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

June 26, 2011

Red Seal Ale or Notes: Which is Better? 6.26.11

Northcoast's Red Seal Ale

Northcoast's Red Seal Ale with spillage.

The Brewski Report Reviews North Coast’s Red Seal Ale
File Date: 6.26.2011

File Name: Red Seal Beer or Notes, You Choose.
The Beer: Ruedrich’s Red Seal Ale
Type: American Amber/Red Ale
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 5.5% ABV
Brewer: North Coast Brewing Co.
Web Site: www.northcoastbrewing.com
State/Country of Origin: CA, USA
Brewer Info: A pioneer in the craft beer movement, North Coast Brewing Company opened in 1988 as a local brewpub in the historic town of Fort Bragg, located on California’s Mendocino Coast. Under the leadership of Brewmaster Mark Ruedrich, the brewery has developed a strong reputation for quality having won more than 70 awards in national and international competitions. In addition to Red Seal Ale, Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, Scrimshaw Pilsner, and other fine North Coast brands, the brewery has resurrected the old Acme label with a heritage dating back to the San Francisco of the 1860’s. These exceptional beers are available in 47 states now and also are exported to Europe and the Pacific Rim.

tbr-nc-logoBrewer Brand Hype: Malt and hops are beautifully married in this full-bodied, copper-red Pale Ale. Red Seal is generously hopped for a long, spicy finish. An excellent accompaniment to grilled meats and rich sauces.
Label: Brewed in Mendocino County, California. Water, Malted Barley, Hops, Yeast & That’s all. Malt & hops are beautifully married in this copper-red pale ale. Generously hopped for a long spicy denouement.

The Brewski Review: Nice tasting American Amber/Red ale. Hoppy and slightly bitter but not too overwhelming. Nice blend of malts and hops. Very foamy head on the pour. I give it a Brewski thumbs up. Of course, given the chance, I’d rather have another type of red seal as pictured below. Alot of those would set me up pretty well.

Drinkability: Yes. Tasty.
Appearance: Nice copper color. Large head
The Buds: Good balance of hops and malts.
TBR Cap Rating: 4.0 out of 5 caps.

A red seal of another kind and not to be confused with the Northcoast variety.

A red seal of another kind and not to be confused with the Northcoast variety.

June 16, 2011

Blue Heron Pale Ale Review 6.16.2011

Blue Heron Pale Ale by Mendocino Brewing.

Blue Heron Pale Ale by Mendocino Brewing.

The Brewski Report Reviews Mendocino’s Blue Heron APA File Date: 6.16.2011

File Name: Retro Beers and Daisy Dukes.
The Beer: Blue Heron Pale Ale
Type: American Pale Ale (APA)
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 6.1% ABV
Brewer: Mendocino Brewing Company
Web Site: www.mendobrew.com
State/Country of Origin: CA, USA
Brewer Info: In December ’83, the brewery rolled out the “World’s Largest 6-Pack” featuring 6 magnums of Red Tail…an OSHA nightmare tipping the scale at a brutal 42 pounds (the original magnum bottles have become a collectors’ item, some even becoming lamps). Within 5 years of that first batch of Red Tail, distribution had increased to 300 outlets in Northern California.  Red Tail, Blue Heron, and Black Hawk had extended their habitats to 14 states nationally.  By 1989, the demand of distributors made plain the need for 12oz bottles. By the 1990’s, the need for a dramatic expansion became evident.  Land was acquired in Ukiah, CA, the facility remaining near the scenic California 101, just 12 miles north of the Hopland Brewery. It was in 1997 that Dr. Vijay Mallya, a global entrepreneur, took interest in Mendocino Brewing Company.  Dr. Mallya, the head of “The UB Group”, a worldwide manufacturer of spirits and beer, believed that given the capital, Mendocino Brewing could remain in a position of strength for years to come.  The addition of Olde Saratoga Brewing in New York State vaulted Mendocino Brewing into the sphere of East-Coast/West-Coast distribution, fostering the delivery of fresher product through dramatically shortened supply lines.

tbr-blue-heron-birdBrewer Brand Hype: Blue Heron Pale Ale is a delightful, medium bodied smooth ale, with a distinctive crisp mouth-feel and a fresh hoppy finish. It is brewed using premium two-row Pale malted barley, generous amounts of both Cluster bittering hops and Cascade finishing hops and our own special proprietary yeast strain.
Label: This award winning brew is Handcrafted to perfection. A Premium American Classic from a Pioneer Brewing Legend.

The Brewski Review: Good hoppy flavor. Again, tasting the same as all the other APA’s I’ve tried. I don’t think this one distinguishes itself any more that the others other than the fact that it may have a less hoppy taste. Was there ever a beer called Hopmeister? That would be a great name for a full-on hoppy beer like an IPA or an APA. Sounds like a brand from the 70’s though so the marketing schtick would need to have dude’s with polyester bellbottoms and ladies with daisy dukes. Then label it as  ‘retro’ so all the beer snobs will have to drink it since it’ll be the new cool thing.

Drinkability: Alright. Would drink again.
Appearance: Med to darker gold color.
The Buds: Hoppy flavor.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.5 out of 5 caps.

Dig these 70's fashions. I was born too late for the ladies to see me in these hot poly styles.

Dig these 70's fashions. I was born too late for the ladies to see me in these hot poly styles.

The Orginal Daisy Dukes as worn by Daisy Duke herself.

The Orginal Daisy Dukes as worn by Daisy Duke herself.

Daisy Dukes updated by Britney Spears.

Daisy Dukes updated by Britney Spears.

June 12, 2011

Singha Premium Lager Beer Review 6.12.2011

Singha Premium Lager with the Lion.

Singha Premium Lager with the Lion.

The Brewski Report Reviews Singha Premium Lager Beer
File Date: 6.12.2011

File Name: Triassic Park-ish weather may be here to stay.
The Beer: Singha Lager Beer
Type: Euro Pale Lager
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 5.0% ABV
Brewer: Boon Rawd Brewery Ltd. (Singha Corp. Ltd.)
Web Site: www.singhabeer.com (site takes a while to load)
State/Country of Origin: Bangkok, Thailand
Brewer Info:   Phraya BhiromBhakdi was an aristocrat with an acute business vision. He was already successful in the ferry business, transporting passengers across the Chao Praya River. But, in the 1920s, bridges were being built around the capital, as private cars and public transportation were fast becoming the norm for commuters between Bangkok and Thonburi. Phraya BhiromBhakdi then thought to look for a new business venture. As Thai people were increasingly enjoying imported beers at the time, he found that beers were also being produced in a few Asian countries with similar climate to Thailand. Having received a report that water in parts of Bangkok was perfect for beer brewing, he visited many leading breweries in Europe to learn about the production process. Soon after, the request to brew the first Thai beer was granted; machineries imported;the new and exciting venture soon became the talk-of-the-town. Thus, began the story of the first beer to be brewed in Thailand, which began in 1933, when the founder was 60 years old. With Boonrawd Brewery being the first Thai brewery, the process leading up to the building of the brewery created much interest in Thailand at the time. Many visits to the brewery were made by members of the Royal Family, politicians, and foreign envoys, as well as other important individuals to see the new in-thing at the time. With Singha Corporation’s continual expansions, processes and technologies continually updated, Singha’s breweries are one of the most technological advanced in teh world. Please enjoy the photos from history to the present for which we will update periodically.

tbr-singha-logo1Brewer Brand Hype: The golden liquid is produced using the finest quality barley, malt and hops, imported from around the world, together with the pure artisan water, with a special balance that is unique only to our areas, distinguishing the taste from other beers. Distinghished brewmasters from Thailand and Germany ensure the quality of the product and the balance in taste.
Label: The Original Thai Beer Since 1933.

The Brewski Review: Not sure how to judge the taste of the ‘Artisan Water’ but overall a pleasant tasting beer. Not a favorite but definitely a drink-worthy brewski. Overall taste was mild with a slight hoppy flavor. I’ve had other euro pale lagers that satisfied my taste buds better, but this would work on one of these hot summer days. It’s been surprisingly hot this year so far and it doesn’t appear to be letting up. Are we working our way back to the weather similar to that during the Triassic period (206 to 250 million years ago)? The Earth proceeds through different cycles and the temperature will change accordingly. The Triassic period was definitely warmer and had a bonus – had cool dinosaurs roaming around. That’s one time period I’ll be visiting once someone invents a time machine.  I’ll just have to make a quick visit to the future to pick up a Ray-Gun at 7-11 before packing my bags.

Drinkability: Not if given a choice.
Appearance: Pale golden color with max head
The Buds: Slight hoppy taste.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

A more exotic and upscale print ad with the Singha Lion Girl (that's beer girl in America).

A more exotic and upscale print ad with the Singha Lion Girl (that's beer girl in America).

Gotta hand it to Singha - they love the beer girls. Like me, I think they do wonders to enhance the brand.

Gotta hand it to Singha - they love the beer girls. Like me, I think they do wonders to enhance the brand.

Another Singha beer girl. This one is wearing a sash so we may be looking at Ms. Singha. Looks more European than Asian though.

Another Singha beer girl. This one is wearing a sash so we may be looking at Ms. Singha. Looks more European than Asian though.

June 11, 2011

“33” Export Lager Review 6.10.11

This beer should be called 'Double-O Thirty Three' due to it's low profile brand marketing.

This beer should be called 'Double-O Thirty Three' due to it's low profile brand marketing.

The Brewski Report Reviews Vietnam’s “33” Export
File Date: 6.10.2011

File Name: ‘Double O-33’ the secret beer.
The Beer: “33” Export
Type: Dortmunder/Export Lager
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 4.8% ABV
Brewer: VBL Tien Gang Ltd.
Web Site: Not available.
State/Country of Origin: Vietnam
Brewer Info: None noted.

tbr-33-labelBrewer Brand Hype: No web site or distributor web page.
Label: Product of Vietnam

The Brewski Review: This beer was rather good. The taste was mild and it held some good flavors. What I don’t understand is why it’s such a secret. I could find no official web site or distributor web page. The brewer name doesn’t get a google hit but rather turns up quite a few hits of internet stores offering ’33 Export’ tee shirts for sale. It seems as though that’s their whole marketing schtick…..word of mouth with drunks wearing their brand name. The whole ‘low prifile’ branding just seems rather odd. Other sites note that Heineken of France is the license holder of the brand and Tien Gang Ltd is under license to brew/bottle. Whether this is true or not I surely can’t verify. All that aside, I beleive the beer is worthy.

Drinkability: Sure.
Appearance: Moderate to pale golden in color.
The Buds: Good flavor. Mild.
TBR Cap Rating: 4.0 caps out of 5.

This print ad is what little I found on '33' Export marketing.

This print ad is what little I found on '33' Export marketing.

What little Tien Gang does spend seems to be on the race circuit.

What little Tien Gang does spend seems to be on the race circuit.

June 6, 2011

EAB’s Tusker Finest Quality Lager 6.6.11

The Tusker label is the highlight of the beer.

The Tusker label is the highlight of the beer.

The Brewski Report Reviews Tusker Finest Quality Lager
File Date: 6.6.2011

File Name: A majestic animal for a unmajestic taste sensation.
The Beer: Tusker Finest Quality Lager
Type: American Adjunct Lager
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 4.2% ABV
Brewer: East African Breweries Limited
Web Site: http://www.eabl.com/
State/Country of Origin: Kenya
Brewer Info: East African Breweries Ltd is East Africa’s leading branded alcohol beverage business and has an outstanding collection of beer and spirits brands. With breweries, distilleries, support industries and a distribution network across the region, the group’s diversity is an important factor in delivering the highest quality brands to East African consumers and long-term value to East African investors. EABL has an annual turnover of Kshs 35 Billion and it has the largest share of the beer industry in the region. The group employs more than 1,000 people across East Africa. EABL has been awarded the accolade of the “Most Respected Company in East Africa”, five years in a row (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 & 2004) and more recently as 2nd runners up in a survey conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers and the Nation Media Group.

tbr-tusker-logoBrewer Brand Hype: George Hurst, a co-founder of Kenya Breweries Ltd, was killed by an elephant during a hunting expedition in 1923. In memory of his tragic death, this famous lager beer that he had helped create was renamed ‘Tusker’. Tusker is brewed from 100% African ingredients that are all locally sourced. The barley is from the Savannah and the Maasai Mara. The spring water is from the Aberdare Mountains. All the yeast is developed locally. The cornstarch is sourced from a local kenyan company. Every grain of sugar is delivered from West Kenya. This means that you feel closely connected to the origins and roots of Tusker. The taste of African spirit can inspire you going forwards, by re-connecting you with your roots. As the old proverb goes, ‘to know where you are going, you must first know where you have come from’. Tusker drinkers see the traditions, beliefs and cultures of their roots as the springboard for inspiration. They are full of optimism; focused on looking forwards, not backwards. Today’s triumphs are born of and inspired by where we have come from – Tusker. Refresh Your Roots.
Label: Tusker Lager has been brewed in East Africa since 1922. Named after the elephant that killed George Hurst, one of the breweries founders. Tusker claims that special heritage of being one of the first beers in East Africa. Over the years, this unique lager has become a part of East Africa’s rich tradition. Tusker is brewed with high quality malt, made from equitorial barley grown at the base of Mt. Kenya, choicest hops and water that spings from the renowned Aberdare mountain ranges. Tusker’s famous crisp, refreshing taste and finest quality has continuously earned Gold Medals in the prestigious International Monde Selection Awards.

The Brewski Review: I had to pull this beer off the shelf. I was shopping with my two year old son and he loves elephants (and dinosaurs – alot) so I wanted to show him the label. That was the end of it. He wouldn’t put the bottle down so I had to buy it. Of course, I was hesitant to let him continue holding it or I’d have to do a taste review by licking the beer off the grocery store floor. When I pulled it out of the fridge, and if you were in my immediate presence, you would have noticed my undeniable taste reaction to this beverage. It was utterly and remarkably blah. True, it was an American Adjunct Lager, but still…..  You could even say that…..gasp….Coors Light is a decent tasting beer compared to this. Again….I was blown away but how untasteful (made that one up) this beer was.

Drinkability: No.
Appearance: Ultra pale golden color.
The Buds: Rather bland.
TBR Cap Rating: 2.75 out of 5 caps.

Interesting Print Ad. I'm sure the Birthers are saying - 'Yup. He sure is.'

Interesting Print Ad. I'm sure the Birthers are saying - 'Yup. He sure is.'

Don't like the beer but like the marketing. Nice, simple eye catching sign.

Don't like the beer but like the marketing. Nice, simple eye catching sign.

Another print ad for Tusker. Clean and Simple.

Another print ad for Tusker. Clean and Simple.

Somebody has some free time on their hands.

Somebody has some free time on their hands.

June 5, 2011

Baltika No.7 Export Lager Review 6.5.2011

Not sure why the photo turned all funky light yellow like the color of the beer.

Not sure why the photo turned all funky light yellow like the color of the beer.

The Brewski Report Reviews Russia’s Baltika 7 Export Lager
File Date: 6.5.2011

File Name: Tommy mulls his unwise decision to blog.
The Beer: Baltika №7 Export Lager
Type: Dortmunder/Export Lager
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 5.4%
Brewer: Pivzavod Baltika/Baltic Beverage Holdings (Carlsberg Group)
Web Site: http://eng.baltika.ru/
State/Country of Origin: Russia
Brewer Info: The Baltika factory in St Petersburg was constructed in accordance with a design prepared by the Gipropishcheprom-2 Institute. It was planned as one of the breweries within Lenpivo, the Leningrad Association of the Beer Brewing and Nonalcoholic Beverages Industry. Construction of the new factory began in 1978. The state enterprise Baltika Brewery was formed in 1990 right after completion of the construction work. The first shipment of just 27,000 litres of beer was brought to market in November, 1990. The Baltika brand did not yet exist. Instead the plant produced beer under the widespread trademarks of the time: Zhigulevskoye, Rizhskoye, Admiralteiskoye and Prazdnichnoye. In1992 the enterprise embarked on privatisation. During this process the Company was reorganised into an Open Joint-Stock Company. The shareholders of Baltika at the time were 28 legal entities and more than 2,000 private individuals. At about this time, the idea arose to create a proprietary “Baltika” brand. From the very beginning, Baltika beer was exclusively conceived as a beer of the very highest European quality brewed according to classical technology. In order to fulfill this task, the factory management developed its first investment programme for the reconstruction and development of the enterprise.

Check out the pull top cap.

Check out the pull top cap.

Brewer Brand Hype:
The launch of the Baltika №7 Export brand was timed to the Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg in 1994. Since then the Baltika №7 has steadily been the market leader at the top of the premium segment. The Baltika №7 beer is made from selective malt and rare hops and is distinguished for its special softness and fullness. The “Seven” consumers are open to communication; they value everything that is aimed at development and know that they are capable of achieving more in life. And the Baltika №7 enables them to feel progressive, striving for the best and for new achievements.
Label: Brewed in Russia

The Brewski Review: I pulled this beer off the shelf and didn’t even know it was Russian. Not that it would have made me change my mind about purchasing it; I’m an equal opportunity beer drinker. Give me a beer and I’ll try it at least once. I’m always eager to try a different beer in the hopes that I’ll eventually find a good, solid, core group of favorites. I grew up on ‘Bud Light’ but have learned that it’s worth trying something new. I think my wife appreciates my experimentation. I’ve turned her on to some new flavors. Is it worth it to write a post about each one? I could just as easily develope an Excel spreadsheet to track them all. So, I’m still mulling that one over in my head. With limited time and resources it’s definitely not a wise choice. But, at the very least, if I can turn someone one to a new type or brand (without being a total beer snob in the process) I’ve made someone happy. Take this beer here? It was pretty good. It was rather mild, favorful and wasn’t too bitter. It went down more like an American Adjunct Lager but with more substance and taste. Give one a try. It could be a winner for you.

Drinkability: Very much so. Could drink a six.
Appearance: Good. Light
The Buds: Tasty. Good flavor.
TBR Cap Rating: 4.25 caps out of 5.

Is it me, or is the Baltika beer girl ...um..... not so easy on the eye?

Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

The new Baltika beer girl in training.

The new Baltika beer girl in training.

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