I blog primarily over at "geosciblog" (http://geosciblog.blogspot.com), I am doing this one for fun. It is inspired by 30+ years of beer can collecting and having tried more than 3,000 different American beers during that time. “. . . And beer was drunk with reverence, as it ought to be.” — G. K. Chesterton

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Trying to be a Little Too Much

I enjoy most of the products of the Sweetwater Brewing Company of Atlanta, which recently turned 10 years-old.

I am, however disappointed by the recently-released bottled version of their Happy Ending Imperial Stout. When I had the draft version a year or so ago, I thought it was good.

From one of the reviewers on the Beer Advocate website:

"...Mouthfeel was quite thin for an Imperial stout and had a light bodied character. This Impy is quite disappointing and really lacks the balls and complexity that the style is known for. The hops were way overboard and made the beer very unbalanced."

From the Beer Advocate, here is a description of the Russian Imperial Stout category:

"Inspired by brewers back in the 1800’s to win over the Russian Czar, this is the king of stouts, boasting high alcohol by volumes and plenty of malt character. Low to moderate levels of carbonation with huge roasted, chocolate and burnt malt flavours. Often dry. Suggestions of dark fruit and flavors of higher alcohols are quite evident. Hop character can vary from none, to balanced to aggressive."

On this 10 Best List of Russian Imperial Stouts, I have only had Stone Imperial Stout.

Echoing the more detailed opinion above, the "mouthfeel" was just a little too thin. The color was good, the head was good, but IMHO, Imperial Stouts are not the place to go looking for pronounced hoppiness. I don't know if it was the elevated hops that contributed to the thinness or not.

North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Stout is a better example of this variety. So is Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout.

Leave the hoppiness to the Pale Ales and India Pale Ales (and I do enjoy the Sweetwater IPA).

In closing, I like hoppy ales and I like stouts, but I don't like the characteristics of the two mixed together. It is sort of like mixing picante sauce and cheesecake.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Dharma Initiative Beer

If you haven't visited my other website - "geosciblog", you may not know that I watch the TV series "Lost" on a regular basis. I am not a fanatic, but it is strange enough to be interesting.

From this most recent episode:

When the "islanders" started exploring "the Hatch" and they came upon the world of the mysterious "Dharma Initiative", in the storage rooms, there was a veritable plethora of consumables marked with the Dharma Initiative logo.

During the last season, there was an air-dropped pallet of more supplies. Being a beer can collector for 30+ years, I just had to wonder, if they had all of this other stuff, why didn't they have their own beer?

In this last episode, Hurley found an overturned VW van in the jungle (where was the road). In the van was the partially decomposed body of the poor fool that wrecked the van. After Hurley enlisted the help of Charlie and the recently-escaped Sawyer to right the van, Sawyer found that there were several cases of generic-label Dharma Initiative Beer (I think Light Beer too) in the van. Here is the link to the episode photos (select Episode 09), in which the beer cans are shown in photos 10, 12, 13, & 14. [I am so easily entertained sometimes!]

Now who knows how old the beer was, but Sawyer seemed to be able to get past the "yuck" stage presented by the old beer. [Though I am not a purist, I have cultivated a liking for finer quality ales and lagers. Some of the ales will age, if properly stored, but not your average canned beer.]

There were probably just film-appliques over white aluminum cans (the could have been filled with soda or water).

So I wonder if all of them are going to be crushed and recycled or will we see some of them on ebay someday? Especially after the series runs its course and ends.

It used to be that creative "Second Tier" breweries, e.g., Pearl, Falstaff, etc., during the 1980s probably would have produced a few runs of these cans for the public, to capitalize on the interest-of-the moment.

Back then, there was MASH 4077 Beer (after the TV series ended), World's Fair Beer (for the Knoxville and New Orleans World's Fairs), JR Beer (from the TV Show "Dallas"), and the infamous Billy Beer (none of these cans are worth any real money).

Back in 1968, the National Brewing Co. produced a 7-can set of 007 Special Blend (Beer and Malt Liquor), produced at their Phoenix, AZ brewery and test-marketed in Phoenix and Knoxville, TN (I don't know if there were other places or not). Production was halted because of copyright infringements.

As shown on this 007 collectibles website (scroll down a little), these cans are worth real money. [A little disclaimer: For their type and time period, these cans (and a companion set with white stripes at the top and bottom) are definitely rare, but I would quibble a bit with the statement ..."this set of seven cans are the rarest collectable cans of all Beer Cans."

Nowadays, I don't know of any breweries that would take the expense and time to seek the official permission from ABC, then bring this to the market-place.

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