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

May 23, 2010

Abita’s Strawberry Harvest Lager Beer Review 5.23.10

Abita's Berry Patch Needs To Grow Some Flavor.

Abita's Berry Patch Needs To Grow Some Flavor.

The Brewski Report on Abita’s Strawberry Harvest Beer After A Hard Day Around The Yard
File Date: 5.23.10

File Name: Where’s the Berry?
The Beer: Strawberry Harvest
Type: Fruit/Vegetable Beer
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 4.2% ABV
Brewer: Abita Brewing
Web Site: www.abita.com
Country of Origin: LA, USA
Brewer Info: Founded in 1986, the Abita Brewing Company is nestled in the piney woods 30 miles north of New Orleans. Our lagers and ales are brewed in small batches, hand-crafted by a team of dedicated workers with only the highest ideals of quality. This pride, along with our brewing process, is what creates our great brews. Abita uses only the finest ingredients – British and North American malted barley, German and American yeast strains, Pacific Northwest hops and the pure artesian water of Abita Springs. In Abita, we are blessed with the purest of water. Drawn from our deep wells, our pristine water is not altered in any way. Abita Beer has no preservatives, additives or stabilizers and is cold filtered. The result is beer that is the finest and freshest tasting as proven by our loyal customers and great chefs of the south who use Abita Beer in their recipes. We’re proud of our brewery and the beers we make. Try Abita Beer today and taste a bit of the South!
 
tbr-abita-insertBrewer Brand Hype: Strawberry Harvest Lager is a wheat beer made with real Louisiana strawberries, picked late in the season when they’re at their sweetest. This brew has earned quite a reputation in a short time, causing the brewery to up their production year after year. When this brew is found, emails and phone calls fly to friends informing them of the store’s location. Strawberry Harvest is a crisp, light lager with just a hint of strawberry sweetness.
Label: Ripe, red Louisiana strawberries are harvested at the peak of the season in the early morning chill.  The secret of the juicy red Ponchatoula berries fills the air as they’re picked and pressed for Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager. The end result is a light, crisp lager with just a hint of strawberry sweetness.

The Brewski Review: Frankly, I was dissapointed with this one.  I had just finished shoveling a ton and a half of river rock out of a pickup and mowing the lawn on a sunny 83 degree day.  All I wanted was to taste a nice beer and relax for a few minutes before embarking on another small project of removing the deer netting I installed on some trees last fall.  The beer was cold and crisp so I guess in this respect it was good (thanks, in part, to my fridge) but I was looking for a nice strawberry taste.  Aside from not tasting strawberry, I couldn’t even smell it.  Now, I did burn the tip of my tongue last weekend in a freak pizza incident (I was hungry and the pizza was, unknowingly, right out of the oven.) so there is a small chance that it dulled my taste buds.  But, hey, I didn’t burn my nose.  I drank another Bud Lime the other night (I was on the road traveling for business again and it sounded good) and I had no problems with my taste or scent capabilities then.  Many people rave about this brew but I think Abita needs to refine this recipe a little and make it more like the beer they market it to be.   

Drinkability: Drinkable.  But not as a ‘Strawberry’ flavored beer.
Appearance: Large, quick foamy head over top of a light golden color.
The Buds: An the good side, cold and crisp.  No strawberry taste.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.0 out of 5 just because it isn’t the beer Abita markets it to be.

Maybe The Bottles Are Placed In The Berry Patch Hoping To Absorb The Taste.

Maybe The Bottles Are Placed In The Berry Patch Hoping To Absorb The Taste.

May 12, 2010

Spaten-Franziskaner-Brau’s Hefe-Weisse Beer Review 5.12.2010

Those Darn Franciscians Can Brew a Mean Beer

Where The Franciscans Frequent Visitors To The Brewery Across The Street?

The Brewski Report Reviews Franziskaner’s Hefe-Weisse Beer
File Date: 5.12.10

File Name: Polish Guy Drinks German Beer In An Italian Bistro
The Beer: Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse
Type: Hefeweizen
Serving: Draft
Stats: 5.0% ABV
Brewer: Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu GmbH
Web Site: www.franziskaner.com
Country of Origin: Germany
Brewer Info: Franziskaner’s roots can be traced back to 1363. It was in this year that the brewer Seidel Vaterstetter is first mentioned as the owner of the ‘brewery next to the Franciscans’ in the Munich Residenzstrasse. The name ‘Franziskaner’ derives from the Franciscan monastery diagonally across the street. In 1861 Joseph Sedlmayr, owner of the Leist Brewery (probably founded in the 15th century) and son of Spaten’s Gabriel Sedlmayr the Elder, buys out August Deiglmayr, with whom he has been co-running the Residenzstrasse brewery since 1858. By 1872 ‘Ur-Märzen’, the amber-colored Oktoberfest beer from Franziskaner-Leist, is served for the first time at the Schottenhamel Tent on the Oktoberfest fairgrounds. Brewed from a Viennese recipe, this golden-yellow beer is stronger than the summer beer. In 1922 The Franziskaner-Leist Brewery and the Spaten Brewery, likewise owned by the Sedlmayr family, unite to form a single joint stock company, the ‘Gabriel und Joseph Sedlmayr Spaten-Franziskaner-Leistbräu AG’, in order to combat the economic problems of the crisis-ridden postwar years and to capitalize on synergies. The Munich artist Ludwig Hohlwein designs the company’s distinctive trademark in 1935, which is still used today. The Franciscan Friar continues to stand for the unsurpassed quality of Franziskaner’s premium weiss beer. 
 
tbr-franz_weiss-insertBrewer Brand Hype:
All of Franziskaner’s weiss beer products – Hefe-Weisse Hell and Hefe-Weisse Dunkel – are top-fermentation beers noted for their agreeable carbonation levels and zesty wheat flavour. The consistently high quality of our products makes Franziskaner weiss beers a refreshing taste sensation of a special sort. All Franziskaner weiss beers are brewed in strict adherence to the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516. Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse Hell is noted for it’s agreeable level of carbination and it’s natural cloudiness. It is brewed from Wheat Malt, barley malt, hops, top fermenting yeast and water according to a time-honoured Bavarian recipe.

What is the Purity Law?
 In 1516 Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria issued the Purity Law, the oldest foodstuff regulation still in effect today. It states that beer can only be brewed from malt, hops and water.

Label: Draft beer served at the table.

The Brewski Review: I’m on a streak this week: one brew each day of my travels.  After work today I went to dinner at a swanky Italian bistro with only a few tables and what appeared to be a heavy, geriatric following. As I was starting to wonder about my co-workers choice of dining, some younger patrons ambled in the front door.  This put me more at ease. Once I settled into my cushy booth seat I ordered a German Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse to start off the meal. Although the wine list was extensive, the beer list was rather short.  Aside from mostly institutional beers (as I like to call the large mass produced American brands) were a couple beers from Italy and two from Germany.  Hefe-Weisse it was. The waitress served the beer with a lemon on the rim of the pint glass. I don’t think this is how a real German would drink it I thought to myself – more of an American addition.  So I ditched the lemon wedge and still enjoyed every last drop.  I would love to say that it supurbly complimented the grilled chicken covered with a blue cheese sauce, the gnocchi (Italian name for a variety of thick, soft noodles or dumplings) and asparagas, but the beer was gone long before the food arrived.  I’m sure I was thirsty but I think the excellent taste had a little to do with it.  Drink up road warriors.     

Drinkability: Will definitely drink this brand again.
Appearance: Cloudy, light golden color.  Minimal head.
The Buds: Creamy and mild.  Yummy.
TBR Cap Rating: 4.25 caps out of 5.

May 11, 2010

Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Lime Lager Beer Review 5.11.2010

Bud Lime on the Bar Patio

Bud Lime on the Bar Patio

The Brewski Report Reviews Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light Lime Lager
File Date: 5.11.10

 File Name: Big Brewer Cuts Out Small Produce Middleman 
The Beer: Bud Light Lime
Type: Light Lager
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 4.2% ABV
Brewer: Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
Web Site: www.anheuser-busch.com
Country of Origin: MO, USA
Brewer Info: Anheuser-Busch traces its origins back to the Bavarian brewery, which was established in 1852. Eberhard Anheuser acquired the Bavarian brewery in 1860 and renamed it E. Anheuser & Co. In 1864, his son-in-law, Adolphus Busch, joined the company that would later become Anheuser-Busch. While the company’s early years were demanding, Adolphus Busch proved up to the challenge. His keen vision, bold initiative, marketing savvy and passionate commitment to quality were his legacy to those who followed, and the high standards he established have been adhered to by each succeeding generation. Today, Anheuser-Busch produces the two best-selling beers in the world, Budweiser and Bud Light, and operates 12 breweries in the United States.

tbr-bud_light_lime-insertBrewer Brand Hype: American-style light lager that combines the superior drinkability of Bud Light with a splash of 100 percent natural lime flavor. Light-bodied brew with a delicate malt sweetness; clean, crisp finish, and the taste of a fresh-squeezed lime for ultimate refreshment. Perfect for summer refreshment, Bud Light Lime offers adults the citrus taste, expected from a fresh squeezed lime, without a trip to the produce aisle.
Label: Premium Light Beer With 100% Natural Lime Flavor.

The Brewski Review: Another road review.  I told the waitress to seat us (a coworker and myself) outside on the restaurant patio. It was a particularly nice day, blue skies and sunny with only a few passing clouds.  The first order of business was to review the beer list straight away.  I ordered a Gumballhead (Three Floyds Brewing Co.) but the waiter came back empty handed and said they were out.  Not too many other choices other than the large, institutional brews with the large media budgets.  So, I selected the lime flavored Bud beer.  How original I thought…..forget about putting the lime in the bottle, just add the lime flavor.  Surprisingly though, I think they actually pull it off quite well with this combination.  The lime citrus flavor was abundant.  Typical with most American Lagers, this was light, crisp and and a quick drinker. I would think the stuffy beer snobs would give this one a thumbs down when it really doesn’t deserve the bad wrap.  AB brewed this to fit a market and I think they were successful in achieving their goal. If you like lime and plan on spending a nice warm day drinking beer and relaxing, this just may be the beer for you.  Have several and it probably won’t fill you up if your eating a platefull of spicy wings, snoozing in the hammock, working in the yard or playing a game of volleyball.

Drinkability: Tasty lime flavor.
Appearance: Golden yellow. Large head dissipates quickly.
The Buds: Crisp and Refreshing for a hot, beer drinking summer day.
TBR Cap Rating: 4.25 out of 5

May 10, 2010

Anheuser-Busch’s Shock Top Belgian Witbier 5.10.2010

Bud's Shock Top Belgian White

Bud's Shock Top Belgian White

The Brewski Report Reviews Anheuser-Busch’s Shock Top Belgian White Witbier
File Date: 5.10.10

File Name: Snorting Beer Can Tingle
The Beer: Shock Top Belgian White
Type: Witbier
Serving: Draft
Stats: 5.2% ABV
Brewer: Anheuser-Busch, Inc
Web Site: www.anheuser-busch.com
Country of Origin: MO, USA
Brewer Info: Anheuser-Busch traces its origins back to the Bavarian brewery, which was established in 1852. Eberhard Anheuser acquired the Bavarian brewery in 1860 and renamed it E. Anheuser & Co. In 1864, his son-in-law, Adolphus Busch, joined the company that would later become Anheuser-Busch. While the company’s early years were demanding, Adolphus Busch proved up to the challenge. His keen vision, bold initiative, marketing savvy and passionate commitment to quality were his legacy to those who followed, and the high standards he established have been adhered to by each succeeding generation. Today, Anheuser-Busch produces the two best-selling beers in the world, Budweiser and Bud Light, and operates 12 breweries in the United States.

shock_top-draftBrewer Brand Hype: Introduced originally as seasonal beer Spring Heat Spiced Wheat in 2006, year-round as Shock Top in 2007. As an unfiltered Belgian-style wheat ale, this beer is naturally cloudy with a light golden color. Brewed with orange, lemon and lime peels and coriander. Shock Top Belgian White pairs well with fresh salads, chicken dishes and Asian cuisine. The beer is best enjoyed in a tall, wide-mouthed glass. To serve the brew perfectly, follow these pouring guidelines. Pour the brew down the side of the glass until about one-half inch of brew is left in the bottle. Lay the bottle on its side and roll it gently back and forth, mixing the remaining yeast that has settled at the bottom. Pour the rest of the brew, producing a nice, thick collar of foam.
Label: Reviewed this one as a draft.  (Kind of hard to roll the bottle on it’s side when it comes from the keg.  It makes me wonder if I’m getting the full taste from the tap.)

The Brewski Review: In typical witbier form, this Belgian style wheat ale is cloudy in color. I didn’t detect much of a citrus taste or aroma.  With it’s crisp flavor and minimal aftertaste it would make for a decent summertime beverage. Nothing too special or noteable to make it my witbier of choice.  My initial thought is to skip to another witbier before sampling this brew again.  Although, I may be willing to give a bottle a try sometime to see if I’m tasting the full yeasty flavor.  If I do try the bottle version, I’ll make it a point NOT to drink it while I dine with fellow coworker – ‘Two Buck Chuck’ – out on the road as I did when I drank the draft version. If I do, I’ll risk snorting most of the beer out my nose.  Who can’t laught at a coagulation of ruthless and sarcastic comments about your place of work and those you work with?  I most certainly can’t.  And the company I work for definitely has no shortage of material to comment about.  Does yours?  Probably not.  I’ve been with a few large, well known companies and they’re all about the same.  Maybe one day I’ll find an organization where I actually enjoy going to work each morning and doing what I’m paid to do.  I envy those individuals who knew what they wanted to do right out of high school, earned their degree and are now doing it. Probably making great money at it as well. Me? I need a career change.  Only problem is, I can’t afford to start at the bottom. That’s what the lottery is for right?    

Drinkability: Drinkable. If I drink it again, it’ll be in the bottle.
Appearance: Cloudy, Pale golden yellow.
The Buds: Decent for an industrial brew.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

May 5, 2010

Jacob Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy Beer Review 5.5.10

Shandygaff - Beer Flavored With Ginger or Citrus

Shandygaff - Beer Flavored With Ginger or Citrus

The Brewski Report Reviews Leinie’s Summer Shandy
File Date: 5.5.10

 File Name: America Sends Democrats To Greece To ‘Show ’em How It’s Done’.
The Beer: Summer Shandy
Type: Fruit/Vegetable Beer
Serving: Draft
Stats: 4.2% ABV
Brewer: Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company
Web Site: www.leinie.com
Country of Origin: WI, USA
Brewer Info: The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, the seventh-oldest brewery in the United States, is the oldest business in Chippewa Falls and one of the oldest in the state. Our commitment and tradition of brewing quality products is matched only by the wants of generations of genuine beer-loving customers. The origin of the name Wisconsin is Ojibwan. To the Ojibwa, Wisconsin means gathering of the waters. It was the waters of the Chippewa River, Duncan Creek and the Big Eddy Springs where Jacob Leinenkugel Found a home for his brewery in 1867. The Leinenkugel brewing legacy in the United States continues today, more than 140 years and five generations later.

tbr-shandy-canBrewer Brand Hype: Get a taste of the freshest flavor under the sun – Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. A Shandy is lemonade flavored beer, a European favorite during the warmer months. And the light, crisp flavor makes it a great summer refresher. Each batch is carefully brewed using the finest wheat, malted barley and just a hint of real Wisconsin honey. Then, our brewmasters mix in fresh lemonade and citrus flavors to create an adventurous taste that’s perfect for those lazy days of summer.
Label: Pulled from the tap.

The Brewski Review: I like the flavor of lemon. Lemon bars, lemon cake, lemonade, etc. You get the picture. So, it’s no surprise that I enjoyed this beer immensely. Leinenkugel put minimal effort into naming this beer. It makes for a perfect warm weather beverage. I think it was 83 degrees the day I strolled into the local Buffalo Wild Wings when I drank this fruity beer. I was, of course, traveling on the road. There isn’t much around my hotel so B-Dub’s it was. There was ‘conditioned air’ inside the building (I loathe hot weather) but nonetheless, I beleive this beverage would satisfy anyone, whether hot or not, if they enjoy the taste of lemon. Give it a try. I can imagine that it would be a great beer watch the Greek economy take a header into the toilet while simultaniously pulling your hard earned tax dollars with it through the IMF. As a nation, we’re so priviledged to have such a wonderful collection of elected officials that could really care less what their consitituents want. Just make sure you show them how thankful you are in the next election. And, if you were ignorant enough to vote these crooks into office, there’s no hope for you. So just don’t vote. Move to Greece or some other country that detests America. And, take our elected officials with you – including the big man himself. I’m sure his top boot lickers like Pelosi, Reid & company can ‘show ’em how it’s done’ when spending your way to socialistic prosperity.

Drinkability: Excellent. I love lemon flavor so I enjoyed this beer.
Appearance: Cloudy, pale yellow in color. Minimal head when served.
The Buds: Zesty lemon flavor. A crisp, warm weather refreshment.
TBR Cap Rating: 4.5 caps out of 5.

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