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Hop in the Dark – Cascadian Dark Ale

Posted in ale, ipa, Uncategorized with tags , on July 21, 2010 by Mick

As some of you may know, I will be a married man in about two weeks. In part of that preparation, i have been dieting and almost 30 pounds later, im one hella shapely bastard. During this time, ive been avoiding some huge B’s – Big, badass burritos coupled with big, badass beers. When i hit the 30 pound mark, it was time to celebrate.

I went to my local corner beer mart (Whole Foods, believe it or not) and picked up a couple celebratory pints, (the other being Blind Pig) including Deschutes Hop in the Dark. At 200 calories per 12oz serving, i was ready.

As soon as i cracked open the bottle and poured it into my Imperial pint glass, i immediately stopped pouring. The beer was BLACK with a caramel brown head. What the what? I continue pouring, and i can say is “Stout, stout, porter, stout, porter…”

Hey, if it walks like a duck, and quacks like one….

But does it taste like one?

NO! It smells and tastes like an IPA. Imagine biting into a NY slice, expecting spicy sauce, greasy cheese and salty crust, and tasting only marshmallows. Its a little discomforting.

I like the beer ok, i just cant wrap my head around it. I get WHY its black…i get WHY it tastes like an IPA, but i dont get why the combo kinda works. Crystal and Munich malts give it the darkness, and the hops come from a blend of Centennial, Citra and of course, Cascadian hops.

Im probably new to this mish mash, but i gotta say, despite being thrown off at first, id be willing to take another plunge off the diet.

My score – 88 out of 100

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BABAC 2.0 Meet Up

Posted in Uncategorized on October 4, 2009 by Mick

BABAC – Bay Area Bourbon Aficionado’s Club.

A plethora of delicious bourbon (and Tom's anger in the background)

A plethora of delicious bourbon (and Tom's anger in the background)

About three or four months ago i had the idea of getting some dudes together to do what i do daily….swill some bourbon, grill meat, talk about bourbon and eat meat. I had some pretty basic rules, bring a bottle, bring some food. Something that interests you, that youve had, or something you wanna try for the first time.

Our inaugural meeting was the first week in September, and despite the amazing weather and me grilling buffalo burgers, only 6 people were brave enough to cross the bridge from San Francisco to my house in Oakland.

This week however, hosted at Mills’ Manor, brought 20 people, a shit ton of bourbon, and some pretty amazing pork shoulder.

Mr John Mills of Mills Manor

Mr John Mills of Mills Manor

We had a pretty decent variety of bourbon, spanning from the standards like Elijah Craig 12 Year and Eagle Rare, all the way to the most badass George T Stagg’s 142 proof (71% abv). Definitely not for the weak. I now know what dragons feel like. And yeah…..we finished off Steve’s bottle.

stagg

We tried to all taste the same thing at the same time, and compare notes, but it becomes a shitshow, when well….youre drinking bourbon. Alot of bourbon. Eventually, we said “fuck it” and just had a good time. Enough bourbon, and you start talking about rat rods, secret walls and rooms in your house, and yes, of course, midget sex.

Once the night died down, we all had a pleasant afternoon buzz, and went home planning the November and December (holiday party!) BABAC meetups.

For more pictures, check my Flickr for the rest.

Where TF? House of Shields

Posted in Uncategorized on September 22, 2009 by Mick

Every once in awhile, im going ot make a post of my favorite places to swill some suds. Granted, i know Yelp exists for that, but this is more of a tribute to the Bar Hall of Fame in my mind. Or in other words,

Where the Fuck is Mick Drinking.

taken from the House of Shields website

taken from the House of Shields website

House of Shields is a San Francisco staple that opened just over 100 years ago in 1908, and continues to deliver some of the best times a Financial District happy hour can offer. Especially when you marry sassy bartendresses, heavy pours, cheap tabs and shots. Hoy.

Occasionally, they will feature live music, but if youve ever in the place, you know because of the size of the teeny upstairs, its more of a hearing performance than a seeing thing. Matter of fact, if you dont know a band is playing, you would think that they were playing live music over their music system.

Ive been going here for years, and have never had a bad time. Ive been over charged, undercharged and supercharged, through the best and worst times, but ive always walked away with a huge grin.

House of Shields is like a time machine for me….it takes me back to the Barbary Coast days, when the booze flowed as freely as the high-test blood in the denizens’ veins.

Stop by and remember one thing, if you get a shot of Fernet, offer one to the bartender.

Buck 8 Year Bourbon

Posted in Uncategorized on September 14, 2009 by Mick

buckMy my….

What a little mystery you are, Buck. I received you as a gift from one of the members in my BABAC group (Bay Area Bourbon Aficionados Club) as a goodwill measure for missing my girlfriend’s karaoke party.

You follow?

Anyway, regardless of where this bourbon came from, i could find like NO information about it on the internet, short of “Hey, have you ever heard of Buck Bourbon?” or “Who has heard of Buck bourbon?” The picture you see is one i took in my own dining room. Why? I couldnt find a better one, er uhh…one at all, on the internet…..Its a weird one.

I cant figure it out….so bottle stats….bottle shape is akin to Four Roses…it states its 8 years old, 90 proof and some blah blah about ranch hands. I rarely pay attention to backstories on bourbon unless it has the words “Elmer T Lee” or “George T Stagg”….

My tasting notes….damn….not bad for a bourbon ive never heard of….strong buttery vanilla and a little nutiness….i take the first swig and i get hit with what reminds me of a SWEET Knob Creek. Its almost a little too sweet, but i think it just caught me off guard.

Weighing in at 90 proof, its surprisingly smooth, and tastes just as good on rocks as it does neat. The sweetness of it is at first, a little disconcerting, but it definitely aids in taking the edge off of the heat.

Im a bit surprised across the board on this little bourbon….especially where its from….SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA.

Yeah…this shit is made like a half an hour from my house. And i think its just fine.

I dont so much recommend this for a sipping bourbon, as its ok….but i think it would make a fine Manhattan or old-fashioned.

But i think that all around, if it were to enter the bourbon world, Buck is a great beginner to the other “big B names”.

My score is 84 out of 100 points.

Michter’s 10 Year Single Barrel Bourbon

Posted in Uncategorized on August 2, 2009 by Mick

michters10So as i said in the last post, i was off celebrating my 35th birthday. Nothing huge, but it was the best times ive had in a long time with the best people i know.

And thats all you can ask for.

Even in the most perfect of moments, there are bonuses. Like, when you order a steak, gorgeous meat, perfectly rare, but the kicker is the au poivre sauce, or roquefort cheese crumbled on it. Bonuses man…..bonuses.

I had secured a spot in Bourbon and Branch for about a dozen or so of my favorite people for an intimate, quieter party. Let me tell you Bay Area folks…if you like whiskies and artisan cocktails, look no further. I could review this place alone. That’s another time.

B&B features a HUGE selection of hard to find bourbons, and since my friends knew i loved the stuff, i couldnt buy my own drink if i wanted to. My good friend Ernie and i got this Michter’s 10 Year Single Barrel. I saw the bottle calling to me. Ive always wanted to try it, but ive never seen it in a bar, nor wanted to pony up the $100 for a bottle of my own.

And here is the bonus…FUCK ME. I go on alot about complexity, but seriously. Its amazing how many flavors you can get from corn and oak barrels. Immediately your nose gets hit with maple, then butterscotch. And there seems to be no heat off the nose either. Which around 90 proof (this is 91.4) things can get hot. But you can tell its going to be smooth. First sip is incredibly mapley yet floral, and finishes with spice. But its the SECOND sip that things kinda change. I dont know if its the air, or what…but it gets less mapley, and more floral, but still with a spicey ALMOST cinnamon-like finish. Its body was amazingly viscous, and definitely coated your mouth, but it wasnt at syrupy.

I think we used the phrase “orally efficient”. Heh. Well, short of how funny that sounds, its true..its a bang for the buck.

THIS is the kind of bourbon that seperates the men from the boys.

It was hard to try different bourbons after this, especially with a spoiled palate this night. But i can say this, why bother switching it up when you have a glass of bronze perfection in your hand.

The price is a little lofty and intimidating at first, but you know what? So is a mint condition 1954 Mercedes Benz 300SL gullwing.

My score – 98 out of 100.

Quick Update – WhereTF Has Mick Been?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 2, 2009 by Mick

This is a quick note for the 16 proof of you (thats 8 people) that read this lil booze blog.

Ive been away celebrating my 35th birthday, and in celebrating, enjoying many MANY excellent spirits. (Thanks to someone else’s kind wallet)

So, eventually, i will get to reviewing them all.

Beer, bourbon, rye, tequila, Scottish whisky, and maybe even COFFEE.

So stay tuned, im going to churn a few out today.

Lagunitas A Lil’ Sumpin Sumpin Ale

Posted in Uncategorized on June 17, 2009 by Mick

sumpinTo me, Laginitas can really do no wrong…(well, Hairy Eyeball….ugh…another story…..)

Especially in the hops department. Lagunitas never fails to deliver on the hops, and is damn proud of it, often listing the beer bitterness measurement (IBU’s) right on the bottle.  As ive said in past reviews, despite it being my favorite species of beer, the IPA is sometimes just too much to handle with a certain meal your making, or just to cool off on a hot day.

Enter A Lil Sumpin Sumpin.

This beer has some very VERY strong peach smells off the cork, coupled with the traditional, citrusey grapefruit smells you get with some of the better quality IPAs. The smell doesnt stop there….toss in the body off of a heff, and you have the Sumpin Sumpin.

Weighing around 7 – 8% ABV, its no summer sissy, but it refreshes like any pilsner out there.

I bit the bullet and enjoyed this one along a miso glazed yellowfin tuna i broiled, coupled qwith some wasabi rice. Amazingly, it was delicate to accompany the miso, and strong enough to kick the fire in the wasabi. Im becoming a HUGE Lagunitas advocate, and i think all it took was this little seasonal ale to win me over.

Much respeck, Lags, much repseck.

My score – 95 out of 100…especially coupled with food.

*Thank you BeerAdvocate for the IMPOSSIBLE to find image.