Tröegs Hop Knife Harvest Ale: Tröegs defies yet another law of the Universe.

Next up, Troegs Hop Knife Harvest Ale:IMG_3604

OK, sheeple, listen up. Beerbecue uncovered Troegs’ Nugget Nectar mind-control project. Beerbecue exposed Sierra Nevada Hoptimum’s secret hop collider under Chico, CA. And Beerbecue busted Troegs Perpetual IPA’s blatant defiance of the laws of thermodynamics and the theory that time is finite. Nobody took me seriously. Hopefully, this time you’ll listen.

Sure, Hop Knife looks innocent enough. However, the small print on the neck label reveals that Troegs uses a HopCyclone to create an “inward spiral of hop dispersal during fermentation”. Fair enough. But when I asked them on Twitter whether the HopCyclone spun clockwise or counterclockwise there was only damning silence.

See, in the Northern Hemisphere, free moving objects apparently deflect to the right due to the Earth’s rotation, and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s known as the Coriolis effect. Don’t ask me. Some shit about conservation of momentum and differences in the rotational velocity of the Earth.

Or, if you're a poli sci major: Witchcraft.

Or, if you’re a poli sci major: Witchcraft.

In the case of liquid and air in the Northern Hemisphere, when opposing currents or pressures meet, there is a rightward deflection and sometimes a resultant equilibrium-seeking counterclockwise cyclonic flow (like a Northern Hemisphere hurricane). This effect gets stronger the further one gets from the equator. Thus, any differences in currents in a Troegs fermenter should create a counterclockwise cyclone. Ohhh, but not Troegs…

OK, so the little martini olive looking thingie at the end is Hershey, PA's latitude...Oh, fuck it.

So if the little martini olive looking thingie at the end is Troegs’ latitude and the frat letter to the right of the 2 is…Oh, fuck it.

Troegs’ silence is a clear admission that they have figured out how to create a clockwise rotating cyclone in the Northern Hemisphere, thus violating the laws of physics in the name of imparting more hop character. Beerbecue demands that Troegs comes clean, shares this secret with the world, and sends me more Hop Knife so that I might recreate this clockwise cyclonic flow down my pie hole.

It pours clear amber with a beautiful, fluffy white head. It smells like its going to be a juicy, hoppy love affair. And it is. It’s chocked full of bright and ripe citrusy, tropical, and resinous hops. It kinda has a fall/harvesty malt backbone with some lightly sweet caramel, but this beer is all about hop harvest, people. Get some while it lasts.

The Haybag: It was a very good beer. Now stop bothering me while Nashville is on.

Tröegs Mad Elf and Elf on the Shelf

Next up, Tröegs Mad Elf:Mad Elf

elfChristmas looms on the horizon. That means the triumphant return of Elf on the Shelf. For those of you not familiar with Elf on the Shelf, he is an effeminate-looking elf that shows up between Thanksgiving and Christmas to watch over the kids during the day. Every night, Elf flies back to the North Pole to report to Santa. Then Elf returns to sit in a new vantage point the next morning (sometimes with a treat in hand to reward good behavior). Quite frankly, it’s lazy parenting at its best. December is littered with hollow threats about how Elf is watching.

Eh, Elf will take care of it.

Eh, Elf will take care of it.

Another thing: Unreasonable Christmas lists from the kids. This is my 4-year-old daughter’s list:

Hula hoop, OK. Scoter/Scooter, OK. Cell Phone! WTF?!

Hula hoop, OK. Scoter (Scooter), check. Cell Phone! WTF?!

Item #3 had me particularly concerned. I needed to get some leverage over Elf so I could influence his daily Naughty/Nice Threat Assessment with the Big Guy. Thus, I stalked Elf after-hours (when he was supposed to be reporting back to Santa)…

Aha!

Aha!

This could be the leverage I needed, but based on the smell of some Santas I’ve encountered, Saint Nick seems to be OK with drinking on the job. Plus, Elf told me that he had been down lately because he hadn’t seen snow in days. That seemed fair, until the next night when I discovered he wasn’t jonesing for frozen precipitation…

Bad Elf!

Bad Elf!

It pours ruby-red with a white head that recedes to a ring (and eventually to nearly nothing). The smell is big. I’ve never heard anyone say this, but I think it smells like booze-soaked cake, which is good. It also smells like cherries and an unspecified, phenolic spiciness. It starts out fairly sweet, with some cherries. It’s all like candied fruit up in here. The middle brings some spice; and it ends sweet, a little spicy, and with a hint of boozy heat. As it warms, it opens up even more, and I swear you can smell and taste a bit of honey. It’s not heavy, but it’s definitely something to drink slowly.

This beer can be divisive. I like it, though, and loyally get it every year. It’s not sweet enough to wire you like an Elf on an 8-ball bender, but you do have to be able to hack sweetness to enjoy it.

The Haybag (from her shot glass sized pregnancy portion)I like it. I wish I could have more. I blame you.

Tröegs Perpetual Imperial Pale Ale: No, dude, it’s INDIA Pale Ale. No really, brochacho, it says IMPERIAL Pale Ale.

Next up, Tröegs Perpetual IPA (Imperial Pale Ale):

They’re at it again. First Tröegs tries to exercise mind-control with their Nugget Nectar. Then Sierra Nevada, in search of the elusive Hopps-Boson, puts us all at risk with a giant hop collider under Chico, CA. This time, utilizing seven different hop varieties, Tröegs defies at least two laws of thermodynamics, and flies in the face of the theory that time is finite, to bring us a “perpetual” IPA.

Whoa. Shit just got surreal up in here. Don’t go crying for your Dada.

Of course, time being finite is a little suspect. Physicists were just pissed that they couldn’t calculate the probability of anything, because if time is infinite, then even improbable events will occur an infinite number of times.

Although, the Cubs would still never win a World Series.

Some Spanish physicists have even claimed that time is actually slowing down and will eventually stop. But they’re Spanish physicists, so it’s probably just a clever nerd-ruse to justify coming in to work at 10am and taking a 3 hour lunch.

For the hop lineup, Tröegs uses Bravo, Chinook, and Mt. Hood in the boil; Mt. Hood and Nugget in the Hopback; and Citra, Cascade, and Amarillo in the dry-hop. It pours clear gold with light amber highlights. I got about a finger of foamy head that loitered for a bit and left some lacing. At first, the smell is citrus (orange and grapefruit), then some floral and a light backing of pine swoop in unannounced. It’s cool, though. There is harmony, as no single hop aroma bleeds the block. The citrus follows through on the first sip, followed by a little spiceyness. Then, about half-way through, I start picking-up apricots. This is strange, but it’s the second time this has happened with a Citra dry-hopped beer (the other was Sound Brewing’s Humulo Nimbus). The malt supports, the carbonation is just about right, and the finish is dry with a pleasant, almost herbal, bitterness…and no trace of the 7.5% abv.

Don’t expect a hop bomb. This is a balanced, enjoyable, summer drinker, with varied hop flavors that aren’t all up in your grill, abusing and jading your palate.

The Haybag: This is a nice change of pace from the never-ending stream of abusive hop-bombs that have been cycling through our fridge.

Beer and BBQ Pairing Throwdown

Thursday’s BBQ was good. Not my best ever, but good. And drinking a slew of tasty brews along with it was a task, albeit one I was willing to undertake for the greater good. We all have our crosses to bear.

For BBQ, you’ll usually be safe with something light and crisp. But if beerbecue wanted shit to be safe, we would tightrope Niagara Falls with a safety harness.

Weak.

So I am going to try Duchesse de Bourgogne, Tröegs Trogenator, Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale, and Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum, each with and without a vinegar-based sauce.

First up is the wild card: The Duchess:

Players love to hate on the Duchess. In fact, some sour beer freaks sneer at her as a training-wheel sour. Haters gonna hate. It has a nice, sweet, malty character and a cherry and almost balsamic-like sourness. I thought it would be good with BBQ because vinegar obviously works with pulled pork, and the experts claim that “sweet beats heat” and “sour cuts fat”.

One concern was that a sour beer combined with a vinegar-based sauce would be a little much. But apparently, kinky sour-on-sour action can actually tone the sour down a bit and help the other flavors shine.

And I think it did pretty well, especially considering I couldn’t find it recommended anywhere. And when combined with the vinegar-based sauce, The Duchess actually started to taste a little like Cheerwine (a tasty, highly-carbonated, Southern, cherry-tasting soda)…which with Carolina BBQ is legit.

Next, we had Tröegs Double Bock.

This is a great beer: Toasty bread, caramel, complex mix of dark fruits, and sweet, but not cloying. This tasted pretty good without the sauce. Although, it is pretty heavy (monks actually used double bocks in lieu of food during fasting). In fact, it might have even been a little too big for the pig. And I was a little ambivalent about it with the vinegar sauce. But, I bet this would rock the party with a mustard-based sauce (it would be like a Teutonic reunion without all the attempted world domination…hopefully). And I bet it would go well with some sweet and spicy BBQ ribs, or with barbecued beef brisket.

Then came along, Dale’s Pale Ale:

We’ve reviewed Dale’s big alter-ego, Deviant Dale (which, incidentally, also got us some search engine traffic from people curious about eproctophilia). However, don’t let Pale Dale’s comparative normalcy fool you…he’s no slouch. With citrusy and piney hops and a significant bitter finish, Dale is known for blurring the line between Pale Ale and IPA.

Dale didn’t disappoint. The sugars in my dry rub create a nice, caramelized crust; and Dale’s supporting, caramel malt hooked-in nicely with that. Also, hops are big into play-dates with savory, as well as salty and spicy, all of which can be prevalent in BBQ. Further, hop bitterness can douse any spicy flames. My one concern was that the hops would overwhelm the BBQ or wouldn’t play nicely with the vinegar, but neither happened. Good on you, Dale.

Last, Sierra Nevada Hoptimum:

Who put those pesky vegetables there?

Hoptimum is a 100 IBU Imperial IPA, with huge and complex hop flavor. It’s a beast. Perhaps too beastly for these purposes. I did enjoy it, but probably just because it’s such a ridiculously good beer. And for some reason, the alcohol seemed a little more prevalent than usual, especially with the vinegar-sauced BBQ. Maybe it would be better with some spicier ribs. Although, I have seen some sources claim that the higher ABV of double and imperial IPAs can actually ratchet-up the heat of spices and defeat the hop’s otherwise cooling effect. In any case, it’s a damn good beer, and I still enjoyed it.

Fortunately, all the beers were tasty (I already knew this), but some worked better than others with the BBQ. Ultimately though, I think the profound conclusion is: Beer tastes good with BBQ.

Smoker Mod, Smokin’ a Butt, and Beer and BBQ Pairing Throwdown

Today was too nice a day to bother myself with working. So, with a new smoker modification in mind, a butt (Boston) in the fridge, and me never having posted about beer with bbq, I’m gonna make some pulled pork and try some different beers with it.

As always at beerbecue HQ, we need our blues. Today’s selection is Junior Kimbrough. His blues legitimacy is high: He didn’t get national attention ’till he was about 60, he sired 36 children, he died with a common-law wife, his mid-tempo and droning-thumb-on-the-bass-strings style exemplifies north Mississippi hill country blues, and he looked like this:

Son, he’s got more blues in one forehead frownline than you got in your whole damn body.

I decided to fashion a charcoal ring for my Weber Smokey Joe modified smoker. The Weber Smokey Mountain has one, and it seemed that piling fuel on the charcoal grate wasn’t working very efficiently. So I made this:

Metal lathe, four washers, two nuts and bolts, and some aviation snips.

You can also use a heavier gauge expanded metal. In any case, make sure to use gloves, as metal lath and expanded metal can cut the crap out of your hands. Then you load up your fuel and just use the Minion method to get things rolling.

Today, I’m smoking a 5 1/2 pound Boston Butt with my usual rub. I was planning on using the usual vinegar-based sauce. However, last night I came downstairs, and my wife, the BBQ sauce diva, banished me from the kitchen as she tweaked her old vinegar-based BBQ sauce. I have been authorized to release the new recipe on the sauce recipes page. My native-South Carolina wife may be a vegetarian/pescatarian now, but her BBQ-Sauce-Fu remains strong.

Then after about 6-8 hours, there will be a BBQ and beer pairing throwdown. I am pitting the following beers (sampled with and without sauce on the BBQ):

The Duchess de Bourgogne: This may seem odd. In fact, after extensive Internet searching, I have not found anyone who even remotely recommends this. What do they know? Sweet and sour is good with BBQ.

Tröegs Troegenator Double Bock: Bocks and double bocks are usually a good BBQ pairing. Sweet and malty.

Oskar Blues Pale Ale: Pale Ales are generally good with BBQ. And this one will push the hop and BBQ envelope at bit, as it is a fairly hoppy pale ale.

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum: If some hops are good, more must be better. Let’s see how hoppy we can go.

Stay tuned…

Tröegs Flying Mouflan: The Slaying of the Flying Mouflanwocky

Next up, Tröegs Flying Mouflan Barleywine:

Flying Mouflan is a 100 IBU Barleywine from Tröegs. I don’t know what a regular Mouflan is, but much like adding wings to a monkey, the flying version is undoubtedly better…and scarier, which inspired me to rip off Lewis Carroll one more time:

The Slaying of the Flying Mouflanwocky

Beware the Flying Mouflan, son!
The hops that bite, the malt divine!
Beware the boozeheat, but don’t shun
This frumious Barleywine.

The vorpal churchkey in my hand,
Released the hop-malt foe I sought.
I served this beer, with the Haybag near.
What evil hath I wrought?

Mahog’ny with tan head it poured.
And hops? Herbcitruspine up in here.
Lush candied darkfruit left us floored,
And a smidge-hint of root beer?!

One two! One two! Singed candy and hop
Till hop and candy merge as one.
Swiftly left dead, scarce lace from the head,
The Mouflan’s quickly done.

“And, has thou slain the Mouflan, son?
(With one chained in the cellar reserved.)”
My patience weak, I give it one week,
‘Till the other Mouflan’s served.

Fear not the Flying Mouflan, son!
The hops that bite, the malt divine!
Fear not the heat, drink one, age one:
This frumious Barleywine.

The Haybag: <Eye roll> Are we going to have to start paying Alice in Wonderland royalties? I like how Tröegs, more than a lot of other breweries, manages to make malt and hop character harmoniously combine. I will be interested to see how the Mouflan ages.

Update: By coincidence, fellow beer blogger Kaedrin Beer Blog reviewed Flying Mouflan today. He does good reviews. Check it out.

NCAA First Round Beer Madness

I am blowing off work today to eat BBQ, drink beer, and watch the first round of the NCAA Tournament with dangermenparenting. He, quite nobly, actually worked a half-day. But, at the Haybag’s request, I steam-cleaned our rugs. That’s what I call banking some marital equity; and that means dangermenparenting is starting out underwater, and I’m starting off with some equity to burn.

I updated this post periodically through the day, uncut and uncensored. You can read Tony’s at dangermenparenting here.

1:15: We met up at Pork Barrel BBQ in Del Ray. I was late because of a motorcade…or the cop was just being a dick and not letting me on 395. The BBQ was OK. Had pulled pork and brisket. Even at the edges, the crust and smoke ring were only mildly tasty. Overall pretty dull tasting. The sauce is tasty, though. And the sides pretty dang good. Nowhere near my favorite South Carolina place, and my BBQ is way better; but these guys have to crank out some serious amounts of meat. So I can understand. Had a Miller High Life. Don’t judge.

1:30: Scoring system is set. Since we are going to have mismatches, the standard is: What percentage of time would you have Beer A vs. Beer B?

2:15:  The brackets are set:
EAST: Tröegs Nugget Nectar vs. Southern Tier 2 X Stout.

SOUTH: Port City Porter vs. Abita Save Our Shores Pilsner

WEST: UINTA Hop Notch IPA vs. Lagunitas Cappucino Stout

NORTH: Sixpoint Bengali Tiger vs. Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald

You might find these match-ups odd. We didn’t coordinate ahead of time ( only that we needed one from each region). This is what would happen in the first round if i was involved with setting the NCAA Tournament brackets: Montana vs. Long Beach State, Kentucky v UNC, and ND playing an intrasquad scrimmage (which I have a feeling is the only way my Irish would get to the second round).

2:30: East:

Nugget Nectar- It should be clear by now how I feel about Nugget Nectar. It’s awesome (despite the whole communist mind-control thing it’s got going on).

2XStout – It’s as dark as blaxpoitation flick, but not super oily. It smells like double chocolate milk. Not nearly as sweet as I thought it would be. In the taste, chocolate is there, but a surprising amount of coffee comes out to play. I am picking up some smokey chicory thing, too, and some nice hop character, too. I was expecting this to be a blowout, but I am going to have a tough time scoring this one.

Scores: Tröegs 52, Southern Tier 48, in OT. Tony had Southern Tier winning 57-43. Average has Southern Tier winning 52.5 – 47.5. Sorry Troegs…I still heart you. Perhaps it was that I had not had a good stout in awhile. I felt like Troegs could have gone deep but for its first round draw, and Tony being wrong. 🙂

2:53: South Matchup:

Abita donates 75 cents on every bottle to help save the environment. Hippies. 5 point deduction. Pours about like a mid-morning piss (you’ve had your coffee already, but not enough H2O), with way more head than a piss should have, regardless of the time of day. Tastes way better than I thought it would (not shocking, considering my first impression). It is fairly sweet for a pilsner. You can taste some floral and spicey hops, and it has a heftier mouthfeel than your usual pilsner. Had I bought this to purchase on a 102F day, I would be a little pissed because it isn’t exactly the most refreshing pilsner I have ever had.

Port City – My thoughts on Port City’s Porter are well-documented. It rocks. Not too sweet, not too dry. Subtle. Chocolate, light notes of coffee, creamy, and a light kiss of hops. One of my favorite porters.

Score: Port City Porter 75, Abita Pilsner 25. After Abita’s 5 point hippie deduction: Port City 80, Abita 20. Tony had Port City winning 78-22. Average: 79-21

3:18: West matchup:

Uinta Hop Notch IPA – I expected great things from this. I had heard someone call this the Pliny killer (Pliny the Elder), which seemed little dubious. This is very smooth, somewhat creamy. I think I am picking up citrus and some tropical fruits, and a slightly piney bitter finish. It is a solid IPA, but it is no hop-lover’s delight.

Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout – Pours much lighter than I thought it would. It’s almost like a dark Brown Ale, with red highlights. It smells nice: a pleasant coffee, with hints of chocolate. Tastes sweet and bitter with a funny sour aftertaste. I can’t tell if the bitterness is from the hops (about 30 IBUs) or the coffee. I think it must be the coffee. This is my least favorite Lagunitas beer (and Lagunitas is one of my favorite breweries). I am having a hard time figuring out when I would get this again. Perhaps if I found myself north of the Arctic Circle, delirious, unsure whether it was 9pm or 8am, all I had was beer, and I needed a little pick-me-up combined with a little coping mechanism for being north of the Arctic Circle. It could happen…

Score: Uinta 90, Lagunitas10. Lagunitas gets +10 for being one of my favorite breweries. 80-20. Tony had Uinta winning 66-34. Average had Uinta winning 78-22. I think Tony is an Anti-IPA-ite.

3:49: North Matchup:

Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter: This is new to the DC-area. I have heard great things about this beer, particularly from Ohio-based beer blogger behindthebrews. It’s dark, dark, dark brown, with amber highlights. Sturdy 1-inch head. Light coffee and bittersweet chocolate smell. Same with the taste, with maybe an addition of toasted malt and smokiness. This is an extremely drinkable porter. It doesn’t blow me away, but it is tasty and I could throw down many.

Six Point: Dull gold. Nice-looking, rocky-type IPA head. Looks pretty. Don’t smell much…some distant hops in the nose. The can claims: citrus, pine, and resin. I taste grassiness up front and citrusy-pine in the finish. It has a bitter aftertaste that isn’t worth the flavor down-payment. Therefore, this beer does not make it through my underwriting department. This is my second Six Point, and I was disappointed in both. I have seen a bit of hype around Six Point. Meh.

Score: Great Lakes 55, Six Point 45. Tony wants even numbers now, so I gave Great Lakes +1 point because they are from Cleveland, and they have a beer named after the time the Cuyahoga River caught on fire. So, 56-44. Tony had Great Lakes winning 86-14. Great Lakes won the average: 71-29

4:30: I haven’t paid much attention to the basketball thus far. I know Montana is getting their asses handed to them, and Syracuse is about to bust everyone’s bracket. I do know that the tournament would be better if they got to pick special tournament names, ND bookstore basketball tournament style…with no censors. Then the world would not be deprived of glorious names such as: Kentucky Harry Ballsagna, UNC Hung Dong Millionaires, Marquette Sofa King Awesome, UNLV How I Met Your Mother, Gonzaga Would You Please Stop the Bus and Let My Brother Jack Off.

Check back for the semi-final match-ups: Uinta vs Port City and Great Lakes vs Southern Tier.