North Coast Brewery

This past weekend Andrei, Terry, Marie and I headed to Mendocino to take in the amazing selection of beer and wine they have in the area.  One of our first stops was North Coast Brewery in Ft. Bragg.  I have tried several of North Coast’s beers before, but was looking forward to getting an “overview” of what they had to offer.

We arrived at 11:30 am and there were already six or seven people waiting for them to open! (Note to potential visitors: If you’re going on a weekend, getting there earlier is better.  When we left two hours later it was packed and there was quite a wait).  We chose to sit in the bar (which was open seating) rather than the restaurant.  The first thing we ordered was their sampler.  They had twelve beers on tap and were served in 4 ounce tastes (perfect for 2-4 people to share).  Out of the twelve beers on tap, I’d say about half were worth drinking again (remember, my opinion!).  The Blue Star Wheat and Scrimshaw Pilsner were too light for my taste.  However, the others seemed to like the pilsner enough.  The next ones were the Acme Pale Ale and IPA.  Again, passes for me but I don’t particularly like those styles either.  The first one I felt like I could drink more of was the Cask Conditioned Red Seal Ale.  Strangely enough, I preferred this style to the straight up Red Seal Ale.  Why I find it strange is that I rarely enjoy cask conditioned ales which tend to be flat to my taste buds.  Next up was the Old No. 38 Stout.  This was a solid stout and one I could definitely drink again, although I don’t believe I’ve ever seen it in a bar.  Very roasty with a strong coffee flavor.  From here on out, I really loved all of them (getting into the higher alcohol and belgian styles).  Brother Thelonious (named after Thelonious Monk) is similar to a belgian dark strong ale, with a high ABV of 9.3%.  I’ve found this in San Francisco a few times, most notably at The Page.  This beer is tasty, tasty, tasty… yes, that is a technical term. ;-)  Pranqster is North Coast’s attempt at a Belgian Style Golden Ale.  I really enjoyed this and more to follow in a post just about this beer.  La Merle was up next on the list…I’ve had this at Kennedy’s here in San Francisco but I believe it’s easy enough to find in good beer bars and beer stores.  This is a very good saison style beer, tasty and light with hints of fruit.  Old Stock Ale was up next and I was most excited to try this beer.   At 12.5% ABV, this is one beer you should sip rather than gulp.  The style is listed as Old Ale which I’ve not done a lot of research on, but I know that every time I have one I usually like it!  This beer has a beautiful mahogany color and malty flavor.  I left with a four pack of this and plan on letting it age a bit.  I’ve never seen this at any store or bar around here so if you make it up to the brewery, make sure to try it.  Last but not least was Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout.  Having tried this several times at The Monk’s Kettle, I already knew I would enjoy revisiting this one again.  This is a big, bold beer and worth delving into for a later blog post.  Needless to say, I left with an Old Rasputin XI and XII to take home.

Definitely look forward to my next trip up to North Coast.  They have a solid selection of great beers and at $4/glass, definitely worth spending a few hours here if you’re in the area.  Next time we’ll try to hit up the tour!

Pranqster, Acme IPA & La Merle

North Coast Brewery old kettle

Until next time, North Coast! Keep the great beers coming!

Mikkeller Single Hop Series

Last night Andrei, Gene and I headed over to The Monk’s Kettle for the first evening they had Mikkeller’s Single Hop Series on tap.  So what is a single hop beer exactly?  According to Beer Around Town,  “each release is the same IPA recipe, IBUs (International Bittering Units for my fellow novices!) kept the same, the only difference is variety of hop used.”  It seems like the point of these beers is really to feature the hop.

Having absolutely no idea of which hop was what (although Monk’s menu did provide a good sense of what to expect as well as which hops were often used in what types of beers).  We started with Nelson Sauvin, named clearly after my ancestors (no not really) and the sauvignon blanc grape (the hop has similar characteristics).   This is supposedly a fruity hop but I couldn’t really taste it…the taste was really hard to describe but I liked the most out of all of them.

The second one we tried was Simcoe.  This one was pretty earthy tasting to me.  Andrei described it as resin-y and when he said that, I definitely got that flavor (I’m still figuring out how to describe tastes!)  The last we tried was Chinook.  To me this one was the most bitter out of the three, with a slight citrus-y flavor.

Not much I can say about these beers.  It was interesting to taste the various hops in their “single” state but I didn’t really care for any of the beers…and this should come as no surprise considering I prefer more malty beers to hoppy beers (although I can enjoy a hop-filled Pliny The Elder with the best of them!  But that’s another blog post…).  For me this was definitely more of an educational experience than an enjoyable one.  But if you’re interested in beer, definitely check these out while they last at Monk’s Kettle!

Pint Size Musing’s First Event!

So I was talking with my friend Tinna and she mentioned to me she had never been to La Trappe!  After I got over my initial shock I suggested we make an evening of it.  And then I had the idea to make it my first PSM event.  So if you’re in the area on June 8th, we’ll be meeting at La Trappe for some tasty Belgian beers around 6:00 pm.  Find the event on Facebook here.

Eel River Old Ale

This past Saturday Andrei and I wandered over to the East Bay to visit our friends at Beer Revolution. For those of you who haven’t been there, definitely check it out as they have a constant flux of great beers on tap as well as a great selection of bottles.  One of the beers they had on tap this past Saturday was Eel River’s Old Ale.  I chose this mainly because I hadn’t heard of this brewery and of course I have a penchant for high alcohol brews. ;-)  Naturally I liked it!  Sweet and malty with a slight spice to it and a bitter finish, this is a beer (like others I’ve written about) that should be imbibed in small quantities if you’re driving. (That’s my PSA for the day).  I really enjoyed this beer and would drink it again although after one glass, I was ready to move on.  Still, definitely worth checking out.  One thing I didn’t realize about this brewery is that they’re completely organic (according to their website they’re the first certified organic brewery).  So you know, if that floats your boat, definitely check out beers from Eel River.

Allagash Curieux

Allagash is a craft brewery located in New England that has a great selection of Belgian Ale like Allagash White and Grand Cru.  This particular evening at La Trappe I had Allagash’s Curieux.  Aged in Jim Beam Barrels, this beer is another high alcohol beer (this will be a trend on this blog..:-P).  At 11% ABV, this packs a punch.  But what a delicious punch it is.  This beer is dry and oaky with a strong vanilla taste.  There is a definite taste of Brettanomyces here which is a taste you’ll either love or hate. There is something that I really loved about barrel aged beers….they pick up so many different flavors, including a bit of the alcohol that was previously aged in it!  If you’re a fan of belgians, give this one a try.  It’s not very common to find so you may as well try it if it’s there!

Tripel Karmeliet

I have to start off with one of my favorite beers.  Part of what I love about this beer so much is the gorgeous tulip shaped glass. It’s really a beauty…one I would happily steal if I had the chance. *ho hum*  But on to the beer…this is a typical tripel style Belgian beer with a sweet malty flavor, peppered with citrus.  If you like Belgian style beers, this is a must to try and one of the easiest to like.  This beer is in regular rotation for me and can be found at many places in SF, most notably La Trappe.  One thing to note, this beer has a ABV (alcohol by volume) of 8.4% which is on the higher end (although not unusual for Belgian beers) so be careful with how many you drink if you’re not used to these high ABV beers. 😉

Hello Beer Lovers…

….and others who may happen upon this site.

This site was inspired after writing this post several months ago on my personal blog.  I had the idea that sharing my beer journey and education could be a fun thing, especially for novices out there (like me!) who may be intimidated by complicated descriptions that have you thinking things like, “What?  I didn’t taste that!  Is something wrong with my palate?!”

So with that I welcome  you to Pint Sized Musings.  Brief musings on beers I like…or those I don’t!  I welcome comments and feedback and ask for your patience while I get this blog going!  Happy drinking!