Monday, November 30, 2009

Bombs away! Making bad beer OK. Michelob's Winter Ale Round 3

Round 1.
Round 2.

For this round, I added a shot of applejack.  It still does not kill the artificial vanilla flavor.  A dash of cocktail bitters does not help either.  This one is going down the drain.  I'm going to call this beer unsalvageable and dump the rest of the six pack.  I'm wasting good liquor by trying not to waste bad beer.

Two Parts Wry Observations NFL Week 12: What's really wrong with the Steelers

It's simple.  With the exception of the Vikings game, the defense wilts when the pressure is highest.  It doesn't matter what you did during the rest of the game, if you repeatedly blow 4th quarter leads, you're bad.  James Farrior should be forced to stand in the parking lot during passing downs.  This does not excuse the bad turnovers and shoddy special teams play.  But when you have the lead, you gotta hold it. 

Do you remember all of the games that the Steelers have pulled out of their ass the last few years? The rest of the league is having a good time shoving them back in.


In other news:

  • Sounds like Tiger Woods' wife whipped his ass for adultery.
  • I flipped to the Rock & Roll hall of fame concert a few times during commercials. I think that celebrity death pools are in poor taste. Having said that, take Art Garfunkel, Graham Nash, and Bonnie Raitt. Stevie Wonder probably won't be far behind. The sad thing is, he'll never see it coming.
  • Tim Tebow has already come back from the dead this season. Tune into the BCS Championship game this January to watch him ascend bodily into heaven.
  • Somehow I missed this one during my vacation last month. Check out the dude with whom former ESPN analyst and famed Mets killer cheated on his wife.

Since I'm going wrong this week, I decided to go way wrong.

Brooklyn Pilsner

I did not coin the phrase "big beer fatigue", but I have it.  I don't want a recipe unearthed from an ancient Mayan spaceship.  I'm not in the mood for a beer made with 20 different types of hops and malt bill consising of 50 types of barley.  I'd also like to be able to drink more than one without getting totally shit faced.  My cure for the condition: Brooklyn Pilsner.

It's a nice crisp beer.  5.5% alcohol, which these days, passes for a session beer.  It has a hint of sweetness that gives it some complexity, but not enough to make it "big".  It's very drinkable.

Cost: $7.99 six/pack
Grade: B
Cost Adjusted Grade: B

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bombs away! Making bad beer OK. Michelob's Winter Ale Round 2

We've already established that Michelob's half-assed attempt at a bourbon ale is awful and that it can be slightly redeemed by dropping two shots of bourbon in it.  What to do with the other 5 bottles?

I tried adding a shot of sweet lucy, which is an orange infused bourbon.  I was hoping that the sickenly sweet vanilla from the beer would go well with the orange.  Nope.  Poured it straight down the drain.  I have a feeling that my kitchen sink will be drinking more of this six pack than I will.

For the record.  I know that you are supposed to chug a bomb.

Friday, November 27, 2009

New Amsterdam Gin

They say that it's a gin "so smooth that you can drink it straight".  Surprisingly enough, they are right.  It has a light citrus flavor with a hint of juniper and a slight vanilla finish.  Where does a product called New Amsterdam come from?  California of course.

I've always loved gin, and I have the not so fond memories of past hangovers to keep me from coming back too often.

Update:  It does not mix well with tonic.  In fact, it's ghastly.  The bitterness of tonic makes the vanilla tastes artificial.

Cost: $14.15
Grade: C+
Cost Adjusted Grade: B

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gregory Graham 2006 Grenache

Crimson Hill Vinyard
You won't see me reviewing many wines over $20, because that's out of my blind purchase price range.  I had this one at a tasting and it's one of my favorites.  It's a holiday/dinner party/gift wine.  Impress your friends.

Web Stuff:  The crimson red, volcanic soil of our vineyard provides the the perfect site for growing red wines. This wine is an example of the quality that can be attained by the vigneron "wine grower," where the grower and winemaker are the same. This unique and exceptional wine is the creation and result of Greg's experience, passion, and effort.

How does it taste?  It has a nice balance of fruit with acidity.  If you like your wines more earthy and tannic, try his syrah.  It's quite tasty too.

Cost: $21.99
Grade: B+
Cost Adjusted Grade: B+

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Two Parts Wry Observations: Scot with one "t" asked for it

Scot with one "t" is my oldest friend.  Many years ago, when I decided to get divorced from Mrs Rye v1.0, I gave him a call and asked him:

"Are you and Ben still looking for an apartment?"
"Want another roommate?"

We were watching OSU vs "the team wearing Michigan's uniform" and saw something very funny during the telecast.  He tasked me with finding the picture.  Here you go buddy.

Two Parts Rye's Guide to Surviving the Holidays

It's simple.  Be the cook.  The cook spends all day in the kitchen eating and drinking.  At the end of the day, people tell you how wonderful you are.  This Thanksgiving, I will be spending quality time with Mr. Gregory Graham and his 2006 Grenache.  I know that this is from a Christmas movie, but Grandpa Griswold said it best.

I had a lot of help from Jack Daniel's

Drafts from the Cultural Hub of the Midwest: Sierra Nevada/Dogfish Head "Life and Limb" and Dogfish Head "Theobroma"

These beers are a case of how you relate what you know to what you get.  The Theobrama was new to me.  I had read about the Life and Limb and looked forward to trying it.

Theobroma Web stuff: This beer is based on chemical analysis of pottery fragments found in Honduras which revealed the earliest known alcoholic chocolate drink used by early civilizations to toast special occasions. The discovery of this beverage pushed back the earliest use of cocoa for human consumption more than 500 years to 1200 BC. As per the analysis, Dogfish Head’s Theobroma (translated into 'food of the gods') is brewed with Aztec cocoa powder and cocoa nibs (from our friends at Askinosie Chocolate), honey, chilies, and annatto (fragrant tree seeds). It's light in color - not what you expect with your typical chocolate beer. Not that you'd be surpised that we'd do something unexpected with this beer!

This beer is part of our Ancient Ales series - along with Midas Touch, Chateau Jiahu, and other - step back in time and enjoy some Theobroma.

How does it really taste?  To me, this was mild and slightly sweet like a wheat beer. It has a little bit of a nutty aftertaste, which probably comes from the cocoa and the chiles.

Grade: B+

Life and Limb web stuff:  Life & Limb is a collaborative effort, the brainchild of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Life & Limb is a 10% ABV strong, dark beer that defies style characteristics- brewed with pure maple syrup from the Calagione family farm in Massachusetts and estate barley grown on the Grossman "farm" at the brewery in Chico, CA. The beer is alive with yeast-a blend of both breweries' house strains-bottle conditioned for added complexity and shelf life, and naturally carbonated with birch syrup fresh from Alaska.

Life & Limb is dedicated to the family of beer drinkers and enthusiasts worldwide who continue to support the little guys, iconoclasts, entrepreneurs, and pioneers who risk life and limb to shape the vibrant craft-brewing community.

How does it taste?  It is a really good stout.  Dark as night, but not heavy.  It's bitter with a hint of maple.  The 10% alcohol will definitely knock you on your ass.  I was hoping for more complexity.  I may have drank it at too cold of a temperature.  I have a bottle that I am going to let age.

Grade: B+

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Michelob Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale

Winter Ale Aged On Bourbon Oak Casks and Madagascar Vanilla beans.

Next time guys, try aging the beer in the Bourbon Oak Casks.  You'll probably get better results.

Web stuff:  During even the coldest of weather, warm up to the smooth, robust taste of our Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale. Full of rich aromas that you find in the winter months, hints of vanilla and flavorful hops, this is a beer that is great for pouring into a large tulip glass and enjoying with friends around a fireplace.

What does it really taste like?  Diet cream soda.  Yes, DIET cream soda.  Bourbon ales are supposed to get their hint of vanilla from the barrel, not beans.  I was hoping for an affordable, decent bourbon ale.  Not great, but decent.  Didn't get it.

Bomb's away!  Dropped in a shot of Old Grand Dad bourbon.  It's a bit better.  Now it tastes like watered down bourbon, with a diet soda after-taste.  Who am I kidding?  It still sucks.

Cost: $6.99 six/pack
Grade: D
Cost Adjusted Grade: D
Old Grand Dad Bomb Grade: C-

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tales from the top shelf: The Macallan Fine Oak 15 Years Old

I've stated before that I'm not the biggest fan of Scotch.  For me, The Macallan Fine Oak the exception to the rule and I am a little bit sad that I am killing the last ounce from the bottle tonight.

Label Stuff:  Our unfeltering obsession with selecting the finest casks and distilling sublime spirit brings an unsurpassed, timeless quality to The Macallen.  Distilled at The Macallan distillery in Speyside, Scotland, this legendary Singal Malt is carefully matured for a minimum of fifteen years.  The unique combination of Bourbon and Sherry oak casks produces a particularly smooth, delicate and light whisky.

The barrel is one of the interesting components of whisky making.  In the US, a bourbon barrel is only used once.  Scotch and Irish whiskeys often reuse bourbon, sherry, port and other repurposed barrels to add depth.  By the way, when talking about Scotch.  I will switch from "whisky" to whiskey" at random intervals.

How does it taste?  There is a hint of bourbon to be found here.  You can still tell that it is scotch, the peat is there but it's subtle.  It leaves a nice warm sweet flavor on your palate.  There is a hint of vanilla and orange.

I've pulled out an old tasting sheet from a Macallan tasting that I went to a few years ago.  Let's see if I agree with their description.

Color: Rich Straw.  Sure.
Nose: Full aroma with hings of rose and cinnamon.  Full aroma of alcohol.
Palate.  Intense rich chocolate, with hings of orange and raisins.  No chocolate.  It's a light tasting whisky.
Finish: Lingering with chocolate, hints of orange and dried fruit.  Like I said.  No chocolate.

Cost: $88.95 online.  It's gone up since I bought it.
Grade: B+
Cost Adjusted Grade: B-

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Goose Island Harvest Ale

Web stuff: 
Brewmasters Notes:

Brewed in honor of the Harvest season this copper colored ESB is made with Cascade hops and the richest Midwestern malts. A fruity American hop aroma and a toasty malt character make Goose Island Harvest Ale an extra special beer worthy of your devotion.

How does it really taste?  It is a fruity but not too sweet.  It has a nice bitter hop and citrus aftertaste.  Buckeye Hatin' Chris called it perfumy like sierra nevada.  That's yinzer for aromatic hints of citrus and coriander.

Cost:  $7.99 six/pack
Grade: B+
Cost Adjusted Grade: A

Two Parts Wry Observation NFL Week 11: I'm so pissed I can't come up with a clever name

Let's review our options.
  1. Choking dogs
  2. Are you kidding me?
  3. Are you effing kidding me?
  4. Seriously, are you effing kidding me?
  5. We should probably go with with....


"Are you effing kidding me?" wins.

I would also like to think CBS for only bringing one camera to the game.  It would have been nice to see a replay of at least one penalty.

Update: I left the bar mad because the steelers are bad. 
Go ahead and call me a hater.  I feel good cause Cinci choked to the Raiders. 
Went to bed thinking that the Brownies win was scary.  Didn't know that they interfered on the hail mary.

Oooh wee what up with that that!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Two Parts Wry Observations: Michigan's new fight song

Hail to the victors has been replaced by Home for the Holidays by Perry Como.  Justin Boren transferred to OSU because he felt that Rich Rod was destroying the family values at Michigan.  I'm glad that he's on our team.  However, I have to point out that there is no greater family value than staying home for the holidays.  Rich Rod, the ultimate family man.

Pardon me, I have an urgent appointment in the end zone.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tales from the top shelf: Gran Duque D' Alba

Brandy de Jerez Solera Gran Reserva

This was my duty free purchase from our Barcelona adventure.  It's the first non-cognac grape based brandy that I have liked.

Label stuff:  Gran Duque De Alba owes it's fine balance and unique character to long aging in the Oloroso seasoned oak casks of it's own solera.  Light mohogany in colour, with a mellow velvety texture and aromas of plum and prune.  Wow, plums and dried plums.  It's complex flavour with hints of nuts and ripe fruit lingers on the palate to give the smooth finish of a truly great brandy.

What in the hell is solera?  It's too complicated to explain while I'm drinking brandy.

What the hell is Oloroso season cask?  I think that it is a sherry cask

Fun Brandy fact:  Cognac, Armagnac, and Brandy de Jerez are the only place specific appellations for brandy. Thank you the passionate foodie for the fyi.

Even more Fun Brandy Fact: I have all three appellations on my top shelf.

What does it taste like?  In my opinion, it tastes like alcohol, oak, and raisins.  It's complex like cognac, but it feels heavier and sweeter on the tongue.  Doing research for this one, I find that that lot's of folks taste different things.

Wine esters with distinct balsamic notes.

oak, prune and sherry. Velvety texture with flavors of caramel, chocolate and orange, with a long finish

burnt sugar, dried fruits and salty butter roasted nuts flavors

old leather, old books, toasted marshmallow, pipe tobacco, prune Danish, dried fruit, salted butter and caramel cream

Which goes to show you while I try not to get to bullshitty with my adjectives.  "Old books"?  Yummm.

Cost: 19.60 ($30) euros on sale at the duty free.  Usually 24.50 ($37).  It's $50 plus on the web, so I got a deal.
Grade: B+
Cost adjusted Grade: At the price that I got it.  A.  For $50, B+

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kopke Fine Dry White Port

Wine lesson. Port is a fortified wine. A fortified wine is a wine that has had a spirit added to it before fermentation is complete. Therefore, it is sweet, and it has a kick. Most ports are sweet and thick. This one is a dry port. It has a bit of a sour apple flavor. It reminds a bit of dry vermouth. This makes sense, since vermouth is a fortified white wine as well.

I feel compelled to make a dry Manhattan.  Can’t say that I care for it. Add some sweet vermouth and it became a perfect Manhattan. Perfect means that it has both dry and sweet vermouth and is not a comment on the drink's virtues. Having gone through all of this, I recommend just drinking it straight. It’s a pleasant after dinner sip.

Cost: $19.99
Grade: B

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Vino Family Vinyards Don Vino

Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Napa Valley

Label Stuff: This very attractive aromatic invitation weaves together currant, black cherry, tobacco, and forest floor quite harmoniously. The core of mid-palate flavors are deep and thick of cedar, blackberry, and chocolate. All of which leads in to a seamless juicy texture with rich acidity that carry the tannins to a balanced crisp finish.

I don't know about the forest floor BS, but it has a nice blackberry flavor with a little bit of acidity to keep it from being too sweet.  You still get a little bit of berry in the finish.  It's a good wine.  Impress your friends.

Cost: $14.99
Grade: B
Cost Adjusted Grade: A-

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Two Parts Wry Observations NFL Week 10:The man formerly known as Bengal Scott edition

I'm going to have to take crap from Bengal Scott this week.  I also think that he needs a better nickname.  This one's easy.  He's 40 years old, has a baboon's heart and an artificial shoulder.  He's been rebuilt better, faster, stronger.  When he hits a foul ball, it carries an extra 80 feet.  Every time he drinks a beer his arm makes this noise.  He's the 6 Million Dollar Man.

As you can see by his stylish prison orange, he's a lifelong Bengals fan.
Congratulations Asshole.
I look forward to taking shit from you all year.

I think that I know what was up with Ben this week.  Dunder Mifflin may file for bankruptcy and he's worried about his 9-5 job.

Friday, November 13, 2009

House Bourbon Challenge: Buffalo Trace vs Old Grand-Dad Whiskey

We've got a new challenger for the house bourbon.  At $20.25 for a liter, the price is right.  As far as taste goes, they should rename it "Grandpa's Cough Syrup".  It's quite sweet and has a slight cherry flavor.  It makes a very mellow Manhattan.  Buffalo Trace still reigns supreme.

Old Grand-Dad Grade:  C

Flying Horse Royal Lager Beer

Mrs. Rye wanted Indian food for her birthday dinner last night.  This is the first time that I have ran across this beer and it is my duty to try it.  Flying Horse comes in a big 20 oz bottle.  On it's own, it tastes sweet and musty and I can't recommend it.  However, it does pair well with Indian cuisine.  It was like drinking a different beer.  The spices and oils cut through the sweetness, making it quite nice.

Cost: $5.95 restaurant price
Grade: C-
Goat Curry Adjusted Grade: B

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bud Light Golden Wheat

This one will be short.  It's very OK.  Won't knock your socks off; won't make you wretch.  Which is about all that you can ask from a light beer.

Cost: $6.79 6/pack
Grade: C
Cost Adjusted Grade: C

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Two Parts Rye Observations NFL Week 9 recap, Week 10 preview

See above for everything that you need to know about the Steelers vs Broncos.

The real story is that the Bungles are coming to town.  Both teams are 6-2, and Cinci could get a strangle-hold on the division by sweeping the Steelers.  Don't count on it.  Pittsburgh 28 - Bungles 17.

Ocho Cinco is up to his hi-jinks.  Sort of.

Stone Brewdog Bashah

This would have been a great beer for the last Session about Framing the beer.  Stone and Brewdog make some excellent beers.  Their juxtaposition collaboration was excellent.  The label claims that it is a "Black Belgian Style Double IPA".  OK.  I'll try it.  I had high hopes when I took my first sip.

Oddly enough, it reminds of the Charkoota Rye that a reviewed last week.  It tastes like a smoked porter, but not quite as gross as the Charkoota.  My friend Bengal Scott tried it and said that it tasted like "flat coffee".  World-Wide-Kev thought that it was awful as well.  However you want to describe it, it does not taste like a belgian ale.  It also does not taste like an IPA.  I've had a 50/50 mix of good belgian and IPA style beers at the Columbus Mircobrew Festival and I know that it can be a good combination.  Major disappointment.

Label BS: What does it mean? Yes, what indeed does it all mean. Meaning of course is elusive and illusive. It can’t or shouldn’t be found on the bottle. Definitely not from this bottle, unless the meaning is Life Sucks!  Should it? Yet what if it was? Would you begin to look for pearls of wisdom or life direction on a beer label.  Perhaps it has been there all along.  Since meaning is a mear illusion, perhaps we shouldn’t let it have any influence on our destiny. This particular beer refused to succumb to the illusion of meaning or allow capricious parameters to have any influence on its own fermented fate.  Maybe if it had succumbed, it would have tasted better.  succumbing is underrated.  Are you even asking the right question? Are you feeling frustrated in the emptyness? If so that could be because Craig got to this beer before you, and thus there's a reason for that emptyness. Its empty. And if so perhaps there indeed is not any meaning for you here after all. Style over Substance , or Substance over the scriptures of Style?  How about flavor over bullshit.  The latter thank you very much. Twice.

Grade: F

Monday, November 9, 2009

Announcing the Session #34: Stumbling Home

It's time to give a shout out to your favorite watering hole.  How good are the beers?  Any interesting cast of characters?  What are your drinking buddies like?  They probably need to be embarassed on the internet.  Now's the time.

You don't have to limit yourself to one.  Feel free to reminisce about the good old days if you like.  Maybe you are a shut-in like this guy, and don't get out that much, talk about the home bar.

There is a catch.  This booze stuff has interesting side effects.  That means, you can't get behind the wheel.  You gotta walk, take public transportation, or be a regular supporter of your favorite taxi company.  Bicycles are acceptable but you still need to be careful.  I have the cracked helmet and scars to prove it.  Gotta love the 5 mph one man crash.

Send an e-mail to with your post, or leave the link in the comments section.  Thanks.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Two Parts Wry Observations: Terrelle Cryer Edition

Let's go through our to-do list.

  Purdue beats Michigan.
  Navy beats Notre Dame.
  Northwestern beats Iowa.
√  Buckeye-Hatin-Chris travels all the way to Happy Valley to see his Alma Mater get poned.

You made the right choice.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Session #33: Framing Beer

This month's session is being hosted by I'll have a beer.  The idea behind this topic is that one rarely blind tastes a beer.  The label affects your opinion.  The breweries reputation affects your opinion.  It was suggested that we pick a beer that we think that we won't like.  I picked New Holland's Charkoota Rye Smoked Doppelbock Lager.

What role does the label or brewery play in your opinion:  For me, it mostly gets my attention.  More often than not, a craft beer has some type of clever name.  Charkoota is a play on charcuterie, which is the branch of cooking devoted to making sausage, bacon, patees, etc.  That degree in french is finally starting to pay off.  The bottle has a flying pig painted on it.  Normally, I would run away from this beer.  I wish that I had.

Frame this beer:  Don't.  Dont buy it.  Don't pour it.  Don't smell it.  Don't drink it.  Don't ever mention this abomination to me again.

Imagine what other people would enjoy about this beer:  I'm not clever enough to do this.  I found several reviews on the web and it's a love or loathe beer, mostly loathe.  I like to try unusual food and drink, but this is just god awful; one of the most disgusting beers that I have ever drank.  If you are the type who likes bad ideas.  It's for you.

Label stuff:  Charkoota Rye is a Smoked Rye Dopplebock. An homage to all things Pig, including Porkapalooza and the age-old tradition of Charcuterie, Charkoota Rye's malty backbone is derived from a blend of rye and four other malts, including malted barley smoked over cherry wood by our very own brewers, John and Jeff.

Its smoke-forward body is balanced with tones of deep mollasses and caramel, with a crisp, clean lager finish. Delightful by itself, Charkoota is best served with its succulent counterpart, Pork
You can see that they are trying to frame it towards folks who think "Pork Fat Rules!".

Grade: F  It's a salty glass of liquid smoke.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Patio Pounder: La Cavée 2007

It may be November, but the sun is shining.

This is a white wine from the Côtes de Ventoux region of France.  It's a blend of 40% Grenache Blanc and 60% Clairette that has been "partly" aged in oak  Whatever the hell that means.  It's an average table wine.  Not bad, but nothing exciting.

Cost: $12.99
Grade: C+
Cost Adjusted Grade: C-

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Napa Smith Wheat Beer

Web Stuff: 

The Napa Smith Brewing Company story is about the love of life.  It is in no way a story about trying to make money.

Life is meant to be experienced to the fullest, and that means the constant search for new and better things: whether it is the perfect wave, a newly discovered forest, a secret trout stream, a Montana sunset, blumpkins, or whatever you want it to be. It is about having great meals with good friends, and having a party. It is about having fun.

The Smith family loves life. We decided that what the world really needed was a great beer that makes food taste better. A beer that you can be proud to serve at dinner with friends and family.  Wow, what an original idea.  You know what else the world needs that no-one else has thought of before, bread, but not a loaf.  Let's cut the bread into thin flat pieces.  We'll call it sliced bread!  Call the patent office!

We set out to make a beer that paired well with all food types. We asked ourselves the age old question, "What wine do you serve with shrimp?" Sauvignon blanc.  Are you from Napa California or NAPA auto parts? and came up with the answer. "You don't serve wine with shrimp; you serve BEER with shrimp, because it tastes great with them." So we got to thinking that we should make beers that not only taste great all by themselves, but go with a variety of foods as well. We also believe in cooking with beer, just like wines offer flavors and textures to sauces, beer can do the same thing.


We hope that you will try our beers and enjoy them as we do. Please remember, always drink responsibly, and let moderation be your guide.

Actually, I'm reviewing this beer, because I think it's a great one for getting hammered.

Alcohol:  4.6%
How does it taste?  It's a nice session beer.  There's nothing complex about it.  It just tastes good.  It's very poundable.
Cost: $9.99 6/pack
Grade: B
Cost Adjusted Grade: B