Billy's Beer Blog - A Layman's Guide to Great Beer


Posts Tagged ‘Fruit / Vegetable Beer’

Arigato Morimoto

October 16th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

Morimoto is an ale worthy of the Iron Chef

When Anne and I went for sushi at Kazu’s last Thursday evening, I was pleased to see that they had a beer on the menu that perfectly compliments this cuisine. Part of the brewery’s Signature Series, Rogue Morimoto Soba Ale (Rogue Ales Brewery; Newport, OR; Fruit / Vegetable Beer; ABV: 4.8) was crafted in collaboration with world renowned Chef Masaharu Morimoto, known by foodies from the Food Network’s Iron Chef series.

Morimoto pours a light golden color, and has abundant notes of soba, a type of buckwheat, in the nose and taste. This gives a buttery feel to the ale, which is balanced by hints of honey, roasted malt, and citrusy hops. Morimoto has a crisp clean taste from start to finish, and at an ABV of just under 5%, is quite easy to drink. It really paired well with the appetizing spicy tuna sashimi and mouthwatering sushi rolls that we ordered.

I strongly recommend Morimoto for sushi and non-sushi lovers alike. It’s a fitting tribute to the Iron Chef.

Kazu's Sushi & Asian Bistro on Urbanspoon

99 Bottles of Beer: Part Deux

October 10th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

Unplugged Cherry Stout was one of the evening's highlights

As was the Troegenator

Anne and I attended 99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall Part 2 at Mr. Beery’s on Friday night. We were on vacation when the first one took place, and were fortunate enough to catch this one. For $20 apiece, we each received some nice glassware and participated in sampling beers 51-99.

In addition to trying some old favorites, I had the opportunity to sample many new beers for the first time. Some that truly stood out are listed below.

Bullfrog Double Coffee Stout; Bullfrog Brewery; Williamsport, PA; American Stout; ABV: 7.3. This stout was actually brought in as a growler by Dave, and was the first beer sampled. A rich mocha color, with sublime notes of Expresso coffee complimented by dark chocolate and roasted malt. Very creamy and delicious, DCS has the feel of an imperial stout to it.

New Belgium Lips of Faith – Eric’s Ale; New Belgium Brewing Co.; Fort Collins, CO; American Wild Ale; ABV: 7.0. A superb sour ale. Amber in color, with big notes of tart fruit such as cherries and green apples with a crisp clean finish.

New Glarus Unplugged Cherry Stout; New Glarus Brewing Co.; New Glarus, WI; Fruit / Vegetable Beer; ABV: 6.5. A delicious, full-bodied cherry stout. Chocolate in color with big notes of Wisconsin Montmorency cherries complimented by chocolate and sweet malt. This stout would make an excellent dessert beer.

New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red; New Glarus Brewing Co.; New Glarus, WI; Fruit / Vegetable Beer; ABV: 5.1. One of the brewery’s signature beers. This deep red ale has outrageous notes of Wisconsin Montmorency cherries complimented by an oaky backbone and a tart finish similar to a sour ale. Like drinking a black cherry soda with a kick!

Port Brewing Older Viscosity; Port Brewing Co.; San Marcos, CA; American Strong Ale; ABV: 12.0. This jet black strong ale is aged in bourbon barrels, and the substantial notes of bourbon are very apparent throughout the beer, with a very nice oakiness in the background from the aging process. There’s hints of chocolate and vanilla spices as well, and the potency of this ale is very apparent. Older Viscosity reminds me of Ola Dubh on steroids!

Real Ale Sisyphus; Real Ale Brewing Co.; Blanco, TX; Barley Wine; ABV: 11.5. A smooth, full-bodied barley wine. There were three vintage bottles on hand (2007, 2008, 2009), with the 2008 offering being the best. Sisyphus is copper in color and the notes of honey, caramel malt, and piny hops are perfectly balanced.

Sixpoint Grand Crue; Sixpoint Craft Ales; Brooklyn, NY; Belgian Strong Dark Ale; ABV: 12.4. A rich, oak aged strong ale. Big notes of caramel, brown sugar, and dark fruit with a bourbon feel in the backbone. Quite smooth for a beer of its potency.

SKA Modus Hoperandi IPA; SKA Brewing; Durango, CO; India Pale Ale; ABV: 6.8. Continuing a trend in the craft beer industry, this IPA comes in a can. Amber in color with generous notes of Cascade and floral hops complimented by caramel malt. Very crisp and refreshing.

Surly Brutal Bitter; Surly Brewing Co.; Brooklyn Center, MN; Premium Bitter/ESB; ABV: 4.2. Another excellent canned beer, this is a very creamy and malty ESB. Light amber in color with the rich malty presence balanced by sweet caramel and floral hops.

Surly Furious; Surly Brewing Co.; Brooklyn Center, MN; India Pale Ale; ABV: 6.2. Continuing the trend of superb canned beers, this is an absolute hop bomb. The huge notes of citrusy and piny hops are apparent throughout this ale, with a slight bitterness at the end. Furious has the feel of an Imperial IPA to it.

Tröegs Trogenator; Tröegs Brewing Co.; Harrisburg, PA; Dopplebock; ABV: 8.2. A truly outstanding dopplebock. Deep mahogany in color and tasty as hell, with big notes of sweet caramel complimented by dark fruit and cinnamon spices.

Wachusett Green Monsta; Wachusett Brewing Co.; Westminster, MA; American Pale Ale; ABV: 7.3. Named after the famed wall at Fenway Park, this complex APA is like a strong ale mixed with an IPA. Light copper in color with notes of sweet malt balanced by caramel and citrusy hops.

Kudos to Mark for his generosity and for putting together such a wonderful evening.

Take Flight – Part 1

August 5th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

I really enjoyed the first flight and cheese pairing

I met my friends Bret and Kelly at Mr. Beery’s last evening for Blue Point Brewery Night. Mark put together one might have been the best beer and cheese pairing yet, and Blue Point Southeast Sales Manager Rob Johnson was on hand as well. I have long been a fan of the Long Island brewery, so I was really looking forward to having a flight of beer and sampling the artisan cheese.

The first pairing featured Blue Point Toasted Lager (Blue Point Brewing Co.; Patchogue, NY; American Amber Lager; ABV: 5.3), one of my favorite amber lagers of all time, with Beechers No Woman Cheddar with Jamaican Jerk Spice. Toasted Lager is crisp and clean, with the toasted malt flavor complimented by sweet caramel, and light citrusy hops. At just over 5% ABV, it’s an easy drinking session beer, and quite comparable to other superb Vienna style lagers such as Brooklyn Lager. The spicy flavor of No Woman played well off the silky smoothness of Toasted Lager.

The second pairing was the best of the evening. It featured Blue Point Hoptical Illusion (Blue Point Brewing Co.; Patchogue, NY; India Pale Ale; ABV: 6.8) with Grafton Duet – Vermont Cheddar & Minnesota Blue Cheese Sandwich. A delicious golden IPA, Hoptical Illusion has big notes of citrusy hops with a sweet malt backbone. Duet’s blue cheese flavor was really drawn out by the hoppy presence of Hoptical Illusion.

Blueberries were the theme for the third pairing, between Blue Point Blueberry Ale (Blue Point Brewing Co.; Patchogue, NY; Fruit / Vegetable Beer; ABV: 4.6) and Vermont Creamery Fresh Goat Crottin rolled in Blueberry Sugar. Light amber in color, with generous notes of blueberries balanced by caramel malt and a hint of floral hops, Blueberry Ale is a perfect Summer ale and really complimented the Fresh Goat Crottin.

The fourth and final pairing if the night featured Blue Point Oatmeal Stout (Blue Point Brewing Co.; Patchogue, NY; Oatmeal Stout; ABV: 4.5) and Cypress Grove Lamb Chopper. Chocolate in color, with well balanced notes of chocolate, roasted malt, and oatmeal, this stout brought out the smokiness of Lamb Chopper.

Many thanks to Mr. Beery’s and Bluepoint for putting the beer and cheese pairing together.

That’s Something

July 1st, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

Quelque Chose is a cherry bomb

Quelque Chose is a popular French Canadian expression meaning “that’s something”. And an ale that I had during Prohibition Night at Mr. Beery’s was something else indeed!

Unibroue Quelque Chose (Unibroue; Chambly, Quebec, Canada; Fruit / Vegetable Beer; ABV: 8.0) is quite simply the best fruit beer that I have ever had. It pours a deep ruby red and has big notes of black cherry in the nose and taste. The considerable cherry presence is complimented by tart fruit, sweet malt, and cinnamon spices, with a dry oakiness at the end. Quelque Chose has a red wine feeling to it, is quite easy to drink, and the 8% ABV isn’t that noticeable. Fans of the brewery’s outstanding Éphémère will truly appreciate this beer.

I highly recommend giving Quelque Chose a try, and confident that you’ll exclaim “that’s something”!

Love That Dirty Water

May 5th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas 2 comments

While good drinking water was hard to find in Boston...

fortunately there was great beer

Anne and I took a mini vacation to Boston to spend time with her family. We all had a fantastic time, and the city was hopping with both the Celtics and Bruins in the post season, in addition to the usual Sox following. In keeping with the weird chain of events plaguing our nation this week, a water main break in the suburb of Watertown left Boston and 30 neighboring communities with contaminated water until yesterday. Fortunately, there was a great selection of beer in The Hub for consumption. From the outstanding Publick House to Boston Beer Works, there were plenty of places to sample them.

A few of the local brews caught my attention. They included the following:

Samuel Adams Noble Pils; Boston Beer Co.; Boston, MA; Bohemian Pilsener; ABV: 5.2. A crisp and clean tasting pilsener similar to traditional Czech offerings. A clear golden color with a piny hops nose. The piny hops notes are also noticeable in the flavor, complimented by sweet malt and honey with a dry finish.

Harpoon IPA; Harpoon Brewery; Boston, MA; India Pale Ale; ABV: 5.9. A lighter alternative to their sensational hop bomb Leviathan. Copper in color with a blend of Cascade hops and caramel malt in both the nose and taste. The latter is backed by citrusy fruit and spices with a slightly bitter finish.

Ipswich Stone Cat Blueberry Ale; Mercury Brewing; Ipswich, MA; Fruit / Vegetable Beer; ABV: 4.6. Blueberries, blueberries, blueberries! A straw golden color and (did I say it) blueberry notes in both the nose and flavor. I had this refreshing fruit beer at Big City, and they included real blueberries in the beer as well.

Boston Beer Works Back Bay IPA; Boston Beer Works; Boston, MA; India Pale Ale; ABV: 6.5. An excellent IPA, amber in color with a piny hops nose. The piny hops are also noticeable in the taste, backed by caramel malt and grapefruit with a slight bitterness at the finish.

Boston Beer Works Triple A Amber; Boston Beer Works; Boston, MA; American Amber / Red Ale; ABV: 5.0. A smooth tasting amber colored ale. It reminds me of a West Coast amber, with the big Cascade hops balanced by caramel and roasted malt.

Boston Beer Works Beantown Nut Brown Ale; Boston Beer Works; Boston, MA; English Brown Ale; ABV: 5.0. Brewed in the traditional English Brown Ale style. Chestnut in color with a big expresso kick in both the nose and taste. Hints of dark chocolate and roasted malt back up the expresso notes in the flavor.

BBC Sour Ale/Imperial Stout; Berkshire Brewing Co.; South Deerfield, MA; Russian Imperial Stout; ABV: 8.5. Eclectic full bodied stout with a dark brown color and dark chocolate notes in both the nose and taste. Like drinking a fudge brownie mixed with tart fruit!

Publick House is a superb beer pub and eatery, and we enjoyed a couple of non local beers there as well, which included:

Cuvee Des Jacobins Rouge; Brouwerij Bockor N.V.; Bellegem-Kortrijk, Belgium; Flanders Red Ale; ABV: 9.0. A truly outstanding Belgium sour ale, and one of my new favorites. If there ever was a 9% ABV beer that could be considered a session beer, then this is the closest thing to it! A beautiful crimson color with an array of tart cherries in both the nose and taste. The latter is complimented by a nice oaky finish.

Green Flash Hop Head Red Ale; Green Flash Brewing Co.; Vista, CA; American Amber / Red Ale; ABV: 6.4. Another excellent ale from the San Diego area brewery. A rich amber color with piny and citrusy hops in the nose. These notes have a noticeable presence in the taste as well, complimented by caramel malt with a clean crisp finish.

All in all we had a wonderful time in Beantown. And if you ever make it to the Publick House, be sure to try the Lobster Mac & Cheese!

Boston Beer Works on Urbanspoon

The Publick House on Urbanspoon

Fruit Servings

April 14th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

You'll want to fetch a Blue Paw

Spring is in full swing now, and the warmer weather has me thinking of a nice session beer. There are several fruit beers that are perfect for this time of year.

Sea Dog Blue Paw Wild Blueberry Wheat Ale; Sea Dog Brewing Co.; Bangor, ME; Fruit / Vegetable Beer; ABV: 4.6. Blue Paw is a refreshing wheat ale. It pours a light golden color, and the nose is a deep blueberry aroma. The sweet blueberry taste is complimented by wheat with a nice clean finish.

Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat; Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe; Eureka, CA; Fruit / Vegetable Beer; ABV: 5.0. Tangerine is another very drinkable wheat ale. The tangerine presence is very apparent in the color, nose, and taste. It’s backed up by hints of wheat and light citrusy hops at the end. It’s like drinking a Tang or Orangina with a kick!

Wells Banana Bread Beer; Wells & Young’s Ltd.; Bedford, UK; English Strong Ale; ABV: 5.2. Although sometimes classified as a winter warmer, this ale is low enough in alcohol content to be a decent session beer for early Spring. Banana Bread pours a rich amber color, and lives up to its name in both the nose and taste. The big banana presence is followed by breaded malt, spices, and light hops at the end.

Dogfish ApriHop; Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Milton, DE; India Pale Ale; ABV: 7.0. ApriHop is a more full bodied take on Spring session beers. This ale pours a rich orange color and the nose is a array of apricots and citrusy fruit. The apricots and citrusy fruit are noticeable in the taste as well, and they’re well balanced by sweet malt and Cascade hops with a crisp, clean finish.

Hold The Fort

February 25th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

This is one Fortifying brew

Billed as The World’s Strongest Fruit Beer, Dogfish Fort (Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Milton, DE; Fruit / Vegetable Beer; ABV: 18.0) is one potent ale. It had been awhile since I’d last tried this beer, so I picked up a bottle at Total Wine & More recently.

The alcohol presence is very noticeable here, so Fort is best sampled in a 6-8 oz. sniffer as opposed to a full pint. There’s a tart raspberry bite up front, complimented by hints of sweet malt, spices, and citrusy hops. The finish is deceptively smooth. Fort reminded Anne of a pumped up lambic or fruit wine, and she agreed with me that this would make a excellent dessert beer to share with guests.

Fort is highly recommended by me as another superb offering, albeit it an extreme one, from Dogfish.

Apples & Oranges

February 15th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

Éphémère & Wit are each a citrusy indulgence

Anne and I stopped by World of Beer this past Saturday, and she wanted to try a refreshing farmhouse type ale like the Ommegeddon we enjoyed last week. Angela recommended Unibroue Éphémère Apple (Unibroue; Chambly, Quebec, Canada; Fruit / Vegetable Beer; ABV: 5.5) to Anne, while I ordered the St. Bernardus Wit (Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV; Watou, Belgium; Witbier; ABV: 5.0).

I’ve had Éphémère in the past, and knew that Anne would like it. It has a big apple nose, and the tart apple burst is complimented by roasted malt, grassy hops, and coriander spices. Éphémère has a crisp clean finish, and is quite an easy drinking beer.

I had my Wit with a slice of orange, but it could have very easily stood alone. You’re not going to mistake this beer for Hoegaarden (Brouwerij van Hoegaarden / InBev; Hoegaarden, Belgium; Witbier; ABV: 4.9)! Wit has a nice citrusy bite of coriander and banana, balanced by sweet malt and spices with a smooth finish. It’s another outstanding brew from St. Bernardus.

I highly recommend both of these offerings as session beers, as they’re each modest in alcohol content and highly drinkable.

With A Little Help From My Friends

October 6th, 2009 Bill Zavorskas No comments

My friend Kristine Nickel is a woman of many accomplishments. Among them is an expertise for all things culinary. She has maintained a freelance writing career since the early 1980s, wrote a wire-distributed weekly column for the Chicago Tribune for 7 years, and has covered food, wine, and travel for publications such as Sarasota Herald-Tribune, a New York Times regional newspaper, Zagat, Wine Spectator, Sarasota Magazine, and others.

So I was flattered when she asked me to sit down for an interview recently to discuss beer. The theme was Tailgating, with an emphasis on partying at home. The surge in craft beer, and experimentation by traditional breweries looking to keep their edge, came into play as well. Kristine and I sampled beers that would traditionally be on hand at a tailgate party, as well as some excellent alternatives for the more adventurous fans.

The article appeared in last Wednesday’s Sarasota Herald Tribune, and is posted below.

Bill Zavorskas

Bill Zavorskas


Bill Zavorskas estimates he has sampled close to 700 different beers since his great beer passion began. Earlier this year, Zavors­kas decided to put his passion to pen, or more accurately, keyboard, and started Billys-BeerBlog.We sat down with Zavorskas to taste a series of beers that would typically show up at a tailgate party, and some that might just get you out of your ordinary buying pattern.

Michelob Ultra Light Pomegranate/Raspberry: This is an offering that Zavorskas says was created “to compete with microbreweries.” It has a wonder­ful raspberry nose and fruity flavors.
Budlight Lime: “Trying to do Corona one better,” is how Zavorskas described this citrusy brew. At 116 calories, this is a beer you could consume several of, and its fresh character would work with many different foods.
Sam Adams Light: Known to its aficionados as “Sammy,” this light beer was the first one from a microbrewery. It’s a beauti­ful amber color with a distinctive lager nose, but I found it thin and a bit short in flavor.
Heineken Light: I’m not sure how this storied Dutch brewery came up with so much taste for just 99 calories, but this was my favorite light beer by far.
Red Stripe Lager: This is a very popular beer, which used to be produced in Jamaica but which since has been swept into a behemoth beer company. That doesn’t change the refreshing, sweetish tastes.
Rogue “Dead Guy” Ale: Rogue is an Oregon-based brewery that really delivers. This beer is a lovely amber color,’ and a molasses nose that I noted I could, “sit and smell all night.”
Smutty Nose Pumpkin Ale: Fruit and vegetable compo­nents are popular in microbrews, and this is ideal for fall.
Bell’s “Sparkling Ale”: “Caramel nose, molasses taste, smooth, long finish” is how I described this ale, which was my favorite of the tasting.
Kristine Nickel


September 29th, 2009 Bill Zavorskas 1 comment

Spencer Horsman dazzled the crowd at Illusions...

Spencer Horsman dazzled the crowd at Illusions...

while Jerry Rowan juggled torches, beer, & one liners in Inner Harbor

while Jerry Rowan juggled torches, beer, & one liners in Inner Harbor

Even the Lions found a little magic this past weekend

Even the Lions found a little magic on Sunday

It was a magical weekend in Baltimore this weekend, whether one was catching up with old friends, attending a wedding, or taking in a magic show. The city was hopping as the weather held up until late in the day on Saturday, and even after the rain fell, people were out and about.

There were street performers like Jerry Rowan, whose juggling expertise has been featured on David Letterman. He dazzled the crowd with an act that included everything from juggling torches while riding a unicycle to balancing 2 Coronas and chugging down the bottom one! His tongue was as sharp as his juggling skills.

Anne & I went barhopping one night in Federal Hill, & took in the 10:00 magic show at Illusions. Owned by Ken Horsman, a former professional clown, the bar has a swanky nightclub feel to it. The featured performer, his son Spencer, is an internationally known magician. Young Spencer was indeed a master of illusion, and after entertaining the audience with some card tricks, he capped off the night by escaping from a straitjacket ala Houdini. I even got to assist Spencer in a couple of magic tricks, which added to the fun. Illusions has an excellent beer selection to boot.

There were a few beers sampled this weekend that worked their magic on me. These included the following:

Magic Hat #9; Magic Hat Brewing Co.; Burlington, VT; Fruit / Vegetable Beer; ABV: 4.6. A perfect beer for the magic theme. Very smooth, crisp, & refreshing. The fruity taste, particularly apricots, is balanced by an array of dry malt & light hops.

Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout; Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery; Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom; Oatmeal Stout; ABV: 5.0. A classic & chocolaty stout. Very smooth with hints of oats & coffee.

Heavy Seas The Great Pumpkin; Clipper City Brewery; Baltimore, MD; Pumpkin Ale; ABV: 8.0. Another winner from Clipper City. I love a great pumpkin ale, & this is right on the mark. The pumpkin pie taste is complimented by sweet malt & spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon. The 8% ABV is barely noticeable.

St. Bernardus Pater 6; Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV; Watou, Belgium; Dubbel; ABV: 6.7. A superb dubbel from St. Bernardus. The taste is a perfect blend of sweet caramel, malt, & dark fruit. One of the best dubbels that I’ve ever had.

Dark Starr Stout; Starr Hill Brewery; Crozet, VA; Irish Dry Stout; ABV: 4.8. Very smooth & creamy chocolate stout. The chocolaty taste is well balanced by a hint of spices & a nice dry finish.

We caught the end of the Lions-Redskins game, at The Greene Turtle at BWI, before flying back to Tampa. The Lions ended their losing spell with a 19-14 win. I know that our Michigan friends are glad that they finally broke through after a 19-game losing streak that dated back to December 2007. As one football analyst from ESPN pointed out, this is the first professional win ever experienced by a player drafted by the Lions in 2008!

In honor of their achievement, I had a Lion Stout (Ceylon / Lion Brewery Ltd.; Biyagama, Sri Lanka; Foreign Stout; ABV: 8.0) at Shakespeare’s. The big dark chocolate taste up front is complimented by sweet cherries, roasted malt, coffee, & a hint of licorice.

And last but not least, congratulations to the Yankees for working some magic of their own in a sweep of the Red Sox, clinching the AL East & home field advantage!