Saturday, January 26, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
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
Style: European Style Pilsener
ABV: 4.1% (I think)
Misc: Pilsener is an alternate spelling of Pilsner.
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
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
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
Style: Double Amber
Misc: Very interesting glass that was made for coachman in the early 19th century. Look it up.
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
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
Origin: Florenville - Villers-d.-Orval, Belgium
Style:Belgian Trappist Ale
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.