Saturday, May 28, 2016

A different sort of review

When I review stuff, I normally complain about deaf accessibility. Today that isn't the case.
After a long hard week at work, I stop off at Spec's. It's a Wal-Mart for liquor. The standing rule with me is support your local businesses.
A friend owns a liquor store, I buy my beer or tequila from him. Simple, right?
But Spec's carries mead. I need to research what the other mead makers are doing in order to make my mead stand out.
There are two rules of thought there.
One: See what they are doing wrong.
Two: Make your mead stand out.

Too sweet. Too carbonated. Made with hops. The current trend is to make IPA's. Indian Pale Ales. Bitter to the point of pain. It's an acquired taste and I haven't acquired it, nor do I plan to. Just like I plan on never saying a kind word about Budwieser.

Mead made with hops just tastes like expensive beer. We can do better than that.

The selection at Spec's is small compared to the offerings from Anheuser-Busch or Coors, and I've sampled the local fare, but I'm here to talk about something else slightly different.

Guadalupe Brewing company is out of New Braunfels, Texas. Just up the road from me. I sampled the Texas Honey Ale, (A reward for a lawn well mowed.) A caramel semi-sweet ale that goes down easily.  Alcohol content came in at a whopping 7.38% 
(Remember: Texas climate is great for ales, lousy for lagers.)
Light brown and slightly cloudy, I spent my first glass evaluating how they made it. Much like a chef tastes the dish before him and deduces the ingredients. A bit of warning there: don't do that, it spoils the experience unless you are a trained chef or an experienced brewmaster.
After writing that I realize I put myself in the later category. There's no test for this other than; 'Do you make stuff that doesn't suck?'
Judging by the people who ask me when the next batch is ready and the friends who show up for 'quality control', it must be good.

The other ale I'm sampling from Guadalupe Brewing is the Scotch Ale. This is an award winning ale, 2014 and '15 Gold medal in Open Beer championship.
Slight taste of chocolate accompanies the dark brown ale which comes in at 8.17% ABV.
If hot chocolate were frozen and carbonated, this would be it.
When I bought it, my mind was on the 'Scotch' word.
Whiskey and Scotch are made from distilling beer. I was curious as to what it a Scotch would taste like after going through the entire process one and a half times. (Substitute water with Scotch in the beer making process, the results would be interesting. By interesting I mean; 'turn over your keys NOW.')
On a business note, do we really need to list the ABV out to two decimal places? I round up or down depending on reading. Does it really matter at that point?

When all is said and done, I'm back to refining what I do and don't like. 
When I was growing up, I witnessed a lot of adults drinking Bud Light. Promising myself I wouldn't be like that, I continued on to adulthood.
Generally, I found Pilsners and colorless beers to be less than useless. Didn't taste good for the buzz they gave and you had to pee a lot. If that was all that was offered to me, I would have been a tea-total-er. (Spell check won't let me spell it any other way, go figure.)

So what do we take away from all this rambling?  

Find your local brewery and see what they offer.
Get away from the colorless, useless brews.

Closing story: I was up in New England for a funeral. They serve weak, pussy beer. I'd be ashamed to serve it, let alone make it. say nothing about drinking it.
If New Yorkers are as tough as they claim to be, look in your fridge. If there is anything from Anheuser-Busch, consider your man card revoked.

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