27 August 2011

Marston's Pedigree Pale Ale

This was a taster that Brian brought over to Chez Pig for review. Generally, I find Engish ale to be a bit of a paradox in that they are never terrible enough to receive the toilet treatment, yet are never really good enough to work up a thirst for (unless it is +100 outside with humidity so high your ballsack is sticking to your leg, but then even Beck's would taste good in that situation). This beer proved to be no exception. The Marston's webpage had this to say about this ale:

Marston's Pedigree™ has a distinctive flavour. This is down to its special blend of Burton spring water, Maris Otter barley, Fuggles and Goldings hops and Pedigree's™ own unique strain of yeast.

It has a dry hop aroma with a full range of complex flavours. The melding of nut, fruit and winey flavours create a smooth and very drinkable satisfying whole.

'You get lovely spicy hops, juicy malt and a very light hint of apple fruit, It's an incredible beer.'
- Roger Protz, Good Beer Guild Editor

This ale weighs in at 4.5% abv, odourless and pours clear with no sea monkeys. Brian, Liquor Piglet and myself tipped our glasses back and found that while it was generally as flat as most English ale, the flavour itself was pleasant enough. Nothing spectacular, but it was hard to find anything disagreeable about it. As Liquor Piglet remarked, it was "totally average" and I thought it was a fine candidate for moving or having a general piss-up, as I couldn't see anyone objecting to it. Brian stated the beer seemed like something "some Brit would be drinking as he was kicking you in the head." It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad either. Just an adequate middle-of-the-road English ale.

Final Rating:
Brian - 7
Liquor Piglet - 7
Liquor Pig - 7

Waterloo Radlermass

" Lemonade Lager" jumped out at me as I picked up this throwback to the shandy craze of the early 80's. While I personally tend to dislike "flavoured" beers, I have enjoyed Waterloo products enough in the past to give this one a try (I think it may be their wild pig motif that does it). The Brick Brewery website had this to say about the German-inspired creation:

After World War I, bicycle riding became popular in Germany. A local innkeeper opened his own watering hole and arranged for a bike trail through Munich to his alpine meadow, only to find some 13,000 cyclists had descended upon his establishment and almost depleted him of his fine beer. Quick thinking led him to mix a stock of lemon soda with his remaining beer and he called it Radlermass (Radler meaning cyclist and Mass means litre of beer in German), which became a wonderful refreshing summer drink.

I can only imagine what a bunch of half-drunk Germans thought when they suddenly realized their "fine beer" had been cut with lemonade, but I digress. As for our own experience, Brian, Liquor Piglet and I chilled the can down to serving temperature and noted the 4.8% abv. The brew poured clean without any sea monkeys or any discernable odour. We tipped our glasses back and discovered Waterloo Radlermass has an initial fruity, citrous taste which is quickly followed by what Brian described as "a boot mark on the back of the tongue". It became obvious that this product contains much more lemonade than beer, and was a little too fruity for our likings. Overall, I wouldn't call it bad or good and I could see how it could quench a dire thirst on a hot summer day. However I can safely say that I could never get drunk on it without becoming violently ill. Liquor Piglet fared the worst during this tasting, as she absolutely hated this concoction. As she put it, "when life gives you lemons, there really is no need to make lemonade beer."

Final Review:
Brian - 6
Liquor Pig - 6
Liquor Piglet - 2 ("Only because I didn't vomit.")

12 August 2011

Mystery Beers

On a trip to New York City, Liquor Piglet and I stopped at the Village Pourhouse in Manhattan's East Village (64 3rd Ave at 11th Street) for lunch one afternoon. The Pourhouse is a great place with that old New York atmosphere, with 36 feet of stained glass, an expansive bar lit with the warm glow of gaslights and boasts eight HD TVs to watch your favourite team crush their rivals! The massive oak bar boasts 100 different beers on tap, and it's simply a great place to stop for lunch, watch the big game or just to stop for a pint on a warm spring afternoon.

Upon being seated, I noticed a sign on the wall that simply stated "Mystery Beers $2". Of course this was a siren's call for an adventurous boozehound like me, so I asked what the deal was. The waitress stated that for $2, they will bring you a random "mystery beer" for you to try (wino-style in a paper bag, nonetheless). Knowing this was likely to quickly become a fabulous disaster, Liquor Piglet and I placed our order and waited to see what we would get.

When the waitress returned, we quickly tore open out brown-paper packages to see what hell awaited us. Both were products from the 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco (who seem to have a knck for coming up with LSD-induced concoctions, by the way). I received a can of Brew Free or Die! IPA and Liquor Piglet got a can of Come Hell or High Watermelon wheat beer.

The Brew Free or Die! IPA is a concoction made from six different hops varieties, boasts a hefty abv of 7% and is apparently the biggest seller at their San Francisco brewpub. The initial scent off this stuff was a fresh hoppy smell that resembled the green stuff you use to clean the kitchen. Throwing caution to the wind, I tipped it back. My palate was immediately assaulted by a taste that can only be described as "bitter, with a hint of ass". The taste did not improve on a second pull, and as I told Liquor Piglet, "it just coats the mouth and won't let go!"

New to the whole Liquor Pig review system, Liquor Piglet was understandably nervous looking at her can. Come Hell or High Watermelon starts as a standard American wheat beer that is subjected to a secondary fermentation with fresh watermelon (!) and has an abv of 4.9%. The initial scent off this hooch is fruity and not that unpleasant. However, the illusion of a pleasant beverage was quickly shattered by the horrific taste resembling what Liquor Piglet described as "gym socks with a hint of watermelon". Her final word on the subject was "blech!"

All in all, the Village Pourhouse was a great venue with an awesome opportunity to try some random beers, LP-style! Check it out if you are ever in Manhattan.

Final Review:

Live Free or Die! IPA - 3
Come Hell or High Watermelon - 2

09 August 2011

Unknown Sake

This is a bottle of sake that Liquor Piglet picked up on a trip to visit her sister in Japan back in 2005. Given the ornate dressing on the bottle, I'd like to think she purchased it from an acient Japanese man looking like Fu Manchu in a back alley in Tokyo, but in reality it was given to her as a gift from the class her sister taught in the Land of the Rising Sun. Having nobody to drink it with (and not being a sake drinker herself) she put it in the fridge until tonight when we cracked it open. Such a monumental occasion is perfect for the Liquor Pig resurrection, so here is our thoughts on this very Japanese drink.

As previously mentioned, the sake was obtained in Mutsu City, Japan and is packaged in an ornate bottle dressing that alludes to high quality contents. I cracked the seal on the bottle and poured two samples for us to try. The liquor itself was quite clear and appeared similar to tap water. We both detected a strong alcoholic odour from this hooch, and a slightly fruity note was apparent to myself. Liquor Piglet described the scent as "boozy". With a hearty 'cheers' we knocked back a healthy pull and were rewarded with quite a pleasant beverage. I am unsure how sake ages in comparison to regular wine, but the taste was very good to this sake virgin. The taste was slightly sweet with a smooth palate. Liquor Piglet exclaimed "I'd like me some more of that!" as she took another pull of the liquor. It should be noted however, that the taste also gave a slightly "tingly" feel on the tongue - likely the byproduct of a high alcoholic content. However, the taste definitely disguises the alcohol beautifully. While we both thought a night of sucking the sake back would result in a five-star hangover, the uninitiated would never suspect it before it was too late. I felt this was a perfect prelude for someone to give you before deciding to steal your kidneys. However, for better or worse, we'd both be more than willing to drink it again.

Final Score:

Liquor Piglet - 8.5
Liquor Pig - 8


Liquor Pig is back! There has been a lot going on since I last posted to this blog. First and foremost, I have another partner to review products for this blog (she hereby wishes to be known as the Liquor Piglet) and we have bought a permanent home to host tastings in! We are currently working on a basement bar that (once completed) will be featured prominently in this blog and should prove to be the site of much drunken debauchery.

To kick things off, I will be posting a review of some Japanese sake that Liquor Piglet picked up in Matsu, Japan during a trip she went on in 2005. The bottle was cracked toninght and we did a proper review of its vintage contents. Additionally, we will be posting a review of a can of beer we picked up at the local LCBO tonight and a couple 'mystery beers' we sampled at the Village Pourhouse in Manhattan's East Village last Spring. We certainly hope the wait will worth it and you enjoy the reviews.


The Liquor Pig Crew