t

TombstoneShadow's Profile

Title Last Reply

Midwest Stout Blind-Tasting Championship and random stout notes

Correction: That should have been Beer 1: Grande Noirceur; and Beer 2: NHDMBBS.

1 day ago
TombstoneShadow in Beer

California-Style Pale Ales: Are they All Bone Dry??

Thanks MV....

BTW this thread isn't to knock these particular Cali IPA's. The style is awesome when done right, but can come off dry as quinine too...

...just palate wise I also really like the mixed bitter-sweet style and surprisingly haven't found that in a Cali pale ale product yet.

1 day ago
TombstoneShadow in Beer

Midwest Stout Blind-Tasting Championship and random stout notes

The last semi-final round features New Holland Dragon's Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout vs. Dieu du Ciel Grande Noirceur. Tasted blind, actual tasting notes follow:

BEER 1: Smooth. A rich espresso prevails. Not particularly notable, but no foul flavors either.

As it warms up, the espresso increases... well-made, just not that compelling.

BEER 2: Creamy. Delicate flavors for a stout. Additional sips yield a nice, inoffensive but perhaps undistinguished brew.

*********************************************
After a time, neither of these beers is sufficiently a standout to move to the finals of this competition. Revealing the beers:

1: NHDMBBS
2: Grande Noirceur

SO, the stage is set for the Finals in two weeks, to feature the following four brews:

Great Divide Yeti Oak Aged
North Coast Old Rasputin
EvilTwin I Love You With My Stout
EvilTwin Lil' B

GDYOA and NCOR are carry-over winners from last year's taste-off, so whichever beer(s) survive this final competition will truly deserve the recognition.

1 day ago
TombstoneShadow in Beer

California-Style Pale Ales: Are they All Bone Dry??

Then we could compare Deschutes Fresh Squeezed, for example, designated a "plain" IPA by it's Oregon brewer... to California's Sculpin & AS-IPA...

...by comparison DFS is at lease "floral" if not sweetish... far from singular dryness long associated with "traditional" IPAs...

And then there's Stone "Enjoy By", brewer-labeled a "double IPA", and yet drier than a bone... good, but very sharply on the dry end of the spectrum.

I just don't think the traditional labels mean much anymore, there's just too much variability, perhaps as brewers try to create unique products.

Mar 01, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

California-Style Pale Ales: Are they All Bone Dry??

Sculpin was really solid, would love to try it on tap...

I can certainly see how 90M can come off to some palates as excessively rich (translate sloggish).

Mar 01, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

California-Style Pale Ales: Are they All Bone Dry??

The IPA / PA / APA / Double IPA / Imperal PA labels long ago stopped meaning much to me...

There are now 100's of beers with the term "pale ale" in them across a spectrum of flavors that just doesn't nicely delineate into one or the other category...

... instead I just look for what tastes good to my palate within that broad spectrum.

Mar 01, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer
1

Winery launches ‘wine and sex’ nights

Beats the heck out of "coffee and dog grooming".... there was a dog-grooming place in Chicago that used to have a sign advertising their lattes....

Marketing 101, some products just don't go together... however, wine & sex might fly.

Feb 27, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine

Pliny the Younger Sightings 2015

Was in LA for a conference this weekend. Went to the Surly Goat, which popped up on a google search as a good nearby microbrew bar...

Kind of a dive, couldn't find a bar seat so didn't stay... but did notice a sign "Pliny the Younger coming March 5, line forms at 6pm".

Feb 27, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

California-Style Pale Ales: Are they All Bone Dry??

So, have some time in Los Angeles, let's try a couple highly-rated California pale ales... The candidates:
AleSmith IPA
Ballast Point Sculpin
Actual tasting notes follow:

BEER 1: Initially quite bitter... then a waft of flowers that fades to a lingering metallic bitterness on the tongue. This is crisp and well-made for what it is, just very singular and dry for my liking.

BEER 2: this really tastes almost stout-like... after some time in the glass there's almost a "lusciousness" to it...

Re-sipping 1, there's that very well-made singular bitter-arrow style IPA, not unlike, say a Stone Enjoy-By...

Anyway, between sips I realized I haven't had a Cali pale ale that doesn't have a very dry flavor profile... Stone, Sierra Nevada, now AleSmith and Ballast Point... is this California style or just an accident...

I like these beers, but give me a Dogfish 90 minute or a 3-Floyds Dreadnaught anyday.... or an Odell Myrcennary... beers with some sweetness and complexity to balance out the sheer bitters....

NOW, back to the beers at hand... these are growing on me...

BEER 1 is a big bitter monster, in a good way; really makes an impression....

BEER 2 a bit more subdued, somewhat wider flavor spectrum, and perhaps a better aftertaste...

Now blown away by either of these, but guess I'd pick Beer 1 because of the boldness. Now to find out what I've been drinking:

BEER 1: Ballast Point Sculpin
BEER 2: AleSmith IPA

Feb 27, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

Midwest Stout Blind-Tasting Championship and random stout notes

Held another semi-final round this evening, pitting the following 3 beers in a blind tasting:

EvilTwin LilB Porter
Smuttynose Robust Porter
Tallgrass Zombie Monkie Porter

Actual tasting notes follow:

BEER 1: Very rich. Smoky chocolate / coffee... strong rich mocha evolving flavor... seems very well-made.

BEER 2: More "scattered" group of flavors than 1, the notes just don't merge into an identifiable taste as nicely.

Re-sipping 1 is espresso lusciousness, what a lingering smoky-caramel quality 1 has. By contrast, 2 seems almost "fizzy" in texture, with flavors all over the map.

BEER 3: Richer texture than 2... but taste is almost medicinal, like drinking from the Alcohol bottle in the clinic. No reason to drink this....

RESULTS: HANDS DOWN, Beer 1 wins clearly....

Revealing the beers:

Beer 1: Evil Twin Lil B
Beer 2: Smuttynose Robust Porter
Beer 3: Tallgrass Zombie Munkie

*****************
Only Evil Twin Lil B will move on to participate in the Finals.

Post-script: Lil B adds on a cherry flavor note with more time out of the bottle. Just luscious stuff.

Feb 24, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

Midwest Stout Blind-Tasting Championship and random stout notes

I'm really not targeting ABV so much as price and availability. These stouts are all available either year-round or nearly so, and they all cost in the range of less than $4 per 12 oz.

In other words, with this championship I'm looking for very high quality EVERYDAY stouts. The rarer "limited releases" are not included in this.

But I recognize your point that this is not a homogenous group, there's alot of variation... I just moved past that and am just looking for what really appeals to my palate on an everyday basis.

Feb 22, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

Midwest Stout Blind-Tasting Championship and random stout notes

The Stout Championship continued last night with a semi-final pitting 3 very worthy challengers:

Bell's Kalamazoo
EvilTwin I Love You with My Stout
Oskar Blues Ten Fidy

All 3 were tasted single-blind: I knew the 3 stouts but not which was in which glass. Actual tasting notes follow:

BEER 1: Delicious. Great depth of flavor. Choco-cherry with caramel and hint of tar. Flavor lingers for minutes...

BEER 2: Solid... a "basic" imperial stout richness, perhaps not as interesting as BEER 1.

Re-Sipping 1: Confirms it's just "more"... deeper, more profound range of flavors, that sweet edge missing in Beer 2. It's really 1 vs. 3 at this point...

BEER 3: Just nothing remarkable here... It makes 2 look good.

Over quick... Beer 1 is the clear winner and will move on to the Finals to face NCOR and GD Oak Aged Yeti.

Revealing the beers:
1: Evil Twin I love You with My Stout
2: Ten Fidy
3: Bell's Kalamazoo

The surprise here is the truly mediocre showing by BK, however ILYWMS is such a superior product that it overwhelmed the other two tonight.

Feb 21, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

wine suggestions to go with a salmon pie

Would really help to know more about the specific recipe. But generically, when I think "salmon" my go-to varietal is chardonnay.

But that's very generic... SB and pinot can also be quite nice, especially like PN if it's grilled salmon...

... then if it's loaded with spices I'd try a kabinett riesling...

so ultimately the recipe rules...

Feb 20, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine

What is a "proper pour" for different beers and ale?

Just to add to that... pouring strong especially for bitter brews like IPA's, it really softens and brings out the different flavors that are locked up.

This is palate-specific I guess, as friends of mine turn their nose up when I do a strong pour, saying that it "brings up the yeast" or something... but I just go by flavor, and I've always found it to improve flavor.

Also good for richer beers like BW's, stouts, etc., but IMO the pour doesn't have to be quite as strong to round them out.

And do I worry about dribbling it down the side... not really, sometimes I just turn the bottle upside down and let it splash right onto the bottom of the glass, which of course can create quite a head of foam... but there also I've found when the foam subsides you're often left with the least-bitter, most complex flavor profile that specific beer can develop.

Bottom line I'd suggest trying an experiment... do a soft pour down the side, a strong side pour, and a strong "middle" pour... of the same beer, in 3 glasses. Set it up blind so you can't tell which is in which glass, then let your palate tell you what you like best.

GREAT QUESTION !!

Feb 20, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

What is a "proper pour" for different beers and ale?

Didn't watch the video but picked up on your Point 1: "pour with vigor"...

I couldn't agree more... pouring strong seems to aereate the brews.

Feb 20, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

2015 Everyday Drinking IPA Championship Blind Tasting Results

Quick blind tasting: Uinta Hop Nosh vs. DFS...

Tried a six=pack of Uinta which has just appeared on shelves around here. Had one by itself a few nights back and was quite impressed, so time to match it head-to-head blind with one of my benchmarks...

This one was over fast...

BEER 1: Delicious, complex... nice sweet edges...

BEER 2: More bitter... almost sour by comparison...

A few more tastes and it was obvious this wasn't going to change... BEER 1 is the clear winner...

Revealing:

BEER 1: DFS
BEER 2: Uinta Hop Nosh

Classic example of a beer tasting very impressive by itself but much less so when tasted side-by-side with another. And to think I almost ran out and bought another six pack of Hop Nosh right after trying it.

Feb 20, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

Desperate Budweiser add screams "we are cheap beer"

Well Rex, you have an interesting thesis there, but it's full of holes. You say this is to "circle the wagons" of Bud drinkers... but where AB shoots themselves in the foot is they RE-DEFINE BUD DRINKERS... you see, this is what you miss.

Yes, this ad has generated chatter about Bud, but you make the mistake of thinking that "any news is good news". That holds true for celebrities, but not for commercial products. There's nothing worse for a product than to diminish it's cache. News of innumerable re-calls does nothing but damage for a cars reputation. Going from the King to a pedestrian is exactly that in the long run. Imagine AB now trying to RE-ESTABLISH Bud as the King of Beers... it would be virtually impossible due to this self-destruction.

And a campaign it certainly is... here we're heading into March and it's still running after the biggest kick-off of all, Super-Bowl exposure.

Feb 19, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

Desperate Budweiser add screams "we are cheap beer"

That's all generally true, I just don't see any of it being achieved with the specifics of this campaign.

How do you build "long-term customer loyalty" by establishing your product as something not to be appreciated?? The entire campaign is one overt message away from "we are inferior to micro brews"...

... Bud used to be a brand of quality... remember the "King of Beers"... now it's self-described as "golden suds" and "nothing to get fussy about". Serious trashing of a brand.

Feb 18, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

Desperate Budweiser add screams "we are cheap beer"

Thank you all for your comments... As I mentioned in the OP, I see this Bud campaign as interesting not so much for it's content... i.e. the idea that "beer snobs" are unnecessarily fussy, but rather as a MARKETING EFFORT... truly how productive or counter-productive might this be for them?

Whether you like Bud or not, there's no doubt it's a huge brand... so the Marketing question always has to be whether the campaign is enhancing the brand image, or increasing it's sales, or diminishing the competition while having a netural or positive effect on the brand??? If so, it's a good campaign... However, if it decreases the brand image, doesn't increase sales, or has no negative impact on the competition, it's a poor campaign.

I personally can't see this Bud campaign as anything other than self-effacing. Imagine a parallel campaign of a macro-coffee (such as Folgers or Maxwell House), declaring itself as "not fussy about coffee" then ridiculing Starbuck's drinkers!!! Who would think that's a good campaign: "At Folger's we're not fussy about coffee, we're a Macro coffee... our drinkers don't have flavored lattes". Ultimately all that would do is INCREASE the perception that there is a qualitative difference between the Macro and Micro product...

Ditto for Budweiser... they are PAYING to cement in the public's mind that there is a huge qualitative difference between themselves as a Macro beer and other "micro" beer offerings.

Feb 18, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

Desperate Budweiser add screams "we are cheap beer"

Glow: That's just why I think this campaign will ultimately backfire on Bud...

All (or most) of us "beer snobs" still will grab of bottle of our favorite "suds" of yesteryear from time to time. I have a Leinie or a Rolling Rock here or there for example...

... but if those beers started labeling themselves as "nothing to fuss over" or "proudly macro" then that would diminish them in my mind, even worse than they are diminished on my palate to begin with. Such a campaign certainly wouldn't motivate me to go out and buy one.

Could this campaign be targeting people who already drink Bud perhaps? The message being "you proudly don't care about how your beer tastes and people who do are silly"... i.e., kind of a reinforcement for established Bud drinkers?

Feb 16, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer
1

Desperate Budweiser add screams "we are cheap beer"

So let's assume that's true...

1: No "beer snob" is suddenly going to feel bad about himself and start drinking Bud.

and

2: This campaign does not convey any benefits of Bud, instead describing it as "macro", "golden suds", and "nothing to fuss over"... Is such labeling going to compel people to run out and buy a Bud?

Feb 15, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

Desperate Budweiser add screams "we are cheap beer"

Budweiser keeps stepping deeper into a self-destructive ad vortex. The most recent ad I just saw includes such messages as:

"We aren't fussy about our beer"
"Budweiser is 'golden suds'"
"We are a MACRO Beer"
"We'll let those other people have their peach pumpkin ale"
"Budweiser is for people who like to drink beer" (i.e. who consume beer in large quantities and think of it as "golden suds").

This brand just seems determined to identify itself as mediocre, mass-brewed swill. They are CHOOSING to sever any remaining ties they might have to people who actually care what beer tastes like.

They are actually PAYING for such messaging. I just can't fathom a more self-defeating ad campaign.

What I think the geniuses who designed this campaign don't get is that there is a difference between A) ridiculing people who don't consume your product and B) increasing consumption of your product. Yes, they throw in a bit of blather about "we've been making beer for 100 years" and "we put beech wood chips in our beer", but is that compelling enough to eclipse such references as "we're not fussy about our beer" and "Budweiser is golden suds" ??

Feb 15, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer

WIne Pairing with

To my palate: Not a single one of them. Sangiovese anything is out, nebbiolo anything out, any cab-blend or "super tuscan" is out, barbera anything is out, malbec is way out..

If I have to pick one, it's probably the Oregon Pinot. If it has to be Italian, then the young valpolicella.

I couldn't pick a dinner more ideally suited to a delicious white wine, but to each their own.

Now I'll look at the other responses.... I see Rhonely picked the Pinot also... I just don't see a better choice on this list if you must have a red.

Feb 11, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine
1

purchasing vintage wine for a dinner

Tito: As you know, there are good wine stores all over NYC where you can get a nice bottle of this or that varietal up to $50 or so to pair with any cuisine...

However, when spending $200 on a bottle I'm really looking for stores that emphasize finer wines and have significant, diverse allocations: Astor, Crush, 67, Chambers, Morrell, & Sherry-Lehmann are all in that category.

Feb 09, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine

Does anyone pour wine with decanter?

Definitely agree with you. Even swirling a tight wine in the glass seems to help soften it for me.

Feb 05, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine

purchasing vintage wine for a dinner

To help get you the most useful answers:

1: What borough and neighborhood are you in?

2: What's your price range (most importantly your upper limit on price)

3: Beyond "vintage wine" do you have any more specific target such as a varietal?

4: What food is going to be served at this dinner?

Feb 04, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine

Bud's Super Bowl Anti Craft Beer Commercial

It's very telling that Bud would spend HOW MUCH for a super-bowl ad to try and slam well-made beers?

Feb 01, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer
1

Need pairing help please!

Okay, Stephi... so I'm getting a more complete picture of your situation as follows:

1: You don't want alot of alcohol
2: You don't want to spend much more than $30 total on wine
3: You will be serving two very contrasting dishes, i.e. seafood scampi and filet mignon.

SO... as someone suggested, the ideal situation is probably two half-bottles... You can definitely find an interesting half-bottle of cabernet or zinfandel for $20 or less, and a fair full bottle of riesling for $10-15. These won't be world-class but they will be respectable AND taste very well with your dishes.

In contrast to getting one bottle of something (such as the dry champagne) that just isn't going to do justice to both dishes.

Feb 01, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Wine
1

Need pairing help please!

As the OP notes, what's good for the filet (a richer red wine: cab, merlot, zin, etc.) just isn't going to be a great match with the scampi (chardonnay or riesling are great here) or with the sauteed kale also a nicer match with the whites.

I'd really suggest serving this dinner in courses... serve the scampi and kale first with the white, then do the filet and potatoes last with the red. Otherwise you're going to have the red and white out at the same time, taking sips of each with the "right" matching wine.

Really impress your bf and do it in courses :)

If I was forced to choose just one wine for the entire meal, assuming the scampi and filet are equally prominent, I'd probably go with a kabinett, but doing it in courses with a white and red is much more sensible IMO.

Also, re the champagne, it would match the scampi, but not the filet IMO. Please report back.

2015 Everyday Drinking IPA Championship Blind Tasting Results

Finally the day has arrived... the 2015 "Everyday IPA" Finals. Per previous postings, the competitors are

DESCHUTES FRESH SQUEEZED: 2014 Champ and winner of too many accolades to list
LEFT COAST TRESTLES: Winner of 3 blind taste-offs in route to this championship
TALLGRASS ETHOS: Also a winner of 3 blind prior taste-offs

All beers were tasted blind, I knew the 3 beers, but not which was in which glass. Actual tasting notes follow:

**************************************************
BEER 1: Delicious. Citrus / bittersweet flavors up front... pronounced lingering flavor... if any critique that "lingering" could dissipate already! Overall this is complex, rich, declious IPA

BEER 2: Slight more of a "bitter" on the front end than Bbeer 1... retasting Beer 1 there's a very interesting lemon citrusiness. I think the flavor of 1 a bit more interesting than Beer 2 at this early point

BEER 3: A creamy "yumminess" to this beer... and a semi-distinct complex flavor beyond mere "IPA bitter".... Re-tasting Beer 2 it is not so nice by comparison... just less imaginative in flavor.

********************************************
WINNERS OF ROUND 1 are clearly Beers 1 and 3. So, retasting....

BEER 1: "Brightness" to this flavor... very nice...

BEER 3: Also very nice, not much more to say....

Re-tasting one vs. the other there is no over-shadowing in flavor...

***********************************************
THIS WAS OVER SURPRISINGLY FAST.... Beers 1 and 3 are a reasonable tie for first place....

***********************************************
REVEALING the BEERS:

BEER 1: Tallgrass Ethos
BEER 2: Left Coast Trestles
BEER 3: Deschutes Fresh Squeezed.

***********************************************

I am thrilled to announce Tallgrass Ethos a reasonable peer of Deschutes Fresh Squeezed, and welcome Ethos as a new long-term go-to "everyday IPA" alongside the superb DFS!

.... Finally can put this one to bed for awhile!

Jan 29, 2015
TombstoneShadow in Beer