Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Natural Light

A careful reader of this beer book from Illinois recently pointed out a glaring omission. I have not yet reviewed Natty Light. My son Caleb is visiting us and wanted to help me out. He ran out to the corner grocery and bought us one to share and contemplate on. So here it goes. As you see, I poured my half into a prized beer glass fitting for such a special occasion.  If I remember right, the last time I used this half yard was Christmas, 2014 when I drank a winter warmer from Backpocket brewing in Coralville. I always enjoy the beers from Backpocket -- an Iowa owned brewery with a brewpub that offers up tasty locally produced fare. But back to the Natty Light, as you can see from the photo there is something more to the color than just clear yellow. See the hint of copper hue. 

The color reminds me of the label of Summit Extra Pale Ale, which, by the way, is an excellent beer. In my book, Summit is the standard American Pale Ale to which all others are to be compared. But again I digress. I have much more to say about this Anheuser-Busch product Caleb and I are enjoying together on this nice spring day. Ah, Spring! The robins return and the breweries release bock, my favorite style of beer, especially dopplebock. I should really look for a chance in the next few days to get somewhere that sells a nice German dopplebock, rich and thick and complex with flavors of molasses, dark fruits, and chocolate. But alas, now for the Natural Light, the actual point of this page. Which makes me think, how many Point beers have I included in my beer book? 12 – I just counted. Stevens Point Brewery in Wisconsin has been making great beer since 1857. I ought to put their brewery tour and tasting room on my list of day trips to consider this summer. I see on their website that they have just released an apricot wheat beer that sounds intriguing. While typing up my thoughts on Natty Light, I was just interrupted by a text message from daughter Rachel. She’s away at college in Ann Arbor, Michigan, not far from Kalamazoo, Michigan -- home to Bell’s brewery. Now that’s a good source of beer. I love their Oberon wheat in the summer and their Kalamazoo Stout in the winter and really, anything else they offer in between. Which brings me back to Natural Light and now I can say, of all the beers I’ve mentioned in my beer book, Natural Light is one of them.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

La Beninoise

Today is the birthday of both my mother and Steve Neuendorf, which reminds me of a time when I had a beer with both of them at a hotel in Cotonou, Benin. La Beninoise is a likable local drip there. One of the interesting things is, as you can see in the photo, the beer is bottled in a random assortment of bottles, some pints, some 12 ounce, some green some brown. The beer in the green bottles quite memorably proved how sunlight, especially in the tropics, degrades the hops into skunkiness, while beer in the brown bottles was much better protected.

left to right: Richard Armbrecht, Mary Koch, Sandy Koch, me, Jean Neuendorf, Steve Neuendorf, Denise Haugen at l'Hotel Etoille in Cotonou, Benin, August, 2002.

This fun night in Benin also came to mind when a friend of mine today pointed me to this following map which includes La Beninoise. (you may have to click on the map to open it to readable size):

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Shiner Haymaker

This Extra Pale Ale is really pleasant to drink. With so many IPAs pushing the boundaries of bitterness, here is a nice reminder that beer is a malt beverage flavored with a little hops and not a hop beverage with a little malt flavoring.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Enjoy By

Today is the Pi day of the century, (because 3-14-15 are the first 5 digits of Pi). And Stone produced a beer just for the occasion.

Their fresh Double IPA has a tang like citrus peel in the first sniff and sip, followed by a pine sort of bitter toward the finish --v ery nice for a Saturday afternoon on the deck.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Belhaven 90 /~ Wee Heavy

After the long cold winter we are lucky enough this Friday the 13th to be given a splendid Spring day with temperatures in the 60s. This rich sweet malty treasure of a beer takes time to sip and savor, giving me a good excuse to sit out on the deck and think through a stack of some pressing matters. The fresh air and the comforting Scottish Ale combine to make these matters seem rather wee and not so heavy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Blarney Brown

Lila p'o means "very foggy" in the native American language Lakota. P'o is an extremely interesting word, phonetically speaking. It's pronounced with an extra puff of air from the lips between the "p" and "o". I'm relaxing after several hours of driving through the fog this morning to pick up my mom from the airport. I can't say the fog was quite as thick as pea soup. Rather, I'd say it was as thick as this pleasant Blarney Brown Ale.

O'hara's Irish Pale Ale

On this very foggy day I've got time to kill waiting to pick up my mother from her flight of many delays. So I begin this St. Patrick celebration with a pint of piney, citrusy Irish pale ale and a big plate of "Irish Nachos" at Old Chicago.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Zip Line Copper Alt

A few minutes after this picture was taken I asked the waitress here at Dotzy's in Elgin, Iowa for a second one of these Nebraska altbiers to wash down some of my "All-I-can-eat" cod. She told me that what I got was the last one. The menu had it listed as the beer of the month. It must be very special then, since this is still the first week of the month, and the shelf is bare. Nice malty flavor, sweet and nutty.

3X Mild Ale

This is another spectacular beer from Summit in St. Paul, Minnesota. Said to be a mild ale, still it’s nicely bitter. Glad I happened on this during its limited release.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Florida Cracker

This light refreshing Belgian-style White Ale is the perfect base for a beer martini. It makes a nice  Florida treat for this cold Iowa day.

Thanks to Roger and Julie DeSloover for bringing me back this souvenir beer from their recent trip to Florida.

I got the idea and recipe for the cocktail from the blog


  • 1 Part Fresh Orange Juice
  • 1 Part Beer
  • Fresh Lime and Lemon Juice
  • Ice
  • Granulated Sugar (For Garnish)
  • Fresh Citrus Zest (For Garnish)


Combined Orange, Beer, and Ice in a shaker or large cup. Add Lime or Lemon Juice to taste. Stir or lightly shack to combined.
Combined Zest and Sugar on a plate. Run piece of citrus along the rim of a martini glass. Dip glass in Sugar and add Beer Orange mixture to glass without ice. Garnish with slices of orange and lime.