Well, well, well. Here we are again. Face to face. Just you and me. And that creepy person who somehow always ends up sitting next to you — even when you’re just minding your own business on Dexter Lawn. Somehow they always show up. Yep, just the three of us.
Right. Well anyway, a couple of weeks ago I chose to sample a beer from the southern area of this fine state of ours. Now, just to be fair, I have gone with a beer that hails from the northern part of our state.
This week’s beers come from a brewpub up in Fairfield called Blue Frog Grog & Grill. Say that five times fast. Oh, and don’t worry about going on Wikipedia to figure out what grog is — I took care of that for you. In short, grog can encompass a wide variety of alcoholic beverages that are mostly, but not all, mixed.
In fact, this is where the term “groggy” came from. When one consumes too much grog, one becomes groggy. In fact, that is not a fact, but something I made up. Sure sounds right, though, doesn’t it?
Anywho, it is from this Bay Area brewery that I have taken today’s samples, Blonde Frog Ale, Hefe Weizen and India Pale Ale. These are three consistently mild and smooth beers that are slightly unique twists on the classic styles.
The first Blue Frog brew that I sampled was the Blonde Frog Ale. Light-feeling pale ale it may be, but it still packs a bit o’ punch with 6.75 percent alcohol. Upon letting the aroma of this ale waft into my nostrils, I found it to be a rather floral one. This is a pleasant contrast to that of last week’s citrusy beers.
Also, much like the beers to follow, this is one that is none too hoppy, but was made using an extra amount of pale malt. This beer isn’t exceptionally unique or complex, but it is certainly enjoyable, especially for those of you who are fans of the lighter beers. It is pretty smooth and mild all around.
The next beer up is the Blue Frog Hefe Weizen, a German-style wheat beer. While this beer is certainly high in yeast, it manages to still have a mild, balanced flavor. As with the blonde and most hefe weizens, this beer also uses hops that produce a more floral flavor and aroma, though this one also has a bit of spice to it.
Of course, the flavor of the hour with this beer is yeast. The bottle’s label is printed upside down with an arrow containing the words “this end up” pointing to the bottom. As you flip the bottle to read the description, it is revealed to you that all this was done to ensure that you release the yeast back into the beer before pouring.
This is because in unfiltered hefe weizens, the yeast will settle to the bottom of the bottle while in storage. Releasing the yeast back into the beer is an important process for the consumer to enjoy the full flavor of the hefe weizen as intended. Of course, the beverage will still be drinkable if this step is skipped, but the flavor is enhanced when the yeast is reintroduced into the beer.
And finally, we come to Blue Frog’s India Pale Ale. Now I know you’re thinking, “Another IPA, Adam? Really?” but I do love them, and every ale is different. For example, this IPA prides itself on being a more balanced brew. With less hoppiness and more malt, it is (surprise!) a more mild beer. It has a rating of 60 international bitterness units (IBUs), which is somewhat low for a typical IPA (Firestone’s Union Jack IPA is over 70 IBUs, as are Stone Brewing’s IPAs). But don’t let this milder version of an IPA trick you into thinking you’re not getting as much alcohol. The still substantial Alcohol By Volume of 7 percent is masked by the lack of bitterness and the extra amount of pale malt.
When first drinking this beer, one is again greeted by floral notes that are common in IPAs, as well as the extra maltiness. It isn’t until the aftertaste that one really gets the feel and flavor that is traditionally associated with IPAs, though that bitterness does make a welcome appearance.
The word of the day for these beers is “balance.” Blue Frog seems to focus on smooth, mild beers that have a satisfying balance of ingredients. While I myself prefer hoppier beers, I can certainly appreciate the goal of this brewery.
Speaking of goals, one cannot expect to get through life without setting any goals. And we’re not just talking big goals, like 50 Cent’s “Get Rich or Die Tryin’.” We’re talking about the smaller goals of how to get rich, or better yet, how to avoid death while trying. Probably the easiest way to avoid death would be to seclude oneself in a padded room in an insane asylum.
A close second would be using good judgment while consuming alcohol. So go out there and set those goals. Get rich and skip the whole die trying part. And when you do get rich, don’t cut the enjoyment short. Continue to drink responsibly. Don’t drink and drive, or die trying.