The maxims from Ramster and Neroon are indisputable, though wine is great too. I've made quite a few batches of wine myself. A Riesling will probably be next.
It makes me profoundly sad to hear someone say they've given up on beer! Blitzy, I checked your liquor store's page, and they definitely sell the Wild Blue stuff that Chloe mentioned. It's worth a shot to see if they'll sell you a single, and if not, find a friend to split the cost of a six-pack with you. That's about the same cost as those Mike's Hard drinks you like.
I checked my store's site, and they carry it as well. I'll try to pick it up next time I'm there, so thanks for the recommendation, Chloe. I'm going to start reviewing a few local beers in the near future, so it may not really apply to most readers, but at least y'all will have an idea of what's available in Virginia; however, most of the ones posted here will still be more widely-available.
Today's first beer made me laugh as soon as I saw it, so I had to try it out. It's He'Brew Messiah Bold
- "The Chosen Beer"!Brewed by:Shmaltz Brewing Company
California/New York, United States
Style- American Brown Ale
American Brown Ales were inspired by the English Brown Ale style. Both are typified by a taste that is dominated by malt, with relatively low bitterness from the hops. They generally tend to be sweet, but they can be either somewhat fruity or somewhat nutty depending on the preference on the brewer. As is typical of innovative American brewers, some take the liberty of actually adding coffee or nuts to the brewing process.
When I saw this beer on the shelf, I cracked up. It has a ton of funny cover art with subtle Jewish jokes ("Messiah Bold- It's the beer you've been waiting for") and a blatantly inebriated Orthodox rabbi waving some bottles around. Shmaltz actually brews a number of beers under the He'Brew name, such as the Genesis Ale, Jewbelation, and Rejewvenator. Let's hope their creativity extends to more than just clever names.
(*Note- Although the Shmaltz company is based in San Francisco, their He'Brew beers are brewed in Saratoga Springs, New York)
Poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard glass. No freshness date provided.Appearance-
4 out of 5. "The Chosen Beer" is a very dark, translucent brown that borders on black. It pours with a two finger tan head that fizzes away within a minute to leave fairly thick sheets of lacing on the sides of the glass and atop the beer itself.Smell-
3 out of 5. There's not much going on in the nose. Of course, there are hints of roasted malt, brown bread, and a nutty scent, all of which are to be expected from a Brown Ale; however, nothing really stands out. For a beer that calls itself bold, it's a bit of a let-down.Taste-
4 out of 5. Aha! So the boldness wasn't merely an exaggeration after all. The taste makes up for what the smell lacks, with a dominant flavor of roasted barley backed up by black coffee and nuts. There is an undertone of caramel malt and a slightly chocolaty taste as well. As is common with brown ales, the hops are weak and hardly bitter at all, leaving more of a tingle than a bite. The aftertaste has a smokey character that mingles with hints of coffee. I like this beer's balance. It's bold without being bombastically brazen, like some heavier beers that mercilessly batter your mouth. It's like a slightly lighter, easier-to-drink Porter.Mouthfeel-
4 out of 5. Light to medium with moderate carbonation and a creamy texture.Drinkability-
4 out of 5. I would take this over a Newcastle any day. It has more depth without sacrificing drinkability. I doubt this beer would inspire another diaspora to the local liquor stores, but it's a solid brown ale that would be great as a gag gift for any Jewish friends or family members.
Overall, a B.
The second beer is Honey Moon
. I did this one specifically for Blitzy since she had mentioned it as a possible interest. Considering the fact that it's brewed by Coors, it hardly fits the craft beer/microbrew category on which I usually focus, but it's a Summer release, and seasonal beers deserve due consideration.
Brewed by:Coors Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
Style- American Pale Wheat Ale
(I take pictures in the bathroom once the sun goes down, so pardon the background change.)
American Pale Wheat Ales are sort of an American Hefeweizen. I'll go into more detail when I review a beer that is actually true to the style. Honey Moon really isn't.
Poured from a 12oz bottle a freshness date of November 2010 on the bottle itself.Appearance-
3.5 out of 5. Honey Moon pours with a fluffy one-finger white head and an inviting golden color. Once the head dissipates, it leaves a decent bit of lacing. A few carbonation bubbles meander up to the top.Smell-
3 out of 5. The smell is very lackluster. It is dominated by sweet lemon, a bit of wheat, and a hint of honey.Taste-
3.5 out of 5. This beer starts off with a hit of honey, followed by grain. The lemon in the nose shifts to orange peel in the taste (which makes sense considering the bottle said that's what was used in the brewing). The wheat and the hops must have an aversion to honey because they're awfully meek in this beer. The honey taste grows as the beer warms up.Mouthfeel-
3.5 out of 5. Light, crisp, and smooth, as it should be, but just a little too acidic on the back of the throat.Drinkability-
3.5 out of 5. It's pretty good for a Summer beer, but that doesn't really change the fact that it's a bit one-dimensional. I could drink a few of these, but not for the taste-- just because they go down easily. The honey would be more fitting in a heavier Fall wheat beer.
Overall, a C.
I also picked up a St. George India Pale Ale (brewed about ten miles from where I live!), a Paulaner Hefeweizen, a Tommyknocker Butthead, and a beer that makes me quiver in anticipation just thinking of it. It's a strong English ale called Samael's Ale
. The current batch of which I bought a bottle is 16.82% ABV. Not surprising for a beer named after the devil himself!