Happy New Beer

Posted by Jim on Dec 31st, 2011
Dec 31

Continuing a tradition started last year, Nissa and I split a bottle of a limited release Allagash beer.  Tonight’s selection was the New Belgium collaboration Vrienden.

Allagash/New Belgium Vrienden (Portland Version) – 4.43/5

look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This bottle has been in my cellar since the day it was released at the Allagash Brewery. I’m serving it in an Allagash flute at a chilly temperature.

The beer has a very light copper color; it’s nearly tan. There is a great number of tiny bubbles rising within the beer. A rather large white foam head rests on top. It has settled some—leaving behind a few rings of foamy lace—but it still over a finger in thickness.

Vrienden has a grassy farmhouse funk aroma. I believe some of the grassiness comes from the hops, but I imagine that at least a portion is from the dandelion greens added to the brew. The funkiness is mild, but prevalent enough to let you know that you are in for a beer that lives on the wild side.

This beer comes across as very tart. Lots of grass and floral flavors are tasted first. Powdered sugar sweetness comes in next, but it is quickly overshadowed but the tart flavors. The tartness has a slight citrus quality to it (like a lemon), but there isn’t any of the grapefruit flavors you find in some hoppy beers. It provides a welcome fruitiness to the beer without making it taste like a fruit beer.

This beer has a fuller body and plenty of carbonation—the bottle opened with a resounding POP. A touch of stickiness is left on the lips; the coating left within my mouth is also sticky. It is a thin coat and is holds onto some of the tart flavors. Some puckering is felt by the beer; but as a drink more of it, the physical reaction grows less strong with each sip.

This is another impressive wild ale from Allagash. I’m a little sad that I only have one bottle of this left, but I bet there are still a few kegs of Vrienden sitting in the brewery. I would certainly order a glass if I saw it offered.

You Say You Want a Resolution

Posted by Jim on Dec 29th, 2011
Dec 29

Even though 2012 will be a shorter year than normal, I still want to make a resolution to read more in the next year.  During the South Portland Public Library‘s summer reading program, I was able to average 1 book read per week for the entire summer.  This is the highest concentration of books read that I have ever attained, and it inspired me to try to pare down my To Read list over the next year.  Since you are supposed to set goals that you can attain, I hope to read 15 novel-length books in the next year, as well as 15 novellas, graphic novels or children’s books.  I also want to read at least one complete series of graphic novels (which won’t be counted in the aforementioned 15).  I’ve created a Goodreads list with some of the books I plan to read as part of this goal; you can find it here. Speaking of Goodreads—if you are a member,why not add me as a friend?

I’m also looking for any suggestions you have for books I should check out.  Leave a comment with your recommendations!