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Peter LaFrance

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fritz and Fade

“We’re all friends in fermentation.”

The above quote, spoken by Fritz Maytag, at a beer tasting event at Windows on The World, has been a motto of mine for years. And so it has been no surprise to me that a good many food and beverage pundits have focused a flood of tasty comments on the particular enjoyment of a piece of good cheese and a glass of good beer.

This brings a philosophical focus to the discussion. What are a good beer, good cheese, and good food? I am called a heretic by many of my beer loving friends for insisting that Budweiser is well-made beer. I am not saying it is a tasty beer. I am saying it is well made.

Another example tests the “well-made” against the “good” is the above illustration. Basically is simply gives you an idea of what a piece of Fritz Maytag’s blue cheese looks like and the bottle of a particular beer that I chose to drink. I can tell you that both the beer and the piece of cheese were no more than 50°F as presented.

To appreciate the rest of these notes you’ll simply have to trust me, my subjective sense of smell and taste, and ability to express those in an understandable way.

Tasting notes:

The cheese was rich and creamy, with a pungent flavor that was slightly metallic. In that aspirational moment before a sip of beer, there was a sharp spike of flavor that was slightly saline.

The cool beverage immediately featured the flavor of deeply roasted malt followed by a caramel and prune flavor.

When the two flavor profiles came together the creaminess of the cheese and the deep roasted flavors of the brew balanced each other in a sensational way. The slightly metallic flavor of the cheese combined with the caramel and prune flavor smoothing each of the flavors into one palate cleansing sensation that kept the creaminess from becoming cloying.

The range of flavors brought to the table by both the beer and the cheese was impressive. However, the balance of flavors resulted in not in confusion but with satisfaction.

Believe it or not!

Monday, December 13, 2010

A taste of… Long Trail Centennial Red

Long Trail Brewing Company
5520 U.S. 4
Bridgewater Corners, VT 05035
(802) 672-5011

Preface: This pint was purchased at 1335 hours of 5 December 2010 at The Waterfront Alehouse in Brooklyn, NY for $6.50 (US) These notes have not been influenced by reading promotional material or any other review of this brew. I am including this preface to inform the reader of any and all circumstances that might be conceived of a creating a biased review or a conflict of interest regarding the choice of words used in the following review. I could go on and on with semi-legal jargon but I guess you will just have to trust me eh?

The following are my tasting notes:

Appearance: A deep amber colored brew topped with a solid, dense thin light brown creamy head.

Aroma: The first impression is a but of bubblegum that builds from a caramel base. The second visit adds more caramel notes. The third impression, and the moment between sip and lip, included no surprise flavors or aromatics.

Mouth feel: The chill, sturdy carbonation and slight carbolic acid spike added to the mouth feel.

Flavor: A sharp burnt sugar tang develops into a slight bubblegum note that slides into a bitter impression that has more than a bit of a floral hint. The second taste, as the brew warms up, has more of a caramel accent that pushes the bubblegum out of the way and lets the floral hints speak up. The third sip let the caramel and bitter notes get better acquainted in a good way.

Finish: The finish is more of an olfactory echo than the expected flavor impressions.

Comments: This is a roasted food beer... beef, potatoes and Brussels Sprouts...

The Brewery: http://www.longtrail.com/

What others say:

BeerAdvocate: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/94/63343

RateBeer: http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/long-trail-brewmaster-series-centennial-red/131307/

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Gift of Beer


It is the holiday season... the time for gift giving. Choosing a particular gift can be difficult, in particular, that special something for friends and family. Should you have the reputation of being a beer aficionado you can get away with the gift of the beer. In fact it is often anticipated.

While there is a great deal of consideration placed on the selection of the beer and the food, might I suggest that pairing the person to the beer is much more important.

I offer the following suggestions:

Your brother-in-law the beer geek: I would suggest all holiday ale, in the largest sized bottle you can find, perhaps a growler... signed with a sharpie by the Brewer.

Your brother-in-law's wife not a beer geek: This is perhaps the easiest one... a 250 mL bottle of the Belgian Kriek beer. Suggest that she serve it in champagne flutes and guests will be wondering what the wonderful wine that they are serving is called.

Your husband: India Pale Ale is just the right thing for this gift. It tells him that he has a sense of adventure, knows what a good beer tastes like, and carries with it the image of the real he-man.

Your wife: This choice involves more quantity than quality. The object of this gift is that it is a four pack rather than a six pack or a large bottle. this shows that you truly care which are not trying to get her drunk.

Your in-laws: If they are teetotalers, a bottle of non-alcoholic cider. If they have been known to indulge, at 250 mL bottle of a Russian Imperial Stout, or a barley wine. Tell them that it is not for immediate consumption, rather it is to be saved and savored at another time. There are affirmative a psychological reasons for offering it that way. Believe me...

Good friends: If you are a homebrewer there's no question it should be a bottle or two of that beer you have been saving for a special occasion. If you're not, should they be beer geeks, you have already heard of at least one brewery that they appreciate particularly. If they are not beer geeks, a mixed six pack of some of the best known a "craft Brewers" might turn them into beer geeks.

For yourself: Visit your favorite watering hole, order your favorite beer, and then order one for the person sitting next to you and wish them a happy holiday!