Showing posts with label aventinus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label aventinus. Show all posts

Monday, February 15, 2010

In Praise of Sample Trays

Think about sampler trays for a moment, if you will. When do you normally order a sampler tray? Yes, when you are in a place for the first time and you want to try a little of each of the beers available before ordering a full pint of the one you fancy most. I never once thought that a sampler tray would become something to look forward to in and of itself, an end rather than simply the means to an end. Such are the joys of being on blood thinners (I hate to mention it all the time at the moment, but it is surprising how much it influences every tiny detail of life).

The Bavarian Chef is a restaurant some 25 miles from Mrs Velkyal and I's flat here in Charlottesville, and we had reservations for Saturday night. Neither of us bother much with Valentine's Day, so this was to be our special dinner out, but without having to deal with couples going all gooey eyed at each other over their wiener schnitzel. One of the attractions for us was the fact that Bavarian food is very similar to Czech and we have been feeling nostalgic of late - I blame Anthony Bourdain and this clip. While making the reservation I asked what beers they had on tap, the reply came back: Spaten, Paulaner Oktoberfest and Hefeweizen, Ettal Dunkel and Schneider Aventinus, so I was intent on my one beer for the day being the Aventinus. Then I saw the sampler tray, so the decision was easy really. 

The Spaten lager was a nice pale lager, Ettal Dunkel is lovely and received the Mrs V seal of approval, Aventinus was everything I remember. For some reason though I find Paulaner beers leave me cold, the hefeweizen lacked the sparkling zing I have come to expect from weizens while the Oktoberfest reminded me of cardboard. A quick word about the food, very nice, huge portions but some things were just a bit on the sweet side for our tastes.

Of course Saturday was the brewing day for the International Homebrew Project, and I now have an American Pale Ale fermenting happily in my primary, and plans to use the remaining Centennial, Amarillo and Cascade hops in a big American style IPA to be called Hopbomination. 

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Tipsy Terrace Tasting

One of the most pressing things to get done this week before moving on was polishing off the varied beers still sitting around Mrs Velkyal and I's flat. My problem though was how to do it? I had basically three options:

  1. sell them
  2. give them away
  3. drink them

Admittedly I did give a few bottles away. However, I decided that the most prudent way of dealing with the situation was to drink them, but better to gather a few friends keen to try different beers from around Europe and introduce them to some of these delights. Thus it was that last night I went round to my good friend place to sit on his expansive balcony with another couple of guys and attempt to get through 25 beers from the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Scotland, England and Denmark.

Unfortunately we only managed to get through 14 of the beers, some pictures of which grace this post.

There was however one other beer on the list which I wanted the guys to try, the uninfected, though wildly over-carbonated, version of my Skippy Porter. I had previously only tried this beer with Evan Rail, who was very complimentary about it even though it erupted all over his kitchen floor. This time I was prepared, and opened the bottle in a flower pot, without flowers of course. Once again Skippy was a hit, with the guys saying it was one their favourite beers of the night, the smooth chocolate flavours I was aiming for were right up there, and the Fuggles bitterness was just right to add some bite. I initially thought that I wouldn't be brewing this beer very often, but given the reaction it gets I think I will have to simply refine the recipe and start making it in preparation for winter. I am finding now that I get more pleasure from my friends enjoying my beer than hoarding it all to myself in some attempt to save money on beer.

Thankfully I know that Mark and his family will be in the States for a few months at the end of the year, so our beer tasting will no doubt be repeated, hopefully with the added bonus of a couple of bottles of Strahov's Autumn Dark Special! On the menu already for when we sit on the patio in our new place will be my planned American style IPA loaded with Amarillo hops, also some more Skippy Porter as well as my first Irish Red Ale, tentatively called Mrs Velkyal's Red Hat.

Every prospect pleases!

Old Friends: Joseph's Brau PLZNR

I have to admit that there really are not that many things that I miss as a result of this pandemic. I am sure that comes as something of a ...

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