Category Archives: BEERS, WINES, LIQUORS

My reviews of various ales, lagers and wines.

Beer as Art, and a Blue Moon Review

In a minute I’m going to review Coors’ “Blue Moon Belgiun Style White Wheat Ale.” But first, a testimonial on beers.

I grew up in Colorado. Our family went to Broncos’ games and drank Coors’. Naturall I was curious as a kid as to what beer tasted like, being off-limits. So when I was finally allowed a taste once, I was underwhelmed. Good thing I guess.

Then I went to high school in south-west Missouri. And the underaged drinking beer of choice was Bud and Bud Light. The thrill of having a beer when I’m not supposed to was barely enough to get me to have more than one, maybe two, my entire high school experience. (Although that didn’t stop me from having cheap vodka and rum now and then. Gak!)

And in college, the various American macrobrews were what was at parties, had at bars, was all I ever knew…and I didn’t care for them. They tasted like bitter water. So ironically I went with beers like “Ice House” and “Bud Ice” because they tasted even more like water and less like bitter gross colored water.

Being of Irish heritage I tried a Guinness once. It tasted like burnt walnuts! It was strong, VERY bitter, but, complex. I decided I didn’t like it. But the knowledge that a beer, a “real” non-American beer could have such a strong and different taste stayed with me.

But beer just wasn’t my thing. A couple of years ago I decided to find out what all the hoopla about wince was. Never was a big wine fan either, usually only drinking cheap $4 bottle of cabernet. So after reading a couple of books, lots of Web sites, and exploring more expensive, REAL wines, I’ve come to appreciate how different ingrediants, grapes, growing seasons, techniques, regions, temperatures, can bring out such interesting and complex tastes and aromas and exeriences from a good wine. I can go more into that, but this is about beers, not wines.
Then I encountered the Wingin’ It podcast. A goofy podcat by the hosts of Slice of Sci-Fi and Cover-to-Cover. They just have a lot of fun and review beers. They’re constantly criticizing and outright insulting American macro beers (Bud, Michaloeb, Coors, Pabst, etc.) and talking about these odd and unique beers with strange and funny names (like Cascazilla Red Ale, Weinhardt’s Cream, Stone IPA, Moose Drool Brown Ale, and Arrogant Bastard,) with adjectives like carmely, hoppy, chocolatey, chewy, words and ways that reminded me of wine reviews. How can that bitter water I’d always had possibly be described in some of these ways?

Then I remembered the rich, strong complexity of that Guinness. That’s a beer that could have a lot of adjectives, and none of them would be “weak” or “f-ing close to water.” So I tried it a couple more times, and just like wine, once you get past the unusual strong flavor and find the right temperature, all kinds of complexity comes out. Creaminess, rustic, thick, nutty, the beer was elevated beyond the drink of partyers and blue-collar men, and into the realm of art. Well, certainly cullinary chemistry at least.

For St. patrick’s day I had the opportunity to try 8 different imported beers. There were a couple that I didn’t care for, and one that was actually an American beer that was pretty good. They were all examples of how rich and different and fascinating beer can be, and how huge of a world the art of beer making is.

I don’t “drink” per se. I drink enough to get drunk maybe once a year at best. I don’t really like having my cognitive abilities impared and altered by chemicals, so I don’t advocate drinking more than a glass or two of wine or one or two beers. Unfortunately, one of the reasons there can be so many diverse and colorful flavors and aromas in wines and beers is because of the fermenting process. The yeast and bacteria that are responsible for the fermentation is part of what creates the taste and smell. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. All I’m saying is for anyone reading this that may become more interested in tasting wine and beer as a sensory experience, as in all things, moderation. And only if you’re over 21! There’s no way in which my life is better because I tried drinking under age.

That said, review time. I’m going to ocassionally post a beer review here as I try something new. I’m actually going to start with an American macro brew, put out by the Coors’ company, mainly because I recently tried it, but also because I think it’s a good starter beer for those wanting to move away from the bitter water of Bud and curp like that and into more interesting things.

“Blue Moon Belgiun Style White Wheat Ale.”

Even before I read other reviews after I had this one, I immediatly noticed a floral scent. It took me a moment, but I recognized it as corriander. (It’s a good idea if you want to be able to recognize the infinite scents and aromas in wines and beers to become familiar with cooking spices to start with. Fortunately I already love cooking.) It was off-putting at first. So was the pale, cloudy appearance. Kind of like it had fine lint floating in it. It also produces a thin, sharp head. Not very appealing.

But once you get used to the floral bouquet, you then get a scent and slight citrusy taste. Not strong, but balances with the sweet pretty well. This is deffinitely a summer beer. It’s light, and just a stage, albeit a solid yet single stage, more interesting than other American beers. I think would be enjoyed by people who aren’t used to stronger brews yet.

Unfortunately that’s about all for this one. Wasn’t really deep or complex enough for me to go on.

Coming up I’ll review Guinness Draught (“draft”), Guinness Stout, Killian’s Red Ale, and Samuel Adams Black Lager. A couple good Irish beers and a couple American macro brews to continue the path into the unusual and interesting. Hope you enjoy!