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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