THE BREWSKI REPORT Tommy Brewski: My Beer. My Life.

March 30, 2010

Spoetzl Brewery’s Shiner Bock Beer Review 3.30.2010

Shinger Bock On Tap Is Delicious.

Shinger Bock On Tap Is Delicious.

The Brewski Report Reviews Shiner Bock And A Ford Explorer Electrical Problem.
File Date: 3.30.2010

File Name: Man Drives 145,000 Miles To Find A Great Bock Beer.
The Beer: Shiner Bock
Type: Bock
Serving: Draft
Stats: 4.4% ABV
Brewer: Spoetzl Brewery
Web Site:
Country of Origin: TX, USA
Brewer Info: From its earliest time under the Shiner Brewing Association in 1909, to that fateful day in 1914 when Kosmos Spoetzl saw an opportunity to bring classic Bavarian Brewing traditions to his fellow immigrants, through the “Great Experiment” of Prohibition and and Great Depression, the “Little Brewery” has stuck to what they know best – handcrafting the finest beer.

tbr-shiner-bock-label-insert1Brewer Brand Hype: Bock reflects the tradition of genuine Bavarian beers as a brew only a craftsman like Kosmos Spoetzl, trained in the “Old Country,” could bring to life. With its deep amber color, distinctive rich flavor and full body, Shiner Bock demonstrates the care of a handcrafted brewing process to bring forth a mellow taste free of the bitter aftertaste found in many micro, specialty and imported beers. Just think of it as Shiner smooth.
Label: Pulled straight from the keg.

The Brewski Review: My Ford Explorer has about 145,000 miles on the odom.  Some say ‘it’s just getting broken in’.  I say: ‘Let’s switch cars’.  ‘I’ll let you revel in the luxury of driving a car with the kinks already worked out.’  ‘And, I’ll suffer while I drive your new car.’  At this stage, it’s not a monthly payment so much as the nickle and dime repairs.  The other day the Exploder died on me.  I had taken the day off to get some work done around the house and my car quits.  (If there’s a silver lining to this story,  it’s that I didn’t get stranded at work.)  Click. Click. Click went the starter.  Battery right?  Yeah.  Later that evening my wife asked if I fixed the car.  Like a flash of lightening, it hit me: did I really fix it?  ‘I’m going to Auto Zone.’ I yelled upstairs to my wife who was struggling with two ornery kids.  The retail guy checks the system and says the alternator is fine.  I have an electrical short.  Arrg! The car sits for a week while I decide what to do.  I’m paralyzed with inaction.  I fix things myself because I don’t trust others and I like to save money.  (Yes.  I know I have issues.)  I call the dealer. ‘Well, we’ll start you out at $100 and work till we find it.’  Reading between the lines I replied, ‘So, you have a $100/hr service charge.  Correct?’  Silence for a moment then, ‘Uh. Yes.’  Apparently, he never had anyone call him out on his car-mechanic double-talk, super-secret covert pricing lingo.  Since I didn’t really consider this a viable option, I received names of other friend mechanics but decided to wait until Saturday to give it a good once over.  Good thing I did.  Aside from not seeing a wiring issue that would classify as a ‘short’, I removed the + battery cable while the vehicle was running (Remember? I installed a new battery) to see if it would continue with just the alternator.  It didn’t.  Hmmmm.   That’s not right.  I drove back to Auto Zone to have another retailguy check the system.  This one tells me it’s my alternator.  I believe it this time and drive home with a new part in hand.  Problem solved.  New battery and alternator: $225.00.  Getting erroneous decision making info from a retailguy, losing 1/2 vacation day and wasting a week thinking about it?  Priceless as it is finding a fantastic Bock beer!  Absolutley delicious!  I’d highly recommend Spoetzl’s Shiner Bock beer to everyone.  I won’t verbosely expound on it, but it was gooooood.

Drinkability: Two thumbs up on this one.
Appearance: Amber Brown in color.  No head by the time it made it to my table.
The Buds: Very mild and crisp.  Minimal aftertaste as noted by the brewer.
TBR Cap Rating: 4.75 out of 5.

March 25, 2010

New Belgium Brewing’s Fat Tire Ale Review 3.25.10

Fat Tire Draft Drinkware of Choice.

Fat Tire Draft Drinkware of Choice.

The Brewski Report Reviews New Belgium Brewing’s Fat Tire Ale and Eating Road Food for a Living.
File Date: 3.25.2010

File Name: Free Doesn’t Always Equate To Wise Choice.
The Beer: Fat Tire
Type: American Amber/Red Ale
Serving: Draft
Stats: 5.2% ABV
Brewer: New Belgium Brewing Company
Web Site:
Country of Origin: CO, USA
Brewer Info: As our aspiring young homebrewer rides his mountain bike with “fat tires” through European villages famous for beer, New Belgium Brewing Company was but a glimmer in his eye. Or basement. For Jeff Lebesch would return to Fort Collins with a handful of ingredients and an imagination full of recipes. And then there was beer. Jeff’s first two basement-brewed creations? A brown dubbel with earthy undertones named Abbey and a remarkably well-balanced amber he named Fat Tire. To say the rest was history would be to overlook his wife’s involvement. Kim Jordan was New Belgium’s first bottler, sales rep, distributor, marketer and financial planner.  And now, she’s our CEO. The other side of the New Belgium story isn’t as romantic as bicycling through Europe, but it gives testament to our dedication and hard work. And it goes like this: Jeff, an electrical engineer by day and tinkerer by nature, builds a homebrewing kit in his basement out of repurposed dairy equipment. His Belgian inspired brews garnered enough praise from friends and neighbors that Jeff and Kim take their basement brewery commercial in 1991.

tbr-fat-tire-logo-insertBrewer Brand Hype: Named in honor of our founder Jeff’s bike trip through Belgium, Fat Tire Amber Ale marks a turning point in the young electrical engineer’s home brewing. Belgian beers use a far broader palette of ingredients (fruits, spices, esoteric yeast strains) than German or English styles. Jeff found the Belgian approach freeing. Upon his return, Jeff created Fat Tire and Abbey Belgian Ale, (assuming Abbey would be his big gun). He and his wife, Kim traveled around sampling their homebrews to the public. Fat Tire’s appeal quickly became evident. People liked everything about it. Except the name. Fat Tire won fans with its sense of balance: toasty, biscuit-like malt flavors coasting in equilibrium with hoppy freshness.
Label: Tried this one as a draft beer.  No bottle to read while I drink.

The Brewski Review: Drank this one on a business road trip.  The glass was tall and the beer was cold.  It was good.  Being sent out on the road can have it’s advantages.  Food and beverages paid for by the company.  A great deal if you like to eat out.  But, unlike others, I try not to eat out much.  Eating road food for 3 or 4 days in a row becomes quite unappealing. No matter how healthy its claim, I always feel as though I’m doing more damage to my body than good.  Couple this with my low salt diet and only then you can understand my quandry: eat like a rabbit or eat tasty food laced with two times the DRA of calories and sodium. I can also keep this in perspective by considering truck drivers and other individuals who don’t stray too far from the interstate system or have time to seek healthier alternatives than gas station food.  Yikes!  It’s even more challenging for them to keep their arteries from clogging. Slice it anyway you want, I could never be a road warrier.  Night after night of late night dinner and drinks is not something I could physically do for extended periods of time. So, I give a thumbs up to anyone who can manage this feat.  You have a much stronger constitution than myself.  And, what a perfect segway from talking road stories and business travel than drinking a beer called Fat Tire. Fat Tire was a little sweet to my palate but I like that.  Overall, it was good with just the hint of bitterness.  Give this one a try all you legions of road soldiers.  I think you’ll like it.  Keep the tires fat and not your gut: eat smart and drink in moderation (but not while driving).

Drinkability:  Enjoyed this one.
Appearance: Pale Amber.
The Buds: Sweet. Mildly bitter.
TBR Cap Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

March 24, 2010

Sam Adams Noble Pils Beer Review 3.24.10

Pils In Bottle Form

Pils In Bottle Form

The Brewski Report: Sam Adams Noble Pils and My Fav Ethnic Fests
File Date: 3.24.2010

File Name: Give Me My Baklava And Leave Me Alone.
The Beer: Noble Pils
Type: German Pilsener
Serving: Draft
Stats: 5.2% ABV
Brewer: Boston Beer Company/Samuel Adams
Web Site:
Country of Origin: MA, USA
Brewer Info: Jim Koch founded The Boston Beer Company in 1984 because he believed that Americans deserved better beer. Today, we’re a team of about 350 people, and we all share a common passion for bringing great Samuel Adams® beers to beer lovers everywhere. We’ve worked hard for the many successes we’ve enjoyed over the years. The Boston Beer Company has been cited as one of the best companies to work for by Boston Magazine, one of the Best Entry-Level Jobs by The Princeton Review, and our beers have won more awards than any beer in history. Jim has been named an “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Inc. Magazine. Our brewers keep amazing us with innovative new brews, most recently Samuel Adams Utopias and Samuel Adams® Chocolate Bock.

tbr-noble-pils-label-insertBrewer Brand Hype: Samuel Adams Noble Pils is brewed with all 5 Noble Hops for a distinct hop character and fresh taste.  Deep golden in color with a citrusy hop aroma, Samuel Adams Noble Pils is a traditional Bohemian Pilsner.  The honeyed malt character from traditional Bohemian malt is balanced by delicate yet pronounced citrus, floral, and piney notes from the Noble hops.  The winner of our 2009 Beer Lover’s Choice election, this beer was chosen by over 67,000 drinkers for its crips complexity and refreshing taste.
Label: Pulled this one from a keg. 

The Brewski Review: Again, reviewed this one on the road. Although I’ve been traveling quite a bit lately, I’m not a road warri0r. Never have been.  Just a homebody who like to hang with the family.  I don’t need to go bar hopping and partying with friends.  Been there.  Done that.  What I do like is visiting some of the local ethnic festivals.  Mostly for the food and beer.  Definitely not the people.  My wife and I like to watch the crowds move by, mutter our comments to each other as they do, but as I get older I like to be around people less and less. Visiting the local festivals is about the only place that I’ll tolorate it. My favorite festivals? Probably the German-American Fest and the Greek Festival.  Potato pancakes and baklava.  What’s not to love?  Noble Pils, on the other hand, is light on the palate and crisp tasting but I wasn’t impressed.  Rather hoppy with a strong aftertaste. Apparently, many people rave about Noble Pils but I can’t say I’m one.  It’s a decent beer but I’m not into the real hoppy brews.  If you are give one a try. 

Drinkability: Not one of the 67,000 Pils neophytes.
Appearance: Medium to deep gold in color.  Minimal head.
The Buds: Crisp tasting yes.  Delicious?  So-So.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

March 20, 2010

Reviewing Anchor Brewing’s Bock Beer 3.20.10

Anchor Bock Beer and It's Big Head.

Anchor Bock Beer and It's Big Head.

The Brewski Report Reveiws Anchor Brewing’s Bock Beer Over A Steak And My Favorite Potatos
File Date: 3.20.10

File Name: Potatoes done right.  Not spelled right.
The Beer: Anchor Bock Beer
Type: Bock
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 5.5% ABV
Brewer: Anchor Brewing Co.
Web Site:
Country of Origin: CA, USA
Brewer Info: Anchor’s beers are produced in one of the most traditional and handsome breweries anywhere in the world. Our brewers employ no modern shortcuts. Each brew is virtually handmade with an all-malt mash in our handmade copper brewhouse, a veritable museum of the simple, traditional brewhouses of old. We strive to practice the art of classical brewing, and we employ state-of-the-art methods to ensure that our products are clean and clear, pure and fresh. Every bottle and keg of our precious beer is kept under refrigeration at the brewery, and at the warehouse of your local distributor. We know of no brewery in the world that matches our efforts to combine traditional, natural brewing methods with the most careful and modern methods of sanitation, finishing, packaging, and transporting.

tbr-anchor-bock-label2Brewer Brand Hype: Anchor Bock Beer, released in celebration of the coming of spring, is an ancient and mysterious part of the brewing tradition. Over time, the term “bock” has come to mean a beer darker and stronger than the brewery’s “regular” brew. We hope you will find Anchor Bock to be a rich and flavorful addition to our other offerings. San Francisco’s Anchor Bock Beer is virtually handmade by the brewers of Anchor Steam® Beer, in one of the most traditional small breweries in the world. It is brewed from a complex blend of the finest barley malts, wheat malts, and fresh, whole hops.
Label: Same as above.

The Brewski Review: I opened this bottle of Bock as I was sitting down to enjoy a nice steak dinner. I think it complimented the food quite nicely.  The dark brown beer poured with a large foamy muddy colored head that dissipated rather quickly.  It was very malty tasting and rather creamy going down with minimal bitterness.  And for those keeping tabs on my diet I also had grilled asparagus and sliced potatos.  I love potatos cooked this way on the grill…slice up the potatos, onions and mushrooms, put them in foil, season as desired (for me, it’s usually just a salt-free table blend) and add plenty of butter.  Seal and toss it on the grill for 15 minutes before turning and adding another 15 until done.  We’ve added variations on this….like including peppers.  I’m considering adding carrots because I like them cooked with potatos and onions.  Maybe I’ll even add the asparagus right inside the foil instead of grilling them separately.  Very simple yet tasty.  I recommend you try it today. 

Drinkability: Tasty.  Would drink it again. 
Appearance: Deep Brown in color.  Foamy.
The Buds: Creamy and not very bitter.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

March 19, 2010

Okocim Brewery’s O.K. Euro Pale Lager Beer Review 3.19.10

O.K. Beer is Okay-ski with Me.

O.K. Beer is Okay-ski with Me.

The Brewski Report Reviews Poland’s OK Beer Pale Lager And Mulling The Prospect of Spring.
File Date: 3.19.10

File Name: What’s The Polish Word For Barbeque? 
The Beer: O.K. Beer
Type: Euro Pale Lager
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 5.6% ABV
Brewer: Okocim Brewery
Web Site:
Country of Origin: Poland
Brewer Info: Okocim Brewery, in Brzesko in southeastern Poland, is one of the oldest and most renowned breweries in the country. It currently makes eight types of beer: O.K. (Pilsener), Signature (Pilsener), Mocne (Medium Malt), Porter, Karmi and Karmi Poema Di Caffe (Near Beer), Palone, and Zagloba. Established in 1845 by Johann Evangelist Götz (1815-1893), born in Wirtemberg. His son Jan Albin expanded the family business, married a Polish aristocrat, and changed his name to Goetz-Okocimski. In 1945 the brewery was nationalised, and reprivatised in the 1990s. Since 1996 the brewery has been a part of Carlsberg Polska, Carlsberg Breweries A/S.

tbr-okbeer-label1Brewer Brand Hype: Okocim O.K. is a fine and delicate brew, deriving its quality from a recipe which incorporates the best of indigenous Polish hop varieties, luxurious barley and only the softest mountain water. The O.K. label remains mostly unchanged from its original design from forty years ago. The beer itself helped define “Polish Pils style”, which in turn separated Polish beers from the many other European brands.
Label: Full Pale Beer.  Piwo Jsne Pelne

The Brewski Review:
  I am excited about the end of winter.  There was a day when I loved to see the snow fly.  The more the better.  But, as I grew older and picked up a few responsibilities of my own, like shoveling snow, I came to dislike winter.  I really don’t mind the cold so much but I dislike wasting time pushing a substance around that will eventually melt – not to mention the wonderful muscle aches I get in return.  Heated sidewalks.  Now that’s the ticket.  In the advent of warmer weather, we can turn our attention to more important issues like outdoor grilling.  And, no one can beat a punch to the grill faster than me.  But, who can enjoy a good grill without having a beer in hand. So, I pulled one from the fridge.  A Polish beverage called OK Beer, which I actually enjoyed.  Though I’m Polish I harbored no preconceived notions about what a beer from the ‘homeland’ would taste like.  It was refreshing.  Light and mild.  The only downside is that it’s only 11.2 Fl.Oz.  It disappeared rather quickly.  Try one next time your outside in the warm sun waiting for your chicken to sizzle on the grill.

Drinkability:  Very nice.  I could buy a case of this.
Appearance: Medium golden in color.  Nice Head.
The Buds:  Light and mild.  No bitterness.
TBR Cap Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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