Life With a Good Head On It – beer blog #3

I went back and looked at the first two posts in this series and realized I had done a really crappy job in reviewing the beers.  I’ve done more in depth stuff with wine and certainly more with my book and movie reviews (did you know I also have a media commentary blog?  The View From the Phlipside)

Beer Steins

So I’ll try to be a little better about that moving forward.  The only caveat I would offer is that I’m still largely in the “I don’t know what’s good but I know what I like” category.

My latest adventure took me to a restaurant/micro-brewery a little ways down the road.  The Rock Bottom Brewery and Restaurant in Short Pump was a fall back lunch choice (we literally turned the wrong way and went to Short Pump instead of Richmond) but both my Lady Wife and the Kid had been there before.  It’s not hard to convince me to eat at a place that brews their own beer.

Side note: the Master Brewer here is a woman, Becky Hammond.  That’s not really relevent except that I think this is the first place where I’ve seen a woman in charge.  Based on what follows she does nice work.  Love this from her brewing philosophy – ” I believe beer is a perfect way to bring people and places together, a fascinating cultivation of science and nature.”

I was very pleased to see they offered a 6 beer sampler for only $6.  Good price and a chance to try a wide range of their offerings.  Here’s what I thought:

  • Kolsch – the lightest of their beer (though not the lowest IBU).  Very pale, clear brew with a clean, crisp taste and just a bit of floral at the end.  Very easy drinking.  A lighter beer that still tastes like beer!  IBU 20.
  • White Ale – also quite pale in color but a bit cloudy.  This is a Belgian style  ale which means the brewer can introduce flavors like coriander and orange peel.  Very drinkable, I noted it would be a great “porch beer” (the kind of beer or wine you enjoy at the end of a long hot day, on the porch).  Good flavors and the lowest IBU, 11.
  • India Pale Ale – I kept putting off trying this because my experience with IPAs has been so bad.  Usually very hoppy and bitter.  Finally took a sip and was surprised.  While the flavor is pretty bold (by my standards) it wasn’t awful.  For me, talking about an IPA, that’s a rave review.  I would try it (in a small glass, lol) again.  IBU is 60.
  • Red Ale – this one kind of went the other way.  I usually like Red Ales and this one just wasn’t quite there for me.  Clear with a bold red color the flavor was just a little too far on the hops side of the balance.  Some nice toasty malt flavors too but not something I’d reach for next time.  Far from awful, just not quite right for me.  IBU 38.
  • Black Pearl Stout –  Oh My.  Dark and creamy with a fabulous head, this was their current “Specialty Dark”.  They rotate stouts, porters and other dark beers through this category.  Wonderful malty flavors with a hint of coffee it seemed to me.  Dark beers are meant to be lingered over for me.  This was fabulous.  I immediately thought about the cooking possibilities with it as well.  Slow cooked beef done in this stout?  Oh, my indeed.  IBU 24
  • Short Pump Steamer – a great ending to the sampler.  The sixth beer is your choice from the current list.  I grabbed this one and was quite happy with it.  Good flavor, nice hops in a mildly red colored beer that was slightly cloudy.  Another fine end of day kind of brew, it would go well with just about any meal too.  IBU 26.

The food was quite good too!  They offer growlers, so you can take home anything that really grabs you.   An excellent addition to the journey.