Friday, May 28, 2010

Beers of Costa Rica

I just returned from my fourth surf trip to Costa Rica, so it was time to do a review of the Cervezas de Costa Rica. I have enjoyed many beers in Costa Rica, though really haven’t tried all the brands. So I was tasked with finding the best Costa Rican beer. I have a theory that most beers in Central and Latin American are basically equal with a few exceptions. I am not talking about the occasional craft beer but what is generally known as the national beer. Such as Imperial in Costa Rica, Presidente in the Dominican Republic, Pilsener from Ecuador, Polar from Venezuela, etc. I believe all of them are good after a long day of touring in the hot sun, or surfing but not necessarily something you would seek out at home.

In Costa Rica there is one main beer manufacturer, the Florida Ice & Farm Company, aside from producing cerveza they also produce Pepsi Products, Heineken, Juices, etc. There are two main beers in Costa Rica and you’ll see their signs everywhere, Imperial and Pilsen. I have to preface that most of my time has been spent in Guanacaste so this may be different in the south of the country. Well it t turns out that Florida Ice & Farm, makes both beers, as well as Rock Ice, the Bavaria line up and others.

For fun I did a few blind taste tests through out the week with my friend Tony. We each did a blind taste test between Imperial and Pilsen, the first time in cans the second time out of the bottle, eyes closed both times. To me both beers tasted identical, maybe it was the water used, and I failed the bind test both times, and Tony failed it as well. I also failed the test between Bavaria Gold and Imperial. We used Imperial as our constant as that is the beer we are most familiar with.

On with the ratings, I am not good with tasting notes but to me Imperial, Bavaria Gold, and Pilsen where all very good, after a hot day in the sun and a great day of surfing, I give Imperial a 9, the others an 8 (this is due to my love affair with Imperial after surfing) on the BBA scale, but I have to be in Costa Rica. If I am at home, I give it a 6, as really it’s just a lager no bells or whistles. Stone Brewery would probably classify this as a fizzy yellow beer, and I would agree. So I call this a “vacation beer”, it’s like meeting a girl on vacation, you have a short fling with her, think she may be the one, but when you go home, and somehow try to keep the relationship going, well it just doesn’t work, the magic is lost. I will say the second thing I do after going through customs is finding the airport store and get a couple of coldies for the road to Tamarindo.

Rock Ice, I 'd have to give it a 3, as it was really bad in my opinion, kind of like the others but really skunked, I could not finish it (sorry Joby, you have to know when to put a bad beer down). The best beer by far was the Bavaria Dark, it was the only beer with flavor other than corn and rice. Though a dark beer, it is not too strong tasting as one would think, I had a hard time pinpointing the flavors, perhaps a hint of chocolaty malt? I would give this a BBA of 7, I would want to try this at home to see how it stacks up, drinks as smooth as New Castle, or maybe Shiner Bock.

Imperial make s a Lite Beer and a Silver (regular tasting but higher alcholol) I did not feel a need to taste these two. Bavaria also make a decent light beer. All in all Costa Rican beer is average but after a day of overhead waves, and pure stoke, anything will do. Don’t expect much and you’ll be just fine, if not you can always do shots of guaro.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Maierfest Lager - Rogue Ales

Quick note: Rogue continues to impress me. Several weeks ago, we reviewed Dead Guy Ale (Shhh... Don't tell anyone... It's not an ale. It's a lager! or is it?) I just popped open a bottle of Rogue Maierfest Lager and it was just so nice. Well balanced and crisp. Lively mouthfeel. Golden yellow and cloudy.  It's a very traditional full flavor that reminds me of lagers that I drank in the Bavarian region of Germany. This could be my new go-to summer beverage. The high drinkability makes it perfect for tipping a few back on the patio while talking politics. If only I had pretzel to go with it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Episode 18: Arrogant Bastard Ale, Stone Brewing Co.

May 17, 2010

Review #18

Here is the link for the written review:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Episode 17: Anchor Steam, Anchor Brewing Company

May 10, 2010

Review #17

Episode 16: Dead Guy Ale, Rogue Brewing

May 3, 2010

Review #16

Brewery: Rogue Brewing
Beer: German Maibock
Beersperts: Scott B, Joby J, Jeremy F
Beerspert Panel Rating: 7.3

Notes from the brewery:
In the early 1990s Dead Guy Ale was created as a private tap sticker to celebrate the Mayan Day of the Dead (November 1st, All Souls Day) for Casa U Betcha in Portland, Oregon. The Dead Guy design proved so popular with consumers and especially Grateful Dead fans, that we made it the label for our Maierbock ale. Even though the association with the Grateful Dead band is pure coincidence, we have gratefully dedicated Dead Guy Ale to the Rogue in each of us.

ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 40
CAL (12 oz.):

Scott B:
Rating: 7

Joby J:
Rating: 7

Jason F:
Rating: 8

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Episode 15: Vinyl Lager, Magic Hat Brewing Company

April 26, 2010

Review #15

Brewery: Magic Hat Brewing Company
Beer: Amber Lager
Beerspert Panel Rating:
Available: (Spring Seasonal)

Notes from the brewery:
A beer with a deep amber hue, sweet malt taste and a slight balancing hop touch. This beer is produced using a lager strain of yeast and is fermented at the low end of ale fermentation temperatures, allowing the beer to maintain its easy-drinking lager-like characteristics.

ABV: 5.1%
OG: 12
IBU: 16
CAL (12 oz.):

Notes from the Beersperts:
Scott B:
Very drinkable, balanced, not a whole lot that stands out, a slight bitter taste. Overall a really good taste.

Joby J:




Monday, May 3, 2010

Episode 14: James Page Burly Brown Ale, Stevens Point Brewery

April 19, 2010

Review #14

Brewery: Stevens Point Brewery
Beer: Brown Ale
Beersperts: Scott B, Joby J, Adam H
Beerspert Panel Rating: 7
Available: Midwest and Central Eastern US

Notes from the brewery:
Brewed with two-row malted barley, roasted and chocolate malts, this classic American Brown Ale is distinguished by a deep brown color and creamy smooth taste.

ABV: 5.0%
IBU: 32
CAL (12 oz.): 158

Notes from the Beersperts:
Scott B:
A good beer, unique. Nutty almost burnt smell. The taste is smooth then changes to bitter. Overall a pretty good beer. I'd choose it over quite a few other beers out there.
Rating: 7

Joby J:
You smell the beer and it smells nutty. When you taste the beer a nutty, malt, coffee, chocolate aftertaste stays on your tongue. This brown ale isn't doing it for me, I'd like a thicker mouth feel.
Rating: 6

Adam H "Chef":
The flavor versus the aroma profile is very complex. Smooth taste in the beginning then you go back into that hazelnut and black coffee aftertaste. The taste is intriguing and exciting. A good beer, solid complex flavor. A little more bitter when compared to a New Castle. I would sit around and drink quite a few of these.
Rating: 8