Sunday, May 31, 2009
Short post for tonight because I'm frustrated with my computer and would sooner throw it through a window than sit here and write about beer. Tonight's beer is another from Lost Coast Brewery called Downtown Brown. One of the things that I love about this brewery is the interesting artwork that they incorporate into the label of each of their beers. Downtown Brown features a handsome lad in a suit, as seen through the eyes of an artist like Picasso. You can't see this beer on the shelf and not be drawn to it in some way. The bright and vibrant colors just seem to scream out "hey buddy, drink me!", so they way I see it, I had little choice about which beer I would drink tonight. Downtown Brown pours a nice shade of medium brown, with a little hint of red to the discerning eye. Scents of caramel, nuts and sweet malt are apparent right away, and these scents translate well into the flavor of Downtown Brown. Brown ales should be a fine balance of sweet malt and bitter ale flavors, and Downtown Brown has found a pretty good niche in my opinion. This one isn't my favorite beer that Lost Coast Ale has to offer, but if you are into brown ales, you can't go wrong with this one. I paired Downtown Brown with a store bought pizza, and the two complimented each other exceedingly well.
P.S. Happy Birthday Dad!
Monday, May 25, 2009
Of all the fifty states in America, the history of California is perhaps one of the most interesting. In the early 1800's, California was the last wild frontier in America. It was a harsh land full of unforgiving wilderness, hostile native and Mexican forces and extremes in weather. In the gritty days when the first settlers braved the perils of California in search Gold, it was a savage land not meant for the faint of heart. Many people are familiar with the state flag of California that proudly sports the image of a grizzly bear, but most people aren't familiar with the story behind the flag. In the 1830's, early American settlers were becoming increasingly frustrated by the policies put forth by general Antonio Lopez De Santa Anna in California which was then still a territory of Mexico. At the urging of famed army major John Fremont, thirty three settlers raised the bear flag in Sonoma and declared themselves a republic, independent of both the Mexican and United States government rule. Shortly thereafter, Fremont returned with American soldiers and claimed the republic to be property of the United States government, before crushing a contingent of Mexican soldiers who had come to reclaim Fort Sutter at the battle of Olompoli. (Ok, maybe crushed isn't the right word considering that only two Mexicans were killed and a handful more were injured, but I prefer my version of history).
Tonight's beer is called Red Rocket Ale, which is brewed by the Bear Republic Brewery. Like the revolt that it was named for, Bear Republic is a craft brewery that plays by their own rules and is known for taking some risks with their brews in order to create a bold and unique beer. The name Red Rocket Ale alone lets the drinker know that this is not your typical red ale. I didn't expect Red Rocket Ale to be surprisingly rich and robust, but this beer was pleasantly surprising for me. I hadn't heard much about Red Rocket Ale before I tried it earlier this evening, but the Bear Republic Brewery has gained a new fan thanks to the strength of this beer. Red Rocket Ale isn't what I would call a textbook red ale, but the combination of grains and malts that are used to brew this beer give it it's own distinctive flavor. I promise, you won't be disappointed by this one.
P.S. You've gotta love Bear Republic's slogan "Make beer, not bombs". Classic.
Starting your own brewing company is one of the most terrifying decisions that a person could ever make. The initial cost of starting your own brewery is risky enough, and when you combine that with the need to compete against other breweries that have already been well established, it could spell a recipe for disaster. I'm always encouraged when I hear about a success story within the brewing community, and Sierra Nevada has one of the best. Sierra Nevada started out as a home brewing project by two guys Ken Grossman and Paul Camusi. These two guys started their company from scratch, with nothing but a knack for brewing tasty beer and a vision for the future. Today, Sierra Nevada is one of the most successful craft beers in the entire world, with millions of loyal fans who swear by their range of beers. Samuel Adams is the only craft beer in America that has been able to outsell Sierra Nevada, and it's popularity is only increasing as more beer drinkers are becoming aware of the Sierra Nevada brand.
Tonight I'm drinking Sierra Nevada Porter, and it is easy to see why Sierra Nevada has been able to grow from a tiny home brew operation into one America's most respected breweries. Sierra Nevada's bread and butter has long been their classic pale ale, but I wouldn't be surprised if Sierra Nevada Porter one day surpasses it in popularity. As far as porters go, I think you would be hard pressed to find another craft beer that comes close to the quality and taste of Sierra Nevada Porter. The brewers at Sierra Nevada absolutely hit the nail on the head with this one; everything about this beer is done almost flawlessly. Sierra Nevada Porter pours a delicious dark chocolate brown color with a nutty tan colored head. From the first sip, it's an absolute joy to taste the rich, dark flavors of this beer. Porters, like their darker cousin stouts, are made with dark malts and have a very dark, bitter taste that is heaven for some, but hell for others. If you like dark beer, then you should absolutely get your hands on a bottle of Sierra Nevada Porter and see what all the fuss is about!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
The city of Newcastle is a very interesting little place tucked away in far northwestern England. People from Newcastle are known commonly as Geordies throughout the British Isles because of the town's ardent support for Kind George in 1745, whom was the successor of the Hanoverian line of monarchs. Newcastle is so far north of the rest of England that they're on a sort of island, so to speak. Even the dialect and accent of Newcastle's natives is completely unique and isolated pretty much to the Tyneside area. Since the Geordies are famous for doing things their own way, it only makes sense that they would come up with a beer like Newcastle Brown Ale. I will admit my bias right off the bat and say that Newcastle is probably my absolute favorite macrobrew in the world. In my mind, there really isn't another beer that is produced on the same scale as Newcastle that can match up with it in terms of taste and quality. Newcastle Brown Ale is famous for is toasted, nutty brown color and rich flavor. One thing that catches many people off guard is the surprisingly light taste of a beer that is so dark in color. I've met countless people over the years that were originally put off by the dark brown color of Newcastle, but were won over by the warm taste of this beer. I think that Newcastle Brown Ale is the perfect blend of bitterness, malt and caramel flavors that balance each other out to make one of the best beers that I ever tasted. I wanted to save Newcastle Brown Ale for a rainy day later on in the 365brews project, maybe to use as a slump-buster after a string of really bad beers. I really tried to wait as long as I could, but I love Newcastle so much that I simply couldn't wait any longer. If you've somehow never tried this beer, get to your local grocery store or neighborhood pub and try a pint today.
Last month I tried Weihenstephaner's original hefeweizen, and tonight I'm drinking another of their line of brews called Weihenstephaner Kristalweissbier. That's a mouthful to say and a lot for me to type without misspelling a word, so I'll simply refer to this beer as W.K. for the rest of this post. Kristal weissbiers are paler versions of the classic German weissbiers that are made with malted wheat instead of the traditional malted barley. As a result all weissbiers are top fermented with classifies them as ales, despite the light color and taste of many weissbiers. It's hard to believe that W.K. is considered to be an ale, because this beer is very light and drinkable. Unlike a standard Hefeweizen, Kristall weissbiers like W.K. are not cloudy at all, but instead are remarkably clear due to the filtering process that they undergo before they are finished. W.K. is a great choice for someone who likes the unique and wheaty flavor of hefeweizens but is looking for something a bit lighter. W.K. is one of those beers that is exceptionally crisp and bright, which made it one of the most refreshing beers that I have had in a long time. Flavors of fruit, clove and wheat makes W.K. an interesting beer that almost all beer lovers could grow to love. Just don't be turned off by the strong scent of this beer; the taste of W.K. is surprisingly mild given the bold, fruity scent. This one gets a solid 8 out of 10 in my book, so be sure to try it out if you get a chance.
Ok, so I have a confession.... I was way more focused on the Lakers game tonight than I was on drinking a beer. I invited some buddies to come over and watch the game, but by the time tip off came, I realize that I didn't have a new beer in the fridge. It's a stupid mistake, I know, but sometimes I get so focused on sports that other things in my life get pushed to the side. Luckily my friends came to the rescue by bringing over a case of Miller Lite. Normally I wouldn't choose to drink a Miller Lite, but desperate times, desperate measures.... you get the idea. Miller Lite is on the short list of beer that are in my opinion almost undrinkable. I scoured my mind to try to think of a beer that I enjoy less than Miller Lite, and the only one that came to mind was Coors Lights. It's not that Miller Lite tastes dicgusting, it's just that Miller Lite doesn't really taste like anything at all. It's like drinking a can of carbonated water with a little malth thrown in. Miller Lite is the epitome of a macrobrew that sacrifices taste and quality in favor of mass production. Take my advice, and only reach for Miller Lite if you're in a huge bind. There are plenty of other light beers out there that have a lot more to offer than Miller Lite does.
P.S. Go Lakers!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, May 15, 2009
i Hola Mis Amigos !
If Americans are great at one thing, it's gotta be celebrating the holidays of other nations by making them our own a adding as much alcohol as possible. Unlike many of our European counterparts, America is a nation full of people who need an excuse to drink. It's not really socially acceptable in most parts of America to go out on your typical tuesday night and get plastered with your mates. But if you throw in a birthday, holiday or sporting event, well then it's open season! This is why holidays like Cinco De Mayo have become so popular here in the states.
I, for example, have exactly 0% hispanic blood running through my veins. I have no reason to celebrate the victory of the Mexican army over French at Puebla on May 5th, 1862. (No, contrary to popular belief Cinco De Mayo is not the Mexican Independence day, which is actually in September). But you can bet that most years on May 5th I'm bellying up to the bar with the rest of southern California with a margarita on the rocks with no salt. Guilty as charged, I love an excuse to get drunk as much as the next man. However, since I've started the 365brews project my philosophy about drinking has changed a bit. Who says I can't get drunk on a random tuesday for no reason? Who says drinking should be reserved for holidays or sporting events? I've learned that when you feel like having a beer, just get out there and get a freakin' beer. It's not rocket science; if you're a legal, tax paying free American, then you have the right to get beligerantly drunk on any night of the week (as long as you are willing to hire a cab or hunt down a designated driver).
Because of my newfound philosophy about inebriation, I've decided to forego the predictable scenario of visiting some little mexican bar or taquieria for a cerveza. Forget that! I'm still going to celebrate cinco de mayo with a nice cold Pacifico, but I'm going to do it in a pair of pajamas from the comfort of my own home. I know, I know, cervezas aren't really my thing and I've been honest about my dislike for most Mexican style beers right from the get go, but I have to admit that Pacifico is probably the best of the bunch in my opinion. Sure, when you compare Pacifico to other lagers and pilsners it doesn't quite stack up, but that's not what this beer is about.
This is a beer that is constantly getting slammed by other beer nerds for being boring, uninspired, bland or watery, but I'm always a bit baffled by these kinds of reviews for Pacifico. Clearly Pacifico isn't trying to do anything innovative or creative with their beer, because that is not what this beer is about. Pacifico is all about kicking back, throwing a steak on the grill, taking a dip in the pool, and just enjoying a good time. In my humble opinion, there aren't many better party beers than Pacifico because I know I can drink a lot of without getting too full, or getting too sick of the taste. Pacifico won't be my first choice on most occasions, but when the time is absolutely right, there is no better cerveza for the money.
If you like Mexican beers and haven't yet tried this one, smack yourself for being an idiot and try it!
Ok, so this is going to be a really short post, because frankly I do not consider this beverage to be a beer. Sure, Melbourne Bros. Apricot Ale probably started as a beer at one point in the brewing process. Maybe it could have turned out to be a pretty solid ale before they added the freaking apricot juice to it. Yeah that's right, full on apricot juice. Most of the time when you have a beer with an added flavor, that flavor is subtle and understated. Take for example Samuel Adam's Cherry Wheat Ale; a good solid ale with just enough of a fruity flavor to give the beer an interesting taste, without taking away from the taste of the actual beer. Melbourne Bros. Apricot Ale does exactly the opposite. All you can taste in this beer is the Apricot juice. To be honest, if your poured a glass of Melbourne Bros. Apricot Ale into a glass and set it in front of me, I would swear on a stack of holy bibles that it was some kind of cider. The simplest way for me to put it is that if it doesn't look like beer, doesn't smell like beer, and doesn't taste like beer, then in my mind it's not beer. Melbourne Bros. Apricot Ale might be a good choice for someone who likes to call themselves a beer drinker, but can't stand the taste of beer. My girlfriend really liked this beer, but then again she really likes cider and isn't much of a beer lover, so I guess that tells you something about it.
So if you're looking for a carbonated glass of apricot juice that might make you a little tipsy, then Melbourne Bros. Apricot Ale is the beer for you, you spineless, sniveling little weiner.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Tasting beer is by no means an exact science. Just because I sit here on my soapbox and tell you what I think of a particular beer doesn't mean that I'm the ultimate authority on the subject. Sure, there are certain beers that a lot of beer guys who know their stuff universally agree on. There are other beers however, that somehow seem to divide the so-called experts right down the middle. One such beer is Hen's Tooth Ale, which coincidentally is the beer that I've chosen to drink tonight. Hen's Tooth has some of the most mixed reviews that I can remember seeing for a beer in a long time. Some people love the rich and robust taste, while other thing that it is too bitter. Some people are intrigued by the auburn color of Hen's Tooth, while others see it simply as average. It's almost impossible get a sense for what this beer is really like by trying to balance all of the positive and negative reviews, so you'll just have to deal with my evaluation of Hen's Tooth!
Like many English ales, Hen's Tooth is a bottle conditioned ale, which means that it is allowed to finish the fermentation process after it is bottle. Bottle fermentation gives the beer a very distinct and crisp flavor, but some people are turned off by it. I found Hen's Tooth to be really crisp and flavorful, which is pretty much what I would have expected from an English ale of this quality. Some people aren't all that jazzed on the look of this beer, but for my money Hen's Tooth displays some of the most impressive coloring, head, body and lacing that I've seen in an English Ale. The taste is dry and hoppy, which could easily turn some drinkers off. If I were to rate this beer on a scale of one to ten, Hen's Tooth would easily be an 8. But as usual I say to you, don't take my word for it. Get out there and try a bottle of Hen's Tooth for yourself.
Every man needs his hobbies. Some of us are into sports. Some of us are into videos games. Some of us are into art and music. And if you're really sick, you're into all of these things and more. It seems like I have to many hobbies lately. I have so many different interests that eventually some hobbies get pushed to the side and other new hobbies take their place. My latest hobby? Gardening.
That's right, gardening. I'll give you all a few moments to collect your thoughts and stop laughing before I explain my new passion......... there we go.
If you've ever lived in an apartment complex, you know what it's like to come home to the same little space crammed in among dozens of other little spaces every day, day in and day out. It can get to be a bit monotonous coming home to the same drab little space all the time. I spend a lot of my free time out on my patio in the fresh air, so why not spruce the place up a bit. All I did was plant a couple of petunias and marigolds, and the space was transformed almost instantly. To celebrate my new space, I've decided to crack open a bottle of Anderson Valley's Poleeko Gold Pale Ale and just enjoy the beautiful weather. I probably couldn't have picked a more perfect beer for the occasion, because Poleeko Gold Pale Ale is really hitting the spot right now. This beer pours a cloudy, golden yellow with an average head and decent lacing. I can really detect a hint of orange peel and flowers in Poleeko Gold Pale Ale, which seems perfect on this warm spring afternoon in my garden. The taste is hoppy and crisp, but the mouthfeel is a little bit thin and watery for a pale ale of this quality. Still, Poleeko Gold Pale Ale is an exceedingly refreshing beer, and the perfect compliment to a beautiful day like this. Get off of your couch, take in a little fresh air, crack open a bottle of Poleeko Gold Pale Ale and seize the day. And don't forget to water thos petunias.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Last week, I wrote about a beer called Mahr's Weiss that comes from a city called Bamberg in Germany. Mahr's was a standard hefeweizen, but the city of Bamberg has long been famous for producing a particular type of German beer called Rauch. Rauchbier which translates to "smoked beer" in English, is a uniquely German brew with a unique brewing process. The smoky flavor of rauchbier comes from the use of malted barley, which is dried or smoked over an open flame before brewing. While most beers dry their malt in a kiln that separates the smoke from the malt, a beer like Weiherer Rauch allows the smoke to combine with the malt to create the distinctive taste of rauchbier. If you consider yourself to be a pretty seasoned beer drinker and you haven't yet tried Weiherer Rauch, get your ass off of the couch and head to your local specialty shop and pick one up. Out of all the beers that I've tried in my life, I've never had one that was quite like Weiherer Rauch. The term smoked beer matches this brew perfectly. Before I tried this beer it was hard for me to conceive of a beer with a smoky flavor. Even now it is difficult to describe to you exactly what a smoky beer tastes like, but if you've ever had meat that's been smoked then you should be very familiar with the flavor that I'm talking about. There are other more subtle flavors in Weiherer Rauch that are floating just below the surface, but the smokiness of this beer is the one thing that has stuck in my mind and pushed everything else out. A lot of fellow beer junkies have criticized Weiherer Rauch for not being as smoky as some of the other rauchbiers out there, but Weiherer Rauch is perfect in my opinion for someone who is new to the world of rauchbiers and doesn't want to start out with anything that is too smoky. I truly enjoyed Weiherer Rauch and am certain that I will drink again sometime soon, but I could also see how many beer drinkers could be put off by the strange taste. Weiherer Rauch clearly is not for everybody, but if you've never tried a rauchbier and are feeling somewhat adventurous, then don't be afraid to try this one!
Tonight I went to a bar/club with some friends here in southern Orange County, which was pretty lame, even by Thursday night standards. Have you ever walked into a bar, and it seems like the music suddenly shuts off and suddenly all eyes in the room are fixed on you as you walk through the door? Sounds like something you would see in a movie, but that's basically what happened to us tonight. However, I decided not to let the awkwardness get to me, so I ordered a beer. I was disappointed to see only four beers on tap. Coors Light, Budweiser, Amstel Light, and some other beer I couldn't quite make out. Naturally I decided to go with the mystery beer that the bartender simply called "Honey Beer". After doing my research, I discovered that the mystery beer was actually Capistrano Brewing Co. Honey Beer, brewed locally in San Juan Capistrano, California. I've also been a huge proponent of supporting local businesses, so I was more than happy to try Capistrano Brewing Co. Honey Beer. Unfortunately, this beer comes from a nearly microscopic brewery with almost no exposure outside of southern Orange County, so I wasn't able to turn up much about this beer as far as history or origin. What I can tell you is that there is a definite sweet honey flavor to this beer. It's not exaclty like scooping a handful of honey straight from a beehive, but Capistrano Brewing Co.'s Honey Beer was clearly a bit sweeter than your average lager. And it wasn't just a malty sweetness that you find in many beers, there was a different sort of sweetness to this beer that made Capistrano Brewing Co.'s Honey Beer very light, refreshing and palatable. This beer is a great choice for someone who likes the occaisional beer, but wishes they could find something with just a bit more sweetness to it. Unless you live somewhere around the city of San Juan Capistrano, don't expect to ever find Capistrano Brewing Co.'s Honey Beer in any stores near you.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Ok, for those of you who have been keeping track at home so far, I've tried three different beer from the Baltika brand so far. Two of the three I really liked, but the third one didn't really do anything for me. Tonight we've got another one, Baltika 6, and I was anxious to see how this one stacked up against the others. Baltika 6 follows the standard format of most porters. It has a nice, rich brown color, full body with a so-so head that dissipates pretty quickly. For me, porters need to have the right combination of bitter ale taste, with just a hint of sweetness from the malt. Baltika 6 met most of my criteria for a good porter, but only just. The whole time that I was drinking Baltika 6, I was comparing to some of my favorite porters, and it didn't exactly make the grade. That's not to say that Baltika 6 is a bad beer, because it's not. I actually really enjoyed Baltika 6 a lot, but for my money there are a lot of other porters that I would choose for this one. But if you want to try Russia's take on an English classic, Baltika 6 is pretty smooth and not a bad drink. I think I'll add this one to the list of good Baltikas, because even though it wasn't some kind of revolutionary take on the porter, there isn't really much to criticize.
Being a white male of mixed European descent has some pretty unique advantages. Sometimes I wish that I was part of a more defined culture or heritage that I could relate to directly, instead of having a hodge-podge ancestry of different cultures that I'm fairly removed from. However, being a bit of a mutt also has its perks as well. For example, on any given day, I can choose to identify my self as being Irish. Even though my Irish ancestry is pretty distant and I've had family in the states for a over a century, I still have my days where I can claim pride in my Irish ancestry. I have my moments when I feel very Italian, even though I despise most Italian soccer players for being diving little nancy boys. On the rare occaision that I meet another person who claims to be of Finnish descent, a conversation about heritage is sure to ensue. Hell, I'm even proud to claim my Polish ancestry on certain days, even though they are a people that has been much maligned here in the states rather inexplicably for decades. Usually when you tell people that you are part Polish, they start in with the dumb Pollack jokes. I don't exactly know where or when the whole dumb Pollack thing started, and I don't even really take offense to it most of the time because sometimes those corny jokes still make me laugh a little. Despite the misinformation spread by the telling of dumb Pollack jokes, I think it's great to be a proud man of Polish descent. I can identify with the hard working, industrious spirit of the Polish people on many levels, so it's not really all that bad to be part of a people who have been overshadowed by the neighboring countries for centuries.
Poland isn't exactly a country that's know for it's brewing history, and the beers from near by Germany, Austria and Czech Republic have long been celebrated more than those from Poland. But it only makes sense that all of these countries essentially from the same region, using very similar ingredients, would brew beers that are relatively comparable in quality. Nevermind that there's maybe not one beer that immediately pops into your mind when you think of Poland; there is still a rich brewing tradition in Poland that dates back almost as far as their German and Czech counterparts. Tonights beer Zwyiec is a good example of a quality lager to come out of the unheralded nation of Poland. Zywiec is very similar to many of the German style pilsners that have become so popular in that region of Europe. With a little, yeast taste and a smooth and even body, Zywiec is easily as drinkable as a standard lager like Budweiser or Heineken. I could easily see myself cracking open a Zywiec or two at my next family barbecue, or while watching a baseball game with my buddies. That's the kind of beer it was for me. It felt really light in the sense that drinking it was almost effortless, but it didn't feel like much was sacrificed in the overall taste. A lot of my fellow beer hounds who have tried Zywiec like to hate on it, but honestly I can really see why. Is it groundbreaking? Not by any means, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it is still a very decent and drinkable beer. I would encourage my fellow Pollack bretheren to stand up for your heritage, take pride in your ancestry, and drink a Zywiec. (On a sidenote, when Zywiec was first brewed, the brewery was actually a part of the Austria-Hungary empire, but a couple of world wars have since shifted the boundaries of eastern Europe and placed the brewery within the confines of Polland, and ever since it has been defined as a quintessentially Polish brew).
Monday, May 4, 2009
Japan is a weird place. Maybe the weirdest place in the world. I guess that's what happens when you cram millions of people onto a series of small islands and utterly devastate most of the natural resources around the major urban centers of your country. Anime, Harajuku girls, genetically modified cube shaped watermellons; these are the hallmarks of the quirky little country that sits off the coast of the Asian mainland. We've come to expect nothing less than the aboslute bizarre from Japan, so it's only natural that we should find a peculiar little Japanese beer to satisfy our lust for the absurd. A few months back I sampled Hitachino Nest's flagship beer, but tonight I'm trying another selection called Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale. Red rice ale? What on God's green earth is red rice ale?
When you think about Asian cuisine, it only makes sense rice would eventually be incorporated into the brewing process. Red rice is a fairly common grain in Japan, and is used many dishes, alcoholic beverages and even in traditional Chinese medicine. Known as Beni-koji it it's native Japan, red rice is a course grain that has a reddish purple color to it. As a result, Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale has a unique pale orange-pink color that I've never come across before. The taste of Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale is also somewhat unique, with strong fruity flavors of peach and apple that come across with a nice dry finish. Not quite as robust and flavorful as the original Hitachino Nest, but still a worthy effort from my new favorite brewery in Japan. Get your hands on a bottle of Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale if you can and experience this strange little brew for yourself.
If you know anything about Ukrainian history (which I'm assuming most of you out there do, naturally) you know that it is a country that has been fraught with hardships for nearly a millennium. From the early days when Kiev was ransacked by the mongols, to the days when the Ukraine was a bargaining chip for countries like Lithuania and Russia, It's always been kind of tough to be Ukrainian. I wouldn't blame the Ukrainians if they choose to never brew beer, build a thirty foot wall around the perimeter of their country and shut out the outside world forever. However, some enterprising Ukrainians decided to brew a beer called Obolon Magnate, but maybe they shouldn't have bothered. This just wasn't a very good beer for a number of reasons. Maybe it's the airy, soapy head that seemed to disappear within seconds. Maybe it was the humdrum scent and taste of the beer. Maybe I was just having a bad night. For whatever reason, Obolon Magnat didn't measure up to my standards at all. On a scale of one to ten, Obolon Magnat gets a low four from me. It's not like Obolon Magnat was the worst beer that I have ever had, it just wasn't worth whatever I paid for it. The only remarkable feature of Obolon Magnat is an invisible marking on the label that only becomes visible once your beer has been chilled to the optimal temperature in your refridgerator. Other than that fairly amusing novelty, there's not much to say about this one. Skip it at all costs.
When it comes to white ales, I don't think white. I think blue. Blue as in Blue Moon Belgian White Ale. White ales haven't exactly caught fire here in the states, but Belgian style ales are definitely on the rise within the last decade. There used to be a time when a lot of people thought Blue Moon was some sort of secret. They would say "Hey man, you gotta try this brand new beer that I found called Blue Moon", thinking that they were actually the ones that discovered this white ale sitting on a dusty shelf at their local liquor store. The funny thing is that while Blue Moon is marketed as an authentic Belgian white ale, it was first brewed here in the states as Bellyside White Ale. Yes, I'm sorry to break the news to some of you out there who felt classy and European drinking a beer that was developed and brewed by American giants Coors. Still, Blue Moon is in my opinion an extremely tasty beer. It pours a very pale, strawish yellow with a foamy white head, and has a very sweet and malty flavor. While putting an a sliced lemon into your beer is par for the course with a hefeweizen, orange slices are the citrus fruit of choice for this brew (however, if you ask me, putting fruit in your beer is for sissies who aren't able to simply enjoy a beer for what it is and feel the need to enhance it somehow to make it less bitter....but I digress). Even though I have to pay import prices for Blue Moon when I order it at a ball game, it's worth the extra two or three bucks for a tasty beer that hits the spot nearly every time. You can Blue Moon just about anywhere nowadays, so crack one open and try it for yourself.