Monday, July 09, 2012

The Week(end) in Beer: 7/3-7/7

Wednesday was a holiday, so that provided me the rare opportunity to enjoy a beer (or two) on a weeknight. Tuesday night's very unpatriotic pre-July 4th selection was Troegenator Doublebock, a German style, although this one's brewed by Harrisburg, PA's Tröegs Brewing Company. Hey, at least they're not British.

Troegenator has the malty aroma and upfront feel of a Belgian abbey ale, which I love. This is offset by its ever-so-slightly cloying aftertaste, though. Still, I have to say I really enjoyed this one.

At 8.2%, I initially assumed it would be my only beer of the night, but as I've said many times before, sometimes the first beer talks me into a second. So, I double-checked my Beers of 2012 list and realized I had yet to drink one of my own I've Seen All Good Maple Bacon Porters this year.

There definitely was an over-carbonation issue with this batch, and this particular bottle proved no exception. Home brews are inconsistent, so I opened this one with the intention of evaluating it as if it was my first time drinking it.

Aroma-wise, I think we really nailed it. The maple and bacon gives off a sweet yet subtly smokey aroma. Taste-wise, it could be better. I definitely recognize the smokiness that the bacon imparts, but I don't get any discernible maple flavor. It may have been difficult to drink this one right after the higher alcohol and more full-bodied Troegenator, but I found myself less pleased with this creation than from previous tastings.

Friday night we were invited to our neighbor's yacht club for the evening. Now, I'm not sure what you think of when you hear yacht club, but until recently I would have assumed somewhat highbrow. That is, until I moved to a neighborhood that's within walking distance of two of them. This is not intended to be a knock, of course, but from the outside one of them reminds me of a VFW. The other seemed considerably nicer, but certainly not a place where I expected to be rubbing elbows with guys nicknamed Skip or who prefer to be referred to as "The Captain."

As it turned out, our neighbor is a member of the nicer one, and as anticipated, the club was decidedly New Englandy. We had a nice evening hanging out on the back deck overlooking where the boats dock, sipping a couple drinks and eating salads and chicken and steak cooked perfectly on the grill. It was like going to a barbecue, except the venue was suspended over the bay.

The only drawback of the club not being the least bit upscale was the beer selection. There are definitely some great beer bars in the Boston area, but for the majority of places, their idea of a good selection is the big three of Miller Lite, Coors Light and Bud Light. Honestly, some day I'd like to organize a taste test with these three beers and see if more than 33.3% actually select their "favorite" as the best.

Actually, most places around here add a couple mediocre craft and import selections to a long list of crappy macros, and the yacht club was no exception. So, my choices for the evening were a UFO White and a Bass Ale.

The UFO White is a little better than Blue Moon Belgian White, I'd say. It's been a while since I've had the latter, but I don't recall the coriander making its presence felt as it did with UFO's version of the style. There's no doubt this is no Allagash White, but it will do in a pinch.

Bass was one of the first beers that made me realize I preferred ales to lagers, but it just doesn't do it for me these days. That's probably more an indication flavorful ale choices have gotten much better over the years than a statement that the beer isn't as good as it once was.

There is one thing about Bass I didn't know until Friday. When I went to check in on untappd, I learned Bass Brewers is now owned by ABinBev. I know this doesn't necessarily mean Bass is now an Anheuser Busch product, but it's close enough for me. Besides, the bottle says it's brewed in Baldwinsville, NY. I know from my time living in Syracuse that there's a huge Anheuser Busch brewery in that small town. Enough said.

Saturday night was another night for grilling. I was out of unique beers, except for a couple I'm saving for later, so I swung by the liquor store and picked up a bomber of a western Massachusetts staple: Berkshire Brewing Company's Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale.

While quite different from Dale's—it's sweeter, a little less full-bodied and not quite as hoppy—Steel Rail is another one of my favorite pale ales. Definitely among the best beers brewed in this state, in my opinion.

Five more beers brings my unique total to 96 for the year.

I have to say sticking to this resolution is getting a bit more difficult. For the first time, I find myself really hankering for certain beers available only in six-packs and not really feeling like shelling out $10 or more to drink one and save five.

The variety packs have been a better option, but of course, that means drinking four and stashing eight. First World problems, I know.

Anyway, when I started this thing, I didn't really think I'd make it this far, but now I feel I've reached a point where I want to see it through to the end of the year. Wish me luck.

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