Tag Archives: Magic Hat

Two strong beers and a weak one

Lately, I’ve faced a daily choice of studying GRE math problems or pulling weeds in the (now thoroughly moqsuito-treated) yard. I’ve been opting for the latter…and actually enjoying it. Perhaps I have a future in manual labor. My college professors would be so proud.


Still boot-camping and running around 20-25 miles a week. That doesn’t make for very interesting workout posts, so you can just take my word for it.

Still eating lots of protein and (mostly) avoiding shitty carbs. I’ll do a post about that at some point…still deciding what I think about it.

Still not really dropping any weight and my body fat/muscle percentages have hit a standstill (at 22% and 40%, respectively), but that’s okay. I’m pretty happy with how I look and feel at this point. I’m going to continue the whole boot-camp-and protein-focused-diet thing through August, at which point it will be time to start thinking about doing some real running again.

Anyway. Let’s talk about beer? We’ll start with something easy:

(I was sure I must’ve reviewed Magic Hat’s Elder Betty in the past, but I can’t find anything in my horribly organized “archives.” Go figure.)

The fruity wheat. Not my favorite style of beer, yet somehow it keeps finding its way in to my fridge. And from there, it’s a short leap to a frosty glass on a sunny porch.

There are certainly worse ways to spend a summer afternoon.

The body’s a little thin and the berry thing is gimmicky, but overall the Elder Betty is an enjoyable beer. I prefer my wheat beers a bit more on the thick and hazy side, but I’d buy this to serve at a party. It would have broad appeal and be more interesting than Bud Light or whatever. At 5.5% ABV, it’s a great choice for day drinking.

Bottom Line: Nothing earth-shattering, but enjoyable. (Purchased at Mac’s Beer and Wine, $11/6)

From a sessiony wheat, let’s move on to a boozy Belgian:

I speak from experience: if you’ve had a horrible day, sipping a glass of the super strong and slightly sweet Trappistes Rochefort 10 will make it better.

The Trappist monks at the Abbey de Notre Dame de Saint-Remy in Rochefort, Belgium brew just three beers: Rochefort 6 (a Belgian Strong ale), Rochefort 8 (a Dubbel), and the Rochefort 10 (a Quad).

I haven’t tried the 6 or the 8, but I’ll say this about the 10: it is out-of-this-fucking-world good.

I picked up this bottle several months ago. I carefully packed it and moved it with me to Atlanta, and it’s been sitting in my fridge ever since. Just waiting for the kind of crappy day that would make me be all like, DAMN IT ALL TO HELL, I’M DRINKING THE EXPENSIVE ONE!

And it really did make my day 3000% better. It’s that good.

After pouring a rich brown, the first thing you notice about this beer is its smell: like earthy candy, with dried cherries and molasses and caramel and chocolate-covered raisins, but the kind from an expensive chocolate shop and not, like, Raisinettes or whatever. Before I even took a drink, I could tell there was a lot going on in this beer.

The flavor echoed the aroma, with a perfect punch of boozy heat (surprisingly gentle, considering the 11.3% ABV) at the end of each sip. Sweet, but not at all sticky. With a nice thick body and such wonderfully complex flavors, it was very much like drinking dessert. I savored every drop in that bottle.

Bottom line: YES X 1000. One of the best beers I’ve ever consumed. A bit tricky to find and definitely pricy, but worth buying if you see it. Ages well. (Purchased at Tasty Beverage, Raleigh NC, $9/11 oz)

And because I’m apparently trying to get the most bang for my buck these days, here’s another strong one:

A whole-cone Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada: the Hoptimum.

Side note: I’m starting to have trouble keeping track of all of these hoppy wordplay beer names. Hopsecutioner. Hoptical Illusion. Hoptimus Prime. Hop NotchModus Hoperandi. ApriHop. And I’m sure there are many more that I can’t recall. Cute and clever, but also feeling rather overdone. Enough!

Anyway. I forgive Sierra for the cheeky name because the Hoptimum is a solid beer.

It is, of course, very hoppy and puckery. Its IBU rating clocks in at a hefty 100, beating the brewery’s other IPA offerings (Celebration Ale at 65 IBU; Torpedo at 70). But stick around past the first bite of bitterness and you’ll be rewarded with a nice balance of pine, citrus and caramel flavors which linger through a dry finish. The high alcohol content (10.2% ABV) is noticeable, but not unpleasant.

Bottom line: An excellent choice for hop lovers, and certainly a worthy contender in the arena of ever bigger, bolder, and boozier IPAs.  (Purchased at Greene’s, $10/4.)

Writing this post has made me very thirsty. That’s a dangerous thing to be, mid-afternoon, mid-week.

I’d better get back to that yard work.

Does that make this a toddler blog?

Today, it occurred to me that this blog is now in its third year. Actually, its official birthday was Sunday.

Two years old. Wow. Um…I guess it’s time to potty train? 

One of the best things about having a blog is that your inane thoughts are recorded on the internet forever. So I can look back two years ago today and see that I penned a detailed description of my cat…for my, like, three readers. (Good lord, those old posts are embarrassing.)

A year ago was a little better. I was still pretty fresh off of the Chicago Marathon Shitshow 2010 and was trying to do mile repeats and was frustrated that my legs were still all manky. (Also, I made something that looks delicious with shrimp and wonton wrappers.)

I guess some things never change. A year later I’m still complaining about my workouts and going out too fast in races.

As illustrated by the lovely photographs from last Saturday’s American Tobacco Trail Ten Miler.

That first girl in all black? That’s my friend Erin, who won the race and finished approximately fifteen minutes before me. She is probably running an appropriate pace here. The second girl in black is me. Going out way too fast.

And about an hour later, we have a picture of pain.

It’s entirely possible that the guy behind me was actually walking. I’m a dumbass.

(And thank you, Carolina Snapshot, for taking these and I’m sorry for stealing them. Truly. When, one of these days, I have a race that I actually want to remember in all of its glory, I promise I’ll fork over for the rights.)

Anyway. Since it was MY BLOG BIRTHDAY (ish) and all, I decided to make some cupcakes.

Oh okay…no, I didn’t. I had planned to make cupcakes anyway. I’ve been helping to coach a walk-to-run program for the last few weeks and tonight was their last practice of the session. They have improved so much and I am ridiculously proud of them. So naturally, we celebrated with a giant potluck of junk food.

Potlucks are always such a funny thing. Maybe it’s just me and the fact that I tend to be a bit of a competitive person, but…you’ve gotta bring your A game to a potluck. Because who wants to be the dish that no one eats? No, you wanna be the dish that everyone is whispering about: Who brought these? They’re delicious!

It worked, because these Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Brown Butter Buttercream (via Food Network) were a big hit.

Somehow I came across these while poking around on the ‘nets and I figured that they had to be good  if it had the word “butter” twice in the recipe title.

I pretty much love anything made with brown butter. The cake part came out well (light and airy; well-spiced but not cloying) but it was definitely the buttercream that was the star here. Although very sweet, it added a slightly savory element to the cupcakes that was unusual and fun.

Also, can I just say that the cheapo pastry bag + tips set that I picked up at Target a few weeks ago has been a fantastic investment? Frosting is so much more fun when it’s all pretty and swirly.

And cupcakes are more fun when consumed with beer.

I also picked up a sixpack of Magic Hat’s winter seasonal – Howl Black (as Night) Lager – to bring to the feast. A new one to me.

And, yes, I realize that it is not winter. In fact, it was 75* here today. But you know what? If I am going to deal with hearing CHRISTMAS MUSIC on the radio (seriously!) in October, then I surely am going to enjoy the benefits of my favorite beer season a couple of months early, too.

Anyway. I’ll admit that I know next to nothing about the so-called “Schwarzbier” genre. Beer Advocate says this:

Schwarzbier (“shvahrts-beer”), is simply German for black beer. It doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily heavy or light in body, although they tend to lean towards light. Unlike other dark beers, like porters or stouts, they are not overly bitter with burnt and roasted malt characteristics that the others tend to depend on. Instead, hops are used for a good portion of the bitterness. Very refreshing and soul lifting beers, they also make a great alternative for the Winter. Especially when you are looking for a lighter beer, but one with depth of colour and taste.

I don’t know about “soul lifting,” but I enjoyed this beer. It poured a dark, but slightly translucent, mahogany.  Flavor-wise, it brought many of the elements that I enjoy in stouts and porters (coffee, chocolate, a kint of smoke) but, like, toned down a little. There were some light but noticeable hops, too, and a pleasant thirst-quenching quality that the heavier winter beers tend to lack.  Overall, a fun and easy beer to drink. 4.6% ABV.

Bottom line: I’d definitely buy it again. Although the BA folks seem to think that there are better representations of this style out there, and I’m excited to try those, too. (Purchased at Fresh Market, $9/six)

So if you’re one of the six people that have been with eating, drinking and running with me since the beginning (hi, mom…and dad…) let’s raise a glass and celebrate two full years of these shenanigans. And, I hope, many more to come.