Liquor, Beer, and Wine Reviews

    • Unsweetened Ginger Ale + Light Beer =

      8 years ago

      Liquor, Beer, and Wine Reviews

      Shiner Ruby Redbird

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      Shiner and I used to be pretty good buddies. Shiner Bock is probably the defacto beer of Texas. And they've put out some pretty good to excellent brews in the past few years (Shiner Black, Shiner Oktoberfest, Shiner 99 Helles Lager, Shiner Frost/Dortmunder Ale, etc.) On the other hand, something hasn't been quite right in the house of Shiner. First there was Smokehaus...the beautiful Helles tainted with what tastes like Liquid Smoke. Then there was Holiday Cheer...I don't think I need to bring that review up again.

      And then there's this. I don't even know what to do with this. Thankfully, I was able to buy a single bottle, so I don't have five more of these sitting in my fridge, staring at me every time I open the door, until I can pawn them off on unsuspecting houseguests.

      Shiner Ruby Redbird tastes like you mixed a light beer (Shiner Blonde?) with an unsweetened ginger ale. It's not bad, but it's not exactly good either. Heck, it might even go well with some asian foods...but the beer of summer, it's not.

      Next summer, just bring back Shiner 99. Please?

      I'm going to go wait for Real Ale Lost Gold and Saint Arnold Weedwacker.

    • D-Vine

      8 years ago

      Liquor, Beer, and Wine Reviews

      So, there's a brewery in Houston called St. Arnold (website). They make a number of pretty solid beers. The normal lineup is probably on par with Shiner and a shade below Real Ale, hands down the best year round + seasonal lineup in Texas (and among the best nationally...the Phoenixx is amazing; but that's another review).

      But St. Arnold also does something different. Something special. Something...divine. The St. Arnold Divine Reserve. Every batch is limited release and thus far completely unique. In fact, the releases have become so special that it's rare to find any even 24 hours after it hits stores. Hell, most places you either have to reserve a six pack (or case) in advance, or just luck out being in the right place in the right time. It's also a Texas only thing...and really, it's mostly a Houston/Austin/Dallas/San Antonio thing, as only select stores even get a shipment.

      This week was Divine Reserve 11 week. Double IPA. I got one six pack.

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      It's really good. Not nearly as bitter as a Stone brew; more of a piney and grapefruit kind of taste. More what I'd think of a summer IPA. I like it better than DR10, which was a barleywine. It's similar to Modus Hopperandai, if you've had that, but less in your face and more mellow, which is pretty awesome.

      So, when will DR12 be? Well, that's what makes this even cooler. There's not a lot of advance notice of a DR, and there's not really a schedule (that I'm aware of). But since this stuff sells out in hours at $16 a six pack, I'm sure they'll keep doing them. I'm secretly hoping for a re-release of DR9, a pumpkin ale that I missed. Oh well....a guy can dream.

    • Happy Drinking Day

      8 years ago

      Liquor, Beer, and Wine Reviews

      Go drink. Just don't die.

      Looking for appropriate beer recommendations for the occasion?

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      I think I'll probably have one of these, as it's the only thing with green in the fridge:

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      Also because it's awesome.

      Also, please wish a happy birthday to our fearless leader.

    • Yes, I'm still drinking.

      8 years ago

      Liquor, Beer, and Wine Reviews

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      More from DU_Stars_Fan.

      Witch's Brew

      It's Belgian. It's 9.3%. It's good for holiday drunkening. And considering it's freaking 70 degrees outside, it's weather appropriate as a tripel, normally what I think of as a "spring beer."

      It's a light tripel with a strong alochol hit after initial sip. It's less sweet than devil's backbone, but similar flavor with a distinct caramel character to the flavor. It's a good tripel...in a big, big bottle.

      I'm going to go finish said bottle.

      Happy Holidays, RT booze hounds.

      (Also, there's still a ton in my fridge. More reviews probably forthcoming.)

    • I do love the booze-ahol.

      8 years ago

      Liquor, Beer, and Wine Reviews

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      Chimay Blue

      This one comes courtesy of the group's founder, one DU_Stars_Fan. Beers made by monks are always a good choice in my book.

      So, it's Chimay, which means it's good. Hints of dark fruit in the smell (cherries, figs). Taste is light breadyness with a hint of alcohol that finishes with a pepper note, but leaves an aftertaste more like the smell.

      Not much to say that hasn't been said about Chimay. If you haven't had any of them, just go buy a bottle. You won't regret it. Blue is good, but red is still my favorite.

      And yes, this is a short write up...but I'm not big on words after drinking almost a liter of Chimay.

    • Wednesday, Still Drinking.

      8 years ago

      Liquor, Beer, and Wine Reviews

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      St. Arnold's Christmas Ale

      Looking for a good holiday party beer? I'll get to Sam Adams selections soon (hint: they're damn good), but if you're in Texas, there's a good local choice...especially since Shiner Cheer is terrible.

      I like St. Arnold's Christmas Ale. Malty, hints of holiday spices, a bit sweet. Almost caramel malt. A warmer that really warms you up.


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      Stone Arrogant Bastard

      There's a story here. I've had this beer once before. I ordered it at the Flying Saucer since I'm quite an arrogant bastard. This was before I knew much about breweries. However, I didn't have much time to enjoy it as I was getting violently ill from some bad crawfish I had consumed before drinking. So I've avoided this beer since.

      I was doing myself a disservice. This is a good, hoppy ale. Brown color, floral hop scent, bitter hoppy taste but not overpowering. Reminds me of Modus Hopperandi, which I reviewed earlier, but less floral.

      Of course, I also have some Ruination...we'll see if I'm still a Stone fan after that one in a few days.

    • It's Monday night and I'm drinking.

      8 years ago

      Liquor, Beer, and Wine Reviews

      That's probably a bad sign, right?

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      Rogue Chocolate Stout (and cookie cake)

      So...in short, Guinness with chocolate. Dark. Thick. Bitter malt.

      Seriously, it pours almost like a chocolate syrup. The flavor is somewhere between the Sam Adams Imperial and Guinness, but a bit of chocolate. If you like that kind of thing, as I do, it's good. My second favorite chocolate beer after the Sam Adams Chocolate Bock.

      Good stuff.

    • I'm bringing drinking back.

      8 years ago

      Liquor, Beer, and Wine Reviews

      Well, it's the holidays. Which means it's drinking season. It was also recently my birthday, and evidently the word got out that I like beer...because that's pretty much all I got. So, since it's a ton of new stuff, I'm going to post reviews on all of it.

      And I'm starting with another brewery review....Real Ale. I've tried over half of their offerings so far, and I can say without hesitation that this little brewery in Blanco, TX is one of the best in the US. They may not have as many brews as Rogue, be as exotic as some of the Dogfish Head brews, or as well known as Stone, but you are doing yourself a disservice if you haven't tried what Real Ale has to offer. And these are the ones I've had:

      Year Rounds:

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      Brewhouse Brown

      A simple brown ale...which may be my favorite of theirs. Slight nuttiness (a la Amstel Light) in an otherwise very easy to drink brown ale.

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      Full Moon Pale Rye Ale
      It's a rye ale, which there don't seem to be a lot of these days. It's good. There's not a lot to compare it to, other than it's kinda like a red ale, but lighter.

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      Rio Blanco Pale Ale
      Solid pale ale, not too bitter. You can get the Brewhouse, Full Moon, and Rio Blanco in a mixed 6 pack, which is a nice variety. Also, Gold Medal winner - 2010 Great American Beer Festival.

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      Fireman's 4 Blonde Ale
      Possibly the most well known of their offerings for good reason. This is a great, balanced, versatile beer. Great in the Texas heat. Great with burgers or Tex-Mex. Light but full flavored, slightly bitter, and a great default choice that a lot of people can enjoy. If the entire country replaced every Bud, Miller, and Coors tap with Fireman's 4 tomorrow, the world would be a better place.

      Seasonals:

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      Devil's Backbone (Tripel)
      This is a damn, damn good tripel. What sets it apart? They finish it with candy sugar...so you get this amazing sweet note after the bitter note.

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      Oktoberfest
      Nearly a carbon copy of Pauliner's Oktoberfest. That is to say...really, really good. Definitely on the less sweet end of the Marzen scale.

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      Coffee Porter
      I love me some porter. And this is exceptional; a nice change from so many Chocolate and Vanilla porters that other breweries put out. The fact that they make this with good coffee really shows in the dark color and deep flavor. Bitter, malty, no sign of hops. Could easily be mistaken in color for a glass of coke.

      There are still a few others I haven't gotten to sample from their lineup, but as far as Texas breweries go, Real Ale wins at this point, if only because their lineup hasn't had any bad choices unlike Shiner or St. Arnold or Rahr, which each have some failures (or in Rahr's case, mostly failures).

      Expect a lot more soon. I've got at least 30 beers in the fridge...and need to drink some if only to have room for food.

    • Screamin' Pumpkin Spiced Ale

      8 years ago

      Liquor, Beer, and Wine Reviews

      Hey. Remember when I said I wanted to do beer reviews? And then I realized that I lived in beer hell, in a dry city, where the concept of a craft beer was limited to Shiner seasonals (not that there's anything wrong with that, but I'm a craft beer kind of girl)? Yeah.

      Well, I've returned to just south of the Great White North where we believe in craft beer. And I finally stopped in at this corner liquor store that is on my route home from work. There's been a sign in the window taunting me for some time.

      "Over 500 Craft Beers!"

      I was skeptical. I won't bore you with the details, but when I walked in today, my skepticism was completely obliterated. This place has the most extensive beer selection I've ever seen in my life. In short, I have plenty of material for the long haul. I just hope my bank account can keep up.

      On to the review!

      I've been craving pumpkin beers. I've had some of the commercial offerings and been unimpressed, so I set forth on a quest for something a little more creative. A little less mass manufactured.

      After browsing about a dozen craft pumpkin beers for about an hour trying to decide, I settled on Screamin' Pumpkin Spiced Ale from the Michigan Brewing Company. That's right, if you want to try this tasty little guy, you're going to have to come for a visit. If you like pumpkin pie, it's worth the price of admission.

      I wish there was a way to use this beer as an air freshener. It honest to God smells exactly like pumpkin pie. The more you let it come up to room temperature, the more intense the nose gets. It's divine. It smells like Thanksgiving.

      First taste did not let me down. You immediately get hit with nutmeg and cinnamon, and the pumpkin jumps out at you after the swallow. It lingers in such a good way. It's also not cloyingly sweet, which makes it extremely tempting to go for multiples. It has good carbonation, but not so much that it distracts from the delicious flavor of pie. Drink this one gently chilled; the flavor profile blooms as the temperature rises, as is the case with so many spiced and/or darker beers. Which you'll learn is my preference.

      I only wish this beer was a little heavier. It really drinks like an ale, and a little more body would have put it into dessert territory. As it is, it's way too tempting to go at the six-pack with gusto. This might be my dinner. I'm an adult and I can have pie-beer for dinner if I want to.

      (I'll pour one and take a nice picture in a little bit. I just got home from work and don't feel like hauling out the camera just yet, but I wanted to write down my first impressions here.)

    • Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar

      8 years ago

      Liquor, Beer, and Wine Reviews

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      I'm not crazy about brown ales, but this was recommended to me by a complete stranger one night in New Jersey, and I love hazelnut, so I figured what the hell?

      It pours a deep-yet-transparent caramel brown, has a medium head that clears up pretty quickly.

      The aroma is really nutty, with a good bit of vanilla scent, and a bit of sweetness behind it.

      Oddly, there's no real hazelnut taste. There's some vanilla up front followed by some sweet malt taste. Very little hops, very little carbonation. It goes down quite smoothly, so couple that with the lack of carbonation and you get something almost creamy (though certainly not as creamy as some stouts or porters).

      All in all, this is a good, very drinkable beer. The biggest knock I have against it is the apparent lack of real hazelnut flavor, considering that's what really sold me on it to begin with. Still, I recommend this beer.

      Food pairings:
      cheese - colby or cheddar
      chicken
      pork

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