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Monday, August 15, 2005

Lazy Iguana's Magical Mystery Beer Tour Of The World.

Welcome to my beer tour of the world! In this multi-part tour, I will take you around the world using nothing but my laptop computer, and beer.

I will start my beer tour off in America. While most American beer sucks ass, there are some gems out there. You just have to avoid the crap that is mass produced and heavily advertised on TV.

Everyone should already know about Samuel Adams, so I will skip over this beer. Sam Adams is decent beer, but it has one problem. It is a lager. My taste lies more with Brittish style ales and stouts. I have been known to kick back with a Sam, it is a good choice for a 4th of July beer. But still - it is a lager. There are better beers out there, you just have to look harder to find them. But if you have NOT tried Sam Adams, and you live in America - what is wrong with you? Buy a 6 pack already! It will not kill you. Put DOWN the Coors and get some real beer ok?

Anyway, my tour will begin my tour with a beer unique to America. This beer originates from 19th century San Francisco. German-Americans who made the trek out west brought their love of lagers with them. But there was a problem. Lagers require cool places to ferment in. Where lagers come from, this is not a problem. Either the climates are cool, or there are caves where the beer can hang out. But out west, it was hot. And dry. And hot. So, steam beer was born! Steam beer is simply lager fermented at higher than usual tempatures. Anchor Brewing Company, of San Francisco, still makes steam beer. I give it a rating of "decent". Much better than the swill sold in cans, but not a fine ale. It can be compared to Sam Adams, but it is slightly better.

Next, we will dive into the really good stuff. First on my list is a beer that it very easy to find in Florida. Publix, a large supermarket chain in Florida, carries the stuff.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company makes several types of beer. I happen to really like the pale ale, but they also make a porter, a stout, a wheat beer, and three seasonals. I have tried the pale ale, porter, and stout - all of them are very good. The pale ale is excellent. I highly recommend anything from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. The pale ale has a distinctive, crisp taste with a decent amount of hops bitterness. Of all the American beers, this one is possibly the best. It is very easy to get, and it is a real pale ale! Not just some crap with pale ale on the label.

Next, we will look at a beer that is harder to track down, but well worth the effort.

Dogfish Head Brewing Company makes a bunch of beer. I have featured their 90 minute IPA. India Pale Ales are pure Brittish beer. They are a result of Imperial days of yore. Brittish citizens in India wanted their pale ale, but the beer would go bad on the long voyage. So the brewers, ever so wise, added more hops to their recipies. The result was known as India Pale Ale. Hops are a natural presertive.

Anyway, Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA is really good stuff. It is a heavy beer, and not for those who are not hop heads like myself. The hops are added to the raw beer, then the batch is boiled for a full 90 minutes. Enough malt is used so that the resulting beer has a 9% alcohol content. It is a serious IPA.

Dogfish Head also makes a 60 minute IPA that is 6% alcohol by volume, and if you are lucky enough to live near the brewery at 6 Cannery Village Center Milton, DE 19968 or the resturant at 320 Rehoboth Avenue Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971, you can try the 120 minute IPA. The 120 minute IPA is only available on tap, and has a super high alcohol content of 21%.

I have had 5 different beers from Dogfish Head, all were very good. If you can find their beer, or if you live in DE, this is a must try beer.

Last on my tour of America is something from the Left Hand Brewing Company.

Milk Stout, also known as Cream Stout, is also from the UK. Someone over there discovered that a little milk sugar added to a stout is a good thing. In fact, it is a great thing. You know you are drinking a stout, the flavor of dark roasted malt is there. The beer is very dark - so dark that you can not see the sun through a pint glass (you can usually see the sun through a porter). The milk sugar added takes a little edge off the strong flavor of the stout. Now do not get me wrong, I like my stout! But sometimes, a stout is just too heavy. At times like this, you can reach for a milk stout.

Left Hand Brewing Company makes other beers, but I have not tried any. But I can give my stamp of approval to their milk stout. I would not hesitate to try any of their other beers.

I should also mention that Samuel Adams also makes a cream stout. I have not seen it for a while in stores, I guess it was not selling very well. The Sam Adams cream stout is also pretty good stuff. I can not compare it to the stuff from Left Hand Brewing Company - I have not had the Sam Adams stuff in a long time and only one bottle of Left Hand milk stout.

There are probably other fine American beers out there in addition to the ones I have featured - but I either forgot about them OR have not found them yet.

Oh yea, a word about brewery resturants. AVOID HOPS! That place makes sub-standard beer. It is just another corporate chain resturant, using a corporate approved recipie, designed to appeal to the masses. The problem is that the masses think Coors is good. If you are in Miami, Titanic makes excellent ales. If you like German style lagers, may I suggest Gordon Bierch. Gordon Bierch is a national chain, check the site to see if one is located near you.

Next stop...probably The UK. Later. When you least expect it!


Blogger GodlessMom said...

Great post! Have you ever tried homebrewing? It is great fun!

There is a microbrewery in Phoenix that makes a milk stout that is so smooth and full bodied it is almost a religious experience. Great list! I can't wait to see what you choose for the UK!

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

I have tried homebrewing! But the homebrew store close to me went under. The hippy owners died, and there was nobody left to run the place.

But I still have their hippy books. They fermented everything they could find, including garlic, to make wine. Imagine cooking with garlic wine!!!

So once this new job starts, and I can track down another supply shop, I will start brewing again.

Blogger Jane said...

I've not seen milk stout for sale here for years.

I too can't wait until you do the UK it will be interesting to compare and contrast tastes. I've had steam beers when out in the States they are more lager like but very fine.

Blogger Tan Lucy Pez said...

Acton Bell actually named her blog "Hoppy Trails" after the beer she likes at in Harrisburg. It's brewed right there. Her dad and I enjoy going there with Acton and her husband, and his Mom and Dad. It's a fun place.

Of course, the beers you are talking about are very special. Just sayin' that I understand how much beer lovers LOVE their beers.

Blogger Tan Lucy Pez said...

Good god. I f**ked that up but good! The link works however. The name of the place that the link goes to is Appalachian Brewing Company.

How 'bout deleting these two comments? People will think I've been drinking.

Blogger AP3 said...

Thanks for the recommendations. By the way, your potato (Pass My Potato) reminds me of the turd on South Park.

Blogger actonbell said...

Ekim and I visited a Gordon Bierch Brewery in SF, and agree that it's wonderful stuff. I also agree that Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is wonderful--IPAs rock. I love porters, too, and have a soft spot for Steigmeier Porter, which comes from a little brewery in PA. Troegs and ABC are the two major ones in THIS area, and Yuengling's not that far away. Yuengling is not a microbrew, but it is a smaller brewery. It doesn't stack up to the other ones listed, but it's way better than Bud or Coors. Yuengling has the distinction of being "America's Oldest Brewery."

Blogger Fred said...

My favorite brew while in the U.K. was Boddington's bitter. Nice and warm. Mmmmm.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

TLP, let peope think you have been drinking. That link is too good to delete.

Anyone who lives within 50 miles of that brewery needs to go there. I would go there myself, but I am stuck in Florida. It would be a long drive.


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