#103: Brewdog Nanny State

Brewdogg Nanny StateLet me paint a picture for you: It’s a Friday night, it’s raining outside, and it’s been a looooooong ass day… I’m stuck in a weird middle ground of craving a beer, but I’m not quite sure what I’m after…
I spot a new bottle on the shelf I’ve not seen before – the Brewdog Nanny State. And well, it sounds good… Touting phrases like “Low ABV Beer. Amplified” and “…a small but fiesty amount of 8 specialty malts” and “…amarillo and centennial hops that create a riot of citrus, orange and lychee flavours”. But, possibly, most intriguingly “0.5%ABV”.
It sounded like just the ticket…

So I took it home, cooked myself some dinner, and put on the next episode of Breaking Bad (shockingly behind the times… I know…) and popped it in the freezer for a few moments…

As I tucked into my dinner, I poured myself a glass, and watched it settle. It pours a surprisingly deep dark amber, with an off white head that disappears quite quickly. The aroma comes across as promised, full of bright citrus, cut grass and something a little tropical in the background – maybe that’s the Lychee… On the palate that same cut grass, lime and lychee comes across, with some caramel malt somewhere there, pleasant flavours… But completely lacking in body…
I know this should be screamingly obvious in a 0.5% beer – but somehow even lighter than expected… Kind of watery and just lacking…

It is by a lot of reasons a good beer, I can’t pick any specific faults …it’s just not a beer for me…
If I had to sum it up, I think my flatmate put it best when he said “It’s trying…”


#102: De Molen Hel & Verdoemenis

It’s been a little while since I posted …again… I’ve been practicing procrastination, and it seems I’ve been getting quite good at it…
I started the year with a bit of a hiss and a roar, got all excited about the possibilities that might lay ahead if I my plans were to come together… But it appears I make have taken the wrong tack. Bitten off more than one can chew some might say…

So here I am, again, almost 10 O’clock at night, and I am putting off going back to work to finish things off and get ready for what comes up tomorrow…
But there is one thing different – I’ve decided to have a beer, and enjoy it!

De Molen Hel & VerdoeminisI came across a bottle of the De Molen Hel & Verdoemenis that I had been keeping aside, for just this sort of thing …when the need arises for something good. It had been sitting in my cupboard “Cellaring” for about two years, it had moved houses with me, and somehow had survived many a night mildly* excessive consumption…
I must confess there was a part of me that had looked at it and wondered if I might as well just tip it down the drain, until I looked at the label one more time, and read the words: “Enjoy within 25 years” …and figured I’d be sweet…

It pours pitch black and syrupy with about 3 fingers of coffee coloured head, leaving some lacing once it settles – quite impressive for such a big stout. On the nose there is a big hit of dark fruits, plum and cherry, some dark chocolate and a little licorice. Heavier on the fruit than I remember, but enticing none the less…
On the palate it’s thick and fat, full of those dark chocolate and fruit flavours, hints of espresso and licorice with a nice warming finish. A great beer, definitely, worth the wait! A little less of the coffee and chocolate flavours than I remember, but the plum-y port like character is rich and satisfying… The perfect thing for a little (not so) light procrastination…


#101: Dia De Los Muertos Hop On Or Die

I’m on Babysitting duties tonight…
So like any good babysitter, I did the right thing, and brought my own beer rather than stealing my sisters…

I spent a little time talking to my nephew about his first day at school, found out that his teachers name is Mrs. Rooney, and that even though my sister was dressed like a Witch, and brother in law was dressed as a Vampire, apparently neither of them were scary. And all of their friends were going to laugh at them …or so my nephew tells me…

DOD Hop on or Die…With the hard work done, I put him to bed, and cracked open a beer…
I thought I would start with a new beer that had appeared on the shelf, A beer from Mexico that claimed to be a little more than that painfully bland Lagers that seem to dominate the Market.
The IPA from Cerveza De Los Muertos – or for those of us who do not speak Spanish, the Day Of The Dead Beer [sic]. Although, I kind of prefer the translation Google Translate gave me… “Beer of the Dead”.
After much debate on what to call it, I decided to consult the first stop for just about any beer research these days… Ratebeer! Which calls it the “Dia De Los Muertos Hop On Or Die IPA“. With that settled, I decided it was time to give it a go… See what it was all about…

Turns out …not much…

It pours a nice clear, copper-tone, with a finger or so of off white head. A promising start, but that’s where it ends for me… The aroma is pretty dull, a little burned toffee and day old orange peel. On the palate I would say light to medium bodied with a slight toffee sweetness, and overpowering bitterness… Quite often when I talk about a deceptive bitterness, I mean that it was hard to believe how high the IBUs are… But this beer, at only 30IBU, I wa astonished! The bitterness was the overriding flavour… Missing the aromatic, citrus, or fruity notes of a West Coast IPA, or even the savoury earthy notes of an English IPA …it just tastes like I have been chewing on a sprig of pine needles …but not in a good way…
If you see it on the shelf of your local bottleo, I would stay leave it there… Quite disappointing for me…

But at least the cap is cool I guess…

DOD Cap
And I’ve still got some Liberty Halo in the fridge to wash it away!


#100: Bellarose Blonde & Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel

Oscar Wilde once said “Work is the curse of the drinking classes.” …well, not today!! Not for me anyway…

Bellerose BlondeIt was a funny ol’ day today, full of busy patches, and quiet patches …right at that moment when you thought you’d have time to get your work done, more customers appeared. As though someone was standing outside watching, just waiting until you were right in the middle of that email, or my fork was about to touch my lips, before they walked in… so, as 5 O’Clock rolled around, and I finally stopped for lunch, I thought flag it! I’m gonna have that beer I’ve been staring at all day… And poured myself a nice cool glass of Bellerose Bière Blonde Extra. Described as a “Biere de Garde with a new world twist”, it had to be done!
Pours cloudy blonde in colour, with a rocky excitable head that dies down quickly. The aroma is full of cut grass, hay those awesomely funky “Belgian Blonde” notes that we all love, but with a twist of the fruity hop character of the new world. In the mouth, I guess I would call it medium bodied, with a lively carbonation the flavour is a well balanced combination of funky Belgian, a kind of phenolic orange peal, and peppery spice… A great little beer to be having out in the sun… Similar to the 3 Monts I guess, but a little more sessionable…

When we had shut up shop, a couple of hours later, there was only one thing to do …have another beer! I wasn’t really in the mood for much activity, so I put my feet up, put on a movie (Inside Llewyn Davis – Pretty awesome for a quiet night in!), and poured myself a big dark glass of the Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel… An experiment in decadence if ever I’ve seen one…
Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel Much like the Kopi Loewak from De Molen it is an Imperial stout made with the oh so extravagant  Civet Coffee Beans – which I must admit, in the past, I have avoided as I did not agree with the farming techniques used to produce this coffee. Particularly in the name of decadence, and nothing more… But! The good people at Mikkeller have done their research, and hunted out a variety of cà phê Chồn which is produced in away where these fussy little Civet Cats are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve …and, they’ve made a friggin good beer to boot! Made only more rich and decadent with the use of oatmeal to really flesh this one out… (you may be able to tell by the build up – I was quite excited to try this beer!)
It poured a deep dark brown, almost black, letting through not a speck of light as I held the glass up… With a creamy, dark tan head. The aroma is delicious! Dark chocolate, roasty coffee beans with hints of toffee in the background somewhere…
The taste does not disappoint… Full bodied and creamy, dark bittersweet chocolate, coffee, that toffee is there, and just a little dark fruit sweetness rounding it off …mmmmmm yes a gooooooooooood beer with a long lingering finish… And by this point I’m realising that I have missed a chunk of the movie – but I have more important things to focus on! …’tis a good day to be a beer geek!
And mad respect to Mikkeller keeping it ethical too!


#99: Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

57480-Happy-New-Year-2014.-Goodbye-2013

It’s been a slow start to 2014 for me… Or maybe I’ve been a little sluggish starting 2014…?
I think just about any blogger worth their salt would have done a “New Year Post” long ago, and well in the throws of what’s to come. But really, I’ve just been a little tired…

The words Burned out, Exhausted, Empty, Apathetic, Drained, Hopeless, Totally effing over it, Hit the wall, Sick of it… Are all words that passed my lips a few too many times as the year came to an end. For lack of a better way to put it, I was just starting to feel a little wiped out.
…which meant that when I read this article the other day, it did seem to have a bit of gravitas for me. And I started to think; I’ve been saying all of these things for far too long …feeling a little like I’ve lost that spark, that drive, excitement about just about anything really.
I started to look at the last year, and all I could see was the things that I wanted to achieve, and had not… the things that I had wanted to do, but hadn’t… the places I had wanted to go, but hadn’t…
I was getting pretty down, and I started to feel even more tired looking at the year ahead…

But I stopped to think about it a little more… and I started to ask the question, why am I feeling so sorry for myself?
Ok, yeah there was some stuff that I wanted to do, but didn’t. Yeah there was some stuff that I wanted to achieve… but didn’t.
But look at what I did achieve! Both in work and at home, without getting into specifics, I have made some big strides.

Yes, there is still work to be done, but wouldn’t it be boring there wasn’t?
And if I’m unhappy with the way things are going, there is only one person who is going to fix it for me… I came across a quote that has been a favourite for a long time, from Andy Warhol: “They say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself!”

say-time-changes-things-but--large-msg-128390057417

So I made a decision, I was going to do something I don’t often let myself do… Give myself a do-over. The chance to start the year again!
The Friday just been was Chinese New Years, and I have decided to use this as an opportunity to kick things off right…
I spent time with friends, making dumplings, having fun and lighting fireworks. I spent a couple of days beforehand cleaning everything out, and getting ready to kick it into gear!

I made the decision that I am going to kill it this year in 2014… I am going to make this year my year!
I am leaving no room for negativity or stagnation… No room for time wasting or time wasters…
I am going to focus on work, building a career out of a job that I have a passion for, using my downtime to achieve things  haven’t in the past, and doing …well, more!

This includes a few plans for this blog, so stay tuned, and join me …make 2014 your year too!!

And because I this is a beer blog, I do feel it necessary to note, that right now I have a glass of Liberty Brewing Halo Pilsner sitting next to me. I wasn’t sure if I should mention the fact that I was writing this beer in hand as it kind of cheapens these sort of things, bringing it down to that of a drunken rant… But, this pils is pretty damned good! And part of the new wave of “sensible, sessionable” craft beers to hit the NZ Craft beer scene – and I am loving!! 

 

new-year-quotes-pinterest_1388115372


#98: Day 20 – The Last Argument You Had

awesome

…god… The last argument I had…?

Either I am the most argumentative person in the world or the least… Because I cannot remember the last time I’ve had an “argument” …I remember having “discussions”, where I’ve come to someone or they’ve come to me with a problem, or differing opinion, and we’ve come to a conclusion one way or the other… But in none of those situations have I gotten agitated or felt like we were “arguing” persay…
I’m not a shouter or, for the most part, particularly overbearing with my opinions at the best of times, and aside from the odd argument with my sister or parents when I was a kid, really I’m struggling to think of a proper argument in my adult life .

I think the closest thing to an argument I’ve had of late, was over a beer down in Wellington where we just started drunken debates over beer geek stuff… The use of Imperial Porter Vs. Stout, the merits of taxes on alcohol Vs. the lack thereof …finally degenerating into derisive comments about current events, religion, and world issues, where the beer had magically given us the clarity to solve all the worlds problems…
Even then …barely an argument…

I feel like I should qualify this by stating that I am trying to think of an argument of some consequence, the barroom debate over the current state of the world is an all too common occurrence, but a proper disagreement I am struggling to remember…

God… What does that say about me??
Maybe I’m too argumentative, and it just feels like conversation to me now… Eek!!

(I don’t quite know what the picture had to do with anything …just made me giggle…)


#97: Day 19 – Something That Always Makes You Feel Better

Beer!

fin.

No …while it does help …sadly, it does not solve all problems…

In the past, my first instinct would have been to say a good long run, or thrashing myself at the Gym would be at, or at least near, the top of the list… Get those endorphins rushing, and it’s hard to be in a bad mood for long…
But over the last little while, I’ve been forced to find something else…
So I started Cooking again… It has always been a big one for me… When I’m feeling a little down, few things beat spending the whole day in the kitchen creating something weird or extraordinary, and them having a full team of mates come over and devour the whooooooole lot! …It’s hard to be down with a full belly and good company…
Or stuffing myself with Pork Buns! …they’re like crack to me… I just can’t get enough!

But probably the thing that I can say never fails, is hanging out with my nephew… Every time I see him, he runs up, gives me this huge hug, and the bad feelings just melt away… Can’t be beat!

Taylor FTW

…although, I must say, a good beer very rarely hurts the situation ;-)


#96: Day 18 – Disrespecting Parents

image courtesy of Dave Engledow

image courtesy of Dave Engledow

Alright, listen up kiddies… Don’t!
It’s as simple as that…
They are the original special people in your life… no one will ever be able to replace that…

There’s not many things that I will give a blanket answer to, the way I see it, just about everything has shades of grey. But this is one I am pretty adamant about.
I realise, for some, this is easier said than done; I was lucky enough to have some pretty awesome parents, loving, supportive, and always tried to give me what they could… Some people are not so lucky, and lately I have been privy to some stories that, I am sad to say, have shocked me a little in that respect, and I guess, made appreciate just how lucky I am… I’m not going to go into them at all, it’s not my place. But to these people, if I could offer my two cents: Show your parents the respect they deserve. Don’t ever let anyone walk all over you, but these are your parents, for better or worse, you only get one set, and you don’t want to look back and regret the things that cannot be unsaid/undone…

Doom and gloom out of the way… Like I said, my parents are great! Really awesome people, and the thought of anyone disrespecting them boils my blood a little …admittedly we have disagreed from time to time, just like anyone would, but they have always been there for me when I needed them, and I only hope that one day I can return the favour…
Realistically I know I will never be able to repay them for all the things that they have done for me, and I probably don’t say this enough… So I would just like to say in front of the whole world (or the 6 people that read this blog at least…) Mum and Dad, you are awesome! Thank you!


#95: Day 17 – Things That Make You Scared

…Spending the rest of my life alone… *sob*

Haha no… that’s a terrible joke… I’ll find someone some day… *sigh*
(Sorry ..couldn’t help myself haha)

...completely understandable...

…completely understandable…

I’m not gonna beat around the bush with this one, Spiders! …just thinking about them sends shivers down my spine …urgh!

It’s been a great source of amusement for classmates, workmates, flatmates, friends and family …and I take it in good stead (normally…) …but these horrible little hairy, 8 eyed, 8 legged freaks just give me the hebejebes!
This is one, I can’t explain, no idea why at all …With all of the other creepy crawlies I’m fine! In fact, it’s a constant source of amazement to my flatemates that I can pick up cockroaches, slugs, cicadas, crickets …just about anything… with my bare hands, but I can’t stand to be in the same room as a little spider… go figure…

…I suppose there’s all the usual stuff as well, public speaking, not the greatest with heights, the way the house creaks after you’ve been watching a scary movie… But I’ve managed to man up and get past all of them when I needed too …I just don’t do spiders!


#94: Day 16 – Three Things You Are Proud Of About Your Personality

who-is-awesome

…Shit …it might be the “Kiwi Bloke” mentality  but it’s been hard enough to answer some of these questions about myself, let alone what I’m actually proud of about myself… urgh!

Alrighty…

  1. I don’t hold grudges. It’s one of those things I learned a little while ago, people make mistakes, that’s one thing I don’t think will ever change… But really, I don’t think anything has ever been achieved by holding a grudge. Letting go of them however…
  2. I’m pretty open minded… I know everybody says this, and it’s hard to say conclusively, but I like to think I am… I love trying new things, meeting new people, and learn from everybody… I’m always keen to find a new way of doing things, a new interest or hear about some far of land …I try to enter into most things with no preconceptions, I just wanna learn!
  3. I’m a sharer! Whenever I’m trying something new, I love to get others involved. Or a soon as I find something awesome, I get this compulsive urge to show/involve everyone so they can share in the awesomeness…
    As an example, I get kind of excited about most things flavoursome, but Beer is a big thing for me… (incase you hadn’t guessed) So when I was given a beer recently, a pretty amazing beer, that is not available anywhere here in New Zealand …and relatively hard to get hold of in the states too, from what I understand. We had tried just about everything we could think of to get hold of a can, to no avail… Until out of the blue, a guys walked into the store and offered us a Trade, 2x can of the  Alchemist Heady Topper for 2x great Kiwi beers… It was on! (But more on that later)
    After hunting for that long I don’t think anyone would have blamed me for keeping them to myself… But the way I see it, what’s the point of having something if you can’t share it with everyone else…?

…enough patting myself on the back! Check this dude out! …makes me feel like I have not achieved anywhere enough in my life…


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