I know about 20% of my posts here seem to be “what I’ve been doing/where I’ve been” posts because of the irregularity of my posting. It has been a BUSY year and focusing on health has had me drinking a LOT less beer than usual. I’ve had just a few beers in the last couple months, and when I do have an occasional beer it’s on my “cheat day” and I don’t really want the work/pressure of keeping notes, posting etc.

Yes, I am a horrible blogger!

I have been enjoying a little more wine than I used to, and I’ve REALLY been geeking out on tea and coffee (even more so than usual) lately, so I’ll have some things to post in the meantime on those subjects.

I have a few beer posts in the hopper just waiting to publish, too, so thanks for reading and I’m still knocking around and posting here, just sporadically. That’s how life goes sometimes!

This was my second beer I enjoyed on my trip to Phoenix, AZ. This is New Belgium’s late summer/early Autumn seasonal for this year. It poured a dark ruby red color with big, fluffy, shaving cream like head that just wouldn’t quit.

The hop aroma was unusual. It was sticky and resiny, with hints of black pepper. No citrus or pine. Very earthy. The flavor was very consistent, too, with just a touch of citrus, but some black pepper and sticky resins most prevalent. The hop character was complex to say the least.

I detected a slightly chemical-like flavor and aroma, and I think it was some hot alcohols. This beer tasted like an earthy IPA, very hop forward. A lot of complexity to parse through in this beer, making it enjoyable, but a sipper. An interesting, unexpected beer!

I’ve been drinking a lot of beer recently, but falling WAY behind on blogging my reviews, so let’s rectify that! I am in Phoenix, AZ this weekend and my recon at Beeradvocate pointed me toward AJ’s Fine Foods. Imagine a small, more expensive version of Whole Foods and you’re in the right department.

The beer selection at AJ’s Glendale store was fairly small, but well priced and each bottle was clearly marked. I got a mixed 6-pack including one bomber for $14, so not bad.

The first beer I drank was the local Prescott Brewing Co.’s Liquid Amber Ale, their best seller. Nothing too exciting, but a good beer. That nebulous amber “style” is always a wildcard!

I poured the beer from a 12oz can into a plastic hotel cup and the head was close to nonexistant, but that may be because of my glassware. The can was a little “soft” and the carbonation. Was fairly low, so maybe it’s just a small-headed beer… Color is amber and a little cloudy.

Aroma is all bread and bread crust. Pretty inviting.

The beer is definitely malty and bready with a little caramel. The hops are hard to detect, but they are there and do lend good balance as this malt-forward beer is never cloying.

A nice, balanced drinker, I think this would be a good hot weather beer and awesome for grilling out. A definite winner in the simple, balanced beer category!

Oddly Correct is a little midtown Kansas City coffee shop that is making a big name for itself. I’ll have a more complete review of their shop and some coffee coming soon, but I wanted to get this short review of their Hop! Toddy drink out ASAP. Hop! Toddy is a cold-brewed coffee with hops added to it, bottled in 12 oz bottles and served up fresh and ready to drink on a regular basis at the shop.

I’m not super familiar with Toddy brewed coffee other than that it is a cold-brewing method that is supposed to cut down on some of the “bitter acids and oils” that traditional forms of extraction may pick up. I’ve never had Toddy brewed coffee, so I can’t comment on that. The fellas at Oddly Correct said that they think the Toddy method can produce a rather flat cup, so they decided to try adding something to it to brighten it up and that “something” was hops.

For V1.0 they are using citra hops, a relatively new “breed” of hops that are prized for their citrusy notes (get it, citra… citrus!?) as well as their other “soft fruit” flavors, notably pineapple and even peach/apricot. If you’re a beer drinker you may’ve had a beer primarily made with citra hops. The most available around here is Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo IPA. I had Torpedo right after it hit the shelf a year or two ago and the pineapple and peach was quite apparent.

The girl in front of me in line said, “I don’t really like hoppy beers, so I’m not sure I’ll like this” and they assured that Hop! Toddy isn’t “hoppy.” They were right.

My bottle was bottled on 7/3/12 and I bought it on 7/4/12. I sort of forgot about it (every time I thought about it I didn’t really want a coffee, like at night) until 7/16/12. I’m not sure if that’s enough time for it to lose some hop character or not, but the hops were certainly subtle in the Hop! Toddy.

The concoction poured out of the bottle like a dead flat porter, very dark brown to black with lots of red highlights in the corners of the glass. It had a chocolatey, sweet aroma, sort of like if you could separate just the chocolatey aroma of a good stout. I wonder if the coffee was Ethiopian Yirgacheffe because there was an Earl Grey character with a hint of lemon, which is a flavor I get from good Yirgacheffes.

The hops were definitely in the background. I suspect that they added some brightness, and I think I was getting them in the finish and aftertaste, but if no one TOLD you there were hops in this you wouldn’t say, “AHA! Hops!” I think they may have done for the coffee what a spritz of acid (like a lime or lemon) will do for a dish… brighten up the flavors and make them “pop” a little where they would otherwise be flat on their own. After hearing the guys’ opinions on Toddy brewed coffee, this is exactly what it sounded like.

This was GREAT on its own (the sure sign of a good cup of coffee is when it tastes good COLD, too). It would probably make a fantastic iced coffee drink of some sort, with a little cream or something, but I think you should drink it undiluted… as-is. I really liked it!

Yummmm

I was running errands Friday evening and just happened to be passing by Tipsy’s in Merriam (or is that Mission?) and stopped in. I love that there are more can selections in the craft beer section every time I stop at a bottle shop these days. If anything, the choice is getting tougher, but that’s a good thing! We have a pool day/evening at our friend’s house on Saturday, so I needed a couple 6’ers or a 12 (there are always those good folks who come and like to “share” yet never bring anything with them…)

I was eyeing the Anderson Valley 6-packs… thinking long and hard about one of IPA and one of Barney Flatts stout (one of my favorite stouts… SO GOOD!), but the idea of stout, even from a can, at the pool on a humid day… nah, probably not a great idea.

Last summer I was a big fan of the Tallgrass Halcyon Wheat, which is a nice beer and was hard to pass up this time. The Avery cans looked great, but a little heavy for the pool, the Ska Brewing cans are nice but not that inspiring… then I spotted my friends in green!

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I know, either Pale Ale or Fat Tire is every beer geek’s gateway beer into obsession, but still. Great beer is great beer. I almost ALWAYS avoid this beer in the rare occurrences we go out these days because it’s so readily available. I never have it at home. It’s a great beer and it just seemed RIGHT when I saw it! 🙂 The tallboys of Torpedo looked pretty inviting, too, but a 12-er of Pale Ale it is.

Hello, summer!

Faithful Liquid Diet readers, some friends of mine have started what is turning out to be an absolutely fantastic blog and podcast on the Kansas City food and drink scene called Feed Me KC. It is exploring all aspects of what KC has to offer, not just the obvious (BBQ, as delicious as it is… but we all know KC has awesome BBQ, so FeedMeKC is helping you see what ELSE is around… and it’s a LOT!).

The podcast is well done, funny, entertaining and extremely informative. I’m impressed. The writing is good, everything is concise and the blog is professional and awesome-looking.

Check it out and enjoy! I have more beer reviews in the hopper for The Liquid Diet, so stay tuned!

Yesterday’s attempt at cafecito (Cuban coffee… essentially very sweet espresso or strong coffee) using old hazelnut beans and the stovetop Moka pot didn’t go that great. The hazelnut really threw the whole thing off.

I bought some fresh espresso beans (roasted on May 10), from Broadway CafĂ© in Westport (Kansas City) and the results were a lot better. I think I need to use even more sugar to make my paste (if I was a REAL scientist I would be measuring all this out, but come on!). Tomorrow I’ll warm up the Gaggia espresso machine and see what the cafecito sugar-paste technique and espresso taste like together…