Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Beerocrat - One Year On

About a year ago, I decided to create a blog that detailed my love of beer. I posted my first entry on June 19th, 2007 at about 7 in the morning. That period of time was a very happy time in my life; I had a great time, I was carefree, and I had ample free time to celebrate my love of beer on this blog. Gradually, things changed; I got married, so I now had a family to support; my job became more and more stressful, eventually spilling into the afterhours; and my stress levels began to rise because of both of those things. Stress and overwork do not bode particularly well for a carefree beer blog that was meant to be a hobby. But fortunately for you Beerocrat fans, I'll be making more and more frequent entries.

I was laid off from my IT job yesterday.

It was a total shock when it happened, but my former company needed to downsize, and unfortunately I was among the few who were let go. I am still saddened by it (considering it happened only yesterday, and considering that I loved that job and my co-workers), but I hold no ill will towards my ex-company, and especially towards my former co-workers and managers, some of whom are aware of, and have supported, this blog and its exploits. Still, I drowned my sorrows with - you guessed it - a few beers. There's no better feeling than drinking beer at the Silver Peak at 11 in the morning on a Wednesday.

For you, dear reader, this means more entries and a renewed commitment to excellence, and no better time to renew my commitment than to do it on the first anniversary of this here beer blog.

Since its too late to do an entry tonight (I swear I'm turning into a crotchety old man at 24), I'll post one tomorrow. Now that I can call breweries during normal work hours to get more information, I can get the information and review to you quicker than I have in quite some time.

In the meantime, I got this in my inbox a couple days ago. Redhook, one of Seattle's largest breweries, has started a new viral marketing campaign called the What Would Redhook Do? Coaster Contest. You create a slogan with what you think Redhook would do, like "Redhook would lower gas prices" or "Redhook would date the hot girl's ugly friend", add a background photo, then upload it. Other people who visit the site can vote on your entry, and if enough deem yours worthy, it will end up on coasters nationwide, a pretty sweet deal. You can find the caption contest here.

Take care, and I'll post a new review tomorrow.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Buckbean's Grand Opening Recap

As mentioned in my previous post, Reno's own Buckbean Brewery had their official grand opening today at their brewery on 1155 Rock Blvd. Suite 490. I, like at least 100 or so of my fellow Renoites, went to check out the beer, the food, the ice cream from Tahoe Creamery, the beer, the roller derby girls, and the beer. I had the pleasure of tasting the three beers Buckbean had on tap, including their new Artown Vienna Lager, which happens to be the official beer of Artown, Reno's annual monthlong arts festival starting around July 1st. I also was able to briefly speak with Doug, the president, and Dan, the brewmaster, and express my support for Reno's only microbrewery (I don't count brewpubs like Great Basin or Brew Brothers). Sadly, because of Buckbean's size, the Artown Lager is only available on tap, so we won't be seeing their seasonals in can form for another year or two.

Below are some photos I snapped at the event.

The outside of the Buckbean Brewery in SE Reno.

All these cans of Black Noddy Lager and Orange Blossom Ale are empty. Apparently they have to buy them by the full truckload – about 2,500 cases worth at a time.

A close-up of the empty Black Noddy cans.

You don't wanna touch the cans, lest you get cursed with flat oxygenated skunky beer.

These cans have yet to receive their fate.

Hidden amongst other boxes are those of rival craft brewers like Deschutes and Buzzards Bay.

A better view of the empty cans. Time to get to drinking.

A shot of the canner and other brewing equipment, looking towards the front of the brewery.

Looking from the front of the brewery towards the back.

Dean Heller scores major points with me with this Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition. Apparently Congress does do things the people like...sometimes.

The Battle Born Derby Devils show off some of their moves in Buckbean's back lot.

I look forward to keeping in contact with Dan and Doug and helping promote Reno's only microbrewery, and I give them what they most deserve: A hearty "prost!"

P.S. Buckbean and its brewers were featured in an article in the June 12th, 2008 edition of the Reno News & Review. It can also be found online.

P.P.S. The Reno Gazette-Journal had an article about Buckbean that ran on June 8th as well. Seeing as how I don't subscribe to the RGJ, that one slipped by me. However, it too can be found online.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Buckbean Brewery Grand Opening Saturday!

If any of you are going to be in town this weekend, the Buckbean Brewery is going to have their grand opening on Saturday June 14th from 11 am to 9 pm. Not only is local radio station KTHX going to do a live remote from there, but all sorts of entertainment will abound, from a photo-op with a roller derby team to live music. And, of course, no brewery grand opening is complete without free beer tastings. That last bit is more than enough of a draw for me. You can get more info on the event on their website (they have no direct linking, so click "Events/Community" at the top, then mouse over the 14th of June).

The Buckbean Brewery is new to the Truckee Meadows, only being established in 2007 and moving into their current location earlier this year. I've had their two beers, Black Noddy Schwarzbier and Original Orange Blossom Ale, at a friend's graduation party from a keg, and while those beers were flat (full disclosure), their flavors were still extraordinary, especially the Orange Blossom. I can't wait to try them with carbonation on Saturday. I also am looking forward to chatting up the brewmasters; it's good to have another microbrewery proper in the Truckee Meadows, aside from Brew Brothers, BJ's, and Great Basin, of course.

Don't go looking up the brewery's location on Google Maps yourself, because it won't point you to the right place. Instead, I've pointed to the brewery's exact location in their office complex on the map below. Use that to navigate, and I'll see you there!

View Larger Map


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hite Exfeel-S

In my last post, I mentioned that I was in the far-off land of South Korea, experiencing the culture and the beer. Furthermore, I said I going to write a blurb about my experiences and post it here as part of some entries about Korean beer. Wellllll...the ensuing entry I wrote in my notebook during the 10-hour flight between Seoul and San Francisco clocked in at almost 12 full pages of unadulterated text, so that's probably not going to appear here. So, let me sum it up South Korea for you: Technologically-savvy, wants Korean unification under South Korean rule, hates Japan, dislikes American military, loves American civilians, wants to be more western, kimchi, kimchi, kimchi.

Drinking is a big part of South Korean culture, especially between the boss and his co-workers. The drinking age is 18, and no one bats an eye at drinking in public. People mostly drink soju, a rice vodka; some sort of bamboo-based alcohol that tastes like apple cider; and makkele (not sure on the spelling), a thick white rice beer; all were delicious. Then there was the beer. I was deeply saddened to discover that there was virtually no good beer in all of South Korea. The three main brands, Hite, OB, and Cass, were South Korean equivalents to Miller, Bud, and Coors. I had just about every brand of beer I could find in the numerous convenience stores around where I was staying, and I can tell you that for the first time, I'd've taken a Bud over another can of Hite or Cass Lemon. The best the country is Guinness, but no, I had to have a Hite Black Beer Stout instead.

To quote Hugh Grant in Music and Lyrics, "God, I suffer for my art."

On every trip aborad, I try to bring a beer back from the country I came from. This time, it was Hite (pronounced like "height") Exfeel-S. It caught my eye, not because of the green bottle (sigh...), but because of its claim as "The stylish beer with fiber." Yes, fiber. They put 1.65 grams of fiber in every 330 ml bottle because Koreans apparently don't get enough fiber. No really, that's what they claim on Hite's website. Ingenious, in my opinion. Other than its fiberousness, I can't tell you any historical information about the beer, but according to Hite's website, the company itself started as the Chosun Beer Company in 1933, growing due to various acquisitions and mergers throughout the years.

Here come the stats:

Hite Exfeel-S
BREWERY: The Hite Co., Ltd., Yeongdeungpo-Dong, Yeongdeungpo, Seoul, South Korea
STYLE: "Fiber beer"
DIETARY FIBER/SERVING: 1.65 g per 330 ml bottle
ABV: 4.1%

The limited information came from Hite's English Site, except the location of Hite's headquarters, which came from some sales lead site.

When I poured the beer, it was a clear golden color with a foamy white head. The smell was pretty nondescript, smelling like a Bud or Coors. But what really threw me was the taste. Man oh man was it bad. And I don't like to bad mouth a beer, but the taste was horrible. I tried this with some friends, and one of them described the taste as "grass beer." I would describe its taste more like a spoilage-riddled Becks Light. To make matters worse, the aftertaste was a stale spoilage-riddled Becks Light flavor, and it just kept building and building as the beer got warmer. Yuck.

While I admire their attempt to get Koreans to add more fiber to their diets by slipping it into their beer, they should've put it in a better beer. Their website claims that "Simply holding [Exfeel-]S makes you a style leader." I say, simply holding Exfeel-S makes you a person holding the worst beer I've ever tasted. If you go to Korea, avoid Exfeel-S in the convenience stores and grab a Guinness. Or seek out the rare Korean microbrewery, whose beers aren't sold in most convenience stores over there. Or (I never thought I'd say this) don't have a beer.

건배 (Geonbae)!