Thursday, December 25, 2008

Review: Jerry's Batch No. 7

It's been a few months since Jerry sent a new brew my way. Never had anything but good stuff for me, and I, the willing consumer, am always happy to oblige. His stuff is great. It's not surprising, since Jerry is A) a perfectionist, and B) passionate about home brewing.

Jerry's Makakilo Moons beer, Batch No. 7*
Appearance: 3.5
Aroma: 3.0
Flavor: 3.5
Texture: 3.5
Drinkability: 4.0

Overall score: 17.5 / 20.0

* Seventh batch according to my count, but surely not official.

Summary: This is probably the least viscous of the brews Jerry's brewed. It looks much like passion-orange juice syrup, but has a very thin consistency. It tastes smooth and almost like a beverage best had after a workout.

The flavor is slightly sweet, goes down quickly and makes me want drink the whole bottle at once rather than savor it.

Not much for carbonation, which is unusual in my experience. I've had a spectrum of flavors in Jerry's beers, including one that was chili-pepper HOT and tasty. This one may well be his best looking brew, but its lightness and sweet appearance might be more appealing to female drinkers. No aftertaste. What you smell and taste are what you get from drop 1 to the final sip.

This is a beer world of commercialized lagers -- not that I don't like Heineken or Steinlager -- so I don't know how many men would go for a brew that's so simple. I like this, though, with or without food. In this case, I had #7 with Portuguese sausage and Sriracha chili sauce. Those go better with a slightly bitter lager, but they go fine with #7, too.

There's no limit to what Jerry will produce next. He's a mad scientist in the lab. I'm ready for the next batch.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Review: Burl's Star-Bulletin Whale of an Ale

Sometimes, just sometimes, the wait is well worth it. For a few days, I put off sampling the gorgeous looking beers generously gifted to me by two co-workers. See, it's not that I dislike or despise beer. A good beer is something to be enjoyed, not rushed, and since my personal policy is to drink only 1) at home, and 2) before bedtime (all the better to completely eliminate the risk of drinking and driving), sometimes beer sits in my fridge patiently waiting their turns.

Tonight was the night. Work is done. Going nowhere after this. And there's some leftover chili and bread to devour. The time was right for Burl Burlingame's homemade Star-Bulletin beer, as proclaimed on the sharp-looking label.

I won't pull punches, nor will I sugarcoat anything. I will take into account that this is a homemade beer -- an amazing feat in itself, particularly in the warm, humid climate of our islands.

So I tell you this...

Burl's Star-Bulletin Whale of an Ale
Appearance: 3.5
Aroma: 3.5
Flavor: 4.0
Texture: 4.0
Drinkability: 4.0

Overall score: 19.0 / 20.0

Summary: This beer is a winner. It's not what everyone likes, maybe, but I do prefer my beers rich and fizzy. Porter-ish. Yeah. A tad bit heavy, a nice fizz going down. So what if that's not what beer connoisseurs say are the "standards" of good beer. It's my mouth, my taste buds and my belly that matter most to me when it comes to brews.

At first, I didn't detect it. By the time I was halfway through my glass mug, I realized that there's a little kick in this brew and I gradually noticed it with more gulps. There's no aftertaste other than the flavor of alcohol -- not really strong, but enough to wake me up. Pretty nice.

Having this with a bowl of chili was interesting. Though the dark, coffee-sweet flavor would seem incompatible with the kind of food I like, the flavor isn't overwhelming, and the carbonation really goes well. (I learned awhile back that carbonated drinks help with digestion -- better to release the "gases" upward than downward, right?)

Would I pay for this beer? Definitely. It's as good and better than most of the beer in the markets. That's saying something since all of the current local breweries are turning out top-notch brews, for the most part. Sure, it's a little unfair to knock breweries when individual home brewers don't have to work in volume. But there's no knocking here. I'll welcome another of Burl's brews any time, and yes, even pay for it.