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TombstoneShadow's Profile

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Tasting 3 Root Beers

I'm not aware of any claim that good Root Beer has hop flavoring. To that extent maybe the term "beer" is unfortunate. Because, for example, a fruit-infused beer usually retains the hoppy beer "base" and just infuses some fruit. Whereas it looks like the RB may never really have a hoppy beer as it's base...

... but the other question is, does it need to have pronounced hop flavor in order to be considered a "craft" -brewed product? I personally don't think so.

That said, I can accept the possibility that this stuff may be little more than "syrup" added to a purified alcohol base, rather than a skillfully fermented brew of various roots and herbs. What about Kuhnhenn's version, and others out there... are they all just syrup and grain alcohol?

Aug 15, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

Tasting 3 Root Beers

Interesting about NYFRB... Now, what about this description of Coney Island RB:

"To extend the argument over whether these things are beer or not, the promotional material for Coney Island Hard Root Beer states, “Coney Island Hard Root Beer is a beer made with all natural, traditional root beer flavors. It begins with 2-row malt, caramel malt and European hops. It then undergoes a secondary fermentation with additional sugars and ale yeast, which is filtered to develop the perfect root beer base. From there we add the final all natural flavors from the best ingredients available, including Madagascar vanilla.” Sure sounds like beer, but it’s an FMB."

Is that a "real" beer or a malternative?

Aug 13, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

Tasting 3 Root Beers

Nice backgrounder... So has root beer ever been made in a manner similar to "real" beer? Or is the malternative approach the traditional way it's made?

Aug 13, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

Is This New York City's Greatest Wine List?

Nice concept, and as the author notes, given the aging these are fair prices.

Aug 12, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine

Tasting 3 Root Beers

Curious, is your opinion based on actual tasting or a bias you have against flavored beers?

Reading up on the history of RB it seems that it has historically been brewed with and without alcohol, so offering an alcohol version is bringing back an interesting traditional flavor that alot of people like.

I have no bias and just go with my palate. I've found good-tasting beers infused with fruit, coffee, chocolate, pumpkin, bourbon, and other flavorings... Re Root Beer I'm hardly alone, the distributor for this entire region is out of NYFRB.

Aug 12, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer
1

Red wine for seared scallops with lemon arugula farro??

White is easy: first choice is your favorite chardonnay. Most whites work here to a greater or lesser extent.

Red: not so easy. First choice is probably a rose champagne, I'd prefer it over a still pinot noir.

Please report back.

Aug 10, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine

Tasting 3 Root Beers

Have been enjoying the new wave of alcoholic root beers for awhile.

Results of recent tasting: Root Sellers Hard RB vs. Coney Island RB. Tasted blind... Hands down the Coney Island was the winner. Tastes very much similar to an NA RB. The Root Sellers had a strange flavor element, like a "botanical" that didn't really fit the formula and had it deviating from a classic RB flavor.

Another excellent one: Not Your Father's RB... will taste it blind vs. Coney Island if and when the distributor gets more in stock.

Aug 10, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

Pale Ale Taste-Off: 6 Great Brews on Tap

Well I wouldn't from memory describe the SNHH as tasting like a skunk smells...

I use the term loosely, would more precisely describe it as "stale" or "swampy"; if it doesn't linger it's just a brief interruption in the overall taste profile.

Aug 10, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

Larger than life: Profiling Parker (exclusive interview)

"100" means different things to different scorers of course.

I'd say it could legitimately be awarded to any wine you felt "would be hard to improve on" and/or "is a benchmark rarely reached for the style".

In this wine-benchmarking context, I don't personally think "perfect" is a requirement for a 100 score.

Thanks for raising the issue.

Aug 06, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine

Cocktails before wine

I usually don't have a cocktail prior to a nice meal with wine...

Why do it? You're ordering some round(s) of appetizers anyway, and you're matching wine to the apps... the cocktail doesn't really fit in anywhere.

If anything, I might have it as a nightcap, but after matching wines with 4 or more courses, a glass or two for each, who needs a nightcap?

interesting post, thanks for bringing up the topic.

Aug 04, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine

Larger than life: Profiling Parker (exclusive interview)

Without reading the article, I'm an unapologetic RP fan...

... when I started tasting wines in the mid-80's his books were hands-down the best wine references out there for real-world wine shopping... region by region, varietal by varietal, producer by producer... I would often take a Parker Annual to the wineshop with me and just walk aisle by aisle, using Parker's books almost as if I was in a library...

I might not agree with all of his tasting notes, and his "rating" process may have become somewhat corrupt or corporate over the years, but none of this detracts from what he contributed to the industry and to individual drinkers, especially in his early days...

Definitely true, the larger the figure, the bigger the target, and Parker-bashing now seems quite fashionable.

Aug 04, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine

Pale Ale Taste-Off: 6 Great Brews on Tap

So this raises the question of keg vs. bottle conditioning.

...What process explains why some beers age very nicely in the bottle whereas others fall flat or otherwise lose their great young flavor quite quickly?

Aug 04, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

Pale Ale Taste-Off: 6 Great Brews on Tap

Skunky probably means slightly different things to different tasters. In fact I can't describe it but I know when I taste it... perhaps sourish/stale or what I might envision swamp water to taste like? And my tasting notes are almost exclusively mouth-based, not purely aromas. I find that beer, as with wine, often tastes quite different than it smells.

But the key for my palate is that "skunkiness" as I define it is not a total negative if it is brief and then evolves into other flavors... as with HH, for my palate it had "slight" initial skunkiness... I only find it a major negative if it's the predominant and lingering flavor note, which certainly wasn't with SN-HH.

Aug 04, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

Pale Ale Taste-Off: 6 Great Brews on Tap

Follow-up: Tried Calling IPA out of the bottle again in blind tasting vs. Odell Myrcennary, a perennial favorite brew.

I paired these two because they both have a fuller flavor spectrum than, say, a typical bitter-dry Stone pale ale.

As with prior bottle tastings, while I like Calling from the bottle, it's more singularly dry than the version tasted on tap.

Have to explore why that is so... could it just be the decanting the beer gets when pouring from a tap?

Aug 02, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

Pale Ale Taste-Off: 6 Great Brews on Tap

Last Saturday had a chance to slip over to a favorite micro-bar and try a nice range of 6 pale ales on tap. Set up a couple sampler flights, not tasted blind.

The candidates: Stone Ruination Regular 2.0, Sierra Nevada Hop Hunter, Stone Ruination Double-Dry Hopped, Stone Ruin-Ten, Deschutes Fresh Squeezed, and Boulevard Calling.

Results of tasting: Flight One Semi-Finals

Ruination Double-Dry: nice. bittersweet. Smooth semi-rich texture. Not overwhelmingly bitter.
Sierra Hop Hunter: Slight skunkiess... more lingering dryness. Nothing notable, just a mouthful of dryness
Ruination 2.0: Okay, but definitely prefer the double-dry hopped version above... it's richer with wider flavor range.
Ruin-Ten: Flavor is okay, just lacks brightness and flavor not distinguished.

Clear winner of flight one: Stone Ruination Double-Dry Hopped... bartender says this is the "only keg in the State". Very glad I happened to drop in when it was tapped.

Results of tasting: Flight Two Semi-Finals

Deschutes Fresh Squeezed: Bright, sort of a non-complex singular taste
Boulevard Calling IPA: Delicious. A bit foamy. Complex, sweet, fruity, mild bitters.

Clear winner of flight two: Calling IPA.... Beats DFS mainly on basis of complexity.

Results of tasting: Flight Three, Finals: Ruination Double-Dry vs. Boulevard Calling

After a few sips there's no contest... Calling IPA is the winner here... it's a matter of Calling's complexity vs. RD-D's more pronounced bitterness. Calling is just a more imaginative brew. Superb on tap.

I'm a bit surprised by this, when I first tasted Calling in the bottle it was great, but some blind tastings had it falling behind other stalwarts... However on tap it blew everything away at this tasting.

Jul 30, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer
1

Wine Pairing for a Low Country Boil

For wine: riesling or gewurztraminer... for beer, your favorite wheat beer: konig ludwig is a favorite of mine for this type of cuisine.

Jul 06, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine

Beer ‘better for food pairing’ than wine

Interesting... Fuller's Porter with "rich" meat dishes... in my mind's palate I'm liking that, but proof is in the tasting...

But otherwise, the proposition that beer pairs better than wine with food is pretty far off.

Jul 06, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine

Under-appreciated and/or up-and-coming grape varieties?

Not sure how "up and coming" it is, but for a great rich underappreciated red you can find at good prices, Malbec.

Jun 15, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine

Brewdog plans five US bars and brewery

Wish them well, they have some tremendous competition in every direction... they will have to really deliver flavor to compete IMO.

Jun 15, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

Why Americans have such bad taste in beer

The tagline on the article says it all "drinking bland beer for 100 years"... that's looking in the rear-view mirror. I'd say that the U.S. has more than made up for those years of poor beer, and now the U.S. offers more great beers than any other country... can't think of a close 2nd. What other ingle country produces great wheats, PA's, stouts, barleywines, belgians, all in the same country?

And judging by my friends who up until a few years ago were dedicated drinkers of the most worthless swill, at least 1/2 of them have picked up on great micro brews and wouldn't go back.

Jun 15, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

What wine to pair with BBQ Salmon?

Wasn't sure what I'd see when I opened your link... will it be a "smoky" type BBQ, or a BBQ-sauced dish?

It's really neither, what I see emphasized there are notes of chili's and cilantro... with quite alot of pineapple....

For that recipe, 100% I'd go riesling or gewurztraminer. Will be lovely, please report back.

Jun 15, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine

Wine Pairings

Hi Wineup:

Don't know why I didn't recommend this to you earlier... it's so obvious...

For Dish 3, your salad, assume you serve chardonnay for your Dish 2, then keep it on the table and substitute Brie or Camembert for the Feta. If you serve riesling for Dish 2, then substitute Emmental for the Feta. That way your white for Dish 2 can carry over nicely for the Dish 3 course.

Jun 11, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine

Wine Pairings

1: First choice cabernet, second probably zinfandel

2: Chicken dish: chardonnay, kabinett riesling

3) Salad: don't see a great match there. Feta favors red wines, the veggies all favor whites... the wines for your chicken dish will work reasonably well.

4: Dessert: Late harvest riesling or sauternes

Overall these are quite nice pairings and I think it will be a delicious meal. Please report back.

Jun 10, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine

The Connoisseur’s Way to Pair Food With Beer

"Herbaceous IPA and Thai Food"... wonder if they've actually tried that. I find it very over-bearing.

Much better for Thai (or any spicy asian): your favorite wheat beer.

Jun 02, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

asparagus and artichokes

Simply prepared, sauvignon blanc is lovely with both.

With a butter sauce, chardonnay is a great match.

Kabinett riesling also works.

Jun 02, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine

Food pairing for this red blend wine?

Not crazy about this wine for any seafood dish.

In the veggie world, would serve it with a rich bean dish, such as cassoulet.

Please report back.

Jun 02, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine

Parker: not awarding 100 points “irresponsible”

I think just keep awarding 100's to those occasional wines you feel are benchmarks. At least that's how I'd interpret Parker's POV.

May 17, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine
1

Parker: not awarding 100 points “irresponsible”

He's a bit histrionic at saying a taster is "irresponsible" if they don't occasionally give out a 100...

... but I like his general point: "if the wine is the best example of the varietal that you've ever tasted, you should give it a 100"...

... so it becomes a benchmark of sorts. I generally concur with that, however a 98 or 99 is a ^%$#@ good score too.

May 10, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine

Wine pairing herby pork?

For "pork" in general, I lean towards rioja, pinot noir, and riesling. With this specific dish, hands down I'd go riesling. It matches your pork, dijon, coriander, mint. Shaving a bit of emmental cheese into your salad will bring it that much closer to the wine.

Wine pairing -- beef cheeks goulash

This dish is so significantly flavored, that matching the spice mix is every bit as important as matching the "red meat". In whites I would look at cousins: scheurebe, riesling, and gewurztraminer.

Apr 13, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine