Tag Archive | beer review

MI Road Trip: Cemeteries and Beer

Our first couple of days on our Michigan trip were really relaxing, as they were all about family. My grandmother is 97, so she isn’t really out partying, unless you count her semi-regular appearances at church. She lives in a very small town (population about 1500), so there’s limited opportunity to do much of anything. Her town consists of a bank, grocery store, hardware store, gas station, library, post office, coffee shop, second hand clothing shop, all in one pizza, hotdog, sandwich, ice cream restaurant and three antique stores. And that’s pretty much it – it is truly a one stop light town.

I wandered over to both cemeteries during those couple of days; the old cemetery with lots of Civil War Veterans (they stopped burying people here in the 50s or 60s, I believe), and the new cemetery with several Civil War Veterans and many other historical graves, but current burials as well.  Sadly, the old cemetery has deteriorated since I was there last, with somebody doing rubbings on the older gravestones that have left ugly marks.  Many of the stones have fallen over, and graves have sunken.  There are several stones stacked against a tree; their bases lost to time.

Jon reading the gravestones in the old cemetery

Jon reading the gravestones in the old cemetery

A gravestone damaged by rubbing in the old cemetery

A gravestone damaged by rubbing in the old cemetery

My grandfather is buried at the new cemetery, so I always like to go over and say hello. Plus, I find cemeteries to be very peaceful, so I’m always happy to go and wander among the graves.  I always explore the older graves; and this cemetery has several from the 1800s.  Many are in very good condition, and I enjoy reading the names and dates.  Some are in bad shape, having fallen over and sunk into the ground.

A Civil War Veteran’s grave in the new cemetery – with the Grand Army of the Republic star

A Civil War Veteran’s grave in the new cemetery – with the Grand Army of the Republic star

I also got very familiar with the Panera Bread in nearby Kalamazoo, because it has Wi-Fi and Grandma’s internet service was on the fritz. I spent over 3 hours there working on a job application; I must have done well on it, because it was the application for the job I now have! Jon and I also visited Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo with my cousin – I considered it a treat after having wrapped up my application. I had been before with my cousin, but it was Jon’s first time. He was very impressed with the beer and the atmosphere. I love the quirky look of the bar, the collection of African masks, and of course, the beer.

The wall of beers at Bell’s Brewery

The wall of beers at Bell’s Brewery

We tried a couple before we settled on our choices; I had the Thump Yer Pumpkin Ale, which was a light beer with a hint of sweetness and flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg. It is a seasonal ale, so it isn’t available all the time. Jon had a glass of the Oracle – a Double IPA; also a seasonal beer, available in the late summer, early fall. It is made with Pacific Northwest hops varieties, and has citrus flavors mixed with extreme bitterness.

We were there in the later afternoon, before the after work crowd showed up, and it was pretty quiet. It was certainly someplace we will head back to next time we are in Michigan!

 Have you been to Bell’s Brewery or had their beer?

 

Lost Coast Brewery: Tangerine Wheat Beer

Tonight I’m settling back into life at home.  Jon and I got home today after a whirlwind trip down to the Rogue River Valley in Southern Oregon.  We had a blast visiting the Oregon Caves, Crater Lake and doing some wine tasting and shopping.  I promise to blog about it once I’m all caught up on my Southwest trip.

As I contemplate folding laundry, I’m sipping the Tangerine Wheat Beer by Lost Coast Brewery, in Eureka, California.  Since we were so close to California on our trip, the stores carried some of the California microbrews that we don’t see at home.  I’m a sucker for fruit/wheat beers, and this one piqued my curiosity.  On the nose, I pick up lots of tangerine scent, along with a malty smell.  So far, so good.  On the palate though, I’m disappointed…  I can definitely taste the tangerine, but the beer tastes flat, even though it isn’t.  There is a bitterness on the finish that overpowers what a fruit and wheat beer is supposed to be.  There just isn’t a lot of depth to it, and I keep feeling like it has a stale taste.

The Little Beer That Almost Could

The Little Beer That Almost Could

They do get points for a super-cute label though!  I know I can’t like them all, but I really wanted to like this beer.  Ah, well, it is still a cold beer on a hot sunny day.

Have you ever had any of the Lost Coast Brewery’s lineup?  What did you think?

 

 

 

 

St-Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale

The same afternoon that we picked up the Kitten Mittons beer, I also selected a 341 ml bottle of St-Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale, from McAuslan Brewing in Montreal, Quebec.  It has been a fair number of years since I have had any Canadian beers, and back then, my taste in beer was less refined.  So, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the idea of a fruit wheat beer was intriguing.

I drank it the other night, after a long day at work.  On the nose, it smells of apricot.  And I don’t just mean it smelled like a nondescript stone fruit, where it could have been peach, nectarine, or even something else, but this was distinctly apricot.  It has very little carbonation or head (some of this was because I drank it from the bottle), but I even wondered if it had gone flat.  I certainly didn’t see anything near the head that it pictured below (from McAuslan’s website).

St-Ambroise Apricot Wheat Beer

St-Ambroise Apricot Wheat Beer

On the palate it tastes like a wheat beer with an over-layering of apricot, almost like there was apricot juice poured right in.  It wasn’t too sweet though – it still definitely tasted like beer.  It didn’t blow me away, but it was good – it would be a good beer for a hot, summer night on the deck.  Too bad that it is still several months before it will be hot enough for that.

Kitten Mittons! A Study in Beer

I’m here to talk about beer.  What does beer have to do with kittens, you ask?  I have no idea!  But Kitten Mittons is the name of Kulshan Brewing Company’s Winter Ale, and I’m here toasting the end of winter.  With some kittens.  And some mittons.

Kulshan Brewing Company’s Kitten Mittons Winter Ale

Kulshan Brewing Company’s Kitten Mittons Winter Ale

Kulshan Brewing Co. is a local brewery that opened about 4 years ago.  They have gained quite a local following, and I can understand why – their beer is really good!  Jon and I don’t usually go to the brewery because it is usually packed, but today we picked up a 32 oz. growler from our local beer shop.  Jon was contemplating a growler of their Porter, but I pushed him to get this Winter Ale.  I figured that it would be something we both could enjoy!

It has an aroma of chocolate and dates, and a medium body.  On the palate, it has more of the chocolate and roasted flavors, with balanced hops so it isn’t bitter.  It packs a punch with 7.5% ABV.

I paired it with breakfast for dinner – my parents were kind enough to take Jon and I out to breakfast this morning, and I had leftovers from my delicious Spanish Omelette.  Kitten Mittons will soon be giving way to the summer lineup, so get this while you still have a chance.

So, here’s a toast to the fact that it is after 7 pm, and thanks to daylight savings it is still light outside!  Cheers!

In case you wanted a picture of a real kitten, here's Ollie enjoying their new cat tree.

In case you wanted a picture of a real kitten, here’s Ollie enjoying their new cat tree.

 

A Sweet Heat – Who Doesn’t Love a Hot Beer!

Jon has been on a bit of a beer kick lately.  I think it’s the summer heat, and he’s been wanting a cold drink in the evenings after work.  As a result, we have been trying some new micro-brews that he has found in the grocery store.

Last night, we popped open a beer that we found by the Burnside Brewing Company in Portland, Oregon. Burnside was founded in 2010, and is focused on making food friendly beers that do something different.  They want to make some calculated risks and this beer is one of those.  When we bought it, based on the description, we figured we would really love it, or really not…

The beer was called Sweet Heat.  It is a wheat ale with apricot puree added, and Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Hot Peppers dry hopped into it.  I’m not much for spicy food (or beer, so I thought…), but this one is really good!  The sweetness of the apricots are tempered by the slight kick of the peppers; just enough so you know they are there, but not enough to make you regret taking that swig.  Just a gentle heat on the back of your tongue and throat, that slowly spreads to the roof of your mouth.

I would certainly buy myself some Sweet Heat again!