Surely I can’t drink all the beers by myself? Now I’ve got some help from Friend Of The Program David Gonos. He was kind enough to take a few beer recommendations and report back. It’s all a matter of setting him on the path of righteousness – and he’s already learned a lot from doing some homework at Beer Advocate! Good man.
David headed over to his local Total Wine, so let’s grab a pint and get social. On with the fireworks … This Is Why He‘s Drunk:
Here are my analyses of two of the beers that Bryan assigned me. This first beer was tasted before I learned what to look for, how to taste it and how to describe it. I learned it recently and I can only hope I learn more as I try to become a better amateur beer expert!
Knee Deep Ryedentity Crisis
Knee Deep Brewing Company, Lincoln, California
This was the very first beer I drank as part of my “assignment.” It’s a mild, fruity beer that actually reminded me a little bit of Leffe Blond from Belgium – my favorite beer ever. Heck, even their website is classy!
An American craft beer that tastes like a beer I drank from Belgium!?! Identity crisis indeed!!!
A couple years ago, I traveled to Germany to visit Erik and Rachel, two friends from back-in-the-day. Erik was stationed there in the army and he introduced me to several beers while I was there. But a trip to Belgium with Rachel one day turned me on to Leffe Blonde – which means I like this new beer aplenty!
This Ryedentity Crisis is absolutely fantastic – and I fear it will be the best of the bunch. Eating this along with some warm, fresh crusty bread and butter would be perfect. It has a nice, soft, sweet taste that goes down well as a pre- or post-dinner treat.
(Note: I can NOT believe that I compared it to a Belgium beer, and then read that it is a saison (French for “season”), which is a beer generally associated with Belgium. This is like making a guess for a pie in Trivial Pursuit and nailing it!)
This Amateur Beer Expert Says: If warm buttered bread isn’t doing it for you, then consider drinking it with a huge bowlful of mussels cooked with garlic, butter and white wine?
This second beer was tasted after I did some reading and discovered what I’m trying to taste.
Stone Brewing Company, Escondido, California
After pouring a Stone IPA for myself and one for my brother Mark, I began to read the side of the bottle out loud. “We hardly keep it a secret that we revel in our love for big character ales. We have way too much fun creating our brews to even think for a moment about brewing anything that’s less than truly unique and outstanding.”
Then my brother said, “It tastes like earwax.”
Finally, I took a sip and was thankful to find it did NOT taste like earwax. It was a little bitterer than some IPAs I’m more familiar with, like Sierra Nevada.
It has a bright blonde color, and it went down smooth. I could see plowing through a six-pack of this stuff while mindlessly powering through a bowlful of pistachios.
Do not – I REPEAT – do NOT pour this over cereal.
As Mark smacked his lips after finishing off his Stone IPA beer, he said, “No, not earwax. It tastes like stagnant water from a bucket with a rusty anchor in it.”
Not the most rousing endorsement.
Here’s my “official amateur beer expert” take:
Look: It’s a beautiful, soft, golden color for a beer. I didn’t hold it up to the light (which Beer Advocate says is bad), but I looked through the beer with a window of daylight shining behind it. As I looked down the pilsner glass, where the shape thinned, the color lightened to a crisp yellow.
Agitate: I swirled the beer around a few times, but I’m still a rookie. I was just happy I didn’t slush it out of the glass. I think I overpoured too, so the beer and its head were right at the rim. I should have poured about three-quarters in for this tasting. The beer pictured is actually the second beer I poured.
Smell: Fragrant, with some citrus smells. But I do smell some pine or other hint of wood. In trying to sniff my way through this beer, I nearly passed out. Now THAT”s dedication.
Taste: I enjoyed the taste quite a bit. I’m learning that I enjoy hoppy beers and IPAs are just that. This IPA seemed more bitter than most, but it wasn’t unpleasant.
This Amateur Beer Expert Says: I have to say that I liked this beer. I bought a six-pack of it from Total Wine, and each bottle went down better than the next. I had some pepperoni and spicy habanero cheese (Cabot) on Triscuits, and I have to say, this beer went well with it – and it continued the heat. It didn’t fight it, and it didn’t dampen it, but it pulled the flavor through the heat nicely.
I hope these two beer reviews made sense to you, and maybe I even convinced you to try them. I promise that if I think a beer tastes like crap, I’ll tell you. Obviously, I’m no shill for these guys, and it does me no good to have you taste a bad beer.
The other beers on my assignment list to review from Bryan Roth are:
- Laughing Dog The Dogfather
- Flying Fish Farmhouse Summer Ale
- Pike XXXXX Extra Stout
- Diamond Knot Whip Ale
- Diamond Knot Brown Ale
- Knee Deep Tanilla Porter
- North Coast PranQster Ale
Let me know what you thought of the beers I already tried or some of the beers on my “Futures” list!
David Gonos has been writing online about Fantasy Football and Fantasy Baseball for over a decade, including five years at CBSSports.com. His stomach would tell you he’s a professional chicken wing taster, but it’s untrue. On his website, DavidGonos.com, he discusses Fantasy Sports, chicken wings, beer, and life’s little lessons.
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