Wednesday, August 20, 2008

photos of my own personal dreamland

and oddly enough, that dreamland is the raleigh times bar.

i know, i know...many of you can be heard saying "but jay, you work there. how can it possibly fulfill dreams for you?" to which i should be noted as shouting in response, "because it is my favorite place to be whether working or just talking about beer and thinking about beer and studying beer and dissecting beer and dreaming about what beer should end up on the tap-line next!"

and so the other day, i was playing around with my 50mm and 85mm lens' and found that if you unmount them, turn them around and shoot that way, you get an almost macro effect. with the 50mm lens, i took the pic of the masthead piece on our tap tower. the other is just an ethereal photo done the same way with the other lens. it's a shimmering glass of Ertveld Witte by Pierre Celis.

all i know is that if Pierre Celis and Richard Avedon would be my grandfather's, i'd be pretty stoked!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Jolly Friday

Hi all,

We are very proud to introduce a fantastic new draft. Once again an exclusive we brought it in with the help of Ron the brew master of Jolly Pumpkin. Aged in large oak casks and refermented in the keg, Calabaza Blanca is a Belgian Biere Blanche. Spiced with orange peel and coriander, you'll find it refreshingly tart, with a wonderfully dry finish. Coming in at 4.8% ABV this is a perfect summer brew. The oak is very subtle and adds just another layer of complexity without being so extreme.

It has taken months to get this beer here as Jolly Pumpkin is a very small artisan brewery and it came down to one conversation where I said "Come On" one last time then Ron was silent for a second and finally replied "Ok, I'm getting in the truck now and finding my kegs". He usually only kegs for his folks in Dexter Michigan. I feel very blessed and thankful, you will too.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Wednesday Night!!!

Dustin from Terrapin Brewing Company is headed here and he has some beer! We will be tapping that cask Wednesday night at 7pm sharp! This is the fiirst cask we have ever had here at the times so we are stoked come check it out!!!Email me if there are questions at

Thursday, June 12, 2008

champagne beer

there will always be the debate about beer versus wine and so forth. some leather-elbowed schmuck will forever decry the virtues of wine and spit at the idea of "good beer". the belgians, in their typical "what? we're not supposed to do that?" way, have created several beers that are brewed in the typical fashion of their style, then shipped to the Champagne region of France to undergo further maturation and fermentation using the methode champanoise. we have two! Malheur Dark Brut and DeUs. both are beautiful with the tiniest hint of champagne yeast and millions of tickly bubbles.

and we also have the OTHER champagne beer.

Miller High Life!

PBR is hard to come by from the distro right now, so for a limited time, we throw a bone to the burdgeoning connoisseurs out there and offer you the FIRST champagne of beers. drink it up!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


nothing makes a bartender happier than looking at the clock with a mop in hand and realizing that the night was a huge success, the deposit is dead-on and the beer is waiting at a darkened table. nothing, that is, except for maybe sweeping changes to an already heralded menu. so join me in a rousing "hell yes!" as the Times unveils an expanded food and drink menu this week!

all those intricately-designed specials that Corey cooked up over the past year are now residing permanently on the menu. if you haven't had the bean cakes...get thee to a table and notify the server that you have been thusly COMMANDED to eat them. whoa.

as for beer? well, you just have to come in and see. this week, our illustrious beer troll arranged the new comers in the cellar and started stocking the cooler with such beers as Dupont Avril, Vuuve and Rose de Cambrinus. you may call him chris powers, but we call him dedicated beer monkey boy.

come out and check it out!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Ommegang!!! It's McChouffe!!!

I have kegs, that's right blink your eyes a couple of times, KEGS of McChouffe ready for those empty bellies out there. Your not going to find it anywhere on tap...anywhere at all in these parts.
St Bernardus has won hands down the battle of the summer Wits so Ommegang is moving over for the beautiful Belgian strong dark that is McChouffe.
So what we have here is an 8% abv strong dark that tastes of sweet caramel, a balance of sour apples with splashes yeast and fizz. Yum...
McChouffe will surprise you because it is so drinkable, yep one after the other is done easy as you like. This is a great summer brown that you better try with our spicy wings. That is beer bar heaven with food and drink buzz.
The year is shaping up to be a real pounder. It is absolutely astonishing how much draft you folks are drinking.
You people are all responsible for the world wide shortage of urinal cakes I hope you know. Nice job indeed.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Belgium Bound!

So its finally here.........the trip I have been waiting for. I will be travelling to Belgium this Tuesday May 20th. I am fortunate enough to be going with some fellow beer lovers and will have a ball. Here is our itinerary as it stands and I plan on updating the blog as we travel!

*Huyghe Brewery Thursday May 22
-Take train from Airport to Gent St Peters train station. Bus will pick us up and take us to the brewery from there.

-Lunch at 1:00PM at the brewery.

-Tasting of 20 beers.

-Visit of Gent and specialty beer bars.

-Dinner in Gent with the brewery.

*Van Honsebrouck Brewery Friday May 23

-Brewery Tour

-Visit the Chateau and lunch at the Chateau.

-Have a beer at the local pub next to the brewery

-Tour some typical/traditional Belgian pubs in the area. (i.e. get lost/drunk)

-Dinner with the brewery

-Visit the new Van Honsebrouck pub in Gent.

*Het Anker Brewery Saturday May 24

-Brewery tour starts at 11:00AM

-12:30 Lunch

-Tour around Mechelin and visit of typical pubs

- Dinner at typical rustic local restaurant/Pub around Mechelin

*Sunday May 25

-Free day! Probably Brugge!!

-On Sunday evening we have a dinner at Brasserie Carolus at 7:00PM.

Its going to be an amazing time and like I said, I will attempt to update the blog frequently with pictures and stories of the misadventures.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

i took one home...

...and it is one of the best drafts I have ever had in my keg box. The Schneider-Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse is quite the beautiful brew indeed. We picked up all available, which isn't much it all so you better stop by very soon.
The beer is a collaboration between good friends Hans-Peter Drexler and Garret Oliver of the respective brew houses. The idea was each to brew a hopped up weissebock at the friends brewery's yet use the local slant on hop character.
We have both. Garret's is in the bottle, Hans's offering on tap. You have to really think about this brew when you drink it. Get in there and get what it has to offer. Hops here, hops there and a splash more of hops. All different yet harmonious and creates the entire character. The malt balances on a wire in the body and finish and leaves you reaching for the glass again. I won't bother with breaking this beer's flavors down. If you can't get it just stop drinking altogether.
We had to adjust our draft system quite a bit to get this beer pouring right. Another example why it stands alone and rightfully proud. Hopefully you'll get a chance to get 'the dregs' on the bottom of the barrel. It'll be about a full inch of yeast sediment, a hangover helper for sure. Hopfen holds the 8.2% down well as you go through a couple of glasses.
Please don't pass up this one. At writing this there are about 7 canisters left. Here that goes quick. This one will most certainly make your belly glow.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Jager Obama anyone?

it's true. our future president swung through the times bar lasterday like a politician through alaska. it was crowded to say the least!

it was a mitzvah!

in other news! we have powered our dead taste-buds through the avery maharaja IPA and are now tapping the Schneider-Brooklyn Hopfen Weisse. this is the Schneider interpretation of the same yeast-base and hop choice and it is DELICATE. like a flowah! delicious and yeasty, yet pale, golden and affirmative on the tongue. i plan on drinking several tonight before they hop a boat back to germany.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bill Pugh

this is bill pugh. the first day i worked at the raleigh times, way back in march of 2005, he walked in the door smiling and took a seat right smack in front of the PBR tap. and he didn't move till he was done talking to all of us and having three pints. since then, he's made it down almost every single day.

bill is full of stories. sometimes he just wants to drink his beer, but there are days when his eyes twinkle and his voice trails off. he talks of the good old days when there was a bar on the corner (where the Mechanics and Farmers Bank is now) and the dance clubs and nightlife he had "back in the day". yet, he welcomes the new and relishes the old.

for that reason, we treat bill as one of our own, because he well and truly IS the raleigh times bar. if you ever meet him, introduce yourself and have a seat. he may not say much, but if you look at him in the right light, you can almost see the shimmers of history rising off of his brow. rising up into the air and settling back down on what he has claimed as his old/new bar.

thanks bill!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mared-ce la vie...

there will come a time (probably in the next few hours) when our beloved and perhaps overly delicious Maredsous 8 run will end. i've ordered the flowers and the deli-tray so we can all gather around the tap handle and weep quietly.

but while we mourn the loss of that magical, dry belgian dubbel that graced those perfect flute-shaped glasses, someone will be downstairs tapping a new beer. we don't expect you to welcome it at first. we're not buying you a new dog after telling you that the old dog is living on a farm now. no, we're buying you a HORSE!

and that horse of a beer is Avery Maharajah Double IPA. yes, that's right. the very same beer that got me in trouble when i described it as having a certain "pet odor". the very beer that i NOW know hints at a perfectly-balanced Cascade backbone in it's uric-acid aroma. a beer that stands up, shouts from the orange amber hues of it's soul that it will remind you of pine forests and butter-scotch or it will drain itself into your mouth trying.

and you owe it to your new pet to take a ride. that's right...ride that pony. yeah, i said it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Beerfest, Beerfest, Beerfest!!!

It's that time of year again. The All About Beer Magazine "World Beer Festival". This years line-up looks pretty solid Lets just hope they all show! There are a few glaring absences though, one of my favorite breweries Founders will not be represented. We will definitely be out there hocking pickles so come by and say "Hello!" Or stop by between sessions for a cold one!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Music for Drinking Beer (pt. 1)

oh rainy days. waking up without responsibility or requirement; just the gentle insistent tapping of perfectly-spaced raindrops on the bedside window. my curtains give the light a green ocean-foam mist and after stocking the fridge with my nights "events", i pulled my chair luxuriously in front of the iTunes machine.

Fleet Foxes. all the best harmony and qualities of a latter-day Big Star production. buzzing guitar strings, tambourine buried so deep in the mix it almost sounds like the rain buzzing. the voice of a touched angel, azraelic in its ability to raise itself from a stroking syllable into an insistent and begrudginly-holy wail. it grabs the instrumentation by the 6th-notes and pulls it up a half-stride behind and then both spiral like spring samaras back to earth on a puff of breeze. there is, indeed, a wind that none can feel; driving the calculations, emotions and wayward glances of the world. this may just be it.

and right now, i'm having a nice glass of Kasteel Donker. it is the base of Kasteel Brune and right now, it is pulling me up and up, at a relaxing tack, into the beauty of the rest of the evening.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Whats New at the Times.

We have a bunch of new additions to our list! We have added the Kasteel Dunker, base beer for the much beloved Kasteel Rouge, and welcomed back our old friend Dekoninck (in the bottle that is).
We are also exploring the "Wide World of Wild Fermentation" with some new lambics. Look for St. Louis Peche and a selection from Cantillon.
The next Brooklyn Brewmasters' Reserve is almost here. It is going to be a Doppelbock. They have based their recipe on traditional German doppelbocks . Using German hops and malts cold fermented with a Bavarian yeast to produce this 'bready, and slightly sweet" brew.
This beer has been brewed by monks for centuries to sustain themselves during the 40 days of Lent. Hence, this solid and hearty style of beer has been nicknamed "liquid-bread". This beer will be available by the end of the month.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Best of Browns

When Pierre Celis decided to start brewing beer, he was already 40-years-old and disgruntled with the decline in Belgian brewing. After selling his hugely-famous Hoegaarden recipe, Celis dispatched his daughter and son-in-law to oversee the brewing of Celis White (as well as Pale Rider) in Texas. And maybe due to the fact that the french ale-masters aren't famous for surviving long in Texas; wedged between a plethora of german lager brewers, the recipes were absorbed by Miller in 1999.

Celis must be steam-powered, like his brewery, because even when pushing 82-years-old, he's still at it and the hard-packed ground of beer ingenuity splits like the Red Sea at his feet. Proof? Grotten Brown.

Like an over-active child, it explodes on the tongue with a giddy effervescence. It moves throughout the mouth popping it's at-first hidden esters like delicious little bombs. What looks like a standard belgian-style brown ale soon reveals itself as a juggernaut of excitement; a testament to the imagination and re-invention of older styles and exhuberance for brewing. Once cave-aged for maturation, Grotten reveals the opposite of most ideals on cellaring. It hauls itself up and screams gently that it will not go down without first challenging the mouth to a wonderful fight. And the hyperactive child then becomes a fiery adult with complete understanding of it's role in the world.

When poured properly into a Grotten glass; a wide, gaping chalice, the beer forms a ruddy off-white head that sinkholes and leaves a landscape of meringue. Each time I finish a session with Grotten, I'm wary of the feeling that I want more. I know that one is worth experiencing, but two would be an experiment in futility. Which is why I typically move on to Celis' Grotten Felmish Ale...which is exactly what you should do. Try them both in a session! Try the Brown and let it work you over gently. But make sure you give them both a chance before they're gone!

delicious beer photos!

Just a teaser of more beer shots to come! Any ideas on placement and presentation?





Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Whats Next?.....

"So........Here we are........I know....its not you...its me....I feel, I feel like, like I might be bored....."
Yeah you've heard it before.......But, this time you wont walk in on your ex and "Sancho" in a coital hug that would make Larry Flynt blush.
I am just looking for additions for our list at the Times.....Maybe explore our "wild-side"? Or maybe w go a little more "traditional". Stouts Reds and IPA's?.....I dont know, possibilities are endless. Where would you like to see it go? Primarily Belgian? Or maybe a foray into Real Ale, english Bitters? You decide......Let me know....

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Check out the Link to this guy "Living the Dream". He is 28 years old and found my dream job.

Sure he was a brewer at the Alaskan Brewing Company, sure he has worked in the beer industry since he could drink and sure...he beat out almost 8000 applicants for this job. I like to think I could give him a run for his money.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Brooklyn Lands...Maredsous coming?

In just a matter of a couple hours Brooklyn’s Brewmaster’s Revserve series will be starting up. Throw the keys away, put some cash in your pocket and taxi home with belly full of Extra Brune! We are gonna carry all these so hard to find beers for a year. Nope you can’t get them in brew stores or any other bar in Raleigh. Here and here only will you find them and it’s going to be a very cool thing. We might just have a party.

What coming next…Oh I don’t know…maybe Maredsous 8 Dubbel on tap. Yeah toss the keys, it will be a beautiful ride indeed.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Jim Koch. Man of the People

Benevolent. No. Man of the People. Maybe. Almighty Lord Of Hop Hord....Maybe. Check out this article on Boston Beer Co.'s attempt to help out the little guy.

Pretty cool, alot of small breweries have been hit hard by the shortage especially locally. If they act fast maybe this could help them out.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Eupen, Rochefort, Chouffe and fighting bushes...

Towards the end of my trip to Belgium last year, i spent about three days in Eupen which sits about 14 miles from the border of Germany. Mike and i started our foray by going to a bar which had La Chouffe on draught, and after about 13 of those, meeting two belgian indie-rock kids and talking about whether or not the hot bartender was making eyes at me, i realized that there's more to belgian beer than simply taste. Yeah, you can get properly ass-hatted on this stuff, which i did with the decorum of a drunken american pig dog. The two belgian boys kept insisting that the bartender was eyeing me, but i kept insisting that the bathroom had moved since i last used it.

at any rate, on the hike home (over a veritable alpine terrain of suburban homes built on a hill and then down a steep hill lined with handrails) i decided to fall into a holly bush. the bush decided to hold on and i then decided to wage an all out war by flailing myself back and forth, punching deeper into my new arch-enemy. mike just laughed...but i think he may have fallen down at one point and was simply unable to help me. at least that better be his excuse.

the next day, despite the look of fighting eight cats bare-knuckled, we walked across the street (a very level and non-hillocked stroll) and ate a wonderful dinner at a restaurant the name of which escapes me.

the proprietor was one of those rare examples of the service-industry breed who either absolutely loves what he is doing, or has a cocaine IV strapped to his sinus. he zoomed around, took orders, filled wine glasses, made us taste different genever vintages and when it came time for dessert, offered up his wares. i chose a cake made with a Rochefort 12 sauce. when i asked him to pair a beer with that, he looked at me like he was about to lecture a child and simply said "weeellllllll?" getting his drift, i let him order for me. Rochefort 12. duh.

at one point in the meal as we were winding down, he told a story. he asks how i would order a rare steak, to which i reply "rare". he goes on about a british tourist the previous week who demanded "a bloody rare steak" and was adamant in that british naval officer kind of way about it. all he could think to say in response was "you want f*cking potatos?"

the point of all of this (except for the fighting bush bit) is that i realized, as i was being professionally served by this enigmatic juggernaut of energy, that by experiencing beer and investigating its qualities, we all close the cultural gap between source and supply chain. he was impressed by my knowledge of belgium's beers and i was duly impressed with his passion for something he undoubtedly grew up taking for granted. between raleigh and belgium, then, there is a cable that tunnels beneath the sea. it is imaginary and it is obviously not there, but it carries the warm feelings of two quite disparate beer cultures. and the conversations are becoming clearer and clearer.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Dry Life

writing about beer is tough. it's like trying to explain in simple adjectives how whales sing or why clouds appear as they do. it's a wonderful challenge; realizing that you care enough about something that can be so ethereal and personal, to be able to put it into words that 1 out of 100 people will read and agree with. it's even harder when you're not drinking it.

i've been sick since getting off work last tuesday. since then, i've tried to drink beer, but it's the wrong thing to do when the flu is in town. i'm sure there are people that swear beer and alcohol will cure what ails/ales you...i just don't buy it.

so i can't really write about what i've tried lately that i've loved/liked/disdained. i can hardly write a tasting-note piece around a style, as my taste-buds are like little concrete midgets lying dead on my tongue. it would be one thing to write a style history, and i may still DO that (tomorrow is another day), but i feel like talking about how a drinker of american macro lager became enamored with the beauty of beer as an artform and not a way to get wasted.

my friends taylor, ryan and john drove up to richmond back in the fall of 2003. john was looking for rochefort 10 and i was looking for an excuse to get out of raleigh for a few hours. during the drive up, john spoke about beer with the wistful lilt in his voice that i have come to realize is due to love and respect. he drawled out his syllables when he tried to describe the westvleteren he had had in st. louis. listening, i tried to concoct a perfect beer in my mind based on what i knew i liked. no dice. i simply had no idea at that point what i was capable of enjoying. all i knew is that we stopped every few miles for lottery tickets and diet coke.

on the way back, stopped at a mexican restaurant. john and taylor passed around a small bottle of the rochefort 10 they had found. we sat in the car, sipping and sighing as the day grew to an end. after lunch, i realized what i had had in the car to drink reminded me of the mole sauce i had strewn across my chicken. it fancied raisins; but i didn't realize that until i found myself craving raisin bread on the ride home.

i don't think i bought anything on that first foray into virginia. i remember, though, that by the time we got home and they dropped me off at the jackpot so i could make it to work on time, i was full-blown sick with some kind of flu. which brings us back to present-day.

here i am, how ever many years later...i've managed to explore beer like a modern-day viking. i've met two of the purest souls in beerdom at the raleigh times and together, we tend to catch ourselves grinning when talking about what's new and exciting. i've turned people on to beer; my parents, my sister in south carolina and my friend peter (god bless him...he's got the fever for this stuff now, too). and the beautiful part of this "sickness" that i have is that i hope it never goes away. i hope the fever builds and spreads into uncharted areas and makes me gasp for air out of sheer pleasure and surprise of what good beer can be. until then...i could do without the constant 102.5 and the body aches.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

la fin du monde

when the quebeqois stretched themselves out and wiggled their toes, they got as far into the hinterland forests as montreal. when the arcadians were escorted out of montreal, the boat carrying hundreds of them sank. one man decided he would walk back to montreal from the lonely sea-side off of newfoundland. and he made it.

he was a latter-day red cross knight, escaping the bowels of hell through the literal bowels of satan. according to the cosmological ideals of the time, that was the only way to reach true enlightenment; marching through the literal and figurative shit of the world in a final bid to find god.

the end of the world. a lonely place of unspeakable beauty and horrible mystery. golden with promise and daunting with the unknown.

what better way to celebrate the ephemeral and factual escape from ourselves and tyranny than by reaching la fin du monde on your own.

beautifully golden and triple-fermented, this is the effective opus of a genius brewing system out of those very same forests of canada. and the only marching you'll have to do is from your seat to the bathroom.

welcome to the first round of canadian perfection of traditional belgian-style beers. and there's much more to come.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

McChouffe a slam?

We have 3 new additions to the cellar stash. We just got McChouffe 750ml's, Bells Hopslam, and Allagash Black. All of these beers are very limited amounts.
I fell in love with Hopslam! on first quaff. It smells like driving through the Cascade Valley with the windows down. And when you pack that much aromatic hops into a single beer, you know there will be some alcohol to boot. This one is brewed with honey so as not to complicate the flavor with maltiness.
McChouffe is a Belgian-Style Brown ale. It has the warm round malt-iness of an American Brown Ale and finishes with the funky fermentation taste of a Belgian Classic.
Allagash Black. Most people on the East Coast have tasted Allagash White. The shining beacon of sanity in a world full of orange and lemon flavored counterfeits. Well this is Brewer Rob Todds' foray into the world of dark beer. Well more likely pitch black beer. Its the brewery's first mass marketed move into the world of Stout. And as with the rest of their beers, you wont be disappointed.

All of these beers are in limited supply so they arent on the list. You'll have to ask a bartender for details.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Brother Thelonius!

We just tapped 1 of 2 small barrels of Brother Thelonius. Its a Belgian Abbey-style Dubbel weighing in at 9%. Its only available for a limited time so.....come and get it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

You REALLY dont have any KOB'S?

By K.O.B's I mean macros. And the answer to that question is we don't.

That was a conscientious decision I made when I started handling the beer list. I wanted to put the best product possible into the hands of our guests. Sure, there are a few looks of disbelief. But all in all, the move has worked out for us.

There are 3 reasons people generally carry beers of said ilk.

1. People think they have to.
2. Most restaurants commit their efforts to food and wine. And say "Bupkis" to the beer.
3. They depend on those "cost effective" brands to cover/help improve their costs

Here at the Times we don't subscribe to any of those theories

There are a million options out there. For every macro, there is a micro brewer out their putting his heart into a "gateway" beers. A beer that would be an easy option for someone whose palette is conditioned to macro's. But with subtle differences to make their beer stand out. Slowly beckoning the drinker to the world of hops and exotic fermentations.

When I initially approached David about "thinning out" our macros, he agreed. It's another service that we can offer our guests. We have rounded the best beers we can find and put them in front of you for a reason. Someone here.....Loves that beer. They can tell you where its from the name of the brewer and some go as far as learning the number of hands working on their production line.

Putting this list together is a promise, to spend the time opening, sipping, quaffing and imbibing the myriad of delicious beers so you, the guest will have the very best products available. There isn't much I love more than turning a guest onto 300 yr. old brewery that every bottle is hand corked. Or a Double IPA from just down the street that will make your hands shake.

From a Stout made in Sri Lanka to an Imperial Pilsner from Apex, we try ALL of them. Why? I love to do it. The joy in the job is tasting a great brew that is steeped in history and is made with love ounce by ounce. Its talking to the brewer and hearing what he was thinking when he wrote the recipe or what he wanted to make out of this mess of hops, malt and water.

We search high and low, making phone calls to far away breweries to ensure we have the products that beer snobs and gen pop alike will find interesting and exciting. So next time you are in, ask us whats new and I will gladly find you something you'll love.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lebanon Pilsener that is.

Beer: Brasserie Almaza Pilsener Beer
Origin: Lebanon
Style: European Style Pilsener
ABV: 4.1% (I think)
Misc: Pilsener is an alternate spelling of Pilsner.
Tasting Notes:
Almaza pours as you would expect a pilsener with a simple head and this fell pretty quickly. The aroma is clean and only seems to have a little malt and apple with notes of lemon. Carbonation is lower than I expected however works well as this beer is clean and crisp with only a small bite of acid. Onto the finish is a little musty apple core and reminds me a little of apple seeds. I am not downing that as I find it quite interesting so far. The length of the finish is dry and very refreshing with only a little hops way back there. What a nice surprise, many imported beers of this style never really impress me much but I think on hot days I would reach for this beer quite a bit. Also as many of you know we are not carrying many macros these days and this might just be the beer for that style. I am going to score this one at an 88 just because the style is done to death but Almaza does it very well. Look for it on the list sometime in the near future.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


while this quick post says nothing about mouthfeel and aroma, it will touch on a really important aspect of beer from belgium and germany. all them fancy CUPS!

i've realized in my few years of beer-dorkery that the glassware not only complements the beer perfectly when joined, but also serves as basic eye-candy for people who are not sure which beer to have. it's like the powers that be figured out that while the beer may stand on its own, a nice glass will create that feeling of individuality that draws people in. and it's true.

holding up a Triple Karmeliet glass is like holding up a remnant of the Holy Grail. people look at it and study the frosted fleur motif. i pour the beer directly from the bottle and they watch, rapt and attentive...sometimes drooling, as it rises to the exact point it should.

and i think that's important. i'll drink an IPA out of a pint glass, because that's where i feel that it belongs. i'll have a saison out of a shortened-pilsner glass...but have glassware with the thought and history installed into it's design, and it rules!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Do Lions Kwak?

Today we have a couple bar favorites. Kwak and Lion Stout sell very well here at The Times and I thought I would revisit these beers today. Chris was off the day I opened these so I recruited one of our patrons Greg. Greg typically goes for the hops and these two beers aren’t known for strong hop character. Let see what we get.

Beer: Pauwel Kwak by Bosteels

Origin: Buggenhout, Belgium

Style: Double Amber

ABV: 8%

Misc: Very interesting glass that was made for coachman in the early 19th century. Look it up.

Tasting Notes:

As we poured the beer into the signature glass and rich and abundant head formed as a slightly off white pillow. The bubbles are very tiny and the head lasted for over 10 minutes. Good start so far. The beer has a nice toffee aroma with hints of citrus and a little bubblegum. The first taste is a pleasant round wash of malt with very little hops coming forward. Throughout the mid palette toward the finish revealed more toffee and caramel and some bacon fat interestingly enough. The bubbles linger into the mild finish where the hops pop up a little bit with a little citrus we found in the nose. It's not a long finish yet the balance of the beer is what I am digging. Greg enjoyed a “bloom” in the finish and also noticed the balance of the beer despite the 8% alcohol. The sweet malt character seemed to spark his interest as well. I am throwing down a respectable 90 points here because the brew is just that damn good

Beer: Ceylon Brewery's Lion Stout

Origin: Sri Lanka (Formerly Ceylon)

Style: Stout

ABV: 8.00%

Tasting Notes:

Lion Stout pours with a solid light brown head. The first sniff brings you sweet malt and after a minute or two I started picking up licorice which I really enjoyed. The nose also reveals notes of toffee and cream. This is one of the most complex profiles I have encountered for a while. The mouth feel of the beer gives you a medium body with lightly roasted coffee, sweet toffee malt and that hint of licorice we found. The alcohol even at 8% is well balanced with everything else going on, and there is a lot with this beer. Keep in mind this is not a huge beast of a stout. The beer is well crafted, balanced in whole and one of those rare treasures that is so very drinkable and still complex. Greg found the beer to be unique and not as "overblown" as many stouts he has tried. He also enjoyed the round sweet malt character. I score this beer at 94 points. This beer should be drunk out of a snifter at about 55-60 degrees to truly get what's going on. Lion stout is what you should be drinking right now.

Well both brews came up big today. One of the things to keep in mind all the beers we have tried so far are on the list here at Times. We will be bringing in new releases soon and will be trying those for you. If they don't make it so be it. We not carrying beers here just cuz. We are carrying what we feel to be great beers all around. Till next time...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

D'Orval Tasting

Beer: Orval

Origin: Florenville - Villers-d.-Orval, Belgium

Style:Belgian Trappist Ale


Tasting Notes:

Orval pours a nice amber color with a loose white head. The beer starts with a fruity nose of bananas and apricot. The mouth feel is almost medium bodied and has a distinct Belgian attack. Coming on the mid palate has some good fruit esters and the hops start strong near the transition to the finish. The beer has a good long finish of mineral and chalk while the hops continue to build throughout the length. I rate the beer at about 88-89 points while Chris rates the beer over 90-92. Chris mentions that the beer gives him the impression of a Belgian pale ale while I like more balance of malt. It is noted that this beer is known to be one of the driest of the Trappist styles. We like it.

Next Up

We are going to be receiving the first installment of the Brooklyn Brewmasters Collection on Feb 1st. We are kicking it off with the Extra Brune, 9% ABV done in the traditional "Abbey Style". The Times is going to be the ONLY bar in Raleigh that is going to have it available . Its a pretty cool thing, The Brooklyn Brewery gives all of their brewers an opportunity to brew a beer that love, showing off their skill at the same time. All of the beers are actually being brewed at the brewery in Brooklyn under the watchful eye of their brewer and the overlord Garrett Oliver.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Whats On @ The Times

We have just added a new beer to the Draft Menu. Its a beer that will satisfy you Maltheads as well as you German Beer FANS! Its the Einbecker Mai Ur Bock. It will be available for a limited time only. We liked it so much we bought ALL of the remaining kegs. And following right on its heels will be the crowd pleasing pale/amber Dekoninck. It should be available by next weekend.