Thursday, April 27, 2006

Beer Beer and Beer

Today I reveiw beers. A most enjoyable task.

Magic Hat Circus Boy

Now I have to admit I am a fan of Magic Hat. The Magic Hat Brewing Company is located in Burlington, Vermont and their #9 is a big favorite of mine. It has a bit of an apricot taste but not cloying or overly sweet. A nice beer for a summer day while sitting on your porch, if you have a porch. But this is about Circus Boy, something that I saw for the first time this morning when I went to get a cure for a session of vodka drinking last night (see my previous post).

Circus Boy (I don’t know where they get their names) is billed as a hefeweizen and is an unfiltered beer so it is a bit cloudy but there didn’t seem to be any discernable yeast deposit on the bottom of the bottle. It has kind of a perfume-like taste to it but doesn’t really have a perfumed nose. In fact it tastes a lot better than it smells, although it doesn’t smell really bad, by any means. On the other hand, it doesn’t smell really good either. It certainly doesn’t call out for a squirt of lemon juice like many more traditional hefeweizens do and you also wouldn’t want to put any raspberry syrup in it like they often do to hefeweizens in Berlin.

I guess if this was a wine you might call it amusing and unpretentious. I think it would be a good beer to bust out along with the #9 at a barbecue just for something different. In fact, might sound a bit sexist here, a lot of women might like it as an alternative to wine coolers. Now don’t get me wrong, I will drink a wine cooler on occasion and Mike’s Hard Lemonade really hits the spot at times.

If you want to visit an interesting, although somewhat confusing website, check out Magic Hat’s. Whoever designed it must have been a Monty Python fan.

Victory Hop Wallop Ale

Well, a wallop it does pack, a hefty 8.5% wallop. Sneaky too, you don’t really notice how strong it is because it is really, really hoppy. When you first pour it a nice head rises up that, as the bubbles burst, releases an almost fresh hops-like aroma. Sadly, the head dissipates quite rapidly and then the beer takes on an almost funky odor. However, the beer doesn’t taste funky at all. If you let it set in the glass a bit the funky smell goes away and you get the hops back again. Either that or the guy next to me farted just as the head went away. It is really quite good with a strong flavor of hops, quite dry, but not, somehow, overpowering. I quite enjoyed it, but then I like strong flavors and am partial to IPAs. This makes your typical IPA look a bit pale in comparison though.

This beer is brewed by the Victory Brewing Company and is located in Downington, Pennsylvania. Victory is another brewery that makes a whole bevy of good beers. I am, as you probably know, a big fan of micro-breweries and even the larger ones that produce a product with some real taste like Samuel Adams (note, I am not a big fan of Anheuser Busch and their ilk).

I certainly would recommend this if you like hops. If you don’t, run away.

Bigfoot Ale

Well, if I thought the Victory Hop Wallop Ale was strong, this one is a real kick in the head, a whopping 9.6% alcohol. Despite a real heavy malty flavor the alcohol does come through, but not in an entirely unpleasant way. It is one of the few brews that I have ever had that actually warms the tummy on the way down. This also, to me at least, would be the perfect beer to end up a session with the boys and girls. I don’t think it would be wise to start out the evening with it though. Everything else would pale in comparison and you would be hard pressed to spend the night drinking these. I suspect it would be a rather short night if you tried.

Bigfoot is made by Sierra Nevada, another reliable brewery that puts out consistently good beers. Despite its name it is actually located in Chico, California.

If you like my reviews of beers let me know and I will continue to do them more frequently. I am certainly not going to do another 1000 bars but will, of course, continue to post on any new ones that I go to or any interesting experiences that I have in ones that I have visited before. I am not retiring, just slowing down. I might also do write-ups on interesting or classic and well-made cocktails that I either make myself or order in a bar.

Your comments and emails are always welcome and let me know what you think about what I am doing and help me figure out what to do next. However, if I get a bunch that say they would like me to review ballet, it ain’t gonna happen.


NYOne said...

As always, Bar Man, an entertaining and enlightening post. I absolutely think you should continue reviewing beers, cocktails, whatever. Maybe your next one could be beers with animals on the label. Or in the name - like Flying Dog. Whatever you decide, I'll be reading!

Peter Fleming said...

Hey Dan,

I've been reading consistantly, but not commenting. I guess that's bad blog-tiquette??? God, I hope that term doesn't catch on.

Anyway, I enjoy your views and wit. I agree with nyone that you should continue with your reviews, and possibly add a rough theme for a month just to help with what to focus on.

Regarding your texas vodka from the prior post, I'll have to keep an eye out for it. I have recently become a fan of Chopin, a potato vodka out of Poland. I was surprised to find out, later than I should have I guess, that most vodkas now are grain spirits. I have always had the image of Steve McQueen and James Garner making hooch in The Great Escape, as well Hawkeye and Trapper from M*A*S*H, I never imagined it not being vodka. Back to the point, this one's pretty good, with a nice earthy-ness to it.

Finally, the 2006 Tiki opening is upcoming. It's still a few weeks off, I'm thinking sometime in June. I'll email you as soon as we have a firm date.

Looking forward to seeing you again soon, and keep the posts coming!

Rochester Bar Man said...

My only complaint about Magic Hat is the nondescriptive names - "Circus Boy," for example, tells me nothing about the beer. I know I could ask the bartender for a description or a sample, but if I'm in a busy bar that's not a very practical option.
Hope you don't mind my user name, by the way - you inspired me to start a blog of my own, covering bars here in my corner of Upstate.

brianharto said...

I have been following almost since you started. I enjoyed your trek immensley and like the idea of the Beer Reviews. We have a few really good Beer Stores here in NJ and I should have no trouble finding the ones you reviewed. Maybe on occasion you can also review a few Bourbons!

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All that we have heard, touched, smelt, tasted and seen are stored in the recesses of our minds. The subconscious mind holds on to this information until we need to recall it. For example when you were young your curiosity lead you to investigate your surroundings. When you approached a substance that was dangerous, such as fire, your parents or guardians would most likely have rebuked or scolded you if you ventured too near the flame. Perhaps you may even recall an incident when you were physically burned. Your subconscious mind then began to relate scolding (or pain) with the intense heat of the fire and would therefore feed the feelings of the scolding incident back to you whenever you got too close to fire again, thus acting as an early warning system.
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Daydream about what might be. Imagine things they way you wish them to be. If you catch yourself thinking "this is just a daydream - a fantasy" then stop! Think the opposite. It is not a daydream it is your reality. Now think it again.
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Most members of the human race fall into two categories - those who live in the past and those who live in the future. Most live in the past. Many of these are the people who achieve very little in their lives and are so fearful of the future that they dare not strike out to get anything. They are the under-achievers who hang onto bad episodes in their lives and either relive them time and again or look at new situations as similar potentialities. They say things like "all men are deceivers" or "all women are interested in is money" or "I can't do it. I tried before and it didn't work so why bother!". Due to bad experiences in the past they believe that all future events will turn out the same way if they dare to go after what they want.
The other type of person lives in the future. This type tends to create more of the things they want in life. They have a vision of where they want to go and exactly how they are going to get there. They work diligently at making concrete plans and they pursue those plans with a persistent ferocious appetite for success. These people are the high achievers - The Richard Branson and Bill Gates of the world. These people have much to teach us about setting and achieving goals.
However, there is a third type of person who almost goes unnoticed. They are the person who takes life in its stride and yet achieve most of what they want. I am sure you know of such a person in your life that just seems to saunter through life and yet they always come out on top. Or a person who you hear of that has decided to open a shop. You meet them a few months later and they have three shops all doing well! So what makes these people so successful and if they aren't living in the past and aren't living in the future where are they living?
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By becoming more aware of the present and by 'accepting' it as it is we are much more in control of our emotions and focus. When we live in the past we are fearful of making bad choices and/or getting hurt. We do not wish to recreate the past again! When we live in the future we can also be fearful of what might happen. But even if your future vision is full of power and worthy of working towards many people can, and often do, get stuck there. By constantly reaching for bigger and better goals they fail to enjoy what they have in the moment.
If you wish to start living a life that is almost effortless begin first by living in the present. Accept your situation the way it is and then you can enjoy what you have. Your focus changes from a memory of what was or a vision of what might be to a realization of what is. You become much more empowered to then see the beauty of life and also look at where you wish to make changes. But to make changes you must first accept the situation as it is. Trying to escape from your present only increases your focus on your problems by creating resistance to what is. Accept your life as it is now. Make no judgement, just accept it and then you will be free of doubt, worry, pain and fear. For you only experience these things when you live outside the 'moment'. personal development

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