Thursday, January 17, 2008

Surly Mild: Why?

If it's one Surly Brewing is known for, it's for pushing the envelope, trying new things with traditional recipes and challenging it's drinkers. So I was a little surprised when I read that Surly was introducing a new beer, Surly Mild.

I brewed a mild ale a while ago. It wasn't horrible, but it lacked any real depth. It tasted like it was supposed to taste, I suppose, but in the end I guess I'm just not a fan. That's how I felt about Surly Mild.

Maybe that's the way Surly anticipated it would be. They're known for extreme beers, and so they wanted to challenge the concept of what Surly is. And I would say they succeeded. Maybe a whole new crowd of beer drinkers--the folks who think that Bass is a heavy beer--will give the Mild a try and then move on to Furious. Maybe, just maybe, they've duped us all and will get the hopheads and fans of high ABV brews to recognize there's success in subtlety.

Which is fantastic.

But for me, I'd rather drink my Darkness imperial stout or some crazy bourbon barrel aged cranberry ale.


Monday, January 14, 2008

On pins and needles

It's been awhile since I posted something non-beer or non-political, so I figured my first acupuncture experience warranted a post. I learned today that the excruciating pain I've had in my neck, radiating down my arm, and keeping me up at night is a pinched nerve. After picking up my muscle relaxant and Tylenol 3, I took a friends recommendation and made an appointment for acupuncture.
It was incredible. Within seconds of the 15 or so needles being gently inserted in my legs, hands and scalp, I could turn my head left and right, up and down, with almost no pain. As I rested in the provided-recliner arm chair, with relaxation music playing in the background, I was already looking forward to my next session.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Obama for President?

I'm getting pretty close to supporting Barack Obama for president. See, I've been luke warm on the whole situation for a while now. I supported John Edwards 4 year ago, but it seems clear he's not really going anywhere. I think Hillary Clinton would make a damn good president, but her whole "I-voted-for-the-war-before-I- realized-that-wasn't-popular" thing feels like de ja vu. And Obama just seems young.

But that seems like it's to his advantage now.

I took a look at Facebook, a rapidly expanding social networking site highly popular with college kids, and how many supporters the candidates have:

Edwards: 33,463
Clinton: 61,892
Obama: 208,551

Criminy! Granted it's clearly not a scientific method, but it seems like Obama is damn popular and will be the eventual nominee. I mean, a Black candidate winning in mostly white Iowa? And my dad like him.

Where do I sign up?

Homebrew Update

Lagers and more lagers. We have two lagers in bottles now--a Pilsner Urquell clone and an Austrailian one using Ringworm--er wood--hops. We also brewed our 20th batch--that's 100 gallons--of beer since we started brewing together this summer. Batch 20 is a maibock, and will be ready around--you guessed it--April.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Wanna drink a Minnesota beer once a week and share your review about it? I do--hell, I'm drinking them and occassionaly posting my thoughts about it here anyway. So join up over at Don't worry about not being a beer geek like me; you'll notice the reviews come from Miller Lite fans and less experimental drinkers, as well as self-professed brew snobs. Even if you're not up for it, it's a great resource.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Holiday Re-cap

The holidays always brings out the top brews. My cellar has been expanding with barley wines and imperial stouts and specialty Belgian beers, bottles waiting to be opened. I had hoped this would be the year to delve into the depths of my basement corner, but it was not to be. At least, not as deep as I had hoped. A lack of turnout on New Year's Eve meant that the barrel-aged barley wine from Sprecher and the 2006 Three Floyds Dark Lord imperial stout would have to wait until another time. But it's just as well; these are beers meant to be drunk in a couple years.

Amidst the two Town Hall growlers I had to finish a day after New Year's and the multitude of 22 ounce speciality releases from Three Floyds and Full Sail, a couple of beers stood out amongst the group.

On Christmas Eve, my brother-in-law posed to me the question of which beer would I drink if I could drink one beer for the night. Naturally, I wasn't going to not have any beer at my parent's Christmas Eve party, but still, the question--or rather the answer--was an easy one: Surly Darkness. So, upon arriving back at my house after said party, I poured two goblets from one of the bottles of Darkness I had stood in line for the previous weekend.

It was amazing. So much better than on tap. Deserved of all the hype an hysteria. Better than that. Chocolate and molasses and plenty of hops filled out glasses, and subsequently overwhelmed our palates. I can't wait to try the second bottle in a year.

The second stand-out beer was poured at midnight on December 31st, 2007.

Flo and I aren't big fans of champagne. Maybe mixed with orange juice it's tolerable. So New Year's Eve was an opportunity to try something new. For my birthday she had gotten me a bottle of 2002 DeuS from Bosteels Brewery. Deus means God, and rightfully so. This beer runs upwards of $30 for a 750 ml bottle, and is bottle-conditioned similarly to bottles of champagne, rotated every so often to force the yeast "bung" from the bottle. It's strikingly a Belgian beer, full of Belgian-yeasty goodness, but bubbles and tingles like the best champagnes. Apple and citrus fill your nostrils, and it tickles your tongue as it warms your palate. What a way to welcome the New Year.

Not only were these two beers the best of the 2007 holiday season, but possibly the best two that have ever graced my tongue.