Monday, March 19, 2012

Delirium Tremens

First off, I need to make it known that while I am the daughter of a nurse, I'm not privvy to a myriad of medical conditions and symptoms. So I googled Delirium Tremens to make sure I was spelling it correctly, and this is the first result. Imagine my surprise when I found out that delirium tremins is a severe form of alcohol withdrawl.

Spoiler Alert: considering this beer's 8.5% ABV, I wasn't.

 I don't know if there's any better way to celebrate alcohol addiction than to name one of the most famous Belgian Strong Ales after an extreme symptom of withdrawl. There's a Meredith-From-The-Office joke there somewhere.

But seriously though, from a marketting point of view, how wonderful is their packaging and branding?

Do it. Now.
Look at this thing. It's got a bottle whose glass is covered by a ceramic-esque material so it doesn't even really look like a beer bottle. Without any labels or context, the eye might glaze over this bottle as a decorative vase that's between flowers.

Also signature symbol of Delirium is pink elephants. Sound familiar, vintage Disney fans? Dumbo champagne scene ringing any bells? Silly hammered elephant babies that fly when smashed. See that physics-defying fat drunk? That could be you!

The name, the symbol, the packaging, it's sending quite a clear and very, very clever subliminal message: You there! Yes, you. You. Are. A. Drunk. Don't fight it, don't question it. Enjoy it. Embrace it. And, whatever you do, KEEP DRINKING. If he could, Mufasa would appear in the clouds with his own Delirium bottle, holding his head up as high as he can after a few of these and pontificating, "Remember... who you are (hic)."

Now that I've blown their little scheme, will their clever plan cease to work? Probably not, because this beer is delicious. It's brewed with three separate strains of yeast, and the result is slightly on the sour mash side. When I first tried this, I noticed an aftertaste not unlike that of after partaking in some sour milk, or just before you puke. Now that my palate is more versed in Belgian flavors, I've come to like its wilder flavors. The bitterness here is well balanced, and the malt flavors are warming and filling rather than sweetening and there's no burn to the 8.5% at all. It's fizzy, flavorful, and quite drinkable. I find it takes a bit of warming up to before you can tolerate it. But it is quite lovely.

So you there? The drunk. Yes, you. Go try it. The pink elephants command you.

Happy drinking!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Chouffe Houblon Dobbelen IPA Tripel

Happy Hangover Day! Hope everyone enjoyed their St. Patrick's Day, complete with parades, beer and inhumane amounts of green.

And here is where a picture of me at of the parade
 would go if I didn't have to work yeserday. Phooey. 

I did manage to have a good night though, thanks to some good friends, a little seat it my favorite bar, and this little number.

Chouffe Houblon Dobbelen IPA Tripel is a 9% ABV Belgian enigma, mysterious in terms of taste, texture, and however the hell you would actually pronounce all that. This one was full bodied, but with the delightful fizz on the tongue of sparking champagne. I found that the flavor resembled a bourbon-aged, with bready malty notes and vanilla. Many other reviewers found this to be a hoppy beer, but I found that the bitterness was more of a facit than a feature of this one. I tasted a lot more of the yeast flavor here. 

Of course, this is probably because I drank the yeast (oops). This one is unfiltered, and has quite a bit of sediment. So if that sort of thing nasties you out, just do what I do: get a glass and do a smooth, uninterrupted pour and leave about half of an inch to an inch at the bottom so the sediment can't go anywhere. Easy peasy!

And yeasty.
Either way, this was delicious, and I would definitely have it again. Happy drinking, everyone!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Left Hand Brewing Co. Fade To Black Vol. 3

Goddamn it, Left Hand Brewing Company, why would you do this to us? Why would you create a masterpiece of spicy dark beers and make it a one-time-only seasonal? Why?!  

One taste. One glorious 2 ounce pour of this delicious brew and I was just hooked. 

And now, I'm pretty sure it's gone forever. Dammit. 

For the winter, Left Hand Brewing Co. comes out with a version (read, "Volume") of their seasonal porter, "Fade to Black." I missed both volume 1 and 2, but 3 I managed to snag at the American Craft Beer Festival.

To be concise: it tasted like chili chocolate.

To be verbose: It tasted like a medium bodied porter that had a pretty even chocolate taste; no overly roasted coffee notes or alcoholic burn dragging it down. The pepper was present on the tongue but it burned the throat more, which I thought was a nice touch. It was an excellent clean beer, and tasted like it would be a meal in and of itself. That's the only issue with this brew: it's very full-flavored, and wouldn't lend itself well to food pairings. 

THAT BEING SAID. This was just gorgeous and I wish they'd bring it back. But even if they don't, I can't wait to see what they do for Volume 4. Happy drinking!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Hangovers: And How to Avoid Them

We've all had that morning. I had it *this* morning.

But there are ways of avoiding it. And I promise you, even though you've heard them a million times before, they are tried and true tricks. Take it from me, the person that just admitted they were hung over.


I think this is an obvious one. Water. Drink it. Drink lots of it. Especially before you go to bed.

Though beer and most cocktails seem to be mostly water, do not fall into that false sense of security. Beer is an alcohol, which dehydrates, and it's a carb. So, water.

Cocktails, for those of you that drink them, are mostly sugar. Trust me, those munchies you get when you're drinking? Half of that is thirst, whether you believe it or not. Don't believe me? Wake up in the morning with your tongue stuck to the roof of your mouth and see how long it takes you to dive for the faucet for some of that sweet, sweet H20. Toldja.


Preemptive being the operative word here. Eating while or after drunk will NOT sober you up. Trust me, I have tried.

Me drunk. 
The fact is, your system needs a buffer against alcohol, not something to mix with it. That just makes it absorb slightly slower, which kind of makes it worse because that means that stuff will never really make it out of your system any time soon. Eat food, and filling food (no snacks, you bird eaters) before you go drinking. Give it time to digest.


This one doesn't have an exact science behind it, but in my experience, it is quite true. My worst hangovers have been with rum and bourbon, and I hate the taste of both of them. Consequently, from the beginning of my *serious* drinking endeavors I've always loved beer and tequila, and neither one leaves me completely in the shit, so to speak. I am a firm believer that your body knows what is good for you, but the free-thinking forebrain or the peer pressure power doesn't want to listen. So listen to yourself. If you don't like it, nor will your body.

Ok, quick post? Ok. Happy drinking!

Abita Pecan Harvest

Abita Pecan Harvest is one of those lovelies that are substantial enough on the tongue to have big flavor, but not quite heavy enough to drown out whatever you're eating. It's one of my personal favorites, and I have a six pack of it in my fridge right now. Mmmmm.

Apparently it pairs wonderfully with Cambells Chunky Chicken Sausage Gumbo. Dinner of champions, yo. 
Abita Pecan Harvest is a smooth, malty ale with a very pure caramel and nutty flavor. This is actually made with real pecans, so the nuts really are a part of the beer, rather than an aside. This is a wonderful beer to nurse too, because it warms wonderfully- won't matter if you're chugging or nursing, it will stay good to your tongue no matter what. Pick it up next time you've got the chance- it's excellent both on draft and bottled. :)

Happy drinking!

Allagash Curieux

 Curieux (Pronounced Cure-ee-oh; don't make my mistake, I thought it was French and have been pronouncing it scher-oh for ages) is the Allagash Tripel aged in Jim Bean Bourbon barrels for eight weeks, and it is very highly present on the palate. The result is wonderful. Like I was saying before, this beer cannot be described in a small blurb. But it is truly an amazing beer, and something that should be tried by everyone.

Official picture from the website, hoooooo
Look at how pretty that is. Thing of beauty, that.

I was lucky enough to have it twice, once on draft and once from the bottle poured into a cup. On draft, the sweetness of the bourbon was present on the tongue, but not as heavy and saturated as it is in the bottle. In the bottle, it's very boozy and tastes more like bourbon than beer. On draft, there as a hint more bitterness, and the swallow had a burn that to me resembled smooth vodka. The bottle Curieux, on the other hand had the smokey vanilla down pat, and left your mouth with a slightly cloying bourbon taste. I guess the tap really aerated the beer, because even though I enjoyed the bottle, the tap really had a more balanced flavor that left me wanting more. The bottle was a slight bit overwhelming.

Also, warning: It is ELEVEN PERCENT ABV. 11%. Most beers are 4-8% so watch out- that stuff sneaks up on you quick.

Now, on draft, it just might run you anywhere from $6-$10, when you can find it. The bottles, however, can run you $25-$40 (*faint*) but even though I paint it in a negative light here, it is definitely a culinary treat to be split amongst friends like a fine wine. Drink it in a goblet- I promise you it makes a difference.

Happy drinking!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wednesday Night Idle Hands Bar Tasting: Diandra's Conversion Therapy

Hello, two or three people who read this blog! Bienvenidos!

Yesterday was Wednesday, which means Idle Hands Bar was having their $10 tasting. I made damn sure I was there, because I feel like that's just the only way to get through the middle of the week. It just is, isn't it?

Well, that's the only way I get through it.

However, there was an ulterior motive tonight. I had my darling dear Diandra with me, who was willing to convert to the barley side of the force. Diandra, say hello.


I figured a cheap but good tasting was the best way to go on that front. Usually, the weekly Idle Hands tastings involve a particular brewery being featured with representatives on site to enthuse about the beers and tell you their success story, which is my favorite part, personally. The whole package involves two full eight ounce pours of the featured beers on tap (!!), three tasting flights of the bottles, cans, or growlers that the reps have, a jigger of bourbon that may or may not come with a rep from the distillery to talk about its background there AND...

Tots from Billy Hurricane's upstairs with spiked sauce.

Seriously. Tater tots. YUM.

Unfortunately, this week didn't have a featured brewery, much to my disappointment. So the executive decision from the lovely Rob behind the bar was that we just got three (!!!) full eight ounces of whatever they had on tap. So I felt just a sliiiiight bit less disappointed, but what the hey.

Each one of these beers will get their own post later on, but for now I'm just going to give you a general overview of how they tasted for me and for Diandra. The more extensive reviews will go up soon, I promise!

Their taps for the evening: Bolded if tasted and in descending order of tasting.

Uinta Hop Notch Anniversary Seasonal: (our third pour)

Something I actually could not find on their website; may have been an error on the bar's part or just not listed yet. The Hop Notch I could find is an IPA. Now, I found this light-bodied one to be a bit confused on the tongue: like a malty beer that was overhopped as an aside. The citrusy, grassy flavor felt out of place here. 
Diandra agreed with me, finding it too strange for her and I ended up downing the rest of hers. Which was basically all of it.

Lagunitas Lil' Sumptin' Ale (our second pour)

This one I found airy and light with a high drinkability. Or at least high in compared to Self-Righteous. This was grassy and crisp, but a bit one-dimensional. 
Diandra liked the Stone one better, and actually found that one easier to drink. so down my gullet half of this one went. 

Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale (our first pour)

Diandre's favorite from the tasting last night, and a pretty decent one for it. This one had a much heavier body than the others, with a bitter baste that lingers  on the tongue but doesn't overpower the consumer with harsh bitteness. There is a deep roasted maltiness that balances it out and smooths out the whole experience. So all in all, pretty good.

They also had Stone IPA and Breckenridge 72 Imperial Chocolate Cream Stout. I regret not trying the latter (Diandra was unwilling to try Stouts just yet) but I guess all the more reason to go back before they switch out the taps!  

While I somewhat enjoyed what was on tap, I found the variety of flavors a bit lacking that night. So I decided it was time to broaden her horizons as to what beer could be. So I ordered an Allagash White so I could show her a Belgian and the difference in taste between yeastier and hoppier beers. Unfortunately someone didn't restock the fridge (shame shame) so Rob recommended this little number. And I'm glad he did. 

That's Harpoon UFO Belgian White if you can't read through the DAMN PHONES FLASH ASDFGH
Harpoon UFO is an unfiltered (meaning yeast in the bottle, so watch it) Belgian white that had a very creamy, fruity ester taste. Diandra loved this one and this is one of my favorites as well. It was crisp, but a medium mouthfeel, very filling. 

But that's not all for the night, oh no. See, they recently started stocking Allagash Curieux and that was one I had ages ago on draft at Mudville No 9. This one was a favorite of mine, which I remember being a rich, balanced beer with a vodka-ish harsh alcohol burn that I actually liked. I asked offhand when they started stocking it, and Rob said that it was a recent addition to the menu, though it hasn't been selling well. 
So, he decided to just open a bottle and sample it out. 

This beer cannot be summed up in a little blurb, so I'll just say this- Curieux not selling is a damn shame. TRY IT. DIANDRA COMMANDS YOU. 

Happy drinking!