Monday, July 28, 2008

Bar Review: Jennings & Co

It is hard to put together a more fun weekend then I had this last weekend in Central Wisconsin. I went home initially to visit some family and friends, but I was greeted with a great surprise. In my small hometown of Wisconsin Rapids, WI there is a new brew pub! Jennings & Co is located in downtown and offers a rustic feel and great selection of beers. They are in the process of expanding within the current location to offer food, gaming, and will soon be brewing their own beer ( I heard a rumor they might do a Scotch Ale...which I love). Their bartender provided me with expertise and superior customer service. The beer selection featured the best beers that Central Wisco has to offer, and I was extremely impressed with the selection from O'So Brewery of Plover, WI. This is a relatively new brewery, but they for sure know what to do! The Black Cocker Bock and Night Train Oatmeal Porter were definitely my faves, but their Hopdinger is a nice smooth, mellow pale ale. Oh yeah and the bottled beer was only 2 bucks which in my book is a steal. I also tried the Big O (their answer to Spotted Cow) and the Rusty Red which were okay, but nothing special. Go to their website to find locations, and beg your local liquor store to carry their beer when it becomes available. Jennings also had beer from Central Waters and Point Brewery which are both putting out some pretty excellent beer. If anybody knows Wisconsin Rapids it is a paper mill town that has been on the decline, but Jennings & Co may be the new shining point. I fully intend to go back and try their beer once they get up and brewing.

On a side note, to top off the whole weekend I was able to join a bunch of friends in Poynette, WI for a night where there was a party with a full bar. Of all the options I still chose to go with some Old Thompson Whiskey...because I am classy like that. The next day can be rough after the OT, but I still managed to catch some mini golf in the Wisconsin Dells which is always an excellent time! Until we drink again...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wine Library TV!!!

If you haven't heard of him, it's time to saddle up and get ready for the ride. Gary Vaynerchuk, host of Wine Library TV, has been busy charming, educating, and enthusiastically entertaining his blogger website audience for about 3 years now. Gary has over 500 episodes available on his website. He does about three to four shows a week on his website, and has gained national media attention while doing so. With appearances on the Ellen DeGeneres Show (twice), Late Night with Conan O'Brien (twice), CNBC's Mad Money, and ABC's Nightline, Gary Vaynerchuk is gaining the respect and admiration of thousands of Americans across the globe, all in a quest to achieve his goal.
His goal is admirably challenging. To change the wine world by teaching people to branch out and conquer the intimidation that is felt when the subject of wine is in the room. He believes in trusting your pallet, no matter what, and trying new things whenever an opportunity presents itself to do so.
You will love his witty sense of humor and his contagious zest for life.....and good wine too! With non-stop references and trademarks such as the "oak monster", "sniffy sniff" his archive of shows will keep you wanting to soak up more of what he has to say.

Check it out today! You can even podcast his show on iTunes!

For 1st time viewers, I recommend episode #148: How To Get Your Pallet Trained.

This is a CLASSIC episode that really captures the great lengths Gary will go to get the point across......his way.

Alright, this ends my 1st official post on WE DRINK MORE! Until next time.........

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Beer Review: Bell's Oberon Ale

This is just a reminder that there is still a good chunk of summer left. We are approaching August 1st and this makes me upset for two reasons. It means I have to pay my fricken rent again and more importantly the Oberon Ale from Bell's Brewery will soon be leaving us for the year. Bell's is rapidly becoming one of the largest microbreweries in the country and they stand strong producing a creative personality and superior beers. Oberon is a cloudy wheat ale with hints of orange and wheat that finishes smooth. There really isn't much aroma, a slight citrus smell, but nothing very strong. This summer ale is meant to be enjoyed on the water or with sand between your toes and it is really refreshing. It really gives my standby (New Glarus-Spotted Cow) a run for its money. This is available Late-March through October in 6 pk bottles and 5-liter mini kegs. I highly suggest going the mini keg route. It is a challenge to drink in one night, but you'll enjoy every sip from a fresh Oberon on tap in your very own fridge! A big shout out to Nate from Gen Bev for turning me onto Oberon this last spring and encouraging me to review it. If you like Oberon give a few other Bell's products like their Porter or the Two Hearted Ale a try!
Retails $7-8 per 6pk bottles
$16-19 per 5 Ltr Keg
5.8% alc/vol

Readers: What is your favorite Summer Ale?? Please include links!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Beer Review- Capital Brewery Bier Stube

Ladies and Gents:
There are new beers in the Capital Brewery 12 Pack ( Bier Stube) Sampler! I am a big fan of Capital beers, namely the Blonde Dopplebock and Autmnal Fire. I bought a Bier Stube that included three beers each of the Wisconsin Amber, Island Wheat, and two surprises. Surprisingly we are being rewarded with the Maibock which is typically only released from February until April. This Bock pours a nice golden/amber color and smells malty with bread, caramel, and cinnamon hints. The taste is relatively light with a smooth almost cinnamon tasting finish. Typically I don't enjoy cinnamon flavors or smells in beer, but this is so delicious and almost refreshing that I can't help but enjoy it. This beer reminds me of the spring when the seasons change from winter to spring in Wisconsin. The birds fly back from the south, outdoor beers and campfires begin to appear. The temperature still isn't quite warm enough to throw back 12 Miller Lites while wasting away outdoors playing lawn drinking games; so I long for a fuller bodied, winter spiced beer that is warming and relatively light. The Maibock isn't for 90 degree summer weather, but I am fully down to drink a few more while they last. I am guessing that Capital had some Maibock left over and rewarded the customers with this interesting release.
Retails $11-15 per 12 Pack Bottles
6.8 % alc/vol

The other nice surprise in this sampler is currently the strong English styled Vintage Ale. This beer is somewhat hard to understand and even enjoy during my first few tastes. At first it reminded me of a Leinie's Creamy Dark or the Yorkshire ale Old Peculiar, both of which I enjoy. On the nose it has caramel, vanilla, and bourbon hints and pours a cloudy orange/amber color. It tastes heavy with toffee and caramel flavors. The finish has a strong vanilla smoothness and a bourbon/alcohol lingering effect that is actually quite tasty. The strong ale was listed in two different places at 8 % and 9.5% alc/vol which could explain the alcohol burn and bourbon notes regardless of which percentage it actually carries. It is a limited release that was sold in four packs in limited areas. Similar to the Maibock, the Vintage Ale isn't really a summer beer, but a treat none the less!

Anybody try either of these beers yet? What are your thoughts??

**Check out this easy and awesome recipe from Capital's Website**

Beer Cheese Veggie Soup

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 6 C chicken stock
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 3/4 C flour
  • 1 1/2 C milk
  • 1 bottle Capital Maibock
  • 2 C cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 C minced parsley
  • Salt and white pepper

Simmer onion, celery, and carrot in 2 cups stock until tender, about 20 minutes. In a large soup pot, melt butter and stir in flour. Gradually stir in remaining stock. Add milk, beer, and vegetables to stock. Cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Before serving, add cheese. Cook slowly, until melted. Stir in parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Beer Review: Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA

I like IPA's. At first it seemed like a mouthful of cut grass and citrus fruit.. but eventually I began to enjoy a great India Pale Ale for many different reasons. I enjoy a floral fuller bodied, hoppy, and bitter beer that finishes with citrus notes and lingers politely on the palate. My 3 favorite hoppy beers are:
1. Hazed & Infused- Boulder Beer Co.
2. Hopalicious- Ale Asylum
3. Two Hearted Ale-Bell's Brewing Co.
After drinking the Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA I fully understand why I love this style of beer so much and this particular IPA might become one of...if not my favorite. The aroma and taste are very hoppy, with citrus and light caramel notes. The 7.0 %Alc/vol is very evident in both the initial taste and finish. The bitterness of the aftertaste lasts for minutes! The Racer 5 is exactly what I desire from an IPA, but I wasn't very sure this would be the case. After researching a bit both online and talking to other beer drinkers I began to get the notion that Bear Republic beers are top notch, but somewhat underrated. It could be just in Wisconsin, but in the liquor store all the Racer 5 had been collecting dust and isn't a real strong seller. This IPA isn't for the faint of heart or a rolling rock drinker for example, but for anyone willing to let a beer totally take over their taste buds the Racer 5 IPA is the one!! Bear Republic's motto is "bigger is better" and they remain a dedicated, loyal family of brewers who want to provide consistent service and quality to their customers at their brewpub and nationwide. Their website features a great article on how to pair their beer with dessert. This would be an incredible way to sample some of their beers and expand your drinking horizons. After all, pairing food with beer is a great excuse for us all to drink more beer!! Any Hopheads out there?? What is your favorite pale beer??

Retails $3-5 per 22oz btl Rating
An India Pale Ale (IPA) brewed by
Bear Republic Brewing Company

Healdsburg, California USA


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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Beer Review: Czechvar

The other day while working at the liquor store I was assisting a customer. We talked about Czechvar's history and legal situations with Budweiser, how it is a beer named after the historic beer making city of Budweis. This beer is labeled Budvar, but in America we get it as Czechvar. I hadn't the privilege of consuming this bohemian pilsener styled lager yet which is Czech for "Czech Brewery". He went a step further by arranging for a cashier to give me a bottle out of his 6 pack. If there is a beer Heaven that guy is going to it for sure. Not only a great gesture but then this allowed me the opportunity to improve this beer even more because it was "free". So in his anonymous honor I have cracked this bohemian beer from a historic brewery and am pleasantly surprised. It carries a golden color and relatively light texture. It's refreshing with a slight hoppiness, but is balanced and has a somewhat lingering finish typical for a pilsener. However, this beer gives hints of the green beer syndrome. This is a bad skunkiness for me which results in a somewhat bitter aftertaste (unlike good skunkiness for IPA's and pastime college habits :) I can respect Czechvar for what it's worth, but really isn't the beer for me. Learn more about Czechvar! Check out this great article from Micheal Jackson's Beer Hunter posts on the Czech Republic's brewing history "Does the world understand Czech beers?"

Rating from, Retail $2-4/11.2oz btl
A Bohemian Pilsener brewed by
Budweiser Budvar Ceske Budejovice

České Budějovice, Czech Republic


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10733.25/5.03.25/5.05%85.5 Flute, Footed Pilsner

Readers...whats your rating? Any thoughts on Czechvar?
How about beer out of green bottles???

What up and thanks for reading!

Greetings for my first post! This blog may head into many different directions, but we must never forget our roots. My roots stem from a passion to always try new things whether it be a new wine, cliff jumping, or trying to go after a lady that is out of my league. I am not afraid to drink Argentian Malbecs, rich Imperial Stouts, and liquors like St. Brendan's or Svedka. This blog is about tasting and exceeding your previous boundaries. I am not an expert and will never claim to be, so follow suit. Instead of buying fancy wines and trying to impress readers, I will continue on as a bargain shopper who loves a great value. Throughout this process my goal is too have the most fun and to always drink responsibly...most of the time ha! Please join me on this adventure and include your thoughts, tasting notes, opinions, sarcastic comments, jokes, pictures, etc...

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