Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pub Pics - Small Bar in Avondale, Chicago

Monday, October 13, 2008

Oktoberfest & Pumpkin Beer at Delilah's Follow-Up

A couple weeks back (I gotta write more often on this blog!) I went to Delilah's in Chicago for their Oktoberfest & Pumpkin (& Autumn Beer) "Festival". I did not buy the $20 tasting for all the beers (2 oz. each, I think). I have already had many of the beers on the list. So, I just had four beers that I have never had before. I also tried to get some photos, but as expected Delilah's is just too dark.
To the left, you can view the list of beers offered at Delilah's - just click it to view larger.
Here are my ratings.

Weihenstephaner Festbier - The glass is full

Arcadia Jaw Jacker Spiced Ale - The glass is half empty

Breckenridge After Rakin' Autumn Ale - The glass is half full

Lakefront Pumpkin Lager - The glass is empty

In general, I am not really into pumpkin ales. I say ales, because as you can see from my rating of the pumpkin lager above, I just don't think pumpkin works well at all in a lager. Recently, I had a pumpkin ale that I thought was really good and enjoyable to drink, so I made it the Beer of the Month for this October. It's Brooklyn Brewery's Post Road Pumpkin Ale.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm back! And probably going to Delilah's tonight.

Don't worry. Highway to Ale is not dying. I had to take a break for a while, since I was moving and starting a new job. I am all settled in now and actually making some decent money, so I have some new interesting beers about which I will write. However, I haven't really figured out my internet situation outside of work, so the minimal internet access at home has definitely contributed to a decrease in my posting. Looks like I will combine July, August, and September for what will be my most recent "Monthly Beer Review and Rating" at the end of this month. For the past two months, I have actually been minimizing beer bottles that I would have to recycle by drinking primarily growlers of different styles of beer from Emmett's Brewery in West Dundee and Piece Brewery in Chicago. I do have some regular bottled beer to also review and rate.

Just now I put up my pick for Beer of the Month for September on the right sidebar - it's one of my favorite seasonal beers and it's called Heavy Handed brewed by Two Brothers. I didn't get around to posting a Beer of the Month for August before, but there will be one in the list. I also have many more things that I have been meaning to post, such as some beer related events that happened way back in the Spring and Summer. And, of course, I have lots of "Pub Pics" and a few new "Weird Beer Thursdays" lined up for the near future.

Ok, regarding tonight, Delilah's in Chicago is having an "Oktoberfest and Pumpkin Beer Festival". This is rather perfect since I haven't had the chance to write about Oktoberfest beers in particular this month, and I am also still trying to determine which pumpkin beer I like the best. So I will probably check this out. I'll try to get some photos, but not sure if they will show up well since it is usually so dark in Delilah's.
From Delilah's website, here's the info for tonight:

Oktoberfest & Pumpkin Beer Festival

On Tuesday, September 23rd, Delilah’s will be hosting a comprehensive tasting of Oktoberfest, Harvest, & Pumpkin beers. We will be tasting every possible version of these beers available in this market – plus a five year vertical of Ayinger Oktoberfest.
Beers to be tasted include but are not limited to:

  • Ayinger Oktoberfest
  • Paulaner Oktoberfest
  • Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest
  • Becks Oktoberfest
  • Goose Island Oktoberfest
  • Summit Oktoberfest + Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale + Buffalo Bills Pumpkin Ale
  • New Holland Ichabod Pumpkin Ale
  • Dogfishead Pumpkin Ale
  • Lakefront Pumpkin Lager & O’Fallen Pumpkin Ale

This is guaranteed to be ideal for both the new enthusiast as well as the long term aficionado – and talk about becoming an educated shopper.

Tuesday, September 23th, 5pm - 9pm
Delilah’s - 2771 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago
(773) 472-2771
There is no cost to attend and the various beers will be available to purchase by the 2oz sample or whole bottle/pint - information about the beers will be available. Call with any questions.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Things are very busy!!! More exciting posts soon.

I am currently moving. It is a lot of work. When I am done, hopefully by Sunday, I will write more posts. Such as the Monthly Review and Rating for July, a new Weird Beer Thursday, and many more. And, of course, I will celebrate by drinking some good beer. Cheers!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pub Pics - M.T. Barrels in West Dundee

M.T. Barrels is in West Dundee, Illinois, and has a rather comical name. It is just steps away from what has turned into one of my favorite breweries (and tavern/restaurant), Emmett's Tavern and Brewing Co. in West Dundee. So if don't live way out northwest from Chicago, and you make the trek out to West Dundee, then you could try both while your out there. Thanks to my girlfriend's family, I am now an official member of Emmett's Beer Club and we have been going pretty regularly for dinner and mug night on Tuesdays.
On Saturday June 14, we attended the Elgin Brewfest 2008, which I haven't yet written about and probably will not write about. I know of it because my friend/fellow beer connoisseur Seth lives in Elgin and tells people about it each year. You can check out a great slideshow of photos that he took of the Elgin Brewfest 2008 on his blog here. After the fest ended, I headed over to West Dundee to have some ale at Emmett's, but they were closing, so we went to M.T. Barrels and enjoyed their American Pale Ale (pictured below) and Amber Ale, both of which I can recommend. I cannot recommend their other beers.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

AleFest Chicago - A Celebration of Craft Beer this Saturday!

Sorry, this is kind of late for anyone out there who didn't know about this yet. AleFest Chicago is happening this Saturday July 12 from 1pm-6pm at Soldier Field Staidum Green (just outside Soldier Field). Apparently this is the 2nd annual one, but I don't remember hearing about it last year at all, and I was pretty busy, so obviously I didn't go before. This year, I have seen posters for it up in some beer bars that I have visited recently, so I figured it must be pretty good. Then I found the nice website where it has all the details. Admission is $40, but includes a bunch of stuff such as 20 samples of craft beer, a commemorative tasting glass, a stainless steel bottle opener, and it's also for charity for the The Lupus Foundation of America, Illinois Chapter (LFAI). Then I looked at the list of breweries that will be there (I have them listed below), and I was quite impressed! I'm still not sure if I will definitely go, but I am seriously considering it. Now I have some free time, but not much money, since I'm between jobs right now. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal and a good way to spend this Saturday, though, so I may go for it. Anyone else already planning on going, or wanting to go?


Participating Breweries Include:







Abita
Allagash
America’s
Arcadia
Avery
Ayinger
Belhaven
Bent River
Black Sheep
Blackthorn
Blue Cat
Boston Beer
Boulder
Breckenridge
Brooklyn
Chang
Charles Wells
Chimay Trappist
Destihl
Dogfish Head
DuBocq
Emmett’s
Flatlanders
Floris
Flossmoor Station
Flying Dog
Gaffel
Goose Island
Gordon Biersch
Gouden Carolus
Great Lakes
Greens



Hirter
Jever
Kaiser
Kasteel
Lagunitas
Lefebvre
Left Hand
Lindemans
Lost Coast
LunaR
McAuslan
Metropolitan
Mickey Finn’s
MT Barrels
New Holland
North Coast
Piece
RAM/Big Horn
Rock Bottom
Samuel Smith
Southern Tier
St. Louis
St. Peters
Stiegl
Three Floyds
Two Brothers
Unibroue
Wexford
Wychwood
Young’s
Zatec


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Pub Pics - Poor Phil's in Oak Park

Items that are awesomely contained within this "Pub Pic" from May 2008 at Poor Phil's in Oak Park:
1. Tasty popcorn
2. Delicious soft-shell crab sandwich and creamed spinach
3. Two Brothers' Bare Tree (Barley Wine Style Weiss Beer) (The Glass is Full)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Monthly Beer Review and Rating - June 2008

It was little slow here this past month of June, as far as postings go, but I was still enjoying many great beers. And I was too busy yesterday (last day of the month) to post this. Here we go with the monthly ratings.


At Home:
Weihenstephaner - Hefeweissbier Dunkel
One of my favorite beers from the world's oldest brewery. The regular hefeweissbier is
awesome too. I just like the dunkel (dark) even more. That's why it was the Beer of the Month for June 2008.

My Rating: The glass is full


















Harpoon - IPA
This is my second beer to try (first one was their Munich Dark, which was quite good) from this Boston brewery. Their India Pale Ale is pretty good. Nothing all that memorable or special but just a solid IPA. To me, it seemed more like an English-style IPA, than a more hoppy American-style IPA. It works quite well as a refreshing summer ale, and will still help you take the edge off at 6%.
My Rating: The glass is half full



















Breckenridge - Summerbright Ale
This beer wasn't all that bad, but I just didn't care for it much. Unfortunately, it was the only beer I had cold when my folks were over, so we drank it anyway, since it was kind of refreshing on a hot day. It was too grassy and skunky for my tastes. Maybe the 6-pack I got wasn't all that fresh. Definitely not worth it, if that's how it's intended to be.
My Rating: The glass is half empty



















Two Brothers - Oh Brother! Tripel Ale
Oh Brother! is the May 2008 Artisan Beer release for Two Brothers (one of my favorite breweries), so I was sure to pick it up when I saw it at Binny's in June. I poured it into the distinctive Kwak glass, if you're wondering. I thought it was very good, and a good example of the Tripel Belgian-style from an American brewery. Maybe a little sweeter, a little hoppier, and more oily/viscous than Tripels made in Belgium. Lots of spice and fruit flavors going on. Good amount of alcohol too, at 8.5%, which is hidden by all the flavor, so watch out.
My Rating: The glass is full


















Three Floyds - Blackheart
This is a very strong (9%) English-style IPA, so it can actually be called a Double IPA. So, if you feel like having a strong beer, I would highly recommend this excellent ale from an excellent brewery. It's made with English malts, hops, and yeast, and even aged slightly in oak for that "19th century taste". A taste which I very much like. There are interesting and complex fruit and spice flavors, especially as it warms a bit. It's bit pricey ($10 for 22 oz.) but I would say it's worth it, and may be hard to find now. Oh, it also has the most insane label that I've ever seen on a beer bottle. Click on the photos below (as you always can) to view larger versions of the left and right sides of the label.
My Rating: The glass is full


















Goose Island - 312 Urban Wheat Ale
I used to not like this beer that much, but now I am a fan. It is, of course, a great summer beer and even tastes very good right out of the bottle (with a bottle cozy to keep it cold), without needing to pour it. A 12-pack is quite affordable at about $12. Although I prefer the flavor of Three Floyds Gumballhead, which uses delicious Amarillo hops but is more expensive, Goose Island's 312 is a good beer on a hot day and a great deal as a 12-pack.
My Rating: The glass is half full



















Emmett's - McCarthy Red Ale
Available in growlers from Emmett's Tavern and Brewing Co. (we go to the one in West Dundee). Just an excellent red ale. Actually all the beers made by Emmett's are great.
My Rating: The glass is full



















Three Floyds - Alpha King Pale Ale
Still one of my all-time favorite beers, especially regarding pale ales. Awesome.
My Rating: The glass is full



















Great Lakes - Burning River Pale Ale
Another fantastic pale ale from an excellent brewery. Less hoppy and more malty than Three Floyds Alpha King, but I like it just as much.
My Rating: The glass is full



















Sierra Nevada - Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale
I don't have much time to go into a lot of detail, but I really like fresh/wet-hopped ales.
Usually, fresh-hopped ales are only available by certain American breweries in the Fall, because this is when the hops are harvested in the northern hemisphere and must be used quickly while they are fresh. Sierra Nevada can now offer this fresh-hopped ale in the Spring by getting fresh hops from New Zealand. This is a good offering from Sierra Nevada, but it didn't taste as good to me as other fresh/wet-hopped beers that I have had, such as Two Brothers Heavy Handed or Left Hand Warrior IPA, which had more sweet malts for balance. Unfortunately, these are the only fresh/wet-hopped beers that I have seen available to me in Chicago. I will probably write more about fresh/wet-hopped ales another time.
My Rating: The glass is half full



















East African (Kenya) Breweries Ltd - Tusker Lager
I think this is the first lager that I have put on this blog. Well, besides that post about Schlitz. (By the way, the "new"/original recipe of Schlitz is pretty good, but for the price, I would rather drink microbrewed beers.) Anyway, I remember Tusker was a refreshing and good light lager for hot days a couple Summers ago. It's from Kenya, and I think it's a little better than most American macrobrewed lagers. But, there are lots of much better lagers from around the world. My Rating: The glass is half empty

















On Tap:
at The Map Room, Chicago, IL
  1. Charles Wells - Bombardier - Great English bitter - My Rating: The glass is full.
  2. Lost Coast - Downtown Brown - This is the first beer I've tried from this brewery from Eureka, California. It was really good! - My Rating: The glass is full.
  3. Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale - This Flanders-style sour red ale is brewed by the Van Steenberge Brewery in Belgium for Monk's Cafe/Belgian Beer Bar in Philadelphia. Normally I would not even order a sour ale, but surprisingly I actually liked this one and it's worth a try at least once. Especially during these Summer months. Here's what others think on Beer Advocate. - My Rating: The glass is half full.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pub Pics - Duke of Perth in Chicago

My favorite pub in Chicago is not Irish. It's Duke of Perth. It's Scottish. Took this pic a while back, on April 17, 2008. I remember that not only was this a random Thursday that I fortunately decided to go out to my favorite pub in the middle of the afternoon, but it was one of the first nice/warm days of this year that we had here in Chicago. It was perfect. The pint in the photo is a Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA, which I had after a pint of Belhaven Scottish Ale. Along with the second half of the pint shown, I thoroughly enjoyed a plate full of the best fish and chips that I've had (at least in Chicago). They also have, of course, a large selection of scotch whisky. Check it out for yourself if you've never been: http://www.dukeofperth.com/

Enjoy this first edition of "Pub Pics" on Highway to Ale.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Weird Beer Thursday - Dark Horse Raspberry Ale

Dark Horse Raspberry Ale

Why it's weird:

Ale brewed with real raspberries.

What's up with this beer:
Back to the fruit beer this time. This Raspberry Ale comes from Dark Horse Brewery in Marshall, Michigan. In the recent past, I have enjoyed their Amber Ale and their Crooked Tree IPA. I have to say that the Raspberry Ale was pretty refreshing when served cold (so it could make a great Summer beer), but in general I just wasn't that into the flavor. It seems that I am more fond of Blueberry Ale than Raspberry Ale. Although I do like raspberries quite a bit, I don't think that they work that well with beer. There is some tartness, which is OK, but there is another taste / aftertaste that I didn't really enjoy - and I can't really explain it. Just something about the mix of flavors from real raspberries with the beer ingredients didn't work for me. Also, the amount of carbonation seemed too high to me. In general, Dark Horse is true to their word (in details below) in that their Raspberry Ale is definitely more of a real ale than just being a fruity malt beverage. But I didn't think the beer itself was that great. It's not that bad, just something I would not buy again. If I was given it for free, I would probably drink it, especially served very cold on a warm Summer day.
The label reminds of illustrations from a book that I liked when I was a child - The Giant Jam Sandwich.

Details: (from the brewery)
A lot of people have asked us "why are there Bee's on the label?” Well, we don't really have an answer for you other than they just look cool. This is a light bodied easy drinking ale. We only use real raspberries so the flavor is very mild fruit and balanced, not what you would expect from a "fruit" beer. The way we see it is we're brewers so lets make good beer, not some fruity carbonated malt beverage. Oh yeah, our motto..."beer first fruit second".
ABV 5%

My Rating:
The glass is half empty.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Monthly Beer Review and Rating - May 2008



At Home:

Southern Tier - IPA
A solidly good IPA. A little off balance for me.

My Rating: The glass is half full


















Great Lakes - Moondog ESB
A very good beer, but not excellent.
You really can't go wrong with any
beer from Great Lakes Brewery.
My Rating: The glass is half full
















New Belgium - Springboard Ale
This is indeed a good beer for Spring and Summer,
but the unusual ingredients of wormwood, lycium, schisandra,
and 2% ale aged in oak barrels just didn't work together that well
to taste that good to me. It was interesting to try, but I will likely
not want it again.
My Rating: The glass is half empty

















Founders - Centennial IPA
This is one of the best IPA's that I have ever had. Awesome.
My Rating: The glass is full
















Lagunitas - Lucky 13
A great beer and a great deal ($5).
My Rating: The glass is full















On Tap:
at Poor Phil's in Oak Park, Illinois
  1. Two Brothers Bare Tree Barley Weiss - first time having this, I really enjoyed it - My Rating: The glass is full
  2. North Coast Red Seal Ale - one of my favorite overall great ales - My Rating: The glass is full
  3. New Holland Existential - intense and strong, and I like hoppy beers, but doesn't taste very good overall, as it is very off balance to me - My Rating: The glass is half empty
at Small Bar, Avondale/Logan Square, Chicago, Illinois
  1. Lagunitas IPA - My Rating: The glass is half full
  2. Victory Prima Pils - My Rating: The glass is half full
at The Hopleaf, Andersonville, Chicago, Illinois
  1. Surly Bender - My Rating: The glass is full
  2. Founders Red's Rye - another awesome one from Founders - My Rating: The glass is full

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Weird Beer Thursday - Wostyntje Torhouts Mustard Ale

Wostyntje - Torhouts Mustard Ale

Why it's weird:

Ale brewed with mustard seeds.

What's up with this beer:
So last week we had black and green peppercorn beer. This week, we have a different spice - mustard seeds.
Picked this up from Binny's the other day. I think it was about $4. You should be able to find it in the Belgium section of beers. I also remember having this a couple years ago at Hopleaf, which has it there on the bottle menu.
The flavors are rather subtle. I think it is a pretty tasty beer, but was expecting more pronounced flavors. Specifically, from the mustard seeds, of course. It has a creaminess to it, which I've noticed seems to be a trend with beers brewed with seeds. There is some sweet fruitiness. There was also some unique bitterish and barely spicy finish, due to the hops and mustard seeds. It's interesting that is has a cloudy yellowish/orangish color, kind of a little like the color of fancy mustard, like Grey Poupon or something. Maybe it was just my tasting of it this time, but I was expecting more flavor. There are some funky little flavors going on, but again, they are slightly detectable. Overall, it is very nice quality beer, which I would expect from Belgium, but nothing to get all that excited about, and not even that "weird". It is rather light and pretty refreshing, and I could see it as being quite good to have in the summer with a bratwurst topped with mustard and sauerkraut or sweet onions. Here's what others are saying about Wostyntje on Beer Advocate.
Brouwerij De Regenboog also makes a very good and flavorful witbier called Vuuve (Flemish for "Five").
"Regenboog" is Dutch for "Rainbow".

Details: (from the brewery)
Wostyntje Torhouts Mustard Ale
Brewed & Bottle by Brouwerij De Regenboog
Brugge, Belgium
Wostyntje is a dark blonde ale brewed with 90% barley malt, 10% munich malt, 2 sorts of hops (Kent Goldings and Challenger), light and dark candy sugar, and (crushed Torhouts) mustard seeds.
7% Alc./vol.

My Rating:
The glass is half full.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Weird Beer Thursday - Route Des Épices

Route Des Épices (Spice Route)

Why it's weird:

Rye beer brewed with black and green peppercorns.

What's up with this beer:
I almost went with another fruit beer this time but fortunately I found this one, to take us on a different route. Last time I mentioned that I really like rye ales. Well, here's one with a peppery kick! This is my first time to have a beer from the Dieu Du Ciel microbrewery from Canada. The helpful clerk at the beer store recommended this to me, saying they just got it in and that it was unique, and he was so right. It is a delightful beer and fun to drink. It is definitely a lot less hoppy and hearty as the American rye beers can be, and the pepper lingers and tingles on your tongue - fun! It poured with a great creamy white head that stuck around throughout drinking. There is some sweetness, and some real rye flavor, but the pepper dominates, which is fine by me as it is an interesting flavor that works well with this beer (and for this post!). The overall body of the beer tastes lighter than it appears and I like the amount of carbonation. Somehow, the pepper flavor intensified as I got to the last sips, and actually my tongue was slightly numb when I was done. Yeah, of course this isn't a beer that I would have all the time, but - this is Weird Beer Thursday. It is not a very strong beer, at only 5%. It is definitely worth a try if you have the chance. It's a very high quality beer. I would try their other beers too, such as their (I'm just going to use their names in English) "Mortal Sin" and "Smoke Screen". I like their beer labels too! And I haven't been to Montréal yet, but when I eventually go, I can stay in this cool apartment for rent above their brewpub!
Just as I finished writing this, there was still a little bit left in the glass, so I shot it real quick in my mouth, but it kind of went to the back of my throat. Whoa! There's that fun pepper flavor again. What can I say, I guess I like-a the fresh-a pepper.

Details: (from the brewery)
Route des épices (Spice route)
Bière de seigle au poivre - 5% alc./vol.
341 ml (11.5 fl. oz.)

Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel!
St-Jérôme and Montréal, Québec, Canada

Routes des épices (French for "Spice Route") is a rye beer brewed with both black and green peppercorns. Initially, the beer reveals flavours of fresh grain and malt, which give it notes of chocolate, caramel, and fruit. The pepper flavour and aroma is fully revealed in the finish, which leaves a pleasant, spicy, tingling sensation on the tongue.

My Rating:
The glass is full.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Great Beer for a Great Cause: Reunion '08 Organic Red Rye Ale

Just to let you all know, I am probably going to be way too busy to write any posts in the next week or so, but after that I will be back. I have many things that I would like to write about, but they will have to wait until I have the time.
Instead of a "Weird Beer Thursday" today, I would like to briefly write about and give links to Reunion '08 ("A Beer for Hope") Organic Red Rye Ale. I easily found this at my small local neighborhood beer store (chilled), so hopefully you can find it easily too. So, pick it up, enjoy, and know that it's all for a great cause.
Here's the info and all the relevant links:

Reunion '08: A Beer for Hope - Organic Red Rye Ale brewed with caraway seeds

It's about $5 or $6 for a 22 oz. bottle, and ALL of the profits are donated to the Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research.

From the website and on the back of the bottle:

"This year's version of Reunion is an organic red rye ale, featuring a malt forward character balanced by spice notes from the rye, caraway seeds, and hops. Once again we have brewed Reunion in cooperation with Dan Del Grande at Bison Brewing.

The 2008 Reunion Ale celebrates the life of our dear friend and partner in this project - Virginia MacLean. Virginia lost her battle with Mutiple Myeloma on June 4, 2007. It was Virginia's wish that we continue the mission of raising funds for The Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research (IMBCR), so that others could benefit from their research. We know of no better way to honor her legacy.

Every day over 1,000 people are diagnosed with this currently incurable form of bone cancer. IMBCR is working on novel chemotherapy drugs to cure patients like Virginia. Every dollar and every day gets us closer to that cure. You can make it a reality. To learn more please visit: www.IMBCR.org.

Many thanks to all who have supported this project and help us honor Virginia's memory. Our additional thanks to Dr. Jim Berenson and his team at IMBCR for their tireless work on behalf of myeloma patients everywhere.

Cheers!
Pete & Alan

Pete Slosberg's image used courtesy of Pete's Brewing Company.

INGREDIENTS: Organic Barley, Organic Flaked Rye, Hops, Organic Caraway Seeds, Water, Yeast.

BREWED & BOTTLED BY:
BISON BREWING CHICO, CA 95928
CERTIFIED ORGANIC BY CALIFORNIA CROP IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION."

Reunion Beer Links - has all the links to relevant sites and info and blogs that have already done a great job writing about it this year and last year.

I really like red rye ales, so I highly recommend this beer. I have to be honest and say that I don't think that it is quite as good as others I really like, such as Two Brothers Cane and Ebel, or Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye, but these are also different variations of the style, so I don't really like to compare. It's a great looking beer and a delicious beer. Plus, for such a great cause - you gotta just buy it and try it.
It also a great beer to have around this time, when we are still having chilly and rainy weather lately here in Chicago.
I wasn't originally going to give a rating for this beer, but what the heck. I think you know what it may be.

My Rating:
The glass is full.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Schlitz. The cheap beer with the most gusto.

Last night, I drank and enjoyed some Schlitz. This was mostly due to the fact that I am very poor right now. But this is also due to the fact that I like Schlitz. In fact, I believe that Schlitz is the best tasting cheap beer. In recent years, it has been hard to find, although I know that my local bar has always had Schlitz cans for $2. Now, Schlitz is coming back in a big way, with the original 1960's formula. Um, I'm not sure what this will really mean, but sounds good to me.

I don't see this being a recurring trend for this blog, but I couldn't resist posting this video. It's a 1984 TV commercial for Schlitz "Bull" Malt Liquor, featuring The Marshall Tucker Band and 38 Special (rockin' tunes play automatically). 38 Speical clearly wins in the web design category.
Here's the video:


Couple of thoughts after watching this commercial:
How many guys are in those bands anyway?
I like the short guy with the hat in 38 Special.
At a few parts, I am not really sure what they are yelling about. I don't even think that they are using real words.
If 38 Special started marching towards me in a bar, demanding that I drink a Schlitz "Bull", you best believe that I would have one. Heck, I'd probably buy them a round too.
If I was drinking said beer in said bar situation, I would be on a constant lookout for a raging bull to suddenly come crashing through the wall.

Can't get enough old Schlitz commercials?
Here is another hilarious Schlitz "Bull" commercial featuring Tommy James & The Shondells and the Average White Band, with a more groovin' take on it.
Here's one with James Coburn dressed as a cowboy ordering a Schlitz light in a bar with a "captain" guy and a toupeed bartender.
Here's one featuring a motorcycle guy and Boston's "More Than A Feeling".
Here's a 1969 commercial of people enjoying the original Schlitz at a picnic.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Weird Beer Thursday - Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale

Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale

Why it's weird:
Obviously, it's made with blueberries (from Maine!).

What's up with this beer:
I kept seeing this at my local beer store last year, but at that time I was not into fruit beers at all, and I thought for sure that I would not like it. Now, my tastes have changed and I have enjoyed many "fruit beers" recently. That Chicago Tribune article about fruit beers must have really piqued my interest. I previously reviewed a Mbege-style ale which is brewed with bananas, and recently at The Hopleaf I had the interesting Surly Two, which is made with lots of cranberries (those BA reviews are accurate), which could easily be featured as a "weird beer" but I didn't get a photo. By the way, I can't wait to try more beers from the excellent Surly Brewery, but right now they are mostly only available in Minnesota.
I still do not like really fruit beers, like the ones that overly tart or are more wine-like than beer-like. So, once I realized that this Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale is more like an actual ale instead of a really fruity beer, I was confident to buy it and try it. Plus, I very much like blueberries. Turns out, I really liked Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale. It had subtle aromas of blueberries and also a subtle taste of fruit/blueberries, so it is not really fruity at all. Mostly, it was just an overall well-balanced amber ale that was enjoyable to drink. It is pretty much like drinking blueberry muffins, which I think is awesome. The six-pack that I purchased did not last long at all. My girlfriend also tried a bottle and also thought it was good. At one particular tasting time, I was still up at the early morning hours enjoying some of this blueberry ale, but then I got hungry. I found some blueberry waffles in my freezer (frozen from Trader Joes, which aren't all that "blueberry-y" either), so I toasted those up and ate 'em with the beer - it was a delicious (and might I say perfect) combination!
I have heard of a few other "blueberry beers" that exist out there, but I can see Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale probably being the best. They even state on the label that it is "America's Original Blueberry Ale". Although, Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale is not on the level of excellent, it is solidly good and I very much recommend it. And obviously, you will like it if you like blueberries and amber ales, both of which I happen to very much like.

Details: (from the brewery)
Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale
The Atlantic Brewing Company
Bar Harbor, Maine, United States
A light fruit ale, made with Maine wild blueberries. As opposed to many of the sweeter fruit beers on the market, our addition of fresh Maine wild blueberries in this light ale yields a subtle blueberry aroma, without the sweet aftertaste.

A mixture of the following Mutton malts, pale, crystal, and Munich, are combined with wheat to give this ale its lighter body, and we only use minimal amounts of Target and Willamette hops.

ABV 5.2%

My Rating:
The glass is half full.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Monthly Beer Review and Rating - February March April 2008

Instead of reviewing/rating beers individually each time I have one, I think I am going to just go through them all at the end of each month. Also, I will keep things pretty easy and brief overall. Some may have a photo, some may not. Some may just have my rating, without further elaboration. Some may be on tap at a pub, but many will be bottles that I have had at home. Since I just started this blog about a month ago, I will include February, March and April 2008 in this "Monthly Beer Review and Rating" from Highway to Ale. They will be listed in roughly the order that I had them (since February up until today). Since there are so many for this installment, probably I will just give my rating and give links, which will give more info about the beer, the style, or the brewery if you are interested. My Rating Guide is shown here at the top left of this post, and always on the right sidebar.

Additionally, you can check out the "Weird Beer Thursday" (Highway to Ale's "Special Feature") beers that I have reviewed and rated so far.


At Home:
Scotty Karate Scotch Ale - Dark Horse Brewing Company

My Rating: The glass is half full












review from Michael Jackson ("Beer Hunter")
My Rating: The glass is half full
















Altenmunster Winterbier Doppelbock - Allgaeuer Brauhaus AG
My Rating: The glass is half empty












My Rating: The glass is half full













Conway's Irish Ale - Great Lakes Brewing
My Rating: The glass is full













Dubbel Reserve - Allagash
My Rating: The glass is full














ESB Special Ale - Ska Brewing
Yep, in a can. I wish more microbrewed beers came in cans.
Read this recent blog post, from A Blog About Beer, about how more craft beers are being canned.
Of course, I poured it into a glass. I just forgot to get a photo of this one.
My Rating: The glass is half full















Celis White - Michigan Brewing Co.
My Rating: The glass is half full









My Rating: The glass is half full











My Rating: The glass is full













My Rating: The glass is half full













Delicious and beautiful beer! And affordable! One of my new favorites.
My Rating: The glass is full













This is the first beer that I've had from this brewery in Indiana.
Interesting and good brown ale - I would try their others.
My Rating: The glass is half full












This is one of the few beers that I have ever bought, and have been truly disappointed to the point that I would say that I hate this beer. I feel that I wasted my money on this beer. Thought I would try it since it seemed like an interesting new seasonal. Supposed to be in the style of Biere de Garde. But it fails miserably. Tastes to me like Old Style, which would have been fine if I paid $3 for a six-pack (and was expecting cheap crappy beer) instead of $10! Actually, it seems worse than Old Style. Obviously, I think this beer sucks. If I ever want to try the Biere de Garde style again, I will be sure to try any of these instead. Or anything by Brasserie La Choulette.
My Rating: The glass is empty















Very nice bottle conditioned IPA. I had and enjoyed their Amber Ale a couple months ago. This brewery in Michigan is new for me, and I am really liking their beers. This is the brewery that makes the Tres Blueberry Stout, but once I heard about it I couldn't find it anywhere because Winter was ending.
They also make the Scotty Karate Scotch Ale, with which I started this long review post.
My Rating: The glass is half full
















On Tap: Lots of excellent beers!
at Poor Phil's in Oak Park, Illinois (I hit the jackpot at this place!)
  1. Lagunitas Hop Stoopid - My Rating: The glass is full
  2. Three Floyds Travissimo - My Rating: The glass is full
  3. Two Brothers Imperial Cane and Ebel - one of my absolute favorites - My Rating: The glass is full
at Small Bar (technically in Avondale, just north of Logan Square) Chicago, Illinois
  1. Surly Furious - My Rating: The glass is full
  2. Three Floyds Gumballhead - My Rating: The glass is full
  3. Two Brothers Hop Juice - My Rating: The glass is full
  4. Victory Hop Devil - My Rating: The glass is half full
at Emmett’s Tavern and Brewery, West Dundee, Illinois
  1. Emmett's Victory Pale Ale - My Rating: The glass is half full
  2. McCarthy Red Ale - My Rating: The glass is full
  3. Double Barrel Oatmeal Stout - My Rating: The glass is full
at M.T. Barrels Brewery, West Dundee, Illinois
  1. American Pale Ale - My Rating: The glass is full
at The Hopleaf, Andersonville, Chicago, Illinois
  1. Surly Bender - one of my new absolute favorite beers - can't wait until I can get more here in Illinois and to try their other beers - and they come in cans! My Rating: The glass is full
  2. Surly Two - made with lots of cranberries, very interesting but not that great. My Rating: The glass is half full
  3. Dogfish Head Burton Baton - oak-barrel aged strong sipper. My Rating: The glass is full (but would not have more than one)
at Two Brothers Brewery, Warrenville, Illinois - I plan to write a separate post about my experience here, hopefully this weekend.

All About Beer Magazine's "125 Places to Have a Beer Before You Die"

"125 Places to Have a Beer Before You Die" according to All About Beer Magazine.

Looking through the list, turns out that I have been to many of these places already (I'm 29 years old). Plus, a few of my favorite places to drink beer in Chicago, Illinois not only made the list, but are in the top 50.

Below are the places on the list that I have been to, and of course, drank beer at. "Starred" are places that I have been to many times. The others, just once.

11. Hofbrauhaus, Munich, Germany
**24. The Hopleaf, Chicago, IL (Love it! Just went the other week, and tried three great beers for the first time - Surly Bender, Surly Two, and Dogfish Head Burton Baton. More about those later.)
35. Great Lakes Brewing, Cleveland, OH
**43. Clark Street Ale House, Chicago, IL
**47. The Map Room, Chicago, IL
71. The Brewer’s Art, Baltimore, MD
76. City Tavern, Philadelphia, PA (I walked by, but I think they were closed at the time)
**84. Goose Island Brewing, Chicago, IL
113. beerbistro, Toronto, Canada (we walked by to check it out, but went somewhere else instead. I think it was a little pricier than what we were looking for)
115. John Barleycorn, Chicago, IL (I assume that they are referring to the historic location in Lincoln Park. But still, um, whatever. I would definitely not recommend.)

One place that my girlfriend recently proposed that we go in 2009:
5. Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany (!!!)

Which places on the list have you visited and enjoyed a beer at?
Or is your favorite beer drinking establishment not on the list - what is it?
I would love to hear about it in the comments!

About Me

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Chicago, Illinois, United States

"Lines on Ale" by Edgar Allen Poe

Fill with mingled cream and amber

I will drain that glass again.

Such hilarious visions clamber

Through the chamber of my brain -

Quaintest thoughts - queerest fancies

Come to life and fade away;

What care I how time advances?

I am drinking ale today

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