Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How do you like them apples?

Applejack vs Apple Brandy vs Calvados

OK.  Apple Brandy is apple brandy.  Calvados is French apple brandy.  And Applejack is apple brandy that has been cut with a neutral spirit.

Laird's Applejack is 35% brandy, 65% neutral spirit.  It has an apple flavor, but the vodka-ness is kind of strong.  Leaving alcohol vapors on your palate, long after you've finished your drink.

Approximate price: $17
Grade: C

Laird's Apple Brandy is aged at least 7 1/2 years.  It has the same apple flavor, but obviously it's a stronger flavor.  It's a nice sipper, but not very complex

Approximate price: $25
Grade: B-

Boulard Grand Solage Calvados is a blend of 3-5 year old spirits.  It's interesting.  There is apple flavor, along with some leather and cinnamon.  I acknowledge that it's a superior product, but not one that I like.  Plus, it's pricey.  I have been eye-balling this for several years, and finally broke down and bought it late last year.  The scary thing is, this is their low end calvados.

Price: $41.70
Grade: B
Cost Adjusted Grade: C

The Drinkin With Lincoln Cocktail

I had this on vacation in in DC last spring.  It's an Old Fashioned (sugar, bitters, whiskey, water, lemon twist), made with Applejack instead of bourbon, and replacing the lemon with orange.  I'll be making it with the apple brandy instead.  It's a pleasant diversion, but no replacement for my evening Manhattan.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Power Wry: Steelers Gone Wild

I've been keeping my opinion on the Ben Roethlisberger accusations to myself.  Mostly, I'm in wait and see mode.  I just wish that Roscoe and Flash would shit or get off the pot?  Stop acting like you are trying to unravel the DaVinci code.

I'll get you Bo Duke. Gew! Gew! Gew!

Meanwhile, It seems that our boy Santoke-io is being sued for getting in a spat with a lady in - You guessed it - a VIP room.  She says that he through a glass of whiskey in her face.  (Including the glass)  Being a jackass, I wonder: What kind of whiskey was he drinking?

The big question is, how do you feel as a fan?  I've gotten pretty jaded by now.  As long as you are not a menace to society, I don't care what you do in the off season.  Having learned nothing from the Duke Lacrosse case, ESPN is leaning towards Ben-Is-The-Antichrist.  Assuming that he is not a rapist, here is my advice to Ben.
  1. Stop taking red zone sacks.
  2. Get a girlfriend.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Wry Slamma Jamma: Welcome to the Off-season Ohio State

Tennessee 76.  OSU 73
Box out dumbasses, then you won't give up 18 offensive rebounds.

I insist on having the last laugh.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Power Wry: When You're right, you're right

.. and Chad Ocho Cinco was right.

Let's set the stage.  Chad Johnson got mad a shitty Sports Talk Guy Colin Cowherd because he was talking about athletes who don't save their money and he used the Ocho as an example of dumb jocks who piss away a fortune.  This pissed off Chad "8-5" and he went all Twitter on the dude.  The best post was when he said that Cowherd looks like "an extra from the Lord Of The Rings".  I'm no fan of CJ.  I hate the Bengals, and therefore, don't like him.  You gotta admit though, the dude was right.

Who's Colin Cowherd?  Consider yourself lucky.  Your town has more than one sports talk station and you are not stuck with the ESPN feed from 10-2.

Elk's Own

The second in our port cocktail series.

2 oz rye
1 oz port
1/2 oz lemon juice
1 egg white
1 tsp sugar

Shake vigorously.

The verdict:  Man, that's good.  Man, that's dangerously good, and I'm not talking about Salmonella.  For the uninitiated, egg white is a classic ingredient in cocktails.  It's what creates that frothy head and a smooth silky texture.

Update!  Found some history on this cocktail.  It's an old one from St. Paul Minnisota.

Union League Club

As you know, I made poulet au porto yesterday.  Now I have a bottle of port to kill, and I'm not the biggest port fan.  Port lasts for quite some tie after you open it, but it's just staring at me, daring me to drink it.  Time to dig out the cocktail book and see what we can find.

The Union League Club

2 oz gin
1 oz port
2 dashes orange bitters.
Ice:  Shake and strain, garnish with an orange twist.

Tastes like a purple glass of gin.
Won't be making this one again.

The Power Wry: Urban Meyer is a Dick

This'll be our tag-line for football posts from now forward, or until I think of something more clever. 

  • Did Urban know that he was on camera?  Yes. 
  • Was his goal to intimidate and embarass?  Yes. 
  • What did that mean old reporter do?  The reporter had the audacity to quote and give context to something that one of Urban's players said.
  • What did the player infer?  Tebow is not a traditional qb.  Gasp!  
  • Ergo, ipso-facto eff you.  Urban Meyer is a dick.

Wry Slamma Jamma: Yub Yub Kobe

Brooklyner-Schneider Hopfen-Weisse

Label stuff:  Brooklyner-Schneider Hopfen-Weisse is a collaboration between brewmasters Hans-Peter Drexler of the Schneider brewing company and Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery.  Together they bring you a new sensation, a pale weissbock fermented with the Schneider yeast, then robustly dry-hopped with a blend of Amarillo and Palisade hops.

How does it taste?  It seems that every beer that I buy that is sealed with a cork smells sour.  Fortunately, this one is only slightly off.  I'm not a fan of the yeast in this beer.  It's not Belgian bad, but it is Belgian-Lite.  The wheat flavor is good.  I love Amarillo hops, which I use to dry hop my home-brews.  Amarillo adds great citrus aromas, without beeing too bitter.  They should have used more.  You expect these kind of beers to be better than your average beer, I don't equate different and quality.  It still has to taste great amd this beer is pretty average.  Having said all of that, for a beer that doesn't blow me away, it does go down quickly.

Cost: $11.49 for 1 pint, 9.4 fl oz.
Grade: C
Cost Adjusted Grade: C

Poulet au Porto

Roast Chicken Steeped with Port Wine, Cream, and Mushrooms

This is a dish that is simple, but time consuming.  The time consuming part involves roasting the chicken, which requires you to rotate, and baste the bird every 10 minutes for an hour +.  To save time, go to the grocery store and buy two rotisserie chickets.  Pretty much the same result.

The port-cream sauce is nice and artery clogging.  Towards the end of the process, you add some cognac (I used apple brandy instead) to the chicken and and light it on fire.  This is the first time that I have intentionally lit a dish on fire, which is fun.  Bit of advice, don't announce to the household that you are about to do this.  Assuming that you don't burn the house down, you can later brag triumphantly about your great kitchen prowess.  If I had told Mrs Rye that I was going to set the dish on fire, much stress would have occurred.  Instead, I got say, "Cool, never did that before."

"Did what?" she asks...

You got to love Julia Child for giving these instructions: "Avert your face and light the cognac."
Expecting a mushroom cloud Julia?

Good dish, a lot of work, the chicken finished earlier than I thought that it would and I did not get a chance to roast some veggies for a side dish; which led to frozen lima beans and corn getting microwaved at the last minute.
Poulet au Porto and Suffering Succotash!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Wry Slamma Jamma: Consider your bracket busted

Yep, my bracket is pretty much toast.  Doesn't bother me too much, the Buckeye's have a really good shot at making it to the final four.  In fact, if they don't make it, it'll be a Kansas style choke job.

I don't claim to be a basketball expert.  I just claim that the game has been taken over by aliens.  How much proof do I have to offer until the world takes notice?

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

Web stuff:  Our 60 Minute IPA is continuously hopped - more than 60 hop additions over a 60 minute boil (getting a vibe yet of where the name came from?). 60 Minute is a session India Pale Ale brewed with a slew of great NorthWest hops. A powerful, but balanced East Coast I.P.A. with a lot of citrusy hop character. The session beer for hardcore beer enthusiasts!

6.0 ABV, 60 IBU.  Really?  60 hops/minutes/IBU/ ÷10 ABV?  I accuse you of rounding.

Review:  This is the most approachable of the X Minute IPA's (There is also a 90 and 120).  Those IPA's are reserved for the masochists who enjoy 120 IBU's.  I don't consider it citrusy.  Just slightly bitter.  It's drinkable.  When did 6.0 abv become a session beer?
Cost: Mix & Match
Grade: B-

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Maybe it won't suck in 10 years

JW Lees Harvest Ale 2008

JW Lees has 4 types of barrel aged beer out this year: Calvados (aka French Apple Brandy), Scotch, Sherry, and Port.  I got the calvados aged beer.  The first sip, was, shit, that's some sweet beer.  Then you get an oddly bitter, almost walnut flavor in the finish.  It's like a crazy, beer, apple, maple syrup pancake, in a glass.  They're pricy at $8.95 for a 9.3 oz bottle.  That's Thomas Hardy pricy; they're going after the collector niche.  I'll probably grab a bottle of the Scotch aged beer to lay down for a decade or so.  It needs time to mellow out.

Come to think of it, I'm not going to do that.  If it tastes like syrup now, It probably will still taste like syrup a few years from now.

Remember, "C" means "Can Drink!"

Otter Creek Solstice
Web Stuff:  Solstice Ale is our eclectic brewers’ interpretation of the perfect session ale.  Masterful use of ingredients and technique results in a flavorful yet very drinkable ale, an ideal choice for all social situations.  7 different malts provide a rich malty flavor and aroma, golden color, and medium body. Willamette, Cascade and Amarillo hops added to the brew kettle impart mild hop flavor and bitterness while a fragrant hop aroma is due to generous dry-hopping with Amarillo hops. 

Review:  Thin, roasted barley flavor with a surprisingly bitter finish.
Grade:  C

Red Hook Copper Hook
Web stuff:  Today is the perfect day to enjoy a cold, crisp pint of Copperhook Ale. This brilliant copper colored ale has distinctive caramel notes and a clean refreshing finish. The light maltiness and pleasant noble hop aroma make it the perfect beer to satisfy all your cravings. Here's to celebrating today.
Review:  Not a lot of flavor.  Nothing bad about it, just nothing special.
Grade:  C

McSorley's Irish Pale Ale:  The very definition of average.
Grade: C

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What in the world is... Akvavit

Aalborg Akvavit:  Akvavit means "Water of Life".  So does Eau de Vie, Whiskey... Our ancestors knew something.  Booze is good for you.

Akvavit is the national spirit of Denmark.  Like a lot of spirits, there are rules as how you have to make it.  If memory serves me correctly, Akvavit must be flavored with at least 50% caraway and/or dill.  Anything less, and it's schnapp's.

Feel free to watch Three Sheets in Denmark and let me know if I'm wrong.

This particular Akvavit is flavored with caraway.  What's caraway?  It's those little seeds in italian sausage.  I don't remember liking this, yet somehow, the bottle is almost empty.  (I've had it for at 7+ years.)  Not surprisingly, it tastes like caraway, which is an odd choice for a drink.  I remember when I bought it, I thought that it was going to taste like apple, because there was an apple on the back label.  Upon further review, it's actually a tomato, and that tomato is there because the bottle comes with a recipe for a "Danish Mary".  I'll pass on that one.  A small dash, and I really do mean small, adds a bit of interest to a manhattan.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tales from the top shelf: Bushmill's 21

Happy St. Patrick's Day.  Instead of indulging in Green Miller Lite, we're going a wee bit classier.

This is one of my all time favorites.  It's got a smooth honey flavor with an oaky, barley finish.  There's some vanilla, some mint, all kinds of great stuff.  Typically when I buy an expensive bottle, the first sip is dissappointing and it takes me some time to appreciate it.  I enjoyed this one the moment that I opened it several years ago.  Sometimes you splurge on a pricey bottle; you get buyers remorse.  Not so with this whiskey.  It's worth every penny.

Web stuff:  Bushmills Malt 21 yo is aged for 19 years in a combination of American oak casks and Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks, then transferred to old Madeira drums (that's the typical name for these large Madeira casks) for the final two years of its maturation.

Colum, our Master Distiller, gets quite lyrical about this one, finding dark chocolate, nearly burnt toffee and even a hint of mint. - Distiller's Notes
Colum, The Master Distiller wants more of the precious!

Cost: $99
Grade: A
Cost Adjusted Grade: A

Drafts From the Cultural Hub of the Midwest: Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout

Web stuff: 

11.2% ABV 70 IBU’S
What we’ve got here is an imperial stout brewed with a massive amount of coffee and chocolates then cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels for an entire year, to make sure wonderful bourbon undertones come through in the finish. Make your taste buds squeal with delight.
It was nothing like this.  Do not click on this.  Seriously, don't.

I told you not to click on it.
How does it taste?  I'm not a big fan coffee stout and I think this beer rocks.  It's very chocolately.  The whiskey and bitterness from the chocolate and coffee linger for a long time after a sip.  I like it a lot.  Another home run from our friends at Founders Brewery.
Grade: A-

Monday, March 15, 2010

Wry World of Sports: David Beckham Tears His Achilles

... and America anxiously waits for the premier of Clash of the Titans.

5 credit hours of classical mythology finally pays off.

Corner Creek Bourbon

Web stuff:  CornerCreekBourbon.com seems to be a dead link.  This may be a dead product.  Hell if I know.  Speaking of dead.  I've had this bottle for two years and it is about gone.

Tasting notes:  According to the cached version of it's website, it's a blend of wheat, corn, and rye.  It's got a good flavor, but the rye is not balanced, giving a harsh finish.  It does make a tasty Manhattan.

Cost: Approximately $30
Grade: B
Manhattan Grade: B+

Update:  It's back in the stores.  The web site is still kaput.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fever-Tree Tonic

Two Parts Rye now has a new house tonic.  The previous tonic was Q tonic.  Which was the only tonic that I could find that was not made with corn syrup.  It's made with Agave syrup, and it's not at all sweet.  Fever-Tree is made with cane sugar, and it's just right.  It's not fake sweet like Schwepp's or the other mass market tonic waters.  Yet it does have some sweetness.

The only down side is that I have to fight my way over to the West Side to get to Whole Foods, which is the only store in town that has it in stock.

I re-tested Whitley Neill and Rogue Spruce for the house gin challenge, Whitley Neill is still the winner.  The martini portion of the challenge will occur one of these days.  It's difficult to work up the desire to drink 4 martini's.  The sacrifices that I make for my loyal readers.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Wry Slamma Jamma: Buckeye Hatin Chris Asked For More Evidence of the Alien Invasion

It's going to be hard to top Chris Bosh and Admiral Ackbar.  BHC might be too young to get this one.
Even Euros should avoid the Flock Of Seagulls Hair-do

Thirsty Dog Brewing Labrador Lager

Web stuff: A Traditional German Lager brewed with all German grain & yeast. Very drinkable.

Is it very drinkable?  Oh yeah.  It reminds me of Brooklyn Lager, which is a personal favorite.  Thirsty Dog is from Akron, which gives me an excuse to go home and visit my family.  One of these days.
Cost: $8.99 6/pack
Grade: B+
Cost Adjusted Grade: B+

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wry Slamma Jamma: Seriously folks, our arenas are being invaded by aliens

It's a trap!

Drafts From the Cultural Hub of the Midwest: Columbus Brewing Company Arnold

The latest edition of CBC's hop odyssey is a hoped up pale ale.  It's orange in color and has a light bitterness.  Light bitterness, that doesn't make any sense.  It's bitter, it lingers, but the beer itself goes down surprisingly easy.  It's lacking in complexity, and once again, when you get towards the bottom of the mug, the vapors from the hops get a musty, mothball aroma, much like last months creeper.

Grade: C+

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Where in the world was World Wide Kev?

This is an easy one, instead of drinking with his friends, World Wide Kev was in ...
  • Nancy Pelosi
  • The Rock
  • The following was voted the number 1 tequila in the city's 2008 world spirit competition.

You guessed it, San Francisco.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Wry Slamma Jamma: Another refugee from the mother ship

House Rye Challenge: Russell's Reserve 6 yr Rye

Way, way back in the infancy of this blog, I did a house rye challenge.  At the time, I decided to exclude this rye from the challenge, because:
  • It is slightly more expensive
  • It would not been much of a challenge
This is the perfect Manhattan Rye.  This is somewhat ironic because it's made by Wild Turkey, and the base Wild Turkey Rye was the worst rye in the challengeIt's not much more expensive than Sazerac, so I've decided to reopen the rye challenge.  (Spoiler alert, it wins!)

Taste it neat:  It's got some burn at 90 proof.  It almost has an irish whiskey flavor, with the rye giving it some bite.

The Manhattan:  Oh, that's good.  The rye and the vermouth come together and create high-tess perfection.

Cost: Approximately $28.  I'll update with the real price soon.
Grade: B
Manhattan Grade: A

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rogue Dead Guy Whiskey

As you can tell by the dent in the bottle, I've been contemplating this whiskey for some time.  It has qualities that I find enjoyable.  There are steps in the aging process that are cryptic, and one aspect that process I find somewhat inexcusable.

Web stuff: 
Proof: 80

Tasting Notes: Delicately sweet with a rich malt complexity, opens up to a warm peppery finish.
6 Ingredients: Dead Guy Whiskey is made with the same 4 grains that are used to make Dead Guy Ale since 1991. Northwest Harrington, Maier Munich, Klages, and Carastan malts; Free Range Coastal Water & Distiller's yeast.


Rogue’s Dead Guy family has a whole new spirit—Dead Guy Whiskey, created on the Pacific Ocean and Yaquina Bay in a multi-step process.

Northwest Harrington, Maier Munich, Klages, and Carastan malts are combined with Free Range Coastal Water in a 100 BBL 3,000 gallon brew system. Distiller’s yeast is then added to the wort, fermented, and then hauled across the parking lot to the Rogue House of Spirits (est. 2006) where its doubledistilled by Master distiller John Couchot in a 150 gallon Vendome copper pot still and then aged in charred American white oak barrels. Each 3,000 gallon batch yields 100 gallons of Dead Guy Whiskey.

Let's talk about this whiskey.  Based on the mash, which is the sweet wort used to make Dead Guy Ale, this whiskey has more in common with Irish Whiskey and Scotch than Bourbon.  It has a honey-leathery aroma and flavor, with a slight amount of saltiness in the finish.  The label says that "Ocean aged In Oak Barrels for 1 Month."  The ocean aged is the aspect that I find cryptic.  The fact that it is only aged for a month is what I find inexecusable.  It's a nice whiskey, but it is lacking the complexity that one expects for it's price point.  Leave it in the barrel for a few more years guys, and you may be onto something.

Cost: $39
Grade: B-
Cost Adjusted Grade: C

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Session #37: Breaking out the good stuff

Sir Ron at The Ferm is hosting this months session.  The topic is some what open ended.  When do you break out the good stuff?

I have serveral bottles that I'm aging (Vintage Thomas Hardy, Fuller's, Old Rasputin...).  With the Thomas Hardy it's easy.  It comes in a 4 pack, and I'll open a vintage bottle every 5, 10 ,15, and 20 years.  As far as the other bottles go, I will open them when it feels right.

The bigger question is do you share?  Yes, you should always share your good stuff with friends and family.  However, you should only share with friends and family that appreciate quality beer, wine, and spirit.  In other words, you don't feed your dog filet mignon.  Regular consumers of Milwaukee's Best don't get any.

I think that there is a reason that you age quality beer in a cool dark place. It's the out of sight, out of mind principal. The temptation is not so strong.

Having said all of that, sometimes the moods going to strike you, and if it does, drink away.  After all, you bought it.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Drafts from the Cultural Hub of the Midwest: Nugget Nectar, Mojo Risin, Blackout Stout

Tröegs Nuggat Nectar

Web Stuff:

Squeeze those hops for all they’re worth and prepare to pucker up: Nugget Nectar Ale, will take hopheads to nirvana with a heady collection of Nugget, Warrior and Tomahawk hops. Starting with the same base ingredients of our flagship HopBack Amber Ale, Nugget Nectar intensifies the malt and hop flavors to create an explosive hop experience.

How does it really taste?  A tad too bitter.  The $6MMm likes it more than I do.
Grade: B-
Mojo Risin Double IPA
Tastes more like a barley wine.  Bitter at first, but a nice barley flavor follows.
Grade: B
Great Lakes Blackout Stout

I asked the bartender for a sample of this one, which translates to half a shot of beer in a rocks glass.  It's smokey and tastes like coffee grounds.  The sample was just the right serving size for me.  Extreme stout lovers will probably like it.
Grade: C-

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wry World of Sports Salutes Jeff Reed

In honor of Steelers kicker Jeff Reed, who has to recently sentenced to community service for getting into a scrap with the Pittsburgh po-po.  We present the Jeff Reed Flow Chart.  This is double funny, because the scrap started because his teammate Matt "Lost In" Spaeth was urinating in public.  This chart comes courtesy of FreeTankCarter.com.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Wry Slamma Jamma: I can't believe that Yakov Smirnoff is playing for the Toronto Raptors

A couple of nice pale ales

Mad River Brewing Steelhead Extra Pale Ale

Web Stuff:  Bright golden hued ale of medium body with a spicy/floral hop character and a very mild bitterness. Goes well with poultry, fish/sushi & spicy foods.

Taste:  I'll be buying this one again.  The hops are nicely balanced by a slightly sweet aftertaste.
Cost: Mix & Match
Grade: B+

Southern Tier phin & matt's extraordinary ale

Web stuff: When we sat down to collaborate on this beer, we knew we had to create something extraordinary. After sampling a wide array of great beers, we hit upon an idea: use vast amounts of whole hops, the finest malted barley North America has to offer, and crystal filtered artesian water. Thus creating this classic American style pale ale.

Flavor: It's kind of the inverse of the Mad River beer.  It's sweet in the fore, and slightly bitter in the finish.
Cost: Mix & Match
Grade: B

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wry Slamma Jamma: The Mother ship is in Orbit

I'm just saying ...

Wry Slamma Jamma: Why Everyone is Sleeping on Ohio State?

The chart to the right pretty much shows it, and even that it is misleading.  If OSU is playing a mediocre to good team, their starters are playing 35+ minutes.  I've seen several games where the guards and forwards play the full 40, and their center (Lauderdale) plays 35.

The other reason is that the soon to be national player of the year broke is back early in the season.  Amazingly, he only missed 6 games.  That was enough time for OSU to slide out of the to 25, they've come all the way back to 6 in the AP poll, and are poised to win a share of the Big 10 and be the number one seed in the conference tourney..  They'll probably be 3 seed in the big dance, maybe a 2.

The question remains, just how far can you go when you only play 6-7 guys?  We'll see.

Rogue Morimota Black Obi Soba Ale

Web stuff: A richer version of our Soba Ale with the addition of specialty malts and a special blend of hops to give it a fuller, nutty flavor while retaining a clean, crisp finish.

Is it better than the regular Morimota?  I don't think so.  It's a bit tannic.  The appeal of the normal Soba ale is that it is very smooth.  If you try really hard, you can taste the soba.  You shouldn't have to try so hard; sequels are always disappointing.

Cost: $5.49 for 20 oz.
Grade: C
Cost Adjusted Grade: C