Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April 17: Karl and the Tale of the Goose Island Matilda

Waltzing Matilda

Greetings from the Windy City, dear reader! Or at least that’s where today’s beer is from. I had the pleasure of visiting Goose Island in the “pre-Budweiser” days about six years ago, and my pleasant experience there has always left me with a fondness towards the Goose. While it’s their Honkers Ale, the 312 wheat beer and their excellent IPA that are most common, the brewery manages to make some exceptional beers that aren’t as widely distributed. Their Bourbon County Stouts are legendary amongst les beer nerds, and Pere Jacques and Pepe Nero are wonderful, complex brews. Today I’m drinking Matilda, their Belgian-style Golden Ale, and it is accompanied by the Tom Waits Anthology album. The song Tom Traubert’s Blues is written about an experience where Mr. Waits had too much to drink in a foreign country (Denmark, I believe), and wanted to take out and waltz a young woman named Matilda. Leave it to Tom to romanticize a night of being a few sheets to the wind.

As for the beer, it pours a cloudy miel/honey color, reminding me a lot of my good friend Pranqster. It is visually effervescent and the nose gives off a pleasant aroma of applesauce, oatmeal and honey with a classic Belgian yeast strain. The beer ends up being lighter on the palate than I was expecting (I think I was expecting chewy thick Pranqster), and the yeast is a very strong character in this play. The beer is slightly sour, but not too much so, rather just enough to be labeled “funky”. There is a delicious finish of cinnamon and clove that round off a good malt balance and light mouthfeel. This is the type of beer that can ride the struggle bus on the finish, becoming either too sticky or two sweet, but this hits the spot. Well done, Goose Island, and don’t let those Budweiser bullies change you.

Rating: A-

Friday, April 12, 2013

April 12: Karl and the Tale of the Bootlegger's Tropical Thunder

Keeping the Tropical Thunder from spilling was obviously the more important task at hand
Unfortunately, dear readers, the only picture that accompanies today’s “Wild Card” beer is a picture of yours truly holding it in one hand while failing miserably at big-kid Jenga with the other. That's what I get for leaving the house. These multiple failures should not taint your views on this magnificent beer, though. As someone who generally turns his nose away from hoppy beers, Tropical Thunder from Bootlegger’s is a welcome exception to the common California Pale Ale. We’ve been a fan of Bootlegger’s for quite some time, with this trip being the latest of maybe 15 or so trips to the brewery. Bootlegger’s, as the pride of Fullerton, CA, has been expanding their operations lately, including opening a brand new tasting room that is tons o’ fun. With the expansion it seems like they have stepped up their brewing prowess and are giving The Bruery a run for Orange County’s finest brew spot.

As for the beer itself, this is a phenomenal beer. Apparently it came about as an accident, but much like Silly Putty it is an accident that only will improve our lives from this point on. Enticingly aromatic with notes of pineapple, guava, and floral hops, this beer invites you in, places a lei around your neck, and then starts to luau in your mouth. Pineapple is still there, along with some citrus notes that are perfectly balanced by some light hops and a great mild malt. It’s one of those beers that you can drink quickly and continuously. If they start to bottle this beer, I’m buying stock in their company.

Monday, April 8, 2013

April 8: Karl and the Tale of the Reutberger Export Hell

Rock Me, Kloster Reutberger

We are about to say “auf wiedersehen” to our German friends, dear reader, and I’m closing out with the Reutberger Export Hell.  From my very little German I can tell that the Reutberg Abbey has been producing beers since 1677, and other than that all I see are words and fonts that look angry. I bet that they are perfectly pleasant though, as who can be mad when you are making beer? Anyway, as my ode to 80s German pop, I have dedicated this beer to the great German band Falco. Will “Der Kommissar” put this beer on lockdown? This video is a classic...

So I managed to lose my notes on this one, but I will give you a brief overview from memory. It was similar, but not as good as the Weltenberger that I had a little while back. While it lacked the stickiness of the Weltenberger (a good thing), the flavor profile is not as well balanced, and it was a little more of a straight lager or pilsner. It is crisp and light, but a little too grainy for my taste. It is definitely drinkable, yet unfortunately forgettable, but I’m sure somewhere in Germany there are laughs and good times being shared over a few liters of this guy.

Rating: C+

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April 3: Karl and the G. Schneider & Sohn Organic Weisen Edel-Weisse

Schneider: A few of my favorite things

While this journey for me, dear readers, was meant to expand my beer palate and try new things that I have never tried before, once in a while I have to indulge myself in an old favorite. That would be the case today, as I am drinking the Schneider Edel-Weisse, and organic wheat beer from what I think may be Germany’s best brewery. It was very easy to choose which album to pair this guy with, as every time I see this beer on the shelf or on tap I start to sing its eponymous anthem from the Sound of Music. Edel-Weisse, Edel-Weisse… (I wish every morning you would greet me)

As for the beer, I’m going to keep this review short. If you like wheat beers, you should track this down. If you like beer, you should track this down. It’s a wonderfully executed wheat beer, floral and citrus notes abound in both the nose and the taste and it’s a glowing yellow-orange with a meringue-esque head. This organic beer is made with only six ingredients: water, two types of hops, two types of malt, and yeast. That’s it. It’s simple and delicious, clean and crisp, simply executed with deep flavors; perfect for a sunny day. I slightly prefer the standard white label hefe from Schneider over this one, but having to choose would be like the Von Trapps having to pick which child to leave behind to the Nazis.  You can’t do it.

Rating: A