Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Beer Review, Arcadia Extra Special Bitter

Well, we made it to Radio Maria, and there was a new guy behind the bar that we didn't recognize. Chris (the normal guy) was limping around serving (he apparently hurt his leg playing softball; I said he looked like Dracula holding his cape up while dragging his leg behind). Kriddy and I didn't plan on staying there long, we were gonna go elsewhere to watch the Cubs (as RM has no tv's, we were gonna go to 7S to finish the night off and watch the game).

Kriddy started out ordering the DarkHorse Schwarzbier. I went with the Arcadia Extra Special Bitter (which may or may not be the Lake Superior ESB).

This one came out a honey color, like a gold with tints of amber. I've noticed that beers served at Radio Maria don't have a smell. This is because (sadly) the beer glass is too full (I believe). There's no room for the aroma to sit, it comes off the glass and dissipates into the air, before you have a chance to smell it. After drinking it down to a lower level it had a malty aroma. This beer didn't have much carbonation in the feel, but was somewhat drying.

The initial taste was caramel and sweet, a hint of bitter, not a massive "bitter beer face"... just a hint. It's an ESB, not an APA. It didn't have a strong hoppy taste to it, it was a well balanced malt flavor. As it warmed there was a hint of citrus. It finished very dry, and seemed to dry my lips as I drank it. the 5.5% ABV wasn't noticeable at all.

After finishing this, I went with an Arcadia Scotch Ale (I originally had one on May 8, 2007) It came out rather dark. When it was presented, I said "That's a scotch?" (the bar makes it look purple, but it was dark). This "Scotch" was as dark, but not quite as opaque as Kriddy's black bier. I thought initially it smelled of sawdust, Kriddy said grape. It felt dark, but thin (if that makes any sense... can something FEEL dark?). The taste was grape HUGE GRAPE on the front of the tongue. It also had some smoke and caramel... and is that butterscotch? In a scotch... go figure.

It stuck to the tongue like syrup, but didn't have any of the consistency of syrup, which was weird. It seemed to make my saliva thicker... almost phlegm-y. It was an ok beer. Other than having it just to say I had it, I'm not sure when I'd drink it again (at the year and 2 months rate, it'll be September of '09). I didn't realize I'd had this before, which is why I photographed it and took tasting note.

I followed that up with a beer that I thought I had before, but didn't, so no notes, and no picture. It was the Kulmbacher Eisbock. It comes in a shiny bottle. Kriddy originally asked what the beer was, and I said I didn't know, then after looking at the bottle for a second (from a distance) I thought it looked like frost, and figured it to be an Eis beer. So yay, I was right. It was malty. That's all I remember.

At some point during the evening, the Champaign Urbana Beer Club showed up. So we sat and chatted with Noah and Nancy for a while. They had just come from Jupiters, where apparently there's half price pizza after 9, and prior to that they were at Mike and Molly's, for the happy hour.


Michael said...

How do you keep your tasting notes? I have a small engineer's field notebook that I pencil my impressions in. If I find myself without the notebook, I jot them on scratch paper and put it in my wallet and add it to the notebook first chance I get. Your notes are very detailed - the mark of a sick genius perhaps. Also, ever have qualms about taking pictures of beers when you're in pubs? I can't always bring myself to do it?

vgrid said...

I carry around a draw-string backpack. Inside is one of those medium-sized notebooks, with the spiral at the top. I find it's the perfect size for jotting down any notes on a beer. It gives me enough space to be as detailed as I want to be. It also gives me a place to throw coasters, caps, corks, bottles or anything else I may want to take with me... um... glasses...

I don't mind taking a picture of the beer, I use my cellphone camera, and it's not out for too long.

I don't take the backpack into every bar, there's just a few in town that I know have beers that I'll review. They all know me anyway. But it's normally in my car if I need it. Yes, I carry a purse.

If there's a beer I haven't had, in a place I didn't expect, I'll just ask for some paper, or write it on the back of the label of the beer.