into things.

Mini review: In this one, mostly Paul is writing to Titus (the bishop of Crete) to outline briefly what consists of a good Christian, especially a good leader within a church.

Books read in 2024: No. 21 --12 Rules for Life

by Jordan B. Peterson

Started: April 10
Finished: May 19

Notes: I've been reading biographies of late and wanted to continue that, but I couldn't find a proper biography in print for Peterson, so I'll settle for reading one of his books. I realize Peterson has become somewhat controversial in some circles over the last decade or so, but like him or not, the man is interesting and appears to weigh his words carefully. I do find him interesting, and I agree with some he has to say, but I also believe he has some blind spots. Who knows? If I enjoy this book enough, I might seek out some of his other books.

Mini review: It took much longer to finish this book than I had anticipated, mainly because I found this one such a slog, proving for myself that Peterson is a better speaker than writer. It's not that his text is necessarily written badly nor difficult to read, but that he writes much like he speaks, with plenty of examples and long comments about the very points he is trying to make. For me, once I got what he was trying to say, which was usually within the first page or even paragraph of his chapters, then it seemed he dragged on forever saying the same things over and over again. In other words, this felt like the world's longest blog post, once that could've been written in a thousand words or less. That being said, there is a lot of solid, good, common-sense advice here for living in and surviving in the modern world. Not everyone will agree with what Peterson suggests, of course, but I don't believe that lessens his words. For me, Peterson's writing here was at its strongest when he strayed away from politics and pithy sayings and focused upon the mythologies behind religion and sometimes upon his clinical background. In the end, whether he wants to admit it or not, he definitely comes down on the side of Christianity, not necessarily in belief but in practice. The world could do worse.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Beer of the Week Blast from the Past: Michael Shea's Irish Amber

Beer score: 5.8

The Highfalls Brewing Company of Rochester, New York, made this brew when I tasted it back in the 1990s, but then the beer was bought by the Genesee Brewery folks who then retired this beer.

Looking back on my notes, it seems this beer didn't know what it wanted to be. It had the barest touch of sweet one minute, then it'd have a little bit of bitter on the way down. Wet but had way too much fizz. Overall, not a bad beer, even a good beer, but not a great beer.

Monday, May 06, 2024

Beer of the Week: Orval Trappist Ale

Beer score: 7.4

Company: Orval
ABV: 6.9
IBU: 32

This Belgian brew has a lot of carbonation and a strong alcohol flavor, almost as if you're drinking a weaker Scotch whiskey instead of an ale. The smell is slightly spicey, just barely, and a touch of citrus with perhaps some hints of grass.

Some sweetness here and very unique flavoring. Leaves a bitter flavor in the back of the throat. Quite wet despite all the carbonation. The flavor is like the smell, with an addition of some dried fruit taste and a metallic hint that's there but not annoying.

Not something I'd want to drink often, but worth tasting from time to time.

Quite pricey. Hard liquor drinkers should like this. One of the most unique beers I've ever tasted.