I know I haven’t written to you in a few years…well, okay, quite a few years. Oh, alright, the last time was during the Eisenhower administration. Whatever. The point is, I apologize.
It wasn’t because I forgot you or that I ever doubted. When I was lying in bed, my daughter’s head resting on my arm, trying to get her to go to sleep because, “Hey, Santa won’t come if you’re awake!”, I wasn’t thinking that it was going to be me drinking up that God-awful Kroger store-brand egg nog. I was telling her what was in my heart. And, besides, I knew my wife would suck it up and drink the egg nog, if I bitched long enough. And cut it 50/50 with brandy.
Black as hell amber head/lite brown pillow with a few big bubbles. The nose has a hint of coffee, some lactose sense and darker malts. The flavor is caramel mixed with dark chocolate. Hops not noticed except a slight bitter in the background. Coffee also dominants, but not out of balance. Medium body. Tad dry but some residual sweet too! Quite the dance, a well performed brew-based ballet. Low carbonation in the mouthfeel, but firm. This was rates very high everywhere I looked. Rate Beer had it at 100 twice!
Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”
Winter means holidays, and holidays mean gifts. Gifts are always welcome — especially gifts of beer.
Well before visions of gingerbread cookies and sugar plums dance in our heads, breweries have the season’s flavors in mind. Brewers anticipate the season like a white Christmas; in Rhode Island, Newport Storm Brewery was busy fermenting for three months to craft its annual release — for the 17th year. In San Francisco, Anchor Brewing’s Christmas Ale, a new recipe each year, is officially the brewery’s 43rd Christmas beer on the wall.
No pictures this time, more just a review of the first competition we judged at, probably 1999. It’s been said and done before in this case. Let’s have a break. Next year back to more traditional coverage, maybe?
Millie and I started judging at Music City Brew Off. I think it was 99. I still have the 98 guidelines, somewhere. Since then we’ve judged all over the east coast, due in part to the fact we’re from upstate NY originally, and I spent close to 30 years on tour doing kid shows and educational activities.
I thought this year went well, with at least one problem that seems to be increasing: the unavailability of judges. The easy thing to do is blame other clubs for not helping out, but it goes both ways. Clarksville’s August competition had one MCB judge there: Millie, she who apparently has just enough masochism to her nature that she and I have been together since 74.
When will you ever learn, young lady? Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Music City Brew Off”
American-style Imperial Stout, 30-weight, insane final gravity, totally opaque in the glass, laced with additives, barrel-aged, and, these days, aggressively hopped.
There was an old car joke, from my high school days: “Why do you call a Pontiac GTO an ‘asshole’? Because everybody has one. ”
Same deal here. Everybody has one of these wood-aged assholes and, many times, they really don’t taste much different from their racy analog. When you get hold of a great one, you know it, instantly…I do, anyway.