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Session Beers the new Craze? Brewing a Blonde

It seems session beers are becoming the newest craze in craft/home brewing.  Beers low in alcohol and less intense than imperial oatmeal stouts aged in alcohol barrels provide the ability to sit and enjoy a couple of beers without them hitting you like a ton of bricks.


My last beer was the tasty, but still toasty and dark, MADhouse Coco-Nutz.  So this time I’m going light, and making a Mexican Blonde.  it’ll be a simple blonde ale with blue agave syrup and Mt. Hood hops. It should be ready just in time for baseball season.

January 23rd, 2012 by Ceetar in baseball, Beer
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Longhorn Steakhouse Review and Beer List

Me and my wife went to Longhorn Steakhouse for our 15th mensiversary last night.


First impressions for me at most restaurants are formed by the drink list.  Naturally I look for beer first, but a nice signature cocktail list is impressive as well.  Longhorn did well in that regard, they had a couple of interesting looking drinks and some margaritas.  The beer was less impressive, but they did have 10 or so taps and they weren’t horrible.  Mostly the expanded standards, highlighted by Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, Blue Moon and Leinenkugel.


As far as the menu, my biggest complaint would be that there didn’t seem to be any beers that cried out to be paired with steak.  No porter, no malty ESB.  Newcastle Brown Ale would probably be the closest.   In essence the beer menu is a national one with very little thought put into it.


The food was pretty good.  I actually enjoyed the appetizer, salad and sides more than the steak.  I got some firecracker spicy chicken rolls, a Caesar salad, and a loaded baked potato.  My steak was a bourbon-glazed bacon-wrapped filet that was cooked medium, although it looked a wee bit more than that.  It seemed more a generic steak than a filet, and tasted like it.  I guess you get what you pay for, but it does brand itself as a steakhouse so I was surprised that that was the only part I was disappointed in.  It also needed more glaze and crispier bacon.


Ultimately stuffed, we passed on dessert even thought it looked delicious.

January 11th, 2012 by Ceetar in Beer, dinner, Food, marriage, mensiversary
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Homebrew Update: MADhouse Coco-Nutz

MADhouse Coco-Nutz is MAD Breweries latest homebrew experiment.  I loved the Toasted Coconut Brown Ale I had in Hawaii from Kona Brewing Company, and was lamenting that I couldn’t get it in New Jersey.  So I spent some time formulating a recipe to try to clone it.  What I got was my most delicious homebrew yet.


I didn’t quite nail Kona, but nothing is ever going to live up to the memory of drinking fantastic beer at a brewery with your new wife while honeymooning on the big island of Hawai’i, but I did get a tasty nut brown ale with a smooth coconut taste.   My coconut was not as strong as I remember from Kona, mixing in with the roasted/coffee flavors of the malt instead of bolding standing out.  Next time I’ll probably toast the coconut a little longer, add a little more, and leave it in the wort boil for a little bit longer.  I’ll also probably cut back a little on the darker malts, as it may have become a darker brown ale than I was intending despite only being 4.5% ABV.


I enjoy MAD Wedtoberfest, but I think this is the first beer that’s truly crossed the line from homebrew curiosity to genuinely tasty beer.


I was also pleased to learn that Kona’s beers will start being distributed somewhat nearby in South Jersey.   The Koko Brown is part of the Aloha seasonal series, and should hopefully be available to me soon to reminisce with.


updated with a link to the recipe I used, which still could use some tweeking: MAD Coco-Nutz

January 5th, 2012 by Ceetar in Beer
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Initial Impressions of Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

The Zelda franchise has always been one of my favorites, so I was excited to receive Skyward Sword for christmas.   I’m about 15 hours in now, and am entering the third dungeon.    If there are the typical 9-10 dungeons I’ve certainly got a long way to go.


I’m enjoying the game.  It’s got the right mix of puzzle and fighting so far and a good mix of new items and the old familiar ones.   Although this item I just got that basically just blows a continuous stream of air seems a little silly.    Swinging the sword with the Wii remote, as you had to do in Twilight Princess, isn’t so bad as it easily allows different types of sword strokes to be executed.


One thing that’s not thrilling is the collection of bugs and items.  These are randomly found as you play the game, and the bugs need to be caught with the bug net.  Since these are used to upgrade items and potions, it seems like it’s going to create a bit of a farming type feel as you’ll have to go out in search of a specific bug if you want a specific upgrade.   As much fun as the game is, I’m not looking forward to aimlessly wandering around near the second dungeon looking for Volcano butterflies.


I’m having fun with this one, and looking forward to it providing much entertainment for me over the next couple of weeks.

January 3rd, 2012 by Ceetar in Video Games
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