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Bloodgood’s Bloody Good Beer Blog

Say that five times fast.  Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Welcome to the blog, where I’m going to talk about the greatest thing in the world: beer.  If that wasn’t clear from the title, then I dunno what to tell you.  The plan is to find, drink, and review a new kind of beer every week or so.  I’m not going to tell you what to drink, but maybe I can recommend a few kinds you’ve never heard of before.

Beer Review: Moose Drool

I used to know a guy who would rave about how good this stuff is, so when I spotted it, I had to try it.

Made by the Big Sky Brewing Company, Moose Drool is a brown ale.  The first thing I noticed about it was that it’s a bit more robust than most ales.  Heavy on the malt, it’s got a roasty sort of taste and smell.  The brewers definitely put some effort into getting just the right degree of toasting on the the malt, and it comes through very nicely.  It’s a little nutty, a little sweet, and more than a little bitter without stepping over the line into being too bitter, which I particularly like in my beer.  The finish is a little bit sour, which adds to the complexity.

Overall, Moose Drool is pretty good.  Smooth, flavorful, and a solid example of what a brown ale should be.  It’s not the best brown ale, but it’s definitely a good one.  Nothing about it really sets it apart, but there’s not really anything negative to say about it either.

Final grade? Not the metaphorical valedictorian of the class, but definitely getting into a good college.

Beer Review: Delirium Nocturnum

This is the good stuff, so I brought in back-up.  Enter the awesome brother I’ve mentioned before.  Michael is a trained chef, understands the complexities of flavor the way only an expert can, and is verbose enough to put into words what the rest of us can only vaguely hint at.  I like sampling new beers with him, because he provides an excellent sounding board for my initial thoughts, and he helps me articulate those thoughts more clearly.  He also picks up on elements that I miss entirely, but that’s what you get when you try to out-gourmet a professionally trained gourmet.

Delirium Nocturnum is produced by Brouwerij Huyghe, in Belgium.  I have no idea how to pronounce that, but thankfully, all my friends know what I mean when I refer to the brewery as “Delirium.”  These guys seem to win every award, and are literally world-renowned, so clearly, they know what they’re doing.  Nocturnum is their dark ale, and lucky for me, the grocery store near me carries it every once in a while.

My initial thought is that you really need to learn how to do a proper side pour for this.  It’s not fizzy like your typical grocery-store beer.  It foams.  It comes in these really nice ceramic bottles that are about 25 ounces, so don’t think that you’re going to just drink it from the bottle, because at 8.5%, that’s a lot of beer.  I rather suspect that’s intentional, forcing you to enjoy it with friends.  Besides, anything this high-class really needs a glass.  It’s sweet, rich, and there’s just no bitterness to it.  I always expect a dark beer to be a little bitter, but Nocturnum isn’t.

Something I brought up while Mike and I worked our way through the bottle was that some beers advertise things like “less filling” or “drinkability” as a positive point, as though being watery was a thing to aspire to.  Nocturnum is substantial.  You know you’re drinking something, you know there’s some real nutrients in it, and you know that what you’re drinking is more than water with a little alcohol and some fizz.  Nocturnum almost demands that it go with a meal, because it’s practically a side dish.

Michael’s thoughts were a bit more highbrow than mine.  He compared it to sherry, saying that it was like someone took a six-pack of ordinary ale and somehow condensed it down into one bottle of the very essence of “ale-ness.” He noted that it has more body than your typical beer, and is halfway to being syrup-y thick.  I usually drink stouts, so I missed that comparison entirely, but as soon as he mentioned it, I recognized exactly what he meant.  The sweetness isn’t in any way sugary or overpowering, but it’s somehow more concentrated.  It lingers on the tongue in a way cheap beers never do.

Short version?  Nocturnum leads me to believe that Belgians understand grains and ales the way the French understand grapes and wine.  It is a work of art, and is simply a better beer than I deserve.

 

Beer Review: Space Cake Double IPA

My initial reaction to this beer was “What’s up with that label?”  Like pretty much anything produced by the Clown Shoes brewery, the label boasts some bizarre art.  This one has some sort of epic space battle, and it’s almost as interesting as the beer itself.  I’m not usually an IPA fan, preferring stouts of all kinds, but I’m glad I tried Space Cake, and not just because the name is cool.

Like any IPA, there’s a lot of character here.  It’s a wonderful amber color, and smells like sort of a pine-citrus blend.  As for taste, I seem to lose the pine.  All I get is citrus.  A bit like grapefruit, minus any sweetness, making the end result very dry.  It’s crisper than most of what I drink, and very hoppy.  Hoppish?  Hop-y?  Whatever.  Lots and lots of hops.  I’m imagining a disgruntled brewmaster being told one time too many that it needs more hops.  He’s grumbling to himself “I’ll give you more hops,” as he dumps bucket after bucket into the vats.  Good on you, disgruntled brewmaster.

It has a good amount of body to it, and really holds your attention while you drink.  Some beers are smooth enough that you end up looking down and asking yourself how you finished the bottle without noticing.  That won’t happen here.

Adventures in Homebrewing

In the long lost age of last Christmas, I got a beer making kit.  I got this kit because my brother is awesome, and deserves all the high fives.  The kit was one of the cheap ones, and it didn’t really work, but it was enough to get me into homebrewing.  I bought a better fermenting container, got all sorts of nifty tools, got my hands on a sack of grain that smelled like weird bread, and set about making beer.

Not surprisingly, I still kinda suck at it.

At the moment, I’m trying to salvage two cases of what was supposed to be stout. Assuming I read the hydrometer thingie right, it’s about 5% alcohol, which seems low for a stout but is definitely within the “this is technically beer” range.  The part I’m trying to salvage, however, is the bottling process.  Some of you probably already know what happened, but the yeast died during brewing, so it didn’t carbonate.  So, like anyone in doubt, I consulted an expert.  Enter the friendly folks at the local homebrewing supply store.  Austin has a store for everything, apparently.  I left armed with a few packets of champagne yeast and a new batch of sanitized bottlecaps, and in a few weeks I might have decent beer.  The waiting is the hard part.

Beer Review: St Peter’s Cream Stout

I got this one because the bottle looked interesting.  I’m glad I did.

Brought to us (well, me) by the St. Peter’s Brewing Company, in England, it’s a very nice drink.  A bit on the expensive side for a 1 pint bottle, it’s definitely not something you drink just to get drunk.  It’s more of a “I had a long day, I feel like sitting down for ten minutes and watching the sunset” sort of beer.  A creamy, heavy body pairs nicely with a bit of sweetness and a hint of that bitterness we all expect in a stout.  It’s a very enjoyable beer, assuming you enjoy stouts.

Some drinks manage to attach themselves to a memory, and for me, this one’s attached itself to a day my brother and I spend wandering the city.  We were meandering through a somewhat up-scale grocery store, looking for what he calls “bohemian” snacks.  In this case, it meant a very nice kind of salami I’d never heard of, a baguette, a bag of apples, and some beer.  I got St. Peter’s cream stout.  I’ve known that this stuff existed for a few days, and it’s already a nostalgic beer, that’s how pleasant it is.

Something interesting has happened.  I’m drinking this as I write, and it got sweeter sitting in the glass.  It’s not obvious, but it’s certainly noticeable.  Maybe it’s like wine, and needs to breath.  I’m not going to pretend like I understand what just happened, but it certainly happened.

Pour a glass, sip it slowly, and relax.  This is the good stuff.

Beer Review: Oculto

Oculto is an odd one, so I’m going to get right into it.

Brewed by the Broken Barrel Brewing Company, Oculto is “blended with beer aged on Tequila barrel staves,” according to the label.  What does this mean, you ask? It means that it tastes like tequila.

That’s all.

It tastes like tequila.

 

 

 

The problem is that I don’t really like tequila.

It’s an interesting flavor experiment, to be sure.  I mean, I didn’t particularly like it, but that doesn’t mean you won’t.  Off the top of my head, I can think of three reasons to pick some up.  First, if you happen to like tequila, you should certainly have some.  That much should be obvious.  Secondly, all you experimental mixologists could probably find something amazing to do with it.  I added a squirt of lime, and it suddenly became much better, but anyone making actual mixed drinks could probably substitute it for tequila to make something new and exciting.  Thirdly, try it because it’s something new.  If you never try anything new, than what are you doing with your life?

So, if you’re looking for something new, something a little wild, consider a bottle of Oculto.  Just don’t forget the limes.

Beer Review: Commissar

The first beer I’m reviewing is actually the one that inspired me to start this blog in the first place.  It’s also become one of my favorites.

Commissar, brewed by the Real Ale Brewing Company in Blanco, Texas, is something special.  It’s a Russian Imperial stout, so if you don’t like stouts, maybe find something else.  Extraordinarily robust, dark enough to look like ink, and possessing a phenomenally rich flavor, it actually took me a few tries to really figure out what I was tasting.

I’ve had drinks that had fire to them.  Commissar doesn’t.  It has the aftermath of fire. It tastes like smoke and char, but in a good way.  Hints of a thickness that remind me of oil combine with that taste to make me think of Industry (definitely with an uppercase “I”).  I drink it, and my mind is full of the hammering of iron, furnaces belching smoke towards the sky, and great factories producing wondrous things.

It’s definitely not a beach-party fratboy beer.  I would only recommend Commissar to someone who’s going to enjoy it for its own sake, rather than enjoying it for the experience of getting messily drunk.  The richness will definitely scare away some people.  It’s not a crisp, refreshing beer, but enough of it would probably get you through a Siberian winter.

All things considered, it tastes the way the Soviet anthem sounds.