The United States of Beer – Random US brews Part 1

Part of the challenge of being a blogger is to weave the beer reviews in with stories so as to create some sort of logical and entertaining narrative.  I’ve tried to do this over the last four weeks or so with stories of beers consumed on my recent trip to the US, but some beers don’t easy fit in categories, some weren’t consumed in their home states, or can’t be matched to entertainment choices, or were not drunk in the building in which they were brewed.

Some are just random beers drunk in random places, and this is the story of those beers.

The first of these brews was at the very end of our very first multi bar drinking session. You may remember way back at the start of this I told you of a trip to Brooklyn

Well this night ended at some venue where we were watching some very poor hipster ska/reggae band. Whilst there I ordered a Shocktop which promised to be a Belgian White beer. Now if you are American alarm bells are already ringing, this is mainstream brew made by the Anheuser-Busch empire. If Hahn White taught us anything it’s that mainstream brewers are shit at making Belgian white beer.

Also as you can see from the picture above this beer appears to be marketed as Duff Man goes to some Belgian beach. Orange slices, mohawks none of this was going to end well. But in my defence, it was dark in the club, and I was drinking it on tap so I never saw any of this.

It will not surprise you that this beer was terrible. It had a strong Lemon taste on the nose and in the sip but the fruit flavour tasted artificial, biting and the whole thing was just a little disappointing. Pot.

Next up was a beer that we drank whilst I was at a lovely restaurant called S’Mac. Now what is so good about this restaurant is that all they make is Mac and Cheese.  That’s right an entire restaurant devoted to the combination of pasta and cheese.  It’s even award winning, they won ‘Best new Gimmick’ in Time Out eat out awards in 2007.

And the perfect beer for drinking with you Mac and Cheese? Allagash White which was a light yellow colour, cloudy with a white wispy kind of detergenty head. It smelled strongly of yeast, and had a gentle taste. Not particularly hoppy in a world of incredibly hoppy American brews. A very good example of a European style Witbier. Pint

For our next two brews we are going to move to the nation’s capital Washington DC. First up is the grandfather of Craft brewing Samuel Adams and their seasonal Summer ale which I ordered in a little Thai restaurant we found. It is a wheat beer, but looks more like a filtered lager. It was clear amber colour with clumps of little bubbles making break for the top of the glass, quite gassy at the front of the sip, but this was replaced by subtle wheat tastes in the middle. It ended crisp. Overall it was not a bad beer, refreshing, easy to drink, which is what you would be looking for in a Summer Ale – Schooner.

Last but not least is a brew from Hawaii’s biggest selling craft brewery (and 14th biggest in the whole of the US) . Unfortunately we weren’t on the island of the pacific, rather we were in a crappy bottleshop in Washington, but we bought a six pack of Kona Brewing Longboard lager and returned to our hotel room.

The beer is a yellow, with a slight golden tinge, big bubbles but little head. I had a fruity bitterness in the sip and quite a crisp finish. It wasn’t a bad beer, and it certainly refreshed us after a day of walking in Washington – Schooner.

It did also go well with Goldfish, which we were eating as a tribute to the West Wing’s greatest character CJ Cregg, because we were in Washington.

6 Degrees of Norm (We we prove all beers can be related back to Norm from Cheers in 6 easy steps):

  1. Both Allagash White and Shocktop are beers that originated in Belgium but have moved to the New York.           
  2. Just like The Smurfs which were created by Peyo in Belgium but move somehow end up in New York in the upcoming movie.
  3. Which sadly stars Neil Patrick Harris, whose best movie was Starship Troopers which also stars Jake Busey
  4. Whose dad is Gary Busey, who was in Drop zone with Wesley Snipes
  5. Who was in White Men can’t Jump with Woody Harrelson
  6. And Woody served beer to Norm in Cheers  


Long Bow YouTube Clip:  CJ, Danny and the Goldfish

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