Monday, July 31, 2006 

Cambridge Brewing Company

Within minutes of landing in Boston, I rushed away to get beer in me system. Luckily, my friend that picked me up works at Cambridge Brewing Company. From my days of living in Boston, now almost 5 years passed, I used to visit CBC every so often. When I return nowadays, it's always in the cards.

Located in Kendall Square, just a bridge and a few blocks from the center of Boston, it's easy to find. The menu is far more impressive than a brewpub would suggest. This time I was strictlly heading for the brew. There is a great selection of house beers but I usually step to one of the specials. Brewmaster Will Meyers always has some unique creation looming about - magically one appeared before me...

Weekapaug Gruit

81 / 100

The gruit is an interesting ale. It doesn't have hops in it, but still somehow manages to be delicious. Having only tried one gruit previously (Fraoch, from Scotland), I had an idea what I was getting into. The Weekapaug Gruit (named after a Phish song) was a bit better. It's a deep, dark black with almost no head. The aroma is hard to put a finger on - some caramel, a bit chamomile. It has a unique flavor as well. It's malty and somewhat sweet. It seem non-beer until the wheat and malt kick in. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Arquebus Summer Barleywine

88 / 100

This here is straight up delicious. Barleywine and summer don't seem to fit. Barleywines: thick, syrupy, staggeringly high in alcohol, made for men with beards. Summer: generally none of that ('cept me, me and my beard). Arquebus is aged in chardonnay barrels which give it well, a chardonnay type fruit flavor. This sounds odd and it is, but somehow it all works. It seems slightly lower in hops than most barleywines which allows the tannins slick over the top giving an almost honey flavor. Served in a wine glass, this is far more accessible than most barleywines. A day later I returned to the CBC and this is exactly what I wanted.

Bier de Miel

76 / 100

A fine representation of this sweet Belgian beer. This would work quite well after dinner.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 

La Chouffe Houblon Dobbelen IPA Tripel

74 / 100

The title suggests there's a lot going on in this beer. Is it a Belgian Tripel? Is it a triple IPA? Is it both? Is it neither? What the fuck are you doing to me La Chouffe?

Anyhow this is an IPA, brewed with 3 different hops. Don't think California IPA, this is definitely a Belgian and the hop character is quite different. Different hops, more yeast - yeah we're in Belgium, especially with the cloudy golden straw color and finger cloud froth topping.

There are familiar Belgian pale ale flavor attributes as well: spicy foreground with citrus tones. Of the hops, the Saaz come through most most - the noble pilsner-esque spice.

It's hard drinking this not thinking you're drinking an experiment, which is strange as it so very subtle. A good tasting beer, but generally in the $10 range for a 750 mL - likely one I won't revisit often.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 

PacĂ­fico Cerveza

71 /100

In Los Angeles, there's no shortage of Mexican beer. It's everywhere, just as easy to find as your basic Bud/Miller/Coors, if not easier. The problem is: most of them are downright nasty (the need for lime is not disguise the terrible taste because at least then you'll have lime-tasting nastiness!).

All need to be served quite cold - another sign that the beer is of poor quality. A common misunderstanding is that the darkness of the color is indicative of the caloric quanity. So people think light Mexi-lagers are light on the carby calories. WRONG!!! One Corona has roughly 25 calories more than a Guinness!!!

Summertime finds the Mexi-lagers all over the place; a bbq staple here in Southern California. And as not particularly fond as I am, of the beers - Pacifico has always had a soft spot in my heart on these occassions. It's a refreshing lager. Thin and watery, there's nothing complex about it. That's not to say the subtleties make it a fine lager. It's the wateriness that makes it refreshing, that and it being generally served very cold. The color is not particularly enticing and it's possibly over-carbonated. It's grainy with a slight bitterness that neither adds nor detracts from the flavor. It's drinkable, but generally speaking I'll reach for something else.