Beer #195 Cigar City Criterium Ale

Cigar City Criterium Ale

Cigar City Criterium Ale

Name: Criterium Ale (2012)

Style: American Pale Wheat Ale

Brewery:  Cigar City Brewing  website

Country: USA

Region: Tampa, Florida

ABV: 5.0% abv

How served:  750ml capped bottle poured into a Franziskaner weizen glass.

My Overall Opinion: Good 3 Stars a

I paired this beer with:  Grilled salmon and grilled asparagus.

Tasted on:  Monday February 18, 2013

Notes: Wheat Ale Brewed With Bitter Curacao Peel.  Bottled on January 30, 2012.  So please note and take into account that I am drinking and reviewing this beer which is now past its prime

This beer poured a clear golden color with a large 3 finger billowing head and left an nice thick lacing on the glass.       

The nose was very light with hints of bready yeast and orange zest.          

The taste started off with a light sweet wheat bready tasted then quickly bites you with some bitterness from the hops and orange zest taste.  This beer had a medium long finish which was a moderately strong leaning towards the dry bitter side.

The body was crisp with a light to medium body with a moderate level of lively carbonation.

Overall the drinkability was good, but I wish I drank this brew 9 months ago.

On the Label:  Ever see bikes move faster than cars?  You will on Saturday, March 31, 2012 in Tampa’s Downtown!

Criterium – style bicycle racing – like stock car racing on two wheels.   Hang out at tampa’s Longest bar with a beer.  Grab a bite from a food truck or sidewalk café. Run in the 5k race.  Sports enthusiasts, cyclists of all types, families and foodies with all find something to enjoy at the largest one day bike event in the state.  www.tampacrit.com

From their website:  ABV: 5%  IBU: OG:  SRM:

March 31, 2012- – –

Ever see bikes move faster than cars? You will on Saturday, March 31, 2012 in Tampa’s Downtown!

Criterium-style bicycle racing – like stock car racing on two wheels. Hang out at Tampa’s Longest Bar with a beer. Grab a bite from a food truck or sidewalk café. Run in the 5k race. Sports enthusiasts, cyclists of all types, families and foodies will all find something to enjoy at the largest one day bike event in the state. www.tampacrit.com

Criterium Ale is a beer that we plan to change every year for the Cigar City Brewing Criterium & Street Festival. This year’s Criterium Ale is an American wheat ale with bitter curacao peel added.

Tasting Notes

This American wheat ale is light gold in color and has a slight haze from the use of wheat. Criterium Ale is a crisp wheat beer that has a refreshing hop flavor that is contributed by New Zealand and Australian hop varietals. Motueka, Galaxy and Pacifica lend a complex melange of citrus character and mesh beautifully with bitter orange peel to provide a full flavored yet light refreshing beer. Pair this beer with food truck fare and cycling while sitting at the world’s longest bar.

Bon Beer Voyage

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Beer #194 Blue Mountain Mandolin

Blue Mountain Mandolin

Blue Mountain Mandolin

Name: Mandolin

Style: Tripel

Brewery:  Blue Mountain Brewery  website

Country: USA

Region: Afton, Virginia

ABV: 9.0% abv

How served:  750ml corked and caged poured into my Piraat snifter.   

My Overall Opinion: Good + 3 Stars a 1/2

I paired this beer with:  Crab cakes with mango pineapple salsa and watermelon arugula salad.

Blue Mountain Mandolin with dinner

Blue Mountain Mandolin with dinner

Tasted on:  Thursday February 14, 2013

Notes: Best by March 2013 stamped on the cork

There was a muted hiss as the cork was pulled out of the bottle.  The poured a mostly clear golden-amber with a 1 ½ off white head which left almost no lacing on my glass.       

The nose had hints of yeast, pepper, apples, sweet malts and earthy tones.         

The taste started off a bit earthy, spicy and peppery.   Midway thought I picked up some light apple and citrus notes as well as some sweetness.  The finish was clean and dry with no evidence of the 9% abv.

The body was medium and slightly tacky as the carbonation level was lower than anticipate.

Overall the drinkability was good and paired well with my dinner.

On the Label:  A deep golden beer born of a single malt. Balance derived from whole-flower hops. Created from water drawn deep beneath the feet of the world’s oldest mountains. Flavor driven by a faithful dedication to excess. All brought to life by yeast from a holy place. Great beer is a riddle that does not need to be solved!

100% bottle refermented.  Store cool and upright to keep in peak condition and avoid disturbing naturally settled yeast.

STATISTICS

Alc 9% by Vol.  34 IBU’s  21.6° Plato

Proudly brewed and bottled in the heart of Virginia.  Blue Mountain Barrel House, LLC

495 Cooperative Way Arrington, Nelson County, Va 22922

Sister Beer:

Steel Wheels E.S.B.   What’s this? Find out at www.bluemountainbarrel.com

From their website:

Mandolin Artisanal Ale

24° Plato, 50 IBUs, and 10% ABV

(Note different Plato, IBU & %ABV listed on bottle)

A pale beer born of a single malt. Balance derived from whole-flower hops. Created from water drawn deep beneath the feet of the world’s oldest mountains. Flavor driven by a faithful dedication to excess. All brought to life by yeast from a holy place. Great beer is a riddle that does not need to be solved!

Available as long as each batch lasts, March-July.

Bon Beer Voyage

Beer # 193 De Molen Lief & Leed

De Molen Lief & Leed

De Molen Lief & Leed

Name: Lief & Leed

Style: Sour Ale

Brewery:  Brouwerij De Molen   website

Country: Netherlands

Region: Bodegraven

ABV: 6.2% abv

How served:  750ml corked and caged poured into my La Chouffe tulip glass.

My Overall Opinion: Very Good.  4 Stars a

I paired this beer with:  Roquefort cheese and a hard Italian salami.

Tasted on:  Sunday February 03, 2013

Notes: Bottled on 29 June 2012

The 1st time I tasted this beer was on tap during our tour at Brouwerij De Molen in October 2012.  My initial impression was that of a souped-up Rodenbach Grand Cru (Flemish Red Ale).  I liked the beer so much at that time that I purchased a few bottles to bring home, including to one I’m having now.  Can’t wait to return to De Molen in October were we will be having a tour of the brewery as well as a beer paired dinner! 

 This beer poured a hazy brownish-orange with a 1 finger off white head which left a thin lacing on my glass.

The nose included berries, leather, woody, funk and barnyard aromas with a hint of sweet and sour.        

 The taste of this brew starts off tart with some sweetness to balance it out.  Like with the nose, I picked up some berries/cherries as well as some woody notes.   The tartness and funkiness  of this beer made you feel very refreshed and wanting more. It finished on the dry side.

The body was light to medium light and had a low level of carbonation level. .

The drinkability was very good especially with what was paired it with.

It will be interesting to see what a few years of aging on my other bottle will add to this beer.

On the Label:

Sour Ale.  Strong beer/Bière forte.

12.5° Plato , EBC 52, 10 EBU

Ingredients: water, pale, cara and roasted barley malts, saaz hops (bittering), yeast (top fermenting).

Enjoy within 10 years. Keep cool and dark.

Recommended drinking temperature 7° C.

Product of the Netherlands/Produit des Pays-Bas.

Produced by/Produit par:

Brouwerij de Molen, Doortocht 4, NL-2411 DS Bodegraven.

please drink responsibly

bottled on: see back label

no deposit please recycle

unpasteurized

6.2% ALC./Vol  75cl/750ml

 From their website:  Nothing here on this beer.

  Bon Beer Voyage

A Beery Merry Christmas!

Our 2012 Christmas List

Our 2012 Christmas List

Let the Festivities Begin!

 

The Bruery 2 Turtle Doves 

Au Baron (Bailleux)  Saison Saint Médard Noël

Ommegang Biere D’Hougoumont

Gouden Carolus Noël

Fantôme de Noël

St Bernardus Christmas Ale

Scaldis (Bush) Noël

Mikkeller Santa’s Little Helper 2011

Abbaye des Rocs Triple Impériale

Corsendonk Christmas Ale

Three Floyds Alpha Klaus Christmas Porter

Dugges High Five!

Westvleteren XII (x 2)

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout 2009

Stone 12 Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout

 

This is what’s on our Christmas List, we hope you get everything on your Christmas List too!

Happy Holidays!

Ruth & Mike

Bon Beer Voyage

Bringing Back Beercation Beer… To Ship or To Schlep?

Bringing Back Beercation Beer (BBBB)…

To Ship or To Schlep?

Are you going to go on a Beeration over the holidays? Do you plan to bring home some special brews with you?

Well then read on…

One of them most frequent questions I get asked from our beercation guests is “What is the best way to bring beer back home from Belgium?”

Although this answer is based on shipping or schlepping from Belgium, the basics of packing and shipping apply, regardless from  where you are BBBB!

This is getting more complicated to answer each year because of all the airline restrictions on the weight of your suitcases as well as the number of bags you are allowed to check-in without a fee. As you know, this can vary from carrier to carrier, some are free & some charge an arm & a leg. Other variables include how much of the green stuff ($) you’re willing to spend vs. how much you are willing to schlep your beer to get it to and from the airport.   

To help you decide, first, you should find out what your airline charges for baggage fees. Then you can compare it to the cost of shipping. 

If you want to ship (mail) beer from Belgium to the US:

Good News is that there are National Postal service offices in Bruges & Brussels and in all major metro areas.

The Bad News is the Cost is pretty steep.
To ship to the USA, approximate prices are: 52 euro for 10KG(22lbs), 78 euro for 20KG(44lbs) and 102 euro for 30KG(66lbs).

In USD assuming an exchange rate of 1.35 then 52 euro = $70.20 for 22 pounds; 78 euro = $105.30 for 44 pounds & 102 euro = $137.70 for 66 pounds.

Weight wise, a case of 750ml bottles (12) can be between 33 – 42 pounds depending on the weight of the glass.  The weight can vary greatly as some champagne style bottles weigh 4 pounds & the small bottles (11.2oz) can weight about 1.2 pounds each.

So once you do the math, you can determine how much you want to spend to ship vs schlep the beer home yourself.

How To ship: You can most likely get boxes at some of the beer bottle shops. Some of the breweries you visit might have one of two to spare…but there are no guarantees to find a box.  The Post Office might have some boxes, but the “green” movement is very big there and it is getting more and more difficult to find bubble wrap and cardboard boxes in Europe. So at the very least, make sure to bring a roll of bubble wrap and packing tape with you (or, even better, if you have one, an empty wine shipper).

To pack your beer, wrap up in bubble wrap or put it into a Styrofoam beer/wine holders and secure snugly in shipping box. Make sure your address includes “USA”. Take to Post office to ship. You might have to fill out forms at the post office. If you do, make sure you say it is for personal consumption.

Shipping downfalls: Besides being very pricey, it could take a long time to receive your beer. It will have to clear customs in the US, which is much more difficult than at the airport. There is also a higher risk of losing your packages by sending them this way.

To bring beer back on the plane with you

Either check on, pack in your suitcase, or carry on the plane a large lightweight empty duffel bag with a roll of bubble wrap and packing tape (or, even better, if you have one, an empty Styrofoam wine/beer shipper).  At the end of the trip just bubble wrap all the bottles then place them in your “hard suitcase” and cushion with some of your clothing. Use the large duffel bag to stash the rest of the clothes that will not fit in your hard suitcase because there is beer inside. You might want to also pack a few small garbage bags to put your wrapped beer bottles in, just in case there is breakage.  This is the method most people use, including me, and is the safest and cheapest. Customs is no hassle, however I recommend that you still declare that you have beer and the value of all the beer you are bringing home. Most likely you will not have to pay any taxes and it will not be confiscated.  By bring the beer home with you on the plane there is less risk of the beer getting lost and you will get you beer much quicker since it will arrive home when you do!

(Besides using bubble wrap, other ways to “protect” you beer bottels are to slip a bottle into a heavy sock and then roll it up with a t-shirt or a pairs of jeans/slacks).

Downfall of bring beer back on the plane: You need to schlep a very heavy suitcase (full of beer) to the airport.

Additional precautions and thoughts: Sometimes we also take large ziplocs and/or Saran wrap for extra wrapping. Most important to remember though, is though the beer will be good when you get it home, it is never the same as the joy of drinking great beer at the source, so don’t forget to enjoy your brews when you are there, in the moment, on Beercation!

Cheers!

Bon Beer Voyage

Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus

Today’s Brewery of the Day:

Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus

Polderweg 2 Deinze-Gottem Belgium

Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus

We’ve just returned from France & Belgium where we met with some of the brewers and vendors for our upcoming October 27th –November 3rd Bon Beer Voyage beer tour:  “Grand Crus to Farmhouse Brews- A Beercation Cruise through Belgium & France”

During this trip we visited 3 fabulous breweries on the French side of the border, 5 on the Belgian side as well as one French genièvre distillery.  In France, we visited Brasserie St Germain, Brasserie Thiriez & Brasserie Bailleux (where we had lunch in their magnificent restaurant Au Baron). In Belgium, wevisited Brouwerij Rodenbach, Brouwerij St Bernardus, Brouwerij Van Eecke, Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus & Chimay.

Over the next few days we will be highlighting each of the breweries on our tour as well as sharing some beery cool information on the beer scene in Lille.  For those who want a quick look at the amazing Day by Day Itinerary of the Grand Crus to Farmhouse Brews- A Beercation Cruise click here.

Brewery of the Day: Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus

Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus is the smaller building in this photo

Sint Canarus is an extremely small brewery which makes really “big” beers.  They are located about a half hour drive southwest of Gent in the small town of Gottem (for you Batman fans, you can call it Gottem City).

Dr Canarus

The owner and brew-master Piet Meirhaeghe – who is better known in the beer world as Dr. Canarus, has a very interesting sense of humor which he imparts on his brewery.  Both Dr. Canarus & his brewery get their name from a local drinking club, called “Semper Canarus” which translates to always drunk.  Also, the word canard meets duck, and if you see a duck walk we would say it waddles, or looks drunk, therefore the word canard is slang for a drunkard. 

Below you will see Dr. Canarus hard at work serving up some of his fantastic brews

Dr Canarus serving up some of the fabulous brews at Sint Canarus

Bottles for sale at Sint Canarus

Beers available at Sint Canarus the day we were there included:

Export, his Pilsner is 4.6%abv

Sint Canarus Tripel 7.5%abv

Sint Canarus Tripel

Maeght van Gottem (which translates to the Virgin of Gottem) is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 7.0%abv and inside every bottle, placed by hand, is a single hop cone.

Potteloereke 8% abv a Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Pere Canard, which would translate to drunk father was originally brewed for Christmas and is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9%abv.

Sint Canarus Pere Canard

Sint Canarus 10 jaar 8.72%abv, his 10th anniversary brew, is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Rule of Thirds (Import Series Vol 4) is a Tripel at 8%abv.   A Saison Darkly (Import Series Vol 2) is a Saison at 8.0%abv. Both of these are collaborations with Stillwater Artisanal Ales and brewed here.

Here is Dr Canarus serving up Rule of Thirds (Import Series Vol 4)

Dr Canarus serving Rule of Thirds his collaboration with Stillwater Artisanal Ales

 Here is a peek at the “Large” brewery seen behind Ruth as she enjoys her Pere Canard:

Ruth enjoying her Pere Canard at Sint Carnarus

Currently, Potteloereke & Sint Canarus Tripel are their only “non- collaboration” beers which are being imported to the USA (12% Imports) and they not too easy to find-so we hope you’ll join us for our awesome upcoming beer trip-  “Grand Crus to Farmhouse Brews- A Beercation Cruise through Belgium & France”  where you can enjoy these wonderful beers and experience the special humor of Dr. Canarus  yourself! 

Ruth & Mike at Sint Canarus

Cheers from Mike & Ruth! 

Bon Beer Voyage

Brasserie Bailleux / Restaurant Au Baron

We’ve just returned from France & Belgium where we met with some of the brewers and vendors for our upcoming October 27th –November 3rd Bon Beer Voyage beer tour:  “Grand Crus to Farmhouse Brews- A Beercation Cruise through Belgium & France”

During this trip we visited 3 fabulous breweries on the French side of the border, 5 on the Belgian side as well as one French genièvre distillery.  In France, we visited Brasserie St Germain, Brasserie Thiriez & Brasserie Bailleux (where we had lunch in their magnificent restaurant Au Baron). In Belgium, wevisited Brouwerij Rodenbach, Brouwerij St Bernardus (where we stayed at the Brouwershuis), Brouwerij Van Eecke, Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus & Chimay(where we stayed at  l’Auberge de Poteaupré).

Over the next few days we will be highlighting each of the breweries on our tour as well as sharing some beery cool information on the beer scene in Lille.  For those who want a quick look at the amazing Day by Day Itinerary of the Grand Crus to Farmhouse Brews- A Beercation Cruise click here.

Restaurant Au Baron & Brasserie Bailleux

Today’s Brewery of the Day:

Brasserie Bailleux / Restaurant Au Baron

2 rue du Piemont  Gussignies, France

Brewer Alain Bailleux grilling in their copper brew kettle

 Au Baron was started as a small tavern in the petite French town of Gussignies by Alain Bailleux and his wife Danielle Baron Bailleux in 1973.  By 1981 they turned this tavern into a wonderfully quaint restaurant with a grill made from a copper brew kettle!  In 1989 Alain, a brewer, with the help of his father (who also happens to be a brewer, as was his grandfather) built Brasserie Bailleux in the back of the restaurant.   This multi-generation family of brewers has now passed this brewing art onto Alain’s son Xavier.

Brasserie Bailleux is run by only 4 employees and make 3 year round brews and a Christmas beer.  We are excited that this year’s batch of Christmas beer will be finished brewing when we return in November on our “Grand Crus to Farmhouse Brews- A Beercation Cruise through Belgium & France”

The 3 year-round beers are: 

Au Baron Cuvée des Jonquilles

Cuvée des Jonquilles 7% abv. A Bière de Garde brewed with dandelions.   Cuvée des Jonquilles has a marvelous looking head with a fantastic nose. Also look at that nice thick lacing left on the glass!

What a great nose on the Cuvée des Jonquilles

Saison Saint Médard Ambrée & Saison Saint Médard Brune both are 7% abv Saisons / Farmhouse Ales named after the patron saint of the parish of Gussignies.   Pictured here is the Saison Saint Médard Ambrée

Au Baron Saison Saint Médard Ambrée a 7% abv Saison

 The restaurant was packed with locals enjoying the great food and beer at Au Baron.

Restaurant Au Baron

Restaurant Au Baron

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Salade du Berger, which is salad, tomato, walnuts and toast topped with warm goat cheese

For lunch Ruth had the Salade du Berger, which is a salad with tomatoes, walnuts and toast topped with warm fresh goat cheese.  I had the plat de jour, which was a beef carbonnade made using the Saison Saint Médard Ambrée… Yummy!!

Inside the Restaurant is a shop to buy local delicacies and of course their delicious beer!

Local products for sale inside Au Baron

Here are a few photos inside the brewery: 

Brasserie Bailleux

Brasserie Bailleux

Currently, Cuvee de Jonquilles is the only beer imported to the USA (12% Imports) and not so easy to find-so we hope you’ll join us for our awesome upcoming beer trip-  “Grand Crus to Farmhouse Brews- A Beercation Cruise through Belgium & France” so you can enjoy the wonderful ambiance at Au Baron and try some of these fabulous beers and delicious food for yourself! 

 

Mike, Ruth and Brewer Alain Bailleux

Cheers from Mike, Ruth & Alain! 

Bon Beer Voyage

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