December 3, 2009

The Cure for What Ales Ya

...taking a momentary diversion from discussing my hair and Christmas music to focus on something really important. Beer.

A couple years back - after being on the wagon for fifteen years for no apparent reason - I decided I'd start drinking again. Not like binge drinking. I'm not playing beer pong with frat boys, just having about a beer or two in the evening. And it was nice rediscovering beer. Because I really like it. I think I have a better appreciation for wine aficionados because I feel the same way about beer. And it tends to be cheaper.

Owen and I went to a local beer and wine store this weekend. We were both pretty thrilled. Me, I enjoy checking out bottles of beer and wine, looking at the labels, finding rare varieties from far-flung places. Owen, well, Owen just loves beer for some strange reason. Sitting in my car, on the way to the store, I told him where we were going. He screamed "buy beer! buy beer!" the remainder of the way there. And during most of the time we spent inside the store. But then there was the inevitable bad parent moment as I emerged from the store with a 12-pack and two cases of beer and three bottles of wine in a cart also occupied by my 21 month-old. I got some strange looks. But hey, at least I wasn't wearing a wife-beater and showing off a tribal tattoo on my biceps.

Anyway, if it wasn't clear that I like beer, all you really have to do is open up the fridge in our garage.


Pictured: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Kona Brewing Company Fire Rock Pale Ale, Red Hook Winter Hook, Red Hook Autumn Ale (and a couple onesies and twosies thrown in).

I have my favorites - Red Hook ESB, the aforementioned Fire Rock, Old Dominion's Dominion Lager - and a lot of beers that I think just plain suck like Killian's Irish Red, anything with a Heinikein label (which is funny because yesterday, in the middle hair picture, I'm holding a bottle of Heinikein which might be why I looked so sad) and MGD, which used to be a college favorite. Of course there are a lot of beers right there in between.

Do you have any liquid vices? Or anything you'd call yourself an aficionado about? And for those of you who similarly dig beer, what should I be sure to try?

Oh, before you answer those, here's the post haircut shot. Obviously I went somewhere in the middle. I'll call it shortish.

Posted by Chris at December 3, 2009 6:37 AM

Give Saranac in all its varieties a shot - it's brewed here in my neck of the woods.

Posted by: Traci at December 3, 2009 7:08 AM

Thumbs up on the hair. Our Texas favorite is Shinerbock - have you ever tried it?

Posted by: Debbie at December 3, 2009 7:22 AM

I was on the bar crew at the student union back in unversity. I didn't like beer, but I don't mind running the taps and whatnot. They told me that I needed to learn to drink beer. The beer on tap? Heineken. I still don't really like beer.

Posted by: Hannah at December 3, 2009 7:35 AM

I also am fond of Shinerbock, Yuengling, Pyramid Apricot Ale, and many British beers. I am a very picky beer drinker and rarely can go into a bar and order a beer on tap (unless the bar is really awesome and not catering to college students).

Posted by: Ashley K at December 3, 2009 8:07 AM

I love love LOVE a good stiff glass of vodka, straight up from the freezer. I am picky about vodka and enjoy varieties which are both expensive and cheap....but oh....what a shot of vodka can do for me at the end of a long day.

Try some Japanese beer, Sapporo, Kirin or Isahi. Surprisingly crisp.

Also, if you can get it...Garrison Ale (an Atlantic Canadian microbrew out of Nova Scotia)...makes a few incredible ales.

Posted by: wn at December 3, 2009 8:22 AM

Dude you can take a kid into a beer store in your part of the world??!! My husband tried to take my son into a local liquor store to get a bottle of wine for a Xmas gift last year and he was immediately kicked out! NO KIDS ALLOWED! He was 3, eh?! Watch out for those beer swilling three year olds. Indiana, I swear it is the craziest place. You cannot buy booze on Sunday here. WTF.

I like the Rogue beers. It has been a long old time since I really have been into beer so most of what I know is old. Berry Weiss (Leinenkugel) is yummy - not sure if it is only available in the summer and it is sweet so if that is not your thing do not do it - it is almost like a beer cooler?! Like a wine cooler but beer.

If I was still drinking beer, it would be all dark, all the time. I like a beer I need a knife and fork to drink ;) I like local microbrew type beer the most. It is interesting how well those can be done; they are more experimental with flavors than the big companies and it always fun to find them where ever we go! Whoa this a long comment about beer...

Posted by: Christina at December 3, 2009 8:53 AM

I might have mentioned a time or two that I'm a wino. ;-) I love wine. I by no means consider myself knowledgeable, but I am fairly comfortable picking out a wine for my meals and can ask good leading questions when I don't know what to pick.
My husband, however, is a beer aficionado. Some of the ones that he likes, which I have to agree I enjoy as well, are Sapporo, and this belgian stout that is escaping me right now. But it has these amazing chocolate undertones, without being sweet. So yummy!
Enjoy your new hobby. And don't worry about the bad parenting moment too much. My 8yr old son goes to the liquor store with me and helps me pick wines for my menu, and my 3 yr old daughter happily tells people that I go to sewing classes to drink. she's not entirely wrong!

Posted by: varinia at December 3, 2009 9:06 AM

I dunno how scientific / engineering / technical hardware-ish you are, but my addiction is home brewing.

It's just so unbelievably fun, once you get good at it. It's actually fun even when you aren't good at it, just making kit beers is amazingly fun, but I've been at it for just about 8 years and for about five years I've been making professional quality beer, 10 gallons at a time, at a cost of between 20 and 50 cents per pint. It's a big time committment but not a lot of expense in equipment to start -- you can get started for $100 -- and there's nothing like having the best beer ever, on draft at your house, for not a lot of money, and being able to say, I brewed that shit.

Right now I've got 10 gallons of roasty mild 4% stout and 10 gallons of hoppy 6% strong ale going.

Posted by: Aaron Bennett at December 3, 2009 9:06 AM

I tend to rotate through the variety from the local microbrewery, I usually have a small keg of Wheat or Pale Ale. I also really like Yuengling but I have to plan ahead for that. It isn't available here. Christina is totally right about the archaic liquor laws in Indiana, especially in a college town. You have to show 2 IDs to get in the door.

Posted by: Jason at December 3, 2009 9:27 AM

Try anything from Troeg's Brewing in PA, or Bell's Brewing in MI. Both are available at the wine and beer shop near my house here in Frederickburg, so you should be able to find them on the Dulles corridor too.

Posted by: COD at December 3, 2009 9:33 AM

I'm a Single Malt Man myself. Anything from the Highlands is awesome, but my favorite is Dalwhinnie (Double Distilled please!).

I also like beer, but I like weird black stuff like the Espresso Stout from Yukon Brewing Company. Great beer! So Dude... Labatt Blue? Seriously? I guess those are for the days when you don't feel like beer. :-)

Posted by: LeSombre at December 3, 2009 9:45 AM

mmmmmmmmmmmmmm, beer.

I'm a wine aficionado myself. Chardonnay to be specific. But of course not recently on account of the gestating.

So beer. I love a cold Heineken in the Summer, but THIS time of year I would hit up Harpoon Winter Warmer. A hint of nutmeg, so so good. My friend calls it "apple pie, in convenient beer form" and YES.

Posted by: chatty cricket at December 3, 2009 9:46 AM

If you can get your hands on some great lakes christmas ale...u should...good stuff.

Posted by: becky at December 3, 2009 9:54 AM

I will be coming over to your house tonight to help you with some of that beer. Your post reminded me that I need to go to Total Wine to see if they have my dad's favorite Christmas-time beer, which I had last Christmas when I went home and rather enjoyed. (It's Full Sail Wassail, if anyone is interested.)

My liquid vices are red wine and good beer. I'm also fond of rum. And cognac, which is kind of gross but makes me feel warm all over, so I love it.

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at December 3, 2009 10:00 AM

Hahah! You have a fridge in the garage just for beer and wine? On the edge, my friend. ON THE EDGE! I kid. I NEVER bought liquor in those kinds of quantities. Someone might think I have a PROBLEM. Oh wait. I did. Hahahaha!

Posted by: k8 at December 3, 2009 10:02 AM

Not that we would, you know, mind if you wanted to, perhaps, show a picture of yourself in a wife beater with a tribal tattoo... ;)

Posted by: alfredsmom at December 3, 2009 10:08 AM

You and my husband seem to have the same taste in (and distaste for some) beers. And next time you make a beer run, call me. Our kids could play hide and seek behind the stacks of cases in the store; I take mine with me all the time... Besides, Owen is 21 (months) now, so it's totally legal.

Posted by: margo at December 3, 2009 10:13 AM

Single malt...particularly Glenmorangie and Balvenie 12 year. For beer? Love Newcastle and the smoothness of a nice black and tan, particularly when it's Harp and Guinness. Wine? That sissy Pinot Grigio gets me every time, especially on hot summer nights. Do I drink too much? Nah- been pregnant or breastfeeding for forever so I miss most of these indulgences regularly. But I SO want to start or join a Scotch club and taste EVERYTHING!

Posted by: rebecca at December 3, 2009 10:42 AM

I second the home-brewing suggestion. I took a class in grad school and even got credit for it! Call it zymurgy (–noun the branch of applied chemistry dealing with fermentation, as in winemaking, brewing, the preparation of yeast, etc.) and it sounds all fancy and chemistry-like :P. You can imagine what our final exam was like (but can't say that I remember, HA!).

Posted by: Elizabeth at December 3, 2009 10:45 AM

My drink of choice is Iced Tea. I am very picky, too. I have my favorite places to pick it up when we are out. My favorite flavored varities, etc.

Also, you are looking a tad guant in that picture. Everything ok?

Take Care

Posted by: debb at December 3, 2009 11:19 AM

All Budweiser products are so awful they make me want to punch nuns. And while I do enjoy the occasional bender with friends that involves Natural Light (surprisingly easy to drink and not that bad), I am kind of a beer snob. I lean pretty heavily toward the dark side of the beer world, too. Founders makes a few stouts that are unbelievably good, but for beers that are consistently awesome-tastic, you can't go wrong with anything from the Rogue brewery.

I dig wine, too, but mostly just the red stuff. White wines tend to be too easy to drink, which would lead to my becoming a wino. Where reds are concerned, the thicker and the more taste, the better, so I shoot for cabs and zins, with the occasional non-sucky merlot thrown in when I can find it. I refuse to pay more than $15 for any bottle, either, because I've consistently found that the pricier stuff is no better and usually worse than the cheaper stuff.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at December 3, 2009 11:24 AM

Nice haircut :)

I'm a fan of good beer. I didn't drink beer in Los Angeles cause really all they had was domestic piss-flavored water (ew).

Then I moved to Portland, microbrew heaven pretty much (seriously. we have more microbreweries per capita than most places on the planet).

I have a lot of favorites now. Many local, though some come from other places. Rogue Hazelnut Brown ale, Mac and Jacks African Ale, Pete's Wicked Strawberry Blonde and Terminal Gravity, to name a few.

Posted by: Katie at December 3, 2009 11:41 AM

I see a Canadian beer there on your bottom shelf! But do yourself a favour (<- see, Canadian spelling), grow past the Labatt's Blue phase and get yourself some Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale, (the pride of Nova Scotia) or if you're lucky enough to find some, pretty well any Quebec brew (La fin du Monde, Maudite, any McAuslan beer). You'll thank me some day. Really.

Posted by: alison at December 3, 2009 11:48 AM

ahhh, I see that you love the Pale Ale! My boyfriend and I share many interests, one of which is beer (as in good, real beer). We have a microbrewery down here called Sweetwater and they make a mean IPA. You should also try Magic Hat #9 (if you have not already), they claim to be the Not-so-Pale Ale. My fave Mexican joint just added it on tap at my request, Holy Pint, Batman!

Not sure how you feel about Sam Adams/Seasonal Beer in general but bf's neighbor works for Sam Adams so we get to preview all of the up and comings...they have a new "Coastal Wheat" which is going to replace the "Summer Ale" (about time) and I am in love.

I apologize that it took beer for me to write such a long comment, it's just that it is so dear to my heart. :)

Posted by: mymilabean at December 3, 2009 12:06 PM

My favorite beer is Duvel, but I also like Newcastle, Negra Modelo, Stella, and, of course, my friend's vanilla-bourbon homebrew (mmmm... yummy).

Posted by: heels at December 3, 2009 12:26 PM

Vodka man myself; the cheaper, the better. Mixed with .69 cent root beer, good to go.

My father in law is from England, and misses the stuff he used to get in the pubs. The closest that he has found is a gut wrencher called Cobra; only available in 40 ounces, it packs a punch, but he swears by it.

Posted by: metawizard at December 3, 2009 1:00 PM

I'm a wino myself but my husband favors Negro Modelo or is it Modela?

Posted by: texxla at December 3, 2009 1:02 PM

Your comment section doesn't like me. It cut me off.

As I was saying, once you've drunk the Labatt's Blue, see if you can find yourself an Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale (the pride of Nova Scotia) or any Quebec beer. Any at all. (Unibroue's "La Fin du Monde" or "Maudite", or any McAuslan beer.) You'll thank me someday. Really.

Posted by: alison at December 3, 2009 1:05 PM

Don't feel bad, one weekend this past summer my ex and I did the exchange for visitation weekend in the liquor store parking lot. Lots of looks, lemme tell ya.

I'm all about the beer. We've got a fantastic local brewery here in Central Arkansas, Diamond Bear. I've never tried one of theirs that I didn't love. The Southern Blonde is my favorite. If you can find it there, you should definitely give it a try.

Posted by: Sara at December 3, 2009 1:25 PM

You need more beer!

Posted by: CHERYL at December 3, 2009 4:41 PM

Beer is the fav. Favorites are Kronebourg 1664 (France), Stella Artois (Belgium), Pilsner Urquell (Czech), most German beers, and Yuengling when I'm visiting near Pennsylvania.

Traci, they still make Saranac? I was visiting this summer and couldn't find a NY beer in Ithaca and was quite disappointed. One of the few things I miss from living in New York State.

If you like Pinot Noir, my hubby's new favorite and tops for is Cambria Pinot Noir 2006.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at December 3, 2009 7:31 PM

we are probably going to have some splainin to do seeing as we just gave our newborn boy the initials MGD. but all i can hope is that the nickname comes in handy somehow, even though the beer is shit :)

my personal (quite possibly flawed) opinion is that you all are a little behind re: beer on the east coast. my sister lives out there, so she's where i'm getting my info.

but i suggest trying the whole lagunitas line out of california. as for seasonal, i love brrr or jubilale or ninkasi sleighr. i also like trumer pils out of berkeley.

Posted by: kati at December 3, 2009 8:11 PM

Peroni, Red Stripe, Sapporo. Good stuff!

My drink of choice is Malibu Pineapple, or Butterschnapps, milk, and choc. sauce. Yum!

Posted by: Laura at December 3, 2009 8:34 PM

Do you have Berkshire Brewing Company Steel Rail Pale Ale down there? If so, GET IT. I'm also a fan of Harpoon's UFO Hefeweizen. Yes, beer. I like you.

Posted by: Sharri at December 3, 2009 8:41 PM

Screw you and your beer.

(Sorry, the no-alcohol thing has been rough this pregnancy.)

As a lover of all things Maine, I recommend Atlantic Brewing Company's Coal Porter. If you like darker, coffee-flavored beers it is very yummy. I miss it. I miss beer.

Posted by: Alias Mother at December 4, 2009 2:20 PM

I'm a red wine kind of girl. ...

did you buy that Blue on purpose? Up here that's on par with drinking Old Milwaukey... icky.

Posted by: Nat at December 4, 2009 6:36 PM

you might be canadian.

Posted by: Jodi at December 5, 2009 3:41 PM

Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale and the Dogfish Head 60 minute.

I also love Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, but buy it quick, it is seasonal.

Posted by: Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah at December 6, 2009 8:31 PM

Nice 'do!

Far and away, Woodchuck hard cider out of Vermont. The amber, the Granny Smith, the raspberry, the them ALL!

Posted by: reen at December 8, 2009 3:46 PM

Quelqu'un peut-il me dire comment obtenir les avatars peu à montrer dans ma section des commentaires? merci!sdffsdfsdaf

Posted by: Lancel at November 18, 2011 4:58 AM