Saturday, March 22, 2014

It can be as difficult as licking a train

A moving train.

Tricky thing to lick, that.
In general what people put their tongues on (/r/SaladTossing NSFW excluded) are things that are not moving and dirty.

What was the last thing you licked?


I would lick Paris, even though it is more polluted than Bejing. Hey, at least we got some free metro out of it.

[caption id="attachment_2546" align="aligncenter" width="640"]paris-takes-drastic-measures-to-fight-high-pollution Normal Eiffel Tower in the spring vs the Tower over the weekend. Photo courtesy of The Economic Times[/caption]

The expression for "window-shopping" in French is faire du lèche-vitrines (literally, "window-licking")


Forget trains, dirty cities and tasteless windows!

Lets lick a cigar and beer pairing


Tom from recently came back from the bounty of American beer culture with arm loads of goodies. One being Goose Island's Bourbon County 2013 Brand Stout.

14.9% abv with mountains of smooth textured barrel aged goodness. The silky smooth brew hides the alcohol content like a master trickster and washes the palate with deep wooded rhum raison, crushed vanilla beans and the lightest touch of black licorice.


My medium body cuban with it's slightly sweet and nutty flavor had no chance of taking on the beer. The spice of the tobacco was washed away with each sip. A revolving door of delight.

Nothing better than a night in with a Trinidad Habana Cuba and a short glass of 5 year barrel aged stout.

What are you licking?


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Friday, March 21, 2014

Is this Gallia Paris?


Oh good! I love Paris.


When drunk people meet sunlight it can be hard to determine where in the European nation one is. Better to come out of your drunk delirium at Sacre Coeur in the blazing spring sunshine with a picnic spread than to crawl from the metro into the grey of London.

The spring weather has returned to the city of romance and people are flocking to open areas in droves.


A revived Parisian beer brand

Brewed in Paris from 1890 until 1968, Parisians lost a great brand when Gallia closed it's doors. Winning a gold medal at the Paris World Fair in 1900, Gallia Paris was fully in control of the city's beer scene with a brewery in the 14th arrondissement that was the largest in the capital.

Today, reborn by two entrepreneur enthusiasts and backed by the original brewer's family, Gallia Paris is making a move from universal basic beer to micro-brewing.

Gallia's current two beers, a primitive blond and an unsuccessful wheat (blanche/white) are slowly being moved aside to make room for new brewing equipment. With a new brewer and a drive to capture the craft beer market, Gallia promises to move the historic Parisian brand name into the artisanal market. And we are excited!

DSCF6623As for their main flagship beer, Gallia is lacking in crispness but not unusually off mark for a typic French blond beer. The color is more tawny than 'blond' but the light use of hops and grain texture are hallmarks of standardized mass brewing. A picnic beer that pairs great with an array of cheese, meats and fresh bread.

Gallia re-hatched a historical beer brand and has stuck with the style that was famous in 1890. Until now.

Check back for more updates on the exciting progression of Gallia Paris from macro influenced to micro romance.


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Monday, March 10, 2014

Why are we waiting to drink good beer?

Ou qu'est ce qu'on attend pour boire de la bonne bière?

The French have nothing holding them back from drinking great craft beer, so what are they waiting for?

More beer bars.

More craft beer outlets.

 François Moutou the réalisateur of this mini documentary about the rising French craft beer is on a mission to show France and the rest of the world, that there IS a craft beer culture brewing in the land of wine and cheese.

Moutou is looking to progress his 3 minute long short film into a full length documentary with English subtitles and commentary for non French speakers.

With a beautiful marina view, fantastic bagel sandwiches from one of the best places in Paris and, of course beer from my new favorite cave à bière, the two of us hatched out ideas for the full project.

Completely beer geeking out!

Luckily Moutou is a beer geek with a fancy phone, so he was checking in on Untappd (add me!) and we have evidence of our productivity.

a32c0c652ae68c1b04fbfc29ebe360f0_640x640 Started out with a Danish 'American Pale Ale' called Fanø Vestkyst from Fanø Bryghus that paired beautifully with our roast beef, avocado and other amazing ness bagel-wiches.

Yeast on the nose, but clean and fresh on the palate, finishes with a nice citrus hop bite that is mild and delightful.

20140224_141708Rooie Dop was pushed on us by St. Bière owner as one of his newest most loved beers and, although very interesting, I continue to have problems with this brewery. A pungent over ripe fruit smell persists throughout and the watery finish is less than desirable.
"Something is keeping me from liking it..."

I can see why many would rank this as a fantastic beer, seeing as how it's bold use of hops is striking, but there is a touch of unbalance that keeps me from loving it.

7d48cf96269b884f1a324d99eab9b343_320x320Hemel & Aarde or Heaven & Hell started us down the track of destruction. The after taste is better than the beer. Lingering smokey, woody and boozy notes hang on with delicious grace. One of those beers that is more fun to smell and savor than actually drink.

Vanilla, rye, roasty malts, dry wood and whiskey.

Pick this one up if you love William Blake and sipping beers.

c476b4056c8b57d9fbbee7db5843b92d_640x640Estraomnes Donker Imperial Stout.

What better way to finish a lunch meeting than to completely melt one's face off with a blast of peppery spice and coffee. Pulling back from Heaven & Hell's 9.8% abv to Donker's 8.5% just shows that alcohol content does not the beer make because although lower in alcohol Donker's boozy punch was much more evident.

Business is a pleasure!

Bike helmet in hand, France's beer culture documentarian set off to the office while I am the proud owner of four empty bottles and a head full of new ideas. Keep checking back for more updates on the growth of a beer nation!



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What do beer infections taste like?

Good question.


This past weekend, I had a friend who was infected and today at a great local craft fusion cafe there may have been some infection in ma biere.

For details on how to (without sounding like a beer snob) tell bars you think their beer is infected check out this CraftBeer mag article.

Me- I like that my De Molen Zus & Zo (aka This & That) Saison had a strikingly acidic background. I liked that my Nøgne Ø 2 Captains Double IPA this weekend was a dry, fruit and pine hopped beer that also happened to finished like carbonated sour tarts.

Beer infections

are caused by wild yeast/bacteria strains entering into a fermenting beer. It is a broad term that can refer to many things and be caused by many things.

[caption id="attachment_2513" align="aligncenter" width="458"]ec69477e beer infection... it's still drinkable though, right?[/caption]

Essentially there are two types of beer infections:

Wild yeast

Brettanomyces pediococcus, lactobacillus, or acetobacter

Tart, acid, sometimes musky, vinegar, cheesy or woody 


Diacetyl- buttered popcorn or butterscotch
Acetaldehyde- green apple
Trans-2 nonenal- oxidation or wet cardboard
Dimethyl sulfide (DMS)- cooked corn or canned asparagus
Methyl mercaptan- skunky
Ethyl acetate- nail polish remover
Isoamyl acetate- bananas

Practice your sensory skills with Randy Mosher's infinitely useful book Tasting Beer.

John Palmer's How to Brew explains beer HOW AND WHY beer infections:

Symptom: It smells like vinegar.

Cause 1: Bacteria In this case, it probably is. Aceto bacteria (vinegar producing) and Lacto bacteria (lactic acid producing) are common contaminates in breweries. Sometimes the infection will produce sweet smells like malt vinegar, other times they will produce cidery smells. It will depend on which bug is living in your wort. Aceto bacteria often produce ropy strands of jelly which can be a good visual indicator, as can excessive cloudiness, after several weeks in the fermentor (although some cloudiness is not unusual, especially in all-grain beers).
Cure: If you don't like the taste, then pour it out. Lactic infections are desired in some beer styles.

Cause 2: Wild Yeast/Bacteria Two other bugs are also common, Brettanomyces and Pediococcus. Brettanomyces is supposed to smell like horse sweat or a horse blanket. Raise your hand if you know what a horse smells like. From sweat, I mean. Anyone? I think Brettanomyces smells like leather, myself. Pediococcus can produce diacetyl and acidic aromas and flavors.

One man's garbage can be another man's gold though. These two cultures and Lacto bacteria are actually essential to the Belgian Lambic beer styles. Under other circumstances and styles, beers that taste like Lambics would be discarded instead of being carefully nurtured and blended over a two year period. Lambic beers have a pronounced tartness with fruity overtones. This type of beer is very refreshing and is excellent with heavy food.
Cure: Be meticulous in your sanitation or investigate Lambic brewing.

Why do (some) beer infections taste good?

[caption id="attachment_2512" align="alignnone" width="960"]AZ__4197 Our beloved Cantillon is, essentially, a beer infection in a bottle[/caption]

As the rise in sour beer love evolves and we pucker up to sour beer education, we are transported back to pre-historic tasting beers. A time when yeast control was a thing of the future and we all beers were wild fermented.

As John Palmer stated above, Belgian Lambics are essentially beer that was left out in the open, infected by the wild things in the air and later sipped by beer geeks of the highest order.
Lambic is the beer style who production is most plagued by myth, misinformation, and archaic procedures

-The Mad Fermentationist

Make sure you understand that American's don't make Lambics!

And keep an open mind to Brett-y-nicey infections- they might be just the kick you were looking for.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Infections of the body and beer

Everyone knows that cranberry is good to help with a bladder infection but did you also know that brett infected beer can help cleanse the pipes as well?

urinary-tract-infection1Although the internet may tell you that drinking alcohol is not good for a bladder infection, a recently infected friend of mine swears that vodka (with cranberry concentrate), expensive red wine and ample amounts of craft beer cured her in one day.

Saturday night in Paris with a bladder infection can be rough, the bathroom lines at McDonald's can be a bitch and there is no getting away from the fact that one must drink to survive.

Round one of bladder cleanse: cigar shop

I took my infected friend to one of Paris's best cigar shops and forced her to sniff numerous phallic like items while she pee-pee danced.

We mixed vodka with organic cranberry concentrate and, cigar haul in hand, went to find the nearest bathroom. McDonald's, ew.

Round two of bladder cleanse: Jazz music

For all Saturdays hence forth, Nitch will be attending Jazz night at Hotel d'Aubusson. Cigars in a beautiful umbrella covered garden, live jazz music and (classy as fuck) rolled hand towels in the bathroom for each individual hand wash.

The cheese puffs perfectly complimented the red wine and the bladder infection was being beat back. Two hours at play and only 4 bathroom breaks! Fuck you webMD, alcohol will burn out the illness.

Round three of bladder cleanse: Brett infected beer

The house parties of beer geeks are the best because, although they involve many broken glasses, there is sure to be great beer. Saison Dupont and a brett infected IPA pulled through house taps. Can't serve infected beer at the bar? Have a house party and let everyone drink an evolved IPA. Better than the original!

After hours of salsa dancing and mangled French/Spanish/English conversations, my infected friend was fighting fire with fire. Infected beer beats infected bladder by 5 hours with only 3 bathroom breaks.

By morning the burn was gone. The infection was cured by cigars, alcohol abuse and fine Parisian socializing. Fuck you internet, we break the rules and get results.