Monday, September 29, 2008

New Beer Monday - Bananas and Chocolate

(Mondays suck. So in an effort to make them better, I am now starting "New Beer Mondays" to cheer us all up a little bit. Check back every Monday for a new beer review or subscribe to Beer Chick Feed!)

"Me me me me me ooh ooh ooh me me me!" That's the response that I normally gave whenever my Grandmother would ask "Who wants banana bread?" Fresh and hot from the oven, there's not much better in this world. So imagine my thrill when I was looking for new beers to try and I came across Wells Banana Bread Beer. This beer's been around for a while and I'd heard of it before, but when I saw it there shining in the case I found myself jumping up and down clapping saying "Me me me me me ooh ooh ooh me me me!" The beer chicks will love this one!

I thought that this beer was going to be a huge Bavarian Hefe style that uses a specific kind of yeast that produces big banana aromatics. Instead this beer actually uses Fairtrade bananas in the mash of this "liquid bread."

I also thought that this beer was going to be super malty and sweet and taste just like banana bread. It doesn't. But not in a bad way. The beer is surprisingly balanced and dry, with more of a tart and peppery finish than I was expecting. The banana comes through in the beginning of this beer in the nose and then again at the end in the exhaust. If you are a beer fan and like bananas, you will dig this brew. 5.2% ABV.

This beer is made by Wells and Young, from Bedford, UK. Its actually a pretty big brewery with several different beers. On the Young's side, they used to make a great beer that I loved called Young's Oatmeal Stout (which they stopped and that makes me cry) and now they make a beer called Young's Double Chocolate Stout. Which is... Oh, what the hell, I might as well write about this beer too!

You can pretty much take Young's Double Chocolate Stout right to the bank. It's exactly what it says it is. Rich, creamy and chocolatey. This beer is made with both the addition of chocolate malt and real dark chocolate. A lot of times I think that we Americans think that chocolate with milk chocolate and think that it all tastes sweet, but that's not really the case.

This beer is once again, pretty well balanced. Its definitely chocolatey, but its not too cloying or too sweet. You're not drinking a chocolate shake here, and the carbonation, while creamy, definitely provides a lifting off the palate.

Don't be afraid of the dark ladies, there's nothing bitter or biting about this beer. If you like chocolate, you'll be in heaven with this one. 5.2% ABV.

Written by The Beer Chick, September 29, 2008

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Beers To Your Health

Beer has been used in celebrations since ancient times. Now, many researchers report that moderate alcohol consumption may help reduce risks of serious illnesses like heart disease, stroke and diabetes. However, did you know that beer, in particular, has more unique health contributions beyond what other alcoholic beverages offer?

One study of over 300 heart disease patients found that while all types of alcohol may lower the risk of heart disease, those who consumed beer- mainly or exclusively, had the strongest connection. Other studies show that beer's antioxidant, vitamin B6 and folate content are also proving to be beneficial to health.

Beer also contains silicon, which helps with bone formation. Silicon is usually found in high fiber cereal grains like barley, rye and wheat, which are what is used in beer. London researchers found that eating foods containing silicon improved bone density in both men and women. In addition, beer is the source of disease-fighting antioxidants called polyphenols which can prevent cell damage that may lead to cancer and heart disease.

What about getting a "beer belly?" Well, according to European studies, the "beer belly" is a misconception. Following all of the "low-carb" trends, beer got a bad rap. However, beer is a fermented product, meaning that some of the ingredients that go into a beer undergo a chemical reaction that changes those ingredients. The sugar that you start out with when you brew a beer is almost entirely consumed by yeast in the fermentation process, meaning that there are very few "carbs" in the end product.

In fact, beer contains less calories than the average cocktail. According to the USDA, the average regular beer is around 150 calories, whereas your average mixed drink contains around 300 calories. Some cocktails like the Black Russian, Pina Colada or Margarita are well over 400 calories a pop. And lets consider the things that beer doesn't contain. Beer has no caffeine, no fat and no cholesterol and is very low in sodium.

So cheers, salut, prost. Celebrate with beer - as always, in moderation.
Who knew a brew could be so good for you?

Written by The Beer Chick

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Saturday, September 20, 2008


I'm so stoked to be in this month's issue of Gourmet Magazine. I've subscribed to this magazine since I was 12, so I'm thrilled beyond words. I hope that you will pick it up if you see it and check it out! I'm on page 56. Right after a really great story on old (in business for six decades or more) bars! They included two of my very favorites, The Green Mill in Chicago, IL. and Tujague's (pronounced "Two Jacks") in New Orleans, LA. Woo hoo! Nice chops huh?

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Thursday, September 18, 2008


After all that's happened this year, I decided to treat myself for my birthday. So I asked myself, ...I said, "Self, if you could do anything on your birthday this year, what would it be?" And myself said, "I'd be sitting in San Francisco at the Toronado bar, drinking some yummy beers." So that's what I did. I jumped in Clover (my Land Rover) and headed North, to the land of the Golden Gate and beers-a-plenty: to the heart of the microbrew revolution and the home of Anchor Brewing Company and my friends and fellow beer chick Kasey.

The Toronado was rockin, as it ended up being Lagunitas (nice brewery from Petaluma, CA) Night, which was cool. Their draught and bottle lists were amazing. We definitely got some looks when we walked in as there weren't too many beer chicks in there, but as soon as the bartender heard us order some great beers (instead of asking for something "light") we were in. And I always like the odds when the ratio is more men to women. The place is a bit of a dive, but has so much character that you'll love it if you're cool.

Here are the awesome beers we had there!

Elysian Avatar Jasmine IPA - Seattle, WA - draught
Elysian Night at the Toronado happened to be happening the next night and I met someone from the brewery at the bar when I went to order my first beer. I told him about Beer for Chicks and he suggested that I try their Jasmine IPA, which I did. It was good. Its the kind of beer I'm into, an experimental American IPA. This means the beer is big, with nice floral and herbaceous jasmine notes. This beer's not too flowery or fruity or "dumbed down" though. Mouthfeel is creamy followed by good bittering hop dryness and perfumey finish. 5.6% ABV

Russian River Happy Hop - Santa Rosa, CA - draught
Its a must for me to always try any beer from Russian River that I haven't had. The only one on the list that I hadn't tried was called Happy Hop, which I thought was going to be HUGELY hoppy like their Hop 2 It ale, but this was more of an American Blonde Ale, which means that it was more mellow. Reminiscent of an English IPA, this beer had nice mellow hops and a woody stalky finish. Very drinkable. 5.0% ABV

Moonlight Brewing Company Reality Czeck - Fulton, CA - draught
I usually tell people never to order a beer by its name alone, but as you know, I also don't like rules very much. So I ordered Reality Czeck specifically because of its name - and because Kasey said that she didn't want anything too "ale-y" (which is a slappable offense, but I was in a good mood.) This beer is delish. Fresh, crisp, light with notes of biscuits and pancakes. Bright mouthfeel with and clean finish. Could have had about 20 of these! 4.8% ABV

Lagunitas Farmhouse Saison - Petaluma, CA - draught
I was stoked to see this beer on tap. Lately, Saison has been one of my very favorite beer styles (I'm going to write about them next!) and this one did not dissapoint. Spicy and yeasty (in a good way), this beer had interesting tart citrus notes a wheaty full mouthfeel, and spicy, tingly notes of pepper. Right on Lagunitas. Thanks for the memories! 6% ABV.

De Struise Witte - De Panne, Belgium - bottle
This beer is the BOMB. I'm crazy about another beer that this brewery makes called Pannepot Old Fisherman's Ale, and this one is just as good. Its a White Ale or a Witbier and it's deliciously and suprisingly nutty, with orange rind and hints of coriander. Big carbonation, but I liked it. 5.0% ABV

Dubuisson Scaldis Noel 2004 - Pipaix, Belgium - bottle
This beer was a sentimental pick. This is a super rare winter seasonal ale, so to see that they had the 2004 was amazing! I actually had this Belgian Strong Ale when it was first released so I wanted to see the effects of 4 years of aging on this bad boy. It was awesome. This beer is like drinking a wonderful port or cognac. Definite whisky-like qualities. Sweet, malty and spicy with a vinous mouthfeel and some serious heat in the exhaust. 12% ABV

The Toronado Pub is located in the Lower Haight neighborhood of San Francisco at:
547 Haight St
(between Fillmore St & Steiner St)
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 863-2276

Saturday, September 6, 2008


During a very interesting 3 hour discussion with one of my best friends today, the topic of beer came up. Imagine that. Kind of like that conversation you have with your friends about the first time you did it, we started discussing the first time we ever had a craft brew, and why we started drinking it in the first place.

The first microbrew my friend remembers drinking was Fat Tire from New Belgium. (This was several years ago!) He said that he started drinking it, not so much for the taste, but more for the fact that it made him seem different, like he wasn't just going along with what the commercials aimed at his demographic told him that he should be drinking. The first artisanal beer that I loved was Lost Coast Great White. I drank that one, because, at the time I hated bitter beers (My, how things change.)

We came up with a list of five American craft beers that we thought would make great starter beers for those of you who are new to the world of craft beer. These are baby steps into the world of great beer that you can safely take when you feel like differentiating yourself but not getting too extreme.

Lost Coast Great White,
Eureka, CA:
I mentioned before that this was my first starter beer! This is a Belgian style white ale. It's a wheat beer that is fermented with lemongrass. I've talked about this beer before, because it's delicious, refreshing and will introduce your palate to new flavors in beer. Light and bright mouthfeel, this beer is the bees knees.

4.8% ABV.

Victory Prima Pils, Downingtown, PA:
This is an effing great beer. Light in color and body, crisp and dry. This beer has good hops, but has a good balance. Just the right amount of bitterness with some herbaceous notes. Its a totally drinkable, clean beer. You'll be starting on a high note with this one.
5.3% ABV.

Rogue Dead Guy Ale, Newport, OR:
This beer sounds scarier than it is. If you are looking for something that may be a little bit on the sweeter side, this is your starter beer. This is a delicious dopplebock style beer with hints of caramel and toffee. Still light-bodied enough to avoid being cloying, I've turned several women on to beer with this recommendation!
6.5% ABV

Deschutes Mirror Pond, Bend, OR: This beer is a nice, decent American Pale Ale. Its got a bit of grapefruit rind citrus on the nose that's balanced out by some woody, toasty dryness. This actually reminds me more of an ESB and finished with a touch of honey. It's a simple, well-balanced, easy to drink beer.
5.5% ABV.

Allagash White
Portland, ME:
This is a complex beer - but the neophyte can get it too. Like the Great White, this beer is a Belgian style white ale or witbier brewed with wheat. But this one sticks to tradition brewing with coriander and curacao bitter orange peel. This beer is delicious and has a beginning, a distinct middle and a fabulous finish.

5.0% ABV.

Written by The Beer Chick, September 7, 2008

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pink Boots Were Made For Walkin

I have a tendency to catch on to things a little late sometimes. I believe that I've already mentioned that. But after having exchanged a couple of emails, I just discovered that Teri Fahrendorf, founder of The Pink Boots Society (for professional women brewers and women in the beer industry) might just be the raddest beer chick out there.

After 19 years of being a professional brewer, 17 of those as Brewmaster at Steelhead Brewing Company, Teri quit her job and set out on a 5 month "epic beer adventure." How awesome is that? I think that I just discovered a new dream.

You have to check out the extensive blog that she kept called Road Brewer that followed her journey as she camped in a 15 foot trailer that she called "Big Buddy" as she visited and BREWED with professional brewers all across these United States. And she went to some awesome breweries: Dogfishhead, Allagash, Brooklyn Brewery, Jolly Pumpkin ... she even went to Bloomington, IN and visited Upland (GO HOOSIERS!) If you ever want to put together a little beer road trip, her blog is the place to start.

Here are some of her stats:

Number of US states through: 30
Number of breweries visited : 71
Number of days on the road: 139
Number of miles: 12,656

Teri writes, "Now it's your turn. Take the torch and drive with it, as far as you can afford to go. Map out your own road trip. Make your connections, put on your "big boots," and go. And try to write, so we can enjoy the journey too!

I might just take you up on that Terri.
I just might.

Oh, BTW - these are the pink boots that I want for when I brew next time! They're Wellingtons and I love them and somebody's got a birthday coming up!

Written by The Beer Chick, September 3, 2008