Joe's Rants and Raves

  • Jan 06 - 09:06 PM: Tasting #3 - Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout (and Desert Island 5) : Joe McBane

    People often ask me what my favorite beer is. There certainly isn't just one, but if pushed I could select a 'desert island 5'. My 5 would be (in no particular order)

    A wheat beer. Certainly a style that I love and often drink. Given that there is only five choices it is between German hefe and Belgian wit. I pick wit for its complexity of flavor and slightly more tart citrusy edge. Of the wit biers, I am particularly fond of regular old Hoegaarden. It has a wonderful full taste and soft yet full mouthfeel that you don't always find. It is also the first 'good' beer that I ever bought. I think I was 15!

    Duvel. It shouldn't need any explanation. If it does I urge you to try one. It will explain itself.

    American IPA. A style that has grown on me, and everyone else it seems during my years in this country. Stone IPA is a personal favorite of mine. It has a remarkable balance given the use of hops. The hops themselves fit a flavor profile that I look for. Crisp, pine and citrus.

    British bitter. On my desert island it would have to be served out of a perfectly conditioned cask or it just doesn't make the list. A style that is close to my heart an epitomizes session drinking. Low to moderate alcohol, light carbonation, not too cold, layers of subtle flavor and impeccable balance. My pick of the mix is Timothy Taylor's Landlord. Unfortunately not one that is ever available on this side of the pond but be sure to check it out if you ever find yourself in my old country.

    That brings us to number 5. Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout is what I consider a standard for its style. It also gives a darker balance that my previous selections lacked.
    The first thing that is worth noting is that it finally comes in a dark amber bottle. This is a good thing as for years it always came in a clear bottle. It looks pretty in clear glass but the beer really suffers as a result of exposure to sunlight. The beer pours out to an almost black with a light, off white head. The aroma is of dark chocolate, raisins and weak black coffee. Carbonation is present but not too sharp to affect the taste. It should be soft in my opinion for this kind of beer. The flavor is roasty of course, but there exists a touch of fruitiness that may also be perceived as a slightly sweet note. There is a subtlety of flavor that I can't quite put my finger on and that you only seem to find in some British beers. A character that only comes through from centuries of brewing tradition. So there you have it. Sam Smith's Oatmeal Stout along with the rest of the desert island 5.

    What are your 5? Email me through the site. I will post your responses.

    View/Write Comments (0)
  • Dec 19 - 05:07 PM: Tasting #2 - Troegs Pale Ale : Joe McBane

    One of my favorite styles. While extreme beers are enjoying immense popularity I still remain a traditionalist at heart. A good pale ale is more often than not my go to style after a day's work. A balanced drinkable beer just slips down well. Sometimes the first one barely touches the sides.

    So on to the pale in question. Copper hue with a light head and moderate lacing. Judging from the aroma it is definitely going into the American pale ale hopping category. Not too citrusy though.

    Moderate to light carbonation works well for the style. Malty yet a dryness throughout. Maybe a little to bitter for my taste but still quite enjoyable.

    I would drink this again but there was something that I just didn't love about it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I think many people would certainly enjoy a couple of these.

    View/Write Comments (0)
  • Dec 16 - 05:33 PM: Tap Gear Here : Joe McBane

    It finally arrived. The Tap and Mallet wear is in house. Caps and long sleeve T's to get things kicked off. Of course they come in a few tasteful colors and the usual assortment of sizes.

    If I wasn't having technical difficulties I would post a picture or two to the site but I am afraid that is not meant to be. You are just going to have to come and check them out in person.

    I have been wearing one of each all afternoon (strictly quality control testing protocol down here at the pub) and am pleased to report no major design flaws.

    The prices are $15 for a cap and $18 for a long sleeve T.

    View/Write Comments (0)