Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Flying Dog Raging Bitch

Edgy as always, Flying Dog Brewery is preparing for their 20th Anniversary in 2010 with the release of the equally edgy Raging Bitch Belgian IPA. I've been looking forward to trying this beer and this week it was one of the featured beers at the Capital Ale House Steal the Glass Night. Colleen and I stopped in at Capital Ale House Fredericksburg to try out the newest beer from Flying Dog.

Raging Bitch was served on draught in a Fying Dog pint glass. The beer is clear amber with a frothy off-white head. When I took the first whiff, I was struck by the citrus hop aroma. It was interesting that the more I sipped the beer, the more the clove and spice notes were noticed. The aroma is a complex blend of hoppy IPA and Belgian "funk." The flavor is a blend of citrusy and piney hops along with pepper spice notes. It's all backed up with a sweet, bready malt. The aftertaste is a pleasing, lingering bitterness with some mild astringency. This is an extremely flavorful and complex beer.

Going in, I really didn't know what to expect from a beer described with such contradictory terms as "Belgian" and "IPA." However I was not disappointed at all. The beer is a treat for both the nose and the mouth. The flavors are rich and bold. Raging Bitch checks in at 8.3% ABV. The alcohol is detectable but still well-balanced by the intense flavors. I truly enjoyed drinking this beer. A second glass was paired with a chicken tostada appetizer and the beer worked well with the spicy food.

The somewhat risque name did create some humorously awkward moments for the servers at Capital Ale House. When reciting the Flying Dog beers available for STGN, they'd often hesitate after saying "Raging..." I'm hoping these "Musings" aren't flagged for this review!

I am told that Flying Dog Raging Bitch will be available in bottles very soon. I look forward to picking some up when it shows up locally. Meanwhile, it can be found on draught where Flying Dog beers are served.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a Very Merry and Blessed Christmas. May the joy of the season follow you throughout the year.

I hope you enjoy this rendition of Do You Hear What I Hear? performed by the Bowen Beer Bottle Band.

And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
-- Luke 2:10-11

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Blue & Gray Minor Dementia

I finally had the chance to crack into the growler of Blue & Gray Minor Dementia Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout I picked up last week. The growler was intended for a Christmas party last Saturday, but that event was cancelled due to the east coast blizzard. Minor Dementia is the bourbon barrel aged version of the brewery's Temporary Insanity Stout. I first wrote about this beer back in February 2008.

Minor Dementia pours dark cola color but is translucent at the edges. There's a thin beige head that persists to leave some lacing behind. The aroma is that of dark chocolate and espresso. Faint hints of bourbon can be detected as well. The flavor is complex. Dark chocolate, espresso, molasses, and dark fruit notes come through. The bourbon flavor is well-balanced and makes itself present in the aftertaste. The alcohol gives a nice warm feeling in the back of the throat. A word of warning is called for here; Minor Dementia checks in at about 13% ABV. While the alcohol level is detectable, it's well-masked. Mouthfeel is creamy and "chewy."

Blue & Gray hit one out of the park with this year's Minor Dementia. How good is it? I'll share a comment from a friend, who shall remain nameless. "I have to give [brewer] Madison some props from this elixer..I enjoyed a 22 oz Bottle and Drunk Dialed is that good!"

It's a good bet that Blue & Gray will sell out of Minor Dementia quickly. Get by the brewery soon if you want to experience some minor dementia for yourself.

A check of the cellar shows me that I still have a couple of bottles from the first bottling in 2008. It will be interesting to see how these "vintage" bottles have held up.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Beer Holster

Just in time for Christmas, here's the gift for the beer lover who has everything.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Weathering The Storm

The weather prognosticators are telling us the east coast will be hit with a major winter storm this weekend. While most folks were at the grocery store stocking up on chips, milk, and TP, I had more practical needs on my mind. My goal was to lay in a supply of good cold weather beers. The photo at the right shows the fruits of my shopping trip; Clipper City Winter Storm, Clipper City Yule Tide, Sierra Nevada Celebration, Anchor Christmas Ale, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, and New Holland Dragon's Milk.

If we're cooped up for too long, I also have the growler of Blue & Gray Minor Dementia I picked up this week as well.

What's in your storm survival kit?


Laptops and Beer

We all know that beer and laptops don't mix. No, I'm not referring to an email sent in anger or while under the influence. Spilling your beer can irreparably damage your laptop. A laptop repair company has shared its Top 10 list of liquid spills that damage laptops. Weighing in at number 5 is beer.
#5: Beer (6% of spills). Beer drinkers can't seem to hold their liquor around their laptops, either. Beer is part water, part sugar, part brown goo. American lagers, as well as Mexican beers such as Corona or Dos Equis, are lighter than many imported brands, and may do less damage to laptops.
[Emphasis added]

Perhaps, we should just do away with complicated measures of IBUs, SRMs, ABV, etc. and simply judge beer on its electronic damage capability (EDC.)

Of course, you should keep all liquids away from your laptop. But if you are curious about the complete list, it's here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Local Homebrewers Rock

The Third Annual Virginia Beer Blitz was held Saturday, December 12 at St. George Brewery in Hampton, VA. This annual event is sponsored by The Colonial Ale Smiths & Keggers (CASK). The Virginia Beer Blitz is a BJCP/AHA Sanctioned Competition and accepts entries in all BJCP categories including Mead and Cider. I was happy to see that the Fredericksburg Brewing Insiders (FBI) made a good showing.

Fredericksburg Area Winners:
Arthur King - 3rd Place in Light Hybrid Beer for his 4th of July Blonde Ale, a Blond Ale

Aaron Zaccagnino (Zacc) - 1st Place in Scottish and Irish Ale for his Mr. McTavish, a Strong Scotch Ale
Aaron Zaccagnino (Zacc) - 3rd Place in Meads for his Holiday Delight, a Cyser

Leon Beck - 2nd Place in American Ale for his Patriot Pale, an American Pale

Chuck Arnold - 1st Place in Belgian and French Ale for his New Tools Pale Ale, a Belgian Pale Ale
Chuck Arnold - 3rd Place in Belgian and French Ale for his All Black, a Belgian Specialty

James Tweeddale - 3rd Place in Spice, Herb, Vegetable Beer for his Chili Pepper Lager, a Spice, Herb, Vegetable Beer

You can find the complete list of winners here.

As you can see, there's a lot of good beer being made right here in Fredericksburg, and not all of it in commercial breweries. Hat tip to Zacc for letting me know about the competition.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pints For Prostates Video

Rick Lyke of Pints for Prostates has posted this video from the Pints For Prostates Rare Beer Tasting held September 29 in Denver, CO. Hear some of the legends of craft brewing speak out in support of regular prostate health screenings for men.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Mad Fox Brewing Update

Bill Madden posted some exciting news on his Madd Brewer's Blog today. He's settled on a brewing system for the soon-to-open Mad Fox Brewing in Falls Church, VA. The brewpub is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2010 so this is an important milestone. Bill reports the system will have a 15 BBL brewhouse, and six 30 BBL fermenters. The new brewery will have an estimated minimum production of 6,240 kegs per year. That's a lot of good beer!

See Bill's post here for a complete description of the brewing system.

Minor Dementia at the Blue & Gray Brewing Co.

From the Blue & Gray Brewing newsletter:
Madison the brewer opened one of the oak bourbon barrel casks today to taste and see if Temporary Insanity Imperial Stout has matured into full-blown Minor Dementia.
We found him shortly thereafter beneath fermentation tank # 2 muttering something to the effect of "too good, do not sell". That kind of mixed message required clarification. Luckily, there is a high voltage plug behind fermenter # 2 and we were quickly able to electroshock young Madison back into coherency.

Blue & Gray Minor Dementia is the barrel-aged version of the brewery's Temporary Insanity Imperial Stout. It's that time of the year when you can experience Minor Dementia yourself. The brewery will be sampling and filling growlers starting today, December 11. See their website for hours and directions.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Southwest Virginia Brewers Profiled has published a short article about three southwest Virginia brewers. Chris Burcher of Wolf Hills Brewing in Abingdon is featured in the article Cheers for Wine & Beer. Jim Strickland from Bull & Bones Brewhaus & Grill in Blacksburg, and Taylor Smack from Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton are also interviewed.
Chris Burcher calls himself a “Captain of Concoctions.” He’s a stream ecologist, with a doctorate degree, specializing in biology. And another thing: “I’ve brewed a lot of beer,” Burcher said, smiling. “Everybody who runs a homebrew likes to think about doing a brewery.”

See the complete article here.