Archive for April, 2012

Pork Pie Slap

Posted in Ales on April 30, 2012 by wiseweizen

Because I’m classy, I took my lady to The Winking Lizard last week, in the hopes that she’d help me out with a tour beer or two. She was in a cider mood, and I’d already imbibed all the ciders on the tour. However, that allowed me the opportunity to recommend the Aspall Dry Cider, which was covered in a previous post. As is customary to my WL trips as of late, I enjoyed the contents of two bottles of beer.

First up was Star Island Single, by Smuttynose Brewing Co. This pale ale is 5.8% ABV (not a whole lot stronger than your generic beers) and 15 IBUs. Golden orange in color, it boasted a crisp citrus aroma. I found this to be super drinkable for a pale ale.* I’d describe the initial flavor as “citrus tang;”** the finish is quite crisp. That said, I found the aftertaste to be rather odd… in fact, it was more of an “after-breath”. Not that it induces halitosis, rather I experienced weird sensations/flavors while exhaling immediately after taking a drink.*** Despite the “after-breath” phenomenon, I’d say it was a pretty decent beer overall. I wouldn’t want it to be the only thing I drank in an evening, but I wouldn’t complain if I was given a second helping. In honor of the mermaid on the label, I’ll utilize an “Under the Sea” scale for this beverage. From 1 to Fluke (duke of soul… yeah), I award Smuttynose’s Star Island Single with a Carp (plays the harp).

Next up, a beer from Two Brothers. Perhaps you remember their disappointing Long Haul from this post? They did better this time, but honestly the bar was set pretty low. With 5.9% ABV and 15 IBUs, Domaine DuPage is described by the brewers as “a food friendly ale… with just enough hops to clean the palate.” While I agree with that, it probably isn’t for the reason they would want. After drinking an entire bottle, and actually putting thought into it, I can honestly say I have no idea what this beer tastes like. It wasn’t bad, mind you, though “exceptional” would be a gross overstatement. I could discern that there was a special blend of herbs and spices, but they served to make a flavor indistinguishable.¬† While the lady and I agreed that DuPage’s color was that of cherry wood, we disagreed on the scent (of the beer, not of cherry wood). I found Domaine to emit an aroma of some floral concoction – she ever so eloquently stated that “it smells like beer.” Well done, dear. ūüėČ Because of the enigmatic nature of this beverage we’ll use a “?” scale ranging from 1 to The Riddler! I think Domaine DuPage deserves a question mark block from Mario Kart. In the grand scheme of things, I try not to write off a brewery that crafts thirteen beers after only trying two of them. So, if anyone has enjoyed a Two Brothers beer more than I have, please let me know which of their beers I should try.

At this point, I’d like to relate an incident… nay, a kerfuffle, that occurred during dinner. It is the opinion of my girlfriend that waving food in front of someone will entice them into reconsidering her offer of eating her unwanted food. Admittedly, this seems to work to great effect on her brother, but less so with me. After rejecting her offer of the last slice of her sausage pizza, she utilized this tactic – a respectful 6-8 inches from my face. At this point, I would like to mention that we’d each only had one drink and thus, were sober. I declined the pizza again, as I was full from delicious wings. Instead of the normal circular enticement protocol, she now switched to an up and down flopping undulation of pizza moving ever closer to me. I’d hoped to stare her down, but this was not to be. Eventually, the pizza flopped in such a manner as to actually have the tip of it land on my lip. We both found this hilarious and I finally took the pizza. This done done more to get it out of her hands than because I wanted to eat it. There was a look of smug satisfaction on her face that would not stand. In one smooth swift motion I grazed her cheek**** with the pizza (sauce side of course) and brought it back around to take a triumphant bite. Victory was delicious. She was momentarily stunned while I was chewing, and then we both burst into laughter, looking more like crazy people than we had during the entire ordeal. As an epilogue, she got her revenge several days later at Panera by lobbing a slice of turkey at me, which stuck to my forehead for a second before falling onto my plate.

Since we talked about pizza, here’s the Three Things for today. Three specialty pizzas I’d make if I had my own pizzeria: 1. The Pork Pie – ham, bacon, sausage. 2. The Black & Tan – sausage, mushrooms, olives, with a white sauce. 3. The Ginger (dessert pizza) – a layer of strawberry glaze, a layer of cheesecake, vanilla bean frosting, 3 strawberries on top, all on a ginger bread crust.

If anyone has any World Tour beers they’d like me to review, let me know! Until next time,


* Note that it is NOT an IPA.

** Not TANG the beverage, which I would describe as “bleh.”

*** Sadly, these experiences didn’t award any XP.

**** She claims it was an ocular assault, I adhere to the sauce all over her cheek speaking to the contrary.


World Tour, Local Beers

Posted in Ales, IPA, Lagers with tags , on April 11, 2012 by wiseweizen

Totally without meaning to, the last time I was at the Winking Lizard, I ordered all Ohio brewed beers. I was the vanguard that evening, holding down a table for ten by my lonesome. Other folks waiting for tables gave me an envious look as I followed the waitress, strutting toward my giant table.* I sat down, started playing Super Bust-a-Bubble on my phone, and placed my first drink order: The Doppelrock, from Great Lakes Brewing Co.

This lager is a pretty potent first beer, weighing in at 7.8% ABV and with a modest 18 IBUs. For all you cheese fans out there, Doppelrock pairs well with “earthy cheeses.” Just thought you’d like to know. Mid beer people started to arrive, so I made Lauren smell my drink. Her nose interpreted the aroma as hickory, though mine was able to discern the chocolate undertones. Her husband/manservant Sam noted the color as “sanguine” which I observed that the closer to the center of the glass you looked, the darker the beer became – something that I don’t think I’ve noticed in a beer before. I really enjoy the Doppelrock, it is exquisitely smooth for such a powerful brew. It is very rich without being heavy, and has the faintest hint of caramel.¬† Apparently Meg thinks it tastes like a unicorn. On my Rocking Out scale from 1 to Queen, I’m going to give this an Aerosmith.

With dinner, I ordered an IPA. I figured if it tasted bad I could always follow a swig up with a delicious bite of my Blue Shroom Burger w/ Spicy Garlic BBQ sauce on the side. The IPA in question was Rivertown‘s Hop Bomber. This Cincinnati beverage is a low 5.5% ABV but boasts 60 IBUs. This amber toned beverage had a floral aroma, despite the beer’s write up saying it was supposed to smell like pine and caramel. Meg decided that it didn’t taste as awful as she thought it would – based on the smell. I found it to be quite hoppy, and very warm with a spiced flavor. All in all thought, it was pretty “meh”. For an IPA it was pretty tolerable, and if I can tolerate an IPA that means it probably isn’t a very good one, right? On my Bomber scale ranging from 1 to Bombman, I’m going to give this a Unabomber, for the one note flavor. Also, take a gander at the lip of the bottle in the picture. What the hell is that smegma?

My final beer of the night was one I couldn’t bear to finish. Thirsty Dog Raspberry Ale. Having enjoyed Thirsty Dog¬† products before, and considering raspberries are among my favorite fruits, I was really disappointed. A very low 3.9% ABV and 7.5 IBUs for this ale that smelled like a sugar laden Popsicle. It had a hazy yellow color and there were flecks of red… faux-berry in there too. It was like the gold flecks in Goldschlager except the resembled red Fruity Pebble crumbs. No matter how you pour, as seen from the picture, there is a tremendous amount of foam. I mean, I poured as slow as I could, with the perfect glass to bottle angle, and still ended up with all that head. The beverage was very bubbly and tingly, and seemed to foam in your mouth. I like raspberry and I like ale, but yuck.¬† I’m not even going to dignify this one with a fake rating scale. Instead, I give you this.

Before I go, today’s three things is: Three things that are awesome about being unemployed… 1. Severance 2. Afternoon Naps 3. No Corporate Politics

That’s all for now. If there are any World Tour beers you think I should try so you don’t have to, let me know! I generally just pick them at random. Until next time,


* Mental soundtrack was something from The Commodores, hence the strutting.

Dicken’s Cider

Posted in Cider with tags , on April 2, 2012 by wiseweizen

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.*

I was back at The Winking Lizard last Thursday. I decided to take it easy because I thought I might be catching a cold, so I just went with ordering two ciders.

First up was Aspall’s Dry Cider. This cider is rather potent at 6.8% ABV. I had some trouble locking down the IBUs on this one. A few sources said 0, a couple others said 4. Regardless, the bitterness is almost nonexistent. I wouldn’t say this is a sweet drink, though.¬† Pardon me… Aretha dance break… Ok, back. Sometimes my Jackson 5 Pandora station causes an irresistible urge to boogie. So, cider. My erstwhile lady companions thought this smelled of apple and vanilla, which would totally make sense. My, apparently malfunctioning man-nose was under the impression that the cider had the aroma of an orange creamsicle. Regardless of scent differentials, we all agreed that the coloring was translucent gold. The taste, wow. Two of two tasters felt Aspall Dry Cider exemplified all that is cider. I wish I’d have had this second, because there’s no way my next drink could measure up. The sparkling bubbles burst in your mouth with a refreshing effervescent crispness.** Now, my little World Tour booklet tells me there is supposed to be a hint of honey in the beverage. I couldn’t taste it. This could have been due to my trying to fend off a cold, or perhaps my mouth requires slightly more than a mere hint. Other people at the table could taste the honey, and since I’m supposed to be the beer “expert” we’ll say it was the fault of my overactive sinuses, rather than a¬†glossopharyngeal*** deficiency. I’m going to level with you, this was a $7 drink. You know what? Worth it. If you like cider and can find a way to get these on the cheap, do it and never look back. This means you, Dan.**** No, seriously, it is super good, go try one. On my Apple Scale from 1 to Steve Jobs, I’ll award Aspall Dry Cider a ranking of Apple Dumpling Gang. Yes, that is a terrible movie, but for some reason I have a super hazy, yet fond memory of that film, so it is a pretty high rating.

Speaking of fond memories, this post’s Three Things are my three favorite scenes from Batman: The Movie. #3: Batman can’t drop the damn bomb. #2: The shark. And my favorite bit #1: Super asinine logical deduction. (from 1:50 to about 3:20) If you ever get the hankering to watch the film, I recommend watching with the commentary track from Adam West and Burt Ward for extra hilarity.

Back to the cider. My second drink of the night was Harpoon Cider. I’ve enjoyed pretty much all the Harpoon beverages I’ve tried, and the cider was pretty good. Unfortunately it had to follow the Aspall, and while tasty, was not as ciderriffic. This one was a little tamer at 5.1% ABV. Here’s another with 0 IBUs, and I’d totally believe that as it was pretty sweet. I’m going to cut and paste from the brewery’s website because I liked this little blurb:

Other Ways for You to Enjoy Harpoon Cider
Cooking with Cider:
enjoy cider-marinated pork, or use cider to steam mussels.
Always enjoy a cider while cooking
Serve Cider: as an apertif, at brunch, and for special occasions
Bring Cider: along for picnics and parties
Mix Cider: with Harpoon beer. Cider and beer have a heritage in New England that dates back to the Pilgrims. The two drinks can be enjoyed together or you can enjoy cider on its own. Here are some of our recommendations.

Try mixing Harpoon Cider with the following Harpoon Beers:
Harpoon Cider + Harpoon Brown = Copperhead
Harpoon Cider + UFO Hefeweizen = Apfelweizen
Harpoon Cider + UFO Raspberry Hefeweizen = Indian Summer
Harpoon Cider + Harpoon Winter Warmer = Apple Pie









Harpoon’s cider had the pleasant scent of candied apples. It’s color was super light yellow, in fact there was barely any color at all. It tasted like a sour apple Sweet Tart or Jolly Rancher. While good, the flavor wasn’t quite as complex as the last drink. I’d still recommend this though, if you couldn’t find the Aspall or didn’t want to pay the premium price. On the same Apple Scale as before, I’d go ahead and give this a Jolly Rancher.

I’m hoping to make another trip to TWL this week. I’m thinking a Dopplerock might be in order if they still have it available. Until next time,



* Yes, I know Bob & Tom did this originally.

** Regular readers of my blog know that I’m a terrible speller. I’d just like to express my pride that I was able to spell effervescent without the assistance of spell check.

*** That’s the nerve that lets you taste stuff. -THUD- I just dropped knowledge on you.

**** Dan hates beer, but seems to really enjoy cider. I feel like this excellent beverage is perfectly pH balanced to not upset his delicate vagina. *****

***** I’m sorry. That burn was inappropriate. I hope I didn’t hurt Dan’s feelings. Robust and manly, that’s how I should have described his vagina.