Monday, April 25, 2011

Highland Brewing Co. Oatmeal Porter

Continuing with my appreciation of regional craft brews I return to the Highland Brewing Company's stock for one of their Oatmeal Porters. Highland beers are avaliable at most grocery stores in the Knox Co. area.

The Oatmeal Porter smelled malty and almost chocolaty while still in the bottle. It produced a bit of beige head when poured and smelled very malty from the glass. The first sip is bubbly and thick on the tongue but not syrupy thick. Full bodied, to say the least, I get an impression of coffee flavoring rather than oatmeal. Hops are not apparent to my taste but are certainly blended well, covering any unwanted sweetness in the malt. (The hops strains are not listed with the info on the bottle.)

This is a dark, solid beer in a style that's an old favorite of my own. I highly reccomend this beer if it is avaliable in your neck of the U.S.
4.75 our of 5 pints.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Old Hickory Brewery: Ruby Lager

Here's another brew from North Carolina, another liter from the Old Hickory Brewery. Ruby Lager pours a dark caramel color with a bit of white foamy head. The liquid is as dark as a cola or, again iced tea. The caramel malts are apparent to the nose as well as the eyes. For a lager, this is a very full bodied beer and I even detect hints of chocolate malt. This dark lager reminds me of the Oktoberfest style and is indicative of the inventive nature of our regional craft brewers.

Ruby Lager gets the full 5 out of 5 pints, get one/some if you can!

--Ruby Lager image borrowed from the Old Hickory Brewery.--

Friday, April 15, 2011

Paperback Friday: Alan Dean Foster

Splinter of the Mind's Eye
Copyright 1978, The Star Wars Corporation
First Ballantine Books Hardcover: Feb. 1978
First Paperback Edition: April 1978
Cover Art by Ralph McQuarrie

I read this book when I was just a lad, when the book was first released. When in college I traded my copy of the book at some used book store. Then I found the book again at McKay Used Books for $1.25. I haven't reread the tale yet.

The Day of the Dissonance
Copyright 1984 by Thranx, Inc.
First Printing: September 1984.
A Warner Books Edition

I found this one at the Goodwill Store last year and so far it's just been collecting dust. I'm not a big fan of A. D. Foster as owning only two of his books should indicate. I have read one of his Star Trek Logs and wasn't impressed by the storytelling. I also recall owning his novel Glory Lane but I can't recall ever having read it. I suspect I may have owned that book for the silly cover art alone. I often see Glory Lane on the shelves at McKay Books but have yet to purchase a copy, only time can tell...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Old Hickory Brewery, Piedmont Pilsner

This week I get to feature one of my favorite local beers. Piedmont Pils from the Old Hickory Brewery which is just across the Smokies/Blue Ridge Mnts. in Hickory, North Carolina. In North Carolina Piedmont Pils is available in liter bottles and available on tap and in a pony kegs at Union Jacks in West Knoxville.

Thanks to a recent visit to Asheville, I happen to have one of the liters in my fridge. This light gold brew pours with a foamy head. I gave it a quick whiff and it had a rather typical "light beer" smell. The head fades quickly again, I believe, typical for the style.

The first sip offers a more floral pallet then I'd expect from an American Pilsner. The body of the flavors is a sweet malt taste but balanced with just the right amount of bittering hops. The floral flavor fades as the liquid warms up, the resulting flavor is reminiscent of a clean tasting Pabst Blue Ribbon. Old Hickory has given their own micro-brewery of meaning to the term "Great taste, less filling."

Now I can't wait to have another Piedmont Pils on tap at Union Jacks, I'm giving this Pils a 4 our of 5 pints.

Now, it has occurred to me, since I live in such a Mecca of great beers, there's no reason I can't feature 52 beers in 52 weeks. I'll work up an image to promote this idea and post the results accordingly.

(The image of Piedmont Pils in a pint glass was borrowed from the Old Hickory Brewery.)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey

"Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself. Mankind. Basically, it's made up of two separate words; "mank" and "ind."
What do these words mean? It's a mystery, and that's why so is mankind."
-- J. H.

I thought he said, "we have to look at the word ITSELF?"

Paperback Friday: Philip Jose Farmer

Flesh; Copyright 1960, Galaxy Publishing Company
Copyright 1968, Philip Jose Farmer
First Paperback printing, May 1969.

The guy on the cover of this book looks like a young James Taylor.

The Fabulous Riverboat
Copyright 1971, Philip Jose Farmer
Berkly Medallion Edition, April, 1973
Eighth Printing

For the unholy trinity of Bobs:
Bloch, Heinlein, and traurig --
may I meet them on
the banks of the River,
where we'll board the
fabulous Riverboat.

I found these two at the Friends of the Knox Co. Library Sale last month. I got Flesh because after reading These Lawless Worlds I thought I'd try anything. And, it's by P.J.F. so I feel certain that it will be an enjoyable read.

To Your Scattered Bodies Go
Copyright 1971, Philip Jose Farmer
Berkley Medallion Edition, September 1971
Eleventh Printing

1972 Hugo Award, Best Science Fiction Novel of the Year

I bought this one a couple of years ago at the same book sale and read it right away. I may read these other two after I've finished reading through my Lin Carter library. To Your Scattered Bodies Go is one of the sci-fi books on the 501 Must Read Books list.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Highland Brewing Co. Little Hump Spring Ale

I like beers from all over North America and from all over the world. My fridge and garage are generally stocked with beers from various Micro Breweries from around the country but I need to dedicate some time to sharing the fruits of the many local breweries that are near to my home in East Tennessee.

So, I'll start with Little Hump Spring Ale from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. This beer really surprised me. When I think of a spring/summer seasonal ale I expect a drink like Sierra Nevada Summer-fest Ale or, the long lost, Pete's Summer Ale. The Little Hump poured like any of these other drinks but the first sip was a direct hoppy hit to my taste buds. I was expecting a much lighter assault of hops in a Spring Ale but, they brew it, I just drink it.

The carbonation was consistent and refreshingly bubbly and the American hops remained on the pallet to the last sip. The hops strains for Little Hump are Amarillo, Cascade and Simcoe and they have been used to make a great beer. I'm starting to call this style (including Flying Dog's Doggy Style) Classic American Pale Ale due to the additional flavoring hops when compared to a British Pale Ale. (Sam Smith or St. Pete's)

Little Hump wasn't as light on the pallet as I expected but it is still a great beer. My grade for this one is 3.75 pints out of 5.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Paperback Friday: Gardner Fox

Gardner F. Fox; The Hunter out of Time
Copyright, 1965, Ace Books, Inc.
New York, N. Y.
This is actually a first edition of this paperback that I acquired through Paperback Swap dot com.

Kyrik: Warlock Warrior
A Leisure Book, April 1975
Published by Nordon Publications, Inc. New York, N. Y.
Copyright, 1975, Nordon Publications, Inc.

I have not read either one of these books yet but I am currently reading the trade paperback edition of DC Comics Crisis On Multiple Earths which was also scripted by Gardner Fox.