Archives for category: swig

Mmmm mmm I love me some Delirium Tremens. I had a glass last night of my favorite brew (in a matching glass Jason bought me recently) to join him in his weekly beer indulgence.

In case you hadn’t heard, my sig-other started a yearlong quest (or deprivation?) to only consume one bottle of beer a week. Yes, just one beer a week.

And he’s blogging about each brew on Fifty-Two Bottles of Beer on the Wall – clever, eh?

Tune in to see what he’s sipping and what he thinks of each beer!




Spending the day at Stone Brewery in Escondido, enjoying an Oaked on tap. Happy Sunday!

Beer is clearly good all times of the year, but I wouldn’t come out and say that ANY kinds are good at any time of the year.

Example: Come winter, I don’t want a yellow Mexican beer (that pairs well with lime) anywhere near me. That’s a summer beer.

It’s just weird.

So I’ll quit my judging and share a few interesting, winter brews for you to try out – before they run out. That’s right, all of these are sold for a limited time in the winter.

Prepare for dark color, spice and complexity.

Delirium Noel

Yeah, ok…I’m still a predictable species. In my fall beer review I came out and professed my love for Delirium Tremens, the flagship brand of this Belgian brewery. Tremens is so tasty, and I’m not the only one who thinks so because the brewery’s site claims the recipe was nominated for best beer in the world in 1997.

So, naturally Noel (the seasonal, limited release from Delirium) comes off delicious as well, but with different qualities. Where Tremens is crisp, slightly fruity and bright, Noel is smoother, darker and has hints of cinnamon.

And come on, the pink elephant is wearing a Santa hat on the label.

Case closed.

Anchor Brewing Company 2010 Special Christmas Ale

I’m actually drinking this beer as I write this post (classy!). And it’s pretty good.

You surely know San Francisco-based Anchor Brewing Company, who brew up Anchor Steam, a staple beer (in my humble opinion).

This beer is darker than its flagship sister beer as well, and it actually finishes off like a stout with notes of coffee when the beer is long down your throat and you swallow once more, honing in on the flavor.

Trending like other winter/holiday beers, the special ale has hints of spices and has a caramel-like taste throughout, too.

Besides, I feel pretty special when my alcoholic beverage wishes me a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. It’s the thought that counts.

Scaldis Noel

When I hit up Hi-Time in Costa Mesa, itchin’ for some Delirium Noel (mentioned top), I was peeved to find that they were out.

“Excuse me,” I said to the hipster kid that works the beer section, “You don’t have anymore Delirium Noel, do you?”

“Nope,” he said. “Some girl came in here yesterday and bought ALL OF THEM.”

I was already annoyed and now I was hearing about some girl, who should have been me, who had the bright intuition to buy them all out and was now simultaneously freezing in the walk-in beer room. Who IS SHE? Why am I not her?

I was a bit beside myself, “Well…why didn’t you punch her in the face and say ‘save some for all of us?'” (Yeah, this is a true story.)

“I don’t punch girls in the face,” he said.

I smile, awkwardly, and say “that was a trick question and you answered it right, congrats.”

Then hipster beer dude proceeded to coax me into buying this Scaldis Noel, a holiday beer from a boutique brewery. He said that in a tasting, people ‘preferred’ this brew over Delirium Noel and it’s better anyways because “it’s 12% in a small bottle and knocks you on your ass.”

Well, I bought it and it didn’t knock me on my ass – bad thing? – but it did have a nice, butterscotchy flavor to it. Honestly, the butterscotch was a bit too much for one whole beer. The idea is nice, though.

And I must say frankly, the packaging is more charming than the holiday brew itself.

But, hey, I’ll take the experience with me.

I had the delight of visiting one of my favorite places, Hi Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa (Orange County), about a week ago.

I’m almost reticent to disclose the nature of this unassuming, wine-lover’s oasis because it feels like a well-kept secret. The wine tasting bar is tucked back at the bottom of this unique liquor store, and tastings can be had for less than $30 for 8 to 10 tastes. The atmosphere is laid back – not stuffy – and the bartenders are relaxed and conversational.

When Jason and I hit up a tasting a couple Fridays ago, the cellar was showcasing new Spanish releases. We couldn’t get enough of this one red wine we tried: a Bierzo called Petalos. Here’s a little trivia, a bierzo is a wine that is made in the northern part of the León province in Spain. Wines created here benefit from an ideal climate.

It was incredibly smooth yet full-bodied, and had a subtle, yet not overpowering fruitiness.

This wine will cost you $17.99 and it is well worth it (actually more than I like to typically spend on wine).

I imagine this delicious varietal can be found at other wine specialty stores, like Bevmo, in addition to Hi Time.

But leave some for me, please, because I will definitely go back for more.

‘Tis the season to try new beers, folks.

Somethin’ about the weather cooling down and the leaves changing color makes me want to sip a good beer – one that provides complexity and maybe a little spice.

I did the hard, excruciatingly boring work of trying seven different beers for you that I think are good seasonal libations.

So here it goes, these following brews make me think of fall…my greatest thanks to my boyfriend Jason and sister Erin for weighing in on the taste-testing. (CLICK on photos for a closer look).

Wasatch Pumpkin Seasonal Ale

Ah yes, the typical route. C’mon people, you need to try a pumpkin-flavored beer around fall. BUT, I do believe in pumpkin flavor moderation.

This pumpkin ale (4%) has that classic pumpkin, nutmeg scent that smells like Thanksgiving – nay, it smells like a pumpkin pie is baking in the oven. That being said, this beer is only slightly sweet. It doesn’t overbear or taste like artificial flavor. Each sip of this robust pumpkin ale gets progressively better, as the flavor (slightly gingersnap-py) is strong at first swig but tapers off at the end, leaving you wanting more.

If you don’t want to be the hick at Thanksgiving who wants to drink beer with turkey instead of a nice wine (and that’s OK!), I highly recommend pairing this ale with dinner.

Hennipen True Belgian Style Saison

I better get this off my chest before we continue: I’m a sucker for Belgian beers. And, yes, there are quite a few of them in this review. But, to plead my case, I do think the properties of a Belgian beer hit the right notes in the fall; a hoppy, full-bodied beer goes down nice in colder weather.

The Hennipen (7.7%) is just a downright excellent Belgian beer. It delivers a slightly fruity, crisp taste that lingers. The beer is also unassuming and doesn’t try to hard. Being slightly effervescent in nature, it would be easy to drink a lot of this, so go ahead!

Rogue Double Chocolate Stout

If I had to pick a winner, boy…this one would take the cake. Rich and melty with a hint of chocolate, this stout doesn’t deliver the chocolate flavor you would expect, but one that is smooth and flaunting coffee notes.

Boyfriend-and-stout-connoisseur-Jason gives this stout (8.7%) a thumbs up and an extra plus in darkness. He notably knocked me for saying this was the best stout I’ve ever had (apparently it is an easy stout to drink for a non-stout drinker) but stout virgins and stout fanatics alike will both enjoy this tasty beer.

Delirium Tremens

OK, OK…this just so happens to be one of my all-time favorite beers. But it also works great in the fall.

This Belgian beer is delightfully complex, yet smooth, and serves up some cherry, tart notes. Careful people, this bad boy is 8.5% alcohol content so it gets you tipsy faster but to me, it doesn’t taste particularly stronger than others.

The spicy, gingery fragrance brings the fall feeling home, rounding out the experience of this unique beer.

If you don’t like it, don’t blame me – blame that curious pink elephant. But, you might be too drunk to blame me at this point.

Golden Chaos

I know, I know…I just HAD TO. It has the word ‘chaos’ in the title.

Fear not, though, this turned out to be a great choice. This ale is crafted by Bootleggers Brewery, which is stationed locally in Fullerton. The O.C.-made ale (8.5%) combines rock candy – YES, I said rock candy – to create a fruity aroma and a smooth, crisp, perky taste.

If you’re looking for something on the lighter side, but still want to get that warm fall feel, this beer is pretty tasty.

Or, you could simply drink it as an ode to chaos – and be sure to lift up a cheers to Khaos.

Tripel Karmeliet

This is a traditional Belgian ale, and though I must say it was good, it is just that: a good Belgian ale. I really don’t have that much else to say about it!

Try it for yourself.

Spaten Oktoberfest

We’ll round the list out with another typical fall choice: an Oktoberfest beer (5.9%).

This beer is just what you’d expect, it’s really German, with a clean, earthy roundness to it. Made in Munich, the beer is not effervescent like some of the other beers I sampled.

But, you don’t want a German beer to give off bubbles like that, anyhow.

As Jason put it best, this beer is good, but not special, and has a nice summer-into-fall taste.

Well, there you have it. Now go forth, and drink good beer.