Archive for category What Ales You?

What Ales You?: Shiner Hefeweizen‏

Monthly Feature
Wayne and Leah gives us the full rundown on a selected brew.

Greetings faithful Mighty Rib Readers, not sure where you are reading from, but here in lovely NOVA (Northern Virginia), spring has broke and temperatures are up. As I’m sure we all know, wheat harvest time isn’t until June or July, however, with the warming of the weather, nothing sounds better than a good refreshing wheat beer. We were in the store the other day, and noticed an unfamiliar site to NOVA, but familiar to us when we were back in Texas. We found Shiner at the store! However, this was Shiner Hefeweizen. We figured that this would be perfect, a wheat beer for the spring from an old Tex favorite, Shiner.

Overall Taste/Wayne’s Take
I had my Shiner Hefeweizen last Saturday, under sunny skies and warm temperatures, a good departure from the frigid winter. It was the warmest day thus far, perfect to drink a wheat beer. I sat down to catch the Washington Capitals deciding game in the first round of the NHL playoffs, propped open the back door to let the nice warm outside air in and took my first sip. Now I have experience with other wheats, since this isn’t a review on the wheat competitors, I will only say that there are others that are better than Shiner Hef, but, with that said, Shiner’s version was still pretty solid. I popped the top on the Shiner Hef, first whiff was a faintly sour, not in a bad way sour, but in a pleasantly sour way. I poured into a cold mug and can only describe the color of the Hef as a cloudy golden color, like a sunbeam on a misty morning……wow, did i just say that? It’s true though a very pleasant color. The first swig, like the first smell had a nice hint of sour to it. Not too hoppy, not too strong, but just right an easy drink. The immediate sour was followed by a nice bitter as it flooded my tongue. Going down the ole gullet, it retained the bitter, and left a slightly bitter aftertaste, but not too bad. I will stress again, that this was a solid Hef, not the best but pretty good. Maybe it was the great weather on the day I tried it, but I would surely suggest it on a mild, sunny, balmy spring day.

Overall Taste/Leah’s Take
Shiner Hef is cloudy with a light goldish color, and generally looks and smells pretty much like every other wheat beer I’ve had. I’m a big fan on wheat beers in general and this one does not disappoint. The taste is nice and light with some deeper notes that are a bit malty, though Shiner Hef slightly more bitter than some other wheats out there. It pairs nicely with a citrus wedge of some sort. Part of me really wanted to choose lime for my tasting since it seems more Texas-ish but I went for the traditional route. I would certainly ask Wayne to pick up another six pack in the coming months, because I agree that you can’t beat a Hefeweizen when it gets warm… lemonade for grownups.

Meal Pairing/Wayne’s Take
I think that this beer could go with many things. It’s light enough to complement a heavier meal, but also, the taste wouldn’t overpower a lighter meal. Since it was so springy when i drank it, I would pair it with a light meal. I would pair this beer with a simple light meal, maybe a lightly marinated and grilled chicken breast with a mixed veggie side. I don’t know that a traditionalist would make of this pairing, but it would be a decent match for my palate.

Meal Pairing/Leah’s Take
Given the natural complimentary nature of wheat beer and citrus, I would pair Shiner Hef with a nice orange or lemon chicken from my favorite Chinese take out… (which is less than a mile away, by the way) The sweetness and richness of orange chicken would be a nice contrast to the light and faintly bitter taste of Shiner Hef, and a second Shiner Hef would be a great palate cleanser after the meal!

O.K. Mighty Rib Readers, another positive review from Wayne and Leah, help welcome in Spring with a nice, lighty, tasty, balmy, spring Shiner Hefeweizen. Just don’t try to open your own lemonade for grownups stand…there are apparently laws in some states.

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What Ales You?: Harpoon Celtic Ale

Monthly Feature
Wayne and Leah bring you the latest from the world of beer.

In honor of St. Patrick’s day, which though an Irish holiday has a special meaning and is celebrated arguably more enthusiastically in the US, we chose an American-brewed ode to Irish beer: Harpoon Celtic Ale. Harpoon is New England (Boston and Vermont) brewery that produces a range of unique craf-tey beers, and the Celtic Ale is their early spring seasonal offering. Harpoon Celtic Ale is an Irish style red ale, and according to our perfunctory web research, this is a style of sweet, malty ale brewed by many Irish breweries. The red color comes from the use of small amounts of dark or roasted grains.

Wayne’s Taste Take
Harpoon Celtic Ale (HCA) was a pleasant surprise. I have had Irish Reds before and am most familiar with Killian’s Irish Red (which is fairly decent), but hadn’t found any, other than Killian’s, that I was crazy about. I popped open the HCA and poured into a frosted mug. Both Leah and I agree, HCA has a very nice caramel color with a slight reddish hue, very pretty. I took a sip of the head and let it rest in my mouth, what was this? Now I will interject, I am not sure that it was what i had eaten with or prior to taking this sip that did it, but that bubbly head as it rested in my mouth had a faint taste of cotton candy. I followed with another sip, this one of ale, and was surprised a pleasant taste, a little bitter, but perfectly so. A light pang of hop and the ever so slight ping of sweetness, very very slight. I can’t say that there was anything overlty distinctive about the taste, but overall it was very good. A good mixture of flavory, no aftertaste at all, a perfect accompaniement for many types of meals, I picked one out in particular, as you will soon read.

Leah’s Taste Take
Celtic Ale comes in a cute bottle but should be enjoyed in a clear glass so one can appreciate the reddish color. It is indeed malty as advertised, but lacks some of the bitterness I sometimes notice with this style of beer. It did have a faint sweetness, but was nicely balanced and I could drink more than one pint without having to switch to something lighter or more dry. It was not unlike some other Irish reds I’ve tasted, but was probably one of the better ones I can remember trying, though I can’t exactly point to a single characteristic that distinguished it. I just liked it.

Wayne’s Meal Pairing
I enjoyed the St. Paddy’s day pairing with some Irish Gouda. The faint bitter and sweet tastes of Harpoon Celtic Ale (HCA), went well with the creaminess of the cheese. Not to sound too stereotypical, but HCA would be great with a rich, thick, creamy potato soup, outiftted with all the baked potato toppings, if they all suit your fancy. Does everyone remember Bennigan’s? Not to get too off topic, but they had a pretty decent potato soup, I thought of it for this review. Anyways, HCA would go great with a potato soup or even a thick clam or other seafood chowder.

Leah’s Meal Pairing
We tasted Harpoon Celtic Ale ON St. Paddy’s Day to be fully in the right frame of mind, and served it before dinner with some Irish Gouda-cheddar-ish cheese. It was great with the cheese, but I would also pair it with a nice corned beef sandwich with mustard and fries. The faint sweetness of Celtic Ale would complement the briney greasy beef and salty fries.

We would say that there is no need to wait for the next St. Paddy’s day to try a HCA, if it isn’t just a March seasonal find some and give it a try, we both enjoyed it very much.

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What Ales You?: Lindemans Framobise Lambic

Monthly Feature
Wayne and Leah bring you the latest from the world of beer!

Greetings Mighty Rib Readers! February, the month for lovers, Valentine’s Day and the coming end to winter, which are sweet events led us to review a beer that is mighty sweet: Lindemans Framobise Lambic. Lindemans is the brewer of this beer and they are located outside of Brussels, Belgium. They’ve been producing Lambic since around 1803. What is Lambic one might ask? Having done a little research, the primary difference between a  and say a Lager beer is that with a Lambic, yeast is not added during the brewing process. Since this type of beer is unique to a small region near Brussels, during the process, the vats remain open and wild yeasts that are found in the air, add themselves to the wort, fulfilling “spontaneous fermentation”. Framboise is one of the types of malty creations that Lindemans produces. “Framboise” means raspberry, and although I normally don’t care what I drink a beer from, I definitely suggest serving Framboise in a glass in order to see the very rosy color of the raspberry beer. This is definitely a unique product that we both highly suggest you try.

Overall Taste: Wayne’s Take
Ah, what can I say about Lindemans? I tried this beer several years ago and very much enjoyed it. Lindemans Framboise, doesn’t even really taste like beer. Its hard really to describe, if you are expecting a beer taste, then you’ve got another thing coming. Framboise is raspberry flavored and is the only Lindemans flavor that I’ve had. I will try others, its just that this product is so unique and so good. A word of warning, you will definitely need a corkscrew when you crack open your Lindemans, as it has a corked top.

I would say that Lindemans most definitely tastes like a sour Raspberry Jolly Rancher that fizzes. I uncorked the bottle and was immediately hit with a sumptuous, luscious aroma of raspberry, it was an unmistakable smell, and a little surprising as you wouldn’t think that a beer would smell this way. I poured my Lindemans in a glass, I wish I could think of another color that would describe the palette, since I have used the word raspberry so much already, but I just can’t think of one, it was definitely raspberry colored. There was a nice fizzy pink hued head to the beer. It isn’t as fizzy and carbonated as a Sprite or Coke, but there were tiny small bubbles, actually quite pleasing to look at. I took my first drink, and as customary during one of my reviews, let it sit, noting the first surprising, liquid, taste of raspberry jolly rancher hit my taste buds. The fizz sat on my tongue for a bit too and quickly dissipated. Definitely sour and tart, which are not the common adjectives when describing a beer product. I am one that appreciates a sour candy and in this case a sour beer, it definitely maintained its acerbic nature after I swallowed (that’s what she said), but it went down nicely. There wasn’t any sour aftertaste either- a most delicious sour and tart treat.

Overall Taste: Leah’s Take
I think i first tried Lindemans Framboise at a bar near DC and was instantly hooked. I have tried some of the other versions of Lindemans lambic including peach, but this one is the best in my opinion. I think it tastes much more like natural rasberry that has been slightly fermented than a Jolly Rancher, and is neither too sweet nor too tart. I love the fact that Lindemans Framboise is so fruity and light that most non-beer drinkers would enjoy it, but distinctly a REAL BEER so nobody should tease you for drinking it. Its not a beer I would suggest for a marathon drinking session because of its cost and its sugar content – the latter of which to me equates to a fierce hangover. However, a glass or even two could be enjoyed either on a cold February night or at a summer outdoor picnic. It should be consumed very cold in my opinion, and I agree with Wayne that you must pour it into a glass to get the full experience.

Meal Pairing: Wayne’s Take
Valentine’s Day is synonymous with chocolate, although I don’t see any reason why everyday shouldn’t be synonymous with chocolate, which is perfect because Lindemans Raspberry Limbic would go perfect with chocolate. I should be specific, milk chocolate would probably be o.k. with Lindemans Raspberry Lambic, but a dark chocolate, bittersweet or semisweet chocolate would go best. Lindemans Rasberry Lambic is definitely a dessert beer, which I would also recommend with a fruity dessert as well.

Meal Pairing: Leah’ s Take
I agree with Wayne that Lindemans Framboise would go great with chocolate or anything sweet. I have also had it alongside a salad with tender spring greens, fruity vinaigrette and baked goat cheese and it was wonderful. Lindemans sweet, tart flavor pairs nicely with a goat or blue cheese, so you could also order it with the right kind of cheese tasting platter as well. Its also just wonderful to drink all by itself out on some deck- maybe at one of the many patio bars in Houston’s Heights.

In summary, what have we learned in the month of February? We have learned that Lindemans Raspberry Limbic Framboise is a very delicious, behavioral, tart, sour and wonderful beer. Both Leah and I suggest it to all, if you try any of their other flavors, let us know how they are.

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What Ales You?: Tsingtao

The very height of beer photography.

Monthly Feature
Wayne and Leah bring you their take on beer.

In honor of the upcoming Chinese New Year, we decided to review a Chinese beer. Tsingtao. We were both familiar with Tsingtao, as we had had it before and it’s usually available in most grocery stores. It has been awhile since we had both had Tsingtao, so this was a good refresher for us. Tsingtao is categorized as a lager, and as discussed in previous posts a lager is a beer that is producted with yeasts that ferment at lower temperatures. Also, the yeasts utilized in lagers collect at the bottom of the fermenting beer, which is the most common kind of beer , distributed and sold today. The Tsingtao Brewery was founded in 1903, but wasn’t introduced into America until 1972, so it is a pretty well established beer here in the States. We had hoped to find a more exotic Chinese brew, but since we are adjusting to our new area, we have yet to find a store that sells more exotic beers. That being said, there are still readily available familiar beers that are worthy of an entry, hopefully, our review will provide a fair analysis of a Chinese beer for some reader that has yet to try it.

Overall Taste
Wayne’s Take
I can’t remember the last time I had a Tsingtao, but I know I have had it in the past. I cracked open my Tsintao one night after work and was immediately hit with a strong pang of carbonation, reminiscent (at least to me) of a cheap beer. What followed wasn’t at all what would normally follow a cheap beer, but rather a slightly hoppy taste. I let the Tsingtao settle in my mouth a little bit and a very very faint hint of sweetness was there. It was an easy swallow, as nothing lingered too long. Usually, for our monthly tasting, I will wait several minutes before taking another swig, just to get a sense of the aftertaste if any. With Tsingtao, there is an aftertaste, it was almost metallic tasting and thee was no doubt that if I were to talk to someone after a drink would know exactly that I had been drinking a beer. Don’t let the preceding sentence make you think that it was an overpowering metallic taste, as it wasn’t, but it was there. I guess the equation I am following when tasting our monthly beer would go something like this, open the beer, sniff the beer, take a taste; a quarter a mouthful, note the initial hit on the taste bud, let it settle, note any taste after settling, slowly swallow, note any immediate aftertaste, wait, note any lingering aftertaste. After following that formula with Tsingtao, I would say that after a few of the moments, most notably the initial hint of carbonation, and then later the slightly metallic aftertaste, but those few moments were outweighed by an overall easily drinkable beer, with

Leah’s Take
Tsingtao, or TT as I have decided to call it, is a beer that holds a place in my heart and memories. Growing up my family would make a big production of going to one of the few decent Chinese places in our town occasionally and my dad would always and without fail order a TT with his kung pao chicken. TT is a nice light beer so I can hardly blame him. Its easy to drink and enjoyable with a flavorful meal- see below for more.

Meal Pairing
Wayne’s Take
Yes, Tsingtao is a Chinese beer and yes, if you go to their website, they do provide meal-pairing for their beer, which I thought was pretty cool, but I don’t want to let myself off easy. Tsingtao would be good with Chinese food. I think the slight sweetness and easy drinking nature of the beer would perfectly complement the spicy and sweet dishes that are common on a Chinese menu, but I also think that the taste of Tsingtao would go perfectly with Cajun cuisine. I am not a huge fan of Cajun food, it’s good every once in a while, but I can’t say that I yearn for it often. However, after drinking Tsingtao, I think the taste would go nicely with a Cajun battered fried shrimp. It might also pair nicely with a spicy jambalaya. Again, the slightly sweet and then briefly bittery metallic taste would wash down the independently spicy cajun dishes. Great with a Cajun dinner in my opinion.

Leah’s Take
My meal pairing suggestion for TT is to go with the obvious: Chinese food. I think its essential to include something crispy and fried too: get my dad’s kung pao but add some egg rolls or crab rangoon or crispy chicken wings. The crisp carbonation of TT would be good with the fried elements and with the spice of chilis.

For you folks Texas or Louisiana, where Cajun food is easily accessible, remember this review and Tsingtao, come crawfish season in a few months. Tsingtao, a well established Chinese beer product, with an easy taste, receives a positive and reminiscent review from Wayne and Leah.

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