New Belgium Blue Paddle

Randy Mosher, in his book Tasting Beer, says to have patience when pouring to get good foam. His method described in the text usually goes past anyone’s level of patience while waiting for a beer (depending heavily upon the quality of the beer and the head retention). Given that, I present you with an astonishingly boring video of my pouring New Belgium’s Blue Paddle, a Pilsener I have evidently been unaware of until I found it in a sampler. I poured it according to Mr. Mosher’s directions in the book. No one typically wants to wait this long for a beer at home:

Blue Paddle is a decent Pilsener, but I’m comparing it to my memory of Pilsner Urquell and the likes of Stella Artois (a Belgian Pale Lager). There’s a bitterness that I’m looking for in this one but only finding smoothness and the slightest citrus note. It could be that my palate is wrecked tonight, making this little chat of ours moot. It is very drinkable though – 4.8% ABV and 33 IBU with that hint of citrus, perhaps lent by the Saaz, Liberty, and Target hops. From the bottle:

Blue Paddle Pilsener Lager crafted with malt-only brewing and noble hops, explores the boundaries where American Lagers seldom journey. Reflective of Europe’s finest Pilseners, BLUE PADDLE delivers a refreshing bitterness, vibrant finish, and a subtle but intricate depth of flavor.

If that’s all really there, my palate is certainly not detecting it tonight. It has a light sort of taste that now makes more sense after I’ve let it warm up a bit. Even then it still doesn’t have that smell of vomit that other beers of the same color possess. It’s clean all-around and, served cold, goes down the gullet with much haste.

Pick some up when you get the chance and try it – even if you have to buy the whole sampler. New Belgium is proud of what they make and rightly so; top quality beer is all I have ever had from Fort Collins (and soon Asheville, NC!).

Cheers!

Choosing the Brewery of the Month

CALLING ALL CRAFT BREWERS

I’m not sure where to start. I’ve been working with Donovan at Anairo Media trying to get the show together and it’s come down to this: How do I write a show?

While I figure that out, I need some help from Craft Brewers around the globe. I’d like to feature a brewery-of-the-month so that formerly undiscovered craft breweries can have that much more of a voice by being introduced on the show. I’m all about advocacy and would like nothing more than to convert someone from common light lager to awesome craft beer. Here’s what I need:

I would like craft breweries, one at a time, to vicariously get up on stage with me and tell the world who they are and where, how they got started, what they make (styles, etc.), where they are distributed, and what they hold for the future. More or less what you’ve printed on your “About Us” page on your website, but with a personal touch. Craft beer comes from people who want to make it, not factories. There is a lot more than just quality malted grains and fresh hops in those bottles – it’s passion and a love for the art of brewing. We’d like to share some of that with our readers/listeners/watchers, and I’m sure you would too.

So here’s my call to action: send me an e-mail and/or fill out this form so we can get started on the part of the show that features your brewery!

Unibroue Trois Pistoles

I just drank this Trois Pistoles (translated by Google as “Three Pistoles,” but I’m guessing it’s supposed to be “Pistols”) and my breath is atrocious. This stuff is thick, like an Imperial stout, and feels like a loaf of bread.

 

It’s got a bottle-conditioned taste to it as it is in fact bottle-conditioned, and subtle and smooth carbonation. I can’t really see the carbonation in the glass, and there’s little head retention. The label states at the bottom “bottle refermentation,” and that’s what defines “bottle conditioning.” Dogfish Head does this a lot, as do most home brewers. A little bit of priming sugar (and sometimes more yeast) added when bottling reawakens the remaining yeast in unfiltered beer, which consumes the sugar through fermentation inside the bottle. This creates the by-product of carbon dioxide which can’t escape. The CO2 is then forced back into the beer – carbonating it for your pleasure. This differs from forced carbonation in which a keg or other container is pressurized with CO2.

Unibroue has been brewing Trois Pistoles since 1997 and they describe the flavor as I never could:

Slightly sweet. Enhanced by accents of roasted malt, cocoa, ripe fruit and dark spices with a smooth finish like an old port.

They also include “Brown Rum” in the description of the aroma, which somehow more accurately describes that nose-flavor than I would have ever considered words for. The sharp fruitiness lent by the roasted malts and high alcohol content really make it come alive when you uncap it.

I recommend this Canadian monster for an after-dinner dessert, as long as it’s a light dinner. On the other hand, you could probably just have one or two for dinner. That would save time and get you to bed early too.

New Belgium Somersault

It’s no secret that I’m a die-hard New Belgium fan, and I have been since long before they were known coast-to-coast. I had a difficult time at first with Fat Tire in the beginning as I had not yet honed my tastes for good beer. I finally got off the corn/rice mix years ago and have been enjoying all the new beers New Belgium has to offer ever since.

A number of weeks ago I picked up a sampler with Somersault, the Summer Seasonal. Also in the pack was Ranger (IPA), Blue Paddle (Pilsener), and Dig (Pale Ale). I still have yet to try the Blue Paddle but I fear my temptation will win sometime this week. Anyway, Somersault, from the bottle:

SOMERSAULT Ale is a fun roll around on the tongue and a perfect, summer lounge-around ale that is easy to drink. Color is blonde with a suggestion of amber. SOMERSAULT tumbles out with citrus aroma from Centennial hops, a tuck of soft apricot fruitiness, completed by a smooth, upright finish with oats that were pitched in a long, slow mash. SOMERSAULT’s all around!

When I popped the cap this evening, strong hops hit me in the nose. It’s a dark golden color (that suggestion of amber they speak of) and a light carbonation, much to the same degree as Fat Tire and Ranger IPA. It’s a 5.2% ABV beer, which is the lowest of the seasonal brews. This is in part due to the lightness of a summer ale and is something I appreciate – no one needs more alcohol (a diuretic as you may well know) on a hot summer day. The finish is fruity, and I’m not entirely sure that it’s from the apricots. It’s got that type of fruitiness you find in Shock Top and Blue Moon, but not as strong and with no coriander. I’m sure that described is succinctly.

Somersault is that lounge-chair kind of beer and very easy to drink. I’m having a hard time writing because I can’t put it down. After the first, I noticed that my glass must have been very clean and it showed the quality of head on this ale. Look at that lacing!If you see it in the store or within a sampler, pick one up and enjoy! I guarantee you’ll like it as much as I do. If you don’t, I’ll buy your surplus of it.

Cheers!