Wednesday, May 26, 2010


You are probably going - "Hey, Deshayes - did you forget about this little beer blog of yours?" Nope - I have been busy making sure that we had an awesome Active 20/30 event. Yup, we had an adult kickball charity tournament. Kickball, you ask? We had 450 ADULTS playing kickball at the same time. We had a blast and made some money for charity, so I can't complain. Congrats to Team Whatevzies who ended up being the top of 27 teams and winning $2,000 for being just dominant kickballers.

Anyway, it's on to the main event. At Christmas, I received a beer snob's dream - a bottle of Samuel Adams Utopias. Only four bottles of this made it to the Land of Enchantment - specifically, one went to the Triangle Grocery in the east mountains. If you haven't been to the Triangle, I'd suggest making a trip out there. They have an amazing beer, wine and spirits selection and the gentleman who runs it is really in the know.

I finally tapped the bottle of Utopias. That means, I held it from December 2009 to late April 2010...ridiculous. But it was well worth the wait.

Appearance - Coloring is consistent with iced tea and burnt brown sugar, obviously no carbonation, coats the glass lightly. Not opaque, but foreshadows some of the smells and flavors being a clearer beer. - 5.0/5.0

Smell - Sweet brown sugar, smells like a port or sherrie, alcohol, fruity, caramel, reminds me of a fine liquor. Sweetness is definitely the key smell, but not overpowering due to the presense of alcohol. Would have preferred less sweetness. 4.0/5.0

Taste - Smoke, tart fruit (plum and apple), vanilla, caramel, raisin. Excellent taste - I can imagine this would pair well with a lighter sweetdessert. Beer advocate says cheese - which I could maybe see. 5.0/5.0

Feel - Warms your throat and extremely smooth, with a different type of aftertaste. Doesn't finish sweet, but almost like a fine brandy with a tart plum. You can hold it in your mouth to extract the flavor, but it doesn't burn like you had a shot of vodka. Excellent mouth coverage. 5.0/5.0

Drinkability - Would definitely have it again. The small quantity is perfect and would be amazing after a fine dinner. The price is a bit daunting ($150 a bottle), which is the biggest thing against it. A small glass (say $15) would be great for a special occasion. - 4.0/5.0

Monday, May 17, 2010

McGarvey's Scottish Ale

Wow...normally, I have something clever to say about know, a bit of banter before we get into the nuts and bolts of the subject beer. I can't do that with this beer, as there isn't much to say. Epic fail on this BevMo acquisition....booo!

Appearance - Well, first off - this is one foamy beer. I had to let it sit for about 10 minutes so I can actually pour the other half of the beer. Cloudy, copper colored. Ridiciously foamy tan head. Like...making it hard to drink this sucker foamy. 2.0/5.0

Smell - Alcohol - some sweetness from the malt. Tart fruit, maybe cherry.. 2.5/5.0

Taste - Bitter, sweet alcohol. Sharp malt taste...kinda sweet bready. Other than that, not a whole lot to speak of. 2.5/5.0

Feel - Bubbly initially, then smooths out. Aftertaste is slightly sweet and bready. 3.0/5.0

Drinkability - Had way better Scottish Ales...I've got a number of other ones that I'd rather drink. 2.0/5.0

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Viva Las Vegas!

Ah, I love going to Vegas. Give me 3 or 4 days of a sweet depature from reality and I'm good to go for a long while. I don't end up gambling much, as I have WAY more important things to spend money on - delicious food and tasty brews. This recent trip was for a CPE conference (Tax Planning for the High Income Individual - i.e. clients, not me) and, while the conference was at the Bellagio, I had trouble paying $200 a night when I could pay $80 across the street at Planet Hollywood. And if you know me, you know I have no problem walking EVERYWHERE on the strip. The room I had reserved was just a standard room, which is more than satisfactory to me. Instead, I ended up getting the Boulevard Suite....1,400 square feet of overpriced luxury...including an air hockey table, but more importantly, this awesome view.

But really, suites aside, the more important thing was the beer. After a nice dinner, I headed over to New York New York, where I enjoyed a tasty pint of Rogue Shakespeare Stout at Pour 24. This beer bar is located on the upper level above the casino, sorta where the overpasses from Excalibur and MGM Grand meet, right next to the classy Coyote Ugly. At $7 a pint, not cheap, but from what I will find out, pretty standard for Lost Wages. They had a really nice offering of beer - Alaskan Amber, Abita Purple Haze, Big Sky Moose Drool, Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA... I'd check this out if you were on this end of the strip and wanted a nice variety.

The next day, I went over to Monte Carlo for a quick bite at Rubio's Mexican Grill in the Monte Carlo food court. This is one of my favorite places for a tasty fish good. Near the tram station is their beer bar, The Pub, which was formerly the Monte Carlo Brewpub, which made their own beer. The Pub has morphed into a junior Yard House - offering about 70 beers on tap. They had some of the standard Micro/Macro Brews (Blue Moon, Widmer, etc...), but did offer a bunch of local things and more obscure beers. I was really in the mood for an IPA and ended up with a Stone IPA. Should have tried something more local, but my brain had been a bit...zapped by hours of continuing education.

Tina surprised me by showing up on Monday night and we had a nice, pre-anniversary dinner at Mesa Grill in Caesar's Palance. Get the Wild Mushroom Quesadilla...BEST quesadilla....EVER. We started off with a margarita and I ended up getting a Schneider & Sons Weizen-Eisbock with dinner. Pretty tasty beer - lots of malt taste to it and went well with the lamb I got. If you are ever out here, do try Mesa Grill.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to go to one of my favorite beer/food joints, which is Burger Bar over in Mandalay Bay. They have a great selection of beers and nothing goes better with a beer than a burger. After this quick trip (less than 48 hours....oy), I'm ready for a trip back, but with less "learning" and more "lounging and enjoying".

Monday, May 10, 2010

Toss in a blue, and you've got yourself a pretty patriotic beer

Having tried the Dogfish Head Black & Blue, I figured I'd hit up the Red & White...which I think would be the opposite beer on the color spectrum. This beer is an unique type of witbier, which has been fermented with Pinot Noir juice.

Appearance - The beer has a real rich thickness to it. This one has a bit more carbonation going for it, as well as some sediment in it - reminds me of pulp in orange juice. The head was rose colored and held itself for a long while. - 4.5/5.0

Smell - Light fruit aroma, champagne, grape, some citrus and coriander - 3.5/5.0
Taste - I can pick up the sweetness and spices that I would expect out of a witbier (orange and coriander). It starts off this way, but then it phases into the more oaky, robust Pinot Noir flavor. - 4.5/5.0
Feel - There's a discernable alcohol flavor, which isn't a negative. If you want a standard witbier, keep moving on as this one is a strong ale with witbier characteristics. The carbonation makes this feel a bit like drinking champagne. - 4.0/5.0

Drinkability - I would prefer drinking this over champagne any day, so would be a very suitable replacement for a special occasion. I liked the fusion of the witbier and strong ale styles - you can definitely get elements of both in this brew. 4.0/5.0